Tourism in Alberta and Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo rebounding

Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development and Tourism

Alberta’s tourism sector is rebounding from pandemic lows, including here in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.

The province says the recovery in Alberta’s tourism sector after the COVID-19 pandemic is two years ahead of schedule.

Recent data from the Minister of Tourism’s office shows spending is up over $600 million since 2019 and now contributes $10.7 billion to the provincial economy.

In Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo, the Fort McMurray International Airport shows passenger volumes are up by 16 per cent year over year, while charter passenger volumes are up by 114 per cent. Hotels are also showing higher levels of occupancy.

“Hotel performance is often used as a broad indicator of the tourism economy,” said Terri Nielsen, Director of Tourism for Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development and Tourism.

“Occupancy is up 22% over last year – a significant increase.”

Minister of Sport and Tourism, Jason Schow says the travel and tourism industry’s comeback has wide-reaching benefits across the province.

CEO of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development and Tourism, Kevin Weidlich agrees.

“Tourism is an important part of our economy – and it can spur greater investment, employment, and services across Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo,” said Weidlich.

“As more tourism operators open and expand, we’ll continue to see more visitors.”

Weidlich also notes that sports tourism helps drive people to our region.

“Major events like the 2023 Arctic Winter Games are helping us to awaken the world to Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.”

“Visitors are impressed with their experiences here and often become advocates for our region when they return home.”  

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo recently approved funding for a bid to host the 2026 Alberta Summer Games.

The province recently launched Alberta’s tourism recovery plan. The plan increases Travel Alberta’s budget from $63 million to $72 million over three years.

They believe these additional investments will help Travel Alberta continue to support businesses, drive growth, create jobs, and sustain Alberta’s visitor economy going forward.

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