The annual statistics for 2015 show British Columbia saw a remarkable 7.9% increase in international visitors over the previous year.
A total of 4.9 million international visitors came to B.C. in 2015 - 359,750 more people compared to 2014.
British Columbia saw an increase from a number of regions including:
- France up 32.8%
- Japan up 15.5%
- United States up 9.6%
- South Korea and Mexico up 9.5%
- India up 8.4%
- Asia/Pacific up 4.5%
- Europe up 3.8%
Provincial tourism growth is helped by a number of factors including Destination B.C.’s new international marketing strategy, our fast growing Aboriginal tourism sector and more direct flights to British Columbia. The new flights are thanks in part to a 2012 jet fuel tax eliminated by government to reduce costs for airlines and give travellers more choice. Each new daily international flight to British Columbia creates between 150 and 200 new jobs at Vancouver International Airport (YVR). An additional 300 to 400 jobs are created indirectly in the province 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 British Columbia.
As a key sector in the BC Jobs Plan, tourism is a key economic driver in the province. British Columbia’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.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“The world is visiting B.C.! These 2015 year-end numbers prove that our province is the top of the list for many international travelers. Almost five million people came here last year to enjoy world-class tourism activities in British Columbia.
“Whether it’s skiing in Northern B.C. and the Rockies, shopping in Vancouver or enjoying the restaurants in the Okanagan or Victoria, visitors are taking in a wide range of experiences. Last year was a remarkable one for tourism and 2016 is shaping up to be another great year.”
Marsha Walden, Destination British Columbia –
“With a revitalized tourism brand, refined marketing strategies that have seen additional investment into growth markets, coupled with the remarkable products and experiences offered by B.C.’s tourism industry, British Columbia is well positioned to draw visitors from around the world.
“We have seen tremendous growth in 2015 and we will continue to work with industry stakeholders to become North America’s most highly recommended destination.”
Steve Paccagnan, chairperson, Canada West Ski Areas Association –
“The year-end tourism statistics indicate amazing growth for the tourism industry and are especially welcome news for snow sports in the province. They are the primary driver of winter tourism and have a huge impact on employment and our economy.
“The 2015-16 ski season is off to a tremendous start supported by increased tourism visitation, great snow conditions, an attractive tourism dollar and a cooperative marketing approach.”
Brenda Baptise, chair and CEO of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia –
“As chair and CEO of the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia, I take great pride in knowing that our stakeholders are contributing to the overall success and the growth of tourism in our province.
“Foremost for us, we understand that we are helping to contribute to cultural preservation and economic development for First Nations leaders and youth across the province. As the number of Aboriginal tourism businesses increase, we know that we are helping to further strengthen the tourism industry in British Columbia.
Walt Judas, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of BC –
"The strong tourism numbers for 2015 reflect many of the key factors that are integral to achieving record results.
“The combination of strategic and effective marketing, exceptional products and experiences that attract visitors, favourable reviews via social media, and a solid regulatory environment together with government investment has lifted British Columbia's visitor economy to the next level.
“The positive trend over the last year has carried over into 2016 which is already shaping up to be another tremendous year for our industry."
James Douglas, manager of Visitor Experiences, Barkerville Historic Town and Park –
“The growth we've seen in B.C.'s tourism numbers this past year have been nothing short of spectacular. Barkerville's summer visitation increased by nearly 20 per-cent in 2015, and our annual Victorian Christmas celebration in December broke a 10-year attendance record.
“We anticipate this positive trend to continue throughout 2016, and look forward to welcoming this new and refreshing tide of international and "stay-cation" guests.”
David MacKenzie, British Columbia Hotel Association chair and president –
“British Columbia’s natural beauty is as diverse as it is vast.
“The province has something for everyone—adventure seekers, business travelers, sports enthusiasts, and those looking for a quiet oasis all find what they are looking for when they visit.
“Hoteliers know that the best marketing is a word-of-mouth referral and we’re looking forward to building on the successes of last year.”
- Through the BC Jobs Plan, British Columbia is growing its tourism sector by establishing an integrated marketing approach, in partnership with tourism marketing organizations.
- Tourism provides a job for roughly one out of every 15 people employed in British Columbia.
- The Province invests more than $90 million annually in the tourism sector across every region to grow and market the sector.
For more information on the latest tourism statistics for 2015, visit: http://www.destinationbc.ca/getattachment/Research/Industry-Performance/International-Visitor-Arrivals/International-Visitor-Arrivals-–-December-2015/International-Visitor-Arrivals-December-2015.pdf.aspx
For tourism information and to plan your visit: www.hellobc.com/
B.C. Provincial Tourism Strategy, Gaining the Edge: http://www.jtst.gov.bc.ca/tourismstrategy/documents/GainingTheEdge_2015_2018.pdf