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Travel between Canada and other countries, September 2017

Released: 2017-11-21

Highest number of US travellers to Canada in the month of September in a decade

The number of US travellers to Canada remained above the 2.0-million mark in September, little changed (-0.3%) from August after accounting for normal seasonal variation. This was still a 1.5% increase compared with the same month last year, and the highest number of US travellers to Canada in September in 10 years.

US residents made 396,000 overnight trips to Canada by plane in the month, down 1.3% from August but 2.9% higher than September 2016. This was the fifth consecutive year of increased plane trips for the month of September, and a record high for the month.

The number of car trips to Canada by US residents declined 1.1% from August and was also down 0.4% compared with last September. Of the three most-visited provinces by US residents, car trips increased to British Columbia (+1.3%) compared with August, but fell in Ontario (-1.4%) and Quebec (-2.0%). While average gas prices increased over August in much of the United States and Canada following Hurricane Harvey, cities on the West Coast experienced either a smaller increase or a slight decrease in gas prices.

Travel to Canada from most continents increases

Overseas residents made 541,000 trips to Canada in September, almost the same as both August (+0.1%), and the previous September (-0.1%). Compared with August, and after accounting for seasonal variation, the number of trips were up from every region of the world except Europe, where the total was down by 4.5%.

The decline was led by decreased travel from France and the United Kingdom, two countries that generally account for nearly half of travellers to Canada from Europe. Travel from France eased back in September, following a record high in August, but was up 6.3% year-to-date compared with 2016. Travel from the United Kingdom declined in September and was also down 2.1% year to date. The British pound, which stood at about $2.05 in January 2016, had fallen to $1.63 in January 2017 and was at a similar level in September 2017.

From January through to the end of September 2017, the number of travellers from Asia rose 6.2% compared with the same period last year, including a 9.8% increase in travellers from China.

Trips to the United States up in September

More than 3.6 million Canadian residents travelled to the United States in September, up from both the previous month (+1.9%), and September 2016 (+2.6%). This occurred as the Canadian dollar peaked at $0.82 US, its highest level in two years.

In September, 739,000 Canadians made overnight trips by plane to the United States, up 11.1% compared with the same month last year and a record for the month of September. The highest year-over-year increases were in Ontario (+14.4%) and Quebec (+16.8%). After taking into account seasonal variation, overnight plane trips were also up 3.3% from August, including a 3.5% increase from Ontario and a 5.1% gain from Quebec.

Car travel by Canadians to the United States increased as well, rising 1.4% from last month and 0.3% higher compared with September 2016. The number of overnight car trips to the United States declined 1.4% from last September, while same-day car trips increased 1.1%.

Number of Canadians travelling overseas continues to climb

More than 1.1 million Canadian residents returned from overseas countries in September, the highest figure on record for the month. It was also a 1.9% increase from August, and 7.4% more than in September 2016.

The number of Canadians returning from overseas countries in the month of September has increased every year since the 1990s.


  Note to readers

Monthly data are seasonally adjusted. For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions. Year-to-date figures are based on unadjusted data.

Seasonally adjusted data from June to August 2017 have been revised. Data that have not been seasonally adjusted, from May to August 2017 has been revised. No corrections were made to the previous month.

Data for Statistics Canada's Frontier Counts program are produced using administrative data received from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on all international travellers who have been cleared for entry or re-entry into Canada. This includes residents of Canada, the United States and overseas entering Canada from abroad.

In 2017, the CBSA began introducing the electronic Primary Inspection Kiosk (PIK) system at airports in Canada. The PIK system replaces the E-311 Declaration Cards that are completed by international travellers to Canada. As of the end of September, the PIK system was deployed at the following airports: Macdonald-Cartier, Ottawa (March 2017), Vancouver (April 2017), Toronto International Airport T3 (June 2017) and Edmonton (September 2017).

While awaiting receipt of PIK data, Statistics Canada has prepared preliminary estimates for airports at which PIK has been deployed. These estimates are based on CBSA reports of total international travelers by airport, while the distribution between Canadian, US and travellers from individual overseas countries are modelled estimates based on historical data and trends, using methods similar to those used to do seasonal adjustment.

Once PIK data are received, Statistics Canada will revise the preliminary estimates for these airports, as well as the provincial and national totals to which they contribute.

Overseas countries refer to countries other than the United States.

A Canadian resident traveller is a Canadian resident who has travelled outside Canada for a period of less than 12 months.

A non-resident traveller is a resident of a country other than Canada who is travelling to Canada for a period of less than 12 months.

Products

The September 2017 issue of International Travel: Advance Information, Vol. 33, no. 9 (Catalogue number66-001-P) is now available.

The updated Canada and the World Statistics Hub – United States (Catalogue number13-609-X) is now available from the home page of our website. This new product illustrates the nature and extent of Canada's economic and financial relationship with the United States, using interactive graphs and tables. This product provides easy access to information on trade, investment, employment and travel, including merchandise trade by Canadian provinces and US states.

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; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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