Fewer Americans are visiting British Columbia

Wildfires blamed for drop in overnight visitors from the United States

Wildfires in British Columbia doused foreign visits, according to Statistics Canada.

“Tourism operations in many parts of British Columbia and Alberta were affected in August by the worst forest fire season on record in British Columbia,” said Statistics Canada in a release. “The wildfires led to evacuation orders, flight cancellations, road closures and heavy smoke that crossed over into parts of Alberta and the northwestern United States.”

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While the number of total overnight visitors from the United States by car and by plane rose in August 2018 to 2 million, British Columbia recorded declines in both categories, when it comes to visitors from the United States. Overnight trips by car and plane each dropped by 2.2 per cent.

Victoria, though, appeared to buck some of these trends as the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority welcomed 600,000 passengers and 245 ships in 2018.

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As Canada attracts more visitors from the United States, fewer Canadians are heading south. Canadian residents took 3.5 million trips to the United States in August, down one per cent from July as both car and plane travel declined. Overall, it was the fifth consecutive monthly decrease in travel to the United States.

Travel from oversea countries other than Canada rose by half a per cent in August 2018 compared to the same period last year.

Looking at tourism numbers from other countries, citizens of Canada’s two ‘founding’ nations led the way.

Some 125,528 visitors entered Canada from the United Kingdom in August 2018, while 102,997 came from France. China finished third with 97,983, with Germany (63,713) and Japan (35,542) rounding out the Top 5.


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