Conference Board stats confirm rise in domestic travel
Capilano Bridge in Vancouver.

Conference Board stats confirm rise in domestic travel

OTTAWA — The number of Canadians travelling within Canada is expected to increase by 2.1% in 2016, while overnight visits to Canada from the U.S. and overseas are expected to increase by 5.1% and 5.2% respectively, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s National and Metropolitan Travel Markets Outlooks.

At the same time Canadian travel prices are forecast to increase by 1.7% this year.

“A favourable exchange rate coupled with low gas prices will make Canada an attractive destination for both Canadian and international travellers in 2016,” said Greg Hermus, Associate Director for The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Tourism Research Institute.

Regionally the nine Canadian cities covered in the report should see varied levels of tourism growth in 2016. Edmonton will see the lowest growth at 0.8%, while Vancouver will see the highest increase with overnight visits expected to increase by 4.1% in 2016.

  • Halifax: Reinforced by strengthening economic prospects and recent hotel room additions, overnight travel to Halifax is forecast to grow by 2.7% in 2016. The number of Canadians travelling to the city is also expected grow by 2.2% this year.
  • Quebec City: Overnight travel to Québec City is projected to increase 3% in 2016, with the strongest gains coming from international markets.
  • Montreal: Overnight visits are projected to increase by 3.4%, with the strongest growth coming from overseas markets. New attractions and greater hotel inventory should help stimulate pleasure travel while large conventions, such as the World Social Forum and the International Economic Forum of the Americas, should boost business travel.
  • Ottawa-Gatineau: Business travel to Canada’s capital is expected to experience slightly stronger growth due to an increase in public sector spending and employment. Low gas prices should also help increase auto travel from nearby border states. Overall, overnight visits to the Nation’s Capital should rise by 2.7%.
  • Toronto: Tourism activity in Toronto should get a lift this year from the city’s hosting of major sporting events, such as the NBA All-Star Game, the Grey Cup, and the World Cup of Hockey. All told overnight visits to Toronto are projected to increase by 3.3% in 2016.
  • Winnipeg: Solid economic prospects and rising consumer confidence should support overnight visits to the city, which are set to increase by 2.7%. Moreover, Winnipeg’s tourism industry should receive a boost from the NHL Heritage Classic Game.
  • Calgary: Weaker economic conditions should benefit Alberta’s pleasure travel as they encourage Albertans to travel closer to home. The city’s leisure travel industry should also benefit from hosting the 2016 Juno Awards and the opening of the National Music Centre.
  • Edmonton: Tourism in Edmonton is in for another difficult year. The local and provincial economic woes have taken a toll on corporate profitability and lowered consumer confidence in the province. Overnight visits to the city will increase by a slight 0.8% in 2016.
  • Vancouver: Overnight visits to Vancouver are poised to grow by 4.1% in 2016, thanks to the strength of domestic and international markets. Leisure travel to the city should receive a boost from the opening of the Trump International Hotel and from hosting the World Rugby Sevens Tournament.

The Travel Markets Outlook – National Focus provides a forecast for Canada’s tourism industry and each of the 10 provinces and Yukon. Its companion publication, Metropolitan Focus: Tourism Insights for Select Metropolitan Areas, provides a tourism forecast for nine Canadian cities. See conferenceboard.ca.