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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2008 > May > May 22

Sky's The Limit For Attracting Tourists

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2008 08:00:00 -0400
Archived: Thu, 22 May 2008 08:00:00 -0400
Subject: Sky's The Limit For Attracting Tourists

Source: The Calgary Herald - Alberta, Canada


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sky's The Limit For Attracting Tourists
Robert Remington
Calgary Herald

Boldly following where one Alberta town has gone before, St.
Paul is considering adopting an alien theme to boost tourism.

The proposal from the town marketing committee calls for alien-
themed garbage cans on St. Paul's main street, providing
information on crop circles and cattle mutilations, painting six
blocks of green sidewalks, putting alien statues in parks and
hosting UFO conferences.

The out-of-this world concept has created a heated debate on St.
Paul's official website, with some residents saying that going
alien will make St. Paul "a freak show."

The community northeast of Edmonton has a UFO landing pad built
as a Canada Centennial project in 1967. Some of the town's 5,000
residents consider the roadside attraction an embarrassment
because, unlike Roswell, N.M., or Nevada's Area 51, St. Paul has
no real UFO claim. They say an alien theme will make the town
look "foolish."

But Dayna Dickens, tourism co-ordinator for the town of Vulcan,
southeast of Calgary, says taking the thematic risk could make
other towns in the St. Paul area green with envy.

"I would encourage them wholeheartedly," says Dickens. "I think
there might even be opportunities for us to work together."

Vulcan adopted a Star Trek theme more than 15 years ago that has
been a boon to its economy and generated stories in the New York
Times and major entertainment magazines. The town of 2,000 was
named in 1915 for the Roman god of fire. But after an economic
slump, Vulcan decided in the mid-1990s to capitalize on the
fictional home world of the alien Vulcans from the Star Trek TV
and movie series.

The town built a replica of the Starship Enterprise and put up a
space-age tourism information and visitor centre.

According to Dickens, the town is now being considered to host
the world premiere of a new Star Trek movie, scheduled to debut
May 8, 2009. After pitching the idea in January, visits to the
town this past winter - the slowest tourism period of the year
- jumped 75 per cent to 3,000. In March, Paramount executives
phoned expressing interest after noticing international press
clippings on Vulcan.

"It's really made a significant difference for the town,"
Dickens says of the Star Trek theme. "I would encourage any
community (to) take that risk. If marketed properly, dare I say,
it can take you to the stars."

Danny White, chairman of St. Paul's marketing committee, says an
intergalactic theme may seem alien to people in the agriculture
and oil and gas community. But it could be just the hook St.
Paul needs to sell its other amenities, such as its recreational
potential in the lake district of northeastern Alberta.

"If you think about it strictly from a marketing standpoint,
building on the UFO idea is not making fun of St. Paul. The sky
really is the limit," says White, a local radio sales manager.

St. Paul's UFO landing pad attraction has never been fully
embraced by the community, with only two businesses adopting an
alien theme - UFO Pizza and the Galaxy Motel.

For such a concept to work, there must be a total commitment on
the part of the community, according to Roger Brooks, a Seattle-
based tourism marketing consultant. Vulcan's town website, for
instance, is totally designed around the Star Trek theme.

No matter how bizarre or out-of-place an idea might seem, Brooks
says communities should be focused on the end result of
generating economic activity.

"It has to be based on feasibility, not local sentiment. Tourism
marketing is about cash," Brooks told an Alberta tourism
conference last fall in Banff.

Some St. Paul residents are vehement in their opposition to the

"This is absolutely ridiculous! I will be so embarrassed to say
that I live in St. Paul," reads one of 110 postings on a blog
set up on the town's website.

"St. Paul is clearly a rural/farming/oil and gas community. I
feel the marketing money would be better spent playing up this
aspect of the town and area's history," reads another.

Dickens says local residents often do not realize the spinoff
benefits of a successful theme.

"There are very strong passions both for and against what we do
here," she says. "When you explain the multiplier effect -- that
people who stop here buy gas, gifts, coffee -- locals residents
realize it is an asset."

White says the next step is to take comments from visitors to
the town this summer and decide what to do next.

"Some people think it's an outlandish idea when you have other
serious problems to deal with," says White, "but it doesn't hurt
to stir the pot."


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