In 2016 the tourismsector accounted for 2.05% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) ($38.7 million), and generated $25.5 billion in government revenue. Tourism activities drive key service industries, including accommodations, food and beverage, passenger transportation, recreation, entertainment, and travel services. Located in urban, rural and remote locations, tourism generated 721,600 jobs across Canada in 2016.1 In 2016, the country experienced its second highest number of total arrivals (20 million).
On a provincial scale, tourism is one of BC’s largest employers. BC outperforms all other provinces and territories when considering overnight visitors, which reached 5.5 million in 2016, up 12.3% from 2015.4 In 2015, tourism GDP in British Columbia contributed $7.4 billion to the provincial economy, $15.7 billion in revenues, and employed 127,700 people in 19,000 businesses.
While 5.5 million international visitors explored BC in 2016, on a national level statistics show that in 2015 76.6% of tourists in British Columbia were domestic (originating in BC), 16% were from Alberta, 4.3% from Ontario, 2.1% from the prairie provinces and 0.5% originated from Quebec and the Atlantic provinces respectively.
At the Columbia Basin-Boundary regional level determining the impact of the tourism sector is difficult due to the number of ways people can travel to and from the region, the wide variety of activities that tourists can participate in, and the formal and informal accommodations. However we know that in 2014, the tourism sector in the Kootenay Rockies regioni employed 4,500 people (4% of provincial total) and was home to 820 of the tourism related establishments (4% of the provincial total).
This report examines the tourism sector in BC, and explores its contributions to the Columbia Basin-Boundary region.