The Conference Board of Canada has released its Outbound Canada update on Canadian outbound travel activity, revealing that Canadians made almost 9 million outbound overnight trips in 2020 compared to 33 million in 2019.
The update reported that total overnight trips fell 73% during the year with overseas activity down by two-thirds (-67%) and transborder trips declining by more than three-quarters (-77%).
Eighty-eight per cent of activity took place in the first quarter, before the pandemic was declared and restrictions and health measures were implemented.
Canadians made 4.7 million overnight trips to the U.S. in 2020, compared to 20.2 million in 2019. Throughout the year, overnight auto trips fell 80% and travel by other modes decreased 72%.
Just 251,000 trips by air were recorded from April-Dec, compared to 6.0 million in 2019. Pandemic-related restrictions and reduced demand resulted in a 71% reduction in direct air capacity in 2020, a loss of 14 million seats
Europe and the United Kingdom
There were 876,000 Canadian arrivals in European destinations throughout 2020, an 86% drop compared to 2019. Sixty-five per cent of these trips occurred in the first quarter.
The region reported a slight uptick in activity throughout the summer season but only a handful of countries were “open” to Canadian visitors. The first two months of the current winter season saw just 27,000 arrivals versus 610,000 in 2019-20 (-96%).
Asia, Oceania, and the South Pacific
Arrivals in the Asia-Pacific region reached 658,000 in 2020, an 82% decline compared to 2019. The pandemic resulted in 3.0 million fewer arrivals in the region throughout the year with China (-91%) and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong (-91%) and Macao (-92%) recording the largest proportional declines. The average occupancy rate during the year was 29.5% in Thailand, 46.1% in Hong Kong, and 56.6% in Singapore.
Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America
With very few Canadian arrivals registered since April, destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America saw a 60% decline in activity in 2020. While 2.24 million arrivals from Canada were reported throughout the year, almost 93% of this activity took place in the first quarter. The first two months of the current winter season registered just 103,000 trips, three-quarters of which were to Mexico and the Dominican Republic. This compares to 1.1 million Canadian visitors in Nov and Dec 2019 (-91%).
Consumer confidence inched up 0.4 points to 91.1 points in February. This is the highest level in a year but still remains 25% below its pre-pandemic level.
It was primarily optimism about future employment that kept the index from falling in February as almost one-fifth of respondents believe the job market will be better six months from now — the highest share of positive responses since 2002.
However, consumers are feeling uneasy about the present as negative views on current finances increased for the first time since last August and consumer sentiment regarding major purchases deteriorated in all regions after three months of rising confidence.
There were 193,000 overnight trips recorded in December. This was the highest level of monthly activity since March but still reflected a 92% decline versus the previous year.
Canadians made almost 9 million outbound overnight trips in 2020 compared to 33 million in 2019.Total overnight trips fell 73% during the year with overseas activity down by two-thirds (-67%) and transborder trips declining by more than three-quarters (-77%). Eighty-eight per cent of activity took place in the first quarter, before the pandemic was declared.