British Columbia’s tourism sector continues to show growth in international overnight visitors.
There were an additional 72,085 visitors in July 2015 compared to 2014 – representing a 9.9 per cent increase over July 2014. This brings the total number of visitors to B.C. in the January to July period up by 228,950 visitors or 8.8 per cent over the same period last year.
This month’s entries show increases in a number of important markets. The number of visitors from our province’s largest international market, the United States, rose 11.6 per cent, with an additional 56,182 visitors over July 2014. Other regions showing increases include China (up 8.3 per cent), Japan (up 12.5 per cent), and India (up 15.6 per cent).
B.C.’s tourism sector and visitor numbers have been strong through the summer, and to ensure that momentum continues into future years, government has updated its provincial Tourism Strategy, Gaining the Edge: 2015-2018.
This strategy maximizes government’s $90-million annual investment in the tourism sector and leverages significant provincial investments in transportation infrastructure, BC Parks, recreation sites and trails, culture and heritage, small business supports, landmark attractions and hosting programs.
Alignment is a key theme in the strategy, with a focus on marketing efforts and cross-government investments to develop and enhance B.C.’s current and future tourism assets. The updated Gaining the Edge
strategy will ensure better support for increased visitor numbers and tourist spending in British Columbia and enhance the province’s long-term competitiveness and sustainability.
In keeping with this theme, Destination BC will begin a new, three-year basefunding model for the community visitor services network that ensures stable and predictable distribution of funding following extensive consultation with their partners. The strategy includes a new minimum base funding of $10,000 annually for the next three years for small and rural community visitor centres as well as an innovation fund available to assist communities with projects that help them adapt to the changing needs and expectations of visitors, including through the use of technology.
As a key sector in the BC Jobs Plan, tourism is an important economic driver in the province. B.C.’s tourism sector is strong and growing, which is good news in light of fierce global competition for tourists. In 2013, the tourism industry generated $13.9-billion in revenue and a direct contribution to B.C.’s gross domestic product of $7.3 billion, accounting for 4 per cent of the Province’s total GDP.