“Alberta’s tourism industry is a major part of our economy. Tourism businesses are mostly local small businesses that provide good jobs in our communities and inject billions of dollars a year into our economy.

“2020 was a year like no other, and the tourism sector and tourism operators and businesses continue to face challenges. Before the pandemic, the sector employed 68,800 full-time employees and visitor expenditures in Alberta reached $8.2 billion.

“Alberta’s tourism industry will play a key role in our economic recovery and the Alberta government will continue to work with them to help overcome the challenges ahead.

“By expanding Travel Alberta’s mandate, we have begun work rebuilding and positioning the sector for long-term growth. As Albertans are vaccinated and we move out of the pandemic, we are prepared to begin work on a 10-year tourism strategy, looking forward to the next phase of Alberta’s tourism industry.

“Alberta has so much to offer. From beautiful mountains, far-reaching valleys, unique urban experiences to the badlands, I believe Alberta’s diverse landscape can appeal to travellers looking for all kinds of experiences.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alberta’s tourism industry. Their hard work and ingenuity in the face of great challenges demonstrates why they remain pillars of our communities. I look forward to the work ahead helping this industry recover.

“When it is safe to do so, I encourage all Albertans to go out to support local businesses and explore the unique attractions Alberta has to offer.”