The Daily — National tourism indicators, third quarter 2021



Released: 2022-01-07

Tourism spending in Canada (+28.3%) increased in the third quarter after rising 3.3% in the previous quarter. Tourism gross domestic product (GDP) (+31.1%) and employment attributable to tourism (+17.9%) also increased in the third quarter.

The growth in tourism-related activity came as pandemic restrictions eased throughout the third quarter and the number of people who received two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine doubled from early July to late September. Fully vaccinated travelers from the United States were permitted to enter Canada for non-essential travel beginning August 9, 2021, while the rest of discretionary international travelers were permitted entry September 7.

Passenger air transport (+156.0%) was the main contributor to the growth in tourism spending, accounting for almost a third of the growth during the quarter. Food services (+35.8%), accommodation (+27.0%) and recreation and entertainment (+69.3%) also contributed to growth in the third quarter. Despite the increases, tourism spending in Canada was 43.2% below pre-pandemic levels seen in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Chart 1

Chart 1: Increase in tourism spending
Tourism spending increases


Chart 1: Increase in tourism spending

Tourism GDP rose 31.1% in the third quarter, following a 3.1% increase in the second quarter. Transportation (+113.0%) and accommodation (+31.9%) were the main contributors to the increase in tourism GDP. Economy-wide GDP (+1.3%) grew at a slower pace, pushing tourism’s share of GDP up from 0.8% in the second quarter to 1.1% in the third quarter .

Employment attributable to tourism rose 17.9% in the third quarter, following a 1.5% increase in the previous quarter. The number of tourism jobs in food services (+27.8%), recreation and entertainment (+36.6%) and accommodation (+19.4%) contributed to the increase, while travel services fell 1.2%. Overall, total employment in Canada rose 3.0% in the third quarter, leading to an increase in tourism’s employment share of 0.4 percentage points to 2.8% in the third trimester.

Chart 2

Chart 2: Tourism gross domestic product and jobs attributable to increased tourism
Tourism gross domestic product and jobs attributable to increased tourism


Chart 2: Tourism gross domestic product and jobs attributable to increased tourism

Tourism spending by Canadians in Canada is on the rise

Tourism spending by Canadians in Canada rose 21.2% in the third quarter, following a 4.4% increase in the previous quarter. Domestic spending on passenger air transportation (+155.2%), food services (+29.7%) and recreation and entertainment (+62.3%) contributed the most to the increase.

The share of domestic spending in total spending was 91.5% in the third quarter. Although 5.4 percentage points lower than the previous quarter, the share of domestic tourism spending remains above the pre-pandemic share of 73.3% observed in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Spending by international visitors more than tripled

Tourism spending by international visitors to Canada rose 247.3% in the third quarter, following a 20.8% drop in the second quarter. Fully vaccinated travelers from the United States were allowed to enter from August 9, 2021 (about halfway through the quarter), while the rest of the fully vaccinated international travelers were allowed to enter from September 7. Overnight travel from the United States increased sixfold, while overnight travel from countries other than the United States more than doubled. Despite strong growth in the third quarter, spending by international visitors was 81.9% below pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Chart 3

Chart 3: The share of tourism spending in Canada by international visitors is increasing
The share of tourism spending in Canada by international visitors is increasing


Chart 3: The share of tourism spending in Canada by international visitors is increasing





Sustainable Development Goals

On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations’ transformative action plan that addresses pressing global challenges over the next 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.

The National Tourism Indicators are an example of how Statistics Canada supports reporting on the Global Sustainable Development Goals. This version will be used to help measure the following objective:

Notice to readers

Tourism expenditure and gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates are expressed in real (i.e. price-adjusted) terms, using the base year 2012, and are seasonally adjusted , unless otherwise stated.

Employment data are also seasonally adjusted.

The share of tourism in economy-wide employment is calculated using seasonally adjusted values.

To learn more about seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Associated percentage changes are presented at quarterly rates, unless otherwise indicated.

GDP for the whole economy is obtained from table 36-10-0104-01. Employment in the whole economy is obtained from table 36-10-0207-01. Overnight trips are taken from table 24-10-0043-01.

Non-tourism industries, also called other industries, are industries that would continue to exist in the absence of tourism. For example, the crop production and oil refinery industries produce products that are purchased by tourists. However, none of these industries would cease to exist in the absence of tourism. Tourism GDP takes into account the production of these products purchased by tourists.

Non-tourism productsalso referred to as other products, are products for which a significant portion of its total demand in Canada does not come from visitors, such as groceries, clothing and alcohol purchased in stores.

With the publication of the national tourism indicators for the third quarter of 2021, all data for the first and second quarters have been revised.

Revisions over the period 2020 to 2021 are expected to be higher than normal due to the volatile economic situation, especially for the tourism sector.

The National Tourism Indicators are funded by Destination Canada.

next release

National Tourism Indicators data for the fourth quarter of 2021 will be released on March 30, 2022.


Some products

The Provincial and Territorial Tourism Satellite Account data visualization product, which is part of Statistics Canada – Data visualization products (Catalog number71-607-X), is available.

The Economic accounts statistics portal, accessible from the Topics module of the Statistics Canada website presents an up-to-date portrait of national and provincial economies and their structure.

the Latest Developments in the Canadian Economic Accounts (Catalog number13-605-X) is available.

the User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalog number13-606-G) is available.

the Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalog number13-607-X) is available.

Contact information

For more information, or to inquire about the concepts, methods, or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

Comments are closed.