Canada Bounces Back

Britain continues to be a top travel destination for Canadians as the tourism industry recovers from the pandemic.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but 2022 was an outstanding year for visits from Canada to the UK, exceeding 2019 UK visits and spend levels, according to the latest official statistics from Britain’s national tourism agency VisitBritain.

Visits from Canada to the UK in 2022 are up +3% on 2019, with 897,000 arrivals, spending a record-breaking total of £934 million / $1.57 billion CAD*, +27% up on 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Average length of stay for inbound Canadian travellers grew by 2 nights in 2022, to 11 nights, 3 nights higher than the global average of 8 nights.

Britain and Canada share strong ancestral ties, and visiting friends and relatives led in terms of volume of visits from the Canadian market.

VFR overtook holiday visits to become the most popular trip purpose for UK, representing 47% of trips, holidays sat in second place with 37%. Inbound performance was bolstered by a strong growth vs 2019 from the VFR market, reaching a record for visits (+22%), spend (+64%) and total nights in the UK (+43%).

Holiday trips have reached 90% of 2019 volumes, while business trips are further behind at 80% of pre-pandemic volumes.

Spend per visit increased by almost a quarter, from £840 / $1,411 CAD per trip in 2019 to £1,042 / $1,750 CAD in 2022 and this growth was recorded across all trip purposes.

The Canadian market saw an impressive movement up the rankings scoreboard in 2022, ascending 5 ranks in both volume and value to sit within the top 10 key source markets. Canada currently represents the 9th largest and 7th largest most valuable market to the UK.

Commenting on the results, VisitBritain’s Executive Vice President, The Americas, Australia & New Zealand Paul Gauger said: “We are thrilled to see this strong post-pandemic recovery from the Canadian market demonstrating that Britain remains a favourite destination for Canadians.”

Gauger continued: “With its connections of family and friends, Canadians love to explore the arts & culture, food & drink and heritage of the UK. With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games plus our ‘Come See Britain Differently’ campaign, these have further encouraged Canadians to follow their passions and explore beyond Britain’s famous landmarks to experience a more unexpected side of Britain.’

Globally, in 2022, the UK welcomed 31.2 million visits following two years of low visits due to the impact of COVID-19. Visits in each quarter of 2022 increasingly neared pre-pandemic levels and overall visits were 24% below 2019 levels.

Visitors spent £26.5 billion / $4.3 billion CAD during the 12 months of 2022, down 7% on 2019 (in nominal terms) and down 17% in real terms when taking inflation into account, with Q4 2022 reaching a record £7.7 billion / $12.9 billion CAD. In total, 262.9 million nights were spent in the UK by inbound visitors, down 9% on 2019.

VisitBritain’s latest forecast for 2023 projects that this year Britain will welcome 35.1 million inbound visitors (-14% on 2019 and +18% higher than 2022) spending £29.5 billion (+4% on 2019 and +14% higher than 2022). This forecast will be updated to reflect the final official 2022 figures.

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