Canadian Tourism Numbers On the Rise

Better Economic Conditions Boost Consumer Confidence


The outlook for 2014 suggests that overnight visits to and within Canada will strengthen, thanks to better economic conditions (particularly in mature markets) and continued gains in consumer confidence, according to data released by The Conference Board of Canada.

The weaker Canadian dollar is also expected to increase the price competitiveness of Canadian destinations for domestic and international travellers.

On top of the improving economic and financial environments at home and abroad, major events scheduled to be hosted in Canada will attract additional visitors and that convention-related activity in many cities is poised to improve. Growth in overnight visits is expected to reach 2.5% this year and growth in tourism spending is expected to hover at or above the 5% level between 2014 and 2017. During this period, travel price inflation is expected to increase gradually, going from 2% in 2014 to 2.4% in 2017.

Highlights include:

  • Overnight visits to Nova Scotia are poised to bounce back this year, as the province’s prospects have brightened, thanks to a boost in natural gas production. Even stronger gains are expected for the medium term, with the new King’s Wharf development adding hotel rooms and meeting facilities.
  • Overseas arrivals to Quebec remain on track to improve by 2.9% in 2014. The medium term prospects are even brighter, with growth rising to 5.5% in 2017 when the province kicks off celebrations marking the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal.
  • Global uncertainties, last summer’s flash flood, and this past winter’s snow and ice storms have weighed on Ontario’s domestic tourism sector. Fortunately, improved job prospects and consumer confidence have brightened the outlook, with overnight visits to the province set to grow 2.3% in 2014. Pleasure trips, in particular, are expected to increase significantly as Ontario plays host to the 2015 Pan American Games and the 2015 and 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships. Lifted by a weaker dollar, overnight visits from the US are set to bounce back from last year’s disappointing drop.
  • Led by gains in convention-related travel, overnight business trips to Manitoba are expected to continue improving in 2014. Future prospects are even more positive, with the expansion of the RBC Convention Centre. Overseas visits to the province are set to pick up, with growth of 3.8% in 2014 and similar gains over the medium term.
  • Saskatchewan is expected to continue to attract more travellers, thanks in part to the addition of a new stadium at Regina’s Evraz Place, construction of new hotels, and the opening of the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan.
  • Overnight pleasure visits to Alberta are expected to rise by 4.3% in 2014, driven by expansions in the province’s tourism infrastructure and the hosting of major sports events.
  • A rebound in convention activity in British Columbia is expected to return the business travel market to solid growth over the medium term. Overseas arrivals to the province are also expected to strengthen over the forecast horizon, as the sector capitalizes on improving conditions in the global economy and the loonie’s recent depreciation.
  • Visits to Yukon from oversea travellers continue to pick up, thanks to growing demand, particularly from Japanese visitors, for tours that include viewing the northern lights. The sector is also getting a boost from the Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund.


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