Almost $2 million spent under Passport to Christmas program

People are spending money in Ponoka thanks in part to the Passport to Christmas.

People are spending money in Ponoka thanks in part to the Passport to Christmas.

Numbers from the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce 2015 Passport to Christmas program were released last week showing approximately $1.98 million was spent in Ponoka during the holiday season, explained Melodie Helm who tallied the numbers.

Helm told chamber members Tuesday, March 15 that the data was promising with improvements overall:

* Total completed passports: 6,602, up from 5,507 in 2014;

* Completed by women: 4,142, up from 3,428;

* Completed by men: 1,325, up from 1,158.

Of the 6,602 shoppers, there were 1,120, who were from out of town, again up from 813 the previous year. Helm told members there were also increases in out of town visits from the communities of Maskwacis, Rimbey and Bashaw.

She said there were 46 businesses involved in the program and the chamber’s hope is to increase that to 50.

Helm also provided some recommendations to help improve the program:

Purchase hard boxes with Christmas themed lids;

To make it clear that completed passports can be donated to the Community Christmas dinner if people don’t want them.

She did add there was some feedback that maybe business owners should not be eligible to win. Helm left it as an open item for the chamber executive to consider.

There was no discussion as Helm presented the data as information only.