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National Travel Survey, second quarter 2018

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Released: 2018-11-27

Canadian residents took 78.0 million trips in Canada and abroad during the second quarter, spending $20.3 billion. Almost 9 in 10 of the trips taken by Canadian residents during the spring months involved travel within the country. Just over half (52.2%) of Canadians' overall travel expenditures was spent on domestic trips.

Travel in Canada

Canadian residents made 68.2 million trips within Canada during the second quarter, two-thirds of which, or roughly 45.6 million trips, were same-day trips.

Domestic travel spending totalled $10.6 billion. Canadian residents spent an average of $156 per trip within Canada, significantly lower than their average spending on trips to the United States ($723) or overseas ($1,744).

During their travels in Canada, Canadian residents spent the most on accommodation (23.0%), food and beverages in restaurants and bars (21.4%) and gas and other vehicle operation costs (14.4%).

Ontario was the most-visited province during the second quarter at 29.6 million visits, followed by Quebec (13.2 million visits) and British Columbia (8.3 million visits). British Columbia had the largest share of their visitors coming from other provinces (14.7%). In comparison, 11.8% of visitors to Quebec were out-of-province visitors and 6.2% in Ontario.

Visiting friends and relatives was the most commonly cited reason for same-day and overnight trips. During the quarter, trips to visit friends and relatives accounted for 40.2% of all domestic trips taken by residents of Canada.

Travel to the United States

Residents of Canada took 7.3 million trips to the United States in the second quarter, spending almost $5.3 billion and accounting for 26.0% of the total travel expenditures by Canadians during the quarter. Accommodation, the largest single expense item, represented 39.5% of total travel expenditures made by Canadians in the United States.

Almost half (47.2%) of all US trips made by Canadian residents during the second quarter were for holidays, leisure or recreation.

Roughly half of all trips to the United States were made by residents of Ontario, followed by residents of British Columbia and Quebec.

Travel overseas

Canadian residents made 2.6 million trips to overseas countries (countries other than the United States) during the second quarter. Expenditures on overseas travel totalled over $4.4 billion or 21.9% of the total travel expenditures made by Canadian residents during the quarter. Accommodation was the largest single expense item on trips overseas (46.3%), followed by food and beverages in restaurants and bars (20.5%).

Mexico (384,000 visits), the United Kingdom (237,000 visits) and Cuba (233,000 visits) were the top three countries visited by residents of Canada from April to June.

Holidays, leisure and recreation was the main reason for travel for 68.1% of all Canadian residents who travelled overseas during the quarter.

  Note to readers

This is the second release of quarterly data for the 2018 National Travel Survey (NTS). The NTS collects information about the domestic and international travel of Canadian residents.

The NTS was developed to fully replace the Travel Survey of Residents of Canada and the Canadian resident component of the International Travel Survey. Please note that NTS data are not comparable with data from these two surveys because the NTS was designed using a different survey methodology.

The target population is the civilian, non-institutionalized population 18 years of age or older in Canada's provinces. Not included in the survey's coverage are persons living on Indian reserves and persons living in the territories. Also excluded are out-of-scope trips such as routine trips and trips taken by commuters and diplomatic or military personnel.

Domestic trips are made by travellers residing in Canada who have travelled inside Canada for a period of less than 12 months and who are returning to their place of residency.

Same-day trip or visit is considered a same-day trip and has to be 40 km or more (one way) in which the traveller left and returned home on the same day.

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.

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

Trips and visits. 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. Similarly, a Canadian resident travelling in Canada may stay in several locations during their trip. Each stay at a Canadian location (for example, a province) within a given trip represents a visit.


Data from the National Travel Survey for the second quarter of 2018 are now available. Other tables, including statistical profiles of Canadian travellers, are available upon request.

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; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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