Business in Vancouver

International visitation to BC, Canada up 8.6 per cent in June

Province also saw 12.4 per cent more visitors in first half of 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2016, 3:52am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2016, 10:51am

BC’s tourism sector continued to boom in June as 8.6 per cent more international visitors came to the province in the month, compared with the same month a year ago, according to Destination British Columbia statistics released August 22.

Although that growth pace is brisk, it is below the 12.4 per cent increase in international visitation to the province in the first half of 2016.

US and mainland Chinese visitors were responsible for most of that rise in June, or about 4.6 per cent percentage points. US visitation in the month rose 3.7 per cent for a total of 15,255 people, whereas visitation from mainland China soared 48.8 per cent, for 12,556 more visitors than in the same month in 2015.

Other countries with significant percentage increases for visitation to BC in June were:

•Mexico (40.2 per cent);
•Taiwan (29 per cent); and
•Japan (22.6 per cent).

Canadawide, there was a 5.8 per cent increase in international visitation, with China again leading the way, percentagewise, with a 48.7 per cent increase.

For the first half of the year, 2,307,624 people entered Canada through BC border crossings and stayed overnight.

The US contributed 1,514,805 of those people, or almost two-thirds of the overnight visitors (65.6 per cent).

The countries responsible for the biggest increases in international visitation to BC during the first half of 2016 by percentage terms were:

•Mexico (38.6 per cent);
•Taiwan (37.2 per cent); and
•mainland China (22 per cent).

A number of factors are responsible for the increased tourism, including a comparatively low Canadian dollar versus the US greenback and increased air access. 

Tourism from mainland China is expected to continue to increase given that air access continues to get better. Vancouver International Airport last month became the first airport in either the Americas or Europe to have five mainland China carriers offering non-stop flights. A sixth mainland-Chinese airline, Capital Airlines, announced last week that it plans to launch non-stop flights to Vancouver starting in December.