The United States remains Alberta's largest international market and all indicators for leisure travel show continued potential to increase visitation and spending. Economic conditions in the U.S. have stabilized with increases in gross domestic product, employment and consumer confidence. An increase in direct air access to Calgary and Edmonton international airports makes travelling to Alberta easier. Current exchange rates represent an opportunity to capitalize on the increased purchasing power of Americans in Alberta. A steady surge in passport applications and renewals provide further opportunity to grow leisure visitation.
Contrary to leisure travel, the outlook for business travel in 2016 points to a significant decline. Low oil prices have resulted in some American airlines reducing frequency of service and seats on some routes to hedge risk, while increasing service on more popular routes nationally. The high cost of airfare relative to competitive destinations remains an immediate concern for business and leisure travellers alike.
Travellers from the U.S. include leisure, business and Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR). Travel Alberta leverages all marketing channels as part of our global marketing strategy to drive awareness of Alberta experiences and create a sense of urgency to visit Alberta today. An "always-on" multi-channel approach is necessary to influence travellers through each stage of their purchasing decision.
California, Texas, Washington and Montana are key targets for Alberta, based on aspects such as proximity, air access, population size and high concentration of Free Spirits and Cultural Explorers. With Destination Canada's recent re-entry into the U.S., Travel Alberta will work collaboratively with these markets to encourage increased visitation from Americans into Alberta.
Opportunity for growthLeverage the strength of the U.S. dollar to increase winter and shoulder season visitation, expand marketing within new segments to grow Alberta's market share.
- Continue to create demand to visit Alberta from high potential markets and market segments
- Leverage the strong Canada brand by partnering with Destination Canada and provincial partners • Leverage the value of U.S. dollar to drive incremental expenditures and length of stay
- Invest in marketing partnerships that will help to diversify Alberta product and grow visitation throughout the province
- Continue to promote and convert winter MICE business in urban and resort centres
- Strengthen Alberta’s position in the MICE segment through strong vertical alignment with Alberta industries