This report is a forecast of tourism activity in Canada, the provinces, and Yukon plus the outlook for domestic, United States, and key overseas markets such as Europe and Asia. Travel prices are examined, including costs of travel (air, rail, and car); accommodation; food and beverages; as well as recreation and entertainment. A companion publication, Travel Markets Outlook: Metropolitan Focus, forecasts tourism activity in nine Canadian cities.
- Total overnight visits to and within Canada rose by 3 per cent in 2016 with domestic overnight travel by Canadians increasing by an estimated 2 per cent—despite the sluggish economy affecting business travel. Domestic pleasure travel should rise 2.3 per cent this year with greater gains coming in 2017 due to the 150th anniversary of Confederation and Montréal’s 375th anniversary.
- Travel from the U.S. is projected to grow at a healthy 7.8 per cent this year, due to the low Canadian dollar, the low gas prices, increased marketing, and the perception that Canada is a safe destination. Growth in U.S. arrivals next year will ease but will continue over the medium term.
- Solid gains (8.7 per cent) from every world region are projected for overseas arrivals this year, driven by expanded direct air capacity, a favourable exchange rate, and high levels of consumer confidence. Visits from Asia will grow by 14.7 per cent. However, two issues have the potential to adversely affect international travel: Brexit and its consequences as well as the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in early November.
- Overall travel prices (including airfares, accommodation, food and beverages, and recreation and entertainment) went up by just 0.7 per cent last year and are projected to increase by a modest 1.7 per cent in 2016. Over the 2017 to 2020 period, overall travel price inflation is expected to rise slowly and remain between 2.1 and 2.3 per cent.
- Provinces with diversified economies, such as British Columbia, Ontario, and Manitoba, benefited from increased export demand and lower energy prices. With higher consumer confidence and disposable income, domestic pleasure travel was stronger compared with that of energy-producing provinces such as Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador. These provinces faced muted economic activity due to weak oil prices and weak provincial finances.
- Quebec is slated to enjoy a 2.8 per cent growth in overnight visits and this should rise to 3.6 per cent next year with the celebrations surrounding Montréal’s 375th anniversary. Also helping are the public investments in tourism infrastructure such as a new cruise ship terminal.
- Ontario is having a strong year with tourism activity supported by consumer spending and the low Canadian dollar. Sports events such as the FINA World Swimming Championships and the World Junior Hockey Championships are boosting travel this year and next year’s celebrations of Canada’s 150th anniversary will benefit the Capital Region and the whole province.
- Manitoba is enjoying solid gains in domestic travel of 2.4 per cent while business visits, encouraged by expanded convention space, are projected to grow by 3.3 per cent this year and 4 per cent in 2017. Hosting the Canada Games next year will increase domestic pleasure travel by 3.2 per cent and overall visits by 3 per cent.
- British Columbia’s well-diversified economy has enjoyed solid growth that has produced increases in consumer confidence and disposable income. Growth in both domestic and international markets is projected to remain strong in 2016 and, going forward, overnight visits are expected to benefit from tourism infrastructure upgrades and the hosting of major sport events.
- Yukon, despite the difficulties in the mining industry because of falling prices, is expected to see a rise in overall overnight visits by 5.2 per cent this year. The large number of exploration projects will boost the business travel component by 3.5 per cent. Next year will see a slowing down in visits as growth from the U.S. market should slow down due to the expected rise in both the Canadian dollar and gas prices.
Table of Contents
- United States
- Travel Prices
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Prince Edward Island
- Nova Scotia
- New Brunswick
- British Columbia