Travel between Canada and other countries: StatsCan

September 2007 – Same-day car trips by Canadians to the United States hit a six-year high in September as the number of these trips surpassed the 2-million mark for the first time this year.

Canadians made an estimated 2.1 million same-day car trips south of the border, a 4.0% increase from August. It was the seventh consecutive monthly gain and the highest level since August 2001. (Unless otherwise specified, monthly data are seasonally adjusted.)

There are many factors that affect travel between Canada and the United States, and one of the most often mentioned, especially in terms of same-day travel, is the exchange rate. The loonie hit parity with its American counterpart on September 20, putting its average monthly value at 97.5 cents US.

September’s level for same-day car trips was still a long way off the peak of 5.4 million recorded in November 1991, when the value of the dollar was just 88.5 cents US.

The seven-month increase in same-day car travel follows declines of 4.3% in January and 7.1% in February. These declines coincided with the introduction on January 23 of the new passport regulations for entering the United States by plane. It is uncertain if confusion over the new regulations had an affect on car travel during that time.

All forms of travel to the United States were up. Overnight car travel increased 4.2% to 930,000 in September, the largest number recorded since December 1993.

Canadians made 507,000 overnight trips to the United States by plane, up 1.5%. This marks the first time that overnight plane travel to the United States topped the half-million mark.

In the opposite direction, overall travel from the United States to Canada remained relatively stable (+0.1%) in September as a decline in same-day car travel nearly offset a gain in overnight trips.

Same-day car travel from the United States fell 2.3% in September to 945,000, just above the record low of 914,000 set in February this year.

Same-day car trips from south of the border have been below the 1-million mark in eight of the first nine months of 2007. These are the lowest numbers observed since record-keeping began in 1972.

Americans made an estimated 1,142,000 overnight trips to Canada in September, up 2.4% from August. Overnight car trips increased 1.0% to 672,000, while those by plane edged up 0.4%.

The total number of overseas travellers to Canada increased to 386,000 in September, up 0.4% from August. Among the top 12 overseas markets for Canada, India showed the largest increase (+8.1%) while Hong Kong recorded the largest drop (-3.6%).

Outward bound, Canadians took 617,000 trips to non-US destinations, up 1.5% from August, another record high. The monthly number of trips by Canadians to overseas destinations has just about doubled over the past decade.

Travel between Canada and other countries
  August 2007r September 2007p August to September 2007 September 2007p September 2006 to September 2007
  Seasonally adjusted Unadjusted
  thousands % change1 thousands % change1
Canadian trips abroad2 4,165 4,310 3.5 4,233 11.0
to the United States 3,556 3,692 3.8 3,712 11.6
to other countries 608 617 1.5 521 7.4
Same-day car trips to the United States 1,997 2,076 4.0 2,110 7.8
Total trips, one or more nights 2,108 2,174 3.1 2,072 15.0
United States3 1,500 1,556 3.8 1,551 17.8
Car 892 930 4.2 980 20.8
Plane 500 507 1.5 410 7.3
Other modes of transportation 108 120 11.1 161 30.3
Other countries4 608 617 1.5 521 7.4
Travel to Canada2 2,567 2,572 0.2 2,987 -6.1
from the United States 2,183 2,186 0.1 2,439 -7.9
from other countries 385 386 0.4 548 2.6
Same-day car trips from the United States 968 945 -2.3 967 -14.8
Total trips, one or more nights 1,490 1,518 1.9 1,871 -1.3
United States3 1,115 1,142 2.4 1,336 -2.7
Car 666 672 1.0 724 -7.1
Plane 314 315 0.4 352 -3.2
Other modes of transportation 136 154 13.7 260 13.0
Other countries4 375 376 0.5 534 2.6
Travel to Canada: Top overseas markets, by country of origin5          
United Kingdom 78 78 -0.5 118 2.4
France 31 30 -1.9 49 -5.5
Japan 28 28 0.6 48 -6.3
Germany 26 26 2.3 48 4.6
Mexico 20 20 2.1 22 16.9
Australia 19 19 -0.5 27 7.3
South Korea 18 18 1.6 21 3.6
China 13 14 2.6 19 -0.9
Netherlands 10 10 -1.9 14 -0.3
Hong Kong 10 10 -3.6 11 10.3
India 8 8 8.1 10 13.8
Italy 8 8 -2.9 10 3.8

p : preliminary

r : revised

1. : Percentage change is based on unrounded data.

2. : Totals exceed the sum of “same-day car trips” and “total trips, one or more nights” because they include all of the same-day trips.

3. : Estimates for the United States include counts of cars and buses, and estimated numbers for planes, trains, boats and other methods.

4. : Figures for other countries exclude same-day entries by land only, via the United States.

5. : Includes same-day and overnight trips.

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