This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 12/14/2018


In 2017, Canada continued to deliver the largest inbound travel market to the United States at 20.2 million visitors. The total share of international visitor arrivals for 2017 is currently not available, but in 2016 the total share was 25%.  Canadians made 31 million overnight trips out of the country in 2016, of which 61% were to the United States. Canadian visitation in 2017 increased by 5% in comparison to 2016. Canada ranked third in travel spending in the United States at US$19.8 billion in 2017, up 4% in comparison to the previous year. The growth rate for Canadian visitation to the United States in 2018 is projected to be 4%. International travel is the United States’ largest service export, accounting for 34% of total U.S. services exports to Canada in 2017. The provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec account for the largest share of visitors to the United States. Canadians travel to the United States across all seasons and to more U.S. destinations than visitors from any other country.

Canada delivered the largest spend in 2014 at US$27.2 billion. In 2015, Canada delivered the second largest spend at US$22.0 billion. In 2016 and 2017 Canada generated the third largest spend at US$19.1 and US$19.8 billion respectively.  Table below is in USD  $.

Domestic Travel Spend78.668.753.851.5 
International Travel Spend36.632.931.431.1
Canadian Travel Spend in U.S. 
Total Travel Spend115.2101.685.282.6 
(total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)

Leading Sub-Sectors

Within the travel and tourism industry, the following sub-sectors are expected to offer the best opportunities for U.S. destinations in the Canadian market.
  • Cross-border Shopping
  • Sightseeing
  • Experiential Tourism
  • Culinary Tourism
  • Cultural Tourism
  • Sports Tourism
  • Adventure Travel
  • Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events Travel (MICE)


  • Capitalize on momentum from the 2018/19 Brand USA “America’s Musical Journey” film campaign focused on music tourism.
  • As the largest and most culturally familiar travel market, Canada offers the broadest range of relatively easy travel promotion opportunities for destinations and attractions across the United States
  • New airline routes to the United States (WestJet, Air Canada, and Porter Airlines strategic alliance with JetBlue).
  • Canada’s aging population (more are over 65 than 15 and younger).  Older demographic prefers travel to the United States over other countries.
  • Baby boomers with time and money are interested in staying in the southern U.S. over the winter (the “snowbirds”).
  • Evidence that destinations who offer Canadian dollar-at-par promotions or other comparable incentives reap the return on investment – maintaining/increasing Canadian visitation.
  • Capitalize on MICE travel between Canada and the United States.  This niche segment of the industry generates significant annual spending.
Major Upcoming Trade Shows/Events in Canada:
  • IncentiveWorks (MICE); Aug. 14-15, 2018  Toronto, ON
  • Discover America Day (Media Marketplace); October 1, 2018; Toronto, ON
  • Trade and Media Event; October 18, 2018; Montreal, QC
  • International Travel and Tourism Show; October 19-21, 2018; Montreal, QC
  • Outdoor Adventure Show; March 23-24, 2019; Calgary, AB

Web Resources

U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries - - Source of data on Canadian travel and tourism preferences and trends.

Visit the USA - Discover America - – Source of information on visas/entry requirements, travel and activity planning, accommodations, health and safety, etc.

For additional information on this sector, please contact Commercial Specialist Ruth Williamson at; Tel: (416) 595-5412, ext. 238.


Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

Canada Travel and Tourism Trade Development and Promotion