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The Midland MLA and provincial minister of growth, enterprise and trade is looking back on 2018 in Manitoba with positivity.

“We just don’t have all the time it would take to tell you all the good things that are happening and all the things that have happened,” Blaine Pedersen said.CMTGALA 3Pedersen said Manitoba had an especially successful year in the tourism sector. Central Manitoba Tourism held its Tourism Awards Gala in spring, an event which hadn't happened for a number of years.

He started off by saying that the province had an especially successful year in the tourism sector.

“Our tourism industry’s really been a bright spot for us. Lonely Planet, Airbnb, Travel Lemming (are) all talking up Manitoba. I am out there trying to get Manitobans to talk about all the great things we’ve got here,” Pedersen said.

In 2015, tourism, a $1.47 billion industry in Manitoba, accounted for 2.5 per cent of the province’s gross domestic product, and around 10.5 million visitors came to Manitoba, according to Travel Manitoba.

Pedersen noted that private investments have also been flourishing in Manitoba.

“We’re leading the country in terms of private investment. We want to keep that going in the coming years,” he said.

Large agribusinesses have made major investments in Midland this year, and, in turn, drain tile regulations have been modernized to improve potato production.

Pedersen said the Carman area has also benefited from the completion of the Highway 13 project.

“We’re still hearing people complimenting the job that’s been done through Carman, finally getting that road fixed,” he said.

He also underlined the significant teamwork of first responders and community members in the Crystal City fire that took down a Paterson Grain elevator and the Cudmore Bros. hardware business in August.

Looking ahead to 2019, Pedersen said the focus will shift to the recently released economic development strategy, the annual education review, and water retention issues in agricultural land.

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