Whether you’re from Shanghai or San Francisco, Smithers or Salmon Arm, this BC Day is a great time to explore B.C.
The tourism industry is enjoying record growth throughout the province. For example, hotel occupancy (year-to-date) is up in cities like Vancouver (+4%) and Kelowna (+2.8%) and even smaller communities such as Nanaimo (+5.5%) and Whistler Resort (+5.7%). These numbers translate into an impressive 17.4% growth in revenue for hotels in British Columbia.
Passenger volume at a number of airports is also up in Vancouver (+7.4%), Victoria (4.7%), Nanaimo (17.3%), Kelowna (5.9%) and Kamloops (4.3%). BC Ferries passenger volume is up by 4.5% this year.
Looking at this growth, its no surprise to see the number of overnight international visitors to British Columbia grew significantly for the first five months of 2016. From January to May, 1,650,703 visitors came to the province, resulting in a 14% increase over the same period last year.
Earlier this year, Destination BC launched the Explore BC marketing campaign to encourage British Columbians to explore their province year-round. When British Columbians choose to staycation they are keeping their vacation dollars circulating in B.C.’s economy. That is good for local businesses and regional economies and it also helps sustain jobs in the tourism sector.
With an estimated GDP of $7.1 billion, the tourism industry is a key economic driver in this province supporting nearly 19,000 businesses and 127,500 employees in B.C.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour – “Whether you’re coming to go whale watching or lie on the beach, go river rafting or camping with your family, our province has something for everyone. This weekend, I know that visitors from around the world will be marveling at the wonderous experiences that British Columbia has to offer. But I also encourage those of us who live here year round to take the opportunity this BC Day to explore B.C. and help support one of the thousands of tourism small businesses in the province.”
Marsha Walden, CEO Destination British Columbia –
“We are so lucky to live here. The BC Day long weekend gives all of us a chance to explore the amazing experiences that have made B.C. a hot spot for tourists from around the world. Residents and visitors alike are drawn to our refined cities perched in the raw wilderness, rugged coastlines, lush rainforests and monumental mountains. It looks like 2016 will be a record-breaking year for B.C.'s tourism economy, and we hope all British Columbians will share their photos this weekend with friends and family, inviting them to explore B.C. too.”
Nancy Cameron, president and CEO of Tourism Kelowna –
“Kelowna and surrounding communities continue to experience strong growth in overnight visitation as travelers come to enjoy an abundance of activities for individuals, couples, groups and families. We have been working hard for the past five years to increase spring travel and we are seeing the results. Spring visitation has increased substantially and summer is thriving. Wine touring, farm to table meals, golf, great hiking and biking, and sunny beaches with a variety of water-based activities are all within minutes of our energetic downtown that's right on the lake. With a great mix of well-established and loved attractions and new experiences to try, travelers love to come to Kelowna and area to enjoy a flavorful and fun vacation.”
- 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 nearly 19,000 businesses and 127,500 employees in B.C. and is a key sector in the BC Jobs Plan.
- The Province invests more than $98 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. – an 8% increase compared to 2014.
For more information on the latest tourism statistics for 2016 visit: http://www.destinationbc.ca/Research/Industry-Performance/International-Visitor-Arrivals.aspx
Destination British Columbia: http://www.destinationbc.ca/
Explore BC: http://www.explorebc.ca/
BC Jobs Plan: http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/