CTC News

Cautious optimism for Americans over international travel plans in 2013.

Recovery after the global recession helped boost tourism from the world’s largest economy, according to CTC’s latest Global Tourism Watch report.

20 March 2014

The US was hit hard by the global economic downturn in 2008. However, its recovery, which picked up in earnest in 2012, saw a parallel rise in international travel, which grew 3% that year to reach a total of 60.7 million global trips, says the new Global Tourism Watch (GTW) summary report by the Research department of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC).

Other key statistics:

  • Americans are cautiously hopeful—their most positive since 2008—over their future international travel plans.
  • More than half of international trips taken by Americans are within North America, with Mexico taking the lion’s share of those travellers.
  • Canada’s share of this market has declined over the past 10 years, from a 28% share in 2002 to 20% in 2012.
  • Despite the decline in American visitation, the US market is Canada’s largest by far, posting 11.9 million visits in 2012.
  • Familiarity breeds ennui? With 57% of American travellers having already taken at least one trip to Canada, these high rates of past visitation may be provoking a lack of urgency in the US market.
  • In terms of brand personality perceptions, Canada is perceived as being top of the class for being friendly, second to France as liberal and third (behind Mexico and Australia) as informal.
  • Nature, culture, unique local experiences and urban activities tick the most boxes for Americans on vacation.
  • Ontario (67%) and British Columbia (64%) are the top two destinations for US travellers intending to visit Canada in the next two years, with Quebec (51%) leading the chasing pack.
  • Recent American visitors tend to be older, well educated and with a middle to high income. Around 25% of those travellers are also retired.
  • Other places to visit and cost are the two primary barriers to Americans picking a Canadian vacation, while almost one-fifth also say they see no reason not to go.
  • Friends and family are the go-to source for travel information in American households.
  • While online trip-planning research is the most popular activity for American travellers, using a smartphone to share photos and stories is a trend on the rise.
  • Americans are most fond of sharing their post-trip adventures in person, but more and more are using social networks to do so.

TNS conducts the Global Tourism Watch surveys for CTC. The company asks thousands of participants aged 18 and over from around the world for their views on Canada and CTC’s “Canada. Keep Exploringtourism brand. The 2013 reports look to identify shifts in each market since 2011 via a substantially revised questionnaire. 

Read the Global Tourism Watch 2013 US summary report.


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