Strong summer for B.C.’s tourism sector
In the first nine months of this year, nearly half a million more international visitors travelled to B.C. than in the same period last year, representing an 11.9% year-over-year increase with over 4.5 million travelers.
The latest international overnight visitors from Statistics Canada also show a 14.9% increase in international visitors over September 2015 (74,287 more visitors).
Other notable increases for September (over September 2015) include: South Korea – up 44.6%; China – up 32.2%; Mexico – up 28.2%; UK – up 27.9%; Australia – up 21.1%; Europe – up 20.5%; India – up 15.8%; United States – up 11%.
A new international marketing strategy from the province’s marketing arm, Destination BC, and increased air access and capacity to Vancouver are a couple of factors contributing to the province’s tourism growth, the provincial Ministry of Tourism reported recently.
Large increases in international visitors from China, Mexico and the United Kingdom are due in part to improved air access from those regions and Vancouver International Airport’s vision and business model.
Locally, Canadian Rockies International Airport (pictured above) manager Tristen Chernove told a Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce luncheon audience Dec. 14 that traffic is up over previous years, after a sluggish start to the year.
“These latest international visitors statistics validate the good tourism stories we’ve been hearing around the province. Already this year, a half a million more international visitors have come to B.C. More and more people are choosing to #exploreBC, and our province is one of Canada’s premier tourism destinations,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.
“Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries. Among global travellers, Canada is hot. And B.C. is sizzling! Right now, B.C. is showing an almost 15% increase year-over-year in overnight arrivals from our international markets. This surge of visitors at the end of summer is a great sign for the tourism seasons ahead and leading into 2017,” added Marsha Walden, CEO Destination British Columbia.
In 2015, 4.9 million international visitors came to B.C. – about an 8% increase compared to 2014.