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The Daily

Monday, September 29, 2008
Second quarter 2008

Tourism spending in Canada rose 0.9% in real terms in the second quarter of 2008, the same pace as in the previous quarter. Spending by Canadians continued to advance, albeit at a slower pace, while outlays by international visitors declined for a second consecutive quarter.

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Tourism spending has increased in every quarter since the second quarter of 2003. Domestic demand has been the driving force behind growth over this period, while tourism exports have been weak.

Spending on tourism at home advances

Spending by Canadians on tourism in Canada rose 1.2% in the second quarter, its slowest pace since the third quarter of 2006. The sluggish economy, slower growth in personal disposable income, and the high price of gasoline at the pumps served as the backdrop.

Note to readers

Levels and shares of tourism spending are expressed in current dollars, adjusted for seasonal variations. Growth rates of tourism spending and gross domestic product are expressed in real terms (i.e., adjusted for price change) as well as adjusted for seasonal variations, unless otherwise indicated. Employment data are also seasonally adjusted. Associated percentage changes are presented at quarterly rates.

The National Tourism Indicators are funded by the Canadian Tourism Commission.

Canadians' travel spending outside Canada edged up (in nominal terms) in the second quarter, as increased same-day travel to the United States more than offset fewer overnight trips. Travel to non-US destinations was up 0.3%, its slowest pace in nearly three years.

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Overnight travel within Canada was up as indicated by the 2.6% increase in spending on accommodation. Vehicle fuel consumption by Canadians travelling by car grew 0.5%, despite higher prices at the pump.

Spending by international visitors slips

Spending by international visitors to Canada slipped 0.1% in the second quarter, following a sharp 3.1% decline in the first. Both same-day and overnight trips from the United States were down.

The number of trips to Canada from overseas, however, increased by 3.3%, moderating the overall decline in tourism exports. Overseas visitors tend to stay longer and spend more on average than visitors from the United States.

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Outlays by international visitors for passenger air transport (with Canadian carriers) were down 2.2% in the quarter. Spending on vehicle fuel and on non-tourism commodities such as groceries, alcohol bought in stores, and souvenirs was down, reflecting fewer visitors from the United States.

On the other hand, spending by international visitors on accommodation, food and beverage services and recreation and entertainment was up slightly.

Tourism contributes positively to GDP and job growth

Tourism contributed positively to overall economic growth as tourism gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.0% in the second quarter of 2008. While tourism GDP outpaced economy-wide GDP (+0.1%), it has slowed in the last two quarters. The accommodation industry was a source of strength, while the transportation sector, notably rail transportation, was a source of weakness.

The number of jobs attributable to tourism edged up 0.2% in the second quarter, as job gains in the food and beverage services industry more than offset losses in the accommodation industry.

Available on CANSIM: tables 387-0001 to 387-0010.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 1910.

The second quarter 2008 issue of National Tourism Indicators, Quarterly Estimates (13-009-XIB, free) is now available from the Publications module of our website.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact the information officer (613-951-3640;,Income and Expenditure Accounts Division.

Tables. Table(s).