Victoria tourism booming and set to end the year stronger than ever


WATCH: The year is almost over and for Victoria tourism, it’s been a great one. The record for the number of tourists wasn’t beaten but it has been the best year ever in terms of contributions to the economy. With the city hosting more conferences, and sports tourism events. Luisa Alvarez reports.

From the views of the Inner Harbour to the horse-drawn carriages to the Parliament Buildings, there is an abundance of things in Victoria that draw tourists in.

“Just the whole feel of your beautiful city how everything is decorated and lively and festive it’s just a wonderful time it’s a great place to visit,” said Gunter Smith, a tourist visiting from Seattle.

“I really like the shopping. I like the people. I especially like the Royal BC Museum. It’s beautiful they always have beautiful exhibits,” said Laylani Lewis.

And tourist satisfaction is reflected as 2018 comes to a close because it has been an exceptional year for tourism.

“We are really happy with how things are going,” said Destination Greater Victoria CEO Paul Nursey.

According to Nursey, hotels, and restaurants were full or near capacity for most of the year and that growth was seen in multiple different sectors.

“The meetings business, the conference business, the leisure business, and the sports tourism business so we aren’t reliant on any one particular market.”

Nursey says diversifying the tourism economy has been the goal for the last five years and it’s paying off.

Hotel occupancy in greater Victoria is up 1.97 per cent and bookings at the Victoria Conference Centre were up 13.9 per cent as well.

But it’s not just Victoria that’s booming. Destination BC reports visitor numbers for 2018 were the highest ever, even beating out 2010 when Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics.

Data for the first nine months of the year show that in 2010 from January to September the province saw 3,616,668 international overnight entries. This year for that same period that number shot up to 4,935,259 which is an increase of more than 1.3 million visitors.

In Victoria, the biggest area of growth was in how much those visitors spent while they were in town.

“In terms of absolute numbers, we are still very close to late 1990s but in terms of revenue and gross contributions to the economy, this will be our strongest year ever,” said Nursey.

And it’s not expected to slow down for 2019.

“We expect ’19 to be about the same as ’18 which is tremendous because this is has been an incredible year,” said Nursey.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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