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Travel between Canada and other countries, October 2018

Released: 2018-12-20

Trips by US travellers to Canada increase in October

US residents made 2.0 million trips to Canada in October, up 0.8% from September.

Overnight plane trips to Canada by US residents were up 0.9% in October to 384,000, while the number of arrivals by car declined. This was also the fifth consecutive monthly increase in overnight visitors by plane. Increases were reported in Ontario (+1.1%) and Quebec (+1.2%), while British Columbia and the Prairie provinces recorded declines.

Trips to Canada by car, which account for two-thirds of all trips to Canada by US residents, totalled 1.4 million in October, down 0.5% from September. However, the number of car trips to Canada by US residents was 0.5% higher in the first 10 months of 2018 than during the same period a year earlier.

Overnight car trips to Canada fell 0.8% in October to 672,000. While the numbers of US overnight travellers arriving by car declined in most provinces, increases were recorded in British Columbia (+1.2%) and New Brunswick (+3.6%). Over the first 10 months of 2018, overnight car travel to Canada by US residents increased 2.0% compared with the same period the previous year.

US residents made 686,000 same-day car trips to Canada in October, down 0.1% from September but up 1.2% from October 2017. The value of the American dollar, one factor known to influence cross-border travel, stood at an average of $1.30 Canadian in October compared with $1.26 in October 2017.

Overseas travel to Canada

Residents of overseas countries (countries other than the United States) made 583,000 trips to Canada in October. Travellers from Europe (247,000) and Asia (199,000), Canada's two largest sources of overseas travellers, accounted for 76.4% of all travellers to Canada from overseas.

Same-day car travel to the United States rises in October

Canadian residents made 3.7 million trips to the United States in October, up 2.7% from September and the second consecutive monthly increase.

The number of car trips by Canadian residents to the United States rose 2.2% from September to 2.7 million trips. The increase was led by same-day car trips, which represent about two-thirds of all car trips taken to the United States by Canadian travellers. Canadian residents took 1.8 million same-day car trips to the United States, up 3.4% from September. Meanwhile, overnight trips to the United States by car declined 0.2% to 874,000.

From January to the end of October, Canadians made 5.1% more car trips to the United States compared with the same period in 2017. Almost all of the increase took place during the first six months of this year.

Overnight plane trips to the United States by Canadian residents rose 3.8% in October to 840,000, the second consecutive monthly increase.

Overseas travel by Canadian residents declines

Canadian residents made 970,000 trips to overseas destinations (countries other than the United States) in October, down 1.8% from September. This was the third consecutive monthly decline and the lowest monthly level in 2018.


  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 January to October 2018 have been revised. Data on the duration of travel for Canadian and US residents from April to September have been revised. Non-seasonally adjusted data for July, August and September 2018 have been revised.

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. Total counts of overseas travellers have been revised to reflect new sources of data at some ports. In addition, 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. These changes have 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 October 2018 issue of International Travel, Advance Information, Vol 34, no. 10 (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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