Travel Alberta, EEDC defends $20,000 spent on trip by reality TV stars
Travel Alberta and the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation say the economic benefits to bringing two reality TV stars to Edmonton last weekend was well worth the cost.
The province and the EEDC spent about $20,000 to bring "Bachelorette" stars Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum to Edmonton.
The couple was flown return trip from New York, put up at the Hotel MacDonald for two nights, and given tickets to the Edmonton Fringe Festival and the Art Gallery of Alberta. They also dined at local restaurants.
"Full day ahead of us today!! @yourAGA @oldstrathcona @strathconamrkt @edmontonfringe so much to do/see! Let's get it going," Rosenbaum posted to his Twitter account on Aug 25.
“It’s official… I love Edmonton! The people are so down to earth and the Fringe was a blast,” Hebert tweeted. “Already planning our next trip to Canada… we’re thinking Edmonton, Calgary, Banff, maybe Vancouver?!”
Travel Alberta and the EEDC stand by the price paid to get Hebert and Rosenbaum to Edmonton.
“We’re looking at about $250,000 in earned media,” said Brad Ferguson with the EEDC.
“Those are online spots, potential magazines, things like that.”
“The team is very, very cognizant of how we spend those moneys and who we bring to the province,” said Richard Wong with Travel Alberta.
But some critics disagree.
“That may seem like an extraordinary expense that may not be necessary at this time,” said Kent Hehr with the Alberta Liberals.
“In my view that probably was a mistake and one that Travel Alberta would like to have back.”
Earlier this year Travel Alberta paid more than $800,000 to bring the show Live with Kelly to Banff. They estimate the province made more than $83 million in exposure from that event.
In the latest case, Travel Alberta says 32 million people heard about how great Edmonton is from Hebert and Rosenbaum, which was well worth the cost.
“That was a win win,” Wong said.
Like Live with Kelly, Travel Alberta says they’ve already made the province more money on the Bachelorette trip to Edmonton. The spin-off from tweets and photos posted, is already estimated at more than $500,000 worth of exposure.
The trip is generating a lot of discussion - tell us if you think the money was well-spent by leaving a comment below or joining the discussion on our CTV Edmonton Facebook Page.
With files from Sean Amato