Tourism dips in BC after record-breaking wildfire season

Oct 6 2017, 12:21 am

Summer wildfires appear to have put a dent to British Columbia’s tourism numbers, according to the provincial government.

“Wildfires in B.C. and across the border in Washington state appear to have had a negative impact on arrivals for July, mainly for short-haul travellers from the United States and potentially on Asian visitors to Seattle who may have chosen not to drive up to British Columbia while on their trip,” reads a release.

Based on the latest data from Statistics Canada, there was a slight 0.2% decrease in international visitor arrival numbers in July 2017 over the same period the previous year.

But overall international overnight customs entries for the year-to-date are still on the upswing, with a 3% increase resulting in 94,974 visitors.

The strongest growth markets are from Mexico (+26.7%), Australia (+26.4%), Germany (+15.1%), and China (+8.1%). Visitation is significantly down from South Korea (-12.1%) and the United Kingdom (-8.1%).

This is all reflected by Vancouver International Airport’s passenger annual counts, which have been on the rise in recent years, and it attributes the surge from Mexico to the removal of the visa requirements for Mexican visitors to Canada.

Overall, double digit growth continues for traffic from the Asia-Pacific region, with a growth of 19.9% during the first half of 2017 due to the new services to Australia and India. This is expected to continue with the recently launched additional services to Hong Kong.

There was modest, stable growth from domestic, European, and American passenger traffic.

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Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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