Cypress Hills Destination Area has new executive director

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Cypress Hills Destination Area has new executive director SouthWest Saskatchewan  Saskatchewan Cypress Hills & Area Attractions

Cypress Hills Destination Area, (CHDA) Inc., the official tourism and destination marketing organization for the Cypress Hills and surrounding area, has its first executive director.

Gail Kesslar takes over the executive director position of the group which is only a few years old. It has been operated by a board of directors whose own businesses generally have a strong tie to the southwest Saskatchewan tourism industry.
Even Kesslar, who has worked with Overtime Productions in Swift Current and has done a lot of freelance writing, has a lot of experience with Saskatchewan parks and tourism areas in the southwest. She and Elizabeth Heatcoat, now with the Great Plains College public relations, created along with accompanying Facebook and Twitter accounts. The idea was to focus attention on the Southwest tourism spots. It includes photos, stories and blogs about everything from day, overnight or “girls’” trips to where some of the best trips are off the beaten track or even the best bathrooms.
When this position came up, Kesslar was more than a little intrigued.
“I’m looking at their ad and I’m thinking, ‘I’ve done that’; ‘I could do that’; ‘I would like to do that,’” recalls Kesslar. “This job was made for me; I’m very excited.”
She enjoys communicating with people and making connections for herself and for others — the perfect combination for a tourism-type role.
CHDA has been growing in size and has active social media accounts and Kesslar is trying to familiarize herself with the marketing campaigns.
It looks to be a busy upcoming tourism season.
“Jori Kirk and Kristy Thienes have been doing a great job marketing,” explains Kesslar. “The board has been doing a great job and there’s a lot of experience there. There’s great people on board … We’ve been in good hands and so when I start April 1, I can get hit the ground running … I’m not going to completely reinvent the wheel.”
One aspect Kesslar wants to expand on is the cluster idea of tourism marketing where businesses team up for tours. She points out an example of the Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures teaming with Maple Creek’s Rocking Horse Saloon for a getaway package. She sees a great advantage to having a regional outlook.
“Give the visitor some options when wanting to visit,” explains Kesslar who points out the area features an interprovincial park, a national park, dark sky preserves, a national historical site, and numerous campgrounds as well. “One of the great advantages of the southwest is the diversity. Some areas have dinosaurs, some areas may have camping, some may have wide open spaces, others have fine dining. Not all areas in Saskatchewan have that and the cultural history or the physical (geography and landscape) like the southwest does. We have it all. That’s the great thing; I have being doing Go Here Destinations for a while, I haven’t even scratched the surface yet … there’s so much more we can do.”

via SW Sask News – Prairie Post – Prairie Post

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