Steady growth continues for B.C.â€™s tourism sector
In the first 10 months of 2016, nearly 4.9 million international visitors came to British Columbia.
The latest international overnight visitor numbers from Statistics Canada from January to October 2016 indicate a 12.2% increase over the same 10-month period last year, which translates to 531,431 more visitors to the province.
Month-over-month statistics show a 12.1% increase in October 2016 over October 2015. Other notable increases from key markets include:
- Australia – up 45.3%
- China – up 23.2%
- Mexico – up 23%
- United Kingdom – up 22.8%
- United States – up 8.1%
“The latest international visitor numbers show that in the first 10 months of this year, we’ve surpassed the number of international visitors that we had in all of 2015,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.
“More visitors means more business for the thousands of tourism operators we have around the province. We hope the positive trends we’ve seen so far this year continue into 2017.”
Improved air access connecting B.C. to Australia, China, Mexico and the United Kingdom have contributed to this growth. The new flights are due in part to the provincial government eliminating its international jet fuel tax in 2012, which has reduced costs for airlines and given travellers more choice.
Other reasons for provincial tourism growth this year include Destination BC’s revised international marketing strategy, as well as Vancouver International Airport’s vision and business model.
“This latest report confirms what I’ve been hearing around B.C. — shoulder season travel numbers are definitely moving in the right direction,” Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination British Columbia explained.
“To complement peak-season demand we’ve also worked hard to promote off-peak travel, pushing travellers to every corner of this province year-round. Increased air capacity from important markets such as Australia, China, Mexico, France and the UK are a big part of this strategy.”
- The tourism industry is helping fuel the provincial economy which is expected to lead the country in economic growth in 2016 and 2017.
- Tourism supports nearly 19,000 businesses and 127,500 employees in B.C. and is a key sector in the BC Jobs Plan.
- The Province supports the sector with a $98 million annual investment across every region to grow the sector.
- In 2015, 4.9 million international visitors came to B.C. – about an 8% increase, compared to 2014.