Metro Vancouver’s tourism industry marked its fourth consecutive record-breaking year after year-end data for 2017 showed overnight visitation in the region reached 10.35 million people, representing a 3% increase over the previous year.
This is nearly a million more visitors than 2015 and about 1.5 million more than 2014.
According to Tourism Vancouver, the market with the highest growth was Australia with 239,000 visitors – a one-year increase of 20.4%.
Some of the other top markets were Germany (+15.4%), Mexico (+12.9%), Japan (+5.2%), and South Korea (+2.9%).
The region’s largest tourism market is still the United States by a wide margin with over 2.4 million (+1.6%) overnight visitors while the second largest market is China with more than 300,000 visitors (+7.1%).
Sports events such as World Rugby’s Seven Series tournament stop and the Canada vs. Maori All Blacks and Canada vs. USA women’s soccer matches at BC Place Stadium were some of the largest single-event generators for overnight stays.
Vancouver is set to host even more major sporting events this year, in addition to the Seven Series stop held earlier this month. This will include the NCAA Vancouver Showcase men’s and women’s basketball tournament from November 18 to 24, held at a new temporary basketball stadium built inside Vancouver Convention Centre East’s exhibition hall at Canada Place.
Then from December 5 to 9, the ISU’s Grand Prix of Figure Skating will be held at UBC Thunderbird Sports Centre.
At the end of 2018 through the New Year, from December 26 to January 5, 2019, Vancouver and Victoria will co-host the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.
A number of major conventions were held at the Vancouver Convention Centre throughout last year, and Tourism Vancouver and other partners in the convention industry won bids for 33 future citywide meetings as far into the future as 2027.
In 2018, a record 33 citywide conventions and events will also be held in Vancouver, and these meetings are expected to bring over 100,000 visitors to the city.
Cruise ship traffic at the Port of Vancouver’s cruise terminal at Canada Place also saw an increase of 2% over 2016 for a total of 842,928 cruise passengers on 236 vessel visits. The growth rate for cruise ship traffic is projected to be triple of the previous year with 6% in the forecast for 2018.
About $3 million is generated for the local economy from each cruise ship visit.
Additionally, the region’s strong tourism industry is also reflected by Vancouver International Airport’s (YVR) record growth in traffic, reaching 24.2 million passengers in 2017. The airport saw 16 new flight services, particularly to the Asia-Pacific, and is now North America’s fastest growing airport.
YVR is now well ahead of its original forecasts of 25 million passengers by 2020, and at this rate it anticipates to see 31 million passengers by 2022.
Vancouver’s tourism industry generates $4.8 billion for the local economy annually and provides over 70,000 full-time jobs.