International visits to B.C. have been climbing for the past 7 years
B.C. is poised to break yet another record for tourism in 2018.
According to statistics from Destination B.C., this year, international arrivals to B.C. rose by 5.7 per cent over 2017.
It’s the seventh year in a row that international visits to the province have climbed.
Cruise ship passengers increased by 12 per cent, and hotels, which were booked nearly 90 per cent of the time in July, saw their prices rise by 10 per cent.
Maya Lange with Destination B.C. said that while current statistics for 2018 so far only reflect the numbers up until September, B.C. is on track to surpass those set in previous years.
“We are gearing up toward another record year of visitation, international visitation to British Columbia, so we’re pretty excited about how the year is ending out,” said Lange.
Lange said tourism generates $17 billion annually for B.C. and employs 130,000 people.
“We really believe in the power of word of mouth, so people have remarkable experiences in British Columbia, they go home and tell their friends and their family, and that’s a really important piece of it,” she said.
Lange said that of 5.7 million international trips to B.C., the vast majority come from the U.S. and China. Australia and Mexico are also major markets.
Indigenous tourism also booming
Indigenous tourism in B.C. also hit an all-time high in 2018.
A report published earlier this year showed that customers spent more than $705 million a year on tourism businesses run by First Nations in the province.
On Monday, Destination B.C. said in a statement it is providing $1 million in funding to the Indigenous Tourism Association of BC.
According to Destination B.C., there are currently 401 Indigenous tourism-related businesses operating in the province, up from 267 in 2014. Over the next two years, they are expected to welcome 7.2 million visitors.
With files from Anita Bathe and Angela Sterritt