Strong year for tourism operators
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.”
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.