Conference Board Paints Positive Picture For 2017


In its latest Travel Markets Outlook, the Conference Board reports that although economic growth has been sluggish in 2016, low gas prices and a weak Canadian dollar have helped boost travel to and within Canada – in fact, overnight visits are on track to expand by 3% this year and next.

Greg Hermus, associate director for the Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Tourism Research Institute, said that, “The tourism sector is one of the handful benefiting from the low Canadian dollar. We’re seeing increased levels of both US and international visitors that are nothing short of tremendous and restore much of the travel volume lost during the past decade.”

And the good news just keeps coming, with the Conference Board noting that on top of the close to 10% growth last year, overnight visits from the US are expected to increase a further 7.8% this year.

The Conference Board pointed out in its Tourism Outlook that beyond the low Canadian dollar and gasoline prices, Canada is known as a safe travel destination which is inevitably resonating with American travellers as many other competing destinations struggle with safety concerns.

Similarly, overseas arrivals to Canada saw an increase of 8.7% this year, but are expected to cool slightly in 2017 to an estimated 6.4%.

And the Conference Board also said that growing consumer confidence, increases in disposable income and a few major events – in particular the 150th anniversary of Confederation and Montreal’s 375th anniversary – will see domestic pleasure travel increase by an estimated 3.2% in 2017.

Travel prices are predicted to continue ramping up slowly with increases ranging between 2.1% and 2.3% between 2017 and 2020.

While travellers were hit with a 3.7% increase for accommodations in 2016, a more moderate annual increase at a pace between 2% and 3% is expected across the forecast horizon.

Travellers can also expect to spend between 2.1% and 2.4% more for food and beverage services.

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