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Visitors from China help set a new tourism record in B.C.

Joffre Lakes. (iStock Photo)

6.1 million tourists came to B.C. in 2018

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A record-setting number of visitors came to BC last year.

Tourism Minister Lisa Beare says the 6.4 per cent jump from 2017 translates to 6.1 million people making this province their vacation destination of choice in 2018.

“British Columbia aggressively markets to visitors all across Canada, to our partners in the south — the U.S. Also, to major markets internationally — China and England remain extremely strong international tourism destinations.”

More than 750,000 tourists from China visited Canada last year.

“China is our number 2 market here in British Columbia,” Beare said. “We absolutely value our relationship with China. We understand the importance of that tourism market in our province.”

There have been political tensions between Canada and China in recent months, beginning with the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Whanzou at YVR Airport in December. Beare would not comment on whether she believes that tension has had an impact on tourism to from China to Canada — or B.C.

She would only say a breakdown of numbers specific to B.C. will be released later this week.

Beare admits some spots are much more popular than others. She’s promising to spread the tourism wealth province-wide.

“While there’s over-tourism in places like Joffre Lakes, potentially, through Destination BC and our marketing campaigns, we can help divert some of those visitors into under-represented areas and really highlight some of the unique, amazing experiences that you can get here in British Columbia.”

 – With files from Hana Mae Nassar