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Leading indicator of international arrivals to Canada, July 2022

Released: 2022-08-11

Highlights

In July, the number of international arrivals to Canada rose sharply from July 2021, continuing the recovery, but not yet reaching levels recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over one million non-resident visitors arrived from abroad at Canadian airports equipped with electronic kiosks in July, the first month to reach this milestone since the start of the pandemic.

Likewise, US residents took 1.2 million trips to Canada through land ports with electronic sensors in July, also exceeding one million for the first time in over two-and-a-half years.

At the same time, the number of Canadian residents returning by air from visiting abroad via kiosk-equipped airports (1.1 million) was over five times greater than in July 2021.

Compared with July 2021, over 1.5 million more Canadian residents (for a total of 1.8 million) returned from trips to the United States through land ports with electronic sensors.

This release provides a first glimpse at international arrivals to Canada in July 2022. Complete counts will be available with the July release of "Travel between Canada and other countries" on September 23, 2022.

Border restrictions change

Travellers arriving in Canada are required to be fully vaccinated, while not fully vaccinated travellers, regardless of citizenship, are subject to a COVID-19 test upon arrival.

Random mandatory COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated travellers—initially paused on June 11, 2022, at all Canadian airports—resumed on July 19 for those arriving in Canada by air to the four major airports, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

All inbound travellers must continue to use the ArriveCAN app to enter their health information and proof of vaccination within 72 hours of their scheduled arrival in Canada.

As of June 20, vaccination is no longer required to travel by plane or train domestically, or to board international flights. However, proof of vaccination is still required for passengers and crew on cruise ships.

Non-resident arrivals by air

Arrivals of non-resident visitors from overseas countries (502,300) and the United States (511,400) at Canadian airports equipped with primary inspection kiosks (PIKs) totalled over 1.0 million in July, up sharply from the 86,300 observed in July 2021.

With this sharp year-over-year increase, non-resident arrivals by air are now approaching the same magnitude as those arriving during the same month in 2019, before the pandemic. However, the total for July 2022 now includes a sizable portion of arrivals at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1, where the PIK system was implemented in June 2021 (see Note to readers).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Non-resident visitors arriving in Canada by commercial aircraft, July, 2019 to 2022
Non-resident visitors arriving in Canada by commercial aircraft, July, 2019 to 2022

US-resident arrivals by land

In July, US residents took over 1.2 million trips to visit Canada crossing by automobile through land ports equipped with the automated Integrated Primary Inspection Line (IPIL) application. This was almost 10 times more trips than were taken in July 2021, and well over half (56.6%) of the 2.2 million US-resident arrivals by automobile during the same month in 2019.

Chart 2  Chart 2: US-resident visitors arriving in Canada by automobile, July, 2019 to 2022
US-resident visitors arriving in Canada by automobile, July, 2019 to 2022

Canadians returning by air

The number of Canadian residents returning by air from abroad in July and landing at airports equipped with PIKs was 1.1 million, up by more than 900,000 from July 2021 (205,700).

While the total arrivals appear to exceed the pre-pandemic levels observed in July 2019, note again that the July 2022 count includes international arrivals at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1 (see Note to readers).

Chart 3  Chart 3: Canadian residents returning from visiting abroad by commercial aircraft, July, 2019 to 2022
Canadian residents returning from visiting abroad by commercial aircraft, July, 2019 to 2022

Canadians returning by land

In July, 1.8 million Canadian residents returned from visiting the United States, crossing by automobile via IPIL-equipped land ports. Although this is a jump of more than 1.5 million trips from July 2021 (265,900), it remains roughly three fifths of the nearly 3 million trips recorded for the same month in 2019, before the pandemic.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Canadian residents returning from visiting the United States by automobile, July, 2019 to 2022
Canadian residents returning from visiting the United States by automobile, July, 2019 to 2022

  Note to readers

Counts of visitors entering the country by commercial aircraft are from the primary inspection kiosk (PIK) system. In 2020, the subset of arrivals by air represented approximately 58% of all international arrivals. PIKs were deployed at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1 on June 22, 2021, and as of July, these arrivals are included in the total counts, which has consequently improved coverage.

The coverage statement will be amended when a complete year of international traffic is observed for all Canadian airports.

Counts of visitors entering the country by automobile through land ports equipped with the automated Integrated Primary Inspection Line (IPIL) system represent a subset of US visitors and Canadian returning visitors by automobile. In January 2021, the IPIL land ports captured approximately 82% of all automobile entries. However, vehicles crossing the border with NEXUS authorization continue to be excluded.

In April 2022, the following IPIL ports switched mode from land to water: Yarmouth, Walpole Island, Point Alexandria (Wolfe Island), Pelee Island, Prince Rupert, Sidney, and Victoria—other locations. Therefore, counts of visitors entering the country by land for July 2022 exclude those crossing at these ports. In pre-pandemic July 2019, visitors at these ports accounted for a fraction (0.3%) of all visitors entering or returning to Canada by automobile.

Elements of Statistics Canada's Frontier Counts program were modified in January 2022. Although these changes will not have a significant impact on total estimates, readers are encouraged to review the concepts, definitions, data sources and methods for Frontier Counts, especially when making historical comparisons and examining specific regions.

Traveller: A person making an entry into Canada for any purpose and any duration.

Visitor: A traveller whose trip purpose is related to tourism, namely personal, business, study, to be a crew member in a private vehicle (private aircraft or private boat) or whose purpose is not known, and whose trip duration is less than one year.

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; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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