Millions of people stayed away from B.C. this year because of COVID-19 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Millions of people stayed away from B.C. this year because of COVID-19

Recently released figures show that about two million fewer Canadians travelled in B.C. in the first half of 2020 versus 2019.

Last year was a record year for tourism in B.C. with about 4.7 Canadians either visiting B.C. or travelling within the province, according to a Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association report.

Because of that, the decline cannot be attributed solely to COVID-19 and the lockdown that started in mid-March, although that played a major role.

For the first quarter of the year, the province saw a drop of 21 per cent compared to the start of 2019. That became a 56 per cent decline in the second quarter (April through June) when travel was openly discouraged even between towns during much of that time.

Not only was the number of visitors down, but they didn’t stay as long, averaging 6.9 nights per visit this year versus 10.6 in each of the previous two years.

The data does not break out regional numbers but those will be coming, the association said in an email.

It also does not include the decline in international visitors because the association doesn’t have access to that data, the email states.

According to Destination B.C., by the end of June, about 761,00 international visitors arrived in B.C., with 733,000 coming before the end of March.

That's a drop of 72.6 per cent from 2019.

The full report on Canadian visitors can be seen here.

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