Note from the editor: Alberta Culture and Tourism, linked below, is now known as Parks, tourism, and recreation.

Since the first travellers visited the hot springs in Banff in the railway era of tourism, Alberta has been a compelling destination for visitors worldwide. More than 100 years later, tourism still plays a vital role in Alberta’s continuing economic success and contributes to the social vitality of the province. Today, tourism in Alberta is comprised of 19,000 businesses, provides 127,000 jobs in Alberta and generates $8.1 billion in expenditures.

Getting Started in the Tourism Industry

Want in? Tourism is an industry unlike any other. While there is nothing quite like sharing the province and its many hidden gems with visitors from near and far, it is important to understand what makes tourism different and what unique opportunities and challenges the industry experiences. Some of the challenges can include seasonal impacts on visitor numbers, which can in turn have impacts on staffing, hosting capacity, cash flow and other operational considerations. It is important to build your business with these realities in mind and to plan accordingly for risk mitigation.

Accessing Resources to Build Your Business

If you’re looking to get into the tourism business or seeking to grow your tourism offering, Alberta Culture and Tourism is here to help. The ministry is committed to growing the industry and maximizing the opportunities tourism creates across the province. We are working with our industry partners to grow Alberta’s tourism industry, contributing to economic diversification, job creation and quality of life.

Alberta Culture and Tourism is a great place to find resources to help you start or expand your tourism business—whether you’re a farmer seeking to open your gates to visitors, a guide who wants to start taking hikers to favourite back-country destinations, or a restauranteur who wants to share a unique culinary story. We offer programs, services and supports from the very inception of a tourism business through to market and investment readiness. Some of these services include:

  • Identifying tourism opportunities
  • Business planning and coaching
  • Regulatory process and approvals
  • Business retention and expansion support
  • Funding pathfinding (including grant and tax credit programs offered by the Government of Alberta)
  • Investment attraction
  • Community engagement
  • Market research and market potential
  • Market trends
  • Connections to the tourism industry and partner resources

Finding Your Target Market

Once you’ve grown your business and become market ready, Travel Alberta can help you market your tourism business. They can also provide training and support to take your business to the next level, including helping you identify your target market. As the marketing agency for the tourism industry in the province, Travel Alberta has an extensive suite of programs and resources that can help you identify who your customer is, what they are looking for and how to speak to them in a way that inspires them to travel.

Together, Alberta Culture and Tourism and Travel Alberta are here to support your tourism business. Let us help you become part of Alberta’s exciting and dynamic tourism industry!

Visit Alberta Culture and Tourism or Travel Alberta for more information.