CTC News

Canada travel in 2011: the essential facts and figures.

CTC’s Tourism Snapshot 2011 Year-in-review analyzes the vital statistics from our key international markets.

23 August 2012

Much of the world spent 2011 trying to shake off—in most cases unsuccessfully—the depredations of the economic recession. The travel sector took some buffeting, but kept its momentum going, ending the year in good shape for 2012.

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)’s Research department sifted through a mountain of data to compile the Tourism Snapshot 2011 Year-in-review. This report enables media and tourism-industry peeps alike to read the runes for (CTC)’s key international markets.

  • International travellers took 15.6 million overnighters in Canada, a 2% dip on 2010. This was largely driven by a 2% decline in American visitors.
  • It was steady-as-you-were for spending by international visitors in 2011. The needle flickered up 0.1% on the previous year, with $11.9 billion entering into the Canadian economy.
  • Tourism demand grew 8% last year, topping out at $79 billion. Of that, domestic demand grew 9% to reach $64 billion, while international demand was lower, with a 2% rise.
  • In 2011, total tourism gross domestic product (GDP) reached $31.3 billion, which made up 2% of the overall national GDP.
  • Canadians hit the road with a vengeance last year, making 30 million-plus trips, up 5% on 2010.
  • While out and about on their 2011 overseas travels, Canadians dipped into their wallets to spend $28 billion, a 7% year-on-year surge.
  • Our neighbour, the good ol’ USA, was destination No.1 for Canadians, with 21 million overnight trips clocked heading south over the 49th parallel, also a 5% rise over 2010.
  • US leisure travel is still the top dog in terms of Canada’s inbound travel markets, claiming 62% of visitors in 2011.
  • Second in the pecking order comes the US meetings, conventions and incentive travel (MC&IT) market. These 1.8 million business travellers spent $1.5 billion while visiting Canada, up 5% on 2010.
  • The Eurozone debt crisis weighed heavily on UK consumer confidence in 2011. Overnight visitor numbers from Canada’s largest overseas market suffered as a result, falling 6%.
  • Across the English Channel it was a different story, with the French market enjoying a 3% climb in overnight trips to Canada in 2011.
  • Canada said “G’day mate” to 216,000 Aussies in 2011, a robust 7% increase over the previous year.
  • It was a tough time for South Korea, which endured an 11% decline in overnight arrivals to Canada.
  • The Tōhuku earthquake and tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisismeant a torrid 2011 for Japan as well; not surprisingly, the number of visitors to Canada declined 13%.
  • Brazilians remained the biggest spenders in 2011: travellers stayed in Canada an average of 19 days, spending $1,837 per trip.
  • The Chinese market maintained the momentum kick-started in 2010 by the signing of the Approved Destination Status (ADS) agreement. Overnight arrivals to Canada were up 22% in 2011, reaching almost 237,000 trips.

Read the Tourism Snapshot 2011 Year-in-review in full.

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