Tourism Langley is calling 2015 a “banner year” that saw the number of visitors rise 14 per cent from 2014.
“This is our strongest year yet,” Tourism Langley executive director Deborah Kulchiski told the Times.
The agency was expecting an improvement, but not that big.
“We certainly were very pleasantly surprised.”
Kulchiski said while it will be another month before the final 2015 figures are in, the preliminary numbers show last year was the best Tourism Langley has seen since it began operating.
The available stats suggest the Langleys outperformed other communities in B.C. (which have been reporting increases ranging from two to 12 per cent).
Kulchiski said the local rise was the result of a combination of factors, starting with the decline of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. currency. The fall of our dollar is encouraging Americans to travel north and Canadians to stay in their own country, with British Columbians playing tourist in their home province and people from Alberta heading west instead of south for their vacations.
The Langleys have also benefited by providing accommodation to people attending Vancouver events who can’t find reasonably-priced places to stay in the pricey downtown core. As well, both Langleys have been adding attractions and events that are drawing more people, Kulchiski said.
For example, the Fort Langley historical site reported a 14 per cent increase in visits in 2015.
Tourism Langley is forecasting a “another strong year” for 2016.