British Columbia’s tourism sector continues to show growth in international overnight visitors. There were an additional 52,872 more visitors in June of 2015 compared to 2014 – representing a 9.5% increase over June 2014. This brings the total number of visitors to B.C. in the January to June period up by 156,856 visitors – or 8.3% – over the same period last year.
The international overnight custom entries released by Statistics Canada are one indicator of growth in the tourism sector. The numbers reported by Statistics Canada include international visitors who cross Canada customs in B.C. Actual numbers of visitors to B.C. are higher, as people crossing into the province from elsewhere in the country are not included in these figures.
This month’s entries show increases in a number of key markets. The number of visitors from our province’s largest international market, the United States, rose 13.2%, with an additional 47,168 visitors over June 2014.
Growth from the Asia-Pacific region has meant more visitors from Japan (up 10.3% over last June), India (up 14.1%) and South Korea (up 8.4%).
This solid growth in the tourism sector can be linked to a number of factors, including lower fuel prices, more direct flights to B.C. and a lower Canadian dollar. The growth experience so far in 2015 is similar to the strong growth the sector experienced last year. In 2014, there were almost a quarter of a million (234,079) more visitors coming from outside the country than in 2013 – a 5.3% increase.
As a key sector in the BC Jobs Plan, tourism is an important 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. In 2013, the tourism industry generated $13.9 billion in revenue and a direct contribution to B.C.’s gross domestic product of $7.3 billion, accounting for 4% of the Province’s total GDP.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“Tourism is an economic driver and job creator and a key sector in our diverse economy. The positive growth trend we’ve seen so far in 2015 continues this month with a nearly 10% increase in visitors coming to B.C. compared to June 2014. We know our province is a world-class destination with outstanding tourism experiences and we are very proud that more visitors are making British Columbia their destination of choice.”
Marsha Walden, CEO of Destination British Columbia –
“Tourism is all about opportunity and B.C. is having a stellar year so far. It's one of the fastest growing sectors in the world and an intensely competitive global industry. Travellers want to experience the powerful nature of BC – our rugged coastlines, lush rainforests, massive mountains, and cities perched in wilderness.”
- In 2013, tourism’s contribution to B.C.’s GDP was $7.326 billion; 4% of B.C.’s total GDP and roughly equivalent to the combined GDP contributions from forestry and natural gas
- The Province invests about $90 million annually in the tourism sector. This investment alongside significant provincial investments in transportation infrastructure, BC Parks, recreation sites and trails, culture and heritage, small business supports, landmark attractions and hosting programs, are all working in tandem to increase visitor numbers and tourist spending in the province, and enhance the province’s long-term competitiveness and sustainability.
- The Province supports Destination BC, an industry-led Crown corporation. Destination BC works closely with tourism stakeholders, marketing the province as a tourist destination and promoting the development and growth of the tourism industry.
- Since 2003, tourism sector employment in B.C. has grown 17.6% and tourism wages and salaries have increased by more than 34.4% ($4.5 billion in 2013).
- In 2013, the tourism sector employed 132,200 British Columbians – that’s about 1 in every 15 jobs in B.C – and the tourism industry paid $4.5 billion in wages and salaries to tourism workers, an increase of 3.8 % over the year before.
- There are more than 19,200 tourism-related businesses in B.C., and over 17,000 (almost 93%) are small businesses with less than 50 employees.
Destination British Columbia’s International Visitor Arrivals publications: http://ow.ly/PUrQH
To view Destination British Columbia’s award-winning video, The Wild Within, visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNFrZNjs2ng&feature=youtu.be
For information on Destination British Columbia’s programs and services: www.DestinationBC.ca/
For tourism information and to plan your visit to Super, Natural British Columbia®, visit: www.hellobc.com/
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan, visit: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/