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National tourism indicators, fourth quarter 2015

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Released: 2016-03-30

Tourism spending in Canada

$20.3 billion

Fourth quarter 2015

0.3% 

(quarterly change)

Tourism spending in Canada rose 0.3% in the fourth quarter, after increasing 1.0% in the previous quarter. This was the 11th consecutive quarterly gain in tourism spending, but the smallest during that period.

Both tourism spending by Canadians at home and by international visitors in Canada contributed to the overall growth in the fourth quarter.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Tourism spending in Canada increases for 11th consecutive quarter
Tourism spending in Canada increases for 11th consecutive quarter

Tourism spending by Canadians up

Tourism spending by Canadians at home rose 0.2% in the fourth quarter, the slowest pace since the first quarter of 2013. This followed a 0.8% gain in the third quarter.

Passenger air transport (+1.1%) contributed the most to the increase in spending, followed by recreation and entertainment (+1.0%) and pre-trip expenditures (+1.0%), such as luggage.

Some of the gains were offset by lower outlays on vehicle fuel (-0.7%) and non-tourism goods and services (-0.2%), such as groceries and alcohol bought in stores.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Increased tourism spending by Canadians at home
Increased tourism spending by Canadians at home

Spending by international visitors increases

Spending by international visitors in Canada grew 0.4% in the fourth quarter. This followed a 1.8% increase in the third quarter, when Toronto hosted the Pan-American Games. This was the seventh consecutive quarterly increase in spending by international visitors in Canada.

Spending on several categories of tourism goods and services rose, driven by recreation and entertainment (+0.9%). Tourism spending on non-tourism goods and services (+1.3%) also contributed to the gain. Meanwhile, outlays on passenger air transport decreased 0.2%.

Overnight travel from abroad and same-day car travel from the United States both increased in the fourth quarter.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Tourism spending by international visitors up
Tourism spending by international visitors up

Tourism gross domestic product edges up

Tourism gross domestic product (GDP) edged up 0.1% in the fourth quarter, following a 1.8% increase in the third quarter. By comparison, national GDP was up 0.2% in the fourth quarter and up 0.7% in the third quarter.

Increased tourism GDP in food and beverage services (+0.7%), transportation (+0.3%), and other tourism industries (+1.1%), which include recreation and entertainment and travel services, was mostly offset by lower GDP in accommodation (-1.1%).

Tourism employment edged up 0.1% as job gains in recreation and entertainment (+1.5%) and food and beverage services (+0.8%) were offset by losses in travel services (-4.2%) and accommodation (-0.3%). Tourism jobs in non-tourism industries rose 0.2%.

Annual 2015

Tourism spending in Canada grew 2.9% in 2015, following a 3.3% gain in 2014. Canadians at home and international visitors in Canada both contributed to the increase in tourism spending.

The falling Canadian dollar relative to its American counterpart, the Pan-American Games and the FIFA Women's World Cup may have all contributed to higher tourism spending by Canadians at home and by international visitors in Canada.

Tourism spending by Canadians at home rose 2.2%, following a 3.3% gain the previous year. Growth was mostly driven by an 8.4% increase in passenger air transport. Outlays on vehicle fuel (+1.6%) and recreation and entertainment (+2.2%) also rose, while those on accommodation (-0.6%) and non-tourism goods and services (-0.4%) were lower.

After increasing 2.9% in 2014, tourism spending by international visitors in Canada grew 5.8% in 2015, the fastest pace since 2010. Accommodation (+5.5%), passenger air transportation (+5.4%), and food and beverage services (+6.5%) all contributed to the increase.

Tourism GDP grew 3.1%, the sixth consecutive annual increase and the strongest growth since 2010. Transportation (+8.3%) accounted for over half of the growth in tourism GDP. Food and beverage services (+2.0%), accommodation (+1.4%), and other tourism industries (+1.8%) also increased. Tourism GDP in non-tourism industries rose 1.4%.

Tourism jobs increased 1.6%, following a 1.4% gain in 2014. Food and beverage services (+2.3%), recreation and entertainment (+3.5%), and accommodation (+1.3%) all contributed to job growth. Tourism jobs in the air transportation industry (-0.1%) were slightly lower.


  Note to readers

Growth rates for tourism spending and gross domestic product are expressed in real terms (that is, adjusted for price changes), at 2007 constant prices, as well as adjusted for seasonal variations, unless otherwise indicated. Employment data are also seasonally adjusted. For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Associated percentage changes are presented at quarterly rates unless otherwise noted.

The national tourism indicators are funded by Destination Canada.

Next release

Data on the national tourism indicators for the first quarter will be released on June 29 and will include revised data from the first quarter of 1986 to the fourth quarter of 2015.

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Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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