Alberta’s reputation as a world-class tourist destination continues to grow, with a significant surge in overseas visitors and local spending in 2014.
Almost 900,000 overseas visitors travelled to Alberta in 2014, up 17 per cent from the year before, according to new Statistics Canada figures. These overseas visitors spent more than $1 billion in the province, an increase of 22 per cent over 2013.
In addition, visits from the United States increased to more than 770,000 travellers in 2014, and these visitors spent more than $730 million, 12 per cent more than in 2013.
“As we mark Tourism Week in Canada, all Albertans should be proud that our tourism industry is dynamic and resilient, with great potential for growth. Tourism in Alberta presents tremendous opportunities to help diversify our economy and create good-paying jobs in an exciting industry.”
“Travel Alberta’s ongoing work to actively market the province continues to pay dividends with Alberta’s thriving tourism sector. We encourage Albertans to make the most of Tourism Week to explore this beautiful province and support the tourism industry here at home.”
Overall, total tourism spending in Alberta increased to $8.3 billion in 2014, up five per cent from the year before. Total visits also grew to 34.7 million.
Increased visitation in 2014 from the U.S. and overseas can be attributed to several factors:
- Marketing efforts in targeted overseas and U.S. markets;
- Low Canadian dollar;
- A steady recovery of the U.S. economy from 2012 to 2014; and
- Increased direct air access in select U.S. and overseas markets in 2014.
It typically takes 12 to 15 months for Statistics Canada to provide tourism figures following each calendar year because of the time needed to collect and analyze data.
Tourism Week in Canada is a grassroots initiative by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada that brings attention to the economic opportunities available through travel and tourism.
There are 19,000 tourism businesses in Alberta that support 127,000 jobs across the province.
The ministry of Culture and Tourism is committed to expanding the tourism industry and maximizing the opportunities tourism creates in every region of the province. For example, through the Tourism Entrepreneurship Program, tools and services are available to help entrepreneurs start new tourism businesses and assist existing entrepreneurs to innovate, expand or refresh their operations. This fall, Olds College will offer a new mobile tourism and hospitality training program for students to earn and learn on the go. The program is a collaboration among the Government of Alberta, Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association and Olds College.