Despite ongoing challenges, the recovery trajectory for Canada’s tourism sector is strengthening, bolstered by the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and resilience in travel demand. Leisure travel is now expected to recover to 2019 levels by 2024, considered a remarkable feat, one year earlier than previously forecasted in Spring 2022, according to Destination Canada’s Fall Tourism Outlook released on Tuesday.
Domestic tourism will continue to lead the sector’s recovery with strong spending providing a foundation for brisk recovery to 2019 levels. Domestic travel market spending is expected to reach 92 per cent of 2019 levels by the end of 2022 and fully recover in 2023, said the report.
The recovery of the US market, which is Canada’s biggest opportunity, is poised to accelerate in 2023, with spending reaching 91 per cent of 2019 levels as lifted border restrictions and a strong US dollar encourage recovery. In 2024, spending by US travellers in Canada is expected to reach 112 per cent of 2019 levels, it said.
The report said visits from the US are projected to reach 82 per cent of 2019 levels in 2023 and fully recover in 2024. International overnight arrivals reached 61 per cent of 2019 levels over the summer months of 2022. Tourist expenditures and international arrivals are set to return to a long-term growth trend by 2026.
“This accelerated forecast is the recovery signal we have all been working to achieve. Restarting our industry has been hard on everyone and we still have a long way to go. Over the summer months of 2022, overnight international arrivals reached only 61 per cent of 2019 levels. But the future looks very promising, if we are able to fully capitalize on it,” said Marsha Walden, President and Chief Executive Officer, Destination Canada. “Globally, pent-up demand for travel remains very strong, but we know travellers have many, many choices for places to go. We must ensure Canada becomes a more competitive destination, while also rethinking our approach to tourism to maximize the socio-cultural, economic and environmental benefits the industry can bring to all of Canada.”
If Canada’s tourism sector continues on the current forecasted trajectory, it has the potential to bring in more than $142 billion dollars in 2030 – a 35 per cent growth in just over a decade, added the report.
The full report is here.
Destination Canada said 9.8 per cent of Canadian jobs are tied to tourism and small and medium-sized enterprises make up 99 per cent of businesses in Canada’s tourism sector. In 2019, Tourism directly contributed to more jobs (696,000 direct jobs) across Canada than jobs directly generated by agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas industries combined (620,140 direct jobs). Tourism also added $45.2 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2019, a contribution that was on par with the GDP from agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting combined.
(Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran of the media industry for more than 40 years and named in 2021 a Top Ten Business Journalist in the world and only Canadian)
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