CALGARY – Alberta’s tourism sector is thrilled to be once again welcoming international travellers.
Canada opened its borders to vaccinated travellers from all over the world, not just the U.S., on Tuesday.
Darren Reeder with the Tourism Industry Association of Alberta, says international travellers drop more cash on average than domestic travellers.
“We’re very grateful, and absolutely depend on the contributions of Albertans to our market. But we need about 10 [Albertans] to offset the loss of one international visitor in market during the summer,” explained Reeder.
He also notes we are nearing the end of the typical travel season, and opening the borders doesn’t fix things for businesses yet and the federal leaders need to be aware of that.
“We need ongoing liquidity supports. We need an absolute commitment to ensure the continuation of the Canada emergency wage subsidy program and the emergency rent program to at least next summer.”
Reeder says many companies will need support to be able to make it to next summer.
Alberta Parks isn’t expecting to see a big increase in visitors to K-country now that the border has reopened. But Kananaskis Region Director Michel Roycroft says they’re looking forward to welcoming fully vaccinated international tourists.
He says Alberta’s parks will get some foot traffic, but tourists are usually more attracted to the national parks — like Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, and Jasper.
“Kananaskis Country will see an increase, but historically Kananaskis Country has been the destination of Albertans primarily, with some neighboring jurisdictions like B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and places in the northern states,” he explained.
But be it local or international tourism, Roycroft says the parks are ready to welcome some friendly faces.
“This year we reopened our visitor centres so those are reopened through the fall and winter. That’ll be a change from last year and that’ll provide additional services that are perhaps coming from outside the province.”
Roycroft says to remember your bear spray and your conservation pass if you’re headed to the back-country, which are also available at visitor centres.
-with files from Chris Bowen