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VANCOUVER — Destination Canada’s (DC) latest Tourism Snapshot revealed 2017 to be a record-breaking year for Canadian tourism. During the year, Canada welcomed 20.85-million tourists — surpassing the record set in 2002 by nearly one million.

“Today’s results are yet another reminder of what has been clear for a while now: Canada is back. And, more and more, the world wants to come and visit. We are excited to share our vibrant cities, beautiful natural attractions, diverse cultures and proud history with record numbers of visitors,” says the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. “Our government is investing in Canada’s tourism sector and we have a comprehensive plan to increase tourism even further. As we celebrate the Canada-China Year of Tourism this year, I am certain that the record we set in 2017 is just the beginning of the amazing news for this vital sector.”

Since the previous peak year in 2002, the composition of tourists to Canada has changed significantly. Overnight arrivals to Canada from countries other than the U.S. reached an all-time high of 31.3 per cent in 2017, up from 19.4 per cent in 2002.

DC’s ’s emerging Asia-Pacific and Latin America markets are playing a larger role in overseas visitation — ahead of the historically strong European markets — with DC’s target markets in Latin America (up 39.3 per cent) leading year-over-year growth and Asia-Pacific (up 11.4 per cent) now overtaking Europe (up 0.7 per cent) as DC’s largest overseas region in 2017.

The U.K. was the only country among DC’s target markets that recorded a decrease in arrivals, down 3.8 per cent from 2016. Overall, six of DC’s 11 target markets experienced double-digit growth, led by Mexico, which recorded a 47.4 per cent increase over 2016.

This record-breaking year can be attributed to a number of contributing factors, including DC’s marketing campaigns, visa changes for priority markets, new flight routes and increased service to Canadian airports (flight capacity is up seven per cent from 2016).

Year-over-year comparison of national hotel indicators also reveals a positive trend for 2017. Occupancy for the year increased by 1.8 percentage points, while RevPAR and ADR grew by 4.8 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively.

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