With the stable economy being enjoyed in Manitoba, Manitoba Homecoming 2010 seems like a timely event. Why not try and attract the starry-eyed ex-pats back to their home province instead of continuing to reside in someone's garage north of Calgary hungry for oil? Considering the economic climate in Alberta and Ontario - home to many former Manitobans - this may just be the bait to lure them back. If not for good, at least for long enough to soak them for some much welcomed tourism dollars.
The fact that Kevin Walters is Executive Director of Manitoba Homecoming 2010 provides hope that the lofty goals of turning a $2.5 million dollar investment into $30 million dollars of new tourism revenue may be possible. Possible, but tough based on your average $10 social ticket.
Walters led Winnipeg's Juno Awards bid in 2005 and was integral in organizing the Canadian Country Music Awards just last year. I like that Walters is realistic as well, "I'm not naive enough to think any single event would bring Manitobans back," he said - "But when you get enough of these events and package them you can accomplish (something)." Something...? I'm not exactly sure what that something is, but anything would be more than the brand Spirited Energy generated - or should I say cost.
I don't know if a few free concerts will be enough to bring 50,000 visitors and 100,000 room-nights to Manitoba hotels, but it makes sense to try. We have a lot of positives leaning in our favour right now as a province. If we can get a few thousand ex-pats to spend a day at the Forks listening to live music, reconnecting with old friends and remembering all the good Winnipeg, and the province have to offer, it just might be enough to pull the heart strings hard enough to bring them back to relocate.