Strong spring tourism bodes well

The latest statistics from the provincial government say that tourism across the province is booming – and Campbell River is no exception.

According to the province, 1,172,637 visitors came to our province over the first four months of 2016 – an 18.2 per cent increase over the same period last year. The month of April itself saw more visitors come to B.C. than any other April for the past 10 years.

The largest visitor increases, according to the government, came from Germany (+33.4 per cent in April compared to the same month last year), China (+32.9 per cent) and South Korea (+31.9 per cent) followed closely by Mexico, Australia and the U.S.

The government credits an increased number of flights, particularly to and from Vancouver to China, South Korea and Mexico thanks to the 2012 elimination of the province’s jet fuel tax reducing costs to airlines, but adds that the low Canadian Dollar and Destination BC’s new international marketing strategy has helped push the numbers, as well.

“These double-digit increases show that our province is becoming a destination of choice year-round for international travelers,” says Shirley Bond, minister of jobs, tourism and skills training. “Whether visitors come to enjoy our amazing outdoor activities, immersing themselves in an Aboriginal cultural experience, shopping or dining in our incredible restaurants these experiences have put B.C. on the travel radar for visitors worldwide,” adding that the spring tourism numbers, “provide us with a snapshot of what should shape up to be continued growth in tourism for the summer season.”

Kim Doney, manager of the Campbell River Visitor’s Centre, says she and her staff have also seen an increase this year.

“Campbell River has had a busy kickoff to the tourism season,” Doney says. “We serve hundreds of visitors weekly, with the majority coming from Europe and Asia,” adding that they anticipate the stream of visitors to continue throughout the rest of the summer now that the centre is fully staffed and open daily.

There’s also a new addition to their information services this year to help with the increasing numbers.

The community’s new Visitor’s Van officially kicked off its role providing information on local attractions  on Canada Day and will be at various events and circulating the region throughout the summer.