Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — Oh, Canada! It was a record-breaking year for Canadian tourism in 2016, with the highest number of tourist arrivals in 14 years.
According to Destination Canada’s year-end data, 19.98 million travellers came to explore Canada from coast to coast in 2016, a total that’s just shy of the country’s best year on record in 2002.
Total arrivals grew by 11% last year, which is the fastest year-over-year growth in 20 years. Arrivals from the United States reached 13.90 million (+ 9.7%), its highest observed level since 2005. The strong performance of U.S. arrivals was underpinned by strong growth in arrivals by air (+17.4%) throughout 2016, and solid overall gains in auto arrivals (+6.8%).
The number of Americas arriving to Canada by air breached the 4 million mark for the first time with 4.53 million arrivals, an all-time high nearly 15.3% higher than the previous peak from 2004.
Overseas markets also did exceptionally well, with arrivals up 16%, topping the record high set in 2015. Canada set new records for travellers arriving from South Korea, China, Australia, India, France and Brazil.
In December 2016, a total of 1.34 million international overnight arrivals broke a new record for arrivals for that month, with 11.3% growth over the previous high set in 2015. Also in that month, solid double-digit gains were set in nine of Destination Canada’s overseas markets, with high results emerging from Mexico (+69.1%) and India (+43.4%), as well as record December monthly numbers for France (+22.1%), Germany (+19.0%), China (+17.7%), Australia (+23.1%), and Brazil (+23.2%).
Destination Canada released a handy infographic to sum up 2016’s record numbers: