Mid-mark of 2015 tourism season already points to huge success

  • Aug. 18, 2015 6:00 a.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverWith summer half over, the numbers for Haida Gwaii’s 2015 tourism season indicate a highly successful year. According to Maureen Weddell of the Queen Charlotte Visitor Info Centre, many bed and breakfasts and hotels have seen full bookings from early on in the tourism season. “There has already been many calls from people regarding the 2016 season,” she said, adding an increase in visitors this year began showing in June. Trips to Gwaii Haanas have been full for most of the month of July, with only a few openings left for August. The province works with Destination British Columbia, an industry-led, Crown Corporation that works with tourism stakeholders throughout the province to strategically lead the marketing of B.C. as a tourist destination and promote the development and growth of the tourism industry.The VIC tracks the number of visitors to the facility then gives the information to Destination B.C. who then adds up the data to provide an idea of how many people visit the area and where they come from.”It has been a good year for people,” Ms. Weddell said.As a result of an recent internet poll of B.C. Leisure travellers, Haida Gwaii was named the seventh out of 10 of the “best places” in British Columbia for leisure tourism. Stanley park and Tofino were named the two top places. Across the province a growth in visitors is up by an additional 34,785 visitors this year, or 8.3 per cent over May 2014, and year to date is up by 103,993 visitors or 7.8 per cent. As a key sector in the BC Job Plan, tourism is an important economic driver in the province. B.C.’s tourism sector is strong and growing, which is good news in light of fierce global competition for tourists. The province invests about $90 million annually in the tourism sector. In 2013, it employed 132,200 British Columbians, around one in every 15 jobs in the province. Current growth is attributed to a number of factors, including a strong U.S. dollar, lower fuel prices and increased flight capacity to B.C. It is recommended that visitors to Haida Gwaii call the VIC before they arrive to make sure that arrangements for their trip are accurate. As it has been an issue with tourists receiving incorrect information from various websites.

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