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Tourism spending in Canada dropped by almost 50 per cent in 2020

Tourism spending nearly halved in 2020 compared to the previous year, dropping 48.1 per cent compared to 2019. This figure appears in a new report from Statistics Canada detailing the effects on the tourism sector, described among the “hardest hit sectors of the economy” in 2020 due to physical distancing measures designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. The declaration of a global pandemic in mid-March and the accompanying physical distancing measures stunted tourism spending in the first quarter of 2020 with the second quarter almost entirely subject to these restrictions, it reads.

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“Many restrictions were eased in the third quarter in conjunction with fewer COVID-19 cases, which provided more tourism spending opportunities,” it reads. “The fourth quarter saw increased restrictions in many provinces during the second wave of the pandemic, limiting the availability of services generally purchased by tourists.” Annually, passenger air transport was down by almost three-quarters (-72.4 per cent), the largest contributor to the overall decline in tourism spending in 2020.

The decline in tourism jobs mirrored the general decline in tourism spending. Total tourism jobs dropped 28.7 per cent in 2020 with most of the decline happening in the second quarter. “All tourism categories were down in 2020, with food and beverage services (down 32.3 per cent) and accommodation (down 35.2 per cent) contributing most to the overall decline. Tourism’s share of overall employment fell to three per cent from from 3.8 per cent in 2020.


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