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The results are in! It’s been just over a month since we finished hosting town halls across the province. This year, we included round table discussions about the state of the tourism industry, to better understand the needs of our trusted industry partners.

Here are the top five most discussed topics and the resources available to you:

1. More funding for business support and project development

Alberta’s operators are full of pioneering ideas and our tourism investment program is in place to get those ideas off the ground.

Twice a year, we accept applications to a variety of investment streams that support Alberta’s tourism entrepreneurs. If you missed applying for our spring application period, be sure to sign up for our newsletter. We will notify you when our fall program opens in September 2023.

Other grants and funding opportunities outside Travel Alberta include:

  • Community Initiatives Program (CIP) – Supports not-for-profit organizations starting new programs and initiatives, community events and community publications.
  • Northern and Regional Economic Development Program – Focuses on projects that enhance local economic conditions.
  • Community Facility Enhancement Program – Small and large funding streams to support the development of public-use community facilities.
  • CanExport SMEs – Assistance with international market development activities, such as market intelligence, tradeshows, marketing materials, and more.
  • BDC’s Small Business Loan – The Small Business Loan program provides loans of up to $100,000. The entire process is 100% online and is intended to help smaller firms address short-term financing needs.
  • Digital Economy Program (DEP) – Business Link offers this program to help Alberta’s small business owners undergo digital transformation and incorporate eCommerce strategies.
  • Infrastructure Canada – Investments in social, green, public transit and other core public infrastructure, along with trade and transportation infrastructure.

2. Increase knowledge of Indigenous products and operators

We heard from a significant number of our non-Indigenous attendees that they want to better understand the Indigenous tourism ecosystem. Indigenous Tourism Alberta is your go-to resource for making those connections, along with access to training programs, inspirational stories, and other material.


To many Indigenous communities, tourism is seen as important work. The benefits go beyond economic ones. The purpose is often cultural preservation, revitalization, and sharing truth. When working with an Indigenous community or business owner, it helps to be conscious of Indigenous tourism as a deeply meaningful and personal exercise of identity and narrative ownership through sharing culture and history with others.

Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA)

3. Product development, particularly year-round attractions, that address seasonality and labour challenges

Developing year-round attractions will encourage visitors to spend more, stay longer, visit more parts of the province, and travel off-season. We’re working in partnership with communities, businesses, investors and government to create multi-seasonal destinations. This will enable a year-round workforce, sustainable economic growth, and more stable, resilient communities.

For more information on our destination development approach, review our TDZ (Tourism Development Zone) project. Questions? Get in touch with your destination development manager. 

4. Support surrounding regulation and policy

The Tourism Industry Association of Alberta (TIAA) is a membership-based organization that advocates for Alberta’s tourism economy. As a not-for-profit, TIAA works with its members to create a competitive and sustainable business environment that has a positive effect on Alberta’s economy.

To learn more about what TIAA does and connect with their team, visit their website.

5. Boost resident sentiment and support towards tourism

To achieve sustainable tourism growth, residents need to support the visitor economy and be ambassadors of travel and tourism in their communities. Over 82,000 Albertans make their livelihoods in the tourism sector. Imagine the waves we could make across our communities, if we all become local champions for our sector?

Tourism has the power to grow the economy, create meaningful careers, preserve vital culture and languages, foster innovation, build amenities and improve quality of life. And we all play a role in getting our neighbours on board.

Looking forward

We’re grateful to work in this industry and value our partnerships with Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA), Tourism Industry Association of Alberta (TIAA), regional DMOs, industry associations, and every Albertan who is impacted by the visitor economy.

These town halls were a great way to connect with the industry, and we’re grateful to everyone who showed up and shared their thoughts. But this is only the first step. As we continue building Alberta’s visitor economy, community engagement will continue to play a critical role in ensuring we’re building a tourism industry that supports all Albertans, in all corners of the province.

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