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5 Top Reasons International Visitors Love B.C.

1000-09New figures just released show that British Columbia is becoming increasingly popular with tourists from overseas – in fact 2015 saw a 7.9% increase. That’s 359,750 more international visitors than in 2014 – for close to 5 million in total annually.

The biggest increase came from France, which saw an increase of 32.8%, with Japanese tourists going up by 15.5% and visitors from our southern neighbours increasing by 9.6%.

This healthy growth in international visitors has been put down to a new marketing strategy by Destination B.C., a growing Aboriginal tourism sector and more direct flights to British Columbia.

Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour commented, “Whether it’s skiing in Northern B.C. and the Rockies, shopping in Vancouver or enjoying the restaurants in the Okanagan or Victoria, visitors are taking in a wide range of experiences. Last year was a remarkable one for tourism and 2016 is shaping up to be another great year.”

My friends at Accent Inns report that things are certainly heating up as more people discover how special British Columbia really is. Over the last few years I’ve had many people visit from a range of countries and am always pleased with how they fall head over heels in love with our wonderful province.

Here’s my unscientific, but based on personal experience, five top reasons why our international visitors love B.C.

  1. Spectacular scenery – from the wild, west coast to the Okanagan vineyards and the gulf islands to the ski slopes and mountains visitors’ jaws drop when they experience the stunning scenery. B.C. has been hailed as having some of the most amazing scenery anywhere in the world. My visitors’ favourite scenery includes Tofino beaches, the Sea to Sky Highway, downtown Vancouver, and the entire Okanagan.
  2. bearWildlife – there are not too many places in the world where you can see Bald Eagles, Black Bears, Grizzlies, and Orca’s without difficulty. Not to mention a million different species of birds (okay exaggerating a little here), dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, wolves, elk, deer, moose, the list goes on; we are an animal lovers paradise. My guests are always amazed at the wildlife we can find for them as we drive Vancouver Island and the rest of B.C. Yet to spot a cougar though – although I know a newly arrived Brit who saw one up a tree in Colwood, Victoria last year.
  3. Great people – let’s face it we Canadians are just so darn nice. My guests are always surprised at how pleasant people are in general, but also at the level of customer service in stores and particularly in restaurants. If you’re a local and thinking it’s not that good, just try visiting some European countries and see the difference. A good example is a grocery store in the U.K. where the checkout person will scan all your items and then ignore you while you try to pack everything in bags while the person behind you is getting impatient.
  4. Activities – skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, fishing (freshwater, sea, ice), biking, golf (365 days a year – at least in Victoria), climbing, hiking, and white-water rafting to mention just a few! Access to adventure in this wonderful province is limited only by your imagination.
  5. Sheer space compared with other countries – no joke, one of the biggest things I hear from visitors is how much space there is. B.C. is big, really big. How big? Almost a million square Snowshoeingkilometres – it could swallow the whole United Kingdom; it’s larger than Japan and larger than France. This vastness is very attractive to people who live in densely populated countries for instance in Japan there are 336.33 people per square kilometre, in the U.K. 261.66 and France 102.92. In Canada it’s 3.49 and 4.77 in B.C.!

There’s one additional thing that people love and that is the quality of accommodation. Hotels are, for the most part, better quality and better value here in Canada than in most parts of the world. Visitors are always very impressed with the quality of Accent Inns and can’t believe the price and the high level of customer service.

Wherever you hail from we’d love to welcome you to one of the most wonderful places to visit on earth.

Mike Wicks
Blue Beetle Creative