Summer tourism stats encouraging with winter on the horizon
The B.C. Government has released stats that international visitor arrivals’ indicate strong growth in key tourism markets — figures that are especially welcome as Tourism BC shifts its marketing efforts to focus on B.C.’s upcoming ski season.
August 2012 International Overnight Custom Entries to B.C., released by Statistics Canada, shows a 6.0 per cent overall growth compared to August 2011 and a 1.4 per cent growth year-to-date.
In 2011, August represented 14.9 per cent of annual visitation.
Overnight entries from the U.S. experienced a 7.2 per cent increase compared to August 2011. This is an especially encouraging development as the Canadian dollar and gas prices remain high and economic recovery in the U.S. remains slow.
Earlier this month, Tourism BC launched its 2012-2013 ski marketing campaign, aimed at long-haul visitors, including skiers from California and Ontario. Representatives from B.C.’s 13 ski resorts actively participated in the development of the campaign, which focuses on the quality and abundance of B.C. snow.
According to Canada West Ski Areas Association, in 2011-2012 there were 6.4 million skier visits to B.C., up 2 per cent from the previous year.
The success of the ski industry is vital to British Columbia’s economy, producing revenues of $1.1 billion, a GDP of $730.9 million and 14,267 full-time jobs in the 2007-08 season.
International visitors spend over $3 billion each year in B.C. In 2010, 4.4 million international overnight visitors came to B.C., accounting for 28 per cent of overall visitor volume but nearly 40 per cent of visitor expenditures.
Tourism is one of the key economic sectors identified in Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan. Gaining the Edge, the B.C. government’s tourism strategy, provides a framework for government and industry to work together to attract more visitors and create jobs for British Columbians.