Tourism contributes as much to Province’s GDP as oil and gas

The Government of British Columbia, alongside industry representatives, has recognized Tourism Week, May 27 to June 2, with an official proclamation at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria.

Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, was joined by representatives from Destination BC, the Tourism Industry Association of BC, Indigenous Tourism BC, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, the Adventure Tourism Coalition and members of the Legislative Assembly to celebrate B.C.’s thriving and prosperous tourism industry.

“Tourism Week offers an exceptional opportunity to raise awareness about how essential tourism is to people all over British Columbia,” said Beare. “Tourism drives our economy, creates jobs and strengthens communities, making B.C. a better place for people to live, work and visit. Our government is committed to championing tourism as we work to grow a thriving, sustainable industry which attracts more visitors from Canada and around the world.”

Beare called upon B.C.’s elected officials to be ambassadors for tourism in their communities, and for all British Columbians to visit their favourite tourist attractions this week.

British Columbia’s tourism industry generated $17 billion in revenue in 2016 – a 7.9% increase from the year before – and made a direct contribution of $7.9 billion to the province’s gross domestic product (GDP). Tourism remains one of B.C.’s largest sectors, contributing as much to the province’s GDP as oil and gas, and more than mining, forestry and agriculture.

“The Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC) and our members throughout British Columbia are celebrating our important industry this week,” said Walt Judas, CEO of TIABC. “We recognize that in order to keep our visitor economy on its positive trajectory, we need to continue to invest in products, experiences, infrastructure, events and marketing. In addition, working with the Province to address issues such as air access, labour and housing for tourism workers is paramount to achieving record results in the future.”

The benefits of tourism to British Columbians is a prominent theme of the week, with awareness raising events and celebratory activities happening in local communities throughout the province. Each day of Tourism Week will recognize a different facet of tourism and its importance in British Columbia. The themes are: culinary tourism, Indigenous tourism, sustainable tourism, adventure tourism, jobs and tourism, tourism matters in all regions of B.C., and major events tourism.

“Tourism is a powerful force, creating industry growth that’s far outpacing the overall economy,” said Maya Lange, vice president global marketing, Destination BC. “Tourism also enhances the great lifestyle we enjoy as British Columbians, giving us amazing resorts, festivals, wineries, museums, campgrounds, restaurants and so much more. I encourage everyone to get out and explore B.C.”

“Indigenous Tourism BC is pleased to represent our stakeholders and a wealth of experiences that differentiate Indigenous tourism from other destinations, creating meaningful jobs and sustainable economies for Indigenous people,” said Tracy Eyssens, CEO, Indigenous Tourism BC. “We have seen growth in demand for Indigenous experiences, and will continue to partner with industry organizations and federal and provincial governments to advocate and pursue support for Indigenous communities, entrepreneurs and artisans.”

Today, tourism is one of the province’s biggest employers, with 19,000 businesses and more than 133,000 people working in the sector. Future projections show steady job growth, as the tourism industry continues to develop on a global scale, with more than 100,000 new jobs in B.C.’s tourism and hospitality sector predicted by 2020.

 

Quick Facts:

  • Tourism Week in B.C. is the same week as Tourism Week in Canada.
  • Tourism is an important economic driver for B.C., generating $17 billion in revenues in 2016.
  • Tourism is one of the province’s biggest employers. More than 133,000 people work in the industry.
  • Tourism is growing in importance for B.C.’s economy. In 2016, the industry contributed $7.9 billion in added value to the province’s GDP. This is an increase of 5.6% over the prior year, and significantly higher than the overall growth of 3.6%.
  • The Government of British Columbia invests over $113 million in the tourism sector annually
  • In 2017, 5.7 million international visitors came to B.C., a 3.3% increase (181,700 more visitors) compared to 2016.

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