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DebraW
29-05-2007, 11:59 AM
Canadian travel and spending hits new highs

Meagan Fitzpatrick, CanWest News Service
Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Canadians were keen to pack their bags, head far from home and live it up on vacation last year, taking more trips abroad in 2006 than ever before and spending a record amount of money while away, according to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada.

The preliminary annual report on the characteristics of international travellers, released Tuesday by Statistics Canada, indicates that Canadians took an estimated 22.7 million overnight trips in 2006 and spent a record $20.1 billion in the process.

Canadians also set a new record for travel to non-U.S. destinations, the numbers show. About 6.7 million trips, just under one-third of the total, were to destinations other than the United States, up 8.2 per cent from 2005. This was the fourth consecutive annual increase in overseas travel.

Despite the publicity generated by the murder of a Canadian couple in early 2006, Mexico was the favourite non-U.S. destination for Canadian travellers last year. It surpassed the United Kingdom as the most visited country by Canadians, following the United States, the report said.

Nancy and Dominic Ianeiro were killed in February 2006 in their room at a Mayan Riviera resort and the Mexican government and police agencies have been harshly criticized for their handling of the case.

But it did not appear to deter Canadian tourists who flocked to Mexico's sun and sand by an increase of six per cent from 2005.

"At the same time, travel to the United Kingdom fell 13.4 per cent to only 778,000 overnight visits. This was due partly to a noticeable decline in visits during the third quarter, coinciding with the major security threat at London's Heathrow Airport in August 2006," said Statistics Canada.

While Mexico was still popular in 2006, there have been several more incidents of crime involving Canadians, or allegations of crimes committed against Canadians, since the start of 2007 and a recent poll found that 60 per cent of Canadians said they would not go to Mexico this year because of them.

France, Cuba and the Dominican Republic were the third, fourth and fifth top destinations for Canadian tourists.

China was another popular country that Canadians visited in 2006. Trips to that country surged 55.7 per cent from the previous year, perhaps because of an increase in the number of flights between Canada and China, Statistics Canada said.

Canada also attracted its share of tourists the numbers showed - travel to Canada rose for the third straight year in 2006 after three consecutive annual declines. The number of overnight trips to Canada from countries other than the U.S. edged up 1.2 per cent to almost 4.3 million but the visitors spent less on these trips, down 1.1 per cent from 2005.

The United Kingdom held on to its status as the most important non-U.S. market for Canada although the number of trips to Canada was down 5.2 per cent.

The United States similarly recorded fewer tourists crossing the border in 2006, and those who did come, spent less money than the year before. The number of overnight trips from the United States to Canada fell 3.7 per cent and the number of dollars pumped into the Canadian economy dipped 2.6 per cent.

In contrast, Canadians headed south in droves last year, recording the highest level of overnight travel to the United States since 1993 (up 7.6 per cent to 16 million visits) and they spent an estimated $10.2 billion while away. New York State saw the most Canadian tourists but Florida was where Canadian travellers spent the most money.

TOP U.S. STATES VISITED BY CANADIANS:

New York
Florida
Washington
Michigan
California
Nevada
Maine
Pennsylvania
Vermont
Minnesota

© CanWest News Service 2007

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DebraW
29-05-2007, 12:15 PM
Canadians dream about travel over money, sex

Canadian Press
Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Canadians fantasize more about travel and money than about sex, according to a recent survey.

In the Expedia.ca/Ipsos Reid survey, respondents were asked what they daydream about. Seventy-five per cent said travel, followed by money (73 per cent), more free time (42 per cent), sex (40 per cent), shopping (24 per cent), food (19 per cent) and being famous (12 per cent).

A total of 3,199 adults were surveyed by telephone, said a news release. The margin of error is 1.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

© The Canadian Press 2007

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DebraW
29-05-2007, 03:48 PM
Albertans catch travel bug more than ever
Love of Mexico grows, along with Dominican Republic and Cuba

Sarah O’Donnell, edmontonjournal.com
Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Canadians caught the travel bug more than ever before in 2006, taking more trips abroad and forking out record amounts of money for those adventures.

And for the first time, following a trend already established by Albertans, Statistics Canada reported today that more Canucks opted for the sunny beaches of Mexico than "Cool Britannia," making the warm country our top overseas travel spot. It was second only to the United States, which accounts for two-thirds of Canadians travel.

Buoyed by a strong economy, Albertans' share of the country's international travel jumped from 9.1 per cent in 2005 to 9.8 per cent in 2006, with 658,000 trips recorded by people in the province.

Albertans' love of Mexico also continued to grow last year, jumping by 25 per cent. Less than half as many travelers set foot in the United Kingdom, our second choice overseas destination. France, the Dominican Republic and Cuba also were among Albertans' top five travel destinations in 2006 - an order virtually identical to Canadians' preferences overall.

Carla Lemaire, curriculum coordinator for Grant MacEwan College's travel program, said 2006 was the year that the travel industry showed a complete recovery from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11th, 2001, an event that put many people off travel.

"I think certainly the economy in Canada and Alberta has a lot to do with it, as well as just people being more comfortable about travelling again," Lemaire said. "The destination of Mexico, especially out of Alberta is accessible. That's why it would be really popular, more so than some of the Caribbean destinations, because we don't have as many flights."

[email protected]

Staff writer Sarah O'Donnell will have a full report on Albertans' travel habits in Wednesday's Journal.

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