“Twitter-activated vending machines help promote travel to Edmonton” by Emily Mertz, Global News

Edmonton Tourism's Twitter-activated vending machine in Fort McMurray on June 27, 2015.

EDMONTON — Edmonton Tourism’s latest campaign is creating some buzz, particularly in Fort McMurray and Saskatoon.

Vending machines were set up in those two cities to give out prizes promoting visits to Edmonton, like hotel stays, event tickets and mall gift cards. All people had to do to get a prize: tweet.

“There’s actually a code that shows up on the Twitter vending machine and you include that code in your tweet and we encouraged people to include the ‘Explore Edmonton’ hashtag and from there, a prize would pop out,” explained Renee Williams with Edmonton Tourism.

Local business donated hundreds of prizes including overnight hotel stays, tickets to special events and attractions, and gift cards to malls and restaurants.

“Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels donated tons of hotel stays on top of additional prizing they gave,” said Williams. “We had attractions step in give attraction passes, malls step in and give gift cards.

“The community at large stepped in in a big way, gave us a ton of in-kind prizes, and that’s what we were able to turn around and give to people in the regional market to try to entice them to come to Edmonton and think about Edmonton as a vacation.”

Williams said Edmonton Tourism is aware of only one other destination in Canada that has done a campaign like this. A sports team in the United States also did something similar.

“People are probably a little apprehensive at first. ‘What do you mean tweet and get a prize?’ But when they actually do it and then a prize pops out, just a like a pop from a vending machine … people are shocked and then they’re really excited about it.”

WATCH: Explore Edmonton Twitter Vending Machine video on YouTube