Vancouver Travel Company Expands as Chinese Visitor Numbers Grow
A Vancouver-based tour company founded to take advantage of the Canada-China tourism agreement, has experienced explosive growth since welcoming its first guests in 2012. Vanfun Travel, which offers guided tours for Chinese visitors, has grown from 200 clients in its first year of operation, to over 4,000 in 2014, with revenues topping $3 million.
< Back to Success Stories
China granted Canada Approved Destination Status (ADS) in June 2010, an arrangement that allows Chinese nationals to travel to Canada in a leisure group tour format. The ADS designation permits tour operators accredited in Canada to receive Chinese nationals into the country through travel agents approved in China, and allows the Canadian Tourism Commission to actively promote and market Canada as a leisure destination in China.
Vanfun founder Kevin Wang and his partner saw a great opportunity for a business catering to Chinese travelers after the ADS came into effect and the number of flights between Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and China’s mainland increased (doubling from 958 in 2009 to over 2,000 in 2013). “In China I worked in an aviation company and also have experience in the tourism industry,” said Wang. “When I came to Canada, I always wanted to establish a travel agency, but because the Canadian and Chinese governments did not have ADS back then, there were very few Chinese tourists who came to Canada. In 2008-2009, the number of Chinese tourists coming to Canada was approximately 140,000-150,000, and that number rose to 200,000 the first year after ADS took effect.”
Wang estimates that the annual number of tourists visiting British Columbia from China will grow to nearly 400,000 in 2015. Vanfun Travel is also seeing a corresponding growth in clientele. Within the last year, the company has invested in a new tour bus, expanded into larger facilities, and now has 30 employees on its payroll including tour guides, drivers, and office staff.
Wang has a first-hand view of the investment opportunities in British Columbia’s tourism sector, particularly in hotels, resorts and tourism attractions as the number of annual visitors grows. “Since the ADS came into effect I think investment opportunities in B.C. are vast. I hope investors from China will seize the opportunities to come to B.C. to invest in the tourism industry. I believe the future development potential is huge,” said Wang.
Wang feels excited to share the beauty and diversity of British Columbia with visitors from his homeland. “In March 2002, I first moved to B.C. with my wife and son. My first impression of the city as I stepped out of the airport was great, and it surpassed my expectations by far. I saw the blue sky, and was surrounded by the clean air, and I saw numerous cherry blossoms. When I looked in the northern direction, I saw a snowy mountain.”
The Province’s trade and investment network assisted Wang and his business partner in setting up operations. Staff in the Ministry of International Trade in Vancouver and in the Province’s Trade and Investment Representative office in Guangzou provided market intelligence and helped the company make valuable business and government contacts in British Columbia and China.
Trade and Investment Representatives help international businesses discover the benefits of British Columbia as a destination for investment, a partner for trade and innovation, and source of quality goods, services, and resources around the world. They also help British Columbia businesses contact potential buyers, investors, and other key partners in global markets. Contact our team. Whether you want to invest in British Columbia, purchase our services or products, or bring British Columbia business to the international market, we can help.