Characteristics of international travellers: First quarter 2008 (preliminary): StatsCan

August 27, 2008 – Canadian travel to the United States and overseas countries increased in the first quarter. Travel from overseas countries to Canada also increased, while travel from the United States declined.

Canadian residents took about 4.5 million overnight trips to the United States, up 21.5% compared with the previous year. First-quarter Canadian overnight travel to the United States increased for the fifth consecutive year.

Florida continued to be the most visited state as Canadians took nearly 1.3 million overnight visits there in the first quarter of 2008. Washington State recorded the strongest increase from the previous year with 41.7% more overnight visits by Canadian residents. Each of the top 10 visited states recorded increases in the first quarter compared with the same quarter last year.

Pleasure trips, which accounted for 59.5% of overnight Canadian travel to the United States, rose 23.2% from the first quarter of 2007. During the same time, the number of trips to visit friends and relatives increased 19.1%, while business trips were up 8.6% compared with the first quarter of 2007.

The average value of the Canadian dollar during the first quarter of 2008 was 99.6 US cents, or just below parity. This was an increase of 16.7% from the same period in 2007, when the dollar was valued at 85.4 US cents.

Canadian spending in the United States rose 23.3% to about $3.8 billion.

Canadians continue to travel overseas

Canadian residents made nearly 2.8 million overnight trips to overseas countries during the first three months of 2008. This was up 12.0% from the same quarter last year, and was a continuation of the upward trend in Canadian trips overseas noted over the last five years.

The top three most visited overseas countries by Canadians were Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. These three were also the top three destinations during the first quarter of the previous year.

Nearly 590,000 overnight visits were made to Mexico alone, an increase of 7.2% compared with the first quarter of 2007. Visits to Cuba rose 35.4% to 505,000 while Canadians made 405,000 visits to the Dominican Republic, up 7.8% from the same period in 2007.

During their travels in overseas countries, Canadians spent $3.5 billion, a 13.1% increase from the first three months of last year and the highest level noted for a first quarter of the year.

More overseas visitors came to Canada

Just as travel by Canadians to overseas countries increased, so did the number of overseas trips to Canada.

Overseas tourists took 677,000 overnight trips to Canada between January and March of this year, up 2.2% compared with the same period in 2007.

The United Kingdom remained the top overseas country of origin with 141,000 overnight trips to Canada. France ranked second with 59,000 overnight trips to Canada.

Overall, overseas residents spent $957 million on overnight trips in Canada, a slight increase of 0.2% from the first quarter of 2007.

Fewer Americans coming to Canada

US residents took just over 1.7 million overnight trips to Canada in the first quarter of this year, down 3.6% compared with the same quarter in 2007. This was the third consecutive first-quarter decline and the ninth consecutive year-over-year quarterly decrease.

Among the top 10 states of origin for overnight travel to Canada, 7 states recorded year-over-year declines. Illinois recorded the largest decrease among the top 10 with a 15.5% drop in overnight trips.

Despite a 10.9% decrease, Washington State remained at the top of the list as its residents took 250,000 overnight trips to Canada.

Overnight travel both by air and by car from the United States fell between January and March 2008. It was the sixth consecutive year in which first-quarter overnight car trips declined.

American residents made one million overnight car trips to Canada, a 3.4% decline from the first quarter of 2007.

American residents took 760,000 overnight pleasure trips to Canada in the first quarter, a 4.7% drop compared with the same period last year. While the number of business trips increased 3.5% to 455,000, overnight trips for visiting friends and relatives declined 9.1% in the first quarter.

American tourists spent $866 million in Canada, down 6.6% from the first quarter of 2007.

About Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada produces statistics that help Canadians better understand their country�its population, resources, economy, society and culture. In Canada, providing statistics is a federal responsibility. As Canada�s central statistical agency, Statistics Canada is legislated to serve this function for the whole of Canada and each of the provinces. Visit