The COVID-19 crisis has challenged BC’s tourism industry in unimaginable ways since it struck in the spring of 2020. Prior to the pandemic, tourism was one of the fastest growing industries in the world – BC was no exception.

The visitor economy has been the hardest-hit sector during the crisis and it is expected to be the last to recover as BC’s tourism businesses continue to deal with unprecedented losses.


Key Highlights

The following provides some insights into BC’s thriving tourism industry, pre-COVID.

  • BC’s tourism industry generated revenue of $22.3B in 2019, an increase of 5.6% over 2018.
  • In 2019, BC’s tourism industry employed 149,900 people; an increase of 1.8% from 2017.  In summary, 1 in every 16 people were employed in the province’s tourism industry.
  • There were 19,748 tourism-related businesses in BC in 2019, growing 4.3% from 2018.


Source:  Destination BC

ECONOMIC IMPACT – British Columbia

In 2019, tourism exports generated revenue of $7.2 billion, an increase of 4.3% over 2018.

GDP for the provincial economy as a whole grew 2.5% over 2018. The tourism industry contributed 3.4% or $8.7 billion of value added to the BC economy, as measured through GDP (in 2012 constant dollars). This represents 3.4% growth over 2018, and 41.8% growth since 2009.


In 2019, tourism contributed more to GDP than any other primary resource industry (forestry & logging $1.8B, agriculture & fishing $3.2B, oil & gas $4.9B, and mining:$5.2B).

In 2019, the tourism industry paid $6.1 billion in wages and salaries, up 5.8% from 2018, and up 65.0% since 2010.

Source: Value of Tourism 2019 Snapshot – Destination BC 

For the most up to date snapshot of BC Travel, International Visitor Arrivals and Tourism Indicators, Visit Destination BC. 



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