Recent News > Canadian tourism reaches new milestone with nearly 20 million inbound visitors

Canadian tourism reaches new milestone with nearly 20 million inbound visitors

posted on February 21, 2017

OTTAWA, ON February 21, 2017 - The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) is excited by new Statistics Canada numbers showing that Canada welcomed almost 20 million inbound visitors in 2016, a 14 year high. In 2015, TIAC set a five (5) year industry goal to bring in 20 million visitors by 2020. Seeing this much progress within two years is an outstanding accomplishment for the industry.

"We came just shy of a record breaking year for tourism," states Charlotte Bell, TIAC President & CEO, "Canada saw gains from both mature and emerging visitor markets, showing that Canada is really back on the map as a must-visit destination around the world for vacation and business travel."
Of particular note, Canada saw a growth of 22% from China, from which visitation has been booming since Canada was granted ADS status in 2010. Also note worthy is that, even before the lift of the Mexican visa, visits from Mexico went up 23% in 2016.
"Looking at the numbers out of China and Mexico, it's clear that investing in attracting travellers from emerging markets is a winning strategy for Canadian tourism," states Bell, "We are confident that the lift of the Mexican visa, and increasing Chinese access to Visa Application Centres will help these numbers continue to soar."
While these markets represent impressive growth, Canada's largest inbound market, the United States, was the biggest contributor to inbound tourism by far. Nearly 13.9 million Americans visited Canada last year, bolstered by more marketing funding through the Connecting America program, and a favourable dollar. 
As we enter 2017, Canada has already been named the top place to visit in the world by Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and Condé Nast Traveler. TIAC is confident that with this reputation, and the marketing efforts of Destination Canada in target markets, we will see even greater growth in Canadian tourism as Canada celebrates its 150th birthday.  "These results certainly prove that Canada's investments in marketing are paying off. We have momentum - now is the time to bolster marketing funding for Destination Canada", added Bell.
The tourism industry in Canada is a $90-billion-dollar sector, with 1.6 million Canadian jobs dependent on economic activity generated by travel and tourism.
For more information please contact:
Marcela Diaz
Director, Public Affairs and Communications
Tourism Industry Association of Canada
t: 613-238-6378