City of Regina now responsible for Tourism Regina

The City of Regina is now responsible for Tourism Regina, following a unanimous vote from the city council to take responsibility away from the Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL).

REAL requested the change after its board of directors unanimously agreed that the transition of Tourism Regina away from REAL would be the best path forward for both organizations.

The change comes just 15 months after REAL took over the responsibilities of Tourism Regina from Economic Development Regina (EDR).

Mayor Sandra Masters said at the time that it made sense to change roles with a new CEO in Chris Lane for EDR and REAL being responsible for the majority of tourism in the city.

“73 per cent of tourism is coming out of REAL. They also have more than 500 staff members,” she said. “One of the things we heard regularly over the past is that tourism perhaps doesn’t the people to execute on producing festivals when they have a staff of six or seven. It just makes a whole bunch of sense to leverage the community cooperation that has the resources and skill set.”

Following the controversial re-brand to Experience Regina and a review into the matter, which concluded that the controversial slogans were implemented by a junior staffer who did not have authorization from senior managers at REAL, REAL has handed over the keys to the city.

Masters said that following the Experience Regina mistake, she acknowledged that Tourism was too much for REAL to handle.

“It made sense when you looked at the two municipal entities. But then, when the mistake happened, I’m not sure how they could have ever recovered to build a brand back up and having those discussions, it seemed to make sense.”

As for the future, Masters said the city needs to establish its brand.

“I believe stakeholder engagement and a potential advisory committee to work on establishing a City of Regina brand to understand our local attractions, events, conventions, trade shows, restaurants, and retail,” she said. “We depend upon visitors to our economy. We do a lot of these things well, but what do they need, and how can we help promote what is happening in the City of Regina?”

Wayne Morsky, the chair of the REAL Board of Directors, said that REAL will continue to service Tourism on an interim basis and that the transition is best for both organizations.

“City Council’s approval of REAL’s request to remove the leadership of Tourism Regina from REAL will allow REAL to advance on the recommended actions of the Cuff and Associates Report,” he said. “REAL is committed to focusing on its core business to support Regina’s visitor economy through its amenities and operations.”

City manager Niki Anderson said city administration will now focus on the brand of Tourism Regina.

More from 620 CKRM