British Columbia is showing strong growth in international overnight visitors with overall numbers up by an additional 34,785 visitors or 8.3 per cent over May 2014, and year-to-date up by 103,993 visitors or 7.8 per cent during the same period last year.
Statistics Canada figures show an increase in international overnight visitors across many important markets, an important indicator of tourism industry growth.
“Anecdotally, we’ve been hearing that this spring and early summer was looking very strong on the tourism front, and the increases in international visitor numbers appear to back that up,” says Naomi Yamamoto, minister of state for tourism and small business. “B.C. is an exciting tourism destination that delivers a wide range of outstanding experiences, adventures and services to those who visit, and should be a must-see on your global travel list.”
Leading the way from the Asia-Pacific region, visitors from Japan are up 17.5 per cent over last May, and from South Korea up 8.6 per cent. Visitors from New Zealand are up 15.6 per cent and up 14.3 per cent from India.
Growth from the United States, B.C.’s largest international market, was up 9.3 per cent with an additional 24,760 visitors over May 2014.
Visitors from Europe were up 13.1 per cent over last May, including France up 46.1 per cent, the Netherlands up 36.1 per cent, Switzerland up 35 per cent, and Germany up 25.5 per cent.
This solid growth in the tourism sector is due to a number of factors, including a strong U.S. dollar, lower fuel prices and increased flight capacity to B.C. Tourism is also about opportunity — by capitalizing on strong markets and strategic marketing investments, B.C.’s visitor economy is outperforming the rest of Canada.
This positive growth builds on solid growth last year, with a 5.3 per cent increase in international visitors overall in 2014 —almost a quarter of a million (234,079) more visitors coming from outside the country than the year before.
These increases in visitor numbers help support over 19,000 businesses and 132,000 jobs in the tourism sector in B.C.
As a key sector in the BC Jobs Plan, tourism is an important economic driver in the province. B.C.’s tourism sector is strong and growing – which is good news in light of fierce global competition for tourists. In 2013, the tourism industry generated $13.9 billion in revenue and a direct contribution to B.C.’s gross domestic product of $7.3 billion, accounting for 4 per cent of the Province’s total GDP.
The numbers reported by Statistics Canada include international visitors who cross Canada customs in B.C. Actual numbers of visitors to B.C. are higher, as people crossing into the province from elsewhere in the country are not included in these figures.
Destination British Columbia’s International Visitor Arrivals publications summarize customs entry data to B.C. and Canada from select markets of origin.
“Tourism is a key sector in our BC Jobs Plan and is one of B.C.’s top job creating industries. 2014 is the third year in a row we have seen an increase in international visitor numbers and it looks like 2015 is shaping up to be another good year for this important industry.
We are working hard to ensure that even more people know that B.C. is a world-class tourism destination so that we continue to grow visitor numbers and keep our diverse economy strong and growing, “ says tourism minister Shirley Bond.