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Tourism Lethbridge looks to grow southern Alberta's agri-tourism this summer

A stock photo of farming in southern Alberta. A stock photo of farming in southern Alberta.

Tourism Lethbridge is preparing for a busy summer, and says this year there's an added focus on growing the city's agriculture and food tourism.

"A third of visitor spending is all spent on food," said Tourism Lethbridge CEO Erin Crane. "So, this is not only important in highlighting our restaurants and the food activities we have, but what makes Lethbridge and the surrounding region very special is we get to tell travellers about how their food makes it from the field to their table."

Crane says southern Alberta is a destination for locally grown and produced food.

That's why the organization is releasing an updated version of its Canada's Food Tour, a self-guided tour of different farms throughout the region and hosting an Open Farm Day in August.

"We also worked last semester with University of Lethbridge students in the mapping and cloud course, which was great," Crane said. "They put a food tour of downtown Lethbridge together, which can be found on our website."

According to a recent report by ATB Economics, the realized net income of Alberta farmers was up 2.6 per cent in 2022, reaching an all-time high of $3.3 billion. 

Peter Casurella is the executive director of SouthGrow Regional Initiative, an economic development group comprised of 30 southern Alberta communities.

He says there's a large audience to market to when it comes to agriculture.

"We often forget because we live here and this is our home," Casurella said. "Our normal everyday experiences are somebody's exotic experience."

"That doesn't mean people even having to come from other countries, it could be as simple as folks who grew up in the big city all their lives.

"The mountains are full, the parks are getting insane every year and that's pushing demand for experiences out into the prairies."

Casurella says having Tourism Lethbridge focus on agriculture allows farmers and producers to showcase their products in a capacity they may not be able to on their own.

"Geo-political events that are occurring in other bread baskets of the world such as Ukraine and Russia are increasing the demand for products available here in Canada," Casurella explained.

"We have a stable country, we have a lot of wealth, and it is proportionally easier for us to scale our industry right here." Top Stories

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