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Government of Canada makes major investments in Edmonton summer festival and in tourism experiences across Alberta

Press Release

May 24, 2022

From: Prairies Economic Development Canada

$10 million to expand inclusive programming and support initiatives ensuring the future sustainability of Edmonton’s K-Days and more than $7.5 million to help 29 tourism projects enhance tourism experiences to attract more visitors to Alberta, creating or maintaining nearly 4,000 local jobs

Edmonton is home to many cultural experiences, North America’s largest stretch of urban parkland, and world-class events that attract tourists from across Canada and around the globe. Known as Canada’s Festival City, Edmonton’s festivals and unique attractions are a key part of the city’s vibrancy and a major driver of its local economy.

Today, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan, announced a federal investment of more than $17.5 million in Edmonton’s tourism sector and across Alberta. Of this support, $10 million will go to ensure K-Days, Edmonton’s premier summer fair, remains a key part of Edmonton’s cultural tapestry years to come. Another $7.5 million will help 29 tourism projects adapt their products and services to create new experiences, attracting more visitors to Alberta.

The K-Days investment, provided to Explore Edmonton, is funded through the Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative and the Tourism Relief Fund, both administered by PrairiesCan. The funding will go to site improvements, including repositioning Klondike Park as a year-round destination, as well as creating new revenue streams to ensure the future sustainability of the K-Days event, and expanding programming that is  inclusive of Indigenous Peoples, new Canadians, Francophones and LGBTQ2S+ communities.

The $7.5 million investment to support 29 tourism projects is provided through the Tourism Relief Fund and the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, delivered in Alberta by PrairiesCan. This investment will help tourism operators launch new or enhanced experiences, and develop long-term strategic plans that ensure the continued growth of the tourism sector in Alberta.

The tourism sector is one of the hardest hit over the last two years. The combined federal investment of $17,534,357 is expected to help create or maintain 4,332 tourism jobs for Albertans, attract more than 2.1 million domestic and international visitors to the province and position Alberta’s economy for long-term growth.

Quotes

“The tourism industry provides quality jobs for Canadians across the nation and is a significant contributor to a strong Canadian economy, including in beautiful Alberta. Our government is helping businesses linked to tourism adapt their products so they can welcome more domestic and international visitors to explore the beauty, culture and spirit of Alberta. Our support is helping keep Canadians and visitors to Canada safe and is positioning Alberta tourism businesses to thrive for years to come.”
– The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan

“K-Days has been part of so many wonderful memories for countless Edmontonians and visitors. Today’s investment will help ensure the festival continues to delight the next generation of Albertans, Canadians and international visitors while driving this city’s economy well into the future. Investments announced today feed into a broader, ambitious strategy to help Alberta’s tourism sector recover and grow into the future.”
– The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

“Tourism is one of Alberta’s biggest and most important sectors, and has the potential to grow even more. Support like this from PrairiesCan will help our visitor economy continue its recovery and grow for the future. When partnered with the work Alberta’s government is doing to build the industry together with Travel Alberta, I am more confident than ever about the future for Alberta’s visitor economy from corner to corner and from signature events like Edmonton’s K-days to burgeoning demand for Indigenous tourism experiences.”
– Martin Long, parliamentary secretary for Small Business and Tourism, and MLA for West Yellowhead

“This funding provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine and re-establish our fair as an economic driver and cultural touchstone for our community. The roots of K-Days go back 142 years to 1879, with the first Edmonton Exhibition. At Explore Edmonton, we are excited to steward this event into the future and ensure it meets the needs of our community today and for the next 142 years. The federal government’s choice to invest in the fair allows us to redefine how this event impacts our community, how it creates economic opportunity and how it supports the development of a more inclusive and sustainable community.”
– Arlindo Gomes, Vice President, Business Development & Venue Management, Explore Edmonton

“Indigenous tourism offers amazing opportunities for travellers to connect with Indigenous Peoples at a time when reconciliation is at the top of Canadians’ minds. This investment will help Indigenous Tourism Alberta continue to support the rapid growth of the sector into a major component of Alberta’s visitor economy, and support hundreds of Indigenous entrepreneurs reach their business and social goals.”
– Shae Bird, CEO, Indigenous Tourism Alberta

“Legendary experiences like Edmonton’s K-Days strengthen Alberta’s cultural identity, create jobs and build community. To stay competitive, Alberta needs exceptional products and experiences unique to our province.”
– David Goldstein, CEO, Travel Alberta

“As Alberta’s visitor economy returns to strength after being decimated by the pandemic, we face a significant gap between customer demand growth and a long-standing structural deficiency in our labour talent pipeline. This significant investment will help us bring forward recruitment marketing plans as well as enable us to conduct in-depth research into how we resolve systemic labour attraction and retention challenges.”
– Darren Reeder, Board Advisor, Tourism Industry Association of Alberta

Quick facts

  • The Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative supports major Canadian festivals and events that were hit hard by the economic impacts of COVID-19 to adapt and enhance their activities as the economy recovers.
  • Budget 2022 will allocate ten percent of the Tourism Relief Fund for Indigenous tourism projects.
  • Among other projects, Indigenous Tourism Alberta is receiving $1.8 million to help Indigenous tourism operators develop and promote authentic Indigenous cultural experiences in the province. The Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) helps organizations in the tourism sector adapt operations to meet public health requirements, offer innovative products and services to visitors, and prepare to welcome travelers to Canada.
  • The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) provides assistance to businesses and communities that may require additional support to cope with and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Associated links

Contacts

Kyle Allen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister for PrairiesCan, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
[email protected]

Rohit Sandhu
Communications Manager
Prairies Economic Development Canada
[email protected]

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