Travel between Canada and other countries, September 2019
US residents made 20.0 million trips to Canada during the first nine months of 2019, a level last seen in 2007.
On a year-to-date basis, France has replaced China as the second-largest source country for overseas travellers to Canada by air—a position it last held in 2015. Over the first nine months of 2019, Canada received 9.7% fewer air arrivals from China compared with 2018, and 7.4% more air arrivals from France.
Canadian residents made 3.6 million trips to the United States in September—up 1.3% from August, but down 1.8% from 2018 on a year-to-date basis.
The number of Canadians travelling to overseas destinations was up slightly in September and was 2.8% higher over the first nine months of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018.
More arrivals from the United States
Following a decline in August, the number of US residents travelling to Canada rose 0.8% in September to 2.1 million. On a year-to-date basis, US residents made 20.0 million trips to Canada during the first nine months of 2019, up 2.3% from the same period in 2018, and a level last seen in 2007.
Car arrivals (1.4 million), which account for two-thirds of total travel from the United States, increased 0.7% in September, led by British Columbia (+1.2%) and Alberta (+2.2%). On a year-to-date basis, both car (+2.3%) and air (+3.4%) arrivals were up compared with the same period in 2018.
France reclaims position as Canada's second-largest source country for overseas air travellers on a year-to-date basis
Residents of overseas countries (countries other than the United States) made 625,000 trips to Canada in September, down 0.5% following a 0.9% increase in August.
During the first nine months of 2019, 4.7 million residents of overseas countries came to Canada by air, 1.0% less than during the same period a year earlier.
Of the eight major source countries for travellers to Canada during the first nine months of 2019, there were more air arrivals from five countries (France, Mexico, Germany, India, Australia), compared with the same period in 2018, while air arrivals from the other three countries (United Kingdom, China, Japan) declined.
During the first nine months of 2019, France once again reclaimed the position of the second-largest source country for travellers to Canada, with 477,000 travellers to Canada by air—up 7.4% from the same period in 2018.
China, which became the second-largest source country for overseas air travellers to Canada in 2016, recorded the largest decline. There were 468,000 travellers from China who arrived in Canada by air during the first nine months of 2019, 9.7% less than the 518,000 who had arrived during the same period a year earlier.
Meanwhile, the number of travellers from Canada's largest source market, the United Kingdom, declined 1.1% on a year-to-date basis to 557,000.
More Canadians fly to the United States during the first nine months of 2019, but fewer trips are taken by car
Canadian residents made 3.6 million trips to the United States in September, up 1.3% from August.
Over the first nine months of 2019, Canadian residents made 1.8% fewer trips to the United States year-over-year. A decline in the number of Canadian residents making trips to the United States by car (-3.6% to 25.1 million trips) was partially offset by more Canadians travelling to the United States by plane (+4.2% to 7.5 million trips). About three-quarters of the trips made by Canadian residents to the United States were by car.
The lower value of the Canadian dollar, a factor known to influence decisions to travel to the United States, may have contributed to the decline in 2019. The Canadian dollar averaged US$0.75 over the first nine months of 2019, compared with US$0.78 during the same period in 2018.
More Canadians travel overseas
Canadian residents made 1.0 million trips overseas (trips to countries other than the United States), up 0.3% from August. Over the first nine months of 2019, Canadian residents made 2.8% more trips to overseas countries 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 May to August 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, United States residents and overseas residents entering Canada from abroad.
Starting with January 2019 data, Statistics Canada updated the method for 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 who are 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 program, 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 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.
The August 2019 issue of International Travel, Advance Information, Vol. 35, no. 8 (66-001-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."
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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