The Watrous Manitou Marketing Group was awarded the prestigious Fred Heal Tourism Ambassador Award at the Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence on April 11th. The award is given to a business or organization that promotes tourism not only for their locale but also for the larger region or the province.

One of the key indicators for marketing success is that numbers go up in terms of visits or awareness. That's been the case for the Watrous Manitou area according to Brendan Manz who accepted the award on behalf of the Watrous Manitou Marketing Group, "We've seen the results here at Watrous and Manitou Beach, and the numbers are continuing to go up. We work closely with our regional partners, so some really good things have been happening here despite some floods and other challenges."

One of the keys to the recent success was a series of promotional videos released in 2018. Manz states that one set of videos focused on the unique tourism opportunities in the region. The second set demonstrated the economic development and capacity for further development. Manz credits close work with the regional business community for the successful campaign. He mentions key players such as Manitou Springs Hotel and Spa, the Regional Park, and Danceland.

Another feature of the region's success has to do with interagency cooperation among various economic and tourism zones elsewhere in the province. Manz explains, "With places like Cypress Hills and Lake Diefenbaker, we recently did sets of trade shows together. We're out there promoting not only Watrous and Manitou but also the importance of keeping tourism dollars in our province. There's a lot of competition for the travel dollar out there. It's a global industry we're competing in."

The Marketing Group even has its eyes set on the international market. To accomplish this, Manz says they work with different sets of partners, "On the international marketing side, we're trying to work more closely with Tourism Saskatoon as well. We don't have an international airport in our community, so we have to rely on places like Saskatoon and Regina to bring those people in."

At the end of the day, increased traffic to both the province and the Watrous Manitou area is the prime goal of the Watrous Manitou Marketing Group. Based on the award and their positive results, the group is on the right track.

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