By Jasmine Franklin
It’s called Alberta Sweet 16 and this tourism promotion project involving 10 towns including Ponoka, has won an Alberta Tourism Award.
“We are really excited to have won this award,” said Carey Keleman, Ponoka economic development officer. “It’s such a good partnership — instead of everyone doing tourism events and promotions apart we are doing it together and have the ability to focus on all the little things.”
Alberta Sweet 16 was created to promote events being held throughout central Alberta. Its name was derived from the 16 weekends between the May long weekend and September’s Labour Day weekend. The project promotes one major event for each community on the www.albertasweet16.com website.
The communities of Ponoka, Innisfail, Lacombe, Red Deer, Red Deer County, Rimbey, Rocky Mountain House, Stettler, Sylvan Lake and Wetaskiwin began the project in 2008. By working together, the team advertised events and updates through the website, Google and Facebook, resulting in more than 17,000 visitors to the site.
“We are definitely going to continue with marketing over Facebook and Google,” Keleman said. “We had such successful results.”
On Oct. 26, the team was awarded with the marketing partnership award at the ninth annual Travel Alberta Industry conference in Banff.
“The members have come to realize that we all benefit from cooperative marketing and get spin-off from tourists coming to the region,” said Dean Schweder, chair of the central Alberta Tourism Committee, and tourism and economic co-ordinator for the Town of Rocky Mountain House. “With more than 1,400 events being posted on the website in 2009, it has become a source for locals and tourists when seeking out information about events in central Alberta.”
The team is working on a marketing plan for 2010.