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Hospitality industry in Canada - statistics & facts

The hospitality industry can be defined in its broadest sense as an industry that focuses on providing consumers with a means to participate in leisure activities, be that staying in a hotel or dining in a restaurant. It encompasses multiple industries, the largest of which are accommodation and food and drink services. In Canada, the number of businesses in the accommodation and food services sectors alone reached over 84 thousand in 2019. The majority of these businesses, over 98 percent, were classified as a small business, which was defined as having under 100 employees.

The accommodation and food service sectors in Canada

The accommodation and food service sectors are some of the most lucrative within the hospitality industry. In 2019, the sales of the accommodation industry in Canada amounted to nearly 17 billion Canadian dollars and have grown year-over-year since 2016. Popular forms of accommodation include hotels, resorts, and short-term rentals. According to a 2020 survey, the resort with the highest rating in Canada was the Fairmont Chateau Whistler located in Whistler, British Columbia (BC), which received a score of over 99 percent. In fact, all of the top ten resorts listed in the survey received ratings of over 94 percent, with most of them located in British Columbia. Meanwhile, food service and drinking place sales in Canada remained fairly consistent throughout 2019, staying between a range of five and seven billion Canadian dollars a month. However, they saw a dramatic drop in April of 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the hospitality industry

The impact of COVID-19 was felt across many industries worldwide in 2020, but the travel industry in particular was severely impacted. Normal travel was constrained as nations worked to prevent the spread of the virus. The hospitality industry is closely linked to the travel industry as accommodation and food and drink services are also used by many tourists. The reduction in travelers caused the average Canadian hotel occupancy rate to fall from over 75 percent in June 2019 to under 25 percent in June 2020. The average daily rate (ADR) of hotels in Canada was impacted by this drop in occupancy and fell by nearly 70 Canadian dollars from 2019 to 2020. Meanwhile, COVID-19 resulted in the closure of most indoor dining services, leaving restaurants to rely on takeaway and delivery services. As a result, the Canadian full service restaurant industry’s market size experienced a reduction of over two billion Canadian dollars in 2020. In contrast, the market size of the Canadian quick service restaurant industry remained steady as many already provided online services and takeaway and delivery options prior to 2020.


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