The number of international visitors to British Columbia went over the million mark for the first few months of 2016 according to the latest statistics.
From January to April, 1,172,637 visitors came to our province resulting in an 18.2% increase over the same period last year.
April also experienced exceptional growth as 328,006 visitors travelled to British Columbia. This is a 21% increase over April of 2015 (271,136 visitors same month last year). This is the highest number of visitors to B.C. on record for all the months of April over the last 10 years.
British Columbia experienced growth in international overnight entries from some of its key markets in April over the same month in 2015, including:
- Germany up 33.4%
- China up 32.9%
- South Korea up 31.9%
- Mexico up 28%
- Australia up 26.4%
- U.S. up 22.1%
- Japan up 9.3%
- India up 6.8%
- United Kingdom up 0.7%
The strong growth in visitors from China, South Korea and Mexico is partly due to increased air access/additional flights to Vancouver from those countries. Each new daily international flight to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) creates between 150 and 200 new jobs at the airport, plus more jobs in B.C.’s hotels, tourism attractions and businesses.
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.
Provincial tourism growth has also been helped by the low Canadian dollar along with Destination BC’s new international marketing strategy.
Another factor for the exceptional growth in tourism in B.C. is Aboriginal tourism. It is one of the fastest-growing tourism areas in the province. It experienced a doubling of revenue from $20 million to $42 million (2006-2012). In addition, there are more than 300 Aboriginal tourism businesses in British Columbia. This exceeds the BC Jobs Plan target of 300 Aboriginal owned tourism businesses by 2017.