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International visits to B.C. up 7% this year

Growth seen from several key markets, including Japan, India and Australia



New Statistics Canada figures showed a strong summer for B.C.’s tourism sector, with international visits to the province up 7.1-per-cent so far this year.

Visitor numbers, based on the latest overnight custom entries, rose by 238,000 people in the first eight months of 2015 compared to the same period last year.

“The latest international visitor numbers show the strength of B.C.'s tourism industry and the diversity of international travelers to our province,” said B.C. tourism minister Shirley Bond in a release. “The growth we are seeing in key markets in Asia and the United States proves what a remarkable summer tourist season we've had.”

Visits from a number of key markets saw growth this August, with visitation from Japan up 15.8 per cent, from India up 13.2 per cent, and from Australia up 5.8 per cent. The number of visitors from the entire Asia-Pacific region jumped 2.9 per cent over August 2014.

Growth from B.C.’s largest international market, the United States, was less pronounced, with August visitation numbers seeing only a slight 0.7-per-cent bump.

Whistler enjoyed a busy summer of its own, posting record visitation numbers for June, July and August. In fact, August 2015 went down as the busiest month in resort history in terms of paid room nights, according to Tourism Whistler, overtaking February 2010, when Whistler hosted the Winter Olympics.

Earlier this year, Victoria updated its provincial tourism strategy, Gaining the Edge: 2015-2018, refocusing its goals for the coming years and looking at ways to improve tourism in all facets of the industry.

Some of the report’s key action items should have long-term impacts for Whistler, like increasing support for long-term adventure tourism leaseholders, a commitment to enhance transportation and growing investments in cycling infrastructure.

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