Alberta sees surge in U.S., overseas visitors amid low Canadian dollar

A view of Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park is shown in this undated handout photo.
A view of Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park is shown in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Travel Alberta

While the local economy continues to struggle amid low oil prices and a low Canadian dollar, it turns out Alberta’s tourism industry is cashing in.

Nearly 900,000 overseas visitors travelled to Alberta in 2014, which is up about 17 per cent from the previous year. Those visitors spent more than $1 billion in Alberta, an increase of 22 per cent over 2013, according to recently-released figures from Statistics Canada.

Visits from the United States also increased in 2014. Statistics Canada said more than 770,000 Americans took a trip to Alberta in 2014, spending more than $730 million. That’s a 12 per cent increase from 2013.

READ MORE: Alberta turns to Asia; hopes to boost tourism $10.3B

Alberta Culture and Tourism believes the low Canadian dollar is working in the province’s favour when it comes to American and overseas visitors.

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“All Albertans should be proud that our tourism industry is dynamic and resilient, with great potential for growth. Tourism in Alberta presents tremendous opportunities to help diversify our economy and create good-paying jobs in an exciting industry,” Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda said.

Total tourism spending in Alberta hit $8.3 billion in 2014, up about five per cent from 2013.

“Travel Alberta’s ongoing work to actively market the province continues to pay dividends with Alberta’s thriving tourism sector,” Royce Chwin, CEO of Travel Alberta, said.

READ MORE: Edmonton and Calgary hotels struggling, but Alberta resorts thriving

The numbers from Statistics Canada come as the country kicks off Tourism Week Monday. The grassroots initiative was started by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

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