The Canadian Tourism Commission operates in 11 countries around the world. Our global marketing and sales teams provide expert knowledge and support to the local travel trade, conduct media relations and promotional activities, launch consumer advertising and promotional campaigns, and maintain a strong presence at consumer and trade shows. We are a vital resource for the Canadian tourism industry in international markets.
Australia is Canada’s sixth-largest inbound market, boasting 215,900 arrivals in 2011. It is also Canada’s second-largest market within the Asia-Pacific region ahead of Japan, but surpassed by China, which now tops the list.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Australia was one of the few advanced economies to avoid a recession in 2009, reflecting a supportive macro policy response, healthy banking system, flexible exchange rate and robust demand from Asia for commodity exports. With its healthy economic structure, Australia saw its economy expand by 2.5% in 2010 and a further 2.1% in 2011; it is now on target to surpass 3% growth in 2012. However, Australia is exposed to the economic slowdown in China and the Eurozone, which, coupled with the persisting strength of the Australian dollar, is expected to undermine growth in the closing quarters of 2012 and in early 2013.
Buoyed by a strong currency and a vibrant economy, outbound travel by Australians expanded 9.6% in 2011. Australian overnight trips to Canada increased by 6.8%, with total spending growing 10.1% year-over-year. The strong value of the Australian dollar remains a key factor stimulating outbound travel.
According to Statistics Canada’s International Travel Survey(ITS), Australia boasts the second-highest per night spending by visitors in Canada after the US business travel market. In 2011, Australian travellers spent on average $1,801 per person-trip in Canada, with a typical trip length of 14.8 nights. The majority of Australians travelled for holiday purposes (59%) and to visit friends and relatives (27%).
Brazil has experienced rapid growth in flight availability during this past decade, which has led to a corresponding growth in outbound travel. In the past six years, Brazilian travel beyond South America has grown 16.7% annually from 1.7 million trips in 2004 to an estimated five million trips in 2011.
Brazil is now the sixth-largest economy in the world in terms of GDP and by far the largest in South America. During the global economic recession in 2009, Brazil’s GDP shrunk just 0.2%, and this country was one of the first emerging markets to recover. Revived consumer and investor confidence and strong exports in both commodities and manufacturing sectors helped propel GDP growth to 7.5% in 2010. However, a strengthening of the real against the US dollar is expected to slow GDP growth to 2.7% in 2012.
In 2011, Canada welcomed 74,100 overnight visitors from Brazil, up 3.9% from 2010, with the majority (87%) leisure travellers. These visitors spent $136 million in Canada’s tourism economy. Brazilians most interested in visiting Canada mainly live in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Although Brazilian long-haul travellers do much of their trip planning and research online, more than half still book their trips through the travel trade. For more insights into Brazilian long-haul travellers, download the Brazil Consumer and Trade Research Summary Report.
As the world’s fastest-growing major economy and outbound tourism market, China navigated through the global economic crisis relatively unscathed, averaging 9.2% growth in 2009 and gaining a further 1.2 percentage points in 2010 to average a 10.4% growth.
China is also the world’s largest exporter. As a result of softening of export growth and a gradual appreciation of the Chinese currency against the US dollar, China’s GDP slowed to 9.3% in 2011 and is expected to soften to 7.2% in 2012.
Chinese appetite for outbound travel remains unabated and the World Tourism Organization is projecting that by 2020 China will have 100 million international travellers, the world’s fourth largest outbound tourism market. Based on arrivals data to long-haul destination outside northeast Asia, Chinese travellers recorded 6.9 million trips in 2011, an increase of 19% over 2010. (Source: Tourism Economics)
Since Canada obtained Approved Destination Status (ADS) in June 2010, the number of overnight visits from China has expanded to more than 20% per annum. In 2011, Canada welcomed 236,600 overnight Chinese visitors, up over 22% from 2010. Chinese visitors spent more than $408 million while in Canada, an increase of 29.5% from the previous year, which made China Canada’s fourth most important overseas market.
France is Canada’s third-largest inbound market. In 2011, Canada welcomed 421,800 overnight French visitors, who spent $538 million while in this country. Among French travellers, 48% indicated that their main purpose for visiting Canada was for holidays, while 36% visited Canada primarily to see friends and relatives.
The French economy is one of the largest in the world, having overtaken the UK in 2008 when the pound depreciated against the euro. Although France is increasingly under pressure to deal with its deficit, healthy export growth and a recovering domestic demand combined to produce a dynamic GDP expansion in 2010 and 2011. The French economy is expected to edge up by a mere 0.1% in 2012 as uncertainties caused by the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone area contribute to weaken export prospects and to dampened private investments.
Compared with competitive destinations, Canada is well positioned—it tops the list of places that comes to mind for French consumers for a long-haul holiday. Following a 5.1% increase in 2010, overnight visits from France increased by 3.4% in 2011. However, economic conditions in the Eurozone are expected to pull back overnight arrivals to Canada from France.
Germany, Europe’s largest (and the world’s fourth-largest) economy, was hit harder by the global economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 and the subsequent collapse in world trade than most other countries. Exports are more important to the German economy than they are for other major European economies, accounting for 40% of its GDP. In 2010 and early 2011, German growth rebounded quickly from the collapse in world trade as it reaped the benefits of past reforms and business investments to quickly meet demand for German exports. However, the onset of the Eurozone crisis led to growth pulling back over the second half of 2011 and into 2012. Growth is expected to decelerate in 2012 to1%, down from 3.1% in 2011.
Germans’ interest in long-haul travel is closely linked to the resilience of the German economy. CTC’s latest Global Tourism Watchreport suggests that the economic resurgence in 2010 and 2011 prompted a renewed interest in holiday travels to long-haul destinations. The economic climate in the Eurozone area is a source of concern, though, because German long-haul travellers are sensitive to economic conditions and view affordability as the top barrier to travel.
In 2011, Canada welcomed 290,200 overnight visitors from Germany—down 8% from 2010—which represented $449 million in tourism receipts for Canada. Pleasure travel was the main trip purpose for almost 60% of German visitors.
According to the World Factbook published by the Central Intelligence Agency, India’s population of approximately 1.2 billion people is currently the second largest in the world. That figure is forecast to grow by 1.5% (18 million) per year to reach more than 1.6 billion by 2050. India’s emerging middle class is expected to surge tenfold, exceeding 500 million by 2025. The middle class will then command 60% of the country's spending power.
India is an attractive key market for Canada, thanks to sharing a common language (English), positive trade relationship and improving visa services, as well as India’s economic prosperity, rising income levels and affluent middle class.
India was one of the world’s fastest-growing economies in 2011, its GDP expanding to 7.5%. In 2012, the Indian economy faced headwinds caused by a weak global economy weighing on exports and domestic demand struggling to overcome high inflation as well as a difficult climate for private investment. As a result, India’s economy is expected to grow at a slower pace to 5.6% in 2012, before regaining momentum in 2013.
An estimated 7.7 million Indian tourists headed to long-haul international countries in 2011. Of those, Canada received a total of 162,900 overnight travellers—an 8.7% year-over-year gain—with travel receipts increasing 11% to $160.9 million.
Japan boasts Asia's largest—and the world’s third-largest—economy. Recent world economic events, the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009 and a decrease in the popularity of long-haul travel have all contributed to a decline in Japanese travel to Canada. Given Japan’s emergence from the recent recession and domestic measures taken to encourage outbound travel, long-haul travel is expected to bounce back.
In the wake of the March 2011 natural disasters, Japan’s massive rebuilding efforts set the stage for stronger-than-expected growth over the first half of 2012, with positive contributions coming from consumer spending and a robust export sector. However, Japan is still experiencing weakening growth in its main markets, in particular China and the Eurozone, which is expected to dampen future growth. Over the longer term, structural issues such as a shrinking working-age population, high debt and currency strength are expected to slow Japan down.
Canada welcomed 186,600 visitors from Japan in 2011, which represented more than $307 million dollars of tourist spending. Among Japanese travellers in 2011, 46% indicated their main reason for travelling to Canada was for holiday purposes, while 27% indicated they travelled to see family and friends.
Despite steady drops in visitation in the past few years, Japan is still one of the highest-spending international travel markets for Canada and a continued focus for the CTC and this country’s tourism industry More
Mexico experienced a healthy economic turnaround in 2010, achieving GDP growth of 5.6% and expanding a further 3.9% in 2011. Amid the global economic uncertainties and a still-sluggish US recovery, continued demand for Mexico’s exports and industrial activities should support growth in 2012, which is forecast to ease to 3.5%.
In 2011, Mexicans made 124,300 overnight trips to Canada, which accounted for $176 million in tourism receipts, a 12% year-over-year increase.
Despite the implementation on Mexican travellers of visa restrictions in July 2009, Canada remains a destination of choice for experienced and high-frequency Mexican travellers. Indeed, after overnight visitation to Canada contracted by 48% during the first year a visa was required, they increased by 6% in the subsequent period between August 2010 and July 2011 and by a further 13% over the following 12 months to July 2012.
In 2011, 140,100 overnight visitors from South Korea generated $230 million in tourism spending in Canada, making this market Canada’s eighth largest source of overseas visitors and seventh largest source of tourism receipts from overseas markets.
Bolstered by a buoyant economy, South Korea has emerged as a significant country for outbound tourism over the past decade, with Canada tapping into an increasing share. With exports accounting for 52% of South Korea’s GDP in 2011, this country is particularly sensitive to the global trade cycle. Amid prevailing global uncertainties, momentum slowed in the latter part of 2011, caused in part by the debt problem in the Eurozone area, lower projected growth in China and soaring inflation. GDP growth is expected to ease from 3.6% in 2011 to 2.6% in 2012, before regaining momentum in 2013.
The UK is Canada’s second-largest inbound market after the US. While it continues to be one of the most robust and dynamic travel markets in the world, the UK’s challenging economic situation has affected outbound long-haul travel.
The UK is a leading trading power and financial centre plus the third-largest economy in Europe after Germany and France. After a sustained economic expansion, the 2008 global financial crisis hit the UK’s economy particularly hard because of the importance of its financial sector. High consumer debt and sharply declining home prices compounded the UK’s economic problems, which prompted the government to implement a series of measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets. However, faced with a spiralling budget deficit, the coalition government initiated a five-year austerity program in 2010 aimed at lowering the country’s deficit from over 10% of GDP in 2010 to 1% by 2015. Amid uncertainties in the Eurozone, GDP in 2012 is expected to contract by 0.2%, before gradually improving in 2013 as the situation in the Eurozone stabilizes.
Consumer confidence has also been weakened by ongoing uncertainty over job prospects, creeping inflations and VAT rates. As a result, British travellers cut back on outbound travel between 2007 and 2010, before edging up 2.3% in 2011.
In 2011, 622,700 overnight UK travellers visited Canada, down 5.8%. These visits represented $792 million in tourism receipts in Canada, a 2.4% contraction over 2010. Among UK overnight travellers to Canada, 77% come for holidays or to visit family or friends.
According to the US Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, 36 million Americans travelled outside the US by air in 2011, down 3.6% compared with 2010. Of those travellers, 3.5 million travelled by air for overnight trips to Canada and represented nearly 30% of the 11.5 million US overnight visitors to Canada.
From 1996 to 2011, US leisure spending in Canada grew from $3.9 billion to $4.6 billion. That figure rises to $6.1 billion with the inclusion of the meetings, conventions and incentive travel (Business Events Canada) sector.
In the wake of one of the most protracted and deep recessions on record, the US showed strong gains in 2010 as its economy expanded by 2.4%. However, cuts in government spending coupled with increases in food and fuel prices softened the US economy in 2011 as growth slowed to 1.7%, dimming the prospect of relief for millions of unemployed Americans. Amid a depreciating US dollar and growing public debt, the US economy is expected to remain sluggish in the near term as actions taken by the Federal Reserve gradually work to improve consumer confidence and consumption.
CTC’s latest Global Tourism Watch reports that international travel intentions in this market are up for the next three years, indicating a partial recovery in leisure-travel demand in 2011 and 2012. However, several factors could threaten that improvement, including rising gas prices, travel costs and inflation, as well as unfavourable exchange rates.
In 2011, almost 53% of Americans travelling overnight to Canada came for a vacation, while another 25% visited family and friends. Although the Business Events Canada market represented a smaller number of travellers, they spent on average $251 per night in 2011, which exceeds the overnight spending of the US leisure market and CTC’s other key international markets.