VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It might be too early, but it’s already looking like 2019 will be a good year for tourism in Vancouver, according to the Conference Board of Canada.
It predicts that Vancouver will see a 3.3 per cent increase when it comes to overnight visits in 2019, a bigger growth than any other major city in the country.
Board Associate Director Greg Hermus says the industry in Vancouver relies almost equally on domestic and international travelers.
“Vancouver is almost evenly split between domestic, U.S. and overseas. It’s pretty well diversified. So when things are going good, it does suggest that Vancouver has the potential to get the strongest growth.”
Hermus explains that even though things are looking good, there are a few elements that might have a negative impact on our local tourism.
A possible challenge is dealing with another smokey summer, which can wrongly be interpreted by those looking for a vacation spot as a reason to stay away.
“We can’t forecast the weather. In 2019, assuming it’s a better-controlled summer, that’s going to be a positive element. But the trend has been that these wildfires are even getting worse. I don’t know what 2019 holds.”
Hermus adds political issues usually represent a risk when it comes to traveling.
“Tensions between Canada and China definitely represents a downside risk that could result in a decline in visits. China is the most important overseas market in Vancouver and many parts of Canada. ”
According to Hermus, Brexit is another issue. Without a resolution, he says the British pound could depreciate, making trips more expensive for people on the other side of the pond.
Hermus adds the U.S. shutdown continues to affect visits from the U.S. to Canada.
Despite these obstacles, Hermus believes Vancouver will be able to overcome the hardships.
“Vancouver has outperformed many parts of Canada over the past couple of years. Going forward the still see Vancouver lead the way.”