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Getting to Know BC's Tourism Industry

Tourism in BC is a growing, dynamic industry and a major economic generator. The following is a snapshot of what the tourism industry means for our province:

  • In 2012, there were 17.9 million overnight visitors in British Columbia, including:
    • 10.5 million BC residents
    • 3.2 million other Canadian resident visitors
    • 4.3 million international visitors
  • Tourism generated $13.5 billion in revenues in 2012 – an increase of 40.5 per cent over 2002.
  • Tourism returns approximately $1.2 billion to the provincial treasury in the form of taxes and fees every year, including income, hotel, gas and other taxes. This represents a 76 per cent increase in the past 10 years.
  • The tourism and hospitality industry is labour intensive, employing 274,000 British Columbians1
    • Of these 274,000 workers, approximately half (127,300) were employed directly as a result of tourist spending.
  • There were more than 18,000 tourism-related businesses in British Columbia in 2012, a number that has been virtually unchanged in 10 years.
    • More than half of these businesses (57 per cent) had fewer than 10 employees.
  • The total income earned by the 274,000 tourism workers increased substantially from 2004 to 2011, from $7.2 billion to $8.8 billion – an increase of 22 per cent.

Getting more background information on the industry will help you to better position your business as you move forward or help you to identify the wealth of career opportunities. In this section you will learn about the size, scope and structure of the tourism industry in BC, including how tourism benefits our economy, industry and product development, and BC’s tourism workforce.

1From Human Resource Module of the Tourism Satellite Account – British Columbia, 2012.

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