B.C. tourism industry sees 18% increase in tourists so far this year
Aboriginal tourism and more direct flights attributed as growth factors for first quarter of 2016
It took just four months for more than a million international tourists to arrive in British Columbia so far this year.
New numbers released Wednesday afternoon show a nearly 18.2 per cent increase in visitors to the province in 2016.
"These double-digit increases show that our province is becoming a destination of choice year-round for international travelers," said Jobs Minister Shirley Bond in a written statement.
More than 1.17 million tourists visited from January to April, with 328,000 of those visitors arriving in April alone.
"This is the highest number of visitors for the month of April on record over the last 10 years," said Liberal MLA Greg Kyllo.
Destination B.C. said the biggest boost came from tourists from Germany, China and South Korea — mainly due to more direct flights. Another factor attributed to the increase includes the low Canadian dollar.
The province singled out Aboriginal tourism as "one of the fastest-growing tourism areas in the province," saying the sector's revenues have more than doubled to $42 million in six years.
But with growth comes the challenge of finding people to work in the tourism industry.
"We are actively seeking more young people, more people with skills to come and join such a good thing going on with tourism right now," said Destination B.C. CEO Marsha Walden.
According to the province, tourism supports about 18,682 businesses and 127,500 employees in B.C.