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International travel to B.C. rebounds in August; down compared with 2019

Pockets of strength include the cruise sector
peace-arch-jeffgoulden-getty-web-77
The Peace Arch is an iconic symbol of cross-border friendship and peace.

B.C.'s tourism sector continued its recovery this August, with the number of international visitors to the province up substantially from August 2022.

That count is, however, still down from where it was in August 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic upended travel. 

Pockets of strength include Vancouver's cruise sector, which officially ended today, with the departure of Holland America's Koningsdam ship. This year's cruise season was the busiest ever, with a record 1.25 million passengers, according to Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) data.

Overall in August, 1,039,625 international visitors entered Canada through B.C. entry points, according to Statistics Canada. That is up 37.5 per cent from the 755.970 such visitors who did that in August 2022, but down 13.9 per cent from the 1,216,023 international visitors who entered Canada through B.C. entry points in 2019.

About 80 per cent of those visitors in August were American, while in August 2019, less than 74 per cent of those international visitors were American.

There were 831,105 American visitors to Canada through B.C. in August, which was 37 per cent more than in August 2022. When compared with August 2019, however, the number of American visitors to Canada through B.C. in August was down almost 7.6 per cent. 

The rebound in visits from international visitors from outside the U.S. to Canada through B.C. in August was up 39.5 per cent, to 208,520. That was down nearly 34.2 per cent from 316,843 such visitors in August 2019. 

Many Chinese airlines have yet to resume the non-stop flights to Vancouver that they flew in 2019. As a result, the number of visitors from Asia to Canada through B.C. entry points in August, at 67,690, was down more than 51 per cent from the 138,155 Asian visitors in August 2019.

There has been a rebound in Asian visitors, however, given that the number of visitors from Asia to Canada through B.C. entry points in August was up 82.7 per cent from 37,040 in August 2022.

If we take the first eight months of 2023, the number of international visits to Canada through B.C. entry points, at 5,540,019, was up 61.2 per cent from 3,436,675 people in the first eight months of 2022, according to Statistics Canada.

That visitor volume in the first eight months of this year, however, is down by more than 11.4 per cent from the 6,256,155 international visitors who visited B.C. in 2019.

gkorstrom@biv.com

twitter.com/GlenKorstrom

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