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Featured Stories > Travel Report Reveals International Visa Cardholders Spent Nearly Two Billion in Canada this Winter

Travel Report Reveals International Visa Cardholders Spent Nearly Two Billion in Canada this Winter

2015 Visa Winter Travel Snapshot
posted on May 27, 2015

NIAGARA FALLS, ON, May 27, 2015 - International Visa cardholders spent $1.7B in Canada this winter, representing a 2.7% decrease over the same period last year, according to the 2015 Winter Travel Snapshot released by Visa Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC). Given that a significant amount of Visa cardholders' spending was seen in Canada's popular winter sport destinations, the bizarre weather that left some western Canadian ski resorts with grassy runs may offer an explanation for the contraction in foreign spending.

Americans continue to represent the largest share of spending at $801M while Chinese visitors were the only group to see an increase in spending over last winter (+22%). Australians' affinity for active holidays is clear as the ski destinations of Whistler, Banff, Kelowna, Vernon and Sun Peaks made that country's top ten cities visited list.

"The level of detail in the Winter Travel Snapshot report can help tourism businesses better tailor their strategies while working within their seasonal cycles to become competitive travel destinations," noted Charlotte Bell, President and CEO, TIAC.

Visa's global network allows for a unique analysis of the spending habits and preferences of travellers to Canada. The 2015 Winter Travel Snapshot (December 2014 through March 2015) reveals other detailed findings including:

  • The top ten cities visited by travellers from the top five inbound countries - USA, China, France, the UK, and Australia - which include many winter sport destinations not found in the summer data;
  • Insights into the categories of spending from the top five countries including a 2.5% decrease in travel and entertainment which covers winter sports purchases such as lift tickets; 
  • Top outbound country destinations for Canadians;
  • Visa card spend by visitors to Canada and Canadians abroad. 


"Visa's global network makes international travel easier for our billions of cardholders worldwide," said Robert Livingston, President, Visa Canada. "We are pleased to partner with TIAC to share the insights in the Winter Travel Snapshot with a goal to helping our Canadian tourism industry thrive." 

Tourism is an $88B industry that directly employs over 627 000 Canadians in every region of the country. In 2014, 80% of tourism revenue came from domestic travellers. However, with international visitors spending on average 3 times more than their domestic counterparts, TIAC is looking to boost international travel by 5% to match global growth rates and capitalize on this booming industry.


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For more information, please contact:
Rob Taylor
VP, Public & Industry Affairs
Tourism Industry Association of Canada
t: 613-238-6251
c: 613-716-5442