Vancouver: Canada’s hot spot

They may not be able to build a fast ferry that works, but British Columbia’s natural advantages continue to attract record numbers of tourists. Tourism Vancouver reports that 1999 was another record year for overnight visitors to the rainy city. Some 8.3 million people stayed at least one night in the region, compared with 7.9 million in 1998, an increase of more than five percent.

More tourists from other parts of Canada (+4.6%), the US (+6.7%), Europe (+4.3%) and Asia Pacific (+6.8%) contributed to the record numbers. Visits from the key markets of the United Kingdom (+8.8%) and Germany (+1.1%) were also up from the previous year.

Tourism Vancouver Chair Nancy Stibbard says the record numbers are the result of marketing efforts and a focus on service.

“We are truly blessed by an outstanding destination that people from all over the world want to visit” she says. “It’s taken the collective efforts of our members and our industry partners to focus on our key markets, service our customers and give visitors a memorable experience during their stay. The results are definitely paying off.”

The local economy is also benefiting. Tourism Vancouver estimates that visitorspent an average of $127 per day over an average of nearly three and a half days in the city. The resulting $3.6 billion of direct spending translates into an estimated economic impact of $6.2 billion and some 104,000 jobs for Greater Vancouver. And now that they’ve got the fast ferries up for sale, visits to Victoria should increase as well.