Canadian visitation to U.S. up 4.8%, and other stats from Discover America Day
Erin Owens and Sana Keller from Visit Florida

Canadian visits to U.S. up 4.8% and more stats from Discover America Day

TORONTO — What’s new in the United States? Plenty, as evident at the 12th annual Discover America Day – Canada in Toronto.

Over 30 suppliers took part in this year’s Media Marketplace, the only one of its kind in Canada that focuses solely on inbound tourism to the U.S. Destinations from coast to coast were in attendance to highlight their many new offerings and latest stats during a series of speed-round appointments with local media.

Canadian visitation to the U.S. is up, said Brand USA’s Jackie Ennis, Senior Director, Global Trade Development. In 2017, a total of 20.2 million Canadians travelled south of the border, an increase of 4.8%. This figure is particularly significant since in 2016 Canadian numbers dipped below the 20-million mark.

Canadian air travel was also up last year by 9%, a sign of more “competitive pricing” from airlines and Canadians’ resilience to currency exchange fluctuations, added Ennis.

And in the first quarter of 2018, the upward trend continued across the board, with visitation up 6.3% and air travel up 6.2% from an already-high 2017.

“The fact that the numbers are as high as they are, after the storms in Texas and Florida last year and the low Canadian dollar, shows that Canadians are confident about travelling to the U.S.,” said Ennis. “Shows like Discover America Day are very important because we can’t underestimate the need to disseminate new information about the destination.”

Here’s a roundup of what Travelweek learned from top suppliers:


  • In 2017, Florida welcomed 118.5 million visitors, a 5.4% increase over 2016, and of that total, 3.4 million were Canada, a 3% uptick from the year before
  • In Q1 2018, 33.2 million total visitors were record, an increase of 7.4% over the same period in 2017, representing the largest quarter in Visit Florida’s history
  • Florida will see an increase in airlift from Canada this winter, with Sunwing launching Daytona Beach flights in January, and Swoop starting service to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa Bay from Hamilton this month
  • Kennedy Space Center has just launched its new Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) for both kids and adults featuring a mission simulation including launching, landing and walking on Mars
  • Opening this December is the 89-room boutique hotel Sarasota Modern
  • The highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Resort will open in summer 2019, and at Walt Disney World Resort in late fall 2019


  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino opened in June 2018, taking over the former Trump Taj Mahal
  • Steel Pier, the 1,000-foot-long amusement park built on a pier of Atlantic City’s boardwalk, opened its new year-round Observation Wheel this spring, which at 227 feet tall is the third largest in the U.S.
  • The Revel Casino reopened as the Ocean Resort, part of the Hyatt Collection, this past June
  • According to Judi Pym, Regional Sales Manager for Meet AC, Atlantic City is reinventing itself from its traditional gaming persona to one that focuses more on family and cuisine
  • In addition to nine casino properties, Atlantic City offers tax-free clothing and shoe shopping, 20+ golf courses within 30 minutes of city limits, and seven wineries within an hour
Canadian visitation to U.S. up 4.8%, and other stats from Discover America Day

Randy Anger and Suzanne Pelisson Beasley from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment


  • Special Canadian Resident Pricing has been extended until April 30, 2019 for SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and Adventure Island Tampa Bay
  • SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Canadian Resident single-day visit is priced at US$74.99 plus tax and includes savings up to $30, valid for one year from date of purchase
  • New two-park offers are valid for a total of two visits at any of the aforementioned parks for $99.99 plus tax
  • Canadian Resident Any 2-Parks with All Day Dining (two visits at choice of SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa, Aquatica, Adventure Island) is priced at $139.99 plus tax
  • New attractions include Infinity Falls at SeaWorld Orlando, a river rapids raft ride inspired by the rainforests of South America, and Ray Rush water slide at Aquatica, a first of its kind in the state of Florida raft ride
Canadian visitation to U.S. up 4.8%, and other stats from Discover America Day

Cathy Reynolds, Lead Manager, IPW Press Operations


  • The 51st annual IPW takes place in Anaheim from June 1-5, 2019, and is expected to include 6,000+ attendees from 70 countries, including a 100-strong delegation from Canada
  • Approximately US$4.7 billion on future USA travel is booked as a result of IPW, with an additional one million in visitors coming to each host city
  • This marks the 10th time IPW will take place in the state of California
  • According to Cathy Reynolds, Lead manager, IPW Press Operations, Canadian travel to the U.S. is coming back strong after a decline in 2016
  • IPW has already booked host cities through to 2024: 2020 in Las Vegas, 2021 in Chicago, 2022 in Orlando, 2023 in San Antonio (first-time host city) and 2024 in Los Angeles
Canadian visitation to U.S. up 4.8%, and other stats from Discover America Day

Rosalyn Hunter, Public Relations Director, VoX International, Canadian representative of Texas Tourism


  • In 2017, Canadian visitation to Texas crossed the half-million mark, with 503,000 Canadians making the trip
  • This increase over 2016 can be attributed partly to increased airlift; Air Canada offers 9,000 seats per week, nonstop, to four Texas cities (Austin, DFW, San Antonio and Houston), making it the state’s largest carrier
  • Opened March 2018, the Fairmont Austin features direct access to the Austin Convention Center and offers 1,048 guestrooms and 42 suites
  • Opening next summer is the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, which will highlight the journey of the many who experienced the Holocaust and other social injustices
  • Opening in late 2018 is the 27-mile commuter rail line, Tex Rail, a US$1 billion project that will link downtown Fort Worth with DFW International Airport
  • Several new hotels have opened in Houston, including the 225-room Le Meridien-Downtown, the 158-room Hotel ZaZa Memorial City, the 225-Hotel Alessandra, and the 250-room The Post Oak


  • The state typically records half a million Canadian overnights each year, with one million in total driving through
  • According to Stephanie Freed-Burns, Account Manager, Visit North Carolina Canada Office, North Carolina is seeing an uptick of Canadians coming from the West, particularly Alberta
  • Following Hurricane Florence, Visit North Carolina is advising travellers to withhold from travelling to Wilmington for now; the Outer Banks was left unscathed, and inland, for the most part, is doing well
  • Did you know? There’s a place in the Outer Banks called ‘Canadian Hole’, named for the high number of Canadian visitors who come for the area’s windsurfing and kiteboarding
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