Regina City Council passed a motion Wednesday for Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) district to take over Tourism Regina from Economic Development Regina (EDR).
The move will enable REAL to handle the marketing and promotion of tourism services for Regina.
“There is an opportunity for REAL to do things for a greater city purpose and recognize that we are a city-owned amenity and organization. I think what this means is that the responsibility is for supporting the entire city, not just 100 acres of it,” Tim Reid, President and CEO at REAL, said.
He added that as of now, their main job has been to fill the corporate sector.
“We host about 60 hockey tournaments a year. That’s right. Literally 2.4 million visitors to that facility.”
Reid said now their focus will shift to connecting those visitors with downtown businesses, restaurants, bookstores and retail stores.
“I think our job now is to support the entire economy within the city so it doesn’t stop. It’s all the arenas now. It actually starts to fill the arenas, support local businesses, and make sure that visitors to our city are connected with things happening in REAL.”
Council raised questions regarding land development and also relayed concerns from the cultural community regarding a conflict of interest. Councillor Andrew Stevens had asked Reid how they would ensure that the organization will give equal resources and opportunities to on-campus events and things happening across the city.
Reid said that under the revised mandate, REAL will be responsible for events happening across the city and they will be more coordinated with organizations city-wide, which will allow them to be effective and also avoid major events happening on the same day or weekend like it did with the Garth Brooks concert and the Regina Folk Festival in 2019.
Funds that are usually allocated to EDR for Tourism Regina will now be reallocated to REAL. Nicol said that four out of five of the Tourism Regina employees will continue working with REAL, while one plans to move out of the country and won’t continue.