Metro Vancouver broke tourism record in 2018—for fourth consecutive year

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      While Vancouver was named the top North American city for quality of life on a 2018 international index, there's more good news: the city also broke another record in tourism last year.

      According to data analzyed by Tourism Vancouver announced today (March 20), overnight visits to Metro Vancouver in 2017 totalled 10.3 million people, an increase of three percent over the previous year.

      It's the fourth consecutive year for that the record has been broken.  

      The largest increase in the number of visits came from Australian tourists, with a growth of 20.4 percent from the previous year.

      Other growth markets included Germany (15.4 percent), Mexico (12.9 percent), Japan (5.2 percent), and South Korea (2.9 percent).

      The largest travel market for the city remains the U.S., with 2.4-million overnight visitors in 2017, an increase of 1.6 percent from 2016 levels

      The second biggest market is from China, which grew by 7.1 percent from 2016 to 300,172 visitors in 2017.

      Contributing factors to the growth in tourism have included an increase in the number of conventions, cruise passengers, sports hosting, accolades (such as being named one of the top 20 best cities in the world by Condé Nast Traveler), and 16 new flights.

      Granville Island
      mfron/Getty Images

      According to Tourism Vancouver, the tourism industry is estimated to contribute approximately $4.8 billion to Metro Vancouver each year and provides over 70,000 full-time jobs.

      Tourism Vancouver is also forecasting that this year will continue the upward trajectory with a record 33 conventions and events to be held in the city, air travel capacity set to grow, and cruise ships arrivals anticipated to increase by six percent.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.