TORONTO -- Despite being advised against all non-essential travel outside of the country, Statistics Canada reported that there was an increase in Canadians returning home from travelling abroad in December 2020.

According to new data released Tuesday, more than 170,700 Canadians flew home from abroad in December. The agency says that was an increase of 33.7 per cent from November 2020.

Statistics Canada reported that Canadian residents were returning from travel overseas as well as from the United States during these months.

However, StatCan says the number of travellers to Canada from both the U.S. and overseas was down 93 per cent compared to December 2019. As well, the agency reported that the number of Canadian residents returning from abroad was also down, by 91.3 per cent.

StatCan added that there were fewer Americans crossing into Canada during the last year and U.S. visits by Canadians "remains low."

According to the agency, Canadian residents made 271,100 return trips from the U.S. in December, down 92 per cent from the same month the previous year.

Despite provincial measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, including health screenings at airports and mandatory quarantines, the number of Canadians returning from the U.S. by plane increased in December 2020 when compared to the previous month.

StatCan reported that 62,500 Canadians arrived from the U.S. by air in December, an increase of 14.7 per cent from November 2020.

The agency noted that the number of travellers from overseas to Canada declined by 91.8 per cent in December 2020 compared to the same period the year before.

Additionally, Statistics Canada noted that the types of groups who are travelling has changed over the course of the pandemic.

The agency reported that non-residents and returning Canadians accounted for 76.1 per cent of all international arrivals to Canada in 2020. However, this number is down 77.8 per cent compared to previous years.

With some forms of travel are deemed essential, StatCan says the number of "other travellers," including non-resident, Canadian crews, and truck drivers, declined by 24.8 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019 data.

While StatCan acknowledges that travel has "edged up each month" since April 2020, the agency says it continues to remain "far below 2019 levels."