It seems the weak loonie and lower gas prices convinced Canadians to vacation closer to home this year – a trend that is expected to continue in 2016, according to the latest numbers from The Conference Board of Canada.
Following an increase of 2.8% this year, overnight travel within Canada is expected to grow by another 2.4% in 2016, according to the latest Travel Markets Outlook for both national and metropolitan cities.
- Overnight visits to and within Canada are expected to increase by 2.4% in 2016, thanks largely to lower gas prices and a weaker Canadian dollar.
- The strengthening US economy and a more favourable exchange rate are expected to contribute to a 3.3% growth in overnight travel from the US next year.
- However, the pace of Canada’s tourism growth in 2016 will be dampened by higher travel prices and financial concerns among consumers and businesses.
- Halifax, Québec City, Montreal, Ottawa-Gatineau, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver will all attract more visitors in 2016.
“The weaker Canadian dollar has helped make Canadian travel destinations more price competitive for both Canadians and those travellers from abroad, particularly Americans. At the same time, lower gas prices are reducing the costs of road trips,” says Greg Hermus, associate director for The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Tourism Research Institute. “Canada will see more overnight visits from domestic and international travellers, but the pace of growth in Canada’s tourism will be slowed by economic and financial concerns among consumers and businesses.”
Overnight travel from the US is estimated to have increased by 7% this year – the strongest growth since 1998. The outlook will continue to be favourable, as a stronger US economy and an advantageous exchange rate are expected to boost overnight visits in 2016 year by 3.3%. Similarly, overseas arrivals to Canada are projected to increase by an additional 4.8% next year, following growth of 5.3% this year.
Travel prices in Canada are forecasted to increase going forward. Overall, travel prices are anticipated to rise by 2.4% next year. In particular, travellers will pay 2.8% more for accommodations, 2.6% more for transportation and 2.5% more for food and beverage services.
Of the nine Canadian cities covered in the Travel Markets Outlook’s Metropolitan Focus, most can count on tourism growth of between 2% and 3% next year. Vancouver will be the standout with overnight visits expected to increase by 3.4% in 2016.