Tourism increases in Alberta and Ponoka becomes part of new tourist program

Alberta continues to be a tourist’s destination despite decreasing national tourists numbers.

  • May. 27, 2008 9:00 a.m.

By Tiffany Williams

Editor

Alberta continues to be a tourist’s destination despite decreasing national tourists numbers.

Information released from Statistics Canada reported that in March Alberta had an increase of 4.2 per cent in one-night or more stays.

However, nationally the number of visitors dropped 2.3 per cent mostly because of the decline of American visitors.

American visitors to Alberta also decreased by 1.4 per cent but visitors from other countries increased by 12.6 per cent.

Carey Keleman, economic development officer for the Town of Ponoka thinks the three big draws to Alberta are the mountains (Banff and Jasper), the Calgary Stampede, and West Edmonton Mall.

“Right now Alberta is a hot economy and the intrigue to visit is there. But of course, we have some top-notch tourist attractions,” said Keleman.

Ponoka is a member of the newly formed Alberta Sweet 16, which highlights 16 weekends of events including family activities, rodeos and other tourist events in Central Alberta.

Keleman thinks that it is important for Ponoka to be involved with the Alberta Sweet 16.

“This is a Central Alberta regional tourism initiative to get a bigger piece of the tourism action. Central Alberta needs to become more competitive when it comes to tourism and this is just one step in that direction.”

She thinks that the area is competing with other major tourist attractions.

“When they come to Alberta for those anchor attractions, it’s up to the local promoter to get them to visit other areas of the province – hence the reason this new central AB tourism initiative. In the global economy, it’s important to work together.”

Keleman thinks visiting Ponoka will give people a chance to experience some small town rural charm.

The Ponoka Stampede is highlighted through the Sweet 16 program and other community events. For more information on the tourism program visit www.albertasweet16.com.