Foreign Tourism in Canada Jumps 11 Percent in First Quarter

  • Spending gain by international visitors is biggest since 2012
  • Tourism benefiting from 20 percent depreciation in 2 years

Tourism spending by international visitors to Canada surged to start 2016, in a sign that a weaker Canadian dollar is giving a boost to the industry.

Total tourism expenditures by non-residents totaled C$3.1 billion ($2.4 billion) in the first quarter, which was up 11 percent from a year ago, Statistics Canada reported today. That’s the biggest annual gain since 2012 and the second-biggest over the past decade. Spending by Canadians on tourism-related activities was up 2 percent from a year ago.

Tourism has been cited by policy makers including Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz as one of the positive spin offs anticipated from a Canadian dollar that has declined by almost 20 percent over the past two years.

Adjusting for seasonality and price changes, expenditures by non-residents rose 4.3 percent in the first three months of the year, compared with the final quarter of 2015. The increase was the biggest since 2010.

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