• By: Mckenzie Donovan

Canadian Government Declares 2018 the Year of Canada-China Tourism

In 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li signed a joint declaration to pronounce 2018 as the China-Canada Tourism Year in order to further promote two-way tourism exchanges and friendship between our countries.

China and Canada have had strong diplomatic ties since 1970 and this has led to a growth in political, economic, trade and people-to-people bonds that has benefited both countries. Tourism has become a new bright spot of the bilateral relationship.

In 2016, more than 1.4 million visits were made between the two countries and both Chinese and Canadian governments extended the validity of visas to 10 years for each other, stimulating people-to-people exchange and bilateral cooperation.

Canada expects to welcome a record numbers of Chinese visitors in 2018 and Canadian tourism operators have been preparing for the influx to show off all the excitement and adventure that our country has to offer.

There is also a large Chinese diaspora in Canada.Today, more than 1.7 million Canadians, about five percent of the population, have Chinese ancestry. Mandarin and Cantonese are the most spoken languages in Canada after English and French. A recent survey (The Travelzoo® Winter Travel Trends Survey) by U.S. based Travelzoo of its members found that nearly nine out of 10 Travelzoo members in China report they will be travelling to North America in the next year with nearly all of them (97 per cent) coming for leisure travel. Within the next two years, one-third plan to visit Vancouver and 28 per cent intend to travel to Toronto. 

“China and Canada are building a strong relationship in tourism,” says Lara Barlow, General Manager, Canada, for Travelzoo. “From the Rocky Mountains to the Maritimes and everything in between, there is a lot to offer in Canada that is attraction record numbers of Chinese visitor to come across the Pacific.”

China is a significant market for Canadian tourism. According to Destination Canada, an estimated 750,000 Chinese tourists will have visited Canada in 2017, a 23 percent increase over the previous year. Statistics Canada has stated that Chinese visitors contribute more than $1 billion to the Canadian economy, supporting an estimated 7,400 jobs.

A 2016 international travel survey conducted by Statistics Canada found the average stay in Canada for a Chinese tourist is 24 days. According to experts in China, Chinese tourists are especially attracted by Canada’s outstanding natural beauty. “Unlike 10-years-ago, when Chinese travelled to shop, we have witnessed a growing appetite among Chinese tourists to explore nature in depth over the last few years,” says Yoyo Huang, publisher in Travelzoo’s Shanghai office.

“Canada offers some of the most awe-inspiring natural scenery on the planet. Travelzoo China is working with our partners to discover more opportunities to give our members the nature and adventure experiences they are seeking in Canada.”

Canada and China are exploring measures to facilitate easier travel between the two countries. For example, there are now 11 Chinese cities offering flights to Canada, prompting the opening of seven new visa application centres in China so travellers can apply for Canadian visas close to home.

The Canada-China tourism relation-ship is not a one-way affair. “Travelzoo Canada has seen an increase in travel offers to China from a variety of Canadian travel providers, making 2018 a great time for Canadians to visit China as well,” adds Barlow.