Prairie Post (East Edition)
Investing in Alberta’s rural tourism experiences
Alberta’s government is supporting a diversified tourism industry that will create jobs and economic growth across the province.
Through Budget 2023, Travel Alberta will receive
$10 million over two years to develop environmentally sustainable year-round experiences in regions outside of Alberta’s most popular destinations. Funding will be used to increase awareness of and visitation to lesser-known tourism destinations across Alberta that have a high potential for growth.
“From our unique small towns to the unsung corners of the foothills, to back country trails and rangelands, there are plenty of world-class attractions and hidden gems to discover across Alberta. Alberta’s government is proud to invest in our diverse tourism industry and draw in more visitors from around the world to come experience every corner of our great province,” said Todd Loewen, Minister of Forestry, Parks and Tourism.
Tourism offers economic diversification and development opportunities, with about 30 per cent of tourism spending already occurring outside of the Canadian Rockies and Edmonton and Calgary regions. Alberta’s government is taking action to grow the tourism industry to a $20-billion opportunity over the next 10 years and developing rural tourism is a key contributor to realizing that goal.
The government’s five-year Economic Development in Rural Alberta Plan is guiding sustainable growth and diversification in Alberta’s rural economy. It provides the strategic direction to build capacity for marketing and promoting rural and Indigenous tourism. Budget 2023 supports the plan through new experiences and initiatives that will enhance rural Alberta’s reputation as a diverse tourism destination.
“Rural Alberta and Indigenous communities know how to welcome visitors with open arms and create memories to last a lifetime. By investing in rural tourism and marketing, our government is helping build more capacity to drive innovation, create jobs and enhance Alberta’s reputation as a bucket-list travel destination, explained Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation
“Investments like this support Indigenous entrepreneurs who offer amazing tourism experiences that showcase the stories, wisdom and diversity of Indigenous cultures in less-visited areas of the province. More importantly, these partnerships help support the economic and cultural revitalization of our Indigenous communities and offer a chance for Canadians to connect with Indigenous Peoples as part of their own reconciliation journeys,” added Shae Bird, CEO, Indigenous Tourism Alberta.
Budget 2023 secures Alberta’s future by transforming the health-care system to meet people’s needs, supporting Albertans with the high cost of living, keeping our communities safe and driving the economy with more jobs, quality education and continued diversification.
• The Government of Alberta increased funding to Travel Alberta in Budget 2023 by 14 per cent.
Travel Alberta’s Tourism Investment Program provides $15 million in annual funding to support tourism operators.
In 2022-23, Travel Alberta funded 166 projects across 73 communities – about 75 per cent of the projects and 70 per cent of the funding were in smaller urban and rural areas of the province.
• The Economic Development in Rural Alberta Plan was released in December 2022, with supporting initiatives that demonstrate the government’s commitment to building healthy and prosperous communities across rural Alberta. •