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China-Canada agreement to boost tourism.

By Mel Tobias.

British Columbia’s tourism industry will definitely get an economic boost to the tune of something like $15 million a year or more, with the announcement that the Chinese government granted Canada approved destination status after many years of waiting.

As approved destination, the province can expect to receive about 15 percent more visitors from China, up from the 100,000 that now visit BC. Current visitors spend about $1,000 each, so the increased numbers would mean about $15 million annually. BC tourism suffered badly with the significant drops in US visitors. There was a 12 percent drop from last year. American visi-tors spend an average $800 each.

With China’s emerging middle class looking to spend disposable income on travel, China is expected to be one of the world’s largest outbound markets, sending 100 million tourists out of the country by 2020. And for the first time, Canadian tour operators will be allowed to advertise and book groups of Chinese tourists in China.

The China-Canada agreement will also make it easier for Chinese residents to visit Canada in time for the 2010 Olympics. More than 130 countries already have China’s approved destina-tion status, and have enjoyed the Chinese tourism windfall.

The 2nd Annual Expat Experience survey revealed that expats in Canada have the best quality of life and found it among the easiest places in the world to integrate with the local popula-tion. Australia and Thailand also came in the top three in the survey of people working in 30 different industries and 50 countries. Last year, Germany, Canada and Spain were the top coun-tries deemed to have the best lifestyle for expats.

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