Overnight visits to and within Canada are expected to increase next year driven by improving economic and financial expectations both at home and abroad, according to the Conference Board of Canada Travel Markets Outlook. However, growth will remain modest, as consumer confidence in Canada and in many of Canada’s key international markets remains well below pre-recession levels. Hosting major events, such as the Pan Am Games and the 2014 FIFA Women’s World Cup, will attract additional visitors, and convention activity in many Canadian cities is poised to improve.

While the economic recovery in the US and Europe are expected to become more entrenched in the coming years, emerging markets are starting to experience more headwinds. This will slow the pace of growth in overseas arrivals to Canada over the next few years. Despite the stronger economic headwinds, we still anticipate that emerging economies will lead the growth in overseas arrivals to Canada over the short to medium term.

Overnight visits from the US will remain well below levels seen a decade ago. Growth in US auto travel to Canada is expected to be modest over the forecast horizon, as this segment remains particularly sensitive to both gas prices and the value of the Canadian dollar — both of which are expected to remain relatively high over the medium term. The outlook for travel by air is more positive, but modest increases in direct air capacity, particularly from key US source markets, will limit the pace of growth.

Other highlights:

!!! Growth in overnight travel to Halifax in 2013 has been dragged down by weak international arrivals and weak economic growth in most of the Maritimes. Fortunately, economic activity is set to pick up next year.

!!! Better economic conditions in Québec City, the province overall, and the US next year will boost domestic business and pleasure travel.

!!! Convention-related business travel to Montreal is expected to continue to grow in 2014 as the city hosts more out-of-town delegates to conferences.

!!! Visits to Ottawa are poised for solid growth next year as demand strengthens in all travel markets, boosted by additional visitors attending conventions, as well as Ottawa’s return to the CFL and its newly renovated stadium.

!!! While travel to Toronto is expected to improve next year, a sizable jump in visits is projected to occur in 2015 — the year Toronto hosts the Pan Am Games.

!!! Overnight visits to Winnipeg will increase 3.3% next year as pleasure travel ramps up with the opening of the Museum for Human Rights and with the city’s hosting of events such as the 2014 FIFA Women’s World Cup and Juno Awards.

!!! An increase in hotel rooms and meeting space will help boost overnight visits to Calgary and Edmonton in 2014, led by solid growth in overseas and domestic pleasure travellers.

!!! Business travel to Vancouver will rebound next year given an increase in convention-activity, such as the TED Conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre.