Westerner Days. File photo by ADVOCATE staff

Westerner Days. File photo by ADVOCATE staff

Alberta government invests in tourism comeback

Travel Alberta to get $63 million more over three years to boost tourism

The Alberta government is boosting Travel Alberta’s budget by $63 million over three years to support to help a tourism comeback.

To further help tourism-related businesses recover from the pandemic, Travel Alberta’s mandate has been changed to make it a destination management organization.

“With this expanded role, Travel Alberta can better work directly with communities, businesses and entrepreneurs to develop new tourism experiences, products and destinations,” says a news release on Friday.

Travel Alberta is working with airlines and airports to identify routes and opportunities to boost future growth and reinvigorate international routes.

“Alberta’s tourism sector is a key driver of revenue and jobs,” said Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer in a statement. “When we talk about economic recovery, growth and diversification, tourism is one of the key industries we look to.

“I am confident that the work we’re doing will reposition the sector for future and sustained growth and will accelerate the sector’s recovery and help get it back to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.”

Over the next three years, Travel Alberta will invest $50 million — including $3.75 million earmarked for Indigenous tourism — to improve and expand visitor products and experiences.

Alberta’s three-year tourism strategy is focused on marketing, air access and destination development.

“The past two years have been very difficult for Alberta’s visitor economy,” said Martin Long, West Yellowhead MLA and parliamentary secretary for Small Business and Tourism.

“We have been engaging with members and businesses in the tourism sector regularly to ensure that, as Alberta’s economy recovers, they are not just a part of that recovery but are helping lead the way.”

A pair of program have been rolled out to support the efforts of businesses and communities to attract more visitors.

Travel Alberta’s Product Investment Fund provides up to $500,000 to businesses, municipalities and startups to create new tours and experiences, purchase or build venues, or become more environmentally sustainable.

The Cooperative Investment Fund provides up to $100,000 to rural and smaller communities to help them boost tourism revenue through workforce development, marketing and cultural activities, including events and festivals.

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