October 4, 2017 10:29 pm

Wildfires put a dent in B.C. summer tourism

Wildfire damage near Hanceville in the Cariboo region.

Simon Little / CKNW
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Tourism B.C. says out of country visits to B.C. took a slight dip this summer.

Overall, the latest data shows an 0.2 per cent dip year over year in international visits in July.

READ MORE: Finlay Creek wildfire another blow to Peachland tourism

Wildfires in the interior likely played a role in causing people driving north from the U.S. to cancel short over-the-border trips, said the Ministry of Tourism in a news release.

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That information will come as no surprise to many businesses in the Cariboo and Okanagan, who reported a sluggish summer season amid the fires.

READ MORE: Tourists stay away from Osoyoos because of unfounded wildfire concerns

But the ministry said there was an overall increase in visitors from a several other countries this summer:  Mexico, Australia and Germany.

So far this year, visitors from Mexico and Australia are up 26 per cent, while German visits up 15 per cent.

Despite the weak summer, the ministry said the province’s tourism sector is surging in 2017, recording a three per cent growth year to date.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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