Canadians' trips abroad hit 40-year high: StatsCan
Published Tuesday, August 21, 2012 11:15AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 21, 2012 11:37PM EDT
Whether it was a hiatus in France or a jaunt to the United States, Canadians took 2.8 million overnight trips abroad in June, the highest monthly figure recorded in four decades.
Statistics Canada reported Tuesday that overnight travel was up 5.7 per cent in June, an increase that the agency attributes to excursions to both the United States and overseas countries.
The increase came near the start of vacation season and after a sluggish May, when Canadian residents made 1.7 per cent fewer trips abroad than the previous month.
More than 800,000 Canadians packed their bags and headed overseas in June, the agency reported. Though Statistics Canada has been reporting a general increase in travel abroad, it’s the first time trips overseas have exceeded 800,000.
Canadians took a notable 1.9 million overnight trips to the U.S. in June, a 7.5 per cent increase and also the highest monthly figure recorded since 1972.
Most of those trips -- 1.2 million, to be exact -- were overnight car trips.
Canadian shoppers say the high loonie and relaxed cross-border shopping limits make travel to the U.S. for groceries, clothing and cheaper gas worthwhile.
Canadian businesses, on the other hand, are “losing out,” Mindy Moss, the owner of a Winnipeg clothing store, told CTV News.
Others say it doesn’t help that Ottawa has slashed its tourism budget while the U.S. runs glitzy ad campaigns to attract Canadians.
“We're getting creamed in the international market, both inbound and outbound,” Anthony Pollard, president of the Hotel Association of Canada, said.
“Canadians are leaving the country more than they should be, and people are not coming in here.”
But according to Statistics Canada, there were just as many people coming as there were going.
Travel to Canada from overseas countries was up 0.5 per cent in June to 2.1 million trips.
Trips from Canada’s neighbours to the south reached about one million, Statistics Canada reported. Most visitors from the United States, however, opted to come by car.
Overnight plane travel from the United States decreased 0.7 per cent in June, while 1.9 per cent more Americans hit the open road and rekindled their love affair with the car.
Meanwhile, travel from overseas countries to Canada rose 0.8 per cent to 381,000 trips.
Near the end of the month, Canada faced some competition for tourism dollars from the United States, which launched a multi-million dollar global ad campaign inviting tourists to the U.S.
The $200-million campaign features Rosanne Cash singing “Land of Dreams.” About 10 per cent of the promotion’s ad budget was to be spent in Canada.
With a report from CTV’s Richard Madan