Tourism steady in the Hat

By Jessie Weisner
January 2, 2019 - 4:27pm Updated: January 2, 2019 - 9:04pm

 

MEDICINE HAT, AB -- Medicine Hat is a thriving city with new restaurants and businesses opening their doors all the time, attracting new visitors to check out the gas city.

2018 is officially over, and Tourism Medicine Hat says last year was a success.

“We’re seeing good metrics and growth in the initiatives that we’ve been a part of but we’re hearing good feedback from our stakeholders,” says Jace Anderson, executive director, Tourism Medicine Hat. “The attractions, the accommodations, and the stakeholders that we work for.”

Events and attractions such as Medalta, the stampede and Jazzfest kept people flowing into the city.

“We’re hearing from some of the stakeholders that they saw some of the same numbers in 2018 as they did in 2017,” says Anderson.

Canada 150 in 2017 increased highway traffic drastically, and many local businesses are still riding that wave.

“2017 was a high water mark because of the traffic and so if we can sort of achieve and sustain some of those numbers and even start to build on it,” says Anderson. “I’m really excited for 2019 ahead.”

Much of the local tourism is people stopping along the highway, but Anderson says just as many people look at the city as an end destination.

In addition, the geography of Medicine Hat makes it a meeting point for friends and family.

There are plenty of major attractions, but Anderson says one area never fails to amaze visitors.

“They stop and they come into our downtown core, and they see the architecture and they see the businesses and the coffee shops, the new breweries, they see these sorts of things happening and in our downtown,” Says Anderson. “They’re blown away by the downtown that we have and that sort of central node to our community, that’s a hidden gem for a lot of people because you don’t see it in the basin of the river valley when you’re just driving through.”

He adds there are big plans for 2019.

“One thing we’ve done in the last 6 months or so is take a look at what we’ve done in 2017 and 2018 and what we’ve done well and what’s been responded to well,” says Anderson. “And really make a tangible or a tactical effort to double down on that and to do more of it.”

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