Strathmore Wheatland Chamber of Commerce (SWCC) debuted Toasting Tourism on Oct. 21, an event that invited local businesses to attend at the Strathmore Legion.
The event was geared towards helping businesses learn about how they could grow and expand through tourism, with presentations from the Town of Strathmore and Community Futures Wild Rose (CFWR).
SWCC executive director Scott Silva said the event will be hosted annually for businesses to attend and is something he hopes to see grow every year.
“It is about bringing together a community and really expressing and finding out new ways to attract tourism, and to keep them within the community,” said Silva. “It was the Town of Strathmore … that brought this up where we have the potential to really bring in different types of tourism, and so we wanted to build off of their momentum.”
Silva described the debut event to be a success, having attracted roughly 40 people to learn about potential opportunities for growth.
The event was able to establish a sort of baseline of businesses and organizations in town interested in expanding within the tourism sector.
“It is about setting the framework both for attracting the digital market, but then also to have the community working together,” said Silva, who explained now that the community is coming out from the majority of concerns and restrictions onset by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also an excellent time for volunteers to get reconnected and active for events, which would add to Strathmore’s appeal for tourists.
“Especially coming out of COVID-19, getting a lot of volunteers back together to do these large events is key, and working with organizations like the Legion, CFWR, FCSS, the Lions Club … a lot of these organizations need help,” said Silva. “It is a great time to be bringing up these discussions post-COVID-19 and also because of our new corporate partners here in the region from CGC, to Phyto Organix, to De Havilland, this is a really great time to not only share our agritourism, but a lot of the new businesses and investment coming in.”
Much of the targeted growth will be hyper-local within the region as opposed to looking outward. The idea being that larger companies, especially those that will be establishing themselves within the region in the upcoming years, will be a tremendous asset to bolster local small businesses.
Silva added the SWCC itself aims to continue its growth and to be able to host more events, intending to help keep the community active, engaged, and to encourage outside visitation.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times