OTTAWA — Canadians stuck close to home this year, thanks in part to a weak loonie and lower gas prices, and this trend is expected to continue into 2016.
Overnight travel within Canada increased 2.8 per cent this year and is expected to grow by another 2.4 per cent in 2016, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s latest Travel Markets Outlook. Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa-Gatineau, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver are all expected to attract more visitors in 2016.
Overnight travel from the U.S. is estimated to have increased by seven per cent this year — the strongest growth since 1998 — and 3.3-per-cent growth is forecast for next year as travellers take advantage of the strengthening U.S. economy and a more favourable exchange rate. However, the pace of Canada’s tourism growth in 2016 will be dampened by higher travel prices and financial concerns among consumers and businesses.
“The weaker Canadian dollar has helped make Canadian travel destinations more price-competitive for both Canadians and those travellers from abroad, particularly Americans. At the same time, lower gas prices are reducing the costs of road trips,” said Greg Hermus, associate director for The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Tourism Research Institute.
Travel prices in Canada are forecast to increase by 2.4 per cent next year. In particular, travellers will pay 2.8 per cent more for accommodations, 2.6 per cent more for transportation and 2.5 per cent more for food-and-beverage services.
Of the nine Canadian cities covered in the Travel Markets Outlook’s Metropolitan Focus, most can count on tourism growth of between two and three per cent next year. Vancouver will stand out with overnight visits expect to increase by 3.4 per cent in 2016.