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.
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%
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.
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.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“B.C. is coming off a very strong winter tourism season. The latest international visitor numbers back up what we’ve been hearing from communities across the province – they are having record-breaking seasons. These latest numbers continue the trend that we have seen for the last year. Whether it’s international tourists or British Columbians looking to take advantage of great experiences here at home, it is a great time to get out and explore BC.”
Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination British Columbia –
“Tourism is booming in B.C. 2015 was a year for the record books and we’re pleased to see that trend continue in 2016. This February saw major increases in overnight visitors from around the world. The U.S.A. was up 20.1% and Mexico up 26.8% – proof that British Columbia’s vast and powerful nature, spectacular cities, fabulous snow conditions and great value for money are big draws for our friends south of the border."
- Asia Pacific includes Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, South Korea, China, New Zealand, India and Southeast Asia (Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand).
- Tourism provides a job for roughly one out of every 15 people employed in B.C.
- The Province invests more than $90 million annually in the tourism sector across every region to grow and market the sector.
- In 2015, 4.9 million international visitors came to B.C., a 7.9% increase compared to 2014.
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-February-2016/International-Visitor-Arrivals-February-2016.pdf.aspx
B.C. Provincial Tourism Strategy, Gaining the Edge: http://www.jtst.gov.bc.ca/tourismstrategy/documents/GainingTheEdge_2015_2018.pdf