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Travel between Canada and other countries, August 2018

Released: 2018-10-23

Trips by US travellers to Canada increase in August

Travel by US residents to Canada rose 1.2% in August to 2.0 million trips, as both trips by car and by plane increased compared with July.

US residents made 1.4 million car trips to Canada in August, up 1.1% from July and a 2.1% increase over August 2017.

Almost half of these trips (684,000) involved an overnight stay, up 1.1% from July. While the number of overnight car trips to Canada was up in most provinces, it declined in Alberta (-6.5%), British Columbia (-2.2%) and Manitoba (-0.3%). Compared with August 2017, overnight car trips by US residents rose 2.9%.

In August, 695,000 car trips to Canada by US residents were same-day trips, up 1.1% from July. On a year-over-year basis, same-day car trips in August were also higher, rising 1.3% compared with the same month a year earlier.

Overnight plane trips to Canada by US residents rose 0.8% in August to 375,000. While overnight plane trips to most provinces increased, they were down for British Columbia (-2.2%) and Alberta (-1.2%).

Tourism operations in many parts of British Columbia and Alberta were affected in August by the worst forest fire season on record in British Columbia. The wildfires led to evacuation orders, flight cancellations, road closures and heavy smoke that crossed over into parts of Alberta and the northwestern United States.

Overseas travel to Canada up from July

Residents of overseas countries (countries other than the United States) made 547,000 trips to Canada in August. This was a slight increase from the previous month (+0.5%) following two consecutive months of declines.

After accounting for normal seasonal variation, the August figure was just below the 2018 monthly average of 558,000 overseas travellers to Canada.

Canadian travel to the United States trending down

Canadian residents took 3.5 million trips to the United States in August, down 1.0% from July as both car and plane travel declined. Overall, it was the fifth consecutive monthly decrease in travel to the United States.

Over this five-month period, the value of the Canadian dollar—one factor influencing cross-border travel—declined from $US 0.79 in April to $US 0.76 in May and June, before edging up to $US 0.77 in July and August.

Of all trips to the United States taken by Canadian residents in August, 2.6 million were car trips. This was a decline of 1.0% from July, and a 3.3% decrease from August 2017.

However, over the first eight months of 2018, total car trips to the United States were 7.3% higher compared with the same period a year earlier.

Overnight car trips, which represent about one-third of all car trips by Canadian residents to the United States, declined 2.0% in August to 876,000. On a 12-month basis, overnight car travel (-2.7%) was also down compared with August 2017.

Same-day car trips to the United States declined 0.6% from July to 1.8 million in August, and were 3.6% lower compared with 12 months earlier. On a year-to-date basis, however, same-day car travel was up 8.7% compared with the same period in 2017.

The number of overnight plane trips to the United States by Canadian residents declined 1.7% in August to 764,000, marking a fourth consecutive monthly decline.

Canadian travel to overseas countries declines in August

Canadian residents made 993,000 trips to overseas destinations (countries other than the United States) in August, down 1.1% from July.


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

In 2018, Statistics Canada has been updating its sources of data for counts of overseas residents entering Canada at land ports. Overseas residents who enter Canada at land ports represent about 10% of total overseas travellers to Canada. Starting with August 2018 data, Statistics Canada implemented a new method for estimating the country of residence breakdowns of these overseas travellers entering Canada at most land ports. This change has varying degrees of impact on the total counts of travellers to Canada from individual countries. Users are therefore advised to use caution when comparing changes in travel to Canada with previous months for individual overseas countries.

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 Primary Inspection Kiosk (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 incorporate 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 preliminary estimates from March to December 2017 have been revised, users are advised to exercise caution when making comparisons with 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 in 2018, 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.

Products

The August 2018 issue of International Travel, Advance Information, Vol 34, no. 8 (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 the Primary Inspection Kiosk (PIK), please consult the document Impacts of PIK on Tourism Data.

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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