Wildfires cause slight dip in July tourism statistics and visitor numbers for B.C.

JULY international visitor arrival numbers show a slight dip in growth for the tourism sector in British Columbia.

The latest numbers from Statistics Canada, from July 2017, indicate a 0.2% decrease over the same month in 2016, resulting in 1,581 fewer visitors arriving in British Columbia. However, the total year-to-date international overnight custom entries to B.C. are up 3%, resulting in 94,974 visitors.

Wildfires in B.C. and across the border in Washington state appear to have had a negative impact on arrivals for July, mainly for short-haul travellers from the United States and potentially on Asian visitors to Seattle who may have chosen not to drive up to British Columbia while on their trip.

Notable increases for July (over July 2016) include:

  • Mexico – up 18.5%
  • Germany – up 12.5%
  • Australia – up 12.1%
  • France – up 3.0%

Decreases for July (over July 2106) include:

  • South Korea – down 12.1%
  • United Kingdom – down 8.1%
  • Japan – down 2.0%
  • China – down 1.8%
  • India – down 1.8%
  • Europe – down 1.5%
  • Asia/Pacific – down 1.7%

Notable increases for year-to-date visits include:

  • Mexico – up 26.7%
  • Australia – up 26.4%
  • Germany – up 15.1%
  • China – up 8.1%
  • Japan – up 5.4%
  • United Kingdom – up 5.4%
  • India – up 4.2%
  • United States – up 0.4%
  • France – up 0.6%
  • South Korea – up 0.4%
  • Asia/Pacific – up 8.0%
  • Europe – up 4.7%

The Province’s lead marketing organization, Destination BC, has been instrumental in partnering with regional destination marketing organizations to counteract losses to B.C.’s tourism industry due to the unprecedented scale, duration and devastation caused by the wildfires. Destination BC is an industry-led Crown corporation that works collaboratively with tourism stakeholders throughout the province to co-ordinate tourism marketing at the international, provincial, regional and local levels, and to support regions, communities and Indigenous people in developing or expanding tourism experiences, businesses and jobs.

British Columbians, as well as people in Alberta and Washington, are being encouraged to #exploreBC by traveling this fall to support festivals, events and local tourism operators throughout the province.

Quick Facts:

In 2015, the tourism sector:

  • Employed 127,000 British Columbians;
  • Paid $4.5 billion in wages and salaries;
  • Supported nearly 19,000 tourism-related businesses in B.C.; and
  • Contributed $7.4 billion towards the Province’s GDP.

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