Tourism Vancouver forecasts a solid year for tourism in 2012, including a two per cent increase in visitor volumes over 2011.

The destination marketing organization presented its 2012 Sales and Marketing Plan to over 250 Tourism Vancouver members last Tuesday during a launch event at The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. 

“2012 will be a year of marketplace strengths for Vancouver’s tourism industry,” commented Howard Jang, Tourism Vancouver’s board chair. “New in-bound flights, an increase in cruise ship sailings, growing confidence among U.S. travelers, and buoyancy in international markets will help to offset the ongoing effects of the recession which has impacted the worldwide tourism industry since 2008.”

Presentations by Tourism Vancouver chair Howard Jang, executive vice president Paul Vallee and CEO Rick Antonson outlined the organization’s goals and objectives for 2012, many of which were informed by the Rethink process (an extensive strategic assessment, which began in 2010, involving hundreds of industry experts focusing on destination marketing objectives for the coming decade). In addition, Tourism Vancouver offered research-based 2012 forecasts and highlights from 2011.

2012 Forecasts:
Sources: Tourism Vancouver Visitor Volume Model and MNP

•  Forecasted tourism growth for 2012 is 2%. Tourism Vancouver forecasts that overnight visits to Vancouver will increase by 2% (collectively from all markets, 2012 over 2011).

•  2012 forecasted growth markets: China, India and Australia are expected to show strong growth in 2012, the US is expected to show positive growth as confidence strengthens, and both Germany and the UK are expected to show increases.

•  Cruise traffic expected to increase. In 2012, Princess Cruises will add one more ship to their Vancouver fleet. Other cruise lines will also be adding calls. A slight increase in passenger traffic is expected in 2012 with a forecast of 670,000 revenue passengers.

•  Virgin Atlantic is launching a new, non-stop flight between London and Vancouver. The new service will operate four times a week from May to October making Vancouver Virgin’s only Canadian destination. Tourism Vancouver is part of a consortium along with the Vancouver Hotel Destination Association and YVR providing marketing support to Virgin Atlantic.

•  Additional air service to Vancouver is expected from Sichuan Airlines (China) sometime in early 2012.

2011 Tourism Highlights

•  2011 was Vancouver’s strongest citywide convention year in history. The city hosted 25 citywide conventions. Meetings delegates filled a record 225,769 hotel rooms in 2011 and spent an estimated $92,628,000 while in the city. Major conventions held in Vancouver in 2011 included: Risk and Insurance Management Society (approximately 10,000 delegates), International Society of Nephrology (approximately 5,000 delegates), SIGGRAPH (approximately 17,000 delegates), and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (approximately 4,500 delegates).

•  Cruise passengers increased by 15% over 2010. Between May and October 2011, Port Metro Vancouver welcomed 663,425 passengers on 27 different vessels over 199 cruise ship calls. Leading this growth were three new ships (Oceania Regatta, Disney Wonder and Crystal Symphony).

•  China Southern began regularly scheduled service between Guangzhou and Vancouver. Beginning June 2011, China’s largest airline began regularly scheduled service to Vancouver, three days a week. Tourism Vancouver was part of a consortium along with the Vancouver Hotel Destination Association and YVR to provide marketing support for this route.

•  Tourism Vancouver launched the Vancouver Specialist Program (VSP) for travel agents. The VSP is an educational, interactive, online tool designed to help travel agents and sales staff world-wide sell Vancouver more effectively.  With this enhanced knowledge, agents can better service their clients, customize itineraries and sell the destination. The VSP was launched in May and a Chinese version was launched in November. Vancouver is one of the only cities to have such a marketing tool.

•  Tourism Vancouver and partners secured major new convention business for future years, including: New York Life Insurance Company (2012), Cruise Lines International Association (2013), SIGGRAPH (rebook for 2014), Canadian Cardiovascular Society (rebook for 2014), International League of Dermatological Societies (2015), NACE International (2016), American Association of Neurological Surgeons (2021). 2015 is shaping up to be another record-breaking year for convention business in Vancouver.

•  Tourism Vancouver signed a marketing memorandum with Tourism Shanghai. The agreement is intended to foster the exchange of research, best practices and information with respect to the promotion of travel between our respective cities and countries.

•  US travel agents named Vancouver the top city in Canada for the ninth year in a row in Travel Weekly magazine’s Readers Choice awards.

•  Vancouver was ranked in the top three in both the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Liveability City Ranking, and Sustainable City Ranking (North America). To view Vancouver’s full list of accolades, click here.

•  2011 growth markets: Markets that showed the strongest growth in 2011 included China (+14%), Mexico (+17%), Brazil (+13%) and Australia (+3%).

•  2011 overall visitor volumes: The lack of an Olympic stimulus, low consumer confidence in the U.S., soft demand in Europe and tragedy in Japan all contributed to lower overnight visitor volumes to Vancouver in 2011. Overall visitation is expected to be down by 2% compared to 2010.

Visitor Servicing and Community Involvement

•  Tourism Vancouver’s Visitor Centre and information kiosk assisted 310,000 visitors in 2011. The Visitor Centre generated $2.8 million in sales of Vancouver and BC-based tours and attractions. In addition to a staff of between 17 and 30 people (depending on the season), 200 volunteer Visitor Councilors contributed some 23,000 volunteer hours helping tourists in 2011.

•  Tickets Tonight grossed more than $2.2 million in 2011. Ticket’s Tonight is Tourism Vancouver’s not-for-profit box office supporting community arts organizations and festivals. Tickets Tonight sold tickets to over 27,000 visitor parties.

Tourism Vancouver’s focus is on building visitor demand through exceptional customer relationships with meeting planners, travel influencers, travel media and independent tourists.

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