[Tourism] Another $ 52 billion loss for the industry across Canada in 2021 compared to 2019

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Tourism revenues in 2019

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Estimated tourism revenues in 2021

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Estimated tourism revenues evolution from 2019 to 2021

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Ontario the hardest hit province in Canada with a $24.9 billion loss in 2021 compared to 2019

As shown on the map above, all Canadian provinces have not been impacted to the same extent by the drop in tourist numbers due to the sanitary crisis.

With a $24.9 billion dollars drop in tourism revenues in 2021 compared to 2019, Ontario remains by far the hardest hit province of Canada, ahead of British Columbia ($10.1 billion), Quebec ($8.20 billion) and Alberta ($3.7 billion).

Loss in tourism revenues compared to 20192020 (in billion $)2021 (in billion $)
Ontario20.5024.90
British Columbia9.0010.10
Quebec6.908.20
Alberta3.003.70
Nova Scotia1.241.35
Newfoundland and Labrador1.041.14
Saskatchewan0.971.07
Manitoba0.700.80
New Brunswick0.320.51
Prince Edward Island0.220.23
TOTAL CANADA43.8951.99
Loss in tourism revenues in Canada in 2020 and 2021 compared to 2019
(source: provincial governments, Statistics Canada)

Nationwide, the shortfall for the tourism industry in 2021 compared to 2019 should be around $52 billion by the end of the year.

The tourism industry should bounce back in 2022

Even though the figures of 2021 have been very disappointing for the tourism industry in Canada, 2022 should be a year of hopes for the tourism industry in Canada. Indeed, thanks to the progress made with vaccination and sanitary measures being eased at the borders, the Canadian tourism industry should start recovering, as forecasted by Hellosafe.ca’s data analysts:

Tourism revenue2019202020212022
Ontario$43.7 billion$23.2 billion$18.8 billionBetween $29 and $31 billion
British Columbia$21.5 billion$12.5 billion$11.4 billionBetween $14.5 and $15.5 billion
Quebec$16.4 billion$9.5 billion$8.2 billionBetween $11 and $12 billion
Alberta$6.5 billion$3.5 billion$2.8 billionBetween $4.4 and $4.7 billion
Canada global$98.8 billion$54.9 billion$46.8 billionBetween $66 and $69 billion
Tourism revenues in Caanada from 2019 to 2022
(source: provincial governments, Statistics Canada and Hellosafe.ca forecasts for 2022)

Therefore, the tourism industry’s revenue could range from 66 to 69 billion dollars countrywide in 2022. However, we will probably have to wait until 2023 or even 2024 before reaching the numbers we had before Covid-19.

A drop by 42% in tourism expenditures in Canada in 2021 compared to 2019

According to our forecasts and the trends observed in the first months of 2021, tourism expenditures will recover a bit in 2021 compared to 2019 in Canada. The reasons for this trend: the easing of sanitary measures and the gradual reopening of Canadian borders to international tourists.

As shown in the table below, tourism expenditures in Canada in 2021 should still and by far be below the levels we had before Covid-19 (60.8 billion dollars against 105.1 billion dollars before the crisis, which accounts for a 42.15% shortfall):

Tourism expenditures in CanadaNumbers 2019Numbers 2020Forecasts 2021Forecasts 2022
Total (in billion CAD)105.153.560.8Between 80 and 90
Evolution compared to 2019– 49.1 %– 42.15 %Between – 23.88 et – 14.37 %
Tourism expenditures in Canada between 2019 and 2021
(source: Destination Canada, forecasts by Hellosafe.ca for 2021 and 2022)

Therefore, it is not surprising to see that the share of the tourism industry in the national GDP is decreasing for the second year in a row: from 2.1% of the GDP in 2019, its share in the GDP has dropped in 2020 to get to 1.06%, and it should reach around 1% in 2021. The graphic below shows this dramatic trend trimester per trimester:

The data from the first trimester of 2019 to the first trimester of 2021 have been taken from Statistics Canada. The data for the last three trimesters are forecasts made by Hellosafe.ca’s data analysts.

However, our forecasts are predicting a small rebound in the last two trimesters of 2021, with a share of the tourism industry in the Canadian GDP going back above 1% for the overall year.

The national touristic demand is what keeps the Canadian industry afloat

When looking a bit closer at the Canadian tourism figures, we realize that the demand coming from Canadian consumers is what has helped keeping the industry afloat despite being dramatically hit by the sanitary crisis. Indeed, two reasons explain this trend:

  • The drastic restrictions put in place by the federal government regarding the entries of foreigners starting from March 2020
  • The restrictions put in place worldwide that have left Canadians no other choice but to spend their vacation in Canada.

It is what comes out of the data below published by Destination Canada, which enable us to compare the evolution of the share of international tourists demand in the tourism expenditures made in Canada between 2019 and 2021:

2019 (in billion $)Distribution2020 (in billion $)DistributionForecasts 2021 (in billion $)Distribution
Canadian citizens’ expenditures8278.02%49.592.52%56.693.09%
International tourists expenditures23.121.98%47.48%4.26.91%
Distribution of tourism expenditures between Canadians and foreigners (source : Statistics Canada)

Through this table, we find out that:

  • In 2019, tourism expenditures made by Canadians already accounted for 78% of all tourism expenditures in the country. Because of Covid-19, this proportion should be around 93% in 2021, which shows the dramatic drop in foreign entries in Canada.
  • Tourism expenditures made by foreigners in Canada have collapsed from 23.1 billion dollars in 2019 to 4.2 billion dollars in 2021 – which represents a massive shortfall for the whole industry.

In 2022, this trend should start slightly shifting, with a likely progressive return of international tourists – most of all coming from the US.

The catering sector suffers from the biggest drop in job creation

With the drop of the share of tourism in the Canadian GDP, it is not surprising to see that job creation in the tourism industry has significantly decreased starting in March 2020 – the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis. Indeed, all the tourism-related economic sectors have suffered from a drop in job creation, which is around 33.5% in 2020 compared to 2019.

This drop in job creation in the tourism industry has been seen at a national level in 2021, as shown by the graphic below:

Job creation in the tourism industry in Canada between 2019 and 2021 (sources: Statistics Canada)

As we can see, the catering industry has suffered the most in terms of job creation within the tourism industry , followed by the lodging and transportation sectors.

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Antoine Fruchard, chief director at Safe:

“As the data we have collected are showing, the tourism industry has greatly suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic. The year of 2021 was full of hope but it sadly faced the Delta variant, and the figures will probably be very far from those of 2019 – which, as a reminder, was a record-breaking year for tourism in Canada. However, with an acceleration of vaccination worldwide, the tourism industry is slowly starting to recover from these disastrous results, and the end-of-year figures should mark the beginning of a recovery. Even though the Canadian tourism industry will probably have to wait until 2023 or 2024 before getting back to its pre-Covid-19 level, there is now room for hope”.

Our methodology

Our study is based on information collected from public and private sources. For more information on our editorial line, please click here.

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