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Perspectives 2024: The Tourist Accommodation Sector Strives to Surpass Pre-Pandemic Records

Statistics Canada reports a continuous growth in tourist demand for accommodation and travel. The figures are increasingly approaching the records of 2019.

The tourism sector has been making an increasingly solid contribution to the Canadian economy. Activities continue to grow and approach the record levels established in 2019 before the Covid pandemic, as shown by the latest data published by Statistics Canada.

The next report is expected to be released on January 5, 2024, with data for the third quarter of 2023. The market expects the data to indicate another year of growth ahead.

Throughout 2023, a continuous increase in revenue has been observed in various segments of the Canadian tourism landscape. This trajectory indicates that the post-pandemic recovery, which characterizes the 2022 statistics, is continuing, with expected repercussions for the coming year in 2024.

In the second quarter of 2023, gross tourism revenues reached a substantial amount of 21.188 billion Canadian dollars. This upward trend has been observed in every successive quarter since the beginning of the pandemic, suggesting that Canada is on the verge of approaching its pre-pandemic tourism revenue zenith, recorded at 23.975 billion Canadian dollars in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The accommodation sector, responsible for 17% of tourist revenues, was the first to exceed pre-pandemic levels. Tourist expenditures on accommodation remained higher than pre-pandemic values for a year until the first quarter of 2023. After that, they recorded a slight decline in the second quarter of 2023. Remaining data for 2023 will be published in 2024 by Statistics Canada.

The accommodation sector is at the forefront of this recovery, experiencing a remarkable resurgence. In the second quarter of 2023, accommodation revenues reached 3.615 billion Canadian dollars, a level not consistently seen since 2018 and 2019. The peak remains the value of the fourth quarter of 2019, which was 3.744 billion Canadian dollars. Will this sector surpass this quarterly record as it has done four times consecutively since the second quarter of 2022?

Accommodation, as the second most significant component of tourist expenses, is regaining ground. The first place is still held by transport expenses, which, despite notable progress, have not yet reached the pre-pandemic peaks observed between 2017 and 2019.

In the second quarter of 2023, demand for transport in the tourism sector reached 8.565 billion Canadian dollars, approaching pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, which were above 9 billion Canadian dollars. The transport sector accounts for 40.42% of tourist revenues in Canada.

The air transport sector alone represents 25.05%, exerting a significant influence on the overall sector data. One might wonder if this sector is about to revisit the historical milestones of the previous decade in 2024.

Travel across Canada

The latest data from Statistics Canada shows growth in travel to Canada. Tourist travels from abroad increased from January to September 2023 but represent 90% of the rates recorded before the pandemic.

Surprisingly, internal travels are evolving more rapidly. Tourists residing in Canada have traveled more extensively across the country than in 2019, according to data from the first and second quarters of 2023. Missing data for 2023 is expected to be published in 2024.

Missing data for 2023 is expected to be published in 2024.