copy the linklink copied!Canada

copy the linklink copied!Tourism in the economy

Tourism is an important part of the Canadian economy and is a source of jobs and growth in every region of the country. It accounts for 2.1% of Canada’s GDP and 3.1% of total exports, directly supports 739 700 jobs, or 3.9% of total employment, and generates over CAD 100 billion in tourism spending each year. Travel exports represented  26.6% of total service exports in 2018.

In 2018, Canada welcomed a record 21.2 million international tourists, up 1.2% over 2017. Canada’s largest tourism source market is the United States, which accounts for over two-thirds of overnight tourists, with over 14.7 million tourist arrivals in 2018. Among tourists from other source markets, visitors from China, France, Mexico and India set country records.

In 2018, 278 million total domestic trips were recorded, down from 328.5 million in 2017, of which 95.4 million were overnight trips. Domestic tourism accounted for 268.3 nights in 2018, down 2.5% over 2017.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism governance and funding

In Canada, the Federal Government, ten provincial governments, three territorial governments and numerous municipalities all play a role in supporting the tourism sector. The Federal Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development is responsible for tourism.

Destination Canada is the national destination marketing organisation. As a Crown corporation, it reports to Parliament through the Minister responsible for tourism. Destination Canada works with partners in both the public and private sectors, which include provincial, territorial, regional and municipal destination marketing organisations, and private companies, including airlines, to promote Canada abroad as a premier tourism destination. The federal government also holds exclusive responsibility for air policy and visa policy.

Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for domestic (and some international) tourism promotion, destination and product development, the regulation of accommodation, and hospitality and tourism education. At the municipal level, tourism activities generally involve attracting meetings and conventions, and promoting festivals and events.

Canada has various mechanisms to ensure horizontal and vertical co-ordination and collaboration on tourism. Chief among these is the Canadian Council of Tourism Ministers, which annually gathers federal, provincial and territorial tourism ministers to discuss trends and issues facing Canada’s tourism sector and to identify opportunities for collaboration.

In 2017, Destination Canada’s funding levels were stabilised and made permanent at CAD 95.5 million. In addition, in 2019 a one-year infusion of CAD 5 million for a domestic tourism marketing campaign was allocated to help Canadians discover new destinations such as less visited national parks, and promote off-peak seasonal travel and Indigenous experiences. The 2019 Federal Budget recognised tourism as an important source of jobs and growth, and also provided CAD 58.5 million over two years, starting in 2019 - 20, for the Canadian Experiences Fund (Box 3.10), which supports investments in tourism-related infrastructure – such as accommodation or local attractions – and the development of tourism products and experiences.

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Canada: Organisational chart of tourism bodies
Canada: Organisational chart of tourism bodies

Source: OECD, adapted from Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, 2020

copy the linklink copied!Tourism policies and programmes

The Government of Canada’s main policy priorities with respect to tourism are threefold: creating jobs; diversifying and dispersing tourism offerings; and attracting investment to the sector.

In December 2018, Destination Canada released a report titled Unlocking the Potential of Canada’s Visitor Economy that identified the following key challenges facing Canada’s tourism sector:

  • Concentrated demand: Demand for Canada’s tourism offerings is concentrated in Canada’s major cities and a few key tourism destinations, and during the summer season.

  • Labour shortage and skills development: Access to skilled labour is a challenge, preventing the sector from maintaining sustainable business growth.

  • Access: The long-haul nature of much of the market and high cost of travel to Canada and between Canadian destinations.

  • Investment: The tourism sector has difficulty accessing investment and financing that is a barrier to new tourism business development.

  • Governance: Collaboration among governments is ad hoc and could be more strategic.

In May 2019, Canada’s Minister responsible for tourism launched Creating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategy. This new initiative is built around three pillars: building tourism in communities, attracting investment, and promoting public-private collaboration (Box 1.4).

Pillar 1: Building tourism in communities recognises that all communities have the potential to be a tourism destination. It seeks to enable communities in every region of the country to realise that potential by investing in infrastructure and tourism products. It is supported by the Canadian Experiences Fund, which was established to help improve Canada’s tourism product offering through investment in five priority categories:

  • Winter and shoulder-season tourism – with investments where Canada has an advantage, to provide more reasons to visit in off-peak periods.

  • Indigenous tourism – with investments to help Indigenous peoples present their unique histories, traditional stories, creative arts and contemporary values to the world. Over a third of visitors to Canada are interested in Indigenous experiences.

  • Rural and remote tourism – with investments in rural and remote areas to create jobs and economic opportunities in these communities, and to entice tourists to lesser-known parts of the country.

  • Farm-to-table and culinary tourism – with investments in projects like culinary trails, Indigenous culinary experiences, food festivals and farmers' markets, as well as onsite experience development such as breweries, wineries, farms, fisheries and maple syrup producers.

  • Inclusive Tourism – with investments to expand LGBTQ2 diversity training and market readiness programmes, and support Pride festivals.

Pillar 2: Attracting investment to the visitor economy includes the establishment of Tourism Investment Groups in every region of the country, with the objectives of better aligning investments in tourism products across the national government and other jurisdictions, and strengthening the ability of tourism destinations to attract more investment. These Groups are made-up of a network of core departments and agencies responsible for national parks, culture, and SME financial support, led by Destination Canada and the country’s regional economic development agencies. A broader network of local and regional partners from government, private, and not-for-profit sectors are expected to be involved to identify potential tourism projects, attract private investment, and catalyse impactful tourism projects, iconic attractions, and clusters.

Pillar 3: Renewed focus on public-private collaboration recognises the long-standing barriers to growing Canada's tourism sector, which are not easily overcome in the short term. Stronger partnerships with industry leaders are needed to tackle those challenges over the long term. To support this, in 2019, the Government committed to establish an Economic Strategy Table for Tourism. This new model for industry-government collaboration was created in 2017 and was focused on turning Canadian economic strengths into global advantages. Each Table promotes development in high-growth and high-potential sectors, and consists of industry leaders who set ambitious growth targets, identify sector-specific challenges and bottlenecks, and lay out an actionable roadmap to making the country an innovation leader in these sectors. The Economic Strategy Table for Tourism is expected to enable new ways of working in close collaboration with the private sector. This new initiative will ensure that tourism is on the front lines of economic policy-making, so that challenges are effectively addressed and strategic opportunities are seized to grow the visitor economy and create jobs. The Table will allow the Government to better identify medium-term tourism trends and any policy blind spots. Critical areas the Table is likely to address include the cost of travelling to and within Canada, labour shortages and the lack of investment. It may also look at competitiveness, sustainability, the sharing economy and digital platforms, and destination development.

The Federal Government has set ambitious but achievable targets to determine how well the Growth Strategy is performing, and three metrics will help measure its economic impact. Taking 2018 as a baseline and 2025 as the target year, the Federal Government will track:

  • Revenue (total spending by tourists on goods and services), with a target end value of CAD 128 billion (+25%).

  • Number of jobs created, with a target of 54 000 new jobs created (+7.3%).

  • Tourism GDP growth, with the aim of outpacing national economic growth.

The Strategy also sets targets for the seasonal dispersal of tourists, to increase by 1 million international tourist arrivals from November to April, and for geographic dispersion, aiming at growth in spending outside Canada's top three major tourism regions, Greater Toronto Area, Montréal, and Vancouver.

copy the linklink copied!Statistical Profile

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Canada: Domestic, inbound and outbound tourism

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

TOURISM FLOWS, THOUSAND

Domestic tourism

Total domestic trips

..

..

..

328 454

278 060

Overnight visitors (tourists)

108 647

109 805

113 053

117 368

95 445

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

..

..

..

211 086

182 615

Nights in all types of accommodation

292 569

306 212

344 706

356 977

268 258

Hotels and similar establishments

..

..

..

..

..

Other collective establishments

..

..

..

..

..

Private accommodation

..

..

..

..

..

Inbound tourism

Total international arrivals

25 557

27 555

30 142

31 081

31 274

Overnight visitors (tourists)

16 537

17 971

19 822

20 652

21 153

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

9 020

9 584

10 320

10 429

10 122

Top markets

United States

11 508

12 669

13 892

14 238

14 650

United Kingdom

659

686

805

794

762

China

448

483

591

674

719

France

465

477

515

547

593

Germany

324

325

359

385

386

Nights in all types of accommodation

..

..

..

..

..

Hotels and similar establishments

..

..

..

..

..

Other collective establishments

..

..

..

..

..

Private accommodation

..

..

..

..

..

Outbound tourism

Total international departures

..

..

..

..

..

Overnight visitors (tourists)

33 518

32 267

31 278

32 730

26 033

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

..

..

..

..

..

Top destinations

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

TOURISM RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURE, MILLION CAD

Inbound tourism

Total international receipts

27 155

29 519

34 049

36 846

34 175

International travel receipts

23 800

25 996

29 961

32 446

34 175

International passenger transport receipts

3 355

3 523

4 088

4 400

..

Outbound tourism

Total international expenditure

49 655

51 578

51 935

54 386

44 574

International travel expenditure

41 568

43 223

43 360

45 010

44 574

International passenger transport expenditure

8 087

8 355

8 575

9 376

..

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934076419

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Canada: Enterprises and employment in tourism

Number of establishments

Number of persons employed1

2018

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total

..

700 300

710 400

721 400

735 800

739 700

Tourism industries

223 231

551 200

560 100

569 300

580 400

583 300

Accommodation services for visitors

21 299

140 700

142 700

143 900

146 500

149 400

Hotels and similar establishments

..

..

..

..

..

..

Food and beverage serving industry

87 420

216 400

221 100

227 200

233 500

235 500

Passenger transport

48 803

84 700

84 800

85 800

87 300

85 600

Air passenger transport

..

..

..

..

..

..

Railways passenger transport

..

..

..

..

..

..

Road passenger transport

..

..

..

..

..

..

Water passenger transport

..

..

..

..

..

..

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental

..

..

..

..

..

..

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

8 778

44 700

44 800

44 900

44 300

43 800

Cultural industry

..

..

..

..

..

..

Sports and recreation industry

56 931

64 800

66 800

67 500

68 900

69 100

Retail trade of country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other country-specific tourism industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other industries

..

149 100

150 300

152 100

155 400

156 400

.. Not available

1. Data refer to number of jobs.

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934076438

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Canada: Internal tourism consumption
Million CAD

2018

Domestic tourism expenditure

Inbound tourism expenditure

Internal tourism consumption

Total

..

..

..

Consumption products

80 044

22 179

102 223

Tourism characteristic products

48 797

17 191

65 988

Accommodation services for visitors

9 127

5 507

14 634

Food and beverage serving services

12 788

4 010

16 798

Passenger transport services

18 984

5 258

24 242

Air passenger transport services

..

..

..

Railways passenger transport services

..

..

..

Road passenger transport services

..

..

..

Water passenger transport services

..

..

..

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental services

..

..

..

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

4 435

232

4 667

Cultural services

3 463

2 184

5 647

Sports and recreation services

..

..

..

Country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

Country-specific tourism characteristic services

..

..

..

Other consumption products

31 247

4 988

36 235

Tourism connected products

..

..

..

Non-tourism related consumption products

..

..

..

Non-consumption products

..

..

..

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934076457

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