StarPhoenix article (Tourism joins the Crown Corporation fold)July 4 2012 at 7:05 AM
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Tourism joins the Crown corporation fold
By Scott Larson, The StarPhoenix
July 4, 2012
Sending a consistent message about the wonders Saskatchewan has to offer is one of the main reasons Tourism Saskatchewan has moved from being a quasiautonomous membership supported agency to a Treasury Board Crown corporation.
The Government of Saskatchewan officially proclaimed The Tourism Saskatchewan Act on July 1.
"Having a consistent message going out is very important," minister responsible for tourism Tim McMillan said. "We think having it as a Crown corporation we can ensure there is consistent messaging - coming from our government on what we have to offer here in Saskatchewan.
"Tourism is a growing $1.7 billion industry in Saskatchewan, and we want that growth to continue. I am confident the collective expertise of this board will build on everything Saskatchewan has to offer."
The move follows the recommendations of the Tourism System Review made public in March 2012.
The new Crown has some work to do in changing the image of the province. A recent Abacus Data Inc. Canada Day poll showed 47 per cent of respondents ranked Saskatchewan as the province with the least beautiful scenery - only one per cent said it was the most beautiful.
"Saskatchewan's image is one that is changing - certainly on the economic front it has changed dramatically in the last few years," McMillan said.
"For us that live in Saskatchewan, we know the beauty and take advantage of the lakes and wild spaces and the grasslands a lot. I think having a strong, consistent message will be helpful to share that with people around the world."
A new board of directors for the crown was also announced, led by chair Jack Brodsky of Saskatoon.
"The government turned this into a Crown corporation because they want it to be able to grow and develop on some things that maybe hadn't been happening," Brodsky said. "I don't think it is going to be exactly business as usual, but that is something we will have to sit down with the people in government and sit down as a board and discuss where we want to go with it."
Brodsky, owner of the Saskatoon Blades and organizing committee co-chair of the 2013 Memorial Cup that will be held in Saskatoon, said the board will sit down and talk with the government to set out a future direction for Tourism Saskatchewan.
"(We will) work with government and with the staff in place, move forward and come up with our vision."
McMillan said having one specific place to go to will also be helpful to prospective tourists.
"In the past, we had a ministry of tourism that had certain functions and roles. Then there was Tourism Saskatchewan. This brings it all into one shop where there can be co-ordinated, consistent efforts."
The newly appointed board members include deputy chair Brian Simpson, Waskesiu; Irene Seiferling, Saskatoon; Dana Soonias, Saskatoon; Sandra LeBarre, Naicam; Lionel Tootoosis, Swift Current; and Norm Beug, Regina.
New TV commercials promoting the province are airing, boasting the new slogan Embrace A New Place.
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