We all need goals, and Tourism Alberta is no different. With a lofty target of $20 billion by 2030, CEO Royce Chwin believes some creative thinking can get them there.
The 20th annual Travel Alberta Industry Conference took place recently, where Chwin pointed out that the industry collaboration over the last decade has built fantastic infrastructure for the next decade, and when it comes to meeting their future targets, that’s a good thing. Visitors to Alberta spent a record-making $8.9 billion, which supported more than 22,000 tourism-related businesses and 127,000 jobs all over the province. This marked a 5 per cent increase year-over-year.
Looking ahead, Chwin remarked on the triple bottom line that would impact the tourism business moving forward: people, planet and profit. The strategy for the coming years simply must tick all the boxes.
Tanya Fir, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, said, “Our government has a bold vision for a strong tourism industry that creates jobs and economic growth in Alberta. This is why we’re going to be developing a 10-year tourism strategy and are creating the right conditions for Alberta’s tourism to thrive.” She continues, “We have the lowest taxes on job creators in Canada and we are cutting red tape across the economy. We’re excited about the potential for growth in tourism across Alberta.”
Chwin also remarked that “Fostering positive working relationships with other industries, communities and businesses is central to our ability to grow Alberta’s visitor economy.” This will be realized through developing new tourism experiences across the province and driving visitation year-round, which has been a part of the success the industry has had over the last decade, and which is still being utilized as part of the future framework.
With the planet in mind, Chwin points out that although the visitor economy needs to keep growing, the need to provide tourism experiences that are responsible and sustainable are more important than ever.
“Alberta entrepreneurs and tourism-related businesses are the backbone of our industry,” said Chwin. “They’re the ones who create the experiences that inspire travellers to come to Alberta, build communities and economies, and create the jobs that support our province.”
The initiatives for the decade ahead are designed with Alberta, and the needs of Albertans in mind. Chwin touched on the importance of taking into account the quality of life for Albertans, as well as community health, and how those will be integral components of the new Alberta tourism growth strategy.
“How we balance these three elements—people, the planet and profit—answer the challenges, and take advantage of the opportunities before us, is what Alberta’s 10-year tourism strategy will aim to solve,” said Chwin. “As an industry and province, we’re more aligned than we’ve ever been. Our ability to collaborate has been, and will continue to be, our greatest competitive advantage.”
To that end, Chwin shared information about a new industry-led coalition, the Tourism Industry Association of Alberta (TIAA). This will work in collaboration with industry stakeholders, including the Government of Alberta and Travel Alberta. The board includes long-time industry champion Alida Visbach, who will steer TIAA to advocate policy that supports the growth and sustainability of Alberta’s visitor economy. Fostering strategic partnerships, and driving innovation, investment and the development of new visitor experiences is what will guide TIAA as they navigate the next 10 years ahead.