B.C.’s tourism sector has rapidly grown during the past decade and is expanding faster than the economy at large, according to a report produced by BC Stats for the province’s tourism marketer, Destination British Columbia.
Tourism contributed $7.1 billion in GDP in 2014 to the provincial economy, for 4.5% growth over 2013. Tourism GDP grew more rapidly than that of the whole B.C. economy, which grew 2.8% in 2014 .
The study, called Value of Tourism in British Columbia: Trends from 2004 to 2014, noted that 127,500 people are employed in tourism in B.C., up 2.2% from 2013.
Those workers earned $4.3 billion in wages and salaries, which was up 4.5% from 2013.
The average salary was $33,616 last year, which was up 10% since 2004.
“These statistics highlight the incredible growth we've experienced,” said B.C. Tourism Minister Shirley Bond. “It's no wonder British Columbia regularly shows up among the top must-do travel lists in publications like the New York Times and Condé Nast Traveler.”
The report noted that the strong growth in the tourism sector can be linked to a number of factors, including more direct flights to B.C. from key U.S. and international markets as well as Destination British Columbia’s new international marketing strategy.
As with the economy at large, most tourism businesses are small, which Industry Canada defines as being smaller than 100 employees.
There are more than 19,200 tourism-related businesses in B.C., and more than 17,000, or about 93%, are small businesses.