Tourist visits to B.C. remain strong in September

International visits increase 4.6% during month, compared to same month in 2016

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of Metro Vancouver's top tourist attractions | Shutterstock

B.C.’s booming tourist sector accelerated in September with a 4.6% increase in international visitors during the month, compared with the same month in 2016, according to numbers that Destination British Columbia released November 22.

Visits during the first nine months of 2017 were 3.1% more than the same period in 2016 so the September increase was substantially more than the average increase so far this year.

September’s banner visitor total of 599,359 people was also significant because September is one of the peak months for international visitors to come to Vancouver. Airlines tend to still have summer schedules during the month and that means more potential non-stop flights to the province.

Americans were largely responsible for the strong September as that nation’s citizens comprised 61.6% of the visitors who stayed at least one night in the province in September. Visits from Americans were up 6.1% compared with the same month last year.

Among other international visitors, the largest year-over-year increases during the month were from Brazil (34%), Australia (19.6%) and Germany (18.6%).

The nations that had the biggest decline in visits during the month were Hong Kong (-22.4%), India (19.8%) and South Korea (-12.5%).

Trends for all of those nations have been present during the first nine months of the year.

Australia, for example, is the country with the largest percentage increase in visits at 22.4%. Brazil visits have increased 12.6% while German visits are up 14.9%.

Visits from Hong Kong (-1.4%), India (-0.5%) and South Korea (-1.3%) are all negative year to date.

One curious bit of data is that Mexican visits to Vancouver fell 11.1% during September compared with the same month in 2016. Mexico had been one of the fastest-growing markets for visitors to B.C. and is up 21.7% year to date.

This comes as the number of non-stop flights between B.C. airports and the country of Mexico have been surging.

Here is a chart to show visitor counts: