British Columbia

Vancouver on track for record breaking tourism year

Vancouver's 2015 tourist season will go down as the strongest ever, with a million more visitors coming to the city than the previous year.

FIFA Women's World Cup, extended cruise season and thriving convention scene drives Vancouver tourist boom

American tourists disembarking at Vancouver's Canada Place say they are spending more on tours, food and accommodations due to the the weak Canadian dollar. (CBC)

When the clock ticks down on 2015 it will go into the books as the best year ever for Vancouver's tourism industry.

The FIFA Women's World Cup and the extended cruise season, and a big year hosting conventions are some of the reasons that for the first time ever the number of overnight visitors to Vancouver will surpass nine million. 

That's up from eight million visitors in 2014.

Amber Sessions of Tourism Vancouver calls it a huge accomplishment. She says Americans made up the largest market, accounting for two million visits, while the number of tourists from other countries were up across the board.

"China is our 3rd largest market," she said. "We're expecting over 242,000 visitors from China which is a five per cent increase from last year."

The low Canadian dollar helped lure both international and domestic travelers.

"When the dollar is low it's another motivator for Canadians to travel within Canada rather than going abroad," said Sessions. "It means we get increased American travel and increased Canadian travel."

Vancouver had the highest occupancy rate of any big Canadian city this year, reaching 99 per cent capacity at one point during the FIFA Women's World Cup .That kind of popularity also makes Vancouver the most expensive city in Canada when it comes to rates charged by hotels.  

It's estimated that Vancouver's tourism industry brings in $3.5 billion annually.

Sessions says they are anticipating 2016 to be even better. 

With files from Deborah Goble

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