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The Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation hosted a media event with Travel Alberta this morning at Burwood Distillery to discuss the recovery and growth of Alberta’s visitor economy.

Before the pandemic, tourism was a $10.1 billion industry contributing $8.4 billion to Alberta’s GDP. Following two years of devastation to the sector, Alberta’s government and Travel Alberta are positioning it for a comeback.

“Alberta’s tourism sector is a key driver of revenue and jobs and will play an important role in economic recovery, growth, and diversification. The industry has faced a couple of years like never before and we have begun the work of re-positioning it for future and sustained growth. Travel Alberta’s investment will accelerate the sector’s recovery and help get it back to pre-pandemic levels by 2024,” said Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation.

Over the next three years, Travel Alberta will invest more than $50 million dollars to enhance and grow visitor products and experiences.

“We are proud to support entrepreneurs and communities to strengthen the visitor experience, building on our global reputation as a must-see destination,” said David Goldstein, president and CEO, Travel Alberta.

Businesses, non-profits, communities and associations can now apply for two different investment programs, to receive funding for the 2022-23 season:

  • The product development fund provides up to $500,000 to support tourism growth through asset and experience enhancement, development and diversification. For the first time, funding is available to early-stage tourism entrepreneurs and start-ups that have been in business for at least six months.
  • The cooperative investment fund provides up to $100,000 to help communities grow tourism revenue through destination development, promotion, and cultural activities. Funding will be aimed at rural development and promotion and events and festivals.

Applications for first round of funding close Friday, May 13 at 11:59 p.m.

Following the media event, Minister Doug Schweitzer, Parliamentary Secretary Martin Long, Calgary-Klein MLA Jeremy Nixon and Travel Alberta CEO David Goldstein got a taste of the visitor experience with a tour of the distillation room from Burwood Distillery’s CEO Dr. Jordan Ramey.

Burwood Distillery David Goldstein at Podium.
David Goldstein, president and CEO, Travel Alberta
Burwood Distillery group tour.
Burwood Distillery tour.

Burwood Distillery: A farm-to-glass visitor experience

Calgary’s Burwood Distillery received funding from Travel Alberta’s investment program last year to expand their visitor experience.

“The pandemic gave us an opportunity to really focus and revise what we wanted our guest experience to be like in the future. We knew the pandemic would end and that visitors would return. So we decided to make a core focus of our business bringing tourists into our facility to showcase Alberta as this wonderful agricultural province,” said Jordan Ramey, founder and CEO of Burwood Distillery.

Burwood recently secured the historic Stables Building in Calgary’s Currie Barracks, which will provide the perfect public-facing space to host visitors. Renovations are now underway with plans to move to the new location this fall. Novel guest experiences including ‘make-your-own-gin classes’ and ‘a hands-on introduction to Alberta beekeeping,’ will create a year-round, farm-to-glass experience highlighting Alberta’s world class agriculture.

Travel Alberta CEO David Goldstein explains, “This is a great example of the great work we can do to enhance the visitor experience. We’ve been partnering with this group—and dozens of entrepreneurs across the province—to make sure we’re ready with world-class experiences as the visitor economy returns.”

Read the full press release.

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