Vancouver summer tourism numbers rebound post-pandemic

Destination Vancouver says the city saw a strong summer tourism but visitor numbers are still not at pre-pandemic levels. Kate Walker has more.

Destination Vancouver says visitor numbers are now on the rebound but have not fully recovered from a few challenging tourism seasons during the pandemic.

President and CEO Royce Chwin says this year’s tourism numbers aren’t quite at 2019 levels — about 10 per cent lower to be exact.

“The US market is almost back, however, the flip side of that is the Chinese market is still going to take time to come back. But overall, very strong performance for Vancouver,” said Chwin.

“It’s leading the province when it comes to arrivals, and it’s a vibrant city. We need hotels, there’s some pressure there, and the hotel sector in Vancouver has done very well this summer,” said BC Hotel Association President and CEO Ingrid Jarrett.

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At the Port of Vancouver, Destination Vancouver projects just over nine per cent growth in cruise ship arrivals this year over last year.

It says by the end of the cruise ship season, 335 ships will have docked at the port, making this the second consecutive year with record ship arrivals — with well over a million passengers expected.

Destination Vancouver says — in 2022 — the city hosted 8.8 million overnight visitors, 80 per cent of 2019 levels.

It adds there have been close to 4.8 million overnight visitors from January to June this year — up more than 40 per cent from the same period in 2022, and visitation is expected to climb to close to 10 million tourists in 2023.

But according to Jarrett, just because businesses are busy, and hotels are full, it doesn’t mean they’re more profitable. She says the operating cost and burden of pandemic debt is certainly something they carried into this year’s tourist season.

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