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Travel between Canada and other countries, June 2019

Released: 2019-08-21

Highlights

US residents made fewer trips to Canada by car in June compared with May, while the number of US arrivals by plane increased. The number of arrivals to Canada from the United States for the first six months of the year was the highest observed for this same period since 2007.

The numbers of travellers to Canada from France and Germany rose in June, while arrivals from the United Kingdom and China declined.

June marked the third consecutive month of declines in trips by Canadians to the United States, largely due to fewer same-day trips to the United States by car.

The number of Canadian residents travelling to overseas countries declined in June, following two consecutive monthly increases.

The highest number of US arrivals for the first six months of the year since 2007 

US residents made 2.1 million trips to Canada in June, down slightly (-0.4%) from May following three months of increases. However, looking at the longer-term trend, on a year-to-date basis, the number of US arrivals was 2.2% higher compared with the same period in 2018, reaching its highest level for the first six months of the year since 2007.

Arrivals by car from the United States declined 0.4% in June to 1.4 million. A 1.6% decline in same-day car trips (688,000 trips) was partially offset by a 0.9% increase in overnight car trips (709,000 trips).

British Columbia and Alberta reported declines in both same-day and overnight car arrivals from the United States, whereas Ontario saw fewer same-day car arrivals (-1.5%) in June, but more overnight car arrivals (+1.8%).

US residents made 473,000 trips by plane to Canada, up 1.4% over May. The largest increase was in British Columbia (+11.3%). On a year-to-date basis, US arrivals by plane were up 8.9% compared with the same period in 2018.

Canadian travel to the United States declines

Canadian residents made 3.6 million trips to the United States in June, down 0.6% from May and a 2.8% decrease on a year-over-year basis. June marked the third consecutive month of declines in trips by Canadians to the United States, after adjusting for normal seasonal variations.

The year-over-year decline in travel from Canada to the United States coincided with an increase in the value of the US dollar. The value of the US dollar, a factor known to influence cross-border travel, rose from CAN$1.31 year over year to CAN$1.33 in June 2019.

Almost three-quarters of the trips (2.7 million) by Canadians to the United States were made by car, unchanged from May. A 2.1% increase in overnight car trips was offset by a 1.1% decline in same-day car trips.

Every province except British Columbia reported increased car travel to the United States. In June, 751,000 Canadian residents returned to British Columbia from the United States by car, down 2.4% from May and 6.6% lower on a year-over-year basis. The month-over-month decrease was largely due to a 3.7% drop in same-day car travel, while overnight car travel increased 1.0%.

Plane trips by Canadian residents to the United States declined 1.7% from May to 807,000. Increased plane travel from Alberta (+4.7%) and British Columbia (+2.1%) was offset by declines in plane travel from Ontario (-4.7%) and Quebec (-1.7%).

Travel to Canada from overseas down in June

Residents of overseas countries (countries other than the United States) made 625,000 trips to Canada in June, down 2.5% from May, following three months of increases.

Travel from Asia declined 4.9%, primarily due to a 10.4% drop in the number of travellers from Japan, Canada's third-largest source of travellers from Asia in 2019 after China and India.

Travel from China, the second-largest source market of overseas travellers after the United Kingdom, declined 2.2% in June. The number of air arrivals from China over the first half of the year was 5.8% lower compared with the same period in 2018, the Canada-China Year of Tourism.

Arrivals from the Oceania region declined 6.0% in June, largely due to fewer arrivals from Australia (-6.9%).

Travel from Europe declined 1.7% in June. The number of travellers from the United Kingdom, Canada's largest source market for overseas travellers, declined 1.2%, while the number of arrivals from France (+2.2%) and Germany (+2.0%) increased.

Canadians make fewer trips to overseas countries in June

Canadian residents made 1.0 million trips to overseas destinations (countries other than the United States) in June, down 2.5% from May. On a year-to-date basis, however, the number of Canadians travelling overseas (6.9 million) was up 3.3% and just below the record high observed in the first six months of 2017.


  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 2018 to May 2019 have been revised. Non-seasonally adjusted data for March and April 2019 have been revised.

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.

Starting with January 2019 data, Statistics Canada updated the method of determining trip durations for US residents travelling to Canada and Canadian residents returning from the United States. This change affects the relative proportions of same-day/overnight travellers arriving in Canada by air and 'other' modes of transportation (train, marine private, pedestrians, other vehicles). Trip durations for travel by automobile and bus are not affected. Caution is therefore advised when comparing 2019 data with earlier time periods for these modes of transportation. Users analyzing trends in the same-day or overnight portions of these modes are advised to also compare trends for the total as comparison.

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 were completed by international travellers to Canada.

Data users are 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 in PIK that they are returning from the United States and not from 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). Data for other series that include international travellers to Canada by air do not appear to be affected by the switch from E311 to PIK and hence comparisons with data for other reference months can be made.

Further information on the switch from E311 cards to PIK is available in the document "Impacts of PIK on Tourism Data."

During 2018, Statistics Canada undertook a review of sources of data on 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 were 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.

Data users making comparisons between the data for March 2018 and March 2019 are advised that the entirety of the Easter weekend took place in April in 2019, compared with March and April in 2018 (Easter Sunday was April 1, 2018).

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 June 2019 issue of International Travel, Advance Information, Vol. 35, no. 6 (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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