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Growing the Hinton tourism industry

There is room to grow in the Hinton tourism industry and there are people looking to get involved according to an article by Rhys Kelso in the Hinton Parklander on February 28. As a result Community Futures West Yellowhead, the Grande Alberta Economic Region (GAER) and the Town of Hinton economic development department teamed up to offer a free tourism opportunity session.

This was the second session of its kind and Town of Hinton, economic development manager, Renée LaBoucane, said they are held another session because the first one was so popular.

The session was held March 2 at the Hinton Municipal Library in the Teck Coal Room. "We encouraged anyone with a general interest in the Hinton tourism industry to attend the session," said LaBoucane. "It was to educate them on the process of getting involved and help people do their research."

The meeting was intended for people with new businesses in tourism or for people thinking of turning a hobby into a tourism business. Topics covered at the session included how to start a tourism business, what resources are available to help new businesses, insurance requirements for tourism operators, doing business in Alberta Parks, success stories from the region and current tourism marketing partnerships and initiatives.

LaBoucane said the format of the evening was similar to a trade show with guest speakers and a chance for people to network after. There is no doubt that tourism is growing in town. "Since last year's session our office has assisted with the development of several business plans," said Jason Paterson, executive director Community Futures West Yellowhead, in a press release. "There has been an increase in interest in the tourism industry, coupled with the Town's marketing efforts, people realize there is opportunity in Hinton."

For Hinton's tourism industry to grow there is a need for more people to get involved and LaBoucane said people already in the industry are eager for more people to join. "Tourism based organizations who participate in Hinton's tourism marketing committee agree that there is a need for additional product and encourage other operators do jump on board to collectively market Hinton as a place to visit," she said.

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