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Characteristics of international overnight travellers, second quarter 2017

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Released: 2017-11-28

Against a backdrop of celebrations for Canada's 150th and Montréal's 375th anniversaries, international travellers made 5.5 million overnight trips to Canada in the second quarter, up 7.6% compared with the second quarter of 2016. Growth was led by a 13.4% increase in overnight trips by residents of countries other than the United States, while the number of overnight trips by US residents rose 5.2%. Tourism spending in Canada by these international travellers totalled $5.5 billion.

At the same time, Canadian residents made 7.9 million overnight trips abroad, spending $11.5 billion. The number of trips increased by 6.2% from the second quarter of 2016, while spending rose 6.5%. Growth in the number of overnight trips by Canadians to overseas destinations (+8.8%) outpaced the increase in travel to the United States (+4.6%).

Travel to Canada by US residents rises

US residents made 3.8 million overnight trips to Canada in the second quarter, up 188,000 (+5.2%) from the second quarter of 2016. There were more trips for pleasure (+5.9%) and for visiting friends and relatives (+7.6%) compared with the same period last year. In turn, business trips edged down (-0.8%) over the same period. US residents represented about 7 of 10 international tourists to Canada during the quarter.

Expenditures in Canada by US residents on overnight trips totalled $2.6 billion in the second quarter of 2017.

More overseas residents coming to Canada for vacations

Residents of overseas countries took 1.7 million overnight trips to Canada in the second quarter, up 202,000 (+13.4%) from the same quarter of 2016. Visits to friends and family (+18.8%), the most common trip purpose, represented almost 4 of every 10 overseas trips to Canada. There were also more trips for pleasure (+21.1%) and business travel (+6.7%).

Residents of overseas countries spent $2.9 billion in Canada on overnight trips in the second quarter.

More trips for pleasure, but fewer business trips to the United States by Canadians

Canadians made 4.9 million overnight trips to the United States in the second quarter, up 214,000 (+4.6%) from the same quarter of 2016. Despite the Canadian dollar hitting 74 cents US during the second quarter, its lowest value in more than a year, the number of overnight trips for pleasure increased by 10.3%. From April to June 2017, trips for pleasure represented nearly 6 of every 10 overnight trips by Canadians to the United States. There were, however, declines in travel for business (-2.9%) and trips to visit friends and relatives (-1.0%).

Canadian residents returning to Canada during the quarter spent $6.0 billion in the United States on overnight trips, edging up 0.8% from the same quarter of 2016.

Florida was the most-visited state by Canadian residents, with 973,000 overnight visits, a 4.7% increase over the second quarter of 2016. New York (+1.8%), the second most-visited state, also recorded an increase, while travel to Washington (-1.9%), the third most-visited state, declined.

Canadians travel and spend more overseas

In the second quarter of 2017, Canadian residents made 3.0 million overnight trips to overseas countries (countries other than the United States) and spent $5.5 billion. Both the number of trips (+8.8%) and expenditures (+13.4%) increased compared with the same period in 2016. A majority of the Canadians on these trips, 1.7 million, travelled for pleasure, unchanged from the same period in 2016.

Apart from the United States, Mexico was the country visited most often by Canadian residents. Canadians made 446,000 overnight visits to Mexico from April to June 2017, 8.1% more than during the same period of 2016. France (337,000 overnight visits) and the United Kingdom (297,000 overnight visits) were the next most-visited countries by Canadians.

  Note to readers

Overseas countries refer to countries other than the United States.

Canadian trips abroad are made by travellers residing in Canada who have travelled outside of Canada for a period of less than 12 months and who are returning to Canada. Foreign citizens who are residing in Canada and travel abroad are included as Canadian resident travellers.

Trips to Canada are made by residents of a country other than Canada who are cleared through Canada Border Services Agency points of entry on a visit for a period of less than 12 months. A Canadian citizen residing outside Canada for more than 12 months who comes to Canada is included as a traveller from a country other than Canada.

A trip abroad for a person residing in Canada starts when a person crosses the border to exit Canada and ends when he/she first re-enters Canada.

A trip to Canada for a person residing in a country other than Canada starts when he/she is cleared through a Canada Border Services Agency point of entry to enter Canada and ends when he/she exits Canada.

Overnight travel encompasses travellers from abroad who stay in Canada for at least 24 hours, or Canadian travellers who stay outside Canada for at least 24 hours.

A trip can consist of one or more visits. A Canadian traveller on a trip abroad may cross into several countries or states before being recorded as having re-entered Canada. Each of these crossings represents a visit. A traveller from a country other than Canada may stay in several locations during a trip to Canada. Each stay at a Canadian location (e.g., a province) within a given trip represents a visit.


Data for the second quarter of the International Travel Survey are now available. Other tables, including statistical profiles of international travellers, are available upon request.

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