Canadians are suffering from itchy feet and this compared to last year, more are planning trips, especially outside of Canada. A recent study by BMO Bank of Montreal found that we’re in the peak season, as students and families take advantage of March break, making it the busiest month for travel.

“Over the last two years, the strong Canadian dollar and relatively favourable income growth have made vacation travel outside of Canada much more attractive,” said Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. “We expect these conditions to similarly influence Canadians’ travel plans in 2012.”

During the third quarter (July 1-September 30) of 2011, spending by Canadians travelling abroad grew 11.24 per cent to $7.3 billion compared to the same quarter in 2010. Of that, Canadian residents spent $4 billion in the United States, up 18 per cent from the third quarter of 2010. During the same period, the number of trips to other countries (excluding the U.S.) increased by 3.3 per cent, while trips to the United States increased by 6.7 per cent.

Domestic travel is expected to increase by a more modest 1.8 per cent in 2012 and generate 97.6 million overnight stays at hotels, inns and bed & breakfast facilities. Tourism spending in Canada is expected to rise by 3.6 per cent to $40.5 billion this year.

“The United States remains the top travel destination outside Canada, with New York, Florida and Washington being the most visited states,” said Su McVey, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal. Mexico, the United Kingdom, and France are countries of choice for Canadians travelling to destinations outside of Canada and the United States. The top three travel destinations within Canada are Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

The increase in out-of-country travel contributed to an international travel deficit of $15.9 billion for Canada in 2011, an increase of $1.6 billion from 2010. Tourism-related activity accounted for 1.8 per cent of Canada’s GDP in the third quarter of 2011, but with travel within Canada likely to be restrained through 2012, Canada’s travel industries – such as domestic travel services, accommodation, food and entertainment – will be challenged to find innovative ways to keep their operating costs under control.

Overnight travel from Canada by trip purpose

Q3 2010

Q3 2011

Q3 2010
to Q3
2011

Q3 2010

Q3 2011

Q3 2010
to Q3
2011

Trips

Spending

thousands

% change

$ millions of dollars

% change

Canadian trips abroad

8426

8919

5.9%

6565

7303

11.24%

To the United States

6,419

6,847

6.7%

3,391

4,000

18.0%

Business

478

547

14.4%

432

508

17.7%

Pleasure

4,283

4,589

7.1%

2,303

2,662

15.6%

Visiting friends/ relatives

1,084

1,001

-7.7%

378

431

14.0%

To other countries

2,007

2,072

3.3%

3,174

3,303

4.1%

Business

173

181

4.5%

388

403

3.8%

Pleasure

1,208

1,246

3.1%

1,838

1,940

5.6%

Visiting friends/ relatives

497

512

3.1%

714

724

1.5%

Statistics Canada 2012-02-27

Tourism Indicators for travel to and within Canada — visits and spending
Overnight visits — 000s

2010

2011e

% change

2012f

% change

Canada

113,219

113,765

0.5%

115,519

1.5%

NFL / Labrador

1,610

1,632

1.4%

1,647

0.9%

PEI

707

695

-1.8%

702

1.1%

NB

2,955

2,960

0.2%

2,990

1.0%

Nova Scotia

3,402

3,368

-1.0%

3,406

1.1%

Quebec

26,800

26,995

0.7%

27,260

1.0%

Ontario

42,549

42,686

0.3%

43,256

1.3%

Manitoba

3,389

3,430

1.2%

3,492

1.8%

Saskatchewan

4,471

4,576

2.3%

4,709

2.9%

Alberta

11,365

11,524

1.4%

11,871

3.0%

BC

15,614

15,546

-0.4%

15,831

1.8%

Canada – Total spending

$37.1 billion

$39.1 billion

5.4%

$40.5 billion

3.6%

f = forecast; e = estimate / The Conference Board of Canada; Statistics Canada – Autumn 2011

 

You might also be interested in: Young Canadians avoiding travel insurance for U.S. trips 

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