U.S. travel agents chose Vancouver as the top Canadian travel destination for the ninth year in a row.
American travellers are “critically important” to Vancouver’s $4-billion a year tourism industry, representing about 20 per cent of hotel visits and one-quarter of the city’s 8 million overnight visitors, said Stephen Pearce, vice-president of leisure travel and digital marketing at Tourism Vancouver.
“It’s a nearby market with a great potential for repeat visitation,” Pearce said. “They become great fans of Vancouver and ambassadors for us.”
In a sluggish market, we need all the influences we can get, Pearce added.
“If we get travel agents who are fans of Vancouver, they’re playing a very important role for Americans doing travel planning,” Pearce said.
Travel trade publication Travel Weekly announced its Readers Choice Awards — selected by accredited U.S. travel agents — on Dec. 15. The awards are widely recognized as reflecting the professional opinion of travel agents who are not only avid travellers themselves, but also hear feedback every day from thousands of American consumers.
This accolade is a great way for Vancouver to end its 125th birthday celebrations this year, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a news release.
“The city is already renowned for its natural beauty and vibrant culture, and this award shows that we also have some of the best hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions in Canada,” Robinson said. “We will continue to build on our world-class reputation in the years to come and ensure that Vancouver remains a favoured destination among travellers worldwide.”
Dayna Miller, Tourism Vancouver’s director of sales, accepted the award in New York.
“These front-line agents can be extremely influential in their clients’ buying decision, and it’s gratifying to know they hold our city in such high esteem,” Miller said when accepting the award.
The Best in Destinations: Canada award is the latest in a list of honours that Vancouver has received over the years; other recent awards include being named one of the world’s most livable cities (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2011) and top city in the Americas (Mercer’s annual Quality of Living survey, 2011), Tourism Vancouver said in a news release.
By Tracy Sherlock, Vancouver Sun