Strong year for tourism op­er­a­tors

The Drumheller Mail - - News - Pa­trick Ko­lafa

An­other sum­mer in the val­ley has come and gone, and for many of the at­trac­tions in the val­ley, it was an­other great year.

The Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum, fresh off a new ren­o­va­tion con­tin­ued to wel­come guests from all over, and at an im­pres­sive clip. Di­rec­tor of Op­er­a­tions and Fi­nance, Ja­son Martin said for the third con­sec­u­tive year, the Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum had over 120,000 vis­i­tors in the month of Au­gust alone.

“In the four sum­mer months, from May to Au­gust we had 336,000 guests,” said Martin. “If we are bas­ing it on the at­ten­dance of last year that is 72 per cent of our to­tal at­ten­dance in the four sum­mer months,” said Martin. “It was a re­ally busy sum­mer and it was great to see.”

He says the re­sults show con­tin­ued strength. “That is what we are go­ing for, that con­sis­tency year af­ter year, keep­ing the ex­hibits fresh, and keep­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence at such a high level that peo­ple want to re­turn and want to con­tinue to come out and en­joy the mu­seum at its best,” he said.

Martin said some of the new spa­ces have helped to en­hance the ex­pe­ri­ence at the Mu­seum.

“Peo­ple are re­ally en­joy­ing the ex­pan­sion space, the learn­ing lounge is an op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to come in and take a com­fort­able seat an en­joy a lit­tle snack half­way through the gallery, or step out­side on the bal­cony and en­joy some fresh air,” he said.

The At­las Coal Mine Na­tional His­toric Site also had

a strong year de­spite some weather.

“July was a lit­tle bit slow, ob­vi­ously be­cause of the weather. The site is re­ally af­fected when it is rain­ing out so we don’t get as many peo­ple we nor­mally do when we have sunny days, but we were up 14 per cent in June and 8 per cent in Au­gust,” said Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Sarah New­stead. “We are pretty much on par with last year which is re­ally good.”

She says they are in the process of look­ing at postal codes to see where their vis­i­tor­ship breaks down from, but anec­do­tally there was a wide mix.

“This time of year we get more in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors, which is pretty nor­mal for the val­ley,” she said. She likes the con­sis­tency.

“At this site, we are see­ing a lot less volatil­ity in num­bers… over the last five years we have seen more con­sis­tent small in­creases,” she said.

She ex­pects to see an in­creased vis­i­tor­ship this year as they are keep­ing the site open through the fall.

“We are go­ing to be open all the way to our Christmas in the Coulee event this year,” said New­stead.

The East Coulee School Mu­seum saw con­sis­tent at­ten­dance.

“We were up in tourism num­bers un­til the end of July and then they dropped a bit. We came out about the same as last year,” said Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Barb Steeves.

She cred­its some of the suc­cess to Travel Drumheller.

“Travel Drumheller is try­ing hard to bring peo­ple here and it seems to be work­ing,” she said. “I have talked to a lot of peo­ple and they are say­ing this is a bucket list sort of thing. ‘We went to Banff, went to Jasper, had to come to Drumheller.’ So that is kind of cool. We know we are get­ting out there as a desti­na­tion.”

mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

The val­ley saw all kinds of vis­i­tors in­clud­ing Lyle BrownJohn of Burn­aby who was through with his 1952 Austin panel truck and Boler trailer in tow. Orig­i­nally he was head­ing across Canada, But me­chan­i­cal prob­lems slowed him down in Regina. On the way back home he made sure to stop in Drumheller to see the sights.

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