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National tourism indicators, first quarter 2019

Released: 2019-06-27

Tourism represented 2.0% of economy-wide gross domestic product (GDP) and 3.9% of the total number of jobs in Canada in the first quarter.

Tourism spending in Canada rose 0.6% in the first quarter. Increased spending by both Canadians and international visitors in Canada contributed to the rise.

The increase in tourism spending coincided with a 0.8% rise in tourism GDP in the first quarter. By comparison, economy-wide GDP grew 0.1%. Tourism jobs increased 0.7%, the same rate as jobs in the overall economy.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Tourism spending in Canada rises
Tourism spending in Canada rises

Tourism spending by Canadians rises

Tourism spending by Canadians in Canada increased 0.7% in the first quarter, following a 0.3% decline in the fourth quarter of 2018. This accounted for the majority (79%) of total tourism spending in Canada.

Accommodation (+1.9%) was the largest contributor to growth, with passenger air transport (+0.5%), travel services (+1.9%) and outlays on non-tourism products (+1.1%) such as groceries and clothing also increasing.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Tourism spending by Canadians in Canada rises
Tourism spending by Canadians in Canada rises

Spending by international visitors increases

Tourism spending by international visitors to Canada rose 0.5% in the first quarter, following a 2.4% increase in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Growth was driven by passenger air transport (+1.9%). Accommodation (+0.9%) also increased, with declines in vehicle fuel (-2.0%), interurban bus transport (-1.2%) and non-tourism products (-0.5%) limiting overall growth.

Overnight travel from outside the United States increased in the first quarter, while overnight travel from the United States declined.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Tourism spending by international visitors in Canada increases
Tourism spending by international visitors in Canada increases

Growth in tourism gross domestic product accelerates

Tourism GDP rose 0.8% in the first quarter, after edging up 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The increase in tourism GDP was primarily due to growth in the accommodation (+1.9%) and transportation (+0.7%) industries. Tourism GDP in non-tourism industries increased 0.6%.

Employment attributable to tourism was up 0.7% in the first quarter, following a 0.1% gain the previous quarter. Increases in tourism jobs in travel services (+3.7%), air transportation (+2.6%) and accommodation (+0.9%) were partially offset by a decline in recreation and entertainment (-0.7%).


Sustainable development goals

On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations' transformative plan of action that addresses urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.

The national tourism indicators are an example of how Statistics Canada supports the reporting on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This release will be used in helping to measure the following goal:

  Note to readers

Growth rates for tourism spending and gross domestic product (GDP) are expressed in real terms (that is, adjusted for price changes), using reference year 2012, as well as adjusted for seasonal variations, unless otherwise indicated. Employment data are also seasonally adjusted. Tourism's share of economy-wide GDP is calculated from seasonally adjusted nominal values. Tourism's share of economy-wide employment is calculated using seasonally adjusted values. For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Associated percentage changes are presented at quarterly rates unless otherwise noted.

With the first quarter of 2019 release of the national tourism indicators, data for all four quarters of 2018 have been revised.

Economy-wide GDP is obtained from table 36-10-0104-01. Economy-wide employment is obtained from table 36-10-0207-01.

The national tourism indicators are funded by Destination Canada.

Next release

Data on the national tourism indicators for the second quarter will be released on September 26, 2019.

Products

The data visualization product "Provincial and Territorial Tourism Satellite Account," which is part of Statistics Canada – Data Visualization Products (Catalogue number71-607-X), is available.

The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G) is available.

The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) is available.

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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