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Governments in Canada raise revenue from tourism through a variety of taxes and other means. When a tourist pays for a room in a hotel, this generates federal and provincial sales tax and room tax. In addition, income taxes are levied on the earnings of hotel employees and on the profits of the business. Finally, the hotel pays property taxes. Governments also obtain revenue directly from tourists, for example, through museum admission fees and park entrance fees. Information on how much revenue tourism generates for government, how much of it goes to each of the three levels of government and how much comes from the various sources, however, is not directly available. This study on the government revenue attributable to tourism is intended to fill this information gap.

This study includes time series updated to 2011. Previous estimates for 2008 to 2009 have also been revised. These revisions reflect updated and revised information from the Canadian System of National Accounts1 (SNA) and the National Tourism Indicators (NTI). The study follows the same methodology and covers the same sources of revenue as previous versions.2

Overall, the incorporation of revised SNA data and updated tourism ratios from the NTI lowered the estimates of government revenue directly attributable to tourism for 2008-2009. The revisions range from -$71 million (‑0.4%) in 2008 to -$171 million (-0.9%) in 2009.3 Larger revisions also occur at the more detailed level.

The report is outlined as follows.  Section 2 discusses the aim of the study and its scope in terms of the sources of revenue included. Section 3 presents an overview of the results focusing on the most recent reference year. These results rely on more aggregated, preliminary data and are not available by commodity or industry. Section 4 presents more detailed results for the year 2008. These are based on more comprehensive data by detailed industry and commodity. Discussion of the study’s concepts and definitions, sources and methods, and the classification of tourism industries and tourism commodities are included in the appendices. Detailed results are available on request.


  1. This study incorporates data from the Canadian economic accounts published in June 2012. It does not include data from the revised Canadian economic accounts, published in the Daily on October 1, 2012, which introduced a number of changes associated with the implementation of updated international standards for national economic accounting. While the comprehensive revision did not substantially change the level, nominal growth rate or real growth rate of Canada's gross domestic product, there were some changes in the definition and measurement of government revenue. These changes were relatively small, amounting to a +0.4% upward revision in the 2009 government revenue in scope, of which only a small fraction would be due to tourism.
  2. See Government Revenue Attributable to Tourism, 2009, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 13-604-M, no. 67 available for free from
  3. A short discussion on the revisions to the estimates can be found in Appendix E.
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