The International Peace Garden hosted their first Turtle Mountain Tourism Summit yesterday, with over 50 people participating in the presentations, breakout sessions and panel discussion.

"It think it was an incredible day," shares CEO Tim Chapman, "especially with our first 'go' at this idea of using the Peace Garden as a home site to bring people from our Manitoba-North Dakota communities together to see the value in cooperation, and hear some speakers from both sides of the border; about what's working in their communities that are more smaller and rurally based, because it really does take a lot of buy-in to have towns cooperate and communicate with each other once they know that cross-promotion in a region really goes a long way in helping every town and every community get to a better place."

Keynote speakers included President and CEO for Travel Manitoba, Colin Ferguson, as well as Linda Whitfield, Vice President, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement of Travel Manitoba.

From south of the border, speakers included Sara Otte Coleman, Director of Tourism Division for the North Dakota Department of Commerce, as well as rural sociologist, Ben Winchester from Minnesota.   

All presenters shared their experiences and insights as to how the Covid pandemic affected tourism in their province and/or state.  They also shared current trends in the tourism industry, and how collaboration between different communities result in a positive spin on all stakeholders. Data was shared on tourists' diverse interests and experiences, and how communities can build around a key attraction to meet the desires of other interests.  The panel discussion delved deeper into what makes a community welcoming, for both tourists and new residents to the community.  

Tim Chapman states this concept quite succinctly:

"If someone's coming through our town, they might want to go through your town too and see this attraction and that attraction!"

Of the 55+ attendees to Thursday's Tourism Summit, Chapman shares how pleased he was to see so many local towns represented.  "That was what we wanted. The most important thing was there were so many areas within the Turtle Mountain Region between here and Brandon represented and that's what's going to drive people to come again next year if we do it again."

Please listen to more of the interview with CEO of the International Peace Garden, Tim Chapman, and CJRB's Betty Sawatzky.

Below photos taken at the Cacti Succulent Conservatory building under construction.  Grand Opening of the new Conservatory is scheduled for early December.