April 24, 2022
Tourism survey shows business operators are optimistic
Optimism tempered by labour challenges, health guideline concerns
Recruitment challenges, inflation, public health guidelines and visitor numbers are the top-ranked concerns of Alberta’s tourism and travel businesses.
In a first-of-its-kind online survey by the Tourism Industry Association of Alberta in partnership with Travel Alberta, businesses were polled on the current state of the industry — covering viability, outlook, recruitment, finances and losses. This survey will be conducted semi-annually to help decision makers gauge how the visitor economy is faring following two years of closures, restrictions and financial losses.
“What our findings speak to is, notwithstanding numerous businesses that did not survive the last two years, that members of the visitor economy remain resilient and cautiously optimistic about the coming months,” said Darren Reeder, Board Advisor for the Tourism Industry Association of Alberta. “This survey gives us a baseline, or even benchmark, for how our industry emerges from the hard beating that was Covid-19 and for how we recover and get ready to welcome Canadian and overseas visitors this summer.”
While many businesses are currently operating with just under two-thirds of pre-pandemic staffing levels, the food and beverage sector has been the hardest-hit. Shortage of qualified recruits, the reluctance of former employees to return to the sector and the impact of government subsidies were topical with respondents.
The Leger survey, which was in the field in January and February, also shows that around half of businesses have taken on COVID-related debt, with one-third of them increasing by more than half from 2019 numbers. Most believe that they will be able to pay off their debt, with about one in five unsure about how they will service their debt. Other concerns included supply chain issues and insurance premiums.
Note to editors: this survey, which can be downloaded here, was in the market prior to governments loosening restrictions and travel requirements. In addition, inflation was not at current levels during the survey period.
Media contact: Bin Lau, email@example.com