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Travel between Canada and other countries, August 2019

Released: 2019-10-22

Highlights

Travel by US residents to Canada was 1.9% higher than in August 2018 and reached its highest level for the month since 2007.

Travel from Europe (-1.7%) and Oceania (-4.2%) declined, but increased from all other overseas regions.

Fewer Canadian residents travelled to the United States by car or by plane in August.

The number of Canadian residents travelling to overseas destinations increased in August after two consecutive monthly declines, reaching a record high for the month.

US arrivals decline in August, but reach their highest level for the month since 2007

Arrivals of US residents in Canada declined by 0.4% in August to 2.1 million trips. However, this was 1.9% higher than the number observed in August 2018 and the highest level for the month since 2007.

US residents made 1.4 million trips to Canada by car in August, down 0.5% from July. On a year-over-year basis, however, car travel to Canada by US residents was up 1.5%.

Just over half of these trips (703,000) involved an overnight stay, down 1.0% from July. While the number of overnight trips was up in most provinces, it declined in Ontario (-2.3%) and Quebec (-0.5%).

In August, US residents made 690,000 same-day car trips to Canada, largely unchanged from July. Declines in Canada's most populous provinces—Ontario (-0.1%), Quebec (-2.2%), and British Columbia (-0.3%)—offset increases in the rest of the country.

Plane trips to Canada by US residents rose 0.2% in August to 469,000. For the first eight months of the year, plane trips to Canada by US residents were up 3.2% compared with the same period in 2018.

Travel to the United States by Canadian residents declines

Canadian residents made 3.6 million trips to the United States in August, down 1.7% from July. Travel to the United States by Canadian residents was 2.0% lower in the first eight months of 2019 than in the same period one year earlier, but 1.5% higher in the peak travel months of July and August than in the corresponding months of 2018.

Compared with the first eight months of 2018, the year-to-date decline for 2019 in travel to the United States by Canadian residents coincided with a lower value of the Canadian dollar, one factor that influences cross-border travel. The value of the Canadian dollar declined from an average of $US 0.78 in the period from January to August 2018 to an average of $US 0.75 during the first eight months of 2019.

In August, almost three-quarters of trips to the United States by Canadian residents were by car (2.7 million), down 2.2% from July. Both same-day (-2.0%) and overnight (-2.8%) car trips decreased. However, on a year-over-year basis, overall car trips by Canadian residents were up 1.0% compared with the same period a year earlier.

Same-day and overnight car trips by Canadian residents to the United States were down in every province except Alberta, where same-day (+6.9%) and overnight (+0.3%) car travel increased. Yukon (+13.9%) also reported more same-day car trips.

Canadian residents took 789,000 plane trips to the United States in August, down 0.5% from July and a fifth consecutive monthly decline. However, on a year-to-date basis, the number of plane trips to the United States by Canadian residents was 4.3% higher than in the same period in 2018.

Travel to Canada from overseas increases

Residents of overseas countries (countries other than the United States) made 630,000 trips to Canada in August, up 1.0% from July. On a year-to-date basis, the number of overseas arrivals by air was 1.1% higher than in the same period one year earlier.

The number of travellers from Europe (-1.7%) and Oceania (-4.2%) declined in August, whereas the number from all other overseas regions increased. The decline from Europe was led by fewer arrivals from the United Kingdom (-4.4%), Germany (-11.0%), and Switzerland (-2.7%). Conversely, arrivals from France, Canada's third largest source of overseas visitors, rose 1.5% from July.

Arrivals from Asia increased 4.2% in August to 213,000. Except for Hong Kong (-0.1%), Canada's leading source countries for travellers from Asia recorded increases in August.

Arrivals from China, Canada's second-largest source market of overseas travellers, increased 3.8% in August following two consecutive monthly declines. On a year-to-date basis, however, the number of air arrivals from China was down 8.9%.

The number of travellers from South America rose 6.3% in August. Arrivals from Brazil, Canada's top market for travellers from South America, increased 1.4% to 15,000 from July. The number of air arrivals from the country in the first eight months of 2019 was down 13.1% from the same period in 2018. However, for the same period in 2018, travel to Canada from Brazil increased 26.5% following the partial lifting of visa requirements in May 2017

Trips to overseas countries by Canadian residents increase

Following two consecutive monthly declines, Canadian travel to overseas destinations (countries other than the United States) rose 1.1% to 1.0 million trips in August. This was an increase of 2.9% from August 2018 and the highest level for the month since modern record keeping began in 1972.


  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 May to July 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 residents 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 to 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."

In 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 through breakdowns of these overseas travellers when they enter 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 nights' stay.

Products

The August 2019 issue of International Travel, Advance Information, Vol. 35, no. 8 (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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