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New immigration funding planned to aid growing tourism and hospitality industry in Alberta

Jasper Park Lodge in winter. (CTV News Edmonton) Jasper Park Lodge in winter. (CTV News Edmonton)

The Alberta government is launching a new immigration stream to aid the growing tourism and hospitality sector in the province.

In 2022, Alberta saw $10.7 billion in tourism spending, an increase of $600 million from 2019, and supported more than 80,000 jobs.

"This growth is evidence of a full recovery from the downturn during the pandemic and puts the province on track to break visitor expenditures year over year," said the government in a press release.

The industry is currently experiencing labour shortages in both hotels and restaurants, according to Tracy Douglas-Blowers, president and CEO of Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association, and Mark von Schellwitz, western Canada vice president of Restaurants Canada.

"Alberta restaurants face the highest job vacancy rate of any sector at nine per cent, nearly double the province's average of five per cent," said von Schellwitz. "Labour shortages have hindered their post-pandemic recovery."

The Tourism and Hospitality Stream will be part of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program. The program allows the government to fill job vacancies by nominating skilled and experienced immigrants.

“The future of Alberta’s visitor economy depends on a thriving tourism and hospitality sector being able to meet the increasing demands of visitor traffic throughout the province," said Muhammad Yaseen, minister of immigration and multiculturalism.

"Our government has set a very ambitious goal of doubling the visitor economy spending by 2035," added Joseph Schow, minister of tourism and sport.

"We know that reaching that target will take a whole of government approach as we continue to work together to develop new and attractive tourism products, ease labor shortages and expand access within the province and to the province."

The new stream will be "open to individuals who have already been working for a tourism and hospitality business for at least six months, and who have met criteria to establish themselves in Alberta permanently," according to the release. Top Stories

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