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Leading indicator of international arrivals to Canada, February 2024

Released: 2024-03-11

Highlights

In February, the preliminary number of international arrivals to Canada by air and automobile increased 18.6% from February 2023.

By air, the number of non-resident arrivals in Canada totalled 519,500 in February 2024, up 23.0% year over year. In February, for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of non-resident arrivals by air surpassed the pre-pandemic level, in February 2020. Meanwhile, the number of Canadian-resident return trips from abroad reached 1.8 million, a 15.8% increase from February 2023.

By automobile, US residents took 735,100 trips to Canada in February 2024, up 18.8% from the same month in 2023. The number of Canadian-resident return trips from the United States also rose, up 20.7% year over year to 1.5 million trips in February 2024.

All statistics in this release are based on the primary data sources for air and automobile arrivals (see Note to readers). To further explore current and historical data in an interactive format, please visit the Frontier Counts: Interactive Dashboard.

Non-resident trips to Canada by air

In February, non-resident arrivals in Canada by air totalled 519,500, up 23.0% year over year. These include arrivals by US residents (231,000) and residents of other countries (288,400). On February 16, the Friday preceding the Presidents' Day US holiday, the number of US-resident arrivals (14,300) exceeded the daily average of the remainder of the month (7,700) by 84.3%.

When data from Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1 are excluded from the total arrivals (see Note to readers), non-resident arrivals in February were higher (+2.9%) than the pre-pandemic level observed in February 2020, a first since the start of the pandemic.

Infographic 1  Thumbnail for Infographic 1: Trips to Canada by commercial aircraft, by country of residence, February 2024
Trips to Canada by commercial aircraft, by country of residence, February 2024

Chart 1  Chart 1: Non-resident trips to Canada by commercial aircraft, February, 2019 to 2024
Non-resident trips to Canada by commercial aircraft, February, 2019 to 2024

Canadian-resident return trips by air

In February, Canadian-resident return trips from abroad by air stood at 1.8 million, up 15.8% from February 2023. In the first half of February 2024, a daily average of 57,100 arrivals was registered, while the average of the remaining 14 days (68,600) was busier by 20.2%.

When arrivals at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1 are excluded from the total arrivals (see Note to readers), the number of return trips in February was 5.2% higher than the pre-pandemic level observed in February 2020.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Canadian-resident return trips from abroad by commercial aircraft, February, 2019 to 2024
Canadian-resident return trips from abroad by commercial aircraft, February, 2019 to 2024

US-resident trips to Canada by automobile

In February 2024, the number of US-resident trips to Canada by automobile reached 735,100, up 18.8% from the 618,900 trips recorded in the same month in 2023. February 5, 2024, saw the fewest US-resident arrivals (11,400), while February 17, 2024, the Saturday preceding the Presidents' Day US holiday, saw the most (62,600).

The number of arrivals by automobile in February represented 92.8% of that observed in February 2020.

Infographic 2  Thumbnail for Infographic 2: Trips to Canada by automobile, by country of residence, February 2024
Trips to Canada by automobile, by country of residence, February 2024

Chart 3  Chart 3: United States-resident trips to Canada by automobile, February, 2019 to 2024
United States-resident trips to Canada by automobile, February, 2019 to 2024

Canadian-resident return trips by automobile

In February 2024, the number of Canadian-resident return trips from visiting the United States by automobile totalled 1.5 million, an increase of 20.7% compared with the 1.3 million trips taken the same month one year earlier. February 19, Family Day in most provinces, marked the peak of arrivals (118,500), exceeding the daily average of the remainder of the month (49,800) by 138.0%.

In February, the number of Canadian-resident return trips by automobile reached 89.9% of the 1.7 million trips observed in the same month in 2020.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Canadian-resident return trips from the United States by automobile, February, 2019 to 2024
Canadian-resident return trips from the United States by automobile, February, 2019 to 2024

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  Note to readers

This release provides an indicator based on preliminary data on international arrivals to Canada in February 2024. Complete counts for the February reference month will be available with the release of "Travel between Canada and other countries" on April 23, 2024.

All counts of arrivals by air are from commercial aircraft and are produced exclusively using Primary Inspection Kiosk (PIK) data received from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). PIKs were deployed at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1 on June 22, 2021, and, as of July 2021, these arrivals are included in the total counts, which has consequently improved coverage. In 2023, PIKs captured 91.2% of all commercial air arrivals.

Counts of arrivals entering the country by automobile through land ports equipped with the CBSA's automated Integrated Primary Inspection Line (IPIL) system represent a subset of US-resident trips and Canadian-resident return trips by automobile. In 2023, IPIL land ports captured 89.1% of all automobile entries.

Readers are encouraged to review the concepts, definitions, data sources, and methods for Frontier Counts, especially when making historical comparisons and examining specific regions.

Select estimates from the Canadian Tourism Activity Tracker for December 2023 are available upon request.

Products

The product "Frontier Counts: Interactive Dashboard," part of the Data Visualization Products series (Catalogue number71-607-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; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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