B.C. tourism in July up 10 per cent over last year

View from the flourishing Wya Point Resort on Vancouver Island

Plus, the power of LNG and a Vancouver fashion export

Tourism hot
Alas, Tuesday was the last day of summer, but it was a sunny one for British Columbia’s tourism sector. July was especially hot, with 72,000 more international overnight visitors than July 2014–an increase of nearly 10 per cent. U.S. tourists led the way, up 11.6 per cent from last year. Overall, the January to July period saw numbers up 8.8 per cent from last year. Of the 19,200-plus tourism-related businesses in B.C., most of them (93 per cent) are small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. With this in mind, Destination BC announced Monday the launch of a three-year funding model for the community visitor services network–with a new minimum base funding of $10,000 annually for small and rural community visitor centres. 

Anchors away
LNG regulatory delays are costing the province $20 billion annually, according to a study from the Fraser Institute. Because of B.C.’s location and substantial natural gas resources, the study says we are poised to make billions serving the growing Asia-Pacific market for liquefied natural gas. Numerous regulatory delays have us missing the boat, they say. Or maybe not: Two BC Ferries vessels, the Spirit of Vancouver Island and the Spirit of British Columbia, set sail in the Saanich Inlet Monday for the first phase of the LNG conversion process. The Spirit of British Columbia will be the first boat powered by liquefied natural gas, with the actual conversion taking place between fall 2017 and spring 2018.
Warm and fuzzy
Kit and Ace, a technical clothing company run by the (Chip) Wilson family, last week opened a new flagship store on Toronto’s Bloor Street—Canada’s most expensive retail strip—as part of an expansion that’s now reached 30 stores worldwide. Here the brand lives large: there’s more product out front, room for in-house alterations and even a design station, where customers can watch the fashion magic in the making. In back, there’s the brand’s Sorry Coffee Company, with its very own brew, ready to quench any potential buyers’ remorse. For insight into why anyone would spent $100 on a T-shirt, read our October issue story here.