Province’s Allure Brings Back Tourists: Alberta’s Travel Markets Outlook to 2025

The Conference Board of Canada, 14 pages, September 22, 2021
Issue Briefing
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This report contains a review of and outlook for tourism activity in Alberta, assessing the impact on tourism of COVID-19 and the public health restrictions. It examines domestic, U.S., and overseas activity as well as considering the situation in Calgary and Edmonton.

Document Highlights

  • Alberta is poised for a welcome tourism boom over the second half of the year as vaccinations have ramped up across Canada.
  • Domestic travellers will be a driving force for Alberta’s tourism industry this year. And, although the August reopening of the land border with the U.S. comes at the end of the summer season, we expect to see an increase in American travellers, especially by car, over the rest of the year.
  • We still forecast that the province’s tourism industry will be 3.5 million visits short of pre-pandemic levels. Next year, the province will be just 260,000 visits short before surpassing 2019 levels in 2023.
  • Tourism’s recovery in Calgary and Edmonton will occur at a slower pace than that of the rest of Alberta. In general, cities tend to draw more international and business-related visits—two travel segments that will take longer to recover.
  • Before the pandemic, tourism in Alberta was already struggling due to weak economic conditions related to the oil patch.
  • A strong recovery is anticipated in the energy industry, and this will impact tourism positively.
  • There are significant downside risks to the outlook, including labour shortages and the spread of virus variants that could lead to new restrictions and delay the return of international travel.
  • Alberta entered a fourth wave of COVID-19 in August, after this forecast was completed. This will slow the recovery in the province’s tourism industry.

Table of Contents

Key findings
Alberta snapshot
Domestic activity
United States and overseas
City highlights
Overall performance

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