In 2022, Alberta saw a record $10.7 billion in tourism spending, an increase of $600 million from 2019 levels. This growth signals Alberta’s visitor economy is on an upward trend and ready to reach new heights year over year.

To support a growing visitor economy, Alberta’s government is launching a long-term provincial tourism strategy to share Alberta’s story and history with the world. This strategy will focus on five key pillars: Leadership and Alignment, Competitive Product, People and Careers, Expansion of Access and Indigenous Tourism.

“When our economy grows, it offers more opportunity and improves everyone’s way of life. As Albertans, we know a lot about the opportunities around our province available to us, but there are experiences and locations that even we are less aware of. By further growing our visitor economy and highlighting what Alberta has to offer, we strengthen our diversifying economy and our position as the best place on Earth to live, work and visit.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

“The long-term provincial tourism strategy will unleash Alberta’s visitor economy potential, driving tourists from around the world to our beautiful province. This strategy will also create thousands of mortgage-paying, grocery-buying jobs for people throughout Alberta. I am certain that our tourism strategy will increase Alberta’s competitiveness in the global tourism market while showing off our beautiful vistas and the warm hospitality of our people.”

Joseph Schow, Minister of Tourism and Sport

Each of the new strategy’s five pillars will sustainably grow and diversify the economy, support good-paying jobs and offer pathways for Indigenous Peoples to share their heritage, stories and wisdom with Albertans and the world. By implementing the long-term provincial tourism strategy, Alberta’s visitor economy will see a cumulative economic impact of $203 billion in visitor expenditures, a $159-billion impact to the province’s GDP and 190,000 full-time equivalent jobs by 2035.

“The long-term provincial tourism strategy is a game-changer. It will take Alberta’s visitor economy to new heights while creating good-paying jobs and bringing economic prosperity to emerging destinations in rural Alberta. I look forward to seeing the strategy take Alberta to the top of the best global destinations list for international travellers.”

Martin Long, MLA for West Yellowhead

In 2022, Alberta saw 32 million person visits, generating $10.7 billion in spending and supporting more than 80,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Alberta’s government has been working to sustain this growth through tourism operator support programs through Travel Alberta, destination marketing strategies and support for airline operators.

Pillars of success

As Alberta’s government continues to grow the province’s visitor economy, the five key pillars under the new long-term tourism strategy will lock in the province to achieve sustainable growth year over year. The pillars of Leadership and Alignment, Competitive Product, People and Careers, Expanding Access and Indigenous Tourism will work simultaneously as Alberta’s government reaches $25 billion in visitor expenditures by 2035.

Through continued leadership and alignment, Travel Alberta will remain a strong and crucial partner as the province rolls out its new tourism strategy. Through the strategy, Travel Alberta will be unleashed into its next iteration – driving the development of unique and high-quality tourism experiences and accommodations in the province’s tourism development zones and legacy locations, further empowering Alberta’s Indigenous tourism industry with the development of Indigenous-owned products and experiences. Travel Alberta will also work to share Alberta’s story with the world by enhancing marketing campaigns and strategies in highly sought-after international markets. 

As the government works with Travel Alberta to grow the visitor economy, there will be a special focus on developing new competitive products that offer all-season experiences that are innovative and offer fresh opportunities to Albertans and visitors from around the country and the world. This work will include a focus on both Alberta’s well-known travel destinations and destinations that are still largely under-discovered and underexplored. This will provide world-class, nature-based tourism experiences and open up more opportunities for all-season resorts that help attract international travellers.

“We’re in business! Tourism has the power to create prosperity in every community in the province. This strategy gives us a long-term framework and a commitment to the business of tourism – creating opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurism, and inspiring investment in all corners of the province.”

David Goldstein, CEO, Travel Alberta

“The Tourism Industry Association of Alberta is excited to see the release of Alberta's new tourism strategy. This is a visionary blueprint that aligns private and public sectors towards a unified goal of more than doubling visitor expenditures in Alberta. By fostering a whole-of-government approach and leveraging the industry-leading leadership of Travel Alberta, this strategy not only promises to enhance Alberta's tourism landscape but also to unlock new economic opportunities for communities provincewide. Rooted in Alberta's rich values, it is a transformative plan for sustainable growth, promising to enhance community prosperity and showcase Alberta's unique offerings on a global stage.”

Darren Reeder, president and CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Alberta

As the province navigates toward its visitor economy goals, Indigenous tourism remains a strong contributor to growth in the tourism industry. Increasingly, Albertans and tourists are interested in authentic, Indigenous-led experiences that share the stories of the land, culture and people. By maintaining the priority of growing Indigenous tourism throughout the province, Indigenous entrepreneurs have the ability to grow their businesses and communities can benefit.

“Indigenous Peoples have been welcoming visitors to this place for generations, so putting Indigenous culture at the forefront of the province’s tourism strategy makes sense on so many levels.
Indigenous culture is a differentiator in a highly competitive tourism marketplace while also supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs, helping revitalize culture, preserve language and create opportunities for Indigenous youth.”

Shae Bird, CEO, Indigenous Tourism Alberta

People and careers are the backbone of the province’s visitor economy. The new strategy will spur on the development and implementation of policies and programs to ensure that businesses and organizations have the workforce they need. This work will also include readily available training programs to support the needs of a growing workforce.

To attract adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts, tourists and workers from around the world, expanding access to the province will be critical to grow the visitor economy. The strategy recognizes that Alberta is primarily a fly-to destination and work will focus on increasing accessibility to Alberta’s emerging and legacy destinations in a safe, affordable and convenient manner. This work will make year-round visitation more traveller-friendly while reducing environmental impacts, supporting destination development and connecting visitors to new destinations across the province.

“As an industry, tourism relies on people. The new tourism strategy brings a coordinated approach to developing the skilled workforce needed to achieve the goal of $25 billion by 2035. Alberta hotels look forward to working with the government and other stakeholders to attract Albertans to the fulfilling careers tourism creates in communities all over our province.”

Tracy Douglas-Blowers, president and CEO, Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association

“A provincial tourism strategy that recognizes the importance of air access is essential for Alberta’s visitor economy. As we continue to expand on WestJet’s growth story, we are investing in global connectivity between Alberta and some of the world’s largest business and leisure hubs across North America, Asia and Europe. These connections are critical for driving economic growth through inbound leisure and business travel. WestJet is proud to partner with the Government of Alberta to bring strategic investments that ensure our province remains a top-choice destination for travellers around the globe.”

Andrew Gibbons, vice-president, external affairs, WestJet

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