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Accommodation and Food Services

The accommodation and food services industry covers the essentials when people are away from home, offering a place to sleep and something to eat or drink. Accommodations can range from small-town campgrounds to hotels and large-scale resorts, while food services include the morning's drive-through coffee as well as an evening meal at a favourite restaurant. In 2015, travellers in Alberta spent an estimated $5.85 billion on overnight visits, and the restaurant industry generated $11 billion in annual sales.

GDP Gross Domestic Product

Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the overall size of an economy. In 2015, the accommodation and food services industry made up 1.9% of Alberta's GDP. This represents a 0.1% reduction from 2013.

Alberta’s GDP
Reduction from 2013
  • short-term lodgings such as hotels, resorts, motels, bed and breakfast accommodations, housekeeping cottages, cabins, campgrounds, and hunting and fishing camps
  • meals, snacks, and beverages

The accommodation and food services industry employed 153,500 people in 2015. This is an increase of 10,800 jobs (7.6%) from 2013.


96,300 women worked in the industry in 2015 (up 10.3% from 2013).


57,200 men worked in the industry in 2015 (up 3.2% from 2013).

Average Wage
Accommodation and Food Services
Average Hourly Wage
Average Hourly Wage
  • The average 2015 hourly wage of $25.11 for the other services industry was below the provincial average of $29.02.
Industry Performance

Weak oil prices contributed to a 4.6% GDP contraction in this industry in 2015. The pullback in business investment also affected business overnight visits that year, with Calgary and Edmonton experiencing drops of 7.2% and 3.3%, respectively. Although overnight visits to the province are only expected to increase by 0.6% in 2016, the industry is preparing for better times. An estimated 2,200 new rooms will open across the province in 2016, with 75.0% of them located in Edmonton and Calgary.

While Albertans may have cut back on hotel stays during the downturn, food services industry data shows that Albertans still love going out to eat and drink. In 2015, each Albertan spent an average of $2,100 at food services operations. While lower than in previous years, the figure is still more than the Canadian average of $1,700.

Industry Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Outlook

Canada's weaker dollar is making Alberta more attractive to vacationers from other provinces where the economy is improving, as well as international visitors lured by lower costs. Overnight visits to the province by Americans are expected to grow by 9.2% by 2019, while overseas visits will increase by 12.0% in that same period. Newly built attractions, such as Calgary's National Music Centre and Edmonton's Rogers Place arena and Royal Alberta Museum, are also expected to bring in more tourists. Albertans who remain confident about their employment and income will continue to spend their discretionary dollars at restaurants and bars.

Industry Employment Trends

Employment in this industry is expected to grow at an average rate of 1.3% from 2015 to 2019.

OCCinfo has more information about occupations in Alberta, including details about duties, working conditions, educational requirements, employment outlook, and salary ranges. You can also find reports on region-specific information about wages, job vacancies, and hiring difficulties in this industry. Visit the Survey Analysis to learn more.

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