International travel account for Second quarter 2007 (preliminary): reports StatsCan

Sept., 2007 – Canada’s international travel deficit narrowed in the second quarter of 2007. Foreign visitors increased spending in Canada while Canadian travellers reduced spending abroad.

The deficit (the difference between spending by Canadian residents abroad and spending by foreigners in Canada) slipped to an estimated $1.7 billion in the second quarter. This was a decline of $131 million from the first three months of 2007. (Unless otherwise specified, quarterly data are seasonally adjusted.)

The deficit dropped for the second consecutive quarter since reaching a record high of $2.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006. However, the travel deficit still remains one of the highest ever.

Increased travel spending in Canada contributed to the trimming of the deficit. Foreigners spent $4.2 billion in the country in the second quarter, up 2.1% from the previous quarter.

Also, Canadian travel spending abroad slipped for the second consecutive quarter, down 0.8% to $5.9 billion. Prior to this, it had increased for nine consecutive quarters.

Travel deficit with the US lowest in a year

The travel deficit with the United States dropped for the first time in a year in the second quarter of 2007, falling to its lowest level since the second quarter of 2006. The deficit slipped to $1.1 billion, down $195 million from the 13-year high observed at the start of 2007.

Travellers from the United States spent $2.1 billion in Canada in the second quarter, up 4.4% from the previous quarter. This was the first increase in spending in a year and only the second since the end of 2004.

Increased overnight travel spurred the higher travel spending from the United States. American residents took 3.4 million overnight trips in the second quarter, up 3.7% from the first quarter.

A drop in spending by Canadians in the United States also contributed to lowering the deficit. Canadian residents spent $3.2 billion in the second quarter, down 3.3% and the lowest level in a year. The decreased spending occurred despite a 13-year high in overnight travel south of the border, which reached 4.1 million trips, up 0.9% from the previous quarter.

In the second quarter, the Canadian dollar reached an average of 91 US cents, up 6.7% from the previous quarter and the highest level in nearly 30 years.

Record spending by Canadians pushes travel deficit with overseas countries upward

Canada’s travel deficit with overseas countries climbed to $668 million in the second quarter of 2007. This was a $64 million increase from the previous quarter and the second highest level in over three years.

Record spending in overseas countries contributed to the higher deficit as Canadians spent $2.7 billion, up 2.3% from the previous quarter. Spending overseas has shown an upward trend recently, falling only twice since the second quarter of 2003.

This surge in spending can be attributed to a jump in travel to non-US destinations. Travel to overseas countries has increased in the last seven quarters and has risen 54.0% in the last five years.


International travel account receipts and payments
Second quarter 2006r First quarter 2007r Second quarter 2007p First quarter to second quarter 2007
Seasonally adjusted1
$ millions % change
United States
Receipts 2,243 2,022 2,110 4.4
Payments 3,129 3,276 3,169 -3.3
Balance -886 -1,255 -1,059
All other countries
Receipts 1,970 2,084 2,081 -0.1
Payments 2,556 2,688 2,749 2.3
Balance -586 -604 -668
Receipts 4,213 4,106 4,191 2.1
Payments 5,685 5,964 5,918 -0.8
Balance -1,472 -1,859 -1,727

r revised

p preliminary

1. Data may not add to totals due to rounding.

In the second quarter, Canadians took a record 1.8 million trips overseas, up 0.6% from the previous quarter.

Spending by travellers from overseas countries in Canada slipped 0.1% to $2.1 billion in the second quarter. The minor setback was caused by a 1.5% drop in overnight travel from overseas countries.

Despite the drop in the number of tourists, travel from overseas countries is more popular than ever, as the two highest quarterly levels on record were reached in 2007. In the second quarter, over 1.1 million tourists from overseas countries visited Canada.

During the second quarter, the Canadian dollar gained against other major international currencies, such as the Japanese yen, the euro and the UK pound sterling.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers, including related surveys, 3152 and 5005.

The international travel account for the third quarter will be released on November 28.

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