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AB tourism picks up the pace into 2018

Recent statistics from Alberta’s two largest urban centres paint a positive picture for the province’s tourism industry.

Edmonton and Calgary experienced year-over-year increases for 2017 in different areas, welcome news as things begin to pick up across the province.

Overall air passenger counts to Edmonton grew by 3.8 per cent over 2016 numbers, with domestic travel to the city increasing by 6.9 per cent from the previous year. The Edmonton International Airport attributes some of this growth to the success of the many non-stop flights that service the airport, including Huatulco and Cancun, Mexico, Reykjavik, Iceland, and the Netherlands. Travel Alberta actively markets Alberta attractions and experiences in Mexico and the Netherlands, and successful increases in visitation from both countries rely heavily on direct flights to our major centres.

The Calgary International Airport also reported a 3.8 per cent year-over-year increase in passenger counts and welcomed its 16 millionth passenger in December–a milestone for the airport. Continued expansion of its route network and upgrades to its facility were partially responsible for the recent success.

When it comes to accommodations, overnight hotel stays in Calgary increased by six per cent over 2016, resulting in more than 3.1 million rooms sold throughout the year. Tourism Calgary reports the city has experienced seven consecutive months of growth in the number of hotel stays, partly due to increases in leisure travellers coming to the city. Growth in urban markets doesn’t just benefit the cities directly – leisure travellers also like to take advantage of experiences in some of the less travelled areas within a few hours driving distance of any major centre and can go a long way in growing rural tourism.

The growing number of travellers passing through these two key transit hubs is another sign that there are increasing opportunities for industry to capitalize on. Travel Alberta has an always-on content strategy that promotes visiting all areas of the province, during all seasons. Understanding your target audience, being visible on the Travel Alberta website, and forming regional and local partnerships are a few strategies that could help connect with these travellers and extend their stay to other areas of the province.

Numbers like these are often released to inform the public, but they also provide insight to industry operators and Alberta businesses on who is visiting the province, how often they come and what they want to experience. Want to learn more about the many visitor and market insights available? Check out the Research section on the Travel Alberta Industry Website.

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