Vancouver breaks new record in 2017: 10.3 million visitors

Tourism Vancouver year-end data shows 2017 overnight visitation to Metro Vancouver was 10,345,867 million people, an increase of 3% over 2016. This represents a new best for Metro Vancouver’s tourism industry and the fourth consecutive record-breaking year. 

Many factors played a role in 2017’s strong tourism performance. Key among them are Tourism Vancouver’s sales and marketing initiatives in 11 countries worldwide; and strategic marketing partnerships with Destination Canada, Destination British Columbia, the Vancouver Hotel Destination Association, Vancouver Airport Authority, the Vancouver Convention Centre and others. 

2017 Vancouver Tourism Highlights

•    Star markets. Australia had the highest tourism growth in 2017. Australian visitation to Vancouver increased 20.4% in 2017 to 238,823 visitors. Other well performing markets included Germany (+15.4%), Mexico (+12.9%), Japan (+5.2%) and South Korea (+2.9%). The United States remains Vancouver’s largest international travel market bringing 2,405,287 overnight visitors in 2017 (up 1.6% over 2016). Vancouver’s second largest international market is China which registered 300,172 visitors in 2017 (up 7.1 % over 2016).  

•    Record breaking year for citywide wins. Tourism Vancouver and convention industry partners won an astonishing 33 future citywide meetings in 2017, booking as far into the future as 2027. Future convention groups include the 2019 Women Deliver Global Conference, 2019 Ecocity World Summit, and the 2020 Association for Molecular Pathology Annual Meeting.

•    Cruise. The Port of Vancouver welcomed 842,928 cruise passengers on 236 vessel visits in 2017, reflecting a 2% in passenger volumes over 2016. Each cruise ship brings an average of $3 million to the local economy.

•    Sport Hosting. Major sports events in 2017 drew visitors to Vancouver from around the world. These included the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Vancouver stop – the HSBC Canada Sevens; International Rugby: Canada v Maori All Blacks; International Women’s Soccer: Canada v USA; and the Cycling Canada 2017 Masters Road Cycling Championships.

•    Vancouver was honoured with a slew of awards and accolades. In 2017, Vancouver was recognized as one of the 20 “Best Cities in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Forbes put Vancouver on their list of “Top 2017 Travel Destinations”. Travel Weekly readers named Vancouver the “Best City in Canada”. And World Routes named Vancouver International Airport the best airport globally. 

•    New Flights. Vancouver International Airport welcomed 16 new flights in 2017 with airline partners Capital Airlines (China), Air Canada, Hong Kong Airlines, Interjet (Mexico) and Flair Airlines (Canada). YVR saw 24.2 million passengers transit in 2017.

Tourism Vancouver forecasts that 2018 will be an even stronger year. Vancouver has record-setting 33 citywide conventions and events booked for 2018 which are estimated to bring more than 100,000 people into the city.

In addition, air capacity to Vancouver (in particular from Asia Pacific) is expected to grow and cruise ship arrivals are projected to increase by 6% to nearly 900,000 passengers. 

2018 will see Vancouver host major sporting events including the NCAA Vancouver Showcase (men’s and women’s basketball, November 18-20 & November 22-34); ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating (December 5-9); and the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championships (December 26 to January 5, 2019).

Vancouver is also expecting to benefit from the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism. Furthermore, Tourism Vancouver is increasing marketing investments in Canada, US, Mexico, China, Australia and Japan, levered with support from key partners. The organization is also working with internationally renowned advertising and design agencies McCann and FutureBrand on a new destination brand campaign which will commence in 2018.

It is estimated that the tourism industry in Vancouver contributes approximately $4.8 billion to the Metro Vancouver economy annually and provides more than 70,000 full-time jobs.

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