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Tourism in Canada had its second consecutive record-breaking year in 2018 with 21.13 million travellers to Canada, according to a report released on Thursday by Destination Canada.

The organization said tourism generates 745,300 jobs in communities across Canada and contributes an estimated $102.5 billion to the economy.

“The results released today once again demonstrate that tourism is a key part of the Canadian economy,” said Mélanie Joly, federal minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, in a statement.

“Canada’s tourism sector creates good jobs and supports middle-class families in every region of the country. Our government is determined to help this sector reach its full potential. That’s why we’re developing a new tourism strategy. We want Canada to take its rightful place among the world’s top destinations.”

Destination Canada said overnight arrivals to Canada from countries other than the United States reached an all-time high of 6.7 million in 2018, representing 32 per cent of the total arrivals. Overseas tourists typically stay in Canada longer and spend more, benefiting tourism businesses in communities across Canada, and the economy, it said.

“These strong results reflect the passion and dedication of the thousands of Canadians who work in our tourism sector,” said Ben Cowan-Dewar, chairperson of Destination Canada’s board of directors, in a statement. “Destination Canada has aligned industry partners across the country when marketing Canada internationally to give Canada a competitive edge and consistent voice to position Canada as top of mind for travellers from all over the world.”

Here are some key highlights from 2018:

  • 2018 was the best year for Canadian tourism on record, with arrivals reaching 21.13 million, breaking the 21-million mark for the first time ever;
  • China, France, and Mexico surpassed the 700,000, 600,000, and 400,000 marks, respectively, for annual visitors to Canada for the first time in 2018;
  • a record-breaking performance in December brought 2018 U.S. arrivals to 14.44 million, the highest level recorded since 2004;
  • new annual arrivals records were set in the following key international markets: China – 737,379 arrivals, an increase of six per cent over 2017; France – 604,166 arrivals, an increase of five per cent over 2017; Mexico – 404,402 arrivals, an increase of five per cent over 2017; and India – 287,416 arrivals, an increase of 15 per cent over 2017.

– Mario Toneguzzi

tourism industry

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