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Anderson takes Alberta on the road

Agents had the chance to learn about new Alberta tourism draws for 2015 and meet travel partners from the province during the latest stop on Anderson Vacations’ Alberta road show.

Participating partners this year include Travel Alberta, Tourism Calgary, Edmonton Tourism, Banff Lake Louise Tourism and Rocky Mountaineer. In addition to Toronto, the show has stopped in Burlington and will move onto Ottawa.

According to Gavin Antill, Anderson’s business development manager for Ontario and Eastern Canada, bookings to Alberta have been strong, thanks in part to a weakened Canadian dollar encouraging more domestic travel.

“Business is really good – if you go to the U.S. right now, you lose 20 per cent because the Canadian dollar is so low right now, so people are looking to travel in their own backyard,” Antill said. “Everyone wants to see Canada at some point in their life and a lot of destinations out west, especially destinations in Alberta like Banff, Lake Louise and the Rocky Mountains.”

Highlights from the event’s participating travel partners include the following:

Travel Alberta

With 2015 being dubbed The Year of the Dinosaur in the province (thanks in part to a new Jurassic Park movie), the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the province’s rich paleontological history are in the spotlight, according to Robyn McKinney, manager, travel trade at Tourism Calgary. Guided tours by Anderson take guests to the Alberta Badlands, where travellers can see fossils before they're excavated.

For those interested in Alberta’s human history, Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump provides insights into the history of the province’s First Nations people, through an historic centre established at this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Other attractions being actively promoted in 2015 include Waterton National Park, which overlaps the Alberta-Montana border (featuring a cross-border boat tour), as well as Red Rock Canyon, providing travellers with opportunities for adventure and wildlife sightings, including the region’s bighorn sheep and grizzly bears. Further afield, Ryan Elliott, manager – the Americas, Banff Lake Louise Tourism, said Kananaskis Country (to the west of Calgary) provides opportunities for helicopter tours – or even heli-hiking and heli-yoga - in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. He also said that those looking to see the Northern Lights in all their splendour should head to Jasper (recognized as a dark sky preserve), where a website maintained by one of the world’s leading Aurora Borealis researchers provides updates on the best times to catch the light show.

Tourism Calgary

Alberta’s largest city boasts a number of attractions, from sporting events like the annual Calgary Stampede to the city’s Heritage Park, a 126-acre site taking guests back in time through a number of initiatives, such as the Gasoline Alley museum of vintage vehicles and gas pumps, and the Historical Village. McKinney said that travellers can also explore the city through a variety of means, including hop-on bus tours and Calgary food tours, highlighting the city’s culinary scene.

According to McKinney, The Calgary Zoo is also busy preparing to welcome pandas in 2018. 

The city also serves as the departure point for the Rocky Mountaineer, which takes guests across some of Western Canada’s most inspiring landscapes.

Edmonton Tourism

Guests to the West Edmonton Mall can now try their hand at surfing or ride The Tsunami at the World Waterpark, one of the mall’s newest attractions, said Katherine Florence, travel trade guru, Edmonton Tourism. For visitors looking to stay dry, the River Valley Adventure Company offers Segway rentals year-round, equipping the vehicles with winter tires when the snow falls. Florence said nature lovers can also visit Elk Island National Park to view its bison and 250 species of birds.

Banff Lake Louise Tourism

While often thought of as a ski destination, Elliott said Banff’s busiest season takes place between June and September, with weekends drawing visitors from nearby Calgary and Edmonton. While the community welcomes more than four million guests annually, the permanent population numbers only 8,000. In addition to skiing, plenty of activities are offered, including rafting, sightseeing and wildlife opportunities, as well as an Ice Adventure tour, which brings guests by bus onto the glacier.

Rocky Mountaineer

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Antill said the luxury train line will phase out its RedLeaf service level in 2016, focusing on its SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf packages in the future. He explained that five routes are available through Anderson Vacations, taking guests on daylight trips from April to October.

More from Anderson

  • A new agent website from Anderson is currently in the works, Antill said, including new features such as the ability to track individual bookings. Agents should also take note of Anderson’s new loyalty program, set to launch in the coming months. Antill said that upon launch, agents can earn points for bookings backdated to January, redeemable for items such as Visa gift cards, travel vouchers and charitable donations.
  • Anderson is planning a Canada Mega FAM for 2015, featuring four separate FAMs – Ontario, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Alberta – which will all culminate in a party hosted in Banff. While dates and full details are yet to be announced, agents can start selling Anderson packages to entered to win a spot, Antill said.

Read the full story on PAXnews.com

 

 

PAXnews.com