Redefining Our City as a Tourist Destination

By Gary Davies // Saturday 23rd of April, 2016 // 11:17 AM

For a large number of tourists, our city is known in one of two ways. Either as a gathering spot for makeshift cowboys and cowgirls over 10 days in early July, or as a launching pad to Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, and places in between.

The Stampede City or the Gateway to the Rockies.

While most cities would love to have a 100-year-old event like the Calgary Stampede to attract visitors from around the world, or live in such close proximity to some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world, the challenge faced by Calgary’s tourism sector is promoting the other aspects of the city that many guests will never get to see.

Tourism Calgary is presently embarking on the development of a new destination strategy for the city. Consultations with stakeholders are already underway.

Much effort has been spent over the last five years by Travel Alberta, Tourism Calgary and the Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance to promote the up-and-coming food and drink culture in Calgary. This has resulted in a wave of new restaurants opening in town and, consequently, a series of national and international awards recognizing the culinary talent we have in this city.

This year – 2016 – will see tourism efforts shift to embrace what our Mayor has described as the Year of Music. The moniker stems from some major musical happenings in our city: the opening of Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre in July; the Juno Awards held earlier this month; and the 10th anniversary of the Sled Island Festival in June, to name just a few.

Strong efforts are underway to brand our city’s Music Mile, stretching from East Village down 9th Avenue into Inglewood, as a place to celebrate and enjoy various genres of live music due to the proliferation of venues popping up on that strip.

And while Calgarians of all stripes will be celebrating our year of music, it does leave one to wonder, what’s next? 

Today we launched the fifth and final wave of categories in our ongoing Best of Calgary survey – this time focusing on Shopping and Services. Our big picture question at the end will ask what areas you think Calgary should focus on to attract more tourists to the city. We have three questions for your input on, and we’d love to hear from you.

And when we hold our Best of Calgary conference on June 29th at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Arts Commons, this conversation will be one of our main topic areas. If you have any interest in this discussion, please watch this space for more details, circle your calendar on June 29th and please visit here to purchase a Best of Calgary membership, which will get you into the conference and so much more.

Gary Davies is a co-founder of Best of Calgary