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Tourism Works: CEO Blog

Travel Alberta is committed to providing timely and relevant information related to the business of tourism in Alberta and beyond. On this blog page Travel Alberta’s Chief executive Officer Royce Chwin provides insights as well as revealing statistics related to the industry. Chwin’s objective for this communication tool is to acknowledge some of the questions people involved in Alberta’s tourism industry are asking.

Check back each month for the latest entry in the Tourism Works: CEO Blog, and engage with Travel Alberta through our corporate social media channels:

Tourism Works: CEO Blog

Alberta economy
Let’s Respect Ourselves

With Tourism Week in Canada just around the corner (May 28 to June 3) it’s a fitting time to showcase how far we’ve come as an industry. Tourism is finally earning a seat at the adult’s table, respected as a core contributor to the economy alongside agriculture, mining, forestry and technology. That’s something to celebrate.

We see perceptions changing around the world, with travel and tourism now making up 10 per cent of the world’s GDP and 10 per cent of all employment. Our industry outperformed growth in the majority of leading sectors in 2014 – including automotive, public services, retail and financial services – according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Not to mention demonstrated resiliency in times of economic pressure.

In Canada, the statistics have never been more encouraging. Our nation welcomed almost 20 million travellers in 2016, an increase of 11 per cent. That’s the highest number since 2002 and second highest ever, according to a recent Destination Canada report.

Here in Alberta, the tourism sector continues to be a critical shock absorber at a time when other sectors are struggling with low global commodity prices and an unsteady dollar. Alberta’s visitor economy is an $8 billion industry that supports 19,000 businesses and employs more than 127,000 people across the province. When I share these stats with people, it typically elicits some level of surprise.

Why is tourism finally getting the respect it deserves?

The numbers stated above are certainly a big part of the picture. Tourism has been a strong and consistent engine of economic growth. But I think just as important is the great work our industry has done over the past decade in explaining and promoting our role.

We have fought the perception that tourism is just about fun – holidays, hotels and events – nothing to take too seriously. We have shown how it is an industry of industries that actually drives trade.

And we are helping others understand the full impact of the visitor economy by showing how the multiplier effect of tourist spending ripples throughout our whole economy; supporting job creation, infrastructure development and community building.

Everyone can see the direct benefits of dollars spent on travel and tourism products, the jobs created, wages earned and taxes paid. But countries, destinations, regions and cities also benefit when entrepreneurs come for a meeting or convention, fall in love with the destination and decide to start or relocate their business here; in this case - Alberta. They, in turn, help to drive growth and build strong communities.

Tourism Week is a great opportunity to share our broader story of economic value and social benefit impacting entire economies, local communities and individuals making a career in tourism.

As members of this sector, we have a responsibility – and the pleasure – to speak with one voice, own the success of Alberta tourism and continue to demonstrate its value. This year for Tourism Week, take the time to visit an attraction, enjoy a meal in a restaurant or share with others your passion for tourism in this province.

I also invite you to join me and others for the 2017 Tourism Town Hall webinar on May 29, 2017. The online presentation and Q&A, hosted by Travel Alberta and Alberta Culture and Tourism, addresses current trends, destination development, marketing efforts and news impacting our industry today and tomorrow.

Together, let’s show how tourism works for Alberta.

We’re here to help. When you’re ready, we’re ready.
TOURISM WORKS

Royce Chwin
Travel Alberta Team Member
Chief Executive Officer

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