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The past 20 months have been extraordinarily challenging for our sector and the business environment continues to evolve. Through it all, you have been adapting your businesses, changing up your experiences, and working hard to safely welcome visitors to your destination.

Now, halfway through the RETRENCH phase of the Travel Alberta Bootstrap Plan, we wanted to provide you with an update on our team’s efforts—working together with businesses and destination organizations across the province—to support industry recovery and growth.

Retrench, refresh, renew

The situation

COVID-19 has changed the international travel and tourism landscape immeasurably, with tourism continuing to top the list of the hardest hit industries. But there is hope on the horizon.

  • While tourism expenditures in Alberta fell by an estimated 50 per cent in 2020, the impact is being buffered somewhat this year with a resurgence in regional travel—with 2021 expenditures tracking at 35 per cent lower than 2019.

  • Jobs recovery has been slower than in other provinces, but steady gains are expected over the rest the year. Though labour issues remain a concern, Alberta had the most significant tourism employment recovery in August to only 5 per cent below 2019 levels.  

  • Domestic travel has remained strong throughout 2021 and was the primary driver of Alberta’s summer hotel performance—with significant improvement in Occupancy Rates compared to 2020 and associated increases in Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR).

  • Alberta weathered business declines slightly better than the national average. For the tourism sector, it is a testament to your adaptability and determination to get through this crisis so you can continue doing what you love—sharing the best of Alberta with visitors and enriching the communities where you operate.

The new Travel Alberta

On June 17, 2021, the Government of Alberta passed Bill 62, the Red Tape Implementation Act, expanding Travel Alberta’s mandate and creating Canada’s first and only provincial destination management organization. Travel Alberta is now responsible for economic and destination development as well as promotion, allowing us to provide our partners and tourism businesses with the support they need now, as well as strategic direction and plans for future success to help our sector survive and thrive.


Alberta’s tourism industry is a major part of our economy. Tourism businesses provide good jobs in our communities and inject billions of dollars a year into our economy – and they will play a key role in our economic recovery. That’s exactly why Travel Alberta’s mandate has been expanded—to ensure our tourism industry has the support it needs to build back stronger. I’m pleased to see the progress Travel Alberta has made over the past six months. Alberta’s government will continue to work hand-in-hand with Travel Alberta to ensure the recovery and growth of our valuable tourism sector.

Martin Long, Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism


"The expansion of Travel Alberta’s mandate, and the corresponding Bootstrap Strategy, gives us the tools to work with the industry and business to power through the current crisis and drive longer-term sustainable growth."

David Goldstein, CEO of Travel Alberta

The Bootstrap Plan

Goal: Recover the visitor economy to pre-pandemic revenues of $8.2 billion by 2024.

Guided by the Bootstrap Plan, Travel Alberta is focusing on three strategic pillars, Marketing, Access, and Place—combined with strategic business enhancements—to accelerate the rebuild and grow the visitor economy.

marketing, access, place

Business Plan highlights

Travel Alberta has been building the foundation and transitioning organizational systems to support its evolution to a destination management organization—with an emphasis on engaging with tourism partners and increasing our partners’ knowledge and decision-making capacity.


  • Created multi-sectoral and geographically diverse working groups to strengthen engagement and alignment with partners throughout the province. We are in the process of establishing two industry advisory committees to obtain ongoing input on Travel Alberta’s organizational direction.
  • With our industry operating in an ever-changing environment, we are regularly providing tourism partners with the latest consumer and market insights to support your business planning. Check out our monthly Alberta Tourism Industry Dashboard—a comprehensive summary of the most current visitation statistics and trends—and market reports, analyzing how previous source markets are recovering to understand their future potential.

Strategic Pillar I: Marketing


  • Delivered our largest-ever summer marketing campaign (June 1 to September 17) focusing on regional and domestic markets to support Alberta businesses and drive recovery of the visitor economy. This included a direct-to-partner campaign encouraging visitation to 83 tourism partners across the province and an interprovincial search engine marketing program and paid social media pilot.
  • To effectively showcase the amazing experiences and geographically diverse regions of Alberta to potential visitors, we create video and image content to use in our marketing campaigns and across our channels. Summer 2021 was no exception as we captured a wide range of experiences in urban and rural locations around the province—from Calgary and Edmonton to the Foothills and the Badlands to Métis Crossing and Northern Alberta. We also share this captivating content with you, our industry partners, for use in your own promotions through the Travel Alberta Multimedia Library 
  • Throughout the summer we also visited 20 tourism businesses, capturing 40 operators in their element—allowing us to showcase you doing what you love and enabling us to share your stories with our audiences and each other. Below is a sampling of some of the fabulous images we caught in photos and on video. Watch for them across our channels and in Travel Alberta presentations and other products.

Strategic Pillar II: Access

Recovering and increasing air access to the province is crucial to Alberta's economic recovery.


  • Travel Alberta is working with airlines, airports and DMOs to identify priority routes and opportunities for future growth. Many domestic routes have returned, and we are working with our partners to reinvigorate international routes when the time is right.
  • Travel Alberta is working to continue to cut red tape and ease regulatory restrictions on land use, supporting sustainable, long-term growth for entrepreneurs, businesses, and communities.
  • Working with air carriers, Travel Alberta secured 77,000 incremental seats across seven routes, with 21 weekly flights between Calgary and Edmonton International airports and key U.S> destinations to support winter visitation.

Strategic Pillar III: Place

Travel Alberta is dedicated to the ongoing support of our industry—providing significant financial assistance to businesses and organizations across the province—while continuing our emphasis on product/experience development to advance Alberta’s position as a desirable destination for visitors and residents.


Invested over $16 million in tourism investment programs and partnerships:

  • In partnership with Indigenous Tourism Alberta, we developed and are piloting five new Indigenous experiences for launch in 2022—part of a three-year plan targeting the development of 50 new experiences to support entrepreneurship and community economic development, and position Alberta as a premier destination for Indigenous tourism in Canada:
    • Invested over $6 million in 51 capital infrastructure and asset projects around the province – including 10 Indigenous tourism projects totaling $1.3 million.
    • Delivered $5.4 million in funding to Alberta businesses through our popular Cooperative Investment Program to support spring/summer visitation—assisting 179 experience development, partnership marketing and community event projects, with 38 per cent of funding directed to rural areas.
    • Invested $4 million to restart major meetings and events in key cities and destinations around the province.
    • Provided coaching and consultation to 21 tourism businesses that launched new experiences that will entice visitors to destinations around the province.
A visual quote from Indigenous tourism partners

Tourism is a business of personal connections. Throughout the summer, our CEO David Goldstein toured many of Alberta’s unique destinations, meeting with operators and local tourism champions from almost 50 businesses and organizations—sharing his experiences and your deep-rooted passion for your work on his social media channels throughout his journey.

Snapshots of David's 'Summer of Love' tour

Looking forward

Throughout the first six months of this fiscal year, Travel Alberta has focused on supporting recovery, providing funding and expertise to help keep businesses open and Albertans working to support our sector’s rebuild.

Despite the many challenges you continue to face, your optimism for the future is inspiring as you welcome the return of U.S. and international travelers and capitalize on pent-up demand for tourism experiences and bucket list adventures in all areas of the province.

The visitor economy presents an opportunity to diversify and grow communities across Alberta. Now, more than ever, we need to develop creative solutions to support businesses, drive growth, create jobs, and sustain Alberta’s visitor economy now and in the future.

Our collective ability to capitalize on the entrepreneurial spirit and geographic diversity of Alberta provides an exciting landscape to grow new year-round experiences and develop destinations to ensure we are globally competitive.


We have never been more aligned with our partners than we are now. We look forward to continuing the deep collaboration we have enjoyed as we work together toward a brighter future.

David Goldstein, CEO of Travel Alberta

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