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Every job has its purpose and contributes value to the local economy, but humans are not all built the same. Not everyone desires a desk job on the 24th floor of a skyscraper. We need diversity in career options and tourism provides exactly that.

Over the last year, we’ve asked tourism operators about their experiences working in tourism. There are a lot of misconceptions about our industry and those we spoke to were excited to set the record straight.

Those in tourism are incredibly passionate about what they do. Our province and people are bursting with potential – you can’t help but get wrapped up in the passion and excitement of it all.

So, the next time someone asks, “Why tourism?” here are some reasons why tourism makes a great career:

Benefits of working in tourism

Whether you work for your local dinosaur museum, show visitors how to make their own gin, or craft your region’s next marketing campaign, there are many skills and benefits to be gained in tourism.

1. Learn to think on your feet:Tourism requires people to be flexible with changing conditions. This is true whether you run a visitor attraction or work for a destination marketing organization. An added bonus? Exercising this skill can make your personal life easier, too!

2. Exposure to a variety of cultures and perspectives:Many jobs in the tourism industry offer the opportunity to engage with different perspectives and cultures. These diverse experiences can teach you so much, not only about the world, but also yourself. This knowledge is invaluable and something you can carry with you for the rest of your life.

3. Next level customer service: When you’re exposed to other cultures and perspectives, it’s natural to come across personalities that differ from yours. Success in tourism requires you to strengthen those interpersonal skills that allow you to work with different people and provide first-class customer service.

Distiller at Bridgeland Distillery speaks to guests about the ingredients used in their products.

4. Improve your physical lifestyle:For some in the industry, a job in tourism creates space for a healthier lifestyle. Your day-to-day may require you to be outside in the fresh air and on your feet, working your muscles. This physical activity can have many benefits, especially for your mental health.  

5. Connection to the community:A successful tourism industry requires that we work together as a team. Many business owners have shared with us how tourism encouraged community connection, strengthening the local fabric and instilling a sense of pride in the successes achieved together.

6. Business management: Did you know that the majority of tourism businesses in Alberta are run by local entrepreneurs and everyday Albertans?  A career in tourism can be a stepping stone to starting a business, and teaches many valuable skills including  financial literacy, culture and employee relations, business planning, acquiring investment, marketing, and more.  

7. You become an ambassador of Alberta: As you familiarize yourself with the industry, you quickly discover how much Alberta has to offer. Through connections and conversations, you learn about Alberta’s history, unique landscapes, and inspiring individuals. And soon enough, you have that passion that everyone in tourism shares.

Canmore Raft Tours takes a family out on the Bow River.

What jobs are available in tourism?

When people think tourism, typically their mind goes to the person at the hotel front desk when, in fact, there are many other shoes to fill across the sector. Here are a few examples:

  • Communications and marketing: Whether it’s for a single operator or a destination marketing organization, why not pursue a career focused on sharing Alberta with the world?
  • Event management: We wouldn’t be a tourism destination without events, festivals, and entertainment to attract visitors from across the world or the province next door. If you’re already in this business and have some big ideas for sparking traveller interest, then check out our Events and Festivals Fund.
  • Photography and videography: How else do you promote a location unless it’s with imagery? Visual assets are key for destination promotion. If you have an eye for capturing the beauty and reality of the people and places around you, then you have potential for a career in tourism photography.
  • Experience providers and tour operators: Alberta has vast number of options for thrill seekers who want to share their passion with others. This can be anything from horseback riding, paddle boarding, river rafting, mountain biking, snowboarding, stargazing, and so much more.
  • Accommodations and hospitality: Whether you’re in management or housekeeping and maintenance, your role in hospitality is critical to visitors enjoying their time here. You’re the difference between a fantastic trip and a mediocre one. In many of these cases, you can work your way up into management roles such as finances, guest relations or operations.
  • Entrepreneurship: Some people prefer to be their own boss and pursue the ideas they dream of. If you see a gap in Alberta’s experiences and have the drive to transform your idea into reality, then maybe you’re built for entrepreneurship. We have funding options set up to fast track your business ideas, one of which is the Incubator Fund for business that are just starting out.

This list doesn’t capture even half of the opportunities in the industry, such as wellness, Indigenous, culinary, transportation or sales. The opportunities are endless.

If you want a career that feels like you’re making a difference and part of something bigger than yourself, then working in tourism, especially in Alberta, might be the job for you.

Travel Alberta has a team of Destination Development Managers who are there to support new business owners along the way. If you have any questions, reach out to your region’s manager today.

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