The Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association is one of nine organizations across the province to receive part of $4 million in funding from Tourism Alberta and Western Economic Diversification Canada. It’s meant to help with any revenue shortfalls felt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tourism has been hit hard by COVID-19,” says Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Tanya Fir. “The tourism industry is the fourth-largest employment sector in the province, it’s a key contributor to our economy, and it creates jobs and revenue that so many communities across our province depend on.”

Another $4 million was allocated to Alberta’s four largest destination marketing organizations in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, and Jasper, while $5 million in grants is being made available to private sector tourism businesses, municipalities and non-profits.

Executive Director of the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association Terry Dow says on top of the funding, the relief is also a recognition of the work they do in the Peace Country.

“For us to be recognized as the tourism leader in the northwest by Travel Alberta and Western Diversification, our board is really happy with their help, and continue to keep moving forward.”

Dow says the funding will allow them to carry out daily operations including tourism strategy development, working with local industry stakeholders, and delivering services to support the needs of the travellers as well as community tourism operators.

The tourism industry in the Grande Prairie area employs around 11,000 people, according to the City of Grande Prairie’s 2019 Economic Profile.