Tourism Industry In Canada to generate US$ 22B in export revenue by 2022

Canada welcomed a record 20.8 million international visitors in 2017, the highest number ever in Canadian history. Similarly, the number of travelers arriving in Canada grew by 1.5% in the first eight months of 2018.

Destination Canada has established a goal for Canada to attract 22 million international visitors, generating USD 22 billion dollars in export revenue by 2022.

  • Definition / Scope
  • Market Overview
  • Market Risks
  • Top Market Opportunities
  • Market Drivers
  • Market Restraints
  • Industry Challenges
  • Technology Trends
  • Pricing Trends
  • Regulatory Trends
  • Market Size and Forecast
  • Market Outlook
  • Technology Roadmap
  • Distribution Chain Analysis
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Competitive Factors
  • Key Market Players
  • Strategic Conclusion
  • References

Definition / Scope

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defines Tourism as a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes. These people are called visitors (which may be either tourists or excursionists; residents or non-residents) and tourism has to do with their activities, some of which imply tourism expenditure.

That means there is a flow of people called tourists with varied intentions and there is some money that they spend to perform such intent.

And there is the hospitality industry, which is the combination of the accommodation and food and beverage groupings, integrating with the tourism industry, which comprises travel agencies and transportations companies making up the value chain.

Tourism’s impacts can be grouped into three main categories: economic, social, and environmental. Every country generates revenue through tourism receipts in millions of dollars contributing as an important source for GDP.

Similarly, in terms of social impacts, the positive aspects include an increase in amenities (e.g., parks, recreation facilities), investment in arts and culture, the celebration of First Nations people, and community pride. However, Tourism relies on and greatly impacts, the natural environment in which it operates.

Canada’s tourism sector development started with the launch of the first railway in 1836. After the First World War, the three railway services were integrated into a single Canadian National Railway (CNR) in 1923 changing the travel landscape. In 1970, Trans- Canada Highway was the longest national highway in the world. The commercialization of automobile played a crucial role in the development of Canadian Tourism.

As early as 1892, Brewsters became the country’s first tour operators, leading guests through areas such as Banff National Park. Communities across Canada developed their own marketing strategies as transportation development took hold.

For instance, the town of Maisonneuve in Quebec launched a campaign from 1907 to 1915 calling itself “Le Pittsburg du Canada.” Now the landscape has been drastically changed with the emergent of a growing number of national and international airlines.

Tourism is well recognized for playing a key role in global economic activity, job creation, and as a source of export revenue and domestic value added.

Tourism Types

  • Domestic tourism: involves residents of the given country traveling only within this country
  • Inbound tourism: involves non- resident traveling in the given country
  • Outbound tourism: involves residents traveling in another country
  • Internal tourism: comprises domestic tourism and inbound tourism
  • National tourism: comprises domestic tourism and outbound tourism
  • International tourism: consists of inbound tourism and outbound tourism

Tourism Product

A Tourism Product is a combination of tangible and intangible elements, such as natural, cultural and man-made resources, attractions, facilities, services and activities around a specific center of interest and creates an overall visitor experience including functional, psychological, emotional, and utility for the potential customers. A tourism product typically categorized as follows:

  • Cultural Tourism
  • Ecotourism
  • Rural Tourism
  • Adventure Tourism
  • Health Tourism
  • Wellness Tourism
  • Medical Tourism
  • Business Tourism
  • Mountain Tourism
  • Education Tourism
  • Sports Tourism

Market Overview

Global Tourism Market

Globally, international tourist arrivals reached 1326 million in 2017. The tourism sector has seen steady growth in arrivals for eight straight years since 2009. The tourism sector generated USD 1340 billion in receipts.

The major growth drivers for the rapid increment in tourists flow are:

  • Recovery of destinations suffering from security challenges in recent years
  • Economic upswing resulting in strong outbound demand from major source markets
  • Strong recovery in demand from the emerging markets
  • Sustained travel demand for destinations across all world regions

Similarly, there was 6% growth in international tourist arrival in Jan-April 2018.

Tourism Market in Canada

In 2017, Canada celebrated the 150th anniversary of the country’s foundation. The celebration was reverberated media coverage with countless events and presented all visitors with free entry to the national parks.

With this welcoming gesture, in 2017, Canada welcomed a record 20.8 million international visitors, the highest number ever in Canadian history. Likewise, the number of travellers arriving in Canada grew by 1.5% in the first eight months of 2018.

There are more than 200,000 tourism related businesses operating in Canada. Out of which 90% comprise small/medium sized enterprises employing 1.8 million Canadians. Though, the market observed such tremendous growth, Canada’s international destination lag far behind ranking in 17th position.

Travel from U.S. markets received a boost from a targeted marketing campaign. International border crossings from Americans showed modest growth of 2% from 2016, up to 308,000 visitors.

Travel from overseas markets saw the largest increase at a growth of 5.6% in 2017 while Europeans accounted for 44% of all overseas travellers.

Arrivals from China have surged by 18.1% in September 2018, recovering from a sudden drop in August. Over the first three quarters of 2018, arrivals from China were up by 4.9%. In September 2018, arrivals from France surged by 8.5% and 11.4% from Germany. Meanwhile, arrivals from the UK went down by -1.4% in September 2018.

Market Risks

Decline in Democracy Increases Risks

Globally, 71 countries suffered declines in political rights and civil liberties, compared with only 35 that registered gains according to the “Freedom in the World 2018”. And the study reveals that where there is a decline in democracy and instability in freedom and human rights, there are two major effects for tourists:

  • Firstly, Security services act arbitrarily, and judicial systems may not protect a traveler’s rights.
  • Secondly, Bilateral relations between source countries and destination countries can deteriorate and diminish a traveler’s home government’s ability to help tourists.

This makes travelers vulnerable and they don’t prefer to visit such countries. There is a fear that if arrested abroad, they may not be given the due process they could expect at home.

Furthermore, there would be a breakdown in the ability of diplomatic communications between unfriendly nations.

Top Market Opportunities

Canada-USA Joint Promotion

There exists a significant opportunity in the tourism market place especially from the neighbouring country. As per the reports, the United States produces 60 million outbound visits a year from less than 40% of the population of which Canada is penetrating only 19%.

If Canada could achieve to target about 28% of the US visitors, there would be incremental of about 4.7 million visits in Canada that would ultimately increase Canada’s total international visitation by 25%.

For the mutual benefit, a partnership between these two countries could propel tourism.

New Market Development

As presented in the chart, 30,000 acres fertile land is assigned for cultivating grapes and other fruits that make the key raw source for wine production. Canada’s wine market directly contributes to the GDP as 1 bottle of wine generated on average USD 31 to the GDP. British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia are huge destinations to be promoted as wine gardens and to attract customers.

With an effective marketing campaign, these cities could attract double visitors from the current 3 million. In 2018, wine tourism generated USD 476 million direct revenue and created 5,520 direct employment.

Market Drivers

Solo Travel on the Rise:

Many adventure travelers are opting to travel on their own. In fact, according to MMGY Global, about one in four American travelers say they will travel solo in 2018.

Solo travelers are not necessarily single individuals; they may also be people whose partners don’t share their interests or don’t have time to join the vacation. The increase in this type of travel requires businesses that provide customized itineraries.

Availability of booking platforms and specialized itineraries, as well as media coverage about solo travel, has been actively encouraging travelers to go all around the world without any fear and worry. Adventure travel companies are considering lowering or eliminating the single supplement, creating special groupings for solo adventure travelers and focusing on the special interests of solo travelers.

Slow Travel in Adventurous Destinations:

It is human tendency to get bored working the same job and working at the same place. Companies such as Unsettled and Remote Year are providing “slow travel,” with allowing visitors stay for extended periods of time in a destination by providing accommodation, common workspace, and, in the case of Unsettled, structured networking and growth sessions to ensure that participants get the most out of their experience.

For such travelers, they typically have the flexibility to work remotely, and want to explore a new destination. There are two concerns for many solo travelers. The first is safety: the fact that a country is statistically safer than others for travelers.

The second concern is a bit less tangible but just as critical is the country you’ve chosen is a happy place or no: the fact that a country makes a traveler to feel welcome, a nation where a visitor can easily interact with the locals. Canada Ranking: Safety Ranking: 7 Happiness Ranking: 58

Shifting Demographics:

A large number of people are driven by a sense of adventure and a desire to see the world, growing numbers of young people are exploring foreign lands before settling down to further education, family or career. According to research, half of all Millennials report taking four or more overnight trips a year, and 75 percent are interested in traveling abroad.

Furthermore, according to Millennial Marketing, 69 percent of this demographic say they are craving for adventure. Their spending on other consumable is just 21% comparing spending on tourism. Millennials are trying experience over products.

Increasing Disposable Incomes:

Worldwide disposable income increases are driving strong growth in long-haul travel and overall global tourism receipts. There is an increase of 19% compared to average household spending of Minnellian on tourism spending of USD 4,945 as per the research.


Direct access to the travel channel has increased destination awareness and transparency. When selecting a destination travelers search for google rank. In fact, Google rank comes first in deciding the location followed by Expedia and Tripadvisor.

66% book trips via smartphone while 97% share their travel experience on social media. Digital travel sales that mean OTAs revenue surpassed USD 190 billion in North America in 2018.

Increased Competition:

With viable destinations in over 200 countries and the increased availability of information, consumers are more flexible and able to find interchangeable products, making destination loyalty difficult.

Spending shift from products to experiences:

Travel is outpacing demand for goods. Historical personal consumption expenditure (PCE) data reveals spending on durable goods including cars, sofas, refrigerators, household appliances, and other typical mainstays of consumer life has been dropping for a little over a decade.

Even clothing and apparel spending is dipping. Instead, experiential spending on recreation, travel, and eating out is trending up. Millennial spending on other consumable is just 21% comparing spending on tourism. Millennial are trying experience over products.

Market Restraints

High Ancillary Travelling Cost:

Canada is the only country that imposes all security and operation-related costs of air travel directly onto travelers thereby inflating ticket prices by as much as 40%. So, while Canada has the best airport infrastructure in the world, the burden of taxes, fees and levies serve to discourage air travel to and within Canada.


Canadian travel visas are difficult to obtain especially for key growth markets like China, Brazil, India, and Mexico.

Moreover, wait times for temporary resident (tourist) visas to Canada in high demand markets like China and India are unacceptably long. Chinese tourists wait an average of 19 days to hear if they’ve been issued a visa. As of July 1, 2018, processing times for India average 28 days.

With new biometric requirements coming into effect that will require visa applicants to go in person to visa application centers, these wait times will increase. Canada’s stringent visa application process and unacceptable wait times were the top complaint heard from the Chinese market during TIAC’s 2016 trade mission to China, and reiterated time and again during the most recent Federal–‐Provincial trade mission to China in June 2018.

With biometric requirements coming into force, and information sharing and technology becoming the norm, global travel is safer than ever. As such, we recommend that the government improve wait times by streamlining and simplifying visa applications, significantly increasing biometric collection points and ensure robust communication when introducing biometrics requirements.

Additionally, the government should also consider moving countries and travelers deemed the lower risk to the eTA system which is quick, cost effective, and secure.

Canada is one of the only countries in the world that charges tax to foreign visitors buying tourism products. This makes tourism the only Canadian export that is not zero rated (tax removed).

Industry Challenges

Labor Challenge

The current labor shortage, particularly in Western Canada, is forcing many tourism businesses, including attractions, hotels and restaurants to reduce hours of operation and services offered. Temporary Foreign Worker Program was drastically changed without warning on measures for Canadian employers to maintain work force levels or service standards.

Work permit for international labor is also stringent and international students studying in Canada are not permitted to work in the places outside their college/University.

Barriers To Global Competitiveness

Canada is losing position as an international travel destination from a ranking perspective. Millennial these days make bucket list on the basis of internet search. Failing to fall within top countries to visit will eliminate the chances that a visitor will include such country in their bucket list.

Alignment Within And Between Governments And Private Sector

Major stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry are barely consulted before any significant policy decision is made. For instance, Visa policies/requirements, exemption limits for Canadians traveling outside Canada on goods brought back home, reducing travel and tourism marketing budget to attract international travelers are not considered when the government takes such approaches.

Shortage Laborour Market:

The Canadian hospitality and tourism industry is facing an ever-increasing labor demand shortage.

Labour scenario The Canadian tourism industry employs 1.8 million workers. Its division to various sub-sectors is presented on the pie chart as: Canadian businesses reported 468,000 job vacancies in 2017, up 62,000 (+15.1%) from 2016. The overall job vacancy rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 2.9% in the quarter.

The projections for future spending suggest that, by 2030, the demand for labor in the sector will grow to 2.1 million jobs, an increase of 33 percent.

Sector-wise, Job vacancies were up notably by 13.6% in accommodation and food services which is by 8,200 staffs. Canadian tourism industry requires another 64,000 jobs to meet its Tourism Vision 2025.

Technology Trends

In 2018, the use of chat-bots has become mainstream to help manage the increasing requirements of customer service. According to analyst firm Gartner, the use of chat-bots will triple through 2019 as enterprises seek to increase customer satisfaction and reduce operating costs.

Technologies such as AI and machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), Near Field Communication (NFC) are coming of age, and together, share the potential to create personalized moments that matter, and bring joy to a travel experience.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is the backbone of technology platforms like virtual assistance and big data. Travel websites are designed for a ‘learning to learn’ mechanism where they learn to deliver more personalized results for travel planners. Machine learning and AI go hand in hand.

Machine learning is helping travel players make sense of volumes of unstructured data that they receive in millions of bytes daily from social networks.

Internet of Thing (IoT)

A hotel room that automatically adjusts the temperature as per personal preference happened to be the imagination of yesterday. But today this has been possible with the advancement of IoT.

Connected sensors, devices, and machine create a new form of dialogue with the physical world enabling brands to bring the experience to the next level. Iot is bringing implications in the airline industry, hotel industry, and other tourism value chain to deliver better and faster service.

Voice Technology

Voice technology is replacing the need to respond on screen. Travellers search shop, restaurants solely relying on conversational experiences to interact with the service providers. Most hotels are installing voice assistance in every room but it needs heavy investments to deploy entire system into such integration.

Chatbot for customer acquisition and retaining

Websites and apps are static in the sense that they don’t adapt to visitors’ needs in real time. When a tourist is unable to find the information he/she needs on a travel app, for instance, they’ll close it and move on to a different source of information.

But if they’re in conversation with a chatbot, they can either get the details from the bot itself or get connected to a staff member who is better equipped to answer his/her questions.

This brings the increasing role of messaging bots in travel companies’ strategies. Chatbots driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence understand language, commands and learns from usage. It can serve as a 24/7 customer care center.

Analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2019, 20 percent of user interactions on the Smartphone will take place using virtual personal assistants and the use of chat-bots will triple as enterprises seek to increase customer satisfaction and reduce operating costs.

It takes USD 10,000-15,000 for companies to replace front end staff. Though the cost looks pretty high, since this is a onetime expense companies benefit in a long run. According to a Deloitte study, 56% of companies in the multimedia and technology industries are planning to invest in contact center AI in the near future.

The travel industry is on the verge of an evolutionary leap where the relationship between customer and brand becomes truly real-time and relevant.

Pricing Trends

Travelers’ spending in Canada grew 4.1% in 2017, following a similar increase (+4.2%) in 2016. Even the spending by Canadians at home continued to rise. Spending by Canadians at home increased 4.0%, after a 2.8% gain in 2016.

The areas where tourists made significant expenditure were largely attributable to passenger air transport (+10.7%), increases in non-tourism goods and services (+3.4%) and food and beverage services (+2.2%). Spending by international visitors rose 4.6%, as travel from abroad was up in 2017.

While Canada ranks number 1/141 in quality of airport infrastructure, financed primarily through user fees. The cumulative impact of the fees taxes and levies drops Canada to 130/141 in cost competitiveness, pricing Canada out of the reach of many potential visitors. Overall, the average tour package is comparatively higher than any other North American countries.

This spending excludes cash spending made by tourists.

Regulatory Trends

The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) is the only national organization representing the full cross-section of the tourism industry in Canada. TIAC aims to improve the sector’s global competitiveness as an international destination through leadership and advocacy.

Tourism Vision was launched in 2017 with the objective of:

  • Be a top 10 International Travel Destination by 2025
  • Increase International Visitation by 31% in 2021
  • Double Chinese Tourism by 2021

Market Size and Forecast

The Canadian travel industry is a USD 97.4 billion sector, comprising nearly 2% of Canada’s GDP. The tourism sector is larger than Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting combined. Travel and tourism industry generates annual revenues of USD 17.2 billion and is Canada’s largest export service sector, contributing an estimated USD 9.6 billion a year.

A recent Deloitte study concluded that each 1% increase in Canadian arrivals generates an $817M increase in Canadian exports. As presented in the pie-chart 77.5% of total spending on travel activities is incurred by foreign visitors.

The total contribution of Travel and Tourism to GDP was USD 106.5 billion, which is 6.5% of total GDP in 2017 and is estimated to grow by 2.8% in 2018 and to rise by annual 2.7% thereafter.

The sector generated a total of 1,588,500 jobs which is 8.6% of total employment in 2017 and is forecasted to increase by 1.7% in 2018 and by 2% thereafter annually.

A Dynamic Growth Sector

Globally, tourism is the world’s fastest-growing sector; the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that 1.32 billion people traveled the world in 2017. Canada welcomed a record 20.8 million international travelers in 2017 and 2018 continues to grow.

According to a Deloitte analysis, Canada ranks second on most stringent immigration requirements in the world – allowing only 4 nationalities entry to Canada without some pre-entry requirement. Canada ranks 120th out of 141 countries for international openness according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Market Outlook

Destination Canada has established a goal for Canada to attract 22 million international visitors, generating USD 22 billion dollars in export revenue by 2022.

Following an estimated growth of 3.7% in 2017, more growth is expected with stronger global gains of 3.9% in both 2018 and 2019. In Canada, the IMF is projecting growth of 2.3% in 2018 and 2.0% in 2019, supported by rising foreign demand, firming of commodity prices, accommodative monetary and financial conditions and public infrastructure spending.

Total overnight visits in 2018 increasing by 1.9% and spending by overnight visitors increasing by 6.0% or USD 443 million in 2018 projects the trend to further increase in 2019 and 2020. But continued increases in travel prices, expected to rise 2.5% in 2018.

  • 2018 has been officially declared the Canada-China Year of Tourism. Visitation from Chinese markets in 2018 is expected to grow with increased marketing efforts and the addition of 7 new visa application centers in China.
  • The Canadian Tourism Research Institute expects to see strong gains from Mexico, Asia and, Oceania in 2018.
  • The Canadian Tourism Research Institute forecasts that overseas visitation will increase by 4.3% in 2018, following very strong gains of 5.6% in 2017.

Technology Roadmap

Virtual Reality

In 2018, virtual reality is expected to become an in-demand marketing tool for adventure tourism businesses and destinations keen to showcase natural, cultural, or adventure assets that may be difficult to convey through traditional forms of storytelling. Phocuswright found that VR experiences are a useful way to introduce travelers to a new destination and help them decide where to travel.

There is proof that VR drives visitation. A study in Wales found that 85% of people who tried a VR experience of a wildlife attraction in the country, then wanted to visit it in person.

IHS Technologies estimates that by 2020 the VR market will be worth $2.6 billion.

Big Data

100% of travel brands will have a Web analytics tool and 90% will have technology that allowed them to deliver a personalized content experience. However, only 50% of these companies were using the data from those technologies to improve the consumer experience in 2018.

Big data is a buzzword that refers to large data sets that when analyzed effectively can lead to businesses identifying new insights, trends, opportunities, and risks. Big data can refer to data collected through tourism satellite accounts, foreign travel advisories, TripAdvisor reviews, and even the activity trackers worn by tourists.

Furthermore, big data facilitates a level of personalization and in-depth understanding of target markets that travelers may perceive as an invasion of privacy.

Blockchain Technology

In 2018, travel companies will experiment with blockchain technology with the hopes of speeding up disintermediation. Simply put, blockchain is a digital ledger, in which transactions made in cryptocurrency are recorded. Blockchains may be public or private. As explained in the IBM Blockchain blog, “a public blockchain network is completely open and anyone can join and participate.

Some people are looking at blockchain as a means to disintermediation, a way that travelers and businesses will be able to circumvent commission rates and layers of intermediaries between service providers and travelers.

Distribution Chain Analysis

Tourism Value Chain is the combination of primary and support activities which are strategically fundamental for the robust performance of the tourism sector.

Linked processes such as government policy-making and integrated-marketing planning, product development and packaging, promotion and advertising, distribution and sales and destination operations and services are the key primary activities of the tourism value chain.

Support activities involve transport and infrastructure, human resource development, technology and systems development, and other complementary goods and services which may not be related to core tourism businesses but have a high impact on the value of tourism.

  • Transportation: It includes passenger services via air, rail, and boat, as well as interurban, charter and tour busses and vehicle rental.
  • Accommodations: It Includes hotels, inns, hostels, camping and rental properties.
  • Food and Beverage (F & B): Restaurants and licensed establishments, as well as food service provided by accommodations are covered under F & B. The Food and Beverage sector is the largest in Canada, accounting for the creation of over 700,000 jobs (Statistics Canada).
  • Meetings and Events: Conventions and business meetings, as well as major events and festivals, are a great source to attract business travelers.
  • Attractions: Recreation and entertainment activities, as well as cultural, natural and historical attractions are the point of sale for tourists.

Competitive Landscape

Tour operators are getting threatened by online travel aggregators and there is intensifying competition between these two types of service providers throughout 2018. Online hotel booking growth continues to outpace offline – and online travel agencies (OTAs) continue to flex their strength in the space.

OTAs continue to invest aggressively in their technology stacks, creating digital trip planning experiences that are difficult to match (some OTAs are spending more than USD 1 billion on technology annually). OTAs are being rewarded for their efforts.

When it comes to the most popular travel apps downloaded by travelers, OTAs are at the top of the list, and hotels are nowhere to be found.

Tourism SMEs exists in every province and territory in Canada and their geographical distribution is roughly proportional to the distribution of other SMEs The food and beverage services industry holds the highest representation of tourism SMEs in Canada (63.4%), ranging from 54.9% in Atlantic Canada to 68.0 % in Ontario.

Recreation and entertainment have the second-highest representation of tourism SMEs at 15.8 %, ranging from 14.0 % in Alberta to 18.2 % in Atlantic Canada. In general, travel services have the lowest share of tourism SMEs in every province and territory, except for Ontario where transportation is slightly lower.

Quebec, the concentration of SMEs in tourism industries surpasses the concentration of SMEs in other industries. Ontario is the only province in which the share of the Canadian population exceeds the share of tourism and other businesses.

Tourism SMEs are more likely to operate in rural areas than other SMEs, with one in four tourism SMEs operating in rural areas compared with one in five SMEs in other industries.

This is not surprising as many Canadian tourist destinations and activities lie outside urban areas (e.g., national parks, nature and theme parks, ski resorts, golf courses, spas, fishing and hunting camps, campgrounds, etc.).

Four major brands control the OTA market. Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz Worldwide, and Travelocity control about 95% of the online travel market. Recently, Expedia acquired Travelocity and announced plans to buy Orbitz. Expedia also owns, which has 16 million monthly users.

While Priceline, which enjoys 40 million monthly users, owns is by far the largest player in the OTA space. While it is difficult to penetrate the market as an OTA competitor, the saturated market works in favor of the hotelier. Both consumers and hoteliers can benefit from the large companies’ ample resources and capabilities.

Competitive Factors

Healthy hospitality:

Health and wellness represent an enormous distinctive competency for brands to elevate the travel experience for rising legions of health-conscious consumers.

Health and wellness touches everything from fitness and healthy eating, to spas, workplace wellness, alternative medicine, and beauty and anti-aging all service provided through one window. Many hotels are implementing a variety of strategies to expose their brands to exciting new growth opportunities in the health and wellness space.


The relationship between customer and brand becomes truly real-time and relevant. Technologies such as AI and machine learning, IoT, and Near Field Communication (NFC) are coming of age, and together share the potential to create personalized moments that matter and bring joy to a travel experience.

It’s a brand interaction in the digital or physical realm that demonstrates the willingness of a business to go above and beyond to provide their customers with experiences and services tailored to individual needs and preferences

Along with experiential upgrades, personalized interactions can unlock new revenue streams.

Key Market Players

Based on traffic generation:

  1. Expedia Canada Expedia is the 800-pound gorilla in the online travel world. They boast having access to the most hotels (140,000) and airlines (130) than any other site.
  2. Flight Network Despite its name, Flight Network doesn’t just sell airline tickets, but can also help to book hotels, cars and other travel services. One of their selling points is their Unlimited Price Drop Protection that gives consumers credits to spend if the price of their vacation drops after they book it.
  3. Hotwire One of Hotwire’s distinguishing products is its opaque booking model for hotels. In exchange for steep savings, they won’t tell users the name of the hotel until after they book it. It’s not a total shot in the dark because they can narrow down their choice by neighbourhood, star rating, amenities and so on.
  4. Red Tag Vacations Red Tag Vacations is a nice, easy to use website that is particularly well suited for those who are seeking all-inclusive holidays, but users can book just about any type of travel service they want.
  5. Costco Costco, a major retail brand not normally associated with travel, launched Costco Travel in 2016, and the move presented an interesting phenomenon. The membership-only wholesaler entered the OTA industry around the same time as TripAdvisor but continued to expand throughout 2017 due to a large and reliable referral network from Costco. While it may not seem surprising that Costco is Costco Travel’s main source for incoming traffic, it has been interesting to see how rapidly the traffic share of referral links to Costco Travel has been increasing. For the past two years, received 98% of its referral traffic from During this period was the top outgoing link from, and in mid-2017 it made up 52% of all outbound referral visits. Contextually, the numbers are pretty outstanding. In 2016 Costco sent an average of 770K monthly visits to Costco Travel, and in 2017 890K visitors were directed to Costco Travel monthly.
  6. is the one travel site that most customers use to plan a trip.
  7. does all-inclusive packages.
  8. Air Canada is the country’s largest airline and services 182 destinations.
  9. The airline has been branching out as of late with flights to Europe and their recently announced discount carrier which is set to launch in 2018. Just recently, Westjet improved their Westjet Rewards loyalty program by making it easier to reach the higher tiers.
  10. Headquartered in Amsterdam, established itself in Europe before making a push into North America. The site features more 1,400,000+ properties in 226 countries.
  11. KAYAK allows customers to search hundreds of websites at the same time. Since many of the websites featured on this list are partners, users could just check KAYAK for your travel needs instead of looking at multiple sites.
  12. Besides access to nearly 300,000 properties around the world, what makes popular is their loyalty program. For every 10 nights customers collect, they get one free.
  13. have got exclusive deals on many resorts so users can find some pretty good deals, especially if they’re flying last minute. Sunwing also offers seasonal flights to destinations in Canada, the U.S., and Europe.
  14. is the only online travel agency on this list that is fully owned and operated by a Canadian Corporation offering flights, hotels, car rentals, all-inclusive packages, and cruises.

Based on operation network

Top Travel Agents

  • Ambassador Travel
  • Beat My Quote
  • Bel Air Travel
  • Canada Travels
  • Canuck Abroad
  • Cheapflights
  • Expedia Canada
  • Fly for Less
  • Gala Travels
  • Marlin Travel
  • Google Maps

Based on number of transportaion linkage

Top Transportation Companies

BizVibe identifies the major market leaders in Canada’s transportation and logistics industry. Here are some of the top ones:

  1. Purolator: Purolator is 91% owned by Canada Post, with the remainder of ownership split between Barry Lapointe Holdings Ltd. (7%) and others (2%). The company provides integrated freight, parcel, and logistics solutions across Canada and generates revenue of over CAD 1 billion annually. It has partnered with UPS for deliveries outside of Canada.
  2. Day & Ross Transportation Group: Founded in 1950 as the transportation and logistics subsidiary of McCain Foods Limited, Day & Ross Transportation Group provides a variety of solutions, including transportation hauling, dedicated fleet operation logistics, and same-day delivery services. It has 2,500 employees across Canada, 3,500 owner-operators, and 3,300 company-owned trucks and trailers.
  3. Simard: Founded in 1943, Simard offers freight trucking services and freight logistics services to clients across Canada. Its facilities are located close to maritime terminals, airports and railways Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.
  4. Westcan Bulk Transport: With headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta, the company offers bulk transport, flat deck freight, product handling and warehousing, oilfield services, and other transportation and logistics. It mainly serves customers throughout Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and the Western Arctic and is one of the largest niche bulk commodity haulers in Western Canada.
  5. Normandin Transit: Founded in 1988, the company specializes in the transportation of less than truckload and full truckload freight shipments. It is one of the largest public fleets in the province of Quebec and has a fleet of 369 vehicles and 1,077 trailers.

Based on investment on capital & asset

Top Hotels

  • Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Montreal
  • The Hazelton Hotel
  • L’Hermitage Hotel
  • Magnolia Hotel And Spa
  • Auberge Saint-Antoine
  • Wedgewood Hotel & Spa
  • Loden Hotel8
  • Hotel Gault
  • The St. Regis Toronto
  • Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Overall, dominates the OTA market with average 15% monthly traffic generation on its application while follows the competition line with monthly average traffic of 10% out of the total OTA traffic.

Other, leaders in OTA market are,,, etc. each acquiring 5% of monthly traffic.

Strategic Conclusion

Canada’s travel and tourism industry is a strong and growing engine of economic growth and job creation with USD 78.8 billion in total economic activity and 603,400 job creation in the entire value chain.

At a time when other Canadian sectors are negatively impacted by global commodity prices; travel and tourism is positioned for immediate growth and revenue generation.

In 2017, Canada outnumbered in international arrivals since past seven years along with the celebration year for its 150th years of foundation. But it has yet to reach its full potential. The reasons for the slower growth lie within the policy framework. The tax burden on travelers and stringent visa policy is restricting the tremendous growth opportunity.

Effective marketing campaigns to attract Chinese tourists in the coming years will benefit the country as research indicates that Chinese adventure tourists are young and wealthy. They are interested in visiting exotic destinations that deliver exceptional photographic memories for them to share on social media.

Canada must step forward from the 17th rank as an international destination to boost competitiveness. A strong economy, an attractive currency exchange rate and positive changes in government policy, welcoming diversified demographics, and the increase of Destination Canada’s (DC) funding to $95.5 million will all contribute to visitor growth.

However, internationally, competitors are outpacing growth through tourism investment and growth-boosting policies.

The ambitious New Tourism Vision to re-enter the UNWTO Top Ten by 2025, increase international visitation by 31% by 2021, and double Chinese tourism by 2021 will be achieved only with the increased investment with international marketing campaigns while the country should streamline the visa application process and bring low-risk countries under the eTA program for temporary resident visas; support measures that facilitate the freedom to move people across the border and through airports with expanded pre‐clearance, and ensure the introduction of biometric requirements does not hamper tourism growth through ongoing monitoring of visa processing times, vigorous communications campaigns and in new technologies.

Canada’s initiative to legalize the recreational possession, growth and use of cannabis at every level is another huge area of opportunity to attract younger people. In short, the cannabis industry is ready to bloom.

Further Reading

  • Destination Ranking 2018, FVW
  • UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 2018
  • 2015 Wine Tourism in Canada Report, TIAC/AITC
  • Tourism Canada’s Economic Pillar, TIAC/AITC
  • Tourism Yukon 2017 Year-End Report, Yukon
  • 20 Adventure Travel Trends to Watch in 2018, ATTA
  • Definitions Committee on Tourism and Competitiveness (CTC), UNWTO
  • National tourism indicators, fourth quarter 2017
  • 2018 travel and hospitality industry outlook, Deloitte
  • SME Profile: Tourism Industries in Canada, March 2015
  • Tourism Snapshot, A Monthly Monitor of the Performance of Canada’s Tourism Industry, 2018, Destination Canada

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