VANCOUVER — Canada has achieved a third consecutive year of record-breaking tourism, according to the latest report from Destination Canada (DC). In 2019, international overnight arrivals to Canada reached the all-time high of 22.1 million, surpassing the record set in 2018 of 21.13 million.
It’s estimated that tourism contributed $104.9 billion in expenditures in 2019, supporting approximately one in 10 jobs in communities across Canada and contributes an estimated $43.5 billion in Gross Domestic Product.
“This record number of arrivals shows once more that tourism is a strong and sustainable sector that benefits businesses and communities, large and small, across Canada,” says Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages. “By working together, we’re inspiring travellers to visit more parts of the country in all four seasons, to experience Canada’s diversity and inclusivity, to taste its culinary delicacies and to discover its Indigenous peoples.”
In addition to a new record for overall arrivals, tourism from countries other than the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2019, with overnight arrivals hitting 7.15 million (compared to 6.7 million in 2018). Tourism from Mexico saw impressive growth once again, with 495,627 total arrivals and a notable increase of 12.4 per cent in air arrivals. India was another bright point for the year, with arrivals from this market reaching 333,111 (up from 287,416 in 2018) —representing a new annual record — and air arrivals increasing by 9.7 per cent.
Arrivals from the U.S. also set a new record in 2019, with 14.99-million total arrivals. This was supported by strong air arrivals of 5.1 million and a solid rebound in automobile crossings at 8.5 million (up from 4.6 million and 8.2 million in 2018, respectively).
“It’s thanks to the hard work and passion of the millions of Canadians who contribute to this sector that we’reexperiencing another record-breaking year for tourism. It also reinforces that our Team-Canada approach with our industry partners across the country is working and we’re increasing Canada’s international competitiveness,” says Ben Cowan-Dewar, chairperson of Destination Canada’s board of directors. “Looking to 2020, we’ll continue to share relevant data, market intelligence and industry analysis with our partners to ensure we’re promoting relevant, meaningful content to our audiences. This is especially relevant given uncertainty around the impact of the coronavirus (or COVID-19) outbreak. We’re committed to working with our industry partners to continue inspiring those with glowing hearts to fall in love with Canada.”
In addition to Destination Canada’s marketing efforts, the continued growth in the tourism sector is attributable to a variety of factors such as the Government of Canada maintaining renewed visa requirements for key markets, making it easier for more people to travel to Canada. There have also been new flight destinations added and increased service on pre-existing routes to several Canadian airports, opening up additional air access.