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Alberta is ready for the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism

Government of Alberta economic development and trade mission extends enthusiastic invitation to China travellers, business and investment.
Today, the Honourable Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade for the Government of Alberta, and Royce Chwin, CEO of Travel Alberta, announced Alberta’s strategy to capitalize on the Canada-China year of Tourism. This strategy outlines how Alberta, Canada is ready to welcome a record number of Chinese travellers in 2018 and reinforces Alberta’s commitment to fostering a long and prosperous relationship with China.

“The Canada-China Year of Tourism recognizes the strong cultural ties and business relationships between our two nations,” said Minister Bilous. “Tourism contributes billions of dollars to Alberta’s economy each year creating good jobs in our hometowns and neighourhoods.  Visits from China are already growing dramatically and we look forward to welcoming even more Chinese visitors to our province in the coming months.”

“China is one of Alberta’s fastest-growing markets with high potential,” said Chwin. Thanks to our important partnership with Hainan Airlines, Chinese tour operators and travel media, we can make sure Alberta is top-of-mind as a year-round destination for Chinese travellers.
Alberta has been working hard to get ready to welcome Chinese visitors. Travel Alberta has led China -readiness seminars to educate Alberta business on how to serve the Chinese traveller. “Whether travelling for business or on vacation, we want to help Alberta business to exceed the customer service expectations of Chinese travellers”, said Chwin. “This includes translation of content into Simplified Chinese and ensuring ease of payment with Union Pay and adoption of mobile payment methods like WeChat and Alipay. 

Today’s event is just one of the initiatives Travel Alberta is undertaking to celebrate the Canada-China Year of Tourism. Travel Alberta will commemorate this special year in all 2018 activities, including trade missions, marketing campaigns, travel trade training, conferences and tradeshows, as well as media relations and social media marketing. 

To continue the momentum, Travel Alberta and industry partners will return to China to participate in national level celebrations, including the Canada Day Fair in Beijing taking place June 23 2018. 
Statistics:
• Tourism is a significant economic driver in Alberta, and contributed $8.5 billion to the economy in 2016, an increase of 4.7 per cent from 2015. 
• Chinese visitation increased nearly 60 per cent from 85,000 visits in 2015 to 135,000 visits in 2016. 
• Alberta direct entries from China increased nearly 65 per cent, from 11,000 in 2016, to close to 18,000 in 2017. 
• Tourism expenditures by Chinese travellers in Alberta increased 80 per cent from 2015 to 2016, representing $136 million to Alberta’s economy.
• Alberta has two international airports that welcome flights from China. Chinese visitors may arrive via the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) and the Calgary International Airport (YYC). This includes Hainan Airlines’ direct flight from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) to Calgary, which launched June 2016 and flies three times a week.  

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