Ottawa announces $17.8 M in grants to boost Alberta’s tourism industry

“I’m grateful to see that some of the dollars that we send to Ottawa are coming back to our great province, and can be invested here in tourism, which is very important”

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The federal government is putting $17.8 million into 50 museums, tourist attractions, businesses and events around Alberta in an effort to attract more visitors.

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Federal Tourism Minister and Associate Finance Minister Randy Boissonnault said at an announcement Monday in Edmonton the grants from economic development arm PrairiesCan are part of an effort to get the province’s tourism numbers back to 2019 levels by 2024.

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“Over the past years, many in the tourism sector lost the opportunity to do what they love — to tell the story of what makes this place so great — and I can say that we are getting beyond survival into revival and we are talking about growth,” said Boissonnault, speaking on behalf of PrairiesCan Minister Dan Vandal.

Boissonault, an Edmontin MP, said the funding is expected to support 2,800 jobs.

Provincial Crown corporation Travel Alberta will get $3.25 million to create regional destination development plans.

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David Goldstein, CEO of Travel Alberta, said the cash comes on top of about $20 million in funding that came from Travel Alberta, pitching in on 60 per cent of the projects.

“We are tied with British Columbia as the fastest recovery in the tourism economy in Canada right now, and that is not just by accident, that was through deliberate partnerships,” he said.

In Edmonton, Telus World of Science will get $2 million for upgrades, to add new exhibitions dedicated to human health and the Arctic, and to enhance Indigenous programming spaces.

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Constance Scarlett, director of government and community relations, said the funding is expected to create jobs and boost domestic and international visitors to the centre by 10 per cent.

“As a charitable organization that relies on attendance to operate, this growth is critical and it represents a real economic recovery strategy for our organization,” said Scarlett.

Métis Crossing, about 120 km northeast of Edmonton, will receive $1.45 million to build year-round sky watching domes.

“We will bring our visitors here to share our stories, to make connections between our visitors and our people, between our people and our lands and the communities around us,” said CEO Juanita Marois.

Alberta’s Forestry, Parks and Tourism Minister Todd Loewen said the announcement is good news for thousands of Albertans whose livelihoods depend on regional growth.

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“I’m grateful to see that some of the dollars that we send to Ottawa are coming back to our great province, and can be invested here in tourism, which is very important,” he said.

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said attracting visitors is key to economic revitalization of Downtown.

“I’m so proud of Edmontonians and how hard we’re working to turn this page around from COVID and go beyond recovery and growth and revitalization,” he said.

Also in Edmonton, the Centre Communautaire d’Edmonton will receive $380,250 for a francophone tourism strategy and programming. Explore Edmonton will get $891,320 to deliver a tourism recovery program.

Food Bike Tour and Rig Hand Distillery will each get $99,999, along with Rabbit Hill Recreations Inc., which plans to launch a summer tubing experience.

The Edmonton Heritage Festival Association will see $83,585 for its World Music Week event, and the Chinatown and Area Business Association will get $45,000 to install Chinese lanterns and promote cultural events.

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