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Provincial and territorial tourism satellite account, 2017

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Released: 2021-04-29

Tourism's economic contribution varied noticeably across provinces and territories in 2017, with its share of gross domestic product (GDP) ranging from 1.4% in Nunavut and Saskatchewan to 3.6% in Yukon. Nationally, tourists spent $96.0 billion, contributing 2.1% ($41.4 billion) to GDP.

The Provincial and Territorial Tourism Satellite Account provides an economic measure of the importance of tourism in terms of expenditures, GDP and employment for each of the provinces and territories. It allows for comparisons with other industries within a province or territory since the concepts and methods used are based on the framework of the Canadian System of National Accounts.

This Provincial and Territorial Tourism Satellite Account also serves as a benchmark for the more timely quarterly National Tourism Indicators, allowing for an updated representation of economic activity in the tourism sector leading up to COVID-19 pandemic. The most recent indicators show that the pandemic and accompanying physical distancing measures led to a 48.1% drop in tourism expenditures in 2020. Tourism GDP shrunk 47.9%, while jobs attributable to tourism demand fell 28.7%. Tourism's share of GDP, which has historically hovered between 1.9% and 2.3%, fell to 1.1% in 2020.

About three-quarters of tourism activity in Canada was concentrated in the country's three largest tourism economies: Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. This held true for tourism GDP, employment and expenditures. Domestic demand accounted for 55.7% of all tourism spending in Canada, while 27.0% was attributable to international visitors. The remainder, or 17.3%, was from interprovincial tourism spending.

Domestic demand includes spending in a province or a territory by residents of that province or territory. International demand, or international exports, includes spending by international visitors. Interprovincial demand, or interprovincial exports, includes spending in a province or territory by residents of another province or territory.

Tourism's share of employment was highest in Prince Edward Island (7.4%) and lowest in Manitoba (2.5%). There were 677,500 tourism jobs in Canada, which represented about 3.6% of all jobs in the country.

The contribution of tourism to employment was higher than its contribution to GDP in all provinces and territories. This was due to the reliance of several tourism industries on part-time, temporary, or lower-paying jobs, especially in the food and beverage services industry.

Domestic demand was the predominant source of tourism spending in 9 of the 13 jurisdictions. The share of domestic demand was highest in Saskatchewan (72.4%) and Quebec (63.1%). In contrast, the share was lowest in Prince Edward Island (16.9%), which relies more heavily on tourism exports (interprovincial and international combined). Nationally, domestic demand was $53.5 billion.

International exports were $25.9 billion nationally, and were the leading contributor to tourism demand in British Columbia and Yukon.

The share of interprovincial demand was generally higher in the Atlantic provinces than elsewhere in Canada. In Prince Edward Island, residents of other provinces or territories accounted for 43.4% of tourism spending. Nationally, interprovincial demand was $16.6 billion.

Tourists spent $20.2 billion on passenger air transport, more than on any other product, with about $5.5 billion coming from international visitors. Passenger air transport was the largest tourism expenditure in 9 of the 13 jurisdictions.

The food and beverage services industry contributed the most to tourism jobs in Canada and in all 10 provinces. About one in three jobs attributable to tourism demand in Canada, or 223,500, was in the food and beverage services industry. Accommodation was the largest contributor to tourism jobs in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, while non-tourism industries that produce goods and services purchased by tourists led in Yukon.


  Note to readers

The Tourism Satellite Account is the internationally accepted framework used to measure tourism activity in an economy. It follows the international guidelines adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission and is rooted in the Canadian System of National Accounts.

The Tourism Satellite Account provides a coherent framework within which to integrate and analyze economic statistics relevant to tourism, both on the supply side (i.e., industry) side and on the demand side (i.e., tourist). It also defines what are considered to be the tourism products and industries, and, consequently, it has helped to shape the development of tourism statistics in Canada and in the provinces and territories.

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 now available.

The Economic accounts statistics portal, accessible from the Subjects module of our website, features an up-to-date portrait of national and provincial economies and their structure.

The Latest Developments in the Canadian Economic Accounts (Catalogue number13-605-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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