Canada Breaks Tourism Record In 2019

In February, Destination Canada — Canada’s national marketing organization — announced that the country welcomed a record-breaking 22.1 million tourists in 2019, the most ever in Canadian history. According to Statistics Canada, this has been the third consecutive year in which visitor numbers have increased as tourism continues to play a pivotal role in the Canadian financial system. The tourism industry produced an estimated $104.9 billion in tourism expenditures in 2019, supporting one in 10 jobs across Canada and adding nearly $43.5 billion to the GDP.

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Honourable Mélanie Joly, minister of economic development and official languages, expresses, “This record number of arrivals shows once more that tourism is a strong and sustainable sector that benefits businesses and communities, large and small, across Canada.”

Destination Canada supports this flourishing sector through groundbreaking, data-driven promotion in key international markets with industry partners. Ben Cowan-Dewar, chairperson of Destination Canada’s board of directors, says, “Looking to 2020, we will continue to share relevant data, market intelligence and industry analysis with our partners to ensure we are promoting relevant, meaningful content to our audiences. This is especially relevant given uncertainty around the impact of the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak.”

This record-breaking year is due to a number of contributing reasons, including Destination Canada’s marketing endeavours. Furthermore, in recent years the Government of Canada has maintained renewed visa requirements for key markets, making it less complicated for more visitors to travel to Canada. New flight routes and increased service on pre-existing routes to several Canadian airports have opened up additional air access, while overnight arrivals to Canada from countries other than the United States have reached an all-time high of 7.15 million (following 2018’s total of 6.7 million). In addition, overseas tourists typically stayed in Canada longer and spent more. Other key factors for Canada’s record-breaking tourist numbers include the improvement in international air access to Canada, which helped stimulate travel, with non-stop air services adding 2.2 per cent more seats in 2019. As well, the Mexican market has increased since amendments to visa requirements at the end of 2016 have simplified travel for Mexican citizens. Moreover, Canada experienced a 9.7 per cent increase in air arrivals from India, facilitating a new annual record for this market with 333,111 arrivals (up from 287,416 in 2018).

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