WATCH: Low Canadian dollar, marketing, and word of mouth drive international tourists to B.C. destinations including Vancouver Island. April Lawrence reports.
The streets surrounding Victoria’s Inner Harbour were packed Thursday morning, largely with tourists, many of them from around the world.
New statistics released by the provincial government show the number of international visitors to B.C. so far this year is up 14 per cent over last year.
Tourists from the United States have increased 13.5 per cent, visitors from Asia and the Pacific are up 8.3 per cent, as are European visitors.
Tourism Victoria officials say it’s not just the low Canadian dollar driving people here, the West Coast has developed an international buzz.
“Victoria, Vancouver, Whistler, Tofino those are all really hot markets for tourism right now, it just seems that we’ve caught the attention of the tourist traveler more so than just the dollar,” said Bill Lewis, Chair of the Tourism Victoria Board.
Travelers from Mexico are up 38 per cent over last year.
“Right now Mexico is burning it’s very hot, and we’re just trying to get out of the weather so you know Canada might be a good place to come,” said tourist Samantha Martos.
The statistics also show a growing number of people are coming to B.C. to learn about First Nations history and culture.
“In our adventure tour we have it’s a combination wildlife tour and cultural tour,” said Mark Salter, Tourism Manager with the Songhees Nation.
“We went from a 12 passenger operation on a two day a week schedule last year, we’re now into a 26 board operation with Eagle Wing Tours,” he said.
There’s no question the beauty and culture of Victoria and the rest of B.C. has global appeal and people are coming by thousands to check it out.