Oct 21, 2012 / 1:22 pm
The past year has turned out to be another good one for BC in terms of the number of International visitors to the province.
Statistics Canada figures show strong growth in key tourism markets, figures that are especially welcome as Tourism BC shifts its marketing efforts to focus on BC's upcoming ski season.
August 2012 International Overnight Custom Entries to BC increased 6 per cent overall compared to August 2011 and a 1.4 per cent growth year-to-date.
Overnight entries from the US 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 US remains slow.
"In a time of global economic uncertainty, BC is seeing positive overall growth in this key industry. Our government has made a commitment to take tourism from a $13.4-billion industry to an $18-billion industry by 2016," says BC Tourism Minister Pat Bell.
"As Canada's gateway to expanding middle classes in Asia, we believe this is a highly achievable goal. By continuing to work with industry partners on projects like our recently released 'Ski It To Believe It' campaign, I'm confident we'll see tremendous growth in this important industry for years to come."
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 BC's 13 ski resorts actively participated in the development of the campaign, which focuses on the quality and abundance of BC snow.
According to the Canada West Ski Areas Association, in 2011-2012 there were 6.4 million skier visits to BC, up 2 per cent from the previous year.
Government officials say 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 BC.
Figures show that in 2010, 4.4 million international overnight visitors came to BC, accounting for 28 per cent of overall visitor volume but nearly 40 per cent of visitor expenditures.
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