Canada Market Profile

Nearly 20 years after Visit California opened its Canada office, California’s North American neighbor remains a formative force in California’s tourism economy. The United States is the top travel destination for Canadians by far, and California is easily the country’s most-visited state. Canadian travelers are continuously drawn back to California, where an abundance of unique offerings fosters myriad repeat visitation opportunities.


  • Higher annual proportions of overseas travel from Canadians are expected to continue in the short term
  • Californians’ enviable work-life balance and perceived laid-back attitude appeals to Canadian travelers
  • Canadian travelers desire more personalized and authentic experiences that offer self-fulfillment

  • Sightseeing, shopping, beach, nature and culture are trip motivators
  • Canada is the sixth-largest market for top spenders in the luxury segment driven by the 45-55-and-over demographic
  • 93 percent of Canadians prefer memorable experiences to possessions

Travel Profile

1.6 Million
In-Person Trips, 2016
$2.08 Billion
Visitor Spending, 2016

Market Conditions

GDP Annual Growth Rate

  • The fragile and uncertain global economic environment has weighted on Canada’s economy, though it is well-positioned to begin recovery from the global oil price shock, with potential for solid GDP growth and job creation. As the economy gradually adjusts to weaker commodity prices, a lower Canadian dollar and ongoing growth in the U.S. economy are offering some support. Canadian exports have shown signs of improvement – particularly forestry products, motor vehicles and consumer goods. Private economies have revised down their near-term outlook for real GDP growth and GDP inflation, and now expect real GDP growth of 1.4 percent in 2016 and 2.2 percent in 2017. The average growth between 2016 and 2020 is expected to be around 2 percent.

Exchange Rate

  • The Canadian dollar continues to struggle due to the collapse in crude oil prices. In 2017, the Canadian dollar could decline to as low as 70 cents U.S., in part due to President Trump’s economic agenda.
  • Check current exchange rates on

Travel & Planning Methodologies


  • California tourism is expected to benefit from increases in direct air capacity as well as moderately strong economies in British Columbia and Ontario over the next five years
  • The majority of Canadians visiting California are coming from British Columbia (35.3 percent) and Ontario (24.5 percent)


  • Planning time frame: 1-4 months; shorter in Western Canada vs. Eastern
  • Booking window is starting to shorten due to safety and waiting for last-minute deals
  • Over 60 tour operators package California in the Canadian market
  • Canada average number of days of search to book is 35 and the average number of days of book to stay is 63.2

Market Barriers & Risk Factors


  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Tourism Economics 
  • Statistics Canada
  • The Conference Board of Canada
  • Government of Canada
  • Nielsen
  • Carat CCS
  • media/corps

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