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Tourism Lethbridge leaves downtown, moves to recently closed Visitor Information Centre

Tourism Lethbridge leaves downtown, moves to recently closed Visitor Information Centre
Tourism Lethbridge used to be strategically placed in the downtown to cater to walking traffic, but now the organization has moved to a new location. The building used to be home to a different information centre that folded earlier this year after its funding was cut. Demi Knight reports.

Tourism Lethbridge made the move to a new location in a familiar structure Thursday: the former Chinook Tourism Association Building.

“This site represents a good opportunity to try and help connect those individuals that are towing large RVs with information about the city and the community,” said William Slenders, executive director with Tourism Lethbridge.

READ MORE: Future of Chinook Country Tourism Centre in jeopardy after loss of funding

The old building, which is new to Tourism Lethbridge, is located on Scenic Drive south and sits on a corner where highways 4 and 5 meet.

Slenders said the location and existence of sanitary dump stations makes the building a popular stop for travellers in large vehicles, unlike the downtown location which catered more to walking traffic.

The building was previously occupied by the Chinook Tourism Association for almost 50 years, however, when Tourism Lethbridge was brought to life, the organization folded due to funding cuts.

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Executive director for the now-dissolved organization, Nickolaus Wyslouzil, told Global News Thursday he’s not surprised Tourism Lethbridge made the move.

“I am glad the building will be used as the location is ideal,” Wyslouzil said.

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“I hope Tourism Lethbridge will provide the exemplary service to guests and residents that was our trademark.”

WATCH BELOW: (February, 2019) Chinook Country Tourism folds, closes visitors centre

Chinook Country Tourism Association folds, closes visitor centre
Chinook Country Tourism Association folds, closes visitor centre

Tourism Lethbridge was first established in 2017 by city council. It’s mandated to lead, promote and foster growth related to the visitor experiences in Lethbridge, all of which Slender said will be easier in the new location.

Tourism Lethbridge issue release on move to new building Thursday
Tourism Lethbridge issue release on move to new building Thursday Tourism Lethbridge

While the organization built strong connections with local businesses during its time downtown, executive director for the Downtown BRZ, Ted Stilson, said the downtown shouldn’t suffer too much with the move.

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“It was good to have them in close proximity to our office so we could work on a number of things. But knowing the way they’re structured and what they’re trying to accomplish in the city, I don’t think it’s going to affect us too much.”

READ MORE: Economic benefits of tourism in Alberta to be highlighted during Tourism Week

Slenders said moving to the new facility will also give the organization more space to work with during a time where the tourism industry really ramps up in the city.

“Lethbridge actually placed third in total percentage occupancy of our hotels compared to the rest of Alberta,” said Stilson.

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“Lethbridge is showing very strong competitive growths in the markets.”

Tourism Lethbridge began operating in its new location Thursday, with the downtown space now closed to visitors.