VANCOUVER — Destination Canada’s latest numbers show a surge in international travel to Canada in May, welcoming 1.5 million international visitors, an eight-per-cent increase over the previous year.
The U.S. dollar appreciated 13 per cent over the loonie during the first five months of 2015, which attracted American travellers north of the border to capitalize on exchange rates. Overnight arrivals from the U.S. grew by 7.7 per cent via all major modes of entry including auto (nine per cent); air (5.9 per cent); and trains, cruises and buses (5.9 per cent). South Korean visitors also increased by 26 per cent in May, thanks to the strengthened air capacity between Seoul and Vancouver. Japanese travel to Canada was up as well, increasing by 16 per cent, year over year.
Inside Canada, provinces who fared the worst in terms of the number of visitors included Nova Scotia (-5,258 visitors); Alberta (-3,456 visitors); and Saskatchewan (-1,860 visitors). Ontario and British Columbia welcomed additional visitors, growing by 158,704 and 103,993 over 2014, respectively.
In terms of hotel occupancy, Canada overall posted 65.1 per cent occupancy in May, a decline of 1.7 points, with leaders including British Columbia (68.7 per cent); Quebec (68.1 per cent); and Ontario (67.2 per cent). Manitoba (+3.7 per cent) and B.C. (one per cent) registered the largest increases, while P.E.I. (-8.4 per cent), Yukon (-8.2 per cent) and Alberta (-8.5 per cent) recorded the largest declines in hotel occupancy rates relative to May 2014.