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Alberta’s tourism sector is made up of many inspiring entrepreneurs who are paving the way through their creativity and passion. As tourism continues to grow into a core economic driver across Alberta, we look to these operators to influence the sector’s future.

The United Nations identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals to guide industries across the world. These goals go beyond the traditional definition of sustainability to encompass the various ways that development can improve the world, and many of them have strong ties to tourism.

  • Goal 8 – Decent work and economic growth: tourism is Alberta’s top service export, contributing more than $10 billion to Alberta’s economy in 2022. As a primary employer of people under 35, it creates meaningful employment opportunities that keeps communities young and vibrant.
  • Goal 9 – Industry, innovation, and infrastructure: a vibrant tourism sector can result in additional infrastructure that improves accessibility, increases efficiency, and boosts the quality of life for residents.
  • Goal 11 – Sustainable cities and communities: tourism can bring cities and towns to life and support local businesses, events and festivals, and more. As a key economic contributor, it offers opportunities to diversify local economies.
  • Goal 15 – Life on land: Rich biodiversity and natural heritage are often the main reasons tourists visit a destination. If sustainably managed, tourism can help foster an appreciation and sense of personal ownership over these wild spaces to ensure they remain for generations to come.  

When developed in partnership with residents and local communities, tourism has the power to drive positive change. And many operators across the province are already taking massive steps toward a sustainable sector—with support from Travel Alberta investment.

Onespot Crossing Campground and Elevated Escapes (Bragg Creek)

The OneSpot Crossing Campground is owned by David and Ginger Onespot, located just outside of Bragg Creek. Their campground features a series of canvas tents and boutique glamping accommodations; the result of a unique partnership between the Onespot Crossing Campground and Jenna Walsh, owner/operator of Elevated Escapes glamping company.

In 2023, Travel Alberta invested in the OneSpot Crossing Campground for the purchase of two all-season event tents to host Indigenous programming and events on their property.

In 2022, Travel Alberta invested in Elevated Escapes to fund their geodesic dome accommodations. With these sturdy, warm structures and built-in fireplaces, the glamping site can remain open year-round.

This partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous operators exemplifies how tourism  builds community, supports residents, and creates a platform to share cultures. These low-impact year-round accommodations, coupled with a year-round event space to teach Indigenous land-based culture and teachings, provides a sustainable and regenerative experience that visitors from across the world can enjoy.

Pine Creek Retreat (Smoky Lake)

Pine Creek Retreat offers a unique wellness experience in Smoky Lake. Inspired by traditional Métis culture and teachings, the retreat serves as a place for guests to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with nature.

The unique cabin accommodations at Pine Creek are a contemporary redesign of traditional Métis trapper shelters. Pine Creek is built with environmentally conscious infrastructure and fosters farm to table cuisine, promoting a more sustainable tourism practice.

In 2022, Travel Alberta invested in building these unique accommodations. Each of these cabins are sustainably built and offer a king size bed (or two twins), a sitting area, picnic table, firepit, and a BBQ. The property features hiking trails, paddle boarding, and bike paths.

Wellness experiences underline the interconnectedness of people and nature, which has been identified as a desired traveller experience.

A platform to share cultures

Our partners at Indigenous Tourism Alberta often discuss tourism’s power to transform communities. They emphasize the role that sustainable tourism can play in preserving history and culture. It can create meaningful job opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and ensure languages and histories are passed down and shared with people from across the world.

In many ways, community-led Indigenous tourism is regenerative in nature and aligns well with sustainable development goals.

Tourism has the power to change lives, open doors, and transform communities. It holds the key to a sustainable future—one in which we can all prosper.

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