BY A CORRESPONDENT
March 1, 2007
Canadians spent a record $23.7 billion travelling
outside of Canada in 2006, while foreigners spent a
little less in Canada compared to a year ago – leaving
Canada with its biggest travel deficit ever.
Spending by Canadians in both the United States and
other countries climbed to record levels, Statistics
Canada said in its annual tally of spending by Canadians travelling outside the country and spending by foreign
visitors in Canada.
The deficit – the difference between the two –
continued, a steady climb in recent years, jumping by a
further $1.4 billion to $7.2 billion.
“The burgeoning deficit was the result of record
spending abroad,” Statistics Canada said, noting that
spending by Canadians outside the country rose by 6.2%
from its previous high reached just a year earlier.
While the surge in foreign travel by Canadians has been
good for Canada’s major airlines, which have reported
that they carried a record load of passengers in 2006,
it is not good for the domestic tourism industry.
Neither is it good for the Canadian economy as a whole,
as it results in more money flowing out of the country
than into it.
Foreigners in Canada spent $16.4 billion in the country
in 2006 – a slight decline from the previous year. While
there has been little change in foreign spending in
Canada since 2001, spending by Canadians soared by 28%.
Canada’s travel deficit with the United States hit a
13-year high of $4.5 billion in 2006, up $1 billion from
a year earlier, and nearly 10 times the $544-million low
reached just three years earlier. The increase was on
account of record spending by Canadians in the United
States and lower spending by US visitors in Canada.
Canadian spending in the US climbed by 6.3% to reach an
all-time high of $13.2 billion – reflecting a 7.6% surge
in Canadian visits to the US to 16 million, the highest
level since 1993.
Meanwhile, US visitors spent $8.7 billion in Canada, an
eight-year-low and down by 2.9% from 2005. This
reflected in part a 4.3% fall in overnight or longer
visits from the US to 13.8 million, the fewest since
Also cutting into spending by Americans visiting Canada
has been a seven-year slide in same-day visits to Canada
to a record low of 13.7 million, down by 12.5% from
Though spending on same-day trips accounts for only
about one-ninth of total spending by American visitors,
the drop in same-day trips has been so steep as to have
an impact on overall spending.
The Canadian dollar, which has been climbing steadily
against the US dollar since 2003, rose further by 6.8%
in 2006 to an average 88.2 cents US, the highest level
since the late 1970s.
Canada’s travel deficit with other countries also
increased by $368 million to a record $2.8 billion in
2006, the sixth straight annual increase in the travel
spending shortfall with countries other than the United