VICTORIA – The number of visitors from India to BC is up 20.9 percent in the first half of 2016 with overnight international visitors having surpassed the two-million mark.
According to Statistics Canada, 2,307,624 visitors came to B.C. from January to June, a 12.4% increase (254,935 additional visitors) over the same period last year.
During the same time frame, other highlights include visits from the United States, which were up 12.4%, visits from Mexico up 38.6% and visits from China up 22%.
In addition, 656,676 international visitors came to B.C. in June alone – an 8.6% increase compared to June 2015. There were increases in visitors from a number of markets in June over the same month in 2015, including:
* China, up 48.8%
* Mexico, up 40.2%
* Japan, up 22.6%
* South Korea, up 21.8%
* India, up 20.9%
* Australia, up 19.7%
* Europe, up 3.9%
* United States, up 4.4%
"This year continues to show that the world has chosen British Columbia as a top spot in their travel planning. A 12% increase in international visitors in the first half of 2016 is great news for B.C. These additional visitors help support our businesses and create jobs, which in turn, help drive economic growth in the province," said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour
A number of factors are contributing to the growth in visitor numbers, including increased air access and capacity to Vancouver, a low Canadian dollar and Destination BC's new international marketing strategy.
The Canada Transportation Agency just announced a sixth mainland China based air carrier, Capital Airlines, will start servicing Vancouver International Airport in December.
Each new daily international flight to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) creates between 150 and 200 new jobs at the airport, plus more jobs in B.C.'s hotels, tourism attractions and businesses. The new flights are thanks in part to government's elimination of a 2012 international jet-fuel tax to reduce costs for airlines and give travellers more choices.
* The tourism industry is helping fuel the provincial economy, which is expected to lead the country in economic growth in 2016 and 2017.
* Tourism supports nearly 19,000 businesses and 127,500 employees in British Columbia and is a key sector in the BC Jobs Plan.
* The Province invests more than $98 million annually in the tourism sector across every region to grow and market the sector.
* In 2015, 4.9 million international visitors came to B.C. – about an 8% increase compared to 2014.