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International tourism in Alberta expected to do well in 2018: report

The Calgary Stampede grounds on July 5th, 2014.
The Calgary Stampede grounds on July 5th, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougal

Canada will see an increase in international tourists this year, with Calgary and Edmonton expecting to see an increase in overnight visitors, according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada released Tuesday.

Calgary can expect to see about 3.9 million guests this year, as sporting events like the FINA Diving Grand Prix and business travellers increasingly pick the city, the report said. The report added that the recent increase in the price of oil has also helped with tourist traffic.

The provincial capital will also see an increase in overnight stays of about 2.9 per cent, the report said. New Edmonton attractions, like the newly expanded Royal Alberta Museum, are coupling with a stronger provincial economy to boost business travel to the region.

READ MORE: Economic benefits of tourism in Alberta to be highlighted during Tourism Week

Overall, 2017 was a year of solid tourist growth for Canada, with overseas visits projected to increase by 6.7 per cent to reach over nine million visitors, the report said.

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“Overseas visits to Canada are expected to increase from all continents, with the highest growth coming from Mexico and China,” said Greg Hermus, associate director for The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Tourism Research Institute.

“Travel from China is expected to get a boost from the Canada-China Year of Tourism, while Canada continues to see growth in Mexican tourists following the lifting of visa requirements for travellers from Mexico in December 2016,” the report said.

“Overnight visits from the U.S. will be held back slightly by high gas prices, but are still projected to increase by a solid 3.4 per cent. In all, tourism activity in Canada is poised to expand by 2.6 per cent in 2018.”

Kids stay cool in the pool during Canada day celebrations at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton Alta, on Sunday July 1, 2018
Kids stay cool in the pool during Canada day celebrations at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton Alta, on Sunday July 1, 2018 THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson