Go East Awarded Grant for Regional Tourism Development

Posted on Tuesday December 19, 2017 at 02:28PM

Go East of Edmonton Regional Tourism Organization (RTO) is pleased and excited to announce that their Application to the CARES program through Alberta Economic Development and Trade has been approved for a Regional Tourism Development program.

CARES is the Community and Regional Economic Support program to help with long term economic growth in Alberta. In fact, to date, Go East RTO is the first and only Tourism organization to receive this grant in Alberta. This speaks to their creative ability to continue to find funding to increase resources and make tourism in the East region more successful year after year. Did you know that over the past 5 years Go East RTO has received over 12 grants or Co-op funding from various Government departments for a very significant investment in development, marketing and support to our regional tourism industry.

Pictured from left to right are: Jessica Littlewood, MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, presenting on behalf of the government of Alberta the CARES funding this Go East of Edmonton Regional Tourism development; Go East RTO Board Member Heather Atkinson, Lamont County; and Donna Jenson, Go East RTO Administrator.

This project – “The Go East Roadtrips Tourism Development Project” will benefit every community along every highway in the region. Go East of Edmonton Regional Tourism covers the region between Edmonton and the Saskatchewan border, from north of Highway 28 down to south of Highway 13. Over 45 communities in Northeast and East Central Alberta are Members with Go East RTO and contributing to the project. This is an ambitious tourism development project valued at over $50,000 for 2018 & 2019. The project will develop themed itineraries to target consumers for more roadtrips and vacations in all areas east of Edmonton. Workshops and outreach will help small and medium sized businesses learn about resources to help their businesses grow. In the end the project will add new features to the GoEastofEdmonton.com website and enhance the regions marketing to convert more travellers to Go East of Edmonton!

The grant was announced at the Go East 5th Anniversary Meeting and Banquet.

Interesting, Informative, and Inspiring…that was how over 30 members and community leaders, Mayors, Councillors and EDOs described the Go East RTO meeting held on November 29th, at the St. Michael Recreation Center (north of Lamont). With the exciting announcement of the CARES Grant Tourism development funding and the impressive growth stats presented, the potential for tourism growth east of Edmonton has never been greater. Presentations highlighted the organization, trends and changes in the tourism industry, and the great results of Go East marketing projects undertaken throughout 2017.

Kevin Kisilevich Presenting the 2017 Marketing Update

Kevin Kisilevich, Marketing Projects Manager, presented a full update of activities on behalf of the Go East of Edmonton non-profit tourism organization including the importance of tourism as part of a healthy economy in Alberta. Developing and growing tourism means that there will be a resulting boost to the economy generating jobs for all ages and all levels. Tourism is a community builder both in terms of prosperity and the development of the region’s people. Every dollar a visitor spends circulates throughout the community, creating a ripple of economic impact and community benefits.

Did you know that in the province of Alberta, tourism is currently a $9 billion industry? By 2020 it will be a $10 Billion Industry in Alberta. To take advantage of the opportunity at hand, the Go East organization has worked hard to become the voice for tourism in all areas east of Edmonton. With leadership and effective marketing programs, the Go East Team is now achieving results never before seen by any tourism organization east of Edmonton. The scope of Go East marketing initiatives was explained with statistics and goals reached by the Go East Team in 2017.

In addition to this attendees heard about milestones reached, testimonials from readers and industry partners, and tips to help promote your community. Some of the specific and impressive results from marketing in 2017 included:
  • Go East of Edmonton Travel Guide – demand and readership has really increased and is still the most popular travel guide across the region.
  • Go East Website – once again traffic has doubled over last year, generating leads for partners across the region. It is the most comprehensive tourism website about this region and the website is out performing other types of tourism websites across Alberta.
  • Go East Social media – our followers are doubling every year now reaching thousands every week.

The Go East organization continues to achieve new reaches in growth year after year, and with the increased recognition comes increased leverage and opportunities for developing new content and ideas to drive even more tourism dollars into the region.

A detailed presentation of how Go East is excelling in digital marketing efforts was discussed by Trevor Tessier, Director of Strategy, Strong Coffee Marketing. Tessier has provided leadership and strategy for a specialized campaign series with the Go East organization in both 2016 and 2017. He spoke in his presentation about the excellent results achieved through these campaign series in both years, including an explosion of website visitors, a huge increase in social media followers and total reach achieved, and a general upward trend in the recognition of both the Go East brand and region.

Following this was an interesting presentation on Tourism Trends around Alberta, updates and activities from other tourism areas, and Travel Alberta activities and marketing opportunities.

Board Members and Staff of Go East Regional Tourism Organization

For more information please contact:
Kevin Kisilevich: 780-632-6191, kevin.goeast@gmail.com

Author: Go East of Edmonton


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