Town of Canmore

Tourism Task Force

The Issue
The international tourism industry is reckoning with the challenges created by over-tourism around the world.  This dynamic is seen in Canmore through our complex relationship with visitors and the tourism industry.  Tourism is clearly our primary economic driver, yet we do not have a clear vision or community alignment and agreement around what this means.  We enjoy the incredible restaurants and recreation amenities, but we have issues with traffic congestion and impacts on affordability.  We worry about wildlife conflict and the loss of special places just for locals, yet we love the business opportunities and thriving arts and culture opportunities.

The Vision
The ultimate vision of tourism is our community is well summarized in the pdf Tourism Canmore Kananaskis Community Tourism Strategic Plan (51.65 MB) , which was approved by Town Council in 2019: 

“By 2024, Canmore Kananaskis will be fully committed to a triple bottom line approach to tourism development and this will be well received by visitors. A high degree of trust will have been built up between stakeholders and several high priority sustainable tourism development goals will have been achieved.” 

The Challenge
The challenge is well summarized by this description in the  pdf Tourism Canmore Kananaskis Community Tourism Strategic Plan (51.65 MB)  for the need for change:

“There needs to be a purposeful and deliberate effort on the part of the community and businesses to find common ground and work toward a shared vision for tourism. Failure to take action and work collaboratively could result in over tourism and degradation of the core value proposition of the community. The impacts of this could include decreased quality of life for residents, negative environmental impacts and reduced viability for tourism businesses. If the region chooses to act proactively, it has an immense opportunity to become an iconic, internationally known destination and a leader in sustainable tourism development.”

This speaks directly to the need to create what the international tourism industry calls a “social license to operate.”  To truly be successful, tourism needs to work at being embraced by the community.  This happens when tourism industries make meaningful and concerted efforts to attract visitors who are tied to the community in ways that fit with what the community values.  

Responsibilities
In 2021, the Tourism Task Force will lead a community engagement initiative with a broad cross section of the community, with the aim of finding common ground between the tourism industry and the community to work towards creating a shared vision for tourism.  The Terms of Reference for the task force can be found pdf here (156 KB)

Purpose
Lead a robust community engagement process that generates broad based and meaningful conversations around tourism and its role in Canmore.  This dialogue will lead to a shared understanding of how a comprehensive and balanced framework for the tourism industry can:

  • Preserve the social fabric of the community,
  • Maintain and where possible enhance ecological integrity, and
  • Continue to ensure Canmore’s long term economic health.

Objectives

  1. Establish an engaged and informed Task Force who have a shared understanding and purpose and a common language with respect to their work.
  2. Facilitate both community acceptance and commitment (i.e. social license) that supports appropriate tourism and a tourism industry that acknowledges and prioritizes the  shared values of the community.
  3. Evaluate sustainable frameworks for tourism that will ensure long-term social, environmental, and economic viability.
  4. Question our assumptions and preconceived notions about the tourism industry, our community, and their impacts on each other. 

Meetings
The task force is Council-led, but is not a formal council committee, so meetings are not open to the public. Video recordings of presentations made to the Task Force will be posted below. Updates and recommendations will be posted here as they become available. 

To learn more about the public members please click here to read a short bio on each member.

Public Members
Martin Bean
Jodi Conuel
Sarah Elmeligi
Michael Hay
David Huggill
Sean Krausert
Michelle MacDonell
Norbert Meier
Christie Pashby
Carol Poland
Geoff Powter
Mace Rosenstein
Avneet Sahani
Dawn Saunders Dahl
Adam Walker

Industry Representative
Rachel Ludwig, CEO Tourism Canmore Kananaskis

Council Representatives
Mayor John Borrowman
Councillor Rob Seeley

Contact
For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Meeting Documents

Date Meeting Agendas Meeting Minutes Presentation Recordings
Mar 16, 2021 pdf Agenda (242 KB) No minutes recorded n/a
Feb 25, 2021 pdf Agenda (218 KB) pdf Minutes (146 KB) Taxes and other municipal funding
Feb 11, 2021 pdf Agenda (216 KB) pdf Minutes (158 KB) AB Environment and Parks, and local Filmmaker
Jan 28, 2021 pdf Agenda (228 KB) pdf Minutes (164 KB) Lloyd Buddy Wesley, Nakoda Language and Historian, and Local Tourism Operators
Jan 14, 2021 pdf Agenda (191 KB) pdf Minutes (189 KB) Spring Creek, Travel AB, and CHLA
Dec 10, 2020 pdf Agenda (187 KB) pdf Minutes (138 KB) Town of Canmore staff
Nov 26, 2020 pdf Agenda (287 KB) pdf Minutes (126 KB) n/a
Nov 12, 2020 n/a pdf Education sub-committee notes (138 KB) n/a
Oct 29, 2020 pdf Agenda (184 KB) pdf Minutes (139 KB)   n/a
Oct 15, 2020 pdf Agenda (823 KB) pdf Minutes (216 KB) n/a
Oct 01, 2020 pdf Agenda (123 KB) pdf Minutes (791 KB) n/a
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