About the industry

With attractions that draw millions of visitors each year, Alberta reaps the benefits of tourism. It is one of the province’s largest sectors, creating approximately 127,000 full-time equivalent jobs in a wide variety of areas, from four-season resorts, hotels, cabins, lodges, RV campgrounds, retail and transportation services.

Snapshot: Alberta Tourism (2014)

  • 34.7 million person-visits were made to Alberta.
  • Of the 34.7 million person-visits to Alberta, residents of Alberta accounted for approximately 85.9%. Residents of other Canadian provinces accounted for 9.3%, and international visitors accounted for 4.8%.
  • Approximately 39% of all visits in the province included at least one overnight stop in Alberta yielding 13.6 million overnight person-visits in 2014.
  • Across all markets in 2014 the visiting friends and relatives segment represented approximately 44% of all overnight visits in the province.   

Tourism is big business – and not only in Alberta. The federal government estimates that tourism contributes as much to Canada’s wealth as agriculture, fishery and forestry combined.

Around the world, jurisdictions are recognizing and capitalizing on its economic potential, fueling the rise of tourism as one of the fastest growing industries on the planet.

Every dollar spent by a tourist trickles down into the local economy where the effect is multiplied. A $50 tank of gas contributes to the wages of the workers employed there, who spend their salary on groceries, child care, etc. Like a stone hitting a pool of water, tourist spending ripples throughout the entire community.

Unlike beef or oil and gas – other exports for which Alberta is famous – Alberta’s tourism product is not shipped to customers around the world. Our customers come to us, bringing billions of dollars destined for the provincial economy. Tourism is both environmentally and economically sustainable. With proper management, we can utilize our resources over and over, protect our natural assets, and realize a return on our investment.

Visit Alberta

Located in Western Canada, Alberta is nearly twice the size of Germany or Japan. Its diverse landscape ranges from the rugged Canadian Rocky Mountains, through picturesque foothills, parkland and seemingly endless prairies, to the spectacular Badlands and remote northern forests, along with lakes and rivers. The diversity of geography and landscapes support a range of business and investment opportunities in Alberta’s tourism sector including: four-season resorts featuring hotels, boutique inns, vacation homes and recreational amenities (golf, skiing, spas, restaurants and retail services); lodge and cabin development in mountain and lake oriented settings; RV campground resorts, western themed accommodation and horseback riding, as well as guided adventure and ecotourism related business pursuits that take advantage of Alberta’s pristine environment.

Five of Canada’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located in Alberta. The province is home to the world renowned Jasper and Banff National Parks. Alberta has been host to several hallmark international sporting events such as the 1976 Commonwealth Games and 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. It also has a rich diversity of attractions and annual events such as the West Edmonton Shopping Mall, Calgary Stampede event, Spruce Meadows equestrian facility and a network of provincial historic sites and parks. The province’s two major cities, Edmonton and Calgary, have a combined population in excess of 2,000,000 people and both cities provide modern, urban infrastructure and services to support residents and visitors alike.

The diversity of Alberta’s economy has created jobs and disposable income for Albertans, who are in turn seeking out exciting travel experiences within their own province. At the same Alberta’s industrial activity has also resulted in significant business travel patterns that has created demand for a range of hospitality, tourism and transportation services.

Alberta currently offers direct air service between points in North America, Europe and Asia out of the Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray International Airports. It has an extensive and well maintained provincial highway network that connects communities and areas throughout Alberta, with linkages to other Canadian provinces and the United States.