Last week the Alberta government announced an increase to Travel Alberta’s budget to the tune of $63 million over three years.  

What does that mean for Cochrane Tourism?  

Executive Director for Cochrane Tourism, Jo-Anne Oucharek says, “Travel Alberta has pivoted into a destination management organization. So, what that means is they are now not only providing support for content development but actually for tourism experiences and product development. Which is a fantastic opportunity for Cochrane tourism and the local business community to tap into resources to expand their offerings and for non-tourism businesses to actually create a product that's in the tourism sector.” 

The expanded role of Travel Alberta ties in nicely with the program that Cochrane Tourism piloted and has been successfully running for the past two years called the Tourism Mentorship Program. Essentially it is a business accelerator program where Cochrane Tourism helps businesses create a new revenue stream specific to the tourism sector. The program helps from the idea stage to marketing and presenting to the public. Oucharek says, “This fits perfectly with what travel Alberta is moving into, is destination development, where they are now trying to help. We have beautiful places in Alberta like Banff and Jasper, which are basically people go there and there's a bit of over-tourism and so they want to create unique areas in the other parts of the province to draw people.” Cue, Cochrane, and finding ways to bring more visitors to our fair town.  

People may be going to Banff, but the goal is to entice them to pop into Cochrane with things to do that are unique to Cochrane.  

For example, Cochrane Tourism helped Hunter Valley Adventures to run an interpretive float on the river last year and they will be offering the adventure again this year. The float includes a historical view of the Indigenous and colonialism history in the area.  

The distillery and craft market is a hot trend and the Booze-a-lution Tour is on the Cochrane to-do list.  

Ghost Crossing is hosting retreat packages with wine and cheese collaborations and the uniquely private Canadian Museum of the Making in which a special invitation is required for entry. Oucharek says, “It is the only way you can get into the museum is with this weekend experience, so you get to go the Crossing and then you go get to view the Museum of the Making.” 

Oucharek says there are more Cochrane Tourism initiatives in the works for travellers and locals to enjoy this summer.