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Cochrane Tourism still searching for hook

The Cochrane Tourism Association has been trying to find its footing for the past few years, but without more business and community involvement, the group isn't always sure what direction to take, according to a recent article by Brad Herron in the Cochrane Times on March 2.

John Thomson, the past president of the tourism association, said more input is needed."Our situation is consistent, steady growth and building our membership and awareness and making people aware of those opportunities for matching funds," Thomson said.

Recently, the tourism group partnered with two area hotels — the Rockyview Hotel and Days Inn — to create a destination marketing fund. A small fee is collected by the hotels each time a room is rented, with the money going into an account that can then be used to promote tourism locally. Thomson said he is somewhat disappointed with the lack of applications towards this opportunity since it started in 2009. There has been about $36,000 collected so far, some of which is used to fund the salary of the tourism association's lone staffer.

"This presents a more structured presentation of tourism promotion for the town of Cochrane, we aren't the small little town we used to be," Thomson said. "Cochrane is just beginning to come into its own." "We are learning and feeling our way along as we go and businesses aren't aware that we are here and how our functioning can help them."

There is an inherent difficulty promoting tourism in Cochrane, as it lacks the drawing attraction that many other communities have, Thomson admits. But with a close proximity to Calgary, Cochrane can offer things other communities cannot. "It means you have to be a little more diverse in your presentations. This is where I see individual business groups coming together with projects," Thomson said.

The tourism association's next AGM is on March 8 at 7 p.m. at the Days Inn & Suites.

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