$10 million to expand inclusive programming and support initiatives ensuring the future sustainability of Edmonton's K-Days and more than $7.5 million to help 29 tourism projects enhance tourism experiences to attract more visitors to Alberta, creating or maintaining nearly 4,000 local jobs
EDMONTON, AB, May 24, 2022 /CNW/ - Edmonton is home to many cultural experiences, North America's largest stretch of urban parkland, and world-class events that attract tourists from across Canada and around the globe. Known as Canada's Festival City, Edmonton's festivals and unique attractions are a key part of the city's vibrancy and a major driver of its local economy.
Today, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan, announced a federal investment of more than $17.5 million in Edmonton's tourism sector and across Alberta. Of this support, $10 million will go to ensure K-Days, Edmonton's premier summer fair, remains a key part of Edmonton's cultural tapestry years to come. Another $7.5 million will help 29 tourism projects adapt their products and services to create new experiences, attracting more visitors to Alberta.
The K-Days investment, provided to Explore Edmonton, is funded through the Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative and the Tourism Relief Fund, both administered by PrairiesCan. The funding will go to site improvements, including repositioning Klondike Park as a year-round destination, as well as creating new revenue streams to ensure the future sustainability of the K-Days event, and expanding programming that is inclusive of Indigenous Peoples, new Canadians, Francophones and LGBTQ2S+ communities.
The $7.5 million investment to support 29 tourism projects is provided through the Tourism Relief Fund and the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, delivered in Alberta by PrairiesCan. This investment will help tourism operators launch new or enhanced experiences, and develop long-term strategic plans that ensure the continued growth of the tourism sector in Alberta.
The tourism sector is one of the hardest hit over the last two years. The combined federal investment of $17,534,357 is expected to help create or maintain 4,332 tourism jobs for Albertans, attract more than 2.1 million domestic and international visitors to the province and position Alberta's economy for long-term growth.
"The tourism industry provides quality jobs for Canadians across the nation and is a significant contributor to a strong Canadian economy, including in beautiful Alberta. Our government is helping businesses linked to tourism adapt their products so they can welcome more domestic and international visitors to explore the beauty, culture and spirit of Alberta. Our support is helping keep Canadians and visitors to Canada safe and is positioning Alberta tourism businesses to thrive for years to come."
- The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan
"K-Days has been part of so many wonderful memories for countless Edmontonians and visitors. Today's investment will help ensure the festival continues to delight the next generation of Albertans, Canadians and international visitors while driving this city's economy well into the future. Investments announced today feed into a broader, ambitious strategy to help Alberta's tourism sector recover and grow into the future."
- The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance
"Tourism is one of Alberta's biggest and most important sectors, and has the potential to grow even more. Support like this from PrairiesCan will help our visitor economy continue its recovery and grow for the future. When partnered with the work Alberta's government is doing to build the industry together with Travel Alberta, I am more confident than ever about the future for Alberta's visitor economy from corner to corner and from signature events like Edmonton's K-days to burgeoning demand for Indigenous tourism experiences."
- Martin Long, parliamentary secretary for Small Business and Tourism, and MLA for West Yellowhead
"This funding provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine and re-establish our fair as an economic driver and cultural touchstone for our community. The roots of K-Days go back 142 years to 1879, with the first Edmonton Exhibition. At Explore Edmonton, we are excited to steward this event into the future and ensure it meets the needs of our community today and for the next 142 years. The federal government's choice to invest in the fair allows us to redefine how this event impacts our community, how it creates economic opportunity and how it supports the development of a more inclusive and sustainable community."
- Arlindo Gomes, Vice President, Business Development & Venue Management, Explore Edmonton
"Indigenous tourism offers amazing opportunities for travellers to connect with Indigenous Peoples at a time when reconciliation is at the top of Canadians' minds. This investment will help Indigenous Tourism Alberta continue to support the rapid growth of the sector into a major component of Alberta's visitor economy, and support hundreds of Indigenous entrepreneurs reach their business and social goals."
- Shae Bird, CEO, Indigenous Tourism Alberta
"Legendary experiences like Edmonton's K-Days strengthen Alberta's cultural identity, create jobs and build community. To stay competitive, Alberta needs exceptional products and experiences unique to our province."
- David Goldstein, CEO, Travel Alberta
"As Alberta's visitor economy returns to strength after being decimated by the pandemic, we face a significant gap between customer demand growth and a long-standing structural deficiency in our labour talent pipeline. This significant investment will help us bring forward recruitment marketing plans as well as enable us to conduct in-depth research into how we resolve systemic labour attraction and retention challenges."
- Darren Reeder, Board Advisor, Tourism Industry Association of Alberta.
The Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative supports major Canadian festivals and events that were hit hard by the economic impacts of COVID-19 to adapt and enhance their activities as the economy recovers.
Budget 2022 will allocate ten percent of the Tourism Relief Fund for Indigenous tourism projects.
Among other projects, Indigenous Tourism Alberta is receiving $1.8 million to help Indigenous tourism operators develop and promote authentic Indigenous cultural experiences in the province. The Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) helps organizations in the tourism sector adapt operations to meet public health requirements, offer innovative products and services to visitors, and prepare to welcome travelers to Canada.
The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) provides assistance to businesses and communities that may require additional support to cope with and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government of Canada is providing $10 million to Explore Edmonton to help ensure one of Edmonton's premier summer fair remains a key part of the city's cultural tapestry and continues to drive the city's economy forward. In addition, PrairiesCan is investing more than $7.5 million, through the Tourism Relief Fund and the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, to support 29 tourism projects. Combined, this investment of more than $17.5 million will help tourism operators launch new or enhanced experiences and develop long-term strategic plans that ensure the continued growth of the tourism sector in Alberta.
Funding for projects is allocated through the Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative (MFESI), the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) or the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF).
Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative
The MFESI supports major Canadian festivals and events that have been hit hard by the economic impacts of COVID-19 to adapt and enhance their activities as the economy recovers. PrairiesCan announced funding today for:
Explore Edmonton ($8,000,000)
Adapt and enhance the K-Days annual summer festival to ensure it is viable into the future including adapting the use of technology, expanding outdoor spaces and developing inclusive programming.
Tourism Relief Fund
Launched in July 2021, the TRF helps organizations and businesses in the tourism sector adapt their operations to meet public health requirements and offer new or enhanced innovative products and services to help the sector attract more domestic and international visitors and prepare for future growth. Today, 23 Alberta TRF projects receiving funding through PrairiesCan were announced:
Aurora Backcountry ($99,987)
Develop itineraries and an app to support the Aurora Backcountry Pass, a program that provides adventure enthusiasts (primarily skiers and snowboarders) with affordable access to guided backcountry experiences in Alberta and British Columbia.
Develop digital content that highlights new tourism products in the Banff/Lake Louise region to rebuild consumer confidence and generate visitor demand.
Can Golf Limited ($99,999)
Purchase and install state-of-the-art equipment to upgrade attractions at an indoor recreation and entertainment facility in Canmore, Alberta.
Canadian Badlands Passion Play Society ($498,663)
Construct and open the Badlands Arts Centre to support a culinary tourism strategy and year-round cultural events at the Badlands Amphitheatre in Drumheller, Alberta.
Conseil de développement économique de l'Alberta ($500,000)
Develop 20 bilingual tourism routes in Alberta, and assist two Indigenous artisan entrepreneurs in converting their businesses into viable tourist attractions that highlight cultural heritage.
Downtown Business Association of Edmonton ($300,000)
Deliver Downtown Spark, a 10-day event comprised of outdoor experiences and exhibits in downtown Edmonton.
Explore Edmonton ($2,000,000)
Support redevelopment of Klondike Park to reposition the site as a year-round destination designed for community use, events, and outdoor gatherings while honouring its legacy and history as the site for K-Days and other events significant to Edmonton.
Great Canadian Railtour Company Ltd. ($99,999)
Enhance train platforms to improve the accessibility of attractions and space available to passengers.
Indigenous Tourism Alberta ($1,800,000)
Provide product development support, professional development training and workshops, and promotion of Indigenous tourism businesses in Alberta.
Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre Association ($126,199)
Design, develop, and deliver authentic Indigenous cultural experiences in collaboration with Indigenous artisans and tourism operators in the Lac La Biche area.
Lake Louise Ski Area ($99,999)
Expand an integrated and bilingual digital sales platform for all Lake Louise Ski Resort activities.
Anderson Vacations ($99,999)
Create key positions to support the development and promotion of unique and Indigenous tourism experiences across Canada.
Norquay Mystic Ridge Ltd. ($99,999)
Extend the Via Ferrata, a hands on assisted climbing experience located at Mount Norquay, to make the experience more easily accessible and attract more climbers to the mountain in the summer season.
Painted Warriors Ltd. ($40,000)
Construct a guest check-in centre where visitors can make arrangements for unique cultural and adventure experiences as well as view and shop for authentic Indigenous products made by local Indigenous artisans.
Prime World Tours Ltd. ($99,999)
Develop and market new winter tours that increase off-season winter visitation by taking national and international tourists on a guided route from the coast of British Columbia to the Rocky Mountains and then the Northwest Territories.
The Launch at Sylvan Lake Inc. ($99,999)
Revitalize the interior and exterior of the main launch building at the Sylvan Lake Marina to improve functionality, appearance and patio gathering spaces.
Tourism Industry Association of Alberta (TIAA) ($499,800)
Develop and implement an Alberta Tourism Labour Capacity Strategy to address industry labour shortages and support the recovery and sustainable growth of Alberta's visitor economy.
Travel Drumheller Marketing Association ($295,000)
Develop training activities and a long-term destination development strategy that helps tourism businesses better meet the needs of domestic and international visitors so they book longer stays in the Drumheller region.
Uplift! Jasper Mural Festival Ltd ($91,460)
Develop four murals by Canadian artists as part of the inaugural two-week festival in downtown Jasper.
University of Alberta ($500,000)
Enhance outdoor culinary tourism experiences at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden by introducing a new dining service in geodesic domes nestled in the garden, attracting visitors in winter and shoulder seasons.
Westar Travel Ltd. ($500,000)
Create and market new guided tours via a new integrated digital system, including a mobile app, for authentic cultural and natural experiences in the Alberta region.
WowBanff Transportation Inc. ($98,750)
Develop a multi-language, hop-on, double-decker bus tour in the Banff region and create a new Moraine Lake tour in collaboration with local Indigenous groups.
Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary Ltd. ($225,000)
Improve the inclusivity of eco-tourism experiences by creating accessible facilities including paths, enclosure entries and an outdoor event space.
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund
As part of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the RRRF is assisting businesses and organizations across Canada to mitigate financial pressures caused by the pandemic. Through the RRRF, the Government of Canada is providing over $2 billion to help keep people employed, and to sustain employers for recovery. 25% of the Fund was targeted to support the tourism sector. Seven Alberta RRRF recipients receiving funding through PrairiesCan were announced today:
Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association ($229,000)
Deliver business supports to help Alberta accommodation businesses develop COVID-19 health and safety protocols and reduce insurance costs.
Alberta Professional Outfitters Society ($23,228)
Deliver an enhanced online platform to support business services for members and strengthening Canadian-focused promotions for Alberta's outfitting sector to help offset the impact of international travel restrictions.
Alberta Small Brewers Association ($35,000)
Develop a COVID-19 safety pledge and launch a comprehensive promotional campaign that increases consumer confidence in the Alberta hospitality industry.
Calgary Convention Centre Authority ($142,778)
Implement enhanced health and safety measures to build consumer confidence in the safety of events and activities hosted at Calgary's TELUS Convention Centre.
Conseil de développement économique de l'Alberta ($100,000)
Coach francophone businesses operating in Alberta's tourism industry to enhance digital marketing, e-commerce and video creation skills to help these businesses recover from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Explore Edmonton Corporation ($400,000)
Develop a digital training platform for staff and suppliers to digitize sales activities, and obtain an international bio-risk cleaning accreditation to build consumer confidence for events at the Edmonton Expo Centre and the Edmonton Convention Centre.
Foothills Tourism Association ($229,500)
Develop digital technology tools that enable farmers and businesses to set-up direct consumer sales to encourage visitation to agri-tourism initiatives in the Foothills region of Alberta.
SOURCE Prairies Economic Development Canada
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