BC’s tourism industry is booming.

The province has seen an increase of more than 120,000 visitors in the first quarter of 2016 compared to last year and Prince George is no exception.

“We’ve already seen a lot more Americans than last year. This year, the province has seen, in the first quarter, about a 20% increase in US visitors staying the night and we’re seeing similar numbers,” says Tourism prince George CEO Erica Hummel. “It’s been a really great spring for us. It’s driving visitors from the States as well as people who want to stay in Canada. For example, Albertans and British Columbians are travelling within the province so we’ve seen those numbers increase as well.”

An early spring and mild weather, along with a soft Canadian dollar, are keeping Canadians close to home.

They’re also drawing international visitors. The province has seen a sharp uptick in tourists from Japan, South Korea and China as well as Australia and India. But the biggest jump in numbers came from France, with an increase of more than 50%. The number of Mexican visitors to BC climbed by more than 45% compared to last year. A few of those new tourists are making their way to Prince George.

“We see a percentage but generally we’re seeing a lot of the Germans and a lot of the UK visitors – those are our markets that really love the outdoors and the wilderness that we have to offer. The European market definitely is drawn to the north.”

Aboriginal tourism is a big draw for many foreign visitors and the sector has more than doubled in size since 2006. Hummel says Tourism Prince George would like to see more Aboriginal tourism attractions in and around the city.

“There’s a lot of Aboriginal tourism in the north, particularly on the West Coast. Here in prince George, we’d really love to see some more so we’re trying to work with local First Nations on how we can support any kind of tourism initiative that they’d like to engage in.”

Hummel encourages residents with friends and family visiting over the summer months to stop by the Tourism PG office for information, maps and more. If you’re trying to make a case for someone you know to come for a visit, Tourism PG’s new video might help.