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Chinese tourism boom on hold pending official approval

China has been identified by Tourism Whistler as a future market...


China has been identified by Tourism Whistler as a future market with great potential for the resort. But according to the B.C. Stats Infoline Report of April 2, 2004 there is a significant political and bureaucratic hurdle to be overcome before B.C., or Canada, becomes a major destination for Chinese tourists.

The B.C. Stats Infoline report states:

"Tourism from China is an area where B.C. may eventually see a big benefit. According to the World Tourism Organization, China ranked seventh in the world in tourism spending in 2002. Although the number of Chinese travellers entering Canada through B.C. has grown significantly over the last decade, such that China ranked eighth as a source of travellers to B.C. in 2003, it is still only about a third of the number from Japan, a country with about 10 per cent the population of China.

"One reason for the lower numbers is that Canada has not received approved destination status (ADS) from the Chinese government, which would be required before Chinese tour groups could organize major tours in Canada. Australia, which was given ADS by China in 1999, has seen visitor visas issued to Chinese citizens to travel to Australia rise from 55,897 in 1997-98 to 129,446 in 2002-03, more than doubling in just five years. As a result, the number of Chinese tourists travelling to Australia has increased substantially.

"Although Canada has attempted to get ADS, so far China has refused and has given no explanation for the rejection. If China eventually comes around to granting Canada ADS, the benefits to B.C. should be quite significant."

Colorado resorts generate $2 billion

Colorado's ski industry generates $2 billion US annually and provides 31,000 jobs, according to a report recently released by Colorado Ski Country USA.

The ski industry accounts for more than a quarter of the state's $7 billion in tourism revenues. Resorts take in nearly $1 billion themselves, while estimates of revenues for supporting businesses add another $1.5 billion or so.

Much of this revenue is generated by destination visitors – 6.8 million of whom came to Colorado resorts during the 2002-03 season, according to the report, which was prepared by RRC Associates of Boulder.

The 31,000 jobs account for about 14 per cent of the state's tourism employment.

By way of comparison, Tourism B.C. estimates the tourism industry in this province was worth $9.3 billion Cdn in 2002. Using current currency conversions that would mean the B.C. tourism industry was worth slightly more than $7 billion US in 2002.

The Canadian Ski Council reports there were 5.5 million skier visits at resorts in B.C. and the Yukon in the winter of 2002-03. The council does not break the numbers down to identify destination visitors. However, it estimates slightly more than 45 per cent of B.C.’s 6.35 million skier visits in 2001-02 were by non-Canadians.