St. Paul Landing Pad.
There is a growing movement to attract tourists to the St. Paul and Elk Point region to help boost the local economy.
A working committee has been established between industry, the Chamber of Commerce in both communities and the Town of Elk Point, Town of St. Paul and County of St. Paul to grow tourism in the area.
“I think there’s incredible opportunity,” said Linda Sallstrom, executive director of the St. Paul and District Chamber of Commerce.
“We have a few existing things that already are here or happening already that we have. Fort George Buckingham, which is outdoors, we have the North Saskatchewan River, we have the trail system, we have the UFO landing pad, so we have a number of things that exist already. It’s how do we expand and build on those?”
Elk Point and St Paul will appoint members to the committee as they are on board.
“We have little niche markets within the community that we don’t as the community, markets, that could bring tourism through our community. It was kind of gathering those minds together, how packages could possibly be put together to draw tourism into the area,” said St. Paul Mayor Maureen Miller.
The initiative started after a local hotel attended an Alberta tourism event which brought up the benefits the area could have to bring more money into the area.
“It’s about getting more bums in the bed and it’s also about they are interested in partnering with different providers, like tourism providers to do that packaging. So they don’t just want bums in the bed, they’re willing to actually put some skin in the game about how do we create an experience around the region,” said Sallstrom.
Tourism Lakeland, Community Futures, and Northeastern Alberta Hub will be leads on the committee while industry groups like Lakeland Brewing Company, the UFO Landing Pad, Hampton Inn, and the St. Paul Ag Society are also involved.
Sallstrom said opportunities also exist with the Metis Crossing in Smoky Lake.
“They’re putting up a mobile million dollar building and it’s very much focused on an international audience. It’s kind of twofold. It’s there to not only provide for the major organization to be able to host conferences, and weddings and so on, but also to attract an international audience. One of the things that they said out for the Northeast region is we can bring them here because they do have programming. It’s up to you to bring them to the next level. It’s up to you to take them further in the northeast before they turn around and go back to Edmonton.”
After the committee is established and terms of reference are decided, the committee will look at all the tourism outlets in the area.