Visitor Friendly Main Streets

It was a blustery day for a Main Street Coordinator’s meeting but thanks to the magic of Skype we were able to be together in the same room – either physically or digitally – last Thursday in Old Strathcona.

Main Street Meeting attendees (from left to right): Shelly Hall Zenew, Henry Maisonneuve, Karen Tabor, Murray Davison, Rebecca Goodenough, Michael Thome, Donna Poon, Matthew Francis

Main Street Meeting attendees (from left to right): Shelly Hall Zenew, Henry Maisonneuve, Karen Tabor, Murray Davison, Rebecca Goodenough, Michael Thome, Donna Poon, Matthew Francis

Our friends in Lethbridge, Olds, Wainwright and Camrose joined in online while the Main Street Coordinator’s updated each other on what they have been up to since our last meeting. Everyone seems to be gearing up for a promotion or event to usher in the holiday season.

Our guest speaker for the day was Donna Poon with Visitor Friendly Alberta. The Visitor Friendly program assists communities with increasing their tourist attraction by providing an assessment of the tourist experience and recommendations for how a community may become more “visitor friendly”. The program evaluation is built around five key areas: ambiance and visual appeal; wayfinding and signage; quality of service and professionalism; public services and amenities and; visitor information.

Two of the Alberta Main Street communities, the Town of Olds and the City of Camrose, have completed the Visitor Friendly program and are currently working towards implementing the recommendations of the program. Priority projects include improving wayfinding, data collection and promotion/marketing of the Main Street story.

Donna suggested tackling a few ‘quick win’ projects to build momentum in the local community. The outcomes of the successful implementation of the program often include an increase in resident pride, a positive reputation of the community more broadly and, perhaps most importantly, repeat visitation by tourists to the community.

Visitor Friendly Alberta can be undertaken as either a self-directed project or as a facilitated project led by a qualified consultant. For more information on the program or to learn how to apply, please contact the program at visitorfriendly@gov.ab.ca.

Written by: Rebecca Goodenough, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

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