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Tourism and the Alberta economy

Tourism and the Alberta economy

Posted on: 5/28/2019 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Alberta has a lot to offer tourists, from fine dining and fringe festivals to majestic mountains and pro sports. With May 26 to June 2 being Tourism Week, it’s a good time to take a look at the sector’s economic influence.

Because tourism cuts across multiple industries, Statistics Canada had to create a special “Provincial and Territorial Satellite Account” to measure its economic impact at the sub-national level. According to the satellite account, tourism activities in Alberta generated $5.2 billion—or 1.4 per cent of the province’s GDP—in 2014 (the most recent year for which data are available) and supported 75,100 jobs.

Here are some of the main main components of Alberta’s tourism GDP in 2014: transportation makes up 24 per cent, accommodation is 23 per cent, food and beverage accounts for 14 per cent, recreation and entertainment is 6 per cent, and travel agents make up 5 per cent.

“Industries that produce some products bought by tourists including groceries, alcoholic beverages from stores, motor vehicle parts and repair, motor vehicle fuel, toiletries, etc,” accounted for the remaining 28 per cent.

The number of international visitors to Alberta who stayed one or more nights was up 16 per cent in 2018 (1,076,368) compared to five years earlier in 2014 (925,790).

By far, the biggest market for tourism in Alberta is Albertans and other Canadians. A total of 35.5 million trips to or within Alberta were made by other Canadians and Albertans in 2017, up 10 per cent from five years earlier in 2013.

Tourism should have another good year in 2019, with a relatively weak Loonie encouraging Americans to visit and sluggish economic growth perhaps leading more Albertans to vacation within the province as a way of saving money.

International tourists to Alberta, graph​​​​​​​

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