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Edmonton Tourism attracting more visitors to ‘winter city’

Watch: Edmonton is often said to be a nice place to live, but not to visit. Jessica Kent tells us what the city is doing to attract more tourists.

EDMONTON – The City of Edmonton’s Winter City Strategy seems to be working, according to Edmonton Tourism.

“We’ve already found that it’s very appealing to the potential visitor, we’re already building traction and we’re actually building interest in Edmonton as a place to visit,” said Maggie Davison, vice president of tourism for the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation.

For the last 15 months, Edmonton Tourism has been working on a new marketing program, aimed at bringing more awareness to the city and becoming a stronger presence online.

“So now we have a program that reaches out to all of these websites and all of the media and journalists who would have the propensity to write about travel and can consider [our city] when putting lists together,” added Davison.

But, for the third year in a row, Edmonton did not make Vacay.ca’s list of “20 Best Places to Visit in Canada for 2015.

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“I’m somewhat disappointed, but we’re better managing the outreach and doing a better job of telling Edmonton’s story to make it a destination.”

Last winter, the city started advertising Edmonton as a “winter city.”

READ MORE: Poll: Is it too early for Christmas decorations? 

Edmonton Tourism wants locals to accept the fact that it does snow and get cold, and to embrace the northern city for what it is.

“Instead of apologizing for our cold weather in the winter time we’re now learning how to celebrate it and get out and enjoy it,” said Davison.

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The Ice on Whyte Festival is beginning its 12th year and has seen attendance increase ten-fold.

“On average about 40,000 to 50,000 people, every year we’re getting more people coming through,” said Delayne Corbette, artistic director of the winter festival.

He explained Ice on Whyte has put Edmonton on the map as one of the top 10 winter festivals in Canada and is starting to see people from warmer countries visit so they can experience winter.

According to the latest statistics, about 7.9 million visitors came to Edmonton to take in the festivals and events, with economic spin-offs topping $1 billion.

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“That’s what Edmonton is; we’re a city that people visit because of the festivals and events taking place,” said Davison.

In 2015, Edmontonians can expect thousands of international visitors coming to the city for two major events— The Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship, and the FIFA Women’s World Championship.