The federal government is giving more than $12 million to help southern Alberta's tourism industry, with the lion's share going to the Calgary Stampede.

An investment of $10 million is expected to bolster the Stampede's recovery after a scaled-down 2021 event and an additional $150,000 will be used on health and safety training and BMO Centre renovations.

"Festivals large and small were hard hit during the pandemic," said Daniel Vandal, minister responsible for PrairiesCan, in a statement released Friday. "They are events where families and friends come together, and take in the exciting atmosphere. The tourism industry is facing a strong comeback providing quality jobs across the country, showcasing stunning landscapes and offering exciting experiences right here in Alberta.

"Through today’s investments in the Calgary Stampede and attractions in southern Alberta, our government is helping tourism operators to reimagine existing experiences and create new ones attracting more visitors from Canada and abroad to experience what Alberta has to offer."

Steve McDonough, Calgary Exhibition and Stampede president and chairman of the board, expressed his gratitude for the investment.

"As we emerge from a challenging two years to be Together Again, Stampede 2022 will help contribute to the economic recovery by creating jobs and filling restaurants, hotel rooms, taxis and rideshares. We look forward to using today’s investment to further enhance our experience offerings for guests coming from here and around the world as we continue to put on The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”

In addition to the Stampede funding, the federal government announced slightly more than $1.83 million would be divided between four projects in southern Alberta through the tourism relief fund including:

  • Tourism Calgary- $800,000;
  • Heritage Park Society - $500,000;
  • Charmed Resorts ('glamping' playhouses in Crowsnest Pass)- $500,000; and
  • Cochrane Tourism Association- $32,500.

"We’re grateful for funding that recognizes the importance of the tourism industry and helps as we build back from the impacts of the pandemic," said Tourism Calgary CEO Cindy Ady.

"It will be an immense help as we grow tourism-related experiences and create an amazing digital library of photos and videos to showcase Calgary and all it has to offer. This funding also provides resources that will help us elevate and expand Chinook Blast - a new anchor festival for the city."