Hotel Georgia
Credit: Destination BC/Photographer Tanya Goehring

More international tourists are flocking to Canada

International tourists, especially from China, are bolstering Canadian hotel occupancy, according to recent research by California-headquartered Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services. Expect that to continue: a new Canadian tourism campaign aims to double the number of Chinese visitors and boost the number of international tourists 30 percent by 2021. From January to May 2018, tourism from China surged 14.8 percent compared to the same period last year.

In the 12 months ending in June 2018, Vancouver’s 79.1-percent hotel occupancy rate was the highest of any Canadian major market, followed by Toronto’s 77.1 percent. Vancouver also led for average daily rate, which climbed 10.6 percent, to $194.47, and revenue per available room (RevPAR), which grew 12.7 percent, to $157.29, over the same period. Nationally, midscale hotels outperformed other classes of hotel chain, with occupancy increasing to 60.5 percent.

The report speculates that new regulations for short-term rentals in Vancouver could help hotels. As of September 1, homeowners can only advertise their primary residence on sites like Airbnb and must also have a licence from the city to list their properties. The number of active Vancouver listings on Airbnb fell from 6,600 in April to 3,742 in September.

On a negative note, the report mentions that wildfires throughout the province affected tourism as visitors changed plans and shortened trips to avoid the smoke.