Image: Ogden Point Breakwater ( Janhallcreative /Instagram)

More than five million international tourists arrived in British Columbia between January and November of last year, according to Stats Canada numbers released Wednesday.

That’s a 12.2% increase over the same time frame in 2015.

November 2016 alone saw a 13.1% increase in international visitors arrivals compared to the same period in 2015 –  a total of 31,675 more visitors.

“Tourism is a key economic driver in B.C., and the latest numbers show that more than five million international visitors selected British Columbia as their destination of choice last year,” said Shirley Bond, BC’s Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. “This data shows the impact that our tourism industry has on our economy, creating jobs and
helping to keep B.C. diverse, strong and growing.

Notable increases in tourist traffic in November 2016

  • Australia – up 59.5%
  • Mexico – up 34.8%
  • France – up 19.7%
  • Japan – up 13%
  • United States – up 12.1%
  • India – up 8.1%
  • China – up 3.9%

Statistics also show a growing number of visitors from China have been coming to BC.

Year-to-date figures for 2016 show an increase of 18.5% (46,170 in total) visited BC during the first 11 months of 2016.

In December, a new flight from Beijing Capital Airlines began service between Vancouver and Hangzhou, via Qingdao.

China Eastern’s non-stop service to Nanjing, China also was announced in December. This year-round service will operate three times weekly to Nanjing Lukou International Airport.

Travel from India grew by 8.4% from January to November 2016. This increase is due in part to Air Canada’s direct flight from Vancouver to Delhi.

B.C.’s tourism industry employed over 127,700 people in 2015, in 19,000
tourism businesses throughout the province, the province said.

2016 was a record-breaking year for Victoria International Airport. Recent numbers released showed the airport served 1,856,421 passengers – that’s up by 8.5 per cent from the previous record set in 2015.

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