TOURISM in Vancouver exceeded expectations in 2014, and 2015 is anticipated to be even stronger, according to Tourism Vancouver. In fact, projected overnight visitation to year-end is 8.94 million – the highest visitation in the city’s history.
Overall visitation increased over 2013 due to a number of factors, key among them strong partnerships and alignment of marketing efforts between Tourism Vancouver, Destination BC, the Canadian Tourism Commission and other partners.
Markets that showed the strongest growth in 2014 were China (+25.8 percent), India (+21.1 percent) and Mexico (+21.4 percent).
2014 Vancouver Tourism Highlights:
* Major international conferences contributed to a strong convention year. Vancouver hosted 26 citywide conventions that resulted in $140 million in direct visitor spending. Major international conferences that met here include the globally renowned TED Conference; SIGGRAPH, the city’s largest convention to date (14,045 attendees); and Rendez-vous Canada, the country’s premier international tourism marketplace.
* Vancouver’s cruise season remained robust. Between May and October 2014, Port Metro Vancouver welcomed 812,095 passengers on 243 calls by 29 cruise ships. This year’s cruise season generated close to $486 million in economic activity.
* The Vancouver Airport Authority announced new international routes out of Vancouver International Airport (YVR). In January 2015, Qantas will commence direct flights between Vancouver and Sydney, Australia. Starting in May 2015, Air Canada Rouge will fly up to five times per week between Vancouver and Osaka, Japan. And in March 2015, Air France will introduce service between Vancouver and Paris, France.
* Tourism Vancouver’s campaign with Chinese-born singer / songwriter Wanting Qu strengthened relationships with China. Tourism Vancouver’s continued relationship with Wanting Qu has generated tens of millions of hits on social media websites in China as well as through print media coverage, contributing to increased visitation from China of 25.8 percent (over 2013). China recently overtook the U.K. as Vancouver’s largest overseas travel market.
* Tourism Vancouver hosted an exclusive familiarization tour for top-selling Germany-based travel agents. Every year, destinations across North America compete to host Meier’s Weltreisen Go West, one of the largest German tour operators featuring Canada. This year, Vancouver was selected as host city and showcased its wealth of product to some 130 influential travel agents.
* Tourism Vancouver and partners secured major new convention business for future years. Particularly notable among conferences that booked meetings in Vancouver were the Academy of Management 2020 Annual Meeting (10,000 attendees) and the American Society of Human Genetics 2026 Annual Meeting (8,000 attendees).
* Vancouver was honoured with a slew of awards and accolades. Most recently, the city was ranked among the top three cities in the world in the Telegraph Travel Awards; named one of the world’s most livable cities in the Economic Intelligence Unit’s Global Livability Ranking (third); received Travel + Leisure’s award for Top Travel Destination in Canada; and was voted the best city / town in Canada in the 2014 Baxter Travel Media Agents’ Choice Awards. View more accolades here.
Overall Forecasts for 2015:
(Sources: Tourism Vancouver and Meyers Norris Penny)
* Tourism expected to increase in 2015. Tourism Vancouver forecasts that overnight visits to Vancouver, from all markets, will increase by 2.9 percent over 2014, setting a new record.
* 2015 forecasted growth markets: Mexico (12 percent), China (18 percent) and India (8 percent) are expected to show steady growth in 2015, as is the U.S. (4 percent).
* 2015 will be the biggest international medical convention year in Vancouver’s history. Thanks in large part to Tourism Vancouver’s Be a Host program (a sales and marketing initiative that identifies and supports members of the local community in bringing their association meetings to Vancouver) and close relationships with partners such as the Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver is set to welcome a number of globally attended medical conventions, including the World Congress of Dermatology (15,000 attendees) and the International AIDS Society conference (7,000 attendees).
* Cruise traffic expected to remain on par with 2014. New for 2015, changes to passenger flow in Canada Place cruise terminal will improve efficiency and enhance the customer experience. Port Metro Vancouver will consolidate cruise business at Canada Place and officially retire Ballantyne Pier.