Strong autumn for B.C. tourism
Beautiful British Columbia remains an appealing destination for global travellers.
In the first 11 months of 2016, more than 5.1 million international visitors arrived in British Columbia, a 12.2% increase over the same time frame in 2015.
The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show that from January to November 2016, a total of 5,143,414 international visitors arrived in B.C. to date last year, for an increase of 546,632 over 2015. The same visitor numbers show in November 2016, a 13.1% increase in international visitor arrivals over November 2015, showing a total of 31,675 more visitors.
A growing number of visitors from China have been coming to British Columbia. Year-to-date figures for 2016 show that an increase of 18.5% (46,170 more visitors than 2015) visitors from China came to the province during the first 11 months of 2016.
In December, a new flight from Beijing Capital Airlines began service between Vancouver and Hangzhou, via Qingdao. The new, thrice-weekly service marks the first time Beijing Capital Airlines will fly to any destination in North America.
China Eastern’s non-stop service to Nanjing, China also was announced in December. This year-round service will operate three times weekly to Nanjing Lukou International Airport.
Travel from India grew by 8.4% from January to November 2016. This is due in part to to Air Canada’s direct flight from Vancouver to Delhi, a Tourism and Skills Training ministry press release related.
“Tourism is a key economic driver in B.C. and the latest numbers show that more than five million international visitors selected British Columbia as their destination of choice last year. This data shows the impact that our tourism industry has on our economy, creating jobs and helping to keep B.C. diverse, strong and growing,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.
Improved air access from Australia and Mexico has also helped with B.C.’s tourism growth. These new flights are due in part to the province eliminating the international jet fuel tax, which has reduced costs for airlines.
“Increased air capacity and access from our major international airports supports tourism growth in B.C. For the Australian market, a 121.1% increase in air capacity (in November 2016 over November 2015) aided in a 59.9% growth of visitation this November over last year. In the Mexican market, a new daily flight from Mexico City to Vancouver, launched in December 2015, supported an increase of 31.2% year-to-date (January to November 2016). As YVR launches their master plan for 2037, we look forward to a future where the world has greater access to British Columbia,” stated Marsha Walden, CEO Destination British Columbia.
Other reasons for the strong tourism growth are a revised international marketing strategy from the province’s Destination BC and Vancouver International Airport’s vision and business model.
Other notable increases for November (over November 2015) include: Australia – up 59.5%; Mexico – up 34.8%; France – up 19.7%; Japan – up 13%; United States – up 12.1%; India – up 8.1%; China – up 3.9%.
Tourism is one of B.C.’s largest industries. The province enjoys a competitive tourism advantage thanks to diverse and scenic landscapes, world-class tourism products, excellent infrastructure, rich culture and geographic accessibility to visitors.
B.C.’s tourism industry employed over 127,700 people in 2015, in 19,000 tourism businesses throughout the province.
In 2015, 4.9 million international visitors came to B.C. – about an eight per cent increase compared to 2014.