“Regina – the city whose name rhymes with fun!” I’ve heard it a hundred times – from famous bands and comedians passing through our city, to Kelly Ripa in New York enjoying some laughs on her show ‘Live with Kelly and Ryan’. Everyone loves to say it, but why doesn’t anyone want to come here?

Are we too small? Too boring? Too hard to get to?

This was the topic at “Let’s Talk Tourism YQR” last week, a gathering of the local tourism and hospitality industries wanting to get the conversation flowing. Excellent videos were shown on various websites already featuring Regina, and lively round-table discussions generated some amazing ideas, but how do we, as a community, implement these ideas and change the perception of Regina to outsiders?

In my experience, it takes some hard convincing to win over a conference or event committee to hold their function in the Queen City. But once they arrive, they are shocked by the friendliness of our people, our attractions, the local food and drink, our beloved and beautiful Wascana Centre, and just how easy it is to “be” in Regina. We’re welcoming, exciting, and well, fun!!

Hank Todd of Hank Todd Solutions Group in Minnesota says, “Anybody that thinks back, if they’ve gone on a trip and had a great experience and found it memorable — their feeling about that place stays with them a long time.”

This is the goal, but how do we get more people to visit?

Tourism development must give visitors an authentic encounter of the city’s offerings, and then get them to spread the word. Regina’s unique and historical locations, scenic points of interest, parks, cultural activities, festivals, markets, art, food, music, and local and entrepreneurial businesses are incredible, and frankly, surprising to visitors.

But Regina offers so much more that is intangible – safe, clean, accommodating, the sunrises and sunsets are like no other, and it’s true – you can get anywhere in 10 minutes! It’s a small town feel in a big city.

Each one of us must be an ambassador for our incredible city. So, the next time someone wrinkles their nose at you about Regina, tell them about why it’s the best place to visit and live! We all need to be involved in Regina’s promotion, and we can succeed for exactly who we are.