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Published on : Wednesday, December 16, 2015
It’s been another banner year for Vancouver’s tourism industry. Based on the latest visitor data, Tourism Vancouver projects 2015 year-end overnight visitation to exceed nine million people, a new best for Metro Vancouver’s tourism industry and the second consecutive record-breaking year.
Vancouver’s tourism industry succeeded in 2015 due to a combination of factors. Key among them are Tourism Vancouver’s sales and marketing initiatives in 11 countries; the FIFA Women’s World Cup which drew significant visitation to the city in June and July; strong convention, cruise and festival seasons; and strategic partnerships with Destination British Columbia, Destination Canada, the Vancouver Hotel Destination Association, Vancouver Airport Authority, the Vancouver Convention Centre and others.
External factors such as heightened consumer confidence in the USA combined with a Canadian exchange rate favourable to international travellers, also played a significant role in increasing visitation to Canada in 2015. Vancouver fared best among major Canadian cities. Year-to-date October data shows that Vancouver had the highest hotel occupancy, and highest average daily rate, of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.
Vancouver’s 2015 Tourism Highlights
• Star markets. Vancouver’s largest international travel market, the United States, which brought 1.9 million overnight visitors to Vancouver last year, is currently registering exceptional 8.3% growth over 2014. Other star markets are Japan (+14%), France (+30%), South Korea (+8.2) and Mexico (+ 6.3%). China remains Vancouver’s largest overseas visitor market with a forecasted 242,000 total overnight visitors in 2015 (+5% over 2014)1.
• Strong convention year. Vancouver hosted 19 citywide conventions2 in 2015 that resulted in $92 million in direct visitor spending. Due in large part to Tourism Vancouver and the Vancouver Convention Centre’s Be a Host program, 2015 was Vancouver’s biggest year for globally attended medical conventions, including the World Congress of Dermatology (10,000 attendees), International Diabetes Federation (8,000 attendees) and the World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics (6,500 attendees). Vancouver’s largest meeting of the year was Academy of Management (11,000 attendees) which has been re-booked for 2020.
• Soccer fever. The FIFA Women’s World Cup proved an important motivator for travel to Vancouver in June and July. On July 5 (the day of the final match) downtown Vancouver experienced 99% hotel occupancy.
• July and August were top for tourism. July and August were 2015’s strongest months for Vancouver’s accommodation sector. In July, daily occupancy in downtown hotels was above 90%, except for five days.
• Vancouver’s cruise season remained robust. Port Metro Vancouver welcomed approximately 805,000 passengers, on 32 ships, making 228 voyages in 2015. Each time a cruise ship arrives in Vancouver, it stimulates more than $2 million in economic activity.
• Vancouver was honoured with a slew of awards and accolades. In 2015, Vancouver was recognized by Condé Nast Traveler magazine as one of the “World’s Best Food Cities”. Mercer once again named Vancouver “North America’s Most Livable City”, and TravelAge West lauded Vancouver for having the “Highest Client Satisfaction among travel professionals”.
It is estimated that the tourism industry in Vancouver supports over 66,000 jobs and contributes approximately $1.6 billion in taxes and direct visitor spending of some $3.5 billion annually.