Destination Canada operates in 11 countries around the world. Our global marketing and sales teams provide expert knowledge and support to the local travel trade, conduct media relations and promotional activities, launch consumer advertising and promotional campaigns, and maintain a strong presence at consumer and trade shows. We are a vital resource for the Canadian tourism industry in international markets.
Australia is Canada’s fifth-largest overseas inbound market, boasting 281,000 arrivals in 2014. It is Canada’s second-largest market within the Asia-Pacific region, ahead of Japan but surpassed by China, which now tops the list.
The Australia economy expanded 2.7% in 2014. A GDP growth rate of 2.6% is expected in 2015, with low and stable unemployment and inflation. Consumer spending should expand in line with GDP growth. Exports remain strong despite lower global demand for Australian raw materials, rising 6.8% in 2014. A further increase of 8% is forecast for 2015 with a slight improvement of global demand for commodities in the horizon.
From a currency standpoint, the Australian dollar depreciated 7% against the US dollar and 11% against the British pound but remained stable relative to the Canadian dollar in 2014. For 2015, the AUD is expected to depreciate further against the USD and the CAD amid market indications suggesting that the currency may have been overvalued in recent years.
Buoyed by a strong currency and a vibrant economy, total outbound travel by Australians expanded 5% in 2014, with Australian overnight trips to Canada increasing 6.3%. The strong value of the Australian dollar remains a key factor stimulating outbound travel.
Australia is Canada’s third-largest overseas inbound market in terms of tourism receipts after the UK and China. Australia boasts the highest per-trip spending by visitors in Canada. In 2013 and 2014, Australian travellers spent on average $2,957 per person-trip in Canada, with a typical trip length of 21 nights, totalling $817 million in tourism spending in this country.
The majority of Australians travelled to Canada for holiday purposes (64%), the highest proportion of leisure travel and the fourth largest in terms of leisure arrivals (179,000 trips) among DC’s .
Brazil has experienced rapid growth in flight availability during the past decade, which has led to a corresponding growth in outbound travel. Since 2004, Brazilian travel beyond South America has grown 15.8% annually—from 1.6 million trips in 2004 to an estimated 7 million trips in 2014.
Brazil is now the seventh-largest economy in the world in terms of GDP and by far the largest in South America. Brazil’s economic growth was flat in 2014, with a mere 0.2% GDP. In 2015, Brazil’s economy is forecast to contract, with unemployment expected to decline further and high inflation to continue being a challenge.
The Brazilian real depreciated against all major currencies in 2014 and is expected to weaken further against the US and Canadian dollars in 2015. Although a weaker real will make overseas travel more expensive, outbound travel should not be too impacted as most long-haul Brazilian travellers are part of the upper middle class and are little influenced by exchange-rate variations.
In 2014, Canada welcomed 99,900 overnight visitors from Brazil, up 6.6% from 2013, with the majority travelling to visit friends and relatives (37.5%), as well as for pleasure (25%) and other purposes, which includes educational trips (23.8%). Brazil’s study and educational trip segment is significant and accounts for the largest share of total trips to Canada among the key markets. Brazilian visitors spent an estimated $253 million in Canada’s tourism economy in 2014.
While Brazilian arrivals to Canada continue to grow, Canada is capturing only a small share of that country’s long-haul travel market. The US attracted more than 20 times more travellers from Brazil in 2014 (2.2 million). Canada is well positioned to capture a larger share of Brazil’s growing outbound travel market in years to come. The implementation of the Can+ Visa program in Brazil, coupled with a new, direct, Air Canada flight between Rio and Toronto, facilitated arrival growth from Brazil in 2014. A new São Paulo-Toronto (via New York) TAM flight will increase air capacity and facilitate travel between the two countries in 2015.
The majority of Brazilian long-haul travellers live in the country’s two largest metropolitan areas, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Although Brazilian long-haul travellers do much of their trip planning and research online, more than half still book their trips through the travel trade. For more insights into Brazilian long-haul travellers, download the Brazil Consumer and Trade Research Summary Report..
As one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies and outbound travel markets, China is becoming a significant player in the global tourism landscape. The Chinese economy expanded 7.4% in 2014, slower than the double-digit average growth of the past decade, but still enviable relative to most national economies.
The pace of economic expansion is forecast to trend downward in the coming years as China’s exports and infrastructure expenditures continue to decline. Rising domestic consumption from an emerging middle class will partly offset the effects, but growing competition from other manufacturing centres and rising production costs limit China’s future growth potential. With these factors at play, China’s maturing economy is unlikely to maintain the spectacular economic growth it has enjoyed in the past.
Until 2005, China operated under a fixed exchange rate regime with a strict peg to the US dollar. This has evolved into a crawling peg that has allowed the CNY to slowly appreciate 34.3% against the USD since 2005. The CNY is forecast to depreciate relative to the USD in 2015 and 2016 amid the US’s economic recovery and the prospect of interest rate hikes in the US. In terms of the Canadian dollar, the CNY is expected to appreciate further in the coming years, improving the value perception of Canada as a leisure travel destination.
China’s appetite for outbound travel remains unabated: the World Tourism Organization is projecting that by 2020 China will have 100 million international travellers. China’s long-haul outbound travel grew an average of 15.5% per year over the past decade, totalling 15.6 million long-haul arrivals in 2014. China’s long-haul outbound travel market is forecast to continue growing in the coming years—albeit at a slower rate—amid a growing Chinese middle-class and the relaxation of visa requirements for Chinese visitors in many world destinations.
Overnight arrivals to Canada from China gained significant momentum with the granting of ADS (Approved Destination Status) in June 2010, expanding at an average rate of 24% per year to reach 454,000 visitors in 2014.China shifted from Canada’s sixth source of overseas travellers in 2010 to third in 2014. Chinese travellers spent an estimated $920 million in Canada, making China Canada’s second-largest market in terms of tourism expenditures..
France is one of the largest economies in the world. It also boasts one of the largest outbound travel markets, with French travellers taking 47.7 million trips outside of France in 2014. While France’s total outbound travel market is the third largest in Europe after Germany and the UK, the French long-haul travel market is the second largest (second to the UK), with French travellers taking 10.9 million long-haul trips in 2014.
Despite flat GDP growth of 0.2% and a relatively high unemployment rate of 9.8%, overall French outbound travel increased 8.1% in 2014. GDP growth is expected to improve in 2015 as the economy recovers in the eurozone—providing limited support for any further expansion in outbound travel. The French outbound travel market is forecast to grow at an average rate of 3% per year in the coming years.
Canada is well positioned compared with competitive destinations—it tops the list of places that comes to mind for French consumers for a long-haul holiday. France is Canada’s second-largest overseas inbound market after the UK. In 2014, Canada welcomed 482,000 overnight French visitors, who spent $708 million in this country. Among French travellers, 53% visited Canada for a holiday, while 17% came to see friends and relatives..
Germany is Europe’s largest (and the world’s fourth-largest) economy, and the largest outbound travel market in the world. The Germans made over 92 million overnight trips outside of Germany in 2014.
After the financial downturn of 2008-2009, Germany emerged as the economic engine of the eurozone. While most Western European economies struggled in the aftermath of the recession, the German economy recovered quickly as it reaped the benefits of past economic reforms and a strong focus on the export of manufacturing goods. GDP grew 1.6% in 2014 and is expected to accelerate in 2015 amid a more favourable economic climate in the eurozone. Unemployment has remained below 7% since 2010—low by European standards—and is expected to decline further is 2015.
While Germany’s total outbound travel is significant, most trips made outside of Germany (90%) are still within Europe and the Mediterranean region. Long-haul travel from Germany accounts for a smaller share of total outbound travel than other European markets; only 10% of outbound German visitors (9.2 million) visited long-haul destinations in 2014.
Germans’ interest in long-haul travel is closely linked to the vibrancy of the German economy, exchange rates and international political stability. DC’s latest Global Tourism Watchreport suggests that the high price of getting to a destination is the most significant barrier to long-haul travel. The decline of the euro against the US and Canadian dollars since 2013 has reduced the purchasing power of German travellers, many of whom now elect destinations that are more affordable.
In 2014, Canada welcomed 327,000 overnight visitors from Germany—up 5.0% from 2013—which represented $537 million in tourism receipts for Canada. Germany is Canada’s fourth-largest overseas market in terms of arrivals. Most Germans travelled to Canada for a vacation (45%) or to visit friends and relatives (27%).
India’s population of approximately 1.28 billion is the second largest in the world. That figure is forecast to grow 10.8% per year to reach more than 1.6 billion by 2040. India’s emerging middle class is expected to surge twofold, from about 250 million in 2014 to over 500 million by 2025. The middle class will then represent 60% of the country's spending power.
India’s GDP growth accelerated to 7.1% in 2014 amid sustained population growth, progress on economic reforms and increased productivity, outpacing the economic growth rate of the other Asian giant, China. While growth is slowing in several emerging economies, India’s GDP growth is expected to accelerate in 2015. Unemployment declined steadily since the early 2000s and is forecast to remain stable at about 5.5% in the foreseeable future.
Total outbound Indian travel increased 15.6% in 2014 to reach 13.6 million trips and is forecast to continue trending upward to about 22 million trips by 2020. While the Indian long-haul travel segment is smaller (about 5.2 million trips in 2014), it is forecast to grow at a rate of about 5.4% per year.
India is an attractive and growing key market for Canada, thanks to a common language (English), positive trade relationships and improving visa services, as well as India’s economic prosperity, rising income levels and affluent middle class. The CAN+ Visa program and increased air capacity facilitated travel to Canada from India in 2014.
The number of Indian overnight arrivals increased 19.3% to 176,000 in 2014, second only to China in growth rate among Canada’s key markets. Tourism expenditures in Canada by Indian visitors totalled $280 million in 2014. India boasted the largest share of family and relative visits among the key markets; they accounted for 53.5% of total Indian trips to Canada. At 33 days per trip, India and China both have the longest average trip duration to Canada among key markets..
Japan boasts the world’s third-largest economy. The 2011 natural disasters, the depreciation of the yen and a decrease in the popularity of long-haul travel have all contributed to a decline in Japanese long-haul travel in recent years. However, a growing retiree population with the time and budget to explore the world, coupled with the country’s emergence from the recent recession, suggest long-haul travel will bounce back in the coming years.
Japan experienced flat growth in 2014, as economic reforms were implemented and its main markets slowed down, particularly China and Europe. That said, GDP is forecast to expand in 2015 amid recent economic policies to boost investments and once the weakening of the yen kicks in. Unemployment remains low and stable, with exports forecast to grow steadily.
Canada welcomed 258,500 visitors from Japan in 2014, which represented $430 million of tourism spending. Among total Japanese travellers in 2014, 44% indicated their main reason for travelling to Canada was for holiday purposes, while 28% indicated they travelled to see family and friends.
Despite a significant drop in visitation over the past 20 years, Japan is still one of the highest-spending international travel markets for Canada and a continued focus for Destination Canada and this country’s tourism industry.
With 113 million citizens, Mexico is the world’s 11th most populous nation. The country also has the 13th-largest economy and is one of the key emerging markets in the world.
Mexico is a growing economic powerhouse, particularly in the energy, electronics, automobile and consumer goods manufacturing sectors. Mexico achieved moderate economic growth of 2.1% in 2014. Declining unemployment (4.8%) and improved consumer sentiment supported an increase in outbound travel (+6.0%) in 2014. Mexico’s economic outlook looks good, with GDP growth expected to accelerate and unemployment to decline further in 2015 as structural reforms take effect and facilitate foreign investments.
The implementation of visa restrictions on Mexican nationals travelling to Canada in July 2009 led to a 48% contraction of overnight arrivals in the year that followed. In 2014, Canada introduced the 10-year visa and the CAN+ Visa program in Mexico. The greater ease to obtain a visitor visa and the introduction of new direct flights, including to Vancouver and Montréal from Mexico City, will help generate visitor growth to Canada from this country.
In 2014, Mexicans made 173,000 overnight trips to Canada (+14.4%), which generated an estimated $252 million in tourism receipts. .
Bolstered by a buoyant economy, South Korea has emerged as a significant outbound travel market over the past decade. South Korea’s economic momentum accelerated in 2014, with GDP growth rising from 2.9% in 2013 to 3.3% amid strong demand for Korean exports from large markets such as the US. A modest slowdown in GDP growth to 2.9% is expected in 2015 amid signs of a slowing Chinese economy and the economic impact of the MERS outbreak. The country’s unemployment rate, at 3.5%, remains low and stable and is forecast to remain so in the foreseeable future.
South Korea’s outbound travel market has been growing steadily over the past decade, particularly to long-haul destinations, amid sustained economic growth, relaxation of visa requirements and the strengthening of the won. South Korea is on track to record the fastest long-haul outbound travel market growth of DC’s key overseas markets, thanks to an average growth rate of 6% per year.
In 2014, 163,000 overnight visitors from South Korea generated $262 million in tourism spending in Canada, making the Asian country Canada’s ninth-largest source of overseas visitors and eighth-largest in terms of tourism receipts.
The UK is Canada’s second-largest inbound market after the US. While it continues to be one of the most robust and dynamic travel markets in the world, the UK’s challenging economic situation and depreciated currency have affected outbound long-haul travel in recent years.
The UK is a leading financial centre that boasts the third-largest economy in Europe after Germany and France. After a sustained economic expansion, the 2008 global financial crisis hit the UK’s economy particularly hard because of the importance of its financial sector. High consumer debt and sharply declining home prices compounded the UK’s economic problems, which prompted the government to implement a series of measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets. However, faced with a spiralling budget deficit, the coalition government initiated a five-year austerity program in 2010 aimed at lowering the country’s deficit. Despite uncertainties in the eurozone, GDP increased 1.7% in 2013 and accelerated to 2.8% in 2014 amid the strong recovery of the financial and service sectors and economic improvements in the US. The UK is expected to record a stable rate of economic growth in 2015, thanks to further reduction to its the unemployment rate and upward pressure on wages.
Outbound travel from the UK contracted in the aftermath of the financial meltdown of 2008-2009, with long-haul travel taking most of the hit. With the economic recovery in the UK, British outbound travel has bounced back from its five-year slump; long-haul travel has almost returned to its 2007 peak and is expected to exceed it in 2015.
In 2014, 676,000 overnight UK travellers visited Canada, up 4.7% relative to 2013. These visits represented over $1 billion in tourism receipts in Canada. Among UK overnight travellers to Canada, 41% visited friends and relatives (VFR) and 37% came for a vacation. The UK VFR travel segment is significant, totalling over 276,000 trips to Canada in 2014.
The US is the world’s largest economy and the second-largest outbound travel market after Germany. The US is also Canada’s largest inbound tourism market, accounting for about 70% of total international arrivals to Canada.
The US outbound travel market declined in recent years amid a weak US dollar, low consumer confidence and a difficult employment market. US arrivals to Canada reflected this downward trend, declining from 13.4 million overnight visitors in 2007 to 11.5 million in 2014.
In 2014, the US economy improved significantly, with GDP expanding 2.4%—the highest level since 2006—and unemployment falling sharply from 7.4% in 2013 to 6.2% in 2014. The US dollar regained ground lost over the past years, appreciating 20% against the Canadian dollar from Q2 2013 to Q2 2015. The US economy is forecast to grow 2.1% in 2015 as consumer confidence improves, domestic consumption increases and unemployment falls below 6%.
The economic recovery and the strong US dollar helped Canada regain its losses from the US market. Year-to-date April 2015, total arrivals from the US are up 5.9% compared to the same period in 2014. Gains are recorded in all modes of transportation, including autos (+5.6%), air (+7.5%) and other modes of travel (+0.3%).
In 2014, the 11.5 million US visitors to Canada generated $7.1 billion in tourism receipts. US overnight visitors spend $615 per trip and stayed four nights on average in 2014. With $138 per night, the US is second only to Australia for per night average spend in Canada among key markets.
In 2014, over 45% of Americans travelling overnight to Canada came for a vacation, while another 24% visited family and friends. Although the business travel market represented a smaller number of travellers (14% of total US trips), the average overnight spending of $218 per night exceeds that of the US leisure market and all other key international markets.