December 20, 2017 6:39 pm

Edmonton tourism numbers up 3.5% over 2016

Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton.

Vinesh Pratap/ Global News

Rogers Place, the Edmonton Oilers making the playoffs and an uptick in the provincial economy are all being hailed as reasons for an increase in tourism in Edmonton, according to the Conference Board of Canada (CBOC).

The organization said Edmonton saw a 3.5 per cent increase in overnight stays this year.

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“Edmonton has always relied on a lot of sporting events, and I think this year is no exception,” the CBOC’s Greg Hermus said. “So we are looking at that contributing, as well as the free admission to national parks.”

READ MORE: Local guide puts Edmonton’s lesser-known attractions on the map

And Hermus said multiple events should keep that trend going in next year.

“The new Royal Alberta Museum is scheduled to open, that will have an impact next year. You’ve got the volleyball championships for the next two years, and Red Bull Crashed Ice is coming there in 2018.”

Edmonton saw 3.3 million overnight visits this year and Hermus expects that to hit 3.5 million by 2020.

READ MORE: Edmonton makes Travel + Leisure’s international list of 50 places to travel in 2018

Perhaps the most surprising numbers were from international tourists.

According to the CBOC numbers Edmonton saw a 7.1 per cent increase in visitors coming from overseas.

Mexico lead the way with a 45.1 per cent increase in tourists coming to Canada. The organization attributes that to the election of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Hermus said Americans also jumped north of the border in high numbers. In Edmonton, there were 5.1 per cent more U.S. citizens that came to visit our city in 2017.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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