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Travel between Canada and other countries, March 2017

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Released: 2017-05-18

Fewer US travellers to Canada by car, but more by air

US residents made 2.0 million trips to Canada in March, down 1.0% from February and a 4.2% decline from the same month a year earlier.

The decline in March was led by a slowdown in the number of US travellers coming to Canada by car. Same-day car trips to Canada were down 1.6% to 656,000 while the number of overnight US car trips decreased 2.7% to 660,000. In contrast, the number of US travellers making overnight trips to Canada by plane increased 2.6% to 393,000 in March, the highest figure for the month since modern recordkeeping began in 1972.

Cross-border travel between Canada and the United States was hampered by a heavy snowstorm in mid-March that affected much of Eastern Canada and the northeastern United States, resulting in thousands of flight cancellations and reduced cross-border car travel. Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick all received fewer US travellers by car than in February while the western provinces recorded increases.

Overseas travel to Canada posts largest monthly increase since 2015

Overseas residents made 585,000 trips to Canada in March, up 6.0% from February and a 20.0% increase from March 2016.

After accounting for seasonal variation, there were increases in the numbers of arrivals from every overseas region except Central America and the Caribbean. The 7.3% increase in arrivals from Europe was led by travellers from France (+10.8) and Germany (+15.2%). The number of travellers from Canada's largest overseas source, the United Kingdom, held steady.

After declining 5.8% in February, the number of travellers to Canada from Asia rose 6.0% in March, and was 22.6% higher than the same month in 2016. On average, Ontario and British Columbia receive 9 out of every 10 residents from Asia travelling to Canada, a share that has remained steady for the last three decades. Although accounting for a small share of the national total, Quebec received more travellers from Asia in March, up 26.2% from February, and 57.8% more than March 2016. In February, a second daily direct flight from Montreal to China was launched that may have contributed to the increased number of arrivals from Asia in March.

The number of Canadians travelling to the United States falls as volume of car trips drops

In March, Canadian residents made 3.4 million trips to the United States, down 2.8% from February and the second monthly decline following a 7.3% increase in January. The number of Canadian residents travelling to the United States was 2.5% higher than March of the previous year. However, it was 28.3% lower than the peak of March 2013, when the Canadian dollar was close to par with the US currency.

The decline in March was mainly attributable to fewer Canadians crossing the border by car, in particular for same-day trips. Same-day car trips by Canadian residents to the United States fell 5.0% to 1.7 million, while overnight car trips were down 2.5% to 894,000.

Air travel, however, increased during the month. After a 2.7% decrease in February, Canadian residents made 689,000 overnight trips to the United States by air in March, up 2.6% from the previous month and a 10.2% increase compared with 12 months earlier. The March 2017 figure was also a record high for the month.

Canadians travelling overseas reaches new high for March

Canadian residents made 1.0 million trips to overseas destinations in March, down 1.4% from the previous month but 5.3% higher than March 2016, and a new high for the month.

  Note to readers

Monthly data are seasonally adjusted. For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Data users making comparisons of March 2017 to the previous year using unadjusted data are advised to note that Easter was in April in 2017 compared to March in 2016.

Seasonally adjusted data from January and February of current year and January to December for previous year have been revised. No revisions for not seasonally adjusted data. No corrections were done to the previous month.

Overseas countries refer to countries other than the United States.

A Canadian resident traveller is a Canadian resident who has travelled outside Canada for a period of less than 12 months.

A non-resident traveller is a resident of a country other than Canada who is travelling to Canada for a period of less than 12 months.


The March 2017 issue of International Travel: Advance Information, Vol. 33, no.3 (Catalogue number66-001-P) is now available.

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