THE latest numbers for international visitor arrival numbers from Statistics Canada from January 2017 indicate a 9.2% increase over the same month in 2016, resulting in 23,427 more visitors arriving in B.C.

Other notable increases for January (over January 2016) include:

* China – up 55.8%

* Australia – up 36.7%

* Mexico – up 37.4%

* United Kingdom – 21.5%

* South Korea – 19.1%

* India – up 17%

Direct flights can have a significant impact on international visitor arrivals. Both China and Australia saw increases in air capacity to British Columbia of 35.4% and 87.8% respectively. These new flights are due in part to the Province eliminating the international jet fuel tax which has reduced costs for airlines.

Each new daily international flight to B.C. creates between 150 and 200 new jobs at Vancouver International Airport (YVR). An additional 300 to 400 jobs are created indirectly in the province at businesses such as hotels, restaurants, travel agents and tour operators.

In addition, the Province’s lead marketing organization, Destination BC (DBC), has been instrumental in promoting strong tourism sector growth. DBC was established by the Province in April 2013 to lead the marketing of British Columbia as a tourist destination, and to promote the development and growth of the tourism industry throughout B.C.

Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, said on Wednesday: “Last year was a record year for B.C. with 5.5 million international visitors coming to our province. These latest numbers show that momentum continuing with communities across B.C. benefiting from this growth. Our tourism sector is leading the way in our province’s diverse economy and I’m confident that the sector will help keep B.C.’s economy growing.”

Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination British Columbia, added: “A busy winter travel season is a cornerstone for tourism, and these latest figures show we’re starting 2017 with a bang. B.C. is the premier destination for winter adventures in Canada. With an established network of ski resorts, backcountry lodges, and snowmobile and heli-skiing operators in almost every corner of the province, along with vibrant cities surrounded by spectacular scenery, international travellers have so much to choose from. And when visitors take in our remarkable winter experiences, they bring revenue to businesses and operators right across B.C. In fact, tourism is currently generating the highest GDP among all natural-resource industries in the province and has high-growth prospects for the future.”

 

Quick Facts:

 

* The tourism industry is helping fuel the provincial economy which is expected to lead the country in economic growth in 2017.

* The Province supports the sector with a $98 million annual investment across every region to grow the sector.

* Tourism supports nearly 19,000 businesses and 127,700 employees in B.C. and is a key sector in the BC Jobs Plan.

* British Columbia saw over 5.5 million international visitors in 2016 – an increase of 12.3%.