Travel Alberta says $1.5M worth it to get Kelly 'Live' in Banff

Travel Alberta says $1.5M worth it to get Kelly 'Live' in Banff
Kelly Ripa attends the Baby Buggy 10th Anniversary Gala, in New York, Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
by: Canadian Press
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CALGARY -- Breathtaking scenery and a second honeymoon with her husband aren't the only things luring Kelly Ripa and her popular television show to Banff next month.

Travel Alberta set aside $1.5 million to seal the deal and ensure that "Live! with Kelly" would tape four shows in Alberta's plushest Rocky Mountain resort community.

"The $1.5 million is not cash coming out of Travel Alberta's pocket," Bruce Okabe, Travel Alberta CEO, was quick to point out in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"We have syndicated a whole lot of that investment in cash and in kind to several partners, including Air Canada, who is going to be offering up flights for cast, crew and celebrities, Brewster Transportation, the Fairmont Hotel," he explained.

"It offsets about half of the cost if not more."

The $800,000 or so that is coming out of Travel Alberta's coffers is worth it, says Okabe.

He said the publicity from reaching 3.6 million people every day should be worth close to $22 million when all is said and done.

"It's broadcast in the United States, which is Alberta's most important marketplace. We get about 810,000 visitors every year from the U.S., they spend over $560 million each year, so this is an absolute perfect opportunity for us to showcase Alberta."

Despite being a world-class tourism destination there was competition to land "Live! with Kelly".

"A show like "Live! with Kelly" would get a lot of offers. It's the number 1 talk show in the U.S.," said Erin Larson, a spokeswoman for Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation.

"They have a huge viewership so we're trying to get their attention and Banff is a good way to do that."

Larson said the Travel Alberta funding would come from a four per cent tourism levy that is charged on hotel stays in the province. An economic impact study will be conducted to make sure that the money to attract the show was well spent.

Kelly Ripa said her three children will be in school at the time she comes to Canada along with actor-husband Mark Consuelos.

"But it's Mark's birthday, so we're actually looking forward to, like, should we call it a second honeymoon? Should we?" Ripa said, laughing, in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

"Who knows what could happen?," chimed in Michael Gelman, the show's executive producer.

"Well, you know the story about our son, Joaquin, I mean -- that was a trip to Montreal right there, so ... Made in Montreal!" added the ever-chipper Ripa, on the line from New York.

Gelman was vague when asked if financial incentives were used to attract the show to Banff.

"Well, we've been talking to them for a long time. In terms of incentives they've been extremely supportive in giving us production assistance, if that's what you're talking about," he added.

"Live! with Kelly" will broadcast from the Eric Harvie Theatre at The Banff Centre, a national arts training centre in the Canadian Rockies, on April 2-5.

CTV says guests and guest co-hosts for the Banff episodes will be announced within the next week. The network says the co-host for the final Banff episode on April 5 will be eTalk co-host Ben Mulroney.

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