Travellers who have experienced recent delays and long line-ups at airports might think travel has returned to where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic but new Statistics Canada data show this is not yet the case.
In November, the overall number of international arrivals to Canada – non-resident visitors and returning Canadians – was 73.5 per cent of the level in November 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic
The decline compared to November 2019 was relatively consistent among Americans and non-American foreign visitors as well as returning Canadians.
Non-American foreigners took almost twice as many trips to Canada in November 2022 compared with the same month in 2021, but only 71.7 per cent of the trips taken in November 2019.
Americans took approximately one million trips to Canada in November 2022, which was more than double the number of trips taken in November 2021 but only 70.7 per cent of the number of trips taken in November 2019.
Canadian residents returned from 3.1 million trips abroad in November 2022, almost three times the number of trips taken in November 2021, but only 74.7 per cent of the number of trips in November 2019, according to Statistics Canada.
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One aspect of travel that is back to its pre-pandemic level is Canadians returning from the United States by air at airports with primary inspection kiosks, although Statistics Canada warned that this is largely because Toronto Pearson International Airport newly has those kiosks and that this distorts that statistic.
Overall, there were 4,351,000 international trips to Canada in November 2022, up from 1,713,000 trips in the same month in 2021. Most of those trips – 3,085,000 – were Canadian residents returning from trips abroad.
The biggest sources of international visitors to Canada were the United Kingdom and Mexico, with about 27,000 visitors each. There were approximately 26,000 French visitors to Canada in November.
Statistics Canada and Destination British Columbia have yet to break down the numbers for how many of these visitors arrived through B.C. entry points.
The most recent data for B.C. was from October, when there were 253,711 international overnight visitors. That was up 147.3 per cent from October 2021, but down 26.3 per cent from the same month in 2019.
The biggest international sources of visitors to Canada through B.C. entry points in October were the U.K., followed by Australia, Mexico and India.