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Posted: October 24, 2015

Strong summer tourism season in B.C.

The latest overnight custom entries from Statistics Canada show a strong summer tourism season in British Columbia.

Visitor numbers are up by 238,000 people for the first eight months of 2015 – representing a 7.1% increase compared to the same period last year, reported the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour in an Oct. 24 press release.

Fort Steele Heritage Town
Fort Steele Heritage Town

The province invests more than $90 million annually in the tourism sector across every region to grow and market the sector. International overnight visitors are an important indicator of that growth.

There were increases in a number of key markets this August. Leading the way were visitors from Japan with an increase of 15.8% over last August. Visitors from India are up 13.2% and visitors from Australia are up 5.8%. The entire Asia/Pacific also saw an increase of 2.9% over August last year.

Growth from the United States, B.C.’s largest international market, was up .7%, with an additional 3,484 visitors coming to B.C. this August compared to August 2014.

Lake Windermere
Lake Windermere

As a key sector in the BC Jobs Plan, tourism is a key economic driver in the province. B.C.’s tourism sector is strong and growing – which is good news in light of fierce global competition for tourists. There are more than 19,200 tourism-related businesses in B.C., and over 17,000 (almost 93%) are small businesses.

In 2013, the tourism industry generated $13.9 billion in revenue with a direct contribution to B.C.’s gross domestic product of $7.3 billion. Tourism accounted for 4% of the province’s total GDP.

“Visitors want to enjoy a world-class tourism experience and that’s what B.C. offers. The latest international visitor numbers show the strength of B.C.’s tourism industry and the diversity of international travellers to our province. The growth we are seeing in key markets in Asia and the United States proves what a remarkable summer tourist season we’ve had,” suggested Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.

Fishing on the Elk River near Fernie.
Fishing on the Elk River near Fernie.

Marsha Walden, CEO of Destination British Columbia agreed.

“Destination BC and B.C.’s dedicated tourism businesses have had a very busy year so far, and I am delighted to see the impact we are making, together, to bring visitors to our province. Preliminary estimates show we’re forecasting visitation of approximately 19.1 million trips within or to B.C. in 2015 – that’s an increase of more than 3% over last year and is setting the pace for Canada. It truly is an exciting time for tourism in B.C.,” she said.

The province works with Destination British Columbia, an industry-led Crown corporation that works with tourism stakeholders throughout the province to market Super, Natural British Columbia® as a tourist destination.

Check out where visitors came from in August 2015.

Lead image: Canadian Rockies International Airport has experienced steady growth in traffic and passengers. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

The Platzl, Kimberley
The Platzl, Kimberley

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