Chemistry's Spotlight On…
October 2011 - Comparing BC and Alberta Tourism Indicators
Spotlight on BC & Alberta Comparing BC and Alberta Tourism Indicators
The idea for this Spotlight arose following a surprising conversation with friends who live in Victoria and had just returned from a road trip to Alberta. “So, how was your trip?” “It was great – we were so impressed with how easy it was to get tourist information. The people in the Visitor Centres were so helpful…we really felt welcome. And there’s so much to do in Alberta…they have some great museums and heritage sites….” “What about B.C.? Did you enjoy the touring you did on your way home from Alberta?” “Well, we had planned to visit some sites in southern B.C. but quite a few were closed even though the guidebooks indicated they would be open. Even some of the Visitor Centres were closed. To be honest, there was more to do in Alberta and we found it much easier to get tourism information than in B.C…”.
A few weeks later these friends mentioned that they had written to the B.C. Provincial Government to express their concerns about the closed heritage sites and visitor centres and had subsequently received a form response letter expressing pleasure that they had enjoyed their trip in B.C. and thanking them for vacationing in the province – no mention was made of the specific issues they had raised.
Like many British Columbians, the notion that Alberta surpasses B.C. on any level to do with tourism is a foreign one. How could anyone think there is more for tourists to do in Alberta than in B.C.? What about our beautiful scenery, our parks, the ocean? As a sample size of two is inadequate to allow for an answer to this question, the decision to research how B.C. and Alberta compare relative to various tourism product, market and resource indicators, was made.
The results of this comparison were also eye-opening. Of the 19 indicators reviewed (see list in the table below), B.C. fares better than Alberta on 7½ (the ½ referring to the Visitor Info Centre indicator) as we have more national parks, provincial parks, community Information Centres, museums and provincial-level tourism staff. Additionally, B.C. reported higher 2010 accommodation occupancy and Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) rates than Alberta, and hosted more U.S. and International visitors (although this visitation is trending down).