Now boarding: International air travel to Alberta is taking off

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX:  Tourism is doing its part to help diversify our economy.

Albertans who have been through either of the province’s two major international airports have noticed the massive expansions over the last few years. All of that construction work is starting to pay off—especially in terms of international tourism.

In August, Alberta received a total of 78,000 foreign visitors by air (seasonally adjusted), a record high. Over the last 12 months, total foreign visits by air were up three per cent compared to the previous 12-month period.

These figures vastly underestimate total tourism to the province because they exclude visitors arriving by car, or visitors arriving in, say, Vancouver as their port of entry and boarding a tour bus into Alberta. These data are only foreign visitors arriving by air into Alberta as their point of entry.

Non-US visitors, which now account for about four in ten visitors arriving by air, have shown dramatic growth over the last few months. Much of this is due to the June introduction of non-stop flights between Calgary and Beijing, operated by Hainan Airlines. According to Stephan Poirier of the Calgary Airport Authority, the new flight is estimated to create 625 new jobs in Alberta’s tourism and related industries and a $76 million boost in GDP.

The new international terminal at YYC, which opens October 31, and other new initiatives in both Edmonton and Calgary, are certain to see international air travel expand in 2017. It may not replace oil as the province’s biggest industry, but tourism is doing its part to help diversify our economy.

Todd Hirsch-Chief Economist        The Owl        October 19, 2016

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.