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5th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations
Tourism is a significant economic driver in Alberta. Annually, it contributes over $5 billion in visitor spending and $537 million in provincial tax revenues. It also supports more than 90,000 jobs throughout the province.
Because tourism is vitally important to Alberta, it is essential that we respond to the shifts that are occurring in the marketplace. Travellers are coming from new countries and the kind of experience they seek is changing. In general, people are looking for opportunities to move off the beaten path and connect in more meaningful ways with people, places and cultures.
The shift in traveller expectations challenges Alberta’s tourism industry to refresh and develop product that better meets the visitor’s changing needs. We are learning from other countries who have found ways to enhance tourism products, destinations and experiences. They market experiences that are unique to their country and their culture, provide value for money and strive to better understand and meet the needs of visitors.
Good governance and collaboration are required for emerging opportunities to work closely with other sectors to create a stronger tourism industry, specifically land-use planning. Decisions about land can either enhance or hinder tourism efforts.
To make Alberta a top destination in a global market, all stakeholders have an important role to play. No one group or organization can do this alone.
It is about what all stakeholders can do when they work together with a shared focus to increase competitiveness, sustainability and growth of the industry. The panel on governance shared experiences from around the world on how to effectively coordinate different orders of government and to work with the private sector and communities.
By strengthening partnerships, we build the foundation of a vibrant, responsible tourism industry. By actively engaging all of our partners, we create enthusiasm, commitment and accountability. Most importantly, we will have a far greater opportunity to achieve results that benefit everyone.
The learnings and leading practices exchanged at the 5th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations, combined with strong collaborative relationships with our key stakeholders will help to deliver results that benefit people who travel, the tourism industry , and the communities, cultures, and natural places we visit.
Signed at Edmonton, Alberta, on June 29, 2011.
Bill Werry, Deputy Minister
Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation