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Travel between Canada and other countries, July 2018

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Released: 2018-09-21

Trips by US travellers to Canada declines in July

US residents made 2.0 million trips to Canada in July, down 1.4% from June. However, after adjusting for normal seasonal variation, July's total was close to the monthly average for 2018.

The decline in US travellers to Canada was mainly the result of a decrease in overnight car trips, which fell 3.0% from June to 676,000. The number of overnight car trips by US residents in July was up in Alberta (+0.7%), Yukon (+0.7%) and Manitoba (+0.6%), but down in the remaining border provinces. On an annual basis, overnight car trips were 2.0% higher in the month compared with July 2017.

Same-day car trips by US residents declinined 0.7% to 687,000. On a 12-month basis, same day-day car trips were down 0.5% compared with the same month last year.

The number of overnight plane trips to Canada by US residents declined 1.6% in July to 370,000. British Columbia was the lone province to register an increase from June (+0.9%), its second consecutive monthly gain following two months of decline.

Overseas travel to Canada down from June

Travel to Canada by residents of overseas countries (countries other than the United States) fell 2.4% in July to 545,000 trips. After accounting for normal seasonal variation, July's total was 2.5% below the monthly average for 2018.

The decrease in July was led by the United Kingdom (-4.3%), China (-3.4%), India (-5.1%) and Brazil (-11.6%). These decreases were partially offset by increases in travel from Mexico (+4.3%), France (+2.8%), Germany (+1.8%), Hong Kong (+1.3%) and South Korea (+0.8%).

Despite the decrease in July, arrivals from Brazil since January 2018 remained about 30% higher than over the same period of 2017, following changes to visa requirements for visitors from Brazil that took effect May 1, 2017.

Canadian travel to the United States down

Canadian residents made 3.6 million trips to the United States in July, down 4.1% from June and the fourth consecutive monthly decrease.

The monthly decline was led by a drop in car travel to the United States by Canadian residents. Same-day car trips to the United States were down 6.1% from June to 1.8 million, while overnight car trips fell 3.5% to 898,000.

The total number of car trips to the United States was up 1.3% in July compared with July 2017. But this represented a slowdown from much larger year-over-year increases that took place during the first half of the year. By comparison, the average year-over-year increase during the first six months of 2018 was 11.2%.

Canadian residents made 777,000 overnight plane trips to the United States, unchanged from the previous two months.

The value of the Canadian dollar, one factor influencing cross-border travel, has been declining since January 2018 when it was US$0.80. The Canadian dollar was US$0.76 in June and July 2018, down from US$0.79 in July 2017.

Canadian travel to overseas countries relatively stable

Some 1.0 million Canadian residents returned home from overseas destinations (countries other than the United States) in July, up 0.2% from the previous month.

  Note to readers

Monthly data are seasonally adjusted. For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions. Year-to-date figures are based on unadjusted data.

Seasonally adjusted data from March to July 2018 have been revised. No revisions were made to non-seasonally adjusted data. Corrections were made to the previous month (June).

Users are advised to exercise caution when a) making comparisons with 2017 data that include international travellers to Canada by air for the months of March to December, and b) analyzing 2018 data on Canadian residents returning from the United States or overseas by air. Further explanation is provided below.

Data for Statistics Canada's Frontier Counts program are produced using administrative data received from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on all international travellers who have been cleared for entry or re-entry into Canada. This includes residents of Canada, the United States and overseas entering Canada from abroad.

In 2017, the CBSA began introducing the electronic PIK system at airports in Canada. The PIK system replaces the E311 Declaration Cards that are completed by international travellers to Canada. Initially, while awaiting receipt of PIK data, Statistics Canada prepared preliminary estimates for airports at which the PIK system was deployed.

Frontier Counts data since January 2018 incorporates PIK data from the airports where the system has been implemented. The preliminary estimates of 2017 traveller counts for PIK airports will be revised at a later date.

Until these preliminary estimates for March to December 2017 are revised, users are advised to exercise caution when making comparisons with 2017 data for these months that include international travellers to Canada by air.

Data users are also cautioned that the switch from E311 cards to PIK has affected the historical comparability of some data series. Most notably, there has been an increased tendency of Canadian travellers returning from overseas trips via the United States to report that they are returning from the United States and not overseas via the United States. In the Frontier Counts, this has led to increases in the numbers of Canadian residents returning from the United States by air, and decreases in the numbers of Canadian residents returning from countries other than the United States by air via the United States (as well as more aggregated series to which these data contribute).

The numbers of travellers to and from Canada by car and other modes of transportation are not affected by revisions to PIK data. Further information is available in the document Impacts of PIK on Tourism Data.

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.

An overnight traveller or a tourist is a traveller whose trip includes one or more night's stay.


The July 2018 issue of International Travel, Advance Information, Vol 34, no. 7 (Catalogue number66-001-P) is now available.

For more information regarding the impacts on Statistics Canada travel and tourism data resulting from the replacement of E311 cards with PIK, please consult the document Impacts of PIK on Tourism Data.

Contact information

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