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Provincial and Territorial Tourism Satellite Account, 2019

Released: 2023-02-24

Tourism's economic contribution varied noticeably across the provinces and territories in 2019; its share of gross domestic product (GDP) ranged from a low of 1.3% in Saskatchewan to a high of 3.7% in Yukon. Nationally, tourists spent $105.0 billion, contributing 2.0% ($43.6 billion) to GDP.

The Provincial and Territorial Tourism Satellite Account (PTTSA) serves as a benchmark for the more up-to-date quarterly National Tourism Indicators. This release provides insights into the structure of the tourism sector prior to the economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic and is a necessary input to the National Tourism Indicators, which depicted the economic activity in the tourism sector throughout the pandemic.

About three-quarters of tourism activity in Canada in 2019 was concentrated in the country's three largest tourism economies: Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. This held true for tourism's GDP, employment and expenditures. Domestic tourism demand—the spending in a province or a territory by residents of that province or territory—accounted for 55.3% of all tourism spending in Canada, while international visitors accounted for 27.2%. The remainder, or 17.4%, was from interprovincial tourism spending, which is the spending in a province or a territory by residents of another province or territory.

Tourism's share of employment was highest in Prince Edward Island (6.6%) and lowest in Manitoba (2.6%). Overall, there were 703,800 tourism jobs in Canada in 2019, which represented about 3.6% of all jobs in the country.

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

Nationally, domestic tourism demand totalled $58.1 billion in 2019 and was the predominant source of tourism spending in 10 of the 13 jurisdictions. The share of domestic tourism demand was highest in Saskatchewan (72.3%) and Manitoba (67.4%). In contrast, the share was lowest in Prince Edward Island (16.4%), which relies more heavily on tourism exports (interprovincial and international combined).

Tourism expenditures by international visitors to Canada were $28.6 billion nationally in 2019. International exports contributed significantly more to tourism demand than the national average (27.2%) in British Columbia (39.4%) and Yukon (46.8%), and significantly less in Saskatchewan (6.9%), Manitoba (12.0%), Newfoundland and Labrador (12.6%) and Nunavut (15.1%).

The share of interprovincial demand was generally higher in the Atlantic provinces and territories than elsewhere in Canada. In Prince Edward Island, 53.6% of tourism spending was by residents of other provinces or territories. Nationally, interprovincial demand was $18.3 billion.

In 2019, tourists spent $23.7 billion on passenger air transport, more than they spent on any other product. Of this amount, about $6.1 billion was attributable to international visitors. Passenger air transport was the largest tourism expenditure in 9 of the 13 jurisdictions.

The food and beverage services industry was the largest contributor to tourism jobs in Canada and in all jurisdictions, except Saskatchewan and Nunavut. Employment in the food and beverage services industry accounted for almost one in three jobs (219,500) attributable to tourism demand in Canada in 2019.

Environmental impacts of tourism in Canada: linking the Provincial and Territorial Tourism Satellite Account to physical flow account data on energy use and greenhouse gas emissions

Along with the 2019 PTTSA, estimates for Canadian energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributable to tourism in Canada have been released for the first time. These estimates were derived by linking the PTTSA and Statistics Canada's Physical Flow Accounts for energy use and GHG emissions. The estimates are part of a series of similar linkages undertaken in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Energy Information.

In 2019, 711 740 terajoules of energy use and 50 274 kilotonnes of GHG emissions in Canada were attributable to tourism, which represented 6.1% of all Canadian energy use and 6.4% of all Canadian GHG emissions. This is greater than tourism's share of Canadian GDP, largely because transportation—an energy and GHG intensive activity—made up the greatest percentage of tourism expenditures.

Transportation was by far the most significant contributor, responsible for 84.4% of energy use and 83.4% of GHG emissions attributable to tourism. Passenger air transport (energy, 43.1%; GHG, 43.2%) was the most significant individual product category, followed closely by vehicle fuel (energy, 37.7%; GHG, 37.0%). By comparison, tourism expenditures on vehicle fuel accounted for 6.8% of all tourism expenditures. The relatively high environmental impact per unit of expenditure for the vehicle fuel category is related to the fact that fuel was being directly purchased and combusted by tourists. For other product categories, such as passenger air transport, fuel was just one component of the cost of products purchased by tourists.

Beyond transportation, meals from restaurants (energy, 3.2%; GHG, 4.2%), groceries (energy, 2.1%; GHG, 3.6%) and hotels (energy, 3.2%; GHG, 2.8%) were the next most significant product categories in 2019.

  Note to readers

The Tourism Satellite Account is the internationally accepted framework for measuring 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 which allows for integration and analysis of economic statistics relevant to tourism, both on the supply (i.e., industry) side and on the demand (i.e., tourist) side. It also defines what are considered to be tourism products and tourism industries, and consequently has helped shape the development of tourism statistics in Canada and in the provinces and territories.

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

Domestic tourism demand includes spending in a province or a territory by residents of that province or territory. International demand, or international exports, include spending by international visitors (e.g., Canadian tourism industries are shown as exporting tourism services to those international visitors). Interprovincial demand, or interprovincial exports, include spending in a province or territory by residents of another province or territory.

The method to derive estimates of GDP for the railway transportation industry was updated with this release. Source data were used in a more appropriate manner to better reflect the economic concepts they were originally intended to represent. This produced alternative ratios used to extract the tourism content from total industry GDP of the railway industry. As a result of the change, the estimates of other operating surplus for the railway transportation industry are significantly lower than past iterations of the PTTSA.

The method to calculate tourism imports was also updated as a result of new travel surveys that were introduced in 2018. Specifically, tourism imports by residents of the territories are now calculated using a method similar to that used to evaluate domestic and interprovincial tourism demand for territorial residents, using data from the supply and use tables.

The estimates for Canadian energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributable to tourism in Canada include energy use and GHG emissions from the Canadian supply chain, as well as energy directly used and GHGs directly emitted by tourists related to vehicles. These estimates are a subset of the Physical Flow Accounts compiled by Statistics Canada in accordance with the United Nations' System of Environmental-Economic Accounting. The physical flow accounts differ from those published by Environment and Climate Change Canada in Canada's official National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. A description of the differences between the two sources can be found on the Canadian Centre for Energy Information website.


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 the Statistics Canada 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; or Media Relations (

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