VANCOUVER — Canada has achieved a second consecutive year of record-breaking tourism, according to the latest Tourism Snapshot from Destination Canada (DC). In 2018, international overnight arrivals to Canada reached the all-time high of 21.13 million, surpassing the record set in 2017 (20.88 million) by 1.2 per cent.
“These strong results reflect the passion and dedication of the thousands of Canadians who work in our tourism sector,” says Ben Cowan-Dewar, chairperson of DC’s Board of Directors. “Destination Canada has aligned industry partners across the country when marketing Canada internationally to give Canada a competitive edge and consistent voice to position Canada as top-of-mind for travellers from all over the world.”
Overnight arrivals to Canada from countries other than the U.S. also reached an all-time high of 6.7 million in 2018, representing 32 per cent of total arrivals for the year. Annual-arrivals records were also set in key international markets, including China, France, Mexico and India.
Global economic and political uncertainties weighed on 2018 arrival performances from DC’s long-haul markets, with the U.K. (down 3.3 per cent), Australia (down 2.5 per cent), Japan (down 14.9 per cent) and South Korea (down 16.4 per cent) impacted most significantly.
Despite a slight downturn in 2018, the U.K. remains Canada’s second-largest source market (behind the U.S.), with 791,550 visitors, followed by China at 737,379 visitors.
Several factors contributed to the tourism levels achieved in 2018, including DC’s marketing campaigns, recent visa changes for priority markets and the opening of additional visa-application centres in China. New flight routes and increased service to Canadian airports also pushed flight capacity to record highs, with a six-per-cent increase over 2017, representing an additional two-million seats on flights to Canada. Year-over-year comparison of national hotel indicators also reveals a positive trend for 2018. Occupancy for the year increased by 0.7 percentage points, while RevPAR and ADR grew by 4.5 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively.