Prairie Post (East Edition)

Investing in Alberta’s rural tourism experience­s

- Contribute­d

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.

Quick facts

• 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. •

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