Snapshot: Alberta Tourism (2007)
• More than 22 million person visits were made to Alberta.
• Tourism generated over $5 billion in visitor spending.
• Although 80% of Alberta’s tourists were from Alberta, 47% of tourism expenditures came from out-of-province visitors.
• Over $680 million in tax revenue was generated for the Alberta government by tourism spending.
• Over 100,000 Albertans are employed province-wide due to tourism.
Is Your Community Reaping the Benefits?
The World Tourism Council estimates that travel and tourism provides employment for nearly 220 million people worldwide (that’s one in thirteen workers) and is responsible for over 9% of worldwide capital investment.
It is one of Alberta’s largest sectors, creating jobs for more than 100,000 Albertans from four-season resorts, hotels, cabins, lodges, RV campgrounds, retail and transportation services. Tourism contributes as much to Canada’s wealth as agriculture, fishery and forestry combined.
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 and local economies.
How Tourism Benefits Communities
Tourism is one of the most effective ways of redistributing wealth, by moving money into local economies from other parts of the country and overseas. It brings income into a community that would otherwise not be earned.
The Ripple Effect
A tourist dollar is a new dollar injected into the local economy. A percentage of this new dollar is spent in the community by the recipient and this dollar is spent and re-spent creating a multiplier effect. For example, a $50 tank of gas contributes to the wages of the workers employed there, who spends the salary on groceries, child care, etc. Like a stone hitting a pool of water, tourist spending ripples throughout the entire community.
Tourism is a labour intensive industry and creates many job opportunities, especially for young people and part-time and full-time workers. In the tourism hospitality and recreation industries alone there are 50 categories of employment and approximately 200 classifications of occupations.
Economic diversification is, for many communities, an insurance policy against hard times. By offering an additional means of income, tourism can support a community when a traditional industry is under financial pressure, particularly where that community relies heavily on a single industry. This is particularly significant for regional rural communities.
Tourism creates opportunities for the establishment of new products, facilities and services and expansion of existing businesses which would not otherwise be justified solely on the resident population.
Preservation of the Environment and Heritage
Tourism highlights the need for proper management and can ensure the environment, heritage and character of an area are preserved.
Catalyst for Residential Development
In many places visitors who initially travelled to particular areas as tourists, have relocated to those areas to become residents and acquire a better quality of life.
Tourism can stimulate the establishment of new and improved transport services to and within a regional area, including roads and parks, and other public spaces can be developed and improved both for visitors and local residents through increased tourism activity in a region.
Community identity and pride can be generated through tourism. A positive sense of community identity is reinforced and tourism can encourage local communities to maintain their traditions and identity. Tourism provides the opportunity for residents to interact with other people and cultures and brings new ideas into the community.
Case Study: Farmers markets
The popularity of farmers’ markets is increasingly becoming a key driver of economic development in regional areas. Activities such as visits to farms and farmers’ markets, fruit picking and agricultural farm accommodation may provide important supplemental activities to struggling rural areas. Some of the benefits of Farmers’ Markets include:
• Showcases local produce and local products
• Encourages visitors from other areas
• Showcases the local and regional areas
• Allows for community events to be incorporated
• Provides distribution opportunities for small businesses
• Valuable contribution to the economic development of the area as money is spent locally