Tourism officials also say the average Chinese tourist is now more independent and discerning than before. While a guided bus tour is still the most popular way to take in the country, Chinese visitors are now increasingly booking ski trips, wildlife tours, sporting holidays and culinary vacations.
CAL World Travel and Tours in Vancouver mainly caters to those from China and Southeast Asia. Its director, Alice Lin, said the company used to focus on business and government travelers for its Chinese market, but the number of trips booked by ordinary Chinese people has been surging since 2009.
Last year, CAL arranged holidays for 2,000 Chinese residents, and the number is set to climb higher this year, said Lin.
"Right now the Chinese tourists in Vancouver want to do some special tours, such as fishing, whale watching, or even simply enjoying afternoontea," she added.
When asked about the favorite sites for Chinese tourists in Canada, Lin said the most popular destinations are Vancouver, Victoria and the Canadian Rockies. And of course, on the east coast, Toronto, Niagara Falls and the major metropolitan cities.
Lin noted the policy changes in 2009 not only helped Chinese to explore Canada, but also allowed tour agencies like hers to explore the Chinese market, which is, by all indicators, growing faster than ever before.