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Sylvan Lake could benefit from Winter Games in Red Deer

Sylvan Lake Chamber says the 2019 Winter Games could bring in tourists and help local businesses

The 2019 Canada Winter Games Feb. 15 to March 3 in Red Deer has the potential to draw visitors into Sylvan Lake.

“What is particularly interesting about the Canada Winter Games is that it attracts a demographic in line [with the] type of people who visit Sylvan Lake,” said Denise Bryan-Williams, executive director of the Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce, in an email.

She explained fans are coming from all over to watch sports such as speed skating, hockey, ringette, and Sylvan has “this gem of a lake” in an accessible location.

Bryan-Williams added a town like Sylvan Lake does not have the infrastructure to support events as large as the Canada Winter Games or the Canadian Finals Rodeo, but the town can benefit from those events if the cards are played right.

“We already know that when people visit Sylvan Lake they spend an average of $35.17/day based on a 2014 tourism economic impact study,” said Bryan-Williams. “They spend money at restaurants, shops, they buy gas, grab a cup of coffee. It adds up.”

Bryan-Williams added visitors often post pictures on their social media channels and if they have a good time chances are they will come back.

“We just need to work together to give them a reason to come back – and by together I don’t just mean the Town and the Chamber, I mean the community as a whole, particularly the business community that will see the most benefit,” said Bryan-Williams in an email.

She said she would love for visitors to experience amazing hospitality and friendliness.

“The Games are (fortunately) happening at a time of year where Sylvan Lake has some fun things going on,” said Bryan-Williams. “It’s vitally important that if we attract people here, they leave with a good memory.”

During the Games, Sylvan will be holding Winterfest along with The Polar Bear Dip, fireworks, and The Oval Ice Racing Series Nationals on Feb. 17 and 24, as well as the Winter Village. Bryan-Williams says these events have the ability to attract people to Sylvan Lake, adding it would be great if Lakers would help out on the social media front by reacting and sharing when they come across posts advertising these events.

“If I had one tip to pass along to business owners in town, it would be to ensure their staff are aware of upcoming events and reasons to visit Sylvan Lake – post a list with dates of key festivals and events so that when a guest asks, they have ready and enthusiastic answers,” said Bryan-William.

“If we’re raving fans of our own town, others will become fans of well.”

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