|Maple Creek celebrates Tourism Awareness Week|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by Monique Massiah|
|Monday, 14 May 2012 22:52|
No doubt, many passing by town office this week will notice the multicoloured tourism flag snapping in the winds.
The town of Maple Creek is celebrating May 14-21 as Tourism Awareness Week.
"Tourism represents $1.67 billion of expenditures annually in the province of Saskatchewan," said Mark Caswell, town administrator and vice-chair of Tourism Saskatchewan's board of directors. "It also employs approximately 58,000 people, which is more than oil and gas and mining combined and almost twice as many as the manufacturing sector."
The tourism industry is vital to economic development and the continued revitalization of the town.
The Main Street Program, Cypress Hills Destination Area, retail and culinary industry, medical and special events all contribute to a successful tourism based economy in Maple Creek.
Initiatives like Communities in Bloom and the Main Street Program promote the town's quality of life through beautification and heritage preservation.
According to Main Street Program co-ordinator Royce Pettyjohn, Maple Creek is located the Cypress Hills Destination Area – one of the four destination areas identified by Tourism Saskatchewan as having the greatest potential for tourism development.
It is estimated the Cypress Hills Destination Area draws about 250,000 visitors to the area each year and an estimated $25 million for the Southwest.
Tourism has a continual impact on the town. Although agriculture remains the community's lifeblood, within the heritage district between 40 and 70 per cent of businesses owe their bottom line to tourism, Pettyjohn added.
"It has obviously very significant impact for local economies. In the Cypress Hills and the area around the Cypress Hills, roughly $25 million worth of economic activity is generated as a result of tourism, so it employs one in 10 people in the province," Caswell said. "We just wanted to recognize tourism week in the province and hopefully get people to recognize the amazing resource that we have here in terms of things that visitors want to come and see."
Not only does tourism have a significant role in capital gains for the municipality, the industry helps promote the town's image and core values throughout the province and Western Canada.
"The welcoming and friendly demeanor of our population is likely the single most important thing we can do as a community in supporting tourism," said Pettyjohn. "In 1992 CBC Radio crowned Maple Creek ‘The Friendliest Town in Saskatchewan.’ This is as true today as it was two decades ago, and visitors to Maple Creek continue to comment on the welcoming spirit of our community."
A flag-raising ceremony took place on May 9 to officially mark the week.
Saskatchewan Tourism Week is proclaimed each year by Tourism Saskatchewan. The week helps raise awareness of the benefits of tourism in the economy of Saskatchewan.
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