OTTAWA – Tourism spending in Canada rose during the third quarter but remained less than half (-52.9%) its level in the fourth quarter of 2019. The 56.4% increase partially offset the large declines in the first (-14.0%) and second (-65.0%) quarters. Tourism gross domestic product (GDP) and jobs attributable to tourism were also up from the second quarter but remained well below pre-pandemic levels.
All tourism spending categories posted double-digit growth or greater from the historic lows of the second quarter. Despite more than doubling (+131.7%), passenger air transport remained the hardest hit spending category, with levels 89.9% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Tourism GDP increased in the third quarter (+62.6%), following record declines in the first (-14.3%) and second (-65.2%) quarters. Despite this increase, tourism GDP remained 51.5% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2019. Economy-wide GDP rose 8.9% from the previous quarter but was down 5.3% from the fourth quarter of 2019. Tourism’s share of GDP rose from 0.7% in the second quarter to 1.0% in the third but was still well below the pre-pandemic level (2.0%).
Employment attributable to tourism rose 27.1% in the third quarter, following declines in the first (-6.7%) and second (-43.8%) quarters. The increase was driven mainly by more jobs in food and beverage services (+47.2%), accommodation (+39.3%), and non-tourism industries (+26.1%), which all registered significant losses in the second quarter. Growth was constrained by lower employment in air transportation (-8.5%). Overall, employment in Canada rose 19.3% in the third quarter, and, as a result, tourism’s share of jobs rose to 2.8%.
Tourism spending in Canada by Canadians rose 56.9% in the third quarter, recouping some of the 56.8% decline from the previous quarter. Nevertheless, compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, domestic tourism spending was down 40.6%.
Domestic tourism spending accounted for 98.6% of total tourism spending in the third quarter, slightly higher than the 98.3% recorded in the second quarter, as Canadians increased their tourism spending in Canada at a faster pace than international visitors. This compares with an average domestic tourism spending share of 79.1% from 2014 to 2019.
Tourism spending by international visitors to Canada rose 28.2% in the third quarter, following a second-quarter (-97.1%) devastated by travel restrictions. Despite the large quarterly growth, spending was down 97.0% compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.