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February 18, 2022

Canada ranks 15th in world tourism: report

There’s no two ways about it: Canada is one of the most beautiful countries on earth.

But while we appreciate that notion, does the rest of the world?

New tourism numbers released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development yesterday suggest yes, though to a modest extent.

Based on the latest figures, Canada ranks a respectable 15th in the world for inbound tourism dollars. Canada brought in some $17 billion in 2008, just edging out Switzerland – but scoring behind Malaysia and Turkey – for the no. 15 spot.

The U.S. (about $136 billion), as you might imagine, soars above the next closest tourism hotbed – Spain, at number 2, with just over $60 billion.

Where outbound tourism is concerned, Canadian travellers are an omnipresent breed. Canuck tourists rank 8th in the world, according to the survey, spending just less than $30 million across the globe in 2008.

But despite all these figures, perhaps there’s no better picture of the Canadian tourism industry – said by some to be faltering – than its impact relative to our national economy.

Canadian tourism accounts for just 2 per cent (compare to 10.5 per cent in Spain) of the country’s GDP, and less than 4 per cent (compare to almost 13 per cent in Spain) of our total employment.

Troubling numbers? Tough to say, given the data pool perhaps being stained by the global recession. But what seems for sure is that Canadian tourism is declining, crappy economy be damned.

And there is no bigger detriment to the industry than a little gold-coloured, bronze-plated coin that’s recent strength is causing a flurry of problems.

The Windsor Star reports American trips to Canada, for example, were down almost 10 per cent last year, and the loonie is largely to blame.

“As someone who has spent most of my life in the States I can tell you that ‘your money goes further’ has been one of the main attractions for Americans visiting Canada,” said Bill Anderson, a cross-border transportation research chair at the U of Windsor.

“That is pretty much out the window now.”

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money 



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...