Place Dynamics assisted Henry, rural Rock Island, and Mercer Counties in planning to develop and promote tourism within the HRRIM region. This was a multi-faceted project involving inventories, assessment, planning, and marketing.
We began the project by documenting and evaluating existing tourism atttractions on five unique criteria, resulting in a ranking and helping to identify future development needs. At the same time, we examined visitor demographics and patterns not only within the HRRIM region, but also among competitors. Attractions were grouped to create itineraries designed to boost visitation and encourage visitors to extend the length of their stays. A development program addressed both general needs or opportunities, and those specific to individual attractions. A marketing plan discussed messaging, target markets, and opportunities for promotion.
To help demonstrate the importance of tourism to the economy, we compiled an economic impact analysis of tourism on the economy of each of the three counties. The area’s tourism is responsible for generating over $55 million in economic activity, nearly 1,000 jobs, and nearly $1 million in annual tax revenue.
Summary Report: TOURISM MATTERS
Spruce Grove is a rapidly growing suburb of Edmonton, Alberta. The Region has experienced very strong growth due to oil and gas exploration and processing, serving as the base of operations for far flung projects along the western slope of the Rockies and north into Alberta’s tar sand deposits.
Spruce Grove plays an important role in the metropolitan area. To begin with, it is on the west side of the city where it is upwind of large refineries east of the city. This makes it a more desirable location for residential development, and the community has been adding large numbers of skilled workers and professionals that are desired by employers in a tight labor market. As the western gateway, it also provide more convenient and congestion-free access to the west and to places in the north. This is a critical factor in moving the many oversized loads trucked to oil and mining sites. Spruce Grove is also more attractively priced than many competing locations in the metropolitan area.
These and other factors were considered in recommending a diverse set of target industries for the community. We followed up this analysis by recommending a marketing strategy based on the City’s available annual budget, and completed a comparative study of incentives common in the U.S. and Canadian cities with which Spruce Grove will compete.