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Tourists flock to B.C.

According to the provincial government tourism is booming in B.C.

A new study of tourism trends between 2004 and 2014, reveals a 38 per cent increase in tourism revenue.

"Tourism is a key sector in the BC Jobs Plan, a major employer and one of the reasons why our province's diverse economy is expected to lead the country this year," says tourism minister Shirley Bond.

“These statistics highlight the incredible growth we've experienced. It's no wonder British Columbia regularly shows up among the top must-do travel lists in publications like the New York Times and Condé Nast Traveler.”

The study called "Value of Tourism in British Columbia: Trends from 2004 to 2014" is produced by B.C. Stats for Destination British Columbia.

The province says the study highlights impressive long-range, as well as recent growth within the tourism sector.

In 2014 alone, tourism contributed $7.1 billion in GDP to the provincial economy, a 4.5 per cent growth over 2013.

The provincial government says approximately 127,500 people were employed in tourism, a 2.2 per cent increase over 2013, and the tourism industry paid $4.3 billion in wages and salaries, up 4.5 per cent over 2013.

There are also more than 19,200 tourism-related businesses in B.C., and more than 17,000 (almost 93 per cent) of those are small businesses.

The average salary in the tourism sector increased 10 per cent, in 10 years, but still remains quite low at $33,616.

The province feels the strong growth in the tourism sector can be linked to a number of factors, including more direct flights to B.C. from key U.S. and international markets, as well as Destination British Columbia's new international marketing strategy.

“We are tremendously proud of our industry partners and the exceptional products they offer our visitors from around the world. With our awe-inspiring natural assets, solid infrastructure, remarkable experiences and world-class customer service, these results clearly demonstrate that tourism continues to be a strong and growing economic driver for our provincial economy,” says Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination British Columbia.

“With global tourism forecast to double over the next 20 years, we believe B.C.'s tourism industry is well positioned for even greater economic success in the years to come."

For more information on preliminary findings from the Value of Tourism in British Columbia: Trends from 2004 to 2014 click here.

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