Tourism boost to Canadian market

Tourism boost to Canadian market

Spending on tourism in Canada increased during the final quarter of 2009, as numbers of both international and domestic visitors grew.

The North American destination saw tourism spending increase by 0.4 per cent in real terms during the fourth quarter – representing the second consecutive quarterly increase in spending.

The trend follows four negative quarters, starting in the summer of 2008, according to Statistics Canada.

International Visitors

Spending by international visitors to Canada edged up by 0.2 per cent in real terms over the period, partially offsetting large declines in the first three quarters of the year.

Outlays by international visitors on air transport were up 1.2 per cent, reflecting an increase in the number of visitors from overseas countries. Spending on accommodation, and food & beverage services also increased during the quarter.

However, spending on vehicle fuel was 1.4 per cent lower than the previous quarter - as car travel from the United States declined.

Spending on recreation and entertainment was unchanged.

Canadian authorities hope the trends will be supplemented by income from the 2010 Winter Olympics, which should have a “positive impact on tourism”.

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Domestic Travel

Canadians’ spending on tourism at home increased 0.4 per cent in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2009. This augments a 1.4 per cent increase in the third quarter of last year.

Spending on passenger air transport (the largest component of the transportation category) increased 1.1 per cent, while accommodation spending also rose.

Fuel consumption was, however, down.

WestJet

Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet has mooted a codeshare agreement with America’s largest carrier Delta Airlines, seemingly pouring cold water on a deal with rival Southwest Airlines.

WestJet initially modelled itself on Southwest, prompting analysts to argue the two carriers would make excellent partners.

However, WestJet – Canada’s second largest carrier – appears to be considering its options.

“Delta has an interest; they have a capability,” explained WestJet chief executive Gregg Saretsky.

“We like the Southwest partnership, but they’ve signalled to us that they’re not going to be ready.”

Codeshare agreements allow carriers to sell tickets to passengers from another airline, helping increase revenue while limiting costs.