The provincial government has been forced to cut a lot of valuable programs in the last few years, now that revenues aren’t what they used to be due to the sliding price of oil and other commodities.
But among the programs that we’re proud to see avoid the chopping block is the provincial tourism ambassador initiative affectionately known as the Saskatchewanderer.
The program started a few years ago as a summer gig that the province billed as the best summer job ever. You could see why. The lucky candidate would travel the province and use online resources to document their many experiences and promote the attractions and the people of the province.
Due to the success of the program, it was expanded to a year-round gig after a couple years, giving the wanderer a chance to see more of the province, and promote more of Saskatchewan to the many online followers.
The government announced on Tuesday that Zane Buchanan has been hired to be this year’s wanderer. He’ll get to experience things that many of us wouldn’t experience, meet new people, and gain a greater understanding of why this province is so great.
It’s not a job for everyone. You have to be willing and able to travel throughout the year. You need to be an avid user of technology, ranging from photography to videos to computers. You need to have a keen understanding of social media. You need to be able to write.
And you have to be outgoing and personable. You’re going to be interacting with the public extensively for nearly 365 days. It’s not a job for the shy and reserved types.
One thing we would like to see is more of a presence in Estevan from Buchanan. We’re not sure if last year’s wanderer, Kevin Dunn, made it down here or not; if he did, it wasn’t mentioned on social media. We’re not sure why communities much smaller and quieter than Estevan received a documented visit and we didn’t.
Dunn made at least one visit to Moose Mountain Provincial Park, and raved about the experience.
Estevan has a lot to offer, and it would be great for Buchanan to come here, see it and share it with the rest of the province. The press release for his hiring noted that he has a background in theatre; perhaps he would enjoy an evening at the Souris Valley Theatre in July or August. Maybe he will know one or two people in the cast.
There are also lots of attractions and events for Buchanan in other parts of the southeast.
We live in a great province that has a lot to offer its residents and visitors alike. Saskatchewan might not have some of the tourist traps that other provinces have, and it might not have the major metropolitan cities of other provinces (we don’t have a Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver) but we still have much to offer.
Venture off of Highways 1, 11 or 16, and you’ll find such attractions as the pierced rock formations at Roche Percee, the Big Muddy Flats and the Great Sand Hills. We’re blessed with great parks. And for the more adventurous types, there are some great remote sites, such as the Athabasca Sand Dunes.
There’s a lot that Saskatchewan has to offer. We’re pleased the province has kept the Saskatchewanderer program going.
And we’ll gladly extend an invite to Buchanan to come to Estevan to see it all.