Launching the Smoky Lake Tourism Company
July 10, 2023
On May 19th, 2023, the Town of Smoky Lake, Smoky Lake County, and Métis Crossing officially launched the Smoky Lake Tourism Company (SLTC). As a Municipally Controlled Corporation, SLTC is focused on destination development and economic development through an integrated regional approach. The SLTC will invest in regional tourism initiatives, promote regional tourism projects, and support economic development opportunities.
What is the Smoky Lake Tourism Company?
The SLTC is a Municipally Controlled Corporation, created through a partnership of the Town of Smoky Lake, Smoky Lake County, and Métis Crossing. A municipally controlled corporation is a For-Profit Corporation established to provide services and benefits to residents of the municipality. In the case of SLTC, it was developed with the goal of supporting population growth in the region, creating employment opportunities, attracting regional investment, and equalizing services and infrastructure in the Smoky Lake region.
Municipally Controlled Corporations are a relatively new and innovative tool, with few known to exist. Earlier this year, the City of Cold Lake moved forward with a Municipally Controlled Corporation to address healthcare needs. Operating a Municipally Controlled Corporation allows us to take active steps in pursuing a shared vision for the Smoky Lake Region’s tourism sector.
Economic Benefits of the Smoky Lake Tourism Company
The Smoky Lake Region has been a hub for travellers for centuries. At the crossroads of river, trail, and eventually rail and road networks, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples traded, welcomed and lived in the rich natural beauty of the area. As the number of visitors increases, it’s important to ensure we preserve our culture and maintain our identity while also sharing our assets in an authentic way.
The SLTC helps achieve that by promoting economic diversification and sustainable growth in the region. Research indicates that the overall tourism system will add over $60 million a year to the local Smoky Lake economy by 2031 through both direct tourism spending and indirect community spending. The creation of the SLTC, and the strategy driving it, will add to our visitor economy, diversify the Smoky Lake Region economy, and support municipal sustainability throughout this growth. In addition to the increase in money spent, the work completed by SLTC is expected to create 600 new jobs by 2031 and make the Tourism sector one of the Region’s largest employment sectors.
Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide, equalling or surpassing oil exports, food products and automobiles. By launching the SLTC, we are better equipped and positioned to benefit from ongoing tourism growth while also improving the quality of services and infrastructure offered in the Smoky Lake region.
Travellers are seeking real connections, experiences and stories, which is exactly what Smoky Lake Region offers. This is our pathway to growth in today’s tourism sector. Through an exciting and industry-leading regional partnership, we will see the preservation of this important cultural region while also benefiting the residents and communities that call it home.