July 23, 2014 10:20 pm

WATCH: Chinese tourism credited for bounce back in visitors to Vancouver

Tourism is Vancouver is up almost double last year.

For the first time ever, the second biggest number of visitors is the Chinese.

Vancouver and B.C. are a must-see for tourists from China.

“We had predicted a 17 growth in Chinese tourism, but so far to date we are up 31 per cent,” says Stephen Pearce of Tourism Vancouver and VP of Leisure Travel.

The increase is nearly double than what was forecast for Chinese tourists.

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Tourists from China have now passed the British and moved into second place behind the Americans on the foreign visitors list.

About 220,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit Vancouver this year.

No one is feeling the good vibes more than Jerry O’Neil whose horse and buggy business in Stanley Park has seen a huge jump thanks to the flood of Chinese visitors.

“This year we are up about 38 to 40 per cent with the Chinese market and about 32 per cent for the other markets,” says Jerry O’Neil of Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tours.

The big bump in numbers is being helped by easy air access to Vancouver from China.

Five airlines including China Southern with its daily dreamliner service are bringing tourists here.’

China’s National Geographic magazine is currently featuring Jerry O’Neil and singer Wanting Qu as part of an aggressive campaign to promote B.C. tourism.

Qu was raised in Vancouver but is a superstar in her home country China where her videos promote BC.

O’Neil is spending $750,000 on a unique horse and carriage terminal in Stanley Park in the hopes of growing his business even more.

“The sky is the limit, because they just love nature and Vancouver’s got it,” says O’Neil.

– with files from Brian Coxford

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