At the Economic Outlook breakfast hosted by Chemistry Consulting back in February of 2011, industry experts discussed their expectations for the year ahead. Rob Gialloreto, president and CEO of Tourism Victoria talked about the recent history of tourism in Victoria, and what is forecast for 2011 for Victoria’s important tourism industry.
For several years tourism has been sluggish, with visits from our neighbour to the south taking the biggest hit. The struggling US economy, and now the strong Canadian dollar, has slowed visits from US citizens.
Visits from Europe are expected to increase marginally, with the exception of Germany. China may prove to be one of our fastest growing markets, with 10-15% annual growth over the next few years. Other emerging markets showing strong interest in travel to Victoria include Brazil and India.
Travel to Victoria from within Canada is steady, and Tourism BC continues to promote a “travel within BC” message. Access from the mainland has, and will continue to be, a challenge.
Technology is helping us expand our tourism markets as potential visitors search the internet for information about Victoria and our tourist attractions and amenities. Airlines, major hotels and destinations are building a presence on social media outlets, and even small tourism related businesses are discovering the levelling qualities of internet marketing. Sites like TripAdvisor and YouTube are popular with prospective visitors, as well as Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO), which connects people to all sorts of accomodation.
Overall, the economic outlook for Victoria’s tourism sector is good. We can look forward to steady, if modest, growth. Tourism related businesses should continue to capitalize on technology to connect with prospective visitors, and build our already stellar reputation as a globally favoured destination.