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North-Central Alberta Aboriginal Tourism Development Study Presentation of Key Findings April 26, 2007 Presentation Outline Purpose and Objectives Methodology Qualitative Research Findings Quantitative Research Findings Strategic Insights Purpose and Objectives Purpose:

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April 26, 2007

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Presentation Transcript

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North-Central Alberta Aboriginal Tourism Development Study Presentation of Key Findings

April 26, 2007

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Presentation Outline

  • Purpose and Objectives

  • Methodology

  • Qualitative Research Findings

  • Quantitative Research Findings

  • Strategic Insights

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Purpose and Objectives

  • Purpose:

    • Assess the current product mix of Aboriginal-based tourism in Alberta’s North-Central region, and to measure the possibility for growth of Aboriginal-based products and services in the area.

  • Research Objectives:

    • Profile the near-in market

      • Who are they?

      • What culture and Aboriginal-based travel products and services are they seeking?

    • Understand the current position of the North-Central region vis-à-vis the above

    • Identify strategic insights for Aboriginal-based product development

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  • Phase 1 – Qualitative

    • Focus groups in Cold Lake, Lloydminster, Edmonton and Fort McMurray (2 groups per location)

    • Participants were past-two-year out of town travellers who have participated in cultural activities on a trip within the past five years, or plan to do so within the next year

  • Phase 2 – Quantitative

    • 1,146 online and telephone interviews

    • Participant profile as above

    • Target markets included

      • Edmonton

      • Other North-Central markets (Fort McMurray, Athabasca, Bonnyville, Elk Point, Lac La Biche, Smoky Lake, Camrose, Lloydminster, Slave Lake, Wainwright)

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Qualitative Research Findings

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Qualitative Group Composition

  • Gender

    • Even mix of men and women for most groups

    • More women in the Lloydminster groups

  • Age

    • Most between 30 and 50 years of age in Cold Lake and Edmonton

    • Most between 40 and 60 years of age in Lloydminster and Fort McMurray

  • Family Composition

    • Approximately two-thirds or more in each group had children at home

  • Aboriginal-based travel

    • Roughly 50% at each location indicated that they had previously visited an Aboriginal-based event or attraction

    • None would be considered an avid visitor to Aboriginal-based destinations

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Qualitative Discussion Guide

  • Introduction and warm up

    • General travel activity

    • Travel in Alberta

  • Destination decision making

    • How, why, where?

    • What about Northern Alberta?

  • Culture-based travel in Alberta

  • Aboriginal-based travel in Alberta

    • Awareness and impressions

    • Past experience

    • What about North-Central Alberta?

    • What would the ideal destination look like?

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Qualitative Findings

Travellers are unique in their travels.

  • While some aspects of Alberta-based trips were consistent throughout the groups…

    • Trips tended to be 2-3 days long

    • Trip spending was usually about $500

  • Many aspects of trips varied by individual

    • Destination type (urban, mountains, lakes, parks)

    • Activity (theatre, shopping, camping, visiting friends/relatives)

    • Type of accommodation (hotels, friends/relatives, camping)

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Qualitative Findings (cont.)

Most travellers seek multiple sources of information.

  • The Internet is a key source, and makes everyone an “expert” travel planner

  • Other top mentions for information include:

    • Past experience and recommendations from family/friends are also key

    • The newspaper travel section

    • Travel Alberta publications

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Qualitative Findings (cont.)

Most respondents think of Southern Alberta first.

  • Southern Alberta is more likely to be associated with travel destinations than places north of Edmonton

    • Mountain parks and Lake Louise

    • Drumheller

    • Calgary and Edmonton

  • Places to the North are more closely associated with trips “if you are into hunting or camping”

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Qualitative Findings (cont.)

Culture by coincidence:

  • When culture is included in a trip, it is generally not the primary reason for the trip – it is secondary

  • The types of trips that involve culture fall into three areas:

    • Edmonton (concerts, theatre, museums)

    • Random acts of culture (stumbling across points of interest)

    • Trips with kids. Often, children are exposed to culture at school and through field trips

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Qualitative Findings (cont.)

Awareness of Aboriginal-based attractions/events is low.

  • Low awareness for specific destinations in Alberta aside from Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

  • Little or no awareness of destinations in North-Central Alberta

    • Some generic mentions of Lac La Biche

  • Groups indicated that low awareness was a primary reason for low levels of visitation

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Qualitative Findings (cont.)

Stereotypes appear to be working against the industry.

  • There are perceptions that Aboriginals are not open to visitors – travellers feel “unwelcome”

  • Many respondents indicated some level of concern for safety

    • Safety appears to be a greater concern at or near reservations than at sites off reservation land

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Qualitative Findings (cont.)

An ideal destination would include two elements:

  • Aboriginal village

    • Authentic buildings and activities, similar to the Ukrainian Village

    • A place to do and see a variety of things (arts and crafts, food, museum, etc.)

  • Adventure travel component

    • Opportunities to become “immersed in Aboriginal culture”

    • Learn how Aboriginals lived off the land

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Qualitative Findings (cont.)

An ideal “mega” destination or bundle of smaller sites/attractions?

  • An ideal “mega” destination is appealing in terms of convenience and seeing/doing everything in one place

  • There is openness to bundling several attractions/events together on a trip IF…

    • Each separate aspect of the bundle is worthy of the trip

    • “If you are going to ask me to drive two or more hours, then please make it worth my while.”

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Quantitative Research Findings

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Quantitative Questionnaire

  • Screening for culture travellers

  • Trip profiles

    • Aboriginal-based culture trip

    • Other cultural travel (if no Aboriginal-based trip taken)

  • Aboriginal-based travel in Alberta

    • Awareness and impressions

    • Interest in specific aspects

    • Potential barriers

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Quantitative Findings

Culture is a secondary part of travel.

  • Half to two-thirds of respondents are defined as “culture travellers”, however…

  • Culture is rarely the primary purpose of the trip

  • Visiting cultural attractions tends to supplement other types of trips

    • Visiting friends/family or “holiday” travel to see other places

    • Generally longer trips

    • Often venture outside the province and include multiple stops

Culture travellers who have visited Aboriginal-based sites or attractions are similar along demographic lines to those who have not.

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Quantitative Findings (cont.)

What are the biggest draws for cultural-based travel?

  • Live performances

    • Dances, concerts, musicals, theatre, etc.

  • Historical attractions

    • Museums, heritage sites, traditions

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Quantitative Findings (cont.)

Aboriginal-based culture travel tends to be overlooked.

  • Participation and interest in Aboriginal-based attractions/events is lower than other types of culture travel

  • Awareness of what Alberta has to offer is low

  • That said, there is little indication of feeling unwelcome or unsafe

  • And, interest in visiting specific destinations is moderate to strong among those who are aware of them

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Quantitative Findings (cont.)

  • Interest is highest for

    • visiting historic sites and museums

    • observing cultural activities and traditions

  • The idea of being able to do all these things in one place is appealing

  • Interest is somewhat lower for participatory experiences

    • Cultural activities

    • Sports and games

    • Hunting and fishing

When prompted, there is considerable interest in specific types of Aboriginal-based activities.

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Cultural Trip Details

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Percentage of Albertans who are Past-Two-Year Out of Town Travellers and are “Culture Travellers”

Edmonton (n=1,045)

Other North-Central (n=861)

Out of townculture travellers68%(64% are past-5-yearculture travellers)



Out of townculture travellers52%(48% are past-5-yearculture travellers)



Past-5-year travel

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Significant difference at 95% confidence level.

Destination of Most Recent Trip

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Significant difference at 95% confidence level.

Other Destinations Visited During Most Recent Trip

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Significant difference at 95% confidence level.

Best Description of Type of Trip Taken

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Significant difference at 95% confidence level.

Primary Reason for Most Recent Trip

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Significant difference at 95% confidence level.

Activities Seen or Participated in During Most Recent Trip

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Significant difference at 95% confidence level.

Number of Nights Away From Home

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Significant difference at 95% confidence level.

Sources of Information Used for Planning Most Recent Trip

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Significant difference at 95% confidence level.

Websites Used

* Small base size, interpret with caution.

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Significant difference at 95% confidence level.

Aboriginal-Based Cultural TravellersDemographic Profile

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Aboriginal-Based Tourism in Alberta

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First mention

Total mentions

Top-of-Mind Awareness of Aboriginal-Based Tourism Attractions or Events in Alberta

Edmonton (n=549)

Other North-Central (n=597)

Any Alberta Destination (net)

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Activities (net)






Lac La Biche Mission

Fort Edmonton Park

Indian Village at the Calgary Stampede

Pow Wow

Fort Chipewyan

Base: All respondents

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Unaided Awareness of Aboriginal-Based Destinations in North-Central Region

Edmonton (n=549)

Other North-Central (n=597)

Any Alberta Destination (net)

Lac La Biche Mission

Saddle Lake Reservation

Slave Lake


Cold Lake

Fort Edmonton Park

Fort Chipewyan

Frog Lake

Base: All respondents

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Total Awareness of Specific Aboriginal-Based Travel Destinations

Edmonton (n=549)

Other North-Central (n=597)

Fort Edmonton Park

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

Indian Village at the Calgary Stampede

Lac La Biche Mission

Fort Chipewyan

Fort Vermillion

Métis Crossing

Fort George

Reil Beach


Base: All respondents

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Very interested

Somewhat interested

Interest in Visiting Specific Places


Other North-Central

Fort Edmonton Park

Writing on Stone Provincial Park

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Lac La Biche Mission

Indian Village at the Calgary Stampede

Fort Vermillion

Fort Chipewyan

Base: Aware of specific place

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Interest in Specific Aboriginal-Based Activities

Edmonton (n=549)

Other North-Central (n=597)

Visiting historical sites

Visiting museums

Watching activities

All-in-one site

Observing life as it used to be

Eating Aboriginal food

Staying in a cabin

Visiting S. Alberta

Visiting N. Alberta

Base: All respondents

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Interest in Specific Aboriginal-Based Activities (cont.)

Edmonton (n=549)

Other North-Central (n=597)

Pow Wow

Driving trip (bundled places)


Learning to make arts/crafts

Learning about modern life


Participating in traditions

Participating in sports/games


Base: All respondents

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Reasons for Less Interest in Aboriginal-Based Travel

Edmonton (n=549)

Other North-Central (n=597)

It’s not promoted/ marketed

I don’t know enough about it

I’m just not interested in Aboriginal-based events and attractions

I don’t feel welcome at Aboriginal-based events and attractions

It is not safe to visit Aboriginal-based events and attractions

Location too far away

No time/too busy



Don’t know/not stated

Base: All respondents

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Strategic Insights

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Strategic Insights

Low awareness is a key barrier to Aboriginal-based travel.

  • Distribute the Travel Alberta In-Province “Bundle-Up” brochure

  • Advertise events/attractions in local Visitor Information Centres

  • Emphasize events/attractions that are most developed

  • Describe what travellers should expect to see (make it worth the trip)

  • Market to school groups (field trips)

  • Ensure that travellers feel welcome

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Strategic Insights (cont.)

Culture is generally not the primary trip purpose.

  • Develop a “Bundle-Up” brochure specifically for the North-Central area that includes other types of activities/events

    • Ukrainian Village

    • Maple Flag days in Cold Lake

    • Camping and other outdoor activities in the area

  • Clearly and convincingly communicate what Aboriginal-based attractions offer that cannot be found elsewhere

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Strategic Insights (cont.)

Target markets appreciate culture, and tend to be on longer trips.

  • Target messaging to reach attitudinal and behavioural segments

    • Those interested in various forms of culture

    • Those on longer trips (holiday travellers, spring/summer travellers)

  • Distribute collateral through museums, festivals, theatres and other cultural attractions

  • Distribute collateral at Visitor Information Centres to target those on longer trips

  • Advertise in the weekend travel section on the newspaper

  • Consider more detailed media habits research in the future

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Strategic Insights (cont.)

Entertainment, historic sites and museums have strong appeal.

  • Emphasize product development along two lines:

    • Live performances (dances, concerts, musicals, etc.)

    • Historical attractions (museums, heritage sites, etc.)

  • Create greater recognition for developed products along these lines

  • Clearly promote products in North-Central Alberta to create a competitive advantage over similar offerings in other areas

  • In the longer term, consider developing an all-in-one destination to serve as an anchor for Aboriginal-based tourism in the area

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