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Tourism could take a hit if tensions with China continue

Tourists are seen in Howe Sound at Porteau Cove, B.C. as they take a picture of themselves on November 20, 2013. (Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Summary

Vancouver is expected to have more tourism growth this year than any other Canadian city

Continuing tensions in China could affect tourism numbers

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver is expected to have more tourism growth this year than any other Canadian city, according to the Conference Board of Canada, but that prediction comes with a major caveat.

Ongoing political tensions between Ottawa and Beijing could put a damper on things.

Vancouver is expected to see a 3.3 per cent increase in tourism activity this year, but a good chunk of that involves visitors from China. Greg Hermus, Associate Director of the Canadian Tourism Research Institute, says if the tensions over the December arrest of a top Huawei executive at the Vancouver airport persist, it could have a big impact on tourism.

RELATED: Canada says it won’t be deterred by Chinese pressure

“Definitely that has flared up in the past and definitely represents a pretty significant downside risk,” Hermus told NEWS 1130. “China is the most important overseas market to Vancouver and to many parts of Canada.”

He says residents of China are patriotic. “The messaging they’re hearing, they’re already becoming a little more sour towards the western world. But this is probably the first time Canada specifically has been identified.”

Hermus says if tensions persists, there’s no doubt the city could see a decline in visits, even after 2018 was mutually dubbed the Canada China Year of Tourism.