A collaboration between two local municipalities aimed at enhancing tourism promotion has received significant recognition in its inaugural year.
Prairie Gateway Tourism, launched in 2021 by the Town of Virden and the RM of Wallace-Woodworth, received the Marketing Excellence award at the 4th Annual Economic Developers Association of Manitoba (EDAM) Fall Forum held at Tundra Oil & Gas Place in Virden last week.
Marketing Excellence is awarded to a municipality, CDC, Town, group or committee that has undertaken a marketing initiative in their community/region in the last 18 months that has or will have significant and long-term economic effect.
"Prairie Gateway Tourism was created to develop a unified brand to represent the tourism partnership between the Town of Virden and the R.M. of Wallace-Woodworth,” read the nomination statement. “The organization is becoming the recognized brand for promoting the region. Prairie Gateway Tourism was able to provide a boost to some local businesses and showcase activities and attractions that could be enjoyed by locals during the pandemic resurgence."
Virden’s Economic Development Manager Liza Park and Tiffany Cameron, her counterpart at the R.M., collaborated on laying the groundwork for the new organization. They jointly accepted the award from EDAM Chairperson Tyler King.
"We are really proud of the Prairie Gateway Tourism Board," Park said. "We've done a lot in a couple of years around here...getting the two municipalities to work together and see the benefits of promoting our businesses and our assets. We also know we have a lot of work to do yet, but we needed the starting network to happen – formation of a board, getting a brand and getting some partnership happening.”
Park and Cameron acknowledged the efforts of Taylor Wegener, now in her senior year at Elkhorn School, who was hired on this past summer and had a role to play in the launch and successes to date.
"We received some funding from Youth Canada Works and gave her the title of Marketing and Communications Manager,” Park said. She said that Wegener has been retained on a contract basis and is hopeful the working relationship will continue into the future.
Cameron expressed appreciation to elected officials from both the Town and R.M. for their support in making the regionalization a reality.
"This started a long time ago, with the Virden Boost Report...talking about developing regional tourism and partnerships,” she said. “A lot of things have happened since then."