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Record-setting year for Alberta tourism

The province’s tourism sector performed exceptionally well in 2016 with tourism spending reaching the highest level ever recorded.

Record-setting year for Alberta tourism

Based on newly released data from Statistics Canada, tourism spending totalled $8.5 billion, an increase of 4.7 per cent over 2015. Almost 35 million visits were made to the province, an increase of 2.1 per cent over 2015.

“From hidden gems, unique destinations and one-of-a-kind experiences, tourism continues to play a pivotal role in our province’s economy as Alberta’s reputation as a world-renowned tourist destination grows. The strong performance of Alberta’s tourism sector in 2016 shows its resiliency and continued potential to diversify the economy, create jobs and generate investment in communities across the province.”

Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism

Markets in the United States, overseas and rest of Canada drove the total growth of Alberta’s tourism sector in 2016. International visits and expenditures increased by 10.9 and 14.1 per cent, respectively. Visits and spending from the rest of Canada increased by 9.4 and 15.1 per cent, respectively.

To maintain the positive momentum, the government is continuing to deliver strategic programs and services to expand the tourism industry, maximize opportunities and support Alberta’s tourism businesses, entrepreneurs and communities.

Key tourism priorities include:

  • Strategic Tourism Marketing: Continued strong investment to market Alberta tourism nationally and internationally, attracting new visitors and growing the visitor economy.  
  • Air access: Direct flights from Mexico and China.
  • Access to land: Clarifying regulations and process for securing publicly owned land for investment into new or expanded tourism products.
  • Tourism Entrepreneurship Programs: Provide tools and services to help entrepreneurs start tourism businesses, and help existing tourism entrepreneurs innovate, expand or refresh their operations.
  • Tourism Growth Innovation Fund: Project-based grant program that supports the economic, socio-economic and community goals of Alberta’s tourism sector.
  • Visitor Services Innovation Fund: Helps visitor-service providers develop new ways to connect with more travellers.
  • Cooperative Marketing Investment Program: Supports the growth of Alberta’s tourism industry by investing in Alberta industry-led marketing initiatives to increase marketing capacity, resulting in increased tourism revenues.
  • Indigenous Tourism: Programs and services to support Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities to grow and expand tourism products. This includes working collaboratively with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to establish a provincial Indigenous tourism strategy and the Alberta Indigenous Tourism Association.

Media inquiries

Government of Alberta