A call to action to accelerate the recovery and resilience of Alberta’s visitor economy

Indigenous Tourism Alberta joins an Advisory Panel set to make recommendations to the Provincial Government.

Treaty 7 Territory, Alberta, Canada (June 16, 2020) – In collaboration with The Tourism Industry Association (TIAA) of Alberta, Indigenous Tourism Alberta is participating in a Tourism Industry Advisory Council to develop recommendations to the Government of Alberta for accelerating the recovery of the province’s visitor economy and positioning the industry for a resilient and sustainable future.

Post COVID-19, Alberta’s Visitor economy will be an essential and growing component of many of Alberta’s local and regional economies and community well-being. The visitor economy generates significant employment, drives economic growth and diversification, stimulates investment in community infrastructure and programs and deepens the conservation and appreciation of unique cultures and the natural environment.

“For our industry to remain competitive it’s vital that significant and comprehensive actions and supports for all sectors of the tourism industry are put in place now and over the long-term to enable the visitor economy – and in turn, the Indigenous tourism economy – to accelerate its recovery and contribute to the diversification of our provincial economy,” said Shae Bird, Executive Director of Indigenous Tourism Alberta.

In Alberta, visitors contributed more than $8.9 billion to the provincial economy in 2017 while supporting more than 19,000 businesses and providing jobs for 127,000 Albertans. Indigenous tourism plays a huge role in both Alberta and in Canada where more than 1,500 Indigenous-owned businesses provide $2.65 billion in gross output while employing more than 33,000 people. As of 2017, Indigenous Tourism in Alberta has seen a 75% growth in direct GDP contribution, 45% Growth in Indigenous tourism businesses, and a 42% increase in full time jobs in the Indigenous Tourism sector leading to $166.2M in direct GDP contribution.

To champion the process, TIAA has established the Alberta Tourism Industry Associations Advisory Panel which is comprised of leaders from several of Alberta’s major tourism sector associations, including:

  • Indigenous Tourism Alberta
  • Tourism Industry Association of Alberta
  • Restaurants Canada
  • Canada West Ski Areas Association
  • National Airlines Council of Canada
  • Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Alberta Media Production Industries Association
  • Meetings Means Business Canada

The panel is also working to engage other visitor economy related sector associations in Alberta through an online engagement process. The panel intends to table its recommendations with Premier Kenney and the Economic Recovery Council towards the end of June 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the measures introduced to contain its spread, has had an immediate and catastrophic impact on Alberta’s $8.9B visitor economy. According to the latest Conference Board of Canada research, Indigenous tourism in Alberta is facing 62% decrease in Direct GDP Contribution and 60% decrease in employment within its respective sector within 2020. Federal and provincial government responses such as the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy and tax relief programs have greatly helped many tourism businesses to date. However, the substantive recovery of the visitor economy is expected to be slower than previously anticipated and greater supports are required in order to avoid significant increases in business closures and job losses and local community impacts.

As the panel prepares its recommendations, it will also be considering recommendations and plans developed by other organizations such as Travel Alberta, Destination Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

About Indigenous Tourism Alberta

Incorporated in 2018 as a not-for-profit society, Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA) provides leadership in the development and marketing of authentic Indigenous tourism experiences across Alberta through innovative partnerships. The ITA board consists of six board members representing Indigenous tourism businesses from across Alberta. Indigenous tourism currently generates $130 million in spending in Alberta, providing jobs and supporting entrepreneurs, businesses and communities. For more information, visit www.indigenoustourismalberta.ca.

About The Tourism Industry Association of Alberta

The Tourism Industry Association of Alberta (TIAA) is a not-for-profit, tourism association that advocates on behalf of all segments of Alberta’s tourism economy for a competitive and sustainable business environment that generates substantial economic value for the province.

To set up an interview with Indigenous Tourism Alberta Executive Director, Shae Bird, please contact:

Jessica Harcombe Fleming
Beattie Tartan