National tourism indicators Fourth quarter 2008 and year 2008

Tourism spending in Canada edged down 0.1% in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2008, as outlays by Canadians continued to fall, while spending by international visitors to Canada was flat.

This was the first time tourism spending in Canada posted back-to-back declines since 2003, when the tourism sector was hit by the severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Canadians curtail spending at home
Canadians’ spending on tourism in Canada slipped 0.2% in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2008, after declining 0.4% in the third quarter.

Overnight travel within Canada was lower as indicated by the 0.7% decrease in spending on accommodation.

On the other hand, real spending on vehicle fuel and air transportation increased, as the price of gasoline at the pump fell sharply and air fares eased slightly.

The weakness in tourism spending at home mirrored lower travel spending outside the country, as Canadians made fewer outbound trips compared with the preceding quarter.

Spending by international visitors flat
Spending by international visitors to Canada was unchanged in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2008, after declining in the three previous quarters.

Outlays by international visitors on passenger air transportation were down 2.6%, reflecting fewer visitors from overseas countries.

Spending on vehicle fuel was 1.1% lower than in the previous quarter, owing to the continued decline in same-day trips from the United States.

These declines were offset by higher expenditures on accommodation, recreation and entertainment, as well as on non-tourism commodities (such as groceries, clothing and souvenirs), reflecting more overnight travel from the US.

Tourism gross domestic product contracts again
Tourism gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2008, following a negative third quarter.

Declines were registered across all tourism industries, led by transportation (-0.8%) and other tourism industries (-0.7%), which include the travel services and recreation and entertainment industries.

Tourism employment was unchanged following job losses in the third quarter of 2008. Gains in the transportation and food and beverage services industries were largely offset by losses in accommodation.

2008 year in review
Tourism spending in Canada increased 1.9% in real terms in 2008, as outlays by Canadians at home continued to rise, while those by international visitors decreased again.

Spending by international visitors in Canada fell 5.4% in real terms in 2008, the seventh decline in eight years, bringing tourism exports to their lowest level in 13 years.

Tourism outlays by Canadians at home weakened in the second half of 2008, and ended the year up 4.1% in real terms from 2007. This was the smallest gain in four years.

Tourism GDP advanced 1.8% in 2008, on the strength of first quarter gains. Tourism employment increased 1.4% to 662,900, half the pace set one year earlier.

You can find more details, charts and tables at:

For further information or to schedule interviews with a Statistics Canada Analyst regarding this release please contact: Jey Dharmaraj, at: (416) 954-5976 or [email protected]

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