March 30, 2009

Canadian tourism spending flat in 4Q

Domestic and international tourism spending in Canada was flat in the fourth quarter of 2008, Statistics Canada reported from Ottawa Monday.

Tourism spending in Canada edged down 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, while spending by international visitors to Canada was unchanged during the quarter, after declining in the three previous quarters, the report said.

This was the first time tourism spending in Canada posted back-to-back declines since 2003, when the tourism sector was hit by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, StatsCan said.

Canadians also made fewer outbound trips compared with the third quarter, the report said.

For the whole of 2008, spending by international visitors in Canada fell 5.4 percent the seventh decline in eight years, bringing tourism exports to their lowest level in 13 years, the federal agency said.

For all of 2008, tourism employment increased 1.4 percent to 662,900 jobs, which was half the rate set in 2007.