More support for Alberta’s tourism sector

News Release

More support for Alberta’s tourism sector

Alberta’s government is providing additional supports to the province’s tourism sector by making sure more money stays in the pockets of job creators.

Hotels and other lodging providers will now be able to keep the tourism levy amounts collected between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. This extension of the original abatement period, which was to end Dec. 31, will free up to $10 million in additional cash flow for the sector to employ staff, maintain operations and continue providing valuable services through the winter season.

Organizations in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Jasper and Canmore that promote these tourism destinations will also receive a combined total of $8 million in support. These organizations will safely attract visitors to the province for spring and summer of next year – visitors that will frequent local businesses and get Albertans working.

To support these efforts, the Alberta government has also expanded Travel Alberta’s role within the province. The organization is now responsible for helping develop new travel destinations and expanding tourism across the province, in addition to marketing and promoting Alberta as a must-see tourism destination. Travel Alberta will also conduct key industry research that will give tourism businesses and stakeholders a more thorough understanding of the current state of the sector so they can make informed business decisions.

“Alberta is home to so many beautiful tourist destinations. It is important that we support our tourism industry so Alberta can welcome back the world when we’re able to do so safely. Travel Alberta and our small businesses that run our tourist attractions are critical to this recovery as we move forward out of this pandemic.”Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“We welcome the announcement of additional supports to help Alberta’s battered tourism sector through the pandemic, while setting our industry up for long-term recovery and growth. We are focusing on a smart rebound – aimed at attracting high-yield visitors, and where the measure of success is boosting revenue, not just visitor numbers. The expanded mandate for Travel Alberta better positions us to support economic recovery and sustainable growth that will benefit Albertans, businesses and communities for decades to come.”David Goldstein, CEO, Travel Alberta

“We are pleased that the government understands the challenges that Alberta hotels are facing, and has responded positively to the AHLA’s request to extend the abatement of the tourism levy. Leaving tourism levy dollars in the hands of hotel operators provides additional liquidity to an industry that is fighting to survive due to the necessary restrictions on travel and gatherings that remain in place to fight COVID-19.”Dave Kaiser, president and CEO, Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association

“The Travel Industry Association of Alberta is pleased with these clear statements of support for Alberta’s struggling tourism industry. On behalf of our industry membership, we look forward to further collaboration with government to help tourism businesses navigate through this pandemic, and to reach our goal of achieving $20 billion in tourism revenues by 2030.”Alida Visbach, board chair, Tourism Industry Association of Alberta

“These supports are critical to ensuring our tourism industry has the cash flow it needs in these challenging times. We will continue to consult with and listen to our tourism and small business job creators as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.”Martin Long, parliamentary secretary for small business and tourism

“These announcements are huge for our tourism communities, which have been hardest hit by the COVID 19 pandemic. Tourism is the business of memory making, and the creation of this provincial destination marketing organization, coupled with financial support for our local destination marketing organizations and hoteliers, will ensure that Canmore, Banff and Kananaskis remain as some of the most attractive tourism destinations in the world for people to visit, enjoy and fall in love with.”Miranda Rosin, MLA for Banff-Kananaskis

In May, Alberta’s government approved the abatement of the tourism levy from March 1 to Dec. 31, as a way to free up an estimated $22 million in capital for the sector. The abatement has been extended for three months after considering feedback from accommodation providers across the province.

Companies are still expected to file returns as required by the Tourism Levy Act, and will be expected to resume regular tourism levy payments on amounts collected in or after April 2021.

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth.

Quick facts

  • In 2017, the tourism industry employed about 72,500 full-time employees and contributed $7.3 billion to the province’s GDP.
  • Between 2015 and 2017, Alberta saw an average of 35 million person visits annually, with these visitors spending about $8.5 billion on tourism in our communities each year.
  • According to Statistics Canada:
    • There were about 20,000 tourism-related businesses in Alberta in June 2020, accounting for 3.7 per cent of the total number of businesses in the province.
    • About 11 per cent of Canada’s tourism-related businesses are in Alberta.
    • The majority of Alberta’s tourism-related businesses (98.6 per cent) are small, consisting of either a self-employed person with a minimum annual revenue of $30,000, or a business with between one and 99 employees.

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