Canada had one hell of a birthday party last year.
According to Statistics Canada, we welcomed a record 20.8 million visitors in 2017. This can be attributed in part to celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. And, of course, free parks.
“The 2017 figures are a 4.4-percent increase over the near-record year Canada’s tourism sector enjoyed in 2016,” reads a release published by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Overseas visitors made up 31 per cent of all visits, while visitors from the United States totalled 69 per cent.
“Canadians are known the world over for our generosity, inclusiveness and warm hospitality. And thanks to the leadership of our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, more and more travellers from around the world want to visit,” said The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism.
“I am proud of the fact that we welcomed more than 20.8 million visitors to our beautiful country last year—a new record. However, I know that we are only just beginning. Looking to the future, I am excited for what is still to come.”
As well as the best year ever for total arrivals to Canada, China, France, Australia, Mexico, South Korea, India and Brazil all had their highest arrivals in 2017 too https://t.co/D5GnoRSOwR pic.twitter.com/f7GQEHkJ4t
— Destination Canada (@DestinationCAN) February 20, 2018
Indeed, the milestone marks the first of what will hopefully be many tourism records in the near future. Canada’s New Tourism Vision aims to increase the number of international tourists to Canada by 30 percent by 2021, double the number of Chinese visitors by the same year, and position Canada to compete for a top 10 destination ranking by 2025. It also includes actions to grow culinary tourism and support Indigenous tourism.
Representing 2 per cent of Canada’s GDP, tourism isn’t just a beacon of recreation. Canada’s tourism industry is an important source of jobs, a driver of entrepreneurship, and the country’s largest employer of youth.
With Toronto having just posted a new tourism record for 2017 as well, it looks like Canada will remain an international hot spot in the foreseeable future.