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Tourism in Canada - statistics & facts

The tourism industry includes both domestic travel, in which residents of a country travel within that country, and international travel. It can also be broken down into the business and leisure travel segments. In Canada, total tourism expenditure reached a high of almost 100 billion Canadian dollars in 2019, a figure which has been growing steadily over the last decade. Tourism impacts many sectors, and this reported expenditure included money spent on transportation, accommodation, food and drink services, and other commodities as well.

Industries supported by tourism in Canada

Some of the primary industries supported by tourism in Canada are accommodation, food and drink services, and visitor attractions, such as national parks. The market size of the Canadian hotel and motel sector rose steadily over the last decade. However, it experienced a significant decline in 2020 due to travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The market size of the full service restaurant sector in Canada experienced a similar growing trend over the last decade but also saw a decline in 2020. Aside from visiting hotels and restaurants, tourists in Canada often traveled to Canada’s many national parks. In a ranking of the leading national parks in Canada by number of visitors, Banff National Park alone received over four million visitors in 2019. As a result of tourism's presence in many industries it may come as no surprise that the contribution of tourism to employment in Canada in 2019 was over 750 thousand jobs, a number that has risen in recent years.

Impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the tourism industry in 2020 as travel restrictions were enacted to prevent the spread of the virus, especially across international borders. The hotel occupancy rate in Canada in 2020 was only a fraction of the rate in the previous year, falling to a low of just 13.6 percent in April of 2020. Even in the peak summer travel season, the occupancy rate did not break 50 percent in 2020. As a result, the average daily rate of hotels in Canada also dropped considerably and reached a low of around 100 Canadian dollars in April and May of 2020. The coronavirus-related tourism spending losses in Canada were estimated to be almost 30 billion Canadian dollars in 2020 if the virus was contained, but over 50 billion if the virus was not contained.


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