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Consider the last time you travelled, for business or pleasure. Chances are you prioritized destinations that could be reached by a direct flight. No one wants to waste precious hours in airports during long layovers.  

Alberta is a distinctly fly-to destination. In fact, more than 70 per cent of U.S. travellers and 85 per cent of international travellers arrived by air in 2019. That’s why our destination management strategy focuses on increasing direct air access to Alberta from our primary international markets. To double the value of tourism in Alberta by 2035, we must ensure visitors can reach our province easily.  

To grow the number and frequency of international routes to Alberta, we must grow demand for these flights in international markets. We do this by partnering with major airlines to support direct flights from our key markets, and building partner marketing campaigns to promote these flights to travellers. 

Outstanding results – and the momentum is growing 

A critical driver behind our swift tourism recovery was the implementation of an air access strategy aimed at recovering direct air routes into the province from key markets. To reduce the impacts of air service disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we partnered with several Canadian airlines to ensure Alberta remained a competitive destination for business and leisure travellers, with a target investment ratio of 6.5:1.  

From 2021-2023, Alberta recovered 13 routes representing more than 500,000 seats. This resulted in seat capacity from our core markets exceeding pre-pandemic levels from May to October 2023, well above the national average. 

The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge offers a unique cultural gateway to Japan.

Targeting high value travellers 

Alberta’s tourism operators can capitalize on this momentum by tailoring tourism experiences and marketing to travellers most likely to visit often and spend more in Alberta. That includes travellers from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Japan and Korea, according to our market research. Learn more about these audiences by reviewing their market insight profiles. 

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