Canmore Business & Tourism Ceases Operations
Canmore Business and Tourism (CBT), also known as Tourism Canmore Kananaskis, is winding up operations effective immediately due to its inability to secure a sustainable source of funding.
The organization has been funded for the past eight years by the Canmore Destination Marketing Fund, a group of hotels representing a minority of the total number of rooms in town who voluntarily submit a portion of their revenues to fund marketing for the entire community. Since the beginning of 2016, participation in the DMF has fallen to approximately 20% of Canmore’s hotel rooms, and the remaining members of the group have seen no apparent desire or commitment from other hoteliers, other business sectors or the municipality to come together to create a sustainable model, and have therefore reluctantly opted to cease their own operations, resulting in CBT having no alternative but to wind up.
CBT has been a major Alberta success story over the past five years, showing major growth as a DMO whose work has directly resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of visitor spend in Canmore and Kananaskis. Its work has focused on aligning the community and its businesses behind a very clear and appealing brand message focused on the truly authentic mountain lifestyle the region has to offer, and the remarkable opportunities afforded by its dining, wellness and mountain sports. The result has been significant growth in visitation, particularly in the previously quiet off-season months and within Canmore’s extremely robust culinary industry. In addition, CBT has achieved specific success stories with the hosting of Canada’s West Marketplace and the development and operation of Canmore Uncorked, its national award-winning food festival. “The work CBT has done over the past 5 years has been simply outstanding,” says Barb Scott of Waymarker Hospitality. “This town is finally recognized as a stand-alone tourism destination on its own merits.”
The wind up of CBT’s activities means that there is now no active Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for Canmore Kananaskis, which is of major concern to outgoing CEO Andrew Nickerson. “Simply relying on the mountains to attract visitors is not an effective strategy,” says Nickerson. “Destination marketing is a scientific discipline that targets potential visitors that are most likely to be influenced to come to Canmore and spend money in our businesses. Visitor spend here is currently in the region of $350m annually, and the town needs to ensure that this is not put at risk.” CBT operations will be stopping immediately with the exception of the Canmore Mountain Market. CBT’s operating assets including Canmore Uncorked and the Market will be put up for tender to ensure their continued success.
The board of CBT wishes to thank the members of the DMF for their incredible support through the years, as well as the organization’s staff who have consistently gone above and beyond in effectively representing the destination.
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