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Tourism is a major part of the provincial economy. During 2000, 22 million overnight visitors spent $9.5 billion traveling in the province. Tourism is B.C.'s largest land-based employer, (130,000 full time direct jobs) and growing by four to five percent annually.

Wilderness tourism is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry, achieving a nine to ten percent annual growth rate. In 1999, B.C.'s wilderness tourism sector generated $1 billion in direct revenues and created 15,000 full-time jobs.

For more information about the importance of wilderness tourism click here.

Ecotourism is turning out to be an important economic driver for coastal communities. Whale watching draws thousands of visitors annually to the B.C. coast where over 11 communities are actively involved in whale watching. On Vancouver Island, Tofino and Telegraph Cove are major centres for whale watching. The picturesque community of Telegraph Cove on northern Vancouver Island is thriving because of whale watching. Six new businesses, including four souvenir shops, one restaurant and one motel with 100 rooms have been built to accommodate whale watchers. On the west coast of Vancouver Island, at Tofino, an estimated 20 new businesses in the past 20 years were partly or primarily due to whale watching.


photo credit: Laurie MacBride

Tourism in BC creates:
9.5 billion in revenues
112,000 jobs (FTE)
4.9 billion gross domestic product
1 Billion net revenues to BC government