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Green Energy Meetings Power Growth

Renewable Energy Conferences Generate Economic Diversification

This fall, Alberta hosts two major conferences for Canada's wind and solar energy industry associations. Thousands of movers and shakers will meet, network and learn more about the business opportunities being created by Alberta's new commitments to renewable energy.

The benefits to Alberta's tourism industry are multifaceted. Yes, more than 2,000 attendees will fly into our cities, book hotel rooms, rent cars, take cabs, eat in restaurants and stay a few extra days to check out the sights and attractions in Edmonton, Calgary and beyond.

But these conference-goers will also scout out new opportunities for investment, make face-to-face connections for new deals and ventures, and learn how help advance the growth of Alberta's renewable energy sector.

"The thousands of renewable energy developers, advocates, investors, manufacturers, consumers, policy advisors and municipalities that will converge in Alberta between these two gatherings represent a new chapter of business and investment opportunity for the province," says Megan Zimmerman, Business Development Manager, Technology and Renewable Energy for Calgary Economic Development.

"These conferences also shine a spotlight on an industry that represents tremendous economic diversification opportunities for Alberta's economy and career opportunities for our highly skilled and educated talent."

Attendance to Surpass 2,000

Alberta is known in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) sector as offering great venues, planning and support for all kinds of conferences and trade shows.

The Travel Alberta MICE team, in partnership with local destination marketing associations (DMOs), works with meeting planners, event producers and association executives to identify opportunities and execute plans to attract qualified meetings, incentive travel programs and conventions to Alberta.

For two conventions this fall, an added attraction was the new life breathed into the solar and wind energy industries by the Alberta government's Climate Leadership Plan, which has committed the province to phasing out coal-fired electricity generation and expanding renewable energy sources.

On Oct. 5-7, the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) will hold its Solar West Conference at The Westin Edmonton. After being located in Calgary for three years, this annual conference moves to Alberta’s capital for the next two years. More than 350 delegates are expected.

"Alberta is Canada's energy powerhouse for oil and gas. Tapping into the potential of the province's solar and wind energy resources can only solidify that position further," says conference organizer Jessica Ward, Director, Canadian Conferences and Events for Hannover Fairs (Canada) Inc.

"Our programs feature experts, policy makers, regulators and industry, and are useful to those in the renewable and non-renewable energy sectors alike."

For the first time in over a decade, the annual conference for the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) is being held in Alberta, Nov. 1-3 in Calgary at the Calgary Stampede (BMO Centre). About 1,500 to 2,000 delegates from 13 countries are expected to attend.

After many years of groundwork and relationship-building by Travel Alberta and other provincial tourism partners, Calgary was chosen for its excellent venues and services, and also because Alberta - the third largest wind market in Canada - has made significant commitments to climate change. Some sessions are directly related to helping Alberta take full advantage of its world-class wind resource and developing new business opportunities.

Economic Diversification Good for Tourism

Attracting conferences like CanSIA and CanWEA is part of Travel Alberta's MICE strategy of working closely with industries that are key pillars of Alberta's economy, says Brian Slot, Travel Alberta's Director of Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Events (MICE).

"Obviously, energy and renewable energy are a big part of Alberta's economic future," he says. "It makes sense to build on this when we identify opportunities for new meetings business."

Alberta tourism operators benefit not just from dollars spent during conferences, he adds, but from the overall boost to the provincial economy that diversification brings.

"A rising tide lifts all boats," he says. "Alberta's tourism sector naturally benefits from anything that strengthens our provincial economy as a whole."

To learn more about MICE opportunities for your business or location, go to meetings.travelalberta.com or contact Brian Slot at brian.slot@travelalberta.com.

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