B.C. tourism could stall in 2012

A tourism expert says 2012 is shaping up to be a sub-par year for tourism in B.C., thanks to economic conditions elsewhere.

B.C. minister remains upbeat but academic says economy could discourage growth

A tourism expert says 2012 is poised to be a slower-than-hoped-for year for the industry, despite the provincial government’s optimism.

Tourism Minister Pat Bell on Monday hailed the new marketing campaign B.C. has been running in California and Ontario.

"It is 100 very magical special moments that we want to talk about and promote in B.C.," Bell said.

Bell said B.C. has a lot to offer visitors, and he expects the tourism industry to grow.

But Simon Fraser University professor and tourism expert Peter Williams thinks it's not likely we'll see a huge number of travellers from abroad, not this summer at least.

"We have continuing economic concerns from Europe, so the number of travellers from Europe will be down quite dramatically," Williams said.

Williams also said the U.S dollar is still struggling, so he doesn't expect American tourists to flock here either.

"They may not be staying as long and spending as much money as some of our well-heeled international travellers."

With files from the CBC's Stephanie Mercier