The latest overnight custom entries numbers from Statistics Canada show a strong summer tourism season in B.C.
International visitors are up by 7.6% to date in 2015 compared to 2014 representing an additional 290,532 visitors coming to B.C. As well, visitors in September were up 11.5% over September 2014.
These numbers build on the excellent overall visitor numbers from last year. In 2014, the Province had the highest growth overall in total overnight visitors as well as the highest growth rate in international visitation of any province in Canada.
Increases in September happened in a number of key markets, including Japan up 25%, South Korea up 11.5%, Germany up 10.3%, China up 7.8%, Mexico up 3% and Australia up 2.3%. Growth in the Asia-Pacific region was also up 8% and Europe is up 5.5%.
Growth from the United States, B.C.’s largest international market, was up 14.5%, with an additional 40,175 visitors coming to B.C. this September compared to September 2014. Visitors from the United States year-to-date have also risen, with an increase of 9.2% in 2015 so far compared to 2014.
The solid growth in the tourism sector can be linked to a number of factors, including a revitalized brand for the province’s international marketing campaign, more direct flights to B.C. and lower fuel prices. As well, British Columbian’s staycations are a continue source of tourism strength. Staycations are a good way to keep vacation dollars circulating in the economy with British Columbians supporting local businesses and jobs in the tourism sector when they visit regional events and venues.
“These numbers show that British Columbia is becoming a destination of choice for visitors from around the world,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. “We offer a world-class tourism experience and 2015 international visitor numbers were up significantly. We are also seeing growing momentum as British Columbians choose to enjoy a staycation right here at home. We are optimistic that 2016 will be another strong year for this important sector.”
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. There are more than 19,200 tourism-related businesses in B.C., and over 17,000 (almost 93%) are small businesses. In 2013, the tourism industry generated $13.9 billion in revenue with a direct contribution to B.C.’s gross domestic product of $7.3 billion. Tourism accounted for 4% of the Province’s total GDP.
The Province works with Destination British Columbia, an industry-led, Crown corporation that works with tourism stakeholders throughout the province to market Super, Natural British Columbia, as a tourist destination.