Canadian tourism to U.S. on the rise: Reaches record level

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently released new data showing that Canadian tourism to the United States reached a record level of 21 million visits in 2011, spending just under $24 billion in the U.S. According to the report, more than one-third of all foreign visits to U.S. destinations were made by Canadians.

Increased tourism is just one more reason the Detroit-Windsor corridor needs an additional crossing. As North America’s busiest crossing, the aging Ambassador Bridge is reaching the end of its service life leaving us without the infrastructure to meet future levels of trade and surface transportation between Michigan and Canada. With Canadian tourists visiting the U.S. at record levels, a new bridge would help support the growing travel and tourism industries, stimulate economic growth, and aid in job creation.

The New International Trade Crossing (NITC) would not only help support the rising levels of tourism, but would also have a significant positive impact on trade between Michigan and Canada. As Michigan’s largest trading partner, trade between Canada reached more than $62 billion in 2010 and those figures are expected to increase as the economy recovers.

Building the NITC would not only provide Michigan with world-class international infrastructure, but would also serve as the foundation for future economic growth and prosperity.

Click here to read the full U.S. Department of Commerce report.

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Canadian tourism to U.S. hits record level

By Randy Boswell, Postmedia News

Newly released data showing a record 62 million foreign visits to the U.S. last year – including a most-ever 21 million trips by Canadians, by far the most from any country – was hailed this week by top Obama administration officials as proof that the tourism and travel industry is “an enormous economic engine” key to recharging U.S. growth and job generation.

The heady statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce follow national polling results released last month that show Americans have never had a more positive view of Canadians than they do today – and no wonder, given the unprecedented number of travel and tourism dollars being showered by Canadians on their next-door neighbors.

The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that the record 21 million Canadian visits to the U.S. last year – each visit defined as a minimum one-night stay – generated just under $24 billion, a record haul for American firms serving Canadian tourists and business travelers.

The 2011 numbers trumpeted this week by U.S. officials topped last year’s totals of 19.96 million Canadian visits to the U.S. and $20.8 billion in spending by Canadians south of the border.

The high value of the loonie relative to the U.S. dollar has been a key factor driving the surge in both the number of Canadian visits to the U.S. and crossborder spending, said spokesman Tim Truman of the U.S. Inter-national Trade Administration, a branch of the country’s commerce department.

The contribution of Canadian travelers to the U.S. tourism and travel industry is huge.

More than one-third of all foreign visits to American destinations were made by Canadians, with second-place Mexico – which generated 13.4 million stays of at least one night – far ahead of Britain (3.8 million), Japan (3.2 million) and Germany (1.8 million), which rounded out the top five sources of international visitors to the U.S. in 2011.

Meanwhile, the $24 billion spent by Canadian travelers in the U.S. in 2011 was up significantly over the previous record of $20.8 billion in 2010.

Canadians aren’t just traveling to the U.S. in record numbers.

This week, the Mexican embassy in Ottawa released figures showing that Canadians made more than 1.5 million overnight visits to Mexico in 2011.

It was the highest number of Canadian visits to Mexico ever – up seven per cent over 2010 and up 29 per cent over 2009.

In February, an annual Gallup survey in the U.S. measuring how “favorable” Americans felt towards Canadians yielded the most positive results since the question was first posed by the polling firm nearly 25 years ago.

A record 96% of U.S. respondents said they felt “very favorable” or “mostly favorable” towards Canadians. Favorability ratings for Canadians of 93% in 1987 and 1989 were the previous highs, with lows of 87% and 86% registered in 2004 and 2005 respectively.