British Columbia’s Strong Tourism Growth sets the stage for summer season

The good news just keeps rolling in for British Columbia’s growing tourism industry.

The latest international visitor numbers from February show that tourism is up 15.3% during the first two months of 2016 with 71,007 more visitors to the province over the same period last year.

“2015 was a year for the record books and we’re pleased to see that trend continue in 2016,” Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination British Columbia said. The number of international visitors from the month of February is up 16.2% over February last year (an additional 39,246 visitors). They are coming from a number of key markets including:

  • France up 61.2%
  • South Korea up 27%
  • Mexico up 26.8%
  • U.S. up 20.1%
  • Europe (Germany, U.K., France) up 8.5%
  • Asia Pacific up 7.5% as a whole (and within the Asia Pacific, Japan was up 25.9%, India up 4.5% and visitors from China up 2.1%)
  • United Kingdom up 5.6%

The Provincial tourism growth is helped by a number of factors including the low Canadian dollar, Destination BC’s new international marketing strategy and more direct flights to B.C. The new flights are thanks, in part, to a 2012 jet fuel tax that was eliminated by government to reduce costs for airlines and give travellers more choice. New flights from Japan have led to an increase in Japanese travellers coming to B.C.

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Each new daily international flight to B.C. creates between 150 and 200 new jobs at Vancouver International Airport (YVR). An additional 300 to 400 jobs are indirectly created in B.C. at businesses such as hotels, restaurants, travel agents and tour operators.

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 approximately 19,200 businesses and 127,500 employees in B.C.

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 amidst fierce global competition for tourists. In 2014, the tourism industry generated $14.6 billion in revenue with a direct contribution to B.C.’s gross domestic product of $7.1 billion.