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Travel between Canada and other countries, July 2019

Released: 2019-09-20

Highlights

The number of US travellers to Canada rose 0.6% in July from June and was 2.3% higher than in 2018 on a year-to-date basis.

In July, arrivals to Canada were down from every overseas region in the world except Europe (+1.2%) and Oceania (+4.6%).

Travel by Canadian residents to the United States increased in July after three consecutive monthly declines, largely because of more trips by car.

Trips by US travellers to Canada increase

US residents made 2.1 million trips to Canada in July, up 0.6% from June and 2.3% higher than in 2018 on a year-to-date basis.

Compared with the first seven months of 2018, the year-to-date increase in arrivals to Canada from the United States in 2019 coincided with a higher value of the US dollar. The value of the US dollar, one factor that influences cross-border travel, rose from an average of CAN$1.28 from January to July 2018 to CAN$1.33 during the first seven months of 2019.

Car travel, which generally accounts for two-thirds of all travel to Canada from the United States, was largely unchanged from June (+0.1%). On a year-over-year basis, overall car travel was up 2.8% in July.

At the provincial level, Ontario (+0.6%), New Brunswick (+3.3%) and Manitoba (+1.8%) reported increases in the number of US travellers making overnight trips by car, but declines in same-day car travel. Conversely, Quebec (+3.1%) and British Columbia (+0.9%) reported increases in same-day US travellers arriving by car, but declines in overnight car arrivals.

The number of plane trips to Canada by US residents declined 0.5% in July to 469,000. Plane travel to Canada by US residents was up in Nova Scotia (+17.2%), Manitoba (+1.8%), Ontario (+0.3%) and Quebec (+0.1%), but down in British Columbia (-3.0%) and Alberta (-0.5%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of US travellers to Canada by plane was up 5.3% compared with July 2018.

Canadian travel to the United States increases

Canadian residents took 3.7 million trips to the United States in July, up 1.2% from June. This increase follows three consecutive monthly declines in trips by Canadian residents to the United States. However, on a year-to-date basis, travel to the United States by Canadian residents was 2.8% lower compared with the same period in 2018.

Of the 3.7 million trips taken by Canadian residents to the United States in July, 2.7 million were car trips. This was up 1.5% from the previous month and was 2.3% higher than in July 2018.

Same-day car trips, which represent about two-thirds of all car trips by Canadian residents to the United States, increased 2.0% in July to 1.8 million.

Overnight car trips rose 0.7% from June to 929,000. On an annual basis, overnight car travel to the United States by Canadian residents was up 4.2% compared with July 2018.

In July, the number of plane trips by Canadian residents to the United States declined 0.9% from June to 799,000. This was the fourth consecutive monthly decline in plane trips by Canadian residents to the United States. Increased plane travel from British Columbia (+2.4%) and Manitoba (+1.9%) was offset by declines in plane travel from Quebec (-3.7%), Ontario (-0.4%) and Alberta (-4.9%).

Travel to Canada from overseas is stable

Residents of overseas countries (countries other than the United States) made 623,000 trips to Canada in July, unchanged from June. The number of overseas arrivals by air in July was 2.5% lower than the record number in July 2017, during the year of Canada's 150th anniversary celebrations.

In comparison with June, the number of trips to Canada declined from every region of the world except Europe (+1.2%) and Oceania (+4.6%). The increase from Europe was led by more arrivals from Germany (+12.9%) and the United Kingdom (+1.8%). Arrivals from France, Canada's third-largest source of overseas visitors, declined 3.2% from June. However, on a year-to-date basis, air arrivals from France were up 6.7%.

The increase in travel from the Oceania region in July was largely due to a 5.8% increase in arrivals from Australia, Canada's sixth-largest source market of overseas travellers in 2018. This was also the first increase in arrivals from Australia in 2019, following five consecutive monthly declines.

The number of arrivals from Asia decreased 0.5% in July to 202,000. The decline was led by fewer arrivals from China (-1.2%) and India (-3.3%), the first- and second- largest source markets for travellers from Asia. However, travel from Japan (+5.0%) and South Korea (+2.1%) increased.

Canadians make fewer trips to overseas countries

Canadian residents made 1.0 million trips to overseas destinations (countries other than the United States) in July, down 0.9% from June and the second consecutive monthly decline. However, the number of Canadians travelling overseas by air in the first seven months of the year (7.7 million) was up 2.8% compared with the same period 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 2018 to June 2019 have been revised. No revisions were made to non-seasonally adjusted data.

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 for Canadian residents returning from the United States. This change affects the relative proportions of same-day and overnight travellers arriving in Canada by air and by "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 data from earlier periods for these modes of transportation. Users analyzing trends in the same-day or overnight travel portions for these modes of transportation are advised to also compare trends for the total as a reference.

In 2017, 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 number of Canadian residents returning from the United States by air, and decreases in the number of Canadian residents returning from countries other than the United States by air via the United States (and 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 cards to PIK. Therefore, 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 on Statistics Canada travel and tourism data resulting from replacement of E311 declaration cards with Primary Inspection Kiosks."

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.

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 July 2019 issue of International Travel, Advance Information, Vol. 35, no. 7 (Catalogue number66-001-P), is now available.

For more information on the impacts of the replacement of E311 cards with the Primary Inspection Kiosk (PIK), please consult the document "Impacts on Statistics Canada travel and tourism data resulting from replacement of E311 declaration cards with Primary Inspection Kiosks."

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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