Partnership Brings Chinese Runners to BC

Vancouver, BC – Responding to an increased interest in sport tourism, Destination BC and the Vancouver International Marathon Society are promoting the BMO Vancouver Marathon in China—BC’s second largest and growing tourism market.
Several travel packages which highlight the Marathon, and other tourism experiences in BC, have been featured by key tour operators in China.  A group of travel writers from some of China’s leading lifestyle, sport and tourism publications will run in the Marathon and visit other attractions while in BC.  An accompanying social media campaign on Weibo, with the hashtag #Runningthemostbeautifulroute, will share runner updates during the race and promote the latest information on BC’s tourism experiences to potential visitors.
Sport tourism activities are a huge draw for international visitors and are attracting increasing numbers of Chinese travelers.  With pristine seashores, majestic mountain ranges and stunning views, BC is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination. At the beginning of 2015, Destination BC unveiled 59 itineraries for Chinese travelers covering hiking, biking, golfing, city sightseeing, food and wine, Aboriginal culture and a variety of other themes, offering visitors a wide range of natural and cultural experiences in BC. 
Since Canada received Approved Destination Status in 2010, China has become one of the most promising markets for British Columbia. In 2014, BC welcomed 256,317 Chinese visitors - a 26.2 percent increase over 2013. Recently, China and Canada began offering 10-year multiple-entry visas, increasing convenience for travelers between the two countries.
Founded in 1972, the BMO Vancouver Marathon is the second-largest marathon in Canada, and one of the world’s most scenic races. Forbes has named the race one of the “Top 10 Marathons Worth Traveling For,” and CNN has also praised the diverse, scenic route which includes snow-capped mountain views, cherry trees, ancient forests, and a vast shoreline. The BMO Vancouver Marathon takes place on the first Sunday in May each year, attracting approximately 15,000 runners from 50 countries.
Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business
“Promoting the Vancouver Marathon in China will capitalize on the growing interest from Chinese visitors for sports tourism. As a runner and a Twitter fan, I'll be using the hashtag #Runningthemostbeautifulroute to get the word out to potential visitors.”
Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination British Columbia
“For the first time, Destination BC has promoted the BMO Vancouver Marathon to Chinese travellers. Our team in China saw this event as a tremendous opportunity given the rise of sport-related travel from this key market. The BMO Vancouver Marathon provides us with the perfect opportunity to capture the interest of international runners and build broader awareness of BC as a world-class event destination.”