State of the Industry
A Pillar of the Provincial Economy
Alberta’s tourism industry is a critical sector representing $10.1 billion in expenditures in 2019 and having an economic impact of $8.6 billion in GDP, nearly 94,000 jobs, and $1.15 billion in tax revenue for all levels of government. The industry was poised for favourable growth, supported by a government commitment to double tourism expenditures by 2030.
In TIAA's second annual State of the Industry Report, we review the performance of the sector in 2022, and look ahead at what to expect for the industry in 2023. Download the 2023 State of the Industry Full Report
State of the Industry
For the second straight year, 2022 was a recovery year for the industry. Visitation, expenditures, employment and business performance are all improving. However, full recovery to pre-pandemic levels will likely not occur until 2024, at best.
Tourism is an international ecosystem of connected and interdependent industries that relies on stable global dynamics supporting travel, and human connectivity. While many industries have already fully recovered from the pandemic, the recovery in the visitor economy remains both fragile, and nascent. Now, global headwinds risk derailing the visitor economy’s recovery and the viability of businesses and employees in the industry. The 2023 economic outlook for Alberta’s tourism sector remains subdued as international visitation, particularly from overseas countries, will not recover until 2024 or later. These visitors represent the highest per capita spending of any visitor group, and their absence will continue to negatively impact the economic viability of the sector.
Seizing the Opportunity
Tourism is a vital contributor to the Alberta economy that continues to recover from the devastating effects of the 2020 global pandemic, and is now confronted with economic headwinds in 2023. That said, the industry presents a significant opportunity for investment and job creation under the right government policy conditions. To confidently advance growth in Alberta’s visitor economy, TIAA believes the Alberta government needs to advance the following recommendations: Strengthen sustainable tourism funding; develop an integrated government tourism policy & decision-making framework; modernizing crown land use policy; developing a travel tax credit; addressing labour shortages; and building infrastructure capacity.