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National tourism indicators, fourth quarter 2013

Released: 2014-03-27

Tourism spending in Canada rose 1.0% in the fourth quarter, with most of the gain coming from increased outlays by Canadians in the country. This was the largest quarterly gain since the second quarter of 2010. Spending has increased, on average, 0.5% on a quarterly basis since that time.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Tourism spending in Canada increases - Description and data table
Tourism spending in Canada increases

Chart 1: Tourism spending in Canada increases - Description and data table

Tourism spending by Canadians in the country up sharply

Tourism spending by Canadians at home rose 1.2% in the fourth quarter, the third consecutive quarterly increase and the largest gain since the first quarter of 2011.

Outlays on most tourism goods and services were up in the fourth quarter, with passenger air transport (+1.8%) and vehicle fuel (+2.0%) contributing the most to the increase. Tourism spending on non-tourism goods and services including groceries and clothing rose 1.2%.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Tourism spending by Canadians in the country up sharply - Description and data table
Tourism spending by Canadians in the country up sharply

Chart 2: Tourism spending by Canadians in the country up sharply - Description and data table

Fifth consecutive increase in spending by international visitors

Spending by international visitors in Canada edged up 0.3% in the fourth quarter. Increased outlays on accommodation (+1.1%), food and beverage services (+1.1%) and recreation and entertainment (+1.7%) more than offset declines in passenger air transport (-1.2%) and non-tourism goods and services (-0.8%).

This was the fifth consecutive quarterly gain in spending by international visitors in Canada. Spending has increased 3.8% over that time with the largest contributor being passenger air transport (+6.6%).

Chart 3  Chart 3: Tourism spending by international visitors edges up - Description and data table
Tourism spending by international visitors edges up

Chart 3: Tourism spending by international visitors edges up - Description and data table

Tourism gross domestic product expands

Tourism gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.7% in the fourth quarter, continuing an upward trend that began in the third quarter of 2009, and matching the 0.7% increase of the national GDP in the fourth quarter.

Tourism GDP increased in every industry in the fourth quarter, except accommodation, which was flat. Transportation (+1.5%) had the largest increase.

Tourism employment edged up 0.1% in the fourth quarter to 619,900 jobs. This was the seventh consecutive increase in tourism employment.

Travel services (+3.2%) and recreation and entertainment (+1.5%) contributed the most to the increase in tourism jobs, while there were declines in accommodation (-1.7%) and other transportation (-0.7%) industries.

Annual 2013

Tourism spending increased 0.9% in 2013, about half the pace of 2012. Spending on most tourism goods and services were up, while passenger air transport declined 1.0%.

Tourism spending in Canada has increased every year, but three, since recordkeeping began in 1986. Declines in 1991 and 2009 occurred during economic downturns, while 2003 saw the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

Outlays by Canadians at home were 0.9% higher in 2013, with spending on most tourism goods and services increasing. Passenger air transport, however, was 2.0% lower.

Tourism spending by international visitors in Canada rose 1.2%, led by a 3.1% increase in passenger air transport. However, spending on vehicle fuel and non-tourism goods and services were both lower.

Tourism GDP was up 1.2% in 2013. Most tourism industries posted increases, with food and beverage services (+2.5%) and accommodation (+1.1%) contributing the most to the overall gain. Tourism GDP in non-tourism industries was also higher, while transportation was slightly lower.

In comparison, national GDP increased 1.9% in 2013. Tourism GDP growth has lagged national GDP in each of the last five years.

Tourism employment increased 1.4% to 618,100 jobs. The food and beverage services (+3.5%) and air transportation (+3.3%) industries posted the largest gains. Travel services, in turn, declined 3.5%.

  Note to readers

Growth rates of tourism spending and gross domestic product are expressed in real terms (that is, adjusted for price changes) as well as adjusted for seasonal variations, unless otherwise indicated. Employment data are also seasonally adjusted. Associated percentage changes are presented at quarterly rates unless otherwise noted.

With the fourth quarter release of the National tourism indicators, all data from the first, second and third quarters have been revised.

National tourism indicators are funded by the Canadian Tourism Commission.

The System of macroeconomic accounts module, accessible from the Browse by key resource module of our website, features an up-to-date portrait of national and provincial economies and their structure.

Data on the National tourism indicators for the first quarter will be released on June 27.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; mediahotline@statcan.gc.ca).

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