Tourism up 7.9 per cent in British Columbia

By Kiss FM News
February 24, 2016 - 11:26am Updated: February 24, 2016 - 4:24pm

British Columbia had close to five million international visitors in 2015.

That was up 7.9% increase over the previous year, or 359-thousand more people.

The biggest increases were from France, up 32%, Japan by 15%, and the US, South Korea and Mexico, all up by 9%.

Shirley Bond, the Minister of Jobs and Tourism, says a number of factors are involved including more direct flights to BC, the fast growing Aboriginal tourism sector and Destination B.C.'s new international marketing strategy.

Bond says the tourism industry generated $14.6 billion in revenue in 2014, with a direct contribution to B.C.'s gross domestic product of $7.1 billion.

"The new flights are thanks in part to a 2012 jet fuel tax eliminated by government to reduce costs for airlines and give travellers more choice," says a government news release.

"Each new daily international flight to British Columbia creates between 150 and 200 new jobs at Vancouver International Airport . An additional 300 to 400 jobs are created indirectly in the province at businesses such as hotels, 
restaurants, travel agents and tour operators."

Other notable visitor increases were from India up 8.4%, Asia/Pacific up 4.5%, and Europe up 3.8%

Steve Paccagnan, chairperson of the Canada West Ski Areas Association says the year-end statistics are especially welcome news for snow sports in the province.

"The 2015-16 ski season is off to a tremendous start supported by increased tourism visitation, great snow conditions, an attractive tourism dollar and a cooperative marketing approach," says Paccagnan.

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