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Vancouver’s beauty has made it a magnet for people from all over the world for more than a century. Nearly 9 million people visit the region each year, about 60 per cent of them from Canada. Visits from other parts of the world continue to grow, particularly from Europe and Mexico. Two million people visit each year from the United States.
There are more than 24,000 hotel rooms in the region, with more tourist accommodation available in seasonal rooms, hostels and bed and breakfasts. An additional 2,500 hotel rooms will be completed by 2011.
In 2009, Vancouver’s waterfront convention centre will more than triple in size, to a total of almost 500,000 square feet of function space. The facility will offer Canada’s largest convention centre ballroom, more than 70 meeting rooms and 300,000 square feet of exhibition space. This will allow it to accommodate all but the largest conventions.
In addition to a spectacular view, the new facility will offer unique environmental features: a six-acre “living roof”, a man made marine habitat in the building’s foundation, grey and black water recycling, and seawater heating and cooling. More than 14,000 hotel rooms are within easy walking distance.
Conventions and business meetings account for 1.9 million hotel nights, and visitor spending is approaching $600 million annually. These numbers are expected to grow more than 50 per cent between 2008 and 2015.
Total spending by overnight visitors amounted to more than $4.4 billion in 2006. The average visitor spent four days in the region, and spent $117 per day.
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Vancouver’s strongly competitive tourist sector is based on its unique juxtaposition of overwhelming natural beauty and a diverse, cosmopolitan and exciting city. It offers a pristine natural setting, world class dining and nightlife, luxurious accommodations and a variety of one-of-a-kind attractions and museums. It caters to the desires of shoppers in search of great bargains, outdoors adventurers looking for a thrill, lovers of culture who want to savour the arts, and sports fans who enjoy a good game.
Vancouver is the world’s gateway to B.C., which offers an extraordinary range of tourist attractions just beyond Greater Vancouver. The city has excellent road and rail connections to the rest of North America. Its award-winning international airport is served by more than 50 air carriers and is only 14 kilometres from downtown Vancouver – the two will be linked by rapid transit in 2009. Vancouver’s port is an important destination in the cruise business, catering to about a million passengers a year.
Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the top ten meeting destinations. On average, Vancouver events draw 11 per cent higher attendance than the same events at different locations the previous year.
The Government of British Columbia is committed to doubling tourist revenues by 2015. Vancouver is successfully building its brand by pursuing a strategy of exceeding visitor expectations and by making the region the most welcoming and accessible in North America.
Hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is already enhancing Vancouver’s well-established global reputation as a premier destination. The latest research by London-based Anholt City Brands ranks Vancouver’s brand as 8th best in the world in 2007, up from 16th in 2006.
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B.C. & Yukon Hotel Association
Industry association for hotels.
B.C. Restaurant & Foodservices Association
Industry association for restaurants.
Best Cities Global Alliance
Global alliance of convention bureaus that deliver excellent experience for meeting planners.
City of Vancouver Visitor Information
Information on arts, culture, events, outdoor sports and recreation, parks and gardens, self-guided walking tours, transportation and sightseeing.
Council of Tourism Associations of British Columbia
Industry association for tourist associations.
Human resources organization for the tourism industry; information on recruitment, job openings, and training programs.
Northwest Cruise Ship Association
Non-profit that builds relationships between cruise lines and communities.
Tourism British Columbia
Tourism support agency of B.C.
Greater Vancouver’s tourism promotion agency.
Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee
Organizing entity for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
Vancouver Coast & Mountains Tourism Region
Regional association that provides tourist information.
Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre
Operator of Vancouver’s convention centre and other facilities.
Photo Credit: Tourism BC