News / Vancouver

Maybe it’s the name? British tourists flock to British Columbia

As the Royal family visits this weekend, B.C.’s tourism numbers reach a 15-year high — with big increases seen in the numbers from the United Kingdom

Tourists crowd around the steam clock in Vancouver's historic Gastown neighbourhood in July.

Jen St. Denis

Tourists crowd around the steam clock in Vancouver's historic Gastown neighbourhood in July.

As the Royal family visits British Columbia this weekend, new figures show that British tourism numbers are the highest they’ve been in 15 years, reaching 3.2 million overnight visitors from the United States and other countries in the six month period between January and July.

The last time numbers approached the 3 million mark for the same period was in 2001 and 2002: in each of those years, 2.9 million tourists visited B.C. between January and July, according to statistics collected by Destination BC.

Related stories:

The highest increase in international visitors were tourists from the United Kingdom, up 35 per cent compared this July compared to July 2015. British visitors were the largest group, at 35,922, after the United States, at 867,903. The next highest increases in visits were from Australia (30 per cent), Italy (25 per cent), the Nordic European countries (25 per cent), South Korea and New Zealand (both up 22 per cent) and Mexico (20 per cent).

Like the province’s booming film industry, B.C. tourism has been given a boost by the low Canadian dollar over the past three years.