Tourism in B.C. up 15 per cent in early 2016

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The province’s international tourism numbers were reportedly up 15.3 per cent in the first two months of this year.

Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training Shirley Bond says strong marketing, the low value of the Canadian dollar, and more direct flights to the province were all factors.

The numbers this year are an extension of those posted last year, when a total of 4.9 million international visitors came to B.C. — an increase of nearly eight percent over 2014.

As reported earlier it was France, up 32.8 per cent, that recorded the biggest percentage increase.

That more than doubled the hike of second place Japan at 15.5 per cent and they were the only two countries to post double digit increases.

Meantime, the latest available information shows, that in 2014, tourism revenue, which measures the money received by businesses, individuals, and governments due to tourism activities, totaled $14.6 billion.

That represented a 5.1 per cent increase over the previous year, and a ten year increase from 2004, of 37.7 per cent.

Due to the transition from the now-infamous HST back to the PST on April 1, 2013, tourism related provincial tax revenue was down by 7.6 per cent in 2014 to $825 million.

However, that didn’t prevent an increase in the revenue post, for the aforementioned ten year period beginning in 2004, which was up by 13.2 percent.

As for employment, tourism related businesses provided jobs for 127,500 people in 2014, and that was a year-over-year increase of two point two percent, and a ten year improvement of 18.4 per cent.