Vancouver sets new tourism record with 10 million visits

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More than 10 million tourists made overnight visits to Vancouver in 2016, the third year in a row that the west-coast Canadian city set a record for tourism, a local tourist official said Friday.

Vancouver has a metropolitan population of about 2.5 million people and is known for its beautiful setting tucked in between the Coastal Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

Several factors were at play in the travel boost, including a strong cruise ship numbers, a robust convention event season and the Canadian government’s elimination of visa requirements for Mexicans.

Vancouver fared best among major Canadian cities in terms of higher hotel occupancy, and higher average daily rate, ranking ahead of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

“I think general consumer confidence is also a good underlying factor in terms of why people travel internationally,” Stephen Pearce, Tourism Vancouver’s vice-president of marketing, said in an interview with Xinhua.

He said 2016 saw an increase in tourism from almost all major foreign markets that their agency tracks.

“The world tourism organization is looking at tourism internationally to grow by about 4.5 percent. We’ve seen increases of almost double that. It’s been a very strong year.”

Tourism Vancouver focuses its advertising campaigns on eight key markets in addition to Canada and the U.S., that include China, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Germany, South Korea and Mexico.

The U.S. again represented the largest single group of visitors to Vancouver, with 2.3 million overnight visitors coming to the city last year – a 9.8 percent increase over 2015.

But the rate of travel from Mexico increased the most, climbing by 33.4 percent. Other increases were logged by Australia, China, the U.K. and South Korea.

China remains Vancouver’s largest overseas visitor market with more than 280,000 in total in 2016.

Pearce said they’ re looking forward to another year of growth in 2017, possibly due in part to a surge in visitors who would have otherwise traveled to the U.S.

“I think that Canada will see some of that business from folks who would have otherwise gone to spend time in the U.S., or maybe an extension of that vacation opportunity” from the U.S, he said.

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