B.C. greeted nearly 6.1 million international visitors in 2018, which the ministry says is a new record and an increase of 6.4 per cent in just twelve months. (Photo Destination BC)

Tourism is economic force in British Columbia with 6.1 million visits: ministry

The industry generated $18.4 billion in revenue in 2017

British Columbia’s tourism industry is outpacing provincial economic growth, contributing $9 billion to the economy.

Destination BC, the Crown corporation that co-ordinates tourism marketing, released the latest figure from 2017, saying it’s a 6.7 per cent increase over the year before.

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The Tourism Ministry says in a news release that the industry generated $18.4 billion in revenue the same year, an 8.4 per cent leap in one year and over 41 per cent since 2007.

It says statistics show tourism added the largest value to the provincial economy between 2007 and 2017, relative to industries, such as oil and gas, mining, forestry, logging and fishing.

The figures were released at the Tourism Industry Association of BC conference in Vancouver at the same time as the ministry announced a new strategic framework that it says will guide year-round tourism growth while protecting the province’s natural environment.

Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of B.C., says the framework will allow the industry to reach its full potential as one of the province’s leading business sectors.

“The province’s new strategic framework for tourism provides a blueprint for both the growth and sustainability of B.C.’s visitor economy for the foreseeable future,” he says in the release.

B.C. greeted nearly 6.1 million international visitors in 2018, which the ministry says is a new record and an increase of 6.4 per cent in just twelve months.

Marsha Walden, the CEO of Destination BC, says the trend for the coming year appears just as promising.

“By all accounts, 2019 is going to be another strong year for tourism across the province, bringing jobs and opportunities to communities across British Columbia.”

Budget 2019 included a funding increase of $1 million for Destination BC over the next three years.

The Canadian Press

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