The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) applauds new Statistics Canada numbers showing that Canada welcomed 22.1 million inbound visitors in 2019, marking the sixth consecutive year of increased travel to Canada. This growth affirms TIAC’s success in advocating for increased federal investments in tourism and reduction of barriers that challenge and constrain industry growth.
"We are delighted that Canada saw a third record-breaking year for tourism in 2019," states Charlotte Bell, TIAC President & CEO, "Canada saw gains from both mature and emerging visitor markets, showing that Canada remains a top destination for leisure, study and business travel."
Of particular note, Canada saw growth of 18% from India, 20% from Hong Kong, and 49% from Jamaica. Mexican visitation has increased by 26% in 2019, continuing the pattern of strong growth since the Mexican visa was lifted in 2016.
"As we consider arrival numbers from India, Mexico, and Jamaica, it is clear that diversifying markets is a winning strategy for Canadian tourism," states Bell, " Mexico, particularly since the visa lift, is a great example of increased returns and visitation numbers by ease of entry into Canada.”
While these markets illustrate considerable growth, Canada's largest inbound market, the United States, was the biggest contributor to inbound tourism by far. Nearly 15 million Americans visited Canada last year, marking the sixth consecutive year of growth since 2014 and the highest level since 2004.
TIAC believes strongly that continued proactive policy change, increased investment to bolster the marketing efforts of Destination Canada in target markets and additional funding under the “Canadian Experience Fund” are needed now more than ever to help mitigate the challenges faced by the travel economy as a result of COVID-19.
TIAC continues to call on government for continued investment in marketing, capacity building through the Canadian Experiences Fund and the removal of barriers that hamper visitation.
The tourism industry in Canada is an economic engine that has garnered more than $102-billion-dollar for the economy and supports 1.8 million Canadian jobs dependent on economic activity generated by travel and tourism. As the sector faces challenges in the coming weeks and months, we urge the government to increase its support for this important industry.