The August international visitor numbers are in and they are proof that this past summer has been an exceptional time of growth for tourism in British Columbia.
Year-to-date figures show an 11.5 per cent increase in international visitors over the same time period last year (January to August). That represents close to four million total overnight international visitors (3,990,574) that came to BC during the first eight months of this year.
In August alone, 789,783 international visitors came to BC, a 7.5 per cent increase compared to August 2015.
Other notable increases for August include:
|U.K.||up 32.1 per cent|
|Australia||up 28.8 per cent|
|Mexico||up 22 per cent|
|Japan||up 19.8 per cent|
|Europe||up 17.6 per cent|
|South Korea||up 10.4 per cent|
|China||up 10.2 per cent|
|United States||up 3.9 per cent|
There are a number of factors contributing to the growth in visitor numbers, including increased air access and capacity to Vancouver, a low Canadian dollar and Destination BC’s new international marketing strategy.
The growth of overnight entries from Mexico, the U.K. and China is partly due to increased air access. For example, China has a new three-times-per-week flight on Xiamen Airlines which was introduced between Xiamen and Gaoqi International Airport in China and Vancouver in late July.
Air China also introduced an additional three flights per week for August and September. Each new daily international flight to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) creates between 150 and 200 new jobs at the airport, plus more jobs in BC’s hotels, tourism attractions and businesses. The new flights are thanks, in part, to a 2012 international jet fuel tax eliminated by the Provincial government to reduce costs for airlines and give travellers more choice.
Tourism supports nearly 19,000 businesses and 127,500 employees in BC.
In 2015, 4.9 million international visitors came to BC – about an 8 per cent increase compared to 2014.