OTTAWA — The strength of the Canadian dollar in the first quarter of 2010 played a major role in sending Canadian consumers south of the 49th parallel to shop. It was also a big factor in increasing Canada’s travel deficit to $5.1 billion during this period.

These findings come from the latest International Travel Account report from the research department of the Canadian Tourism Commission, which regularly reports the variations between what Canadians spend abroad with what visitors spend domestically.

Here is a sampling of recent findings:

– The total number of receipts from all visitors to Canada hit $3.2 billion, a six-per-cent year-on-year increase.

-The first three months of 2010 saw a record high travel deficit with the U.S. It topped $3.6 billion, representing a 15 per cent rise.

– Canadian spending across the border rose 11 per cent to $4.7 billion, with $8.3 billion being dished out abroad. That wallet-bashing total, up five percent year-on-year, was the second-highest total ever for this period.

– The weakened greenback meant U.S. visitors made seven per cent fewer trips than Q1 ’09.

– Overseas visitors spent more in Canada during Q1 ’10: the total of $2.2 billion denoted an 11 per cent rise, the highest recorded spending in a first quarter.



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