The Tourism Yorkton Visitor Information Centre will be taking on an expanded role in 2014.
“Tourism Saskatchewan has made a decision on how they’re providing information services on Highway 16,” explained Tourism Yorkton manager Randy Goulden.
Highway 16 entrance into Saskatchewan on the province’s east side is one of four entry points the provincial tourism organization does some expanded serving, and tracking of visitors.
The service has previously been handled in Langenburg, but starting this year Tourism Saskatchewan will contract Tourism Yorkton to undertake the work.
Goulden said Yorkton was chosen to be the centre for several reasons, including their dedication to “providing information services in different ways.” She said there is an understanding that travellers today rely on cellphones and laptops to access information while on the road, and they have “adjusted how we do things” to meet the changing demands.
Yorkton also provides a full range of traveller services, noted Goulden.
“Tourism Yorkton has all the services at one site,” she said, pointing to ample parking for large recreational vehicles, potable water source, septic tank service, as well as visitor information.
In addition, Goulden said Yorkton has a range of food and accommodation services, as well as businesses such as RV repair, which travellers are often looking for.
Goulden said much of what the provincial group wants are things Tourism Yorkton already does, such as tracking where visitors are travelling from and to when they stop at the centre.
Neil Thom president of Tourism Yorkton said his group looks forward to taking on a larger role in terms of promoting tourism in Yorkton, the East Central Region and Saskatchewan.
“Yorkton has always been a hub for this part of the province in terms of business, and with this new role we will be for tourism as well,” he said.
Thom said it is a chance to build on an important part of the economic activity of the province and city.
“Tourism contributes $1.67 billion annually to the provincial economy and provides employment for 11 per cent of Saskatchewan’s current working population. Visitors to Yorkton and area spent almost $40 million on tourism related activities,” he said.
The additional responsibility of the new contract will mean the Yorkton Information Centre will add additional summer staff, paid for through the contract.
Goulden said from May through September the Centre will “open seven days a week with extended hours for the travelling public.”
The remainder of the year the Centre operates Monday through Friday.