Chinese tourists spark surge in visitors to British Columbia

Direct flights from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan boost tourist arrivals

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 March, 2017, 2:04am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 March, 2017, 2:04am

The tourism industry is “booming” in British Columbia, according to provincial government data that showed increases in visits from several different countries with the number from China showing the biggest increase.

Overall, tourist visits grew more than 9 per cent year-over-year in January. The biggest boost came from China; visits from that country increased almost 56 per cent. This was followed by increases in visitors from Australia (up 37 per cent), Mexico (up 37 per cent) and the United Kingdom (22 per cent).

A government press release said one of the biggest influences on the number of tourists is direct flights. The number of non-stop flights between Vancouver and airports in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taipei has been increasing steadily over the past year, and this trend is expected to continue.

In January, there were 84 direct flights per week, and this is expected to increase to 104 by July.

“Both China and Australia saw increases in air capacity to British Columbia,” the press release said. “These new flights are due in part to the province eliminating the international jet fuel tax which has reduced costs for airlines.”

According to the British Columbia government, each new flight creates 150-200 new jobs at Vancouver International Airport.