Will the green light on Chinese tourism benefit Revelstoke?

The Chinese government’s decision to designate Canada as an approved destination for Chinese tourists presents both “a growth opportunity” and a challenge to local tourism businesses, says the Chamber of Commerce’s new tourism marketing coordinator.

“It will take some time for the dust to settle here before we see noticeable evidence but we are forecasting towards the middle of next quarter,” Greg Lister said in a statement released today. “The timing is great with the coming of the Winter Olympics. The potential to harvest visits by these travelers is high given it represents an international traveler profile that would be of significant interest to our members. These travelers will now be able to get here easier and stay a little longer to come and discover our area.”

He said the decision, announced during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Beijing this week,  represents “a growth opportunity for us well into the coming decade.  The biggest challenge will be to grab the attention and really reach out to bring them to our world class destination product.”

A recent Conference Board of Canada survey estimates that the accord could increase travel from China by up to 50 per cent by 2015. What that could mean in terms of actual tourism dollars is monumental. With a population of over 1 billion people, Canada could see a real spike tourism. Just how high a spike to be seen, but information released by the Prime Minister’s Office said nearly 160,000 Chinese travelers visited Canada last year. Chinese visitors had the highest average length of stay in Canada — 28 nights — and spent more than visitors from any other country, nearly $1,650 each.