Canada-US Travel Imbalance

Start by recalling that the Canada-US population ratio is roughly 1:10, while the Canada-US travel ratio is (more) roughly 1:1.

Clear trends are discernible for figures in each of the columns in the table below.

Factors include border hassle fears, id requirement changes, tendency to insularity, relative currency values, and travel attractions.

Two big questions:

  What effect will current US treatment of nonresident “US persons” have on the Canada to US travel trend?

  Will further exchange rate advantage offset that growing negativity?


Overnight Trips

         Canada to US   US to Canada    Exchange

2010     19,964,000     11,749,000      1.030

2009     17,977,000     11,667,000      1.142

2008     18,915,000     12,503,000      1.067

2007     17,759,000     13,376,000      1.074

2006     15,992,000     13,856,000      1.134

2005     14,862,000     14,390,000      1.211

2004     13,856,000     15,088,000      1.301

2003     12,666,000     14,232,000      1.401

2002     13,025,000     16,168,000      1.570

2001     13,527,000     15,570,000      1.549

2000     14,666,000     15,188,000      1.485

Source for Travel:

Source for Exchange Rate:


8 thoughts on “Canada-US Travel Imbalance

  1. My prediction is that that travel from Canada to the US will head downward for the reason we all know so well.

  2. Interesting charts. Not sure that they really say much though.

    Obviously, more Canadians will go to the U.S. if it is less expensive and Americans will go to Canada if it is less expensive. So the exchange rate will continue to be a factor

    Given the population differential though, it is interesting that the actual number of people who visit the other country is so close.

    I suspect that this is related to the fact that such a high percentage of Canadians live so close to the U.S. border.

    That said though, it is clear that a much higher percentage of the Canadian population visits the U.S. than the other way around.

    • What effect will current US treatment of nonresident “US persons” have on the Canada to US travel trend?

    Nonresident U.S. persons will be less interested in going to the U.S.

  3. @renounceuscitizenship, the number I have heard is that 90% of Canada’s population lives withint 100 miles (160 Km.) of the US border. The percentage of Americans within that distance of the Canadian border is very much less. So there should be no surprise that the percentage of Canadian’s crossing the border going south is so much higher that the other way around.

  4. Another part of the problem is that Canadian businesses is more proportionately dependent on traffic from the US: 1 million Americans spending money benefits a population of 30 million; vs. 1 million Canadians spending money benefits 330 million Americans.

    But then, if one million Canadians stayed home and spent their money in Canada that would benefit Canada, more than one million Americans staying home would benefit the US economy.

  5. Likewise one million Canadians suddenly staying home would pretty significantly damage the US business that depend on their coming and spending money. It would hit the Florida tourist business really hard.

  6. Petros said: “1 million Canadians spending money benefits 330 million Americans.”

    That’s actually not true since most of the benefit is received by a few border states. If 1 million Canadians pulled out it would cause alot of damage to the economies of those few states that get the lion share of the benefit from Canadian shoppers.

    During this Great Recession, those border states have come to rely on Canadian shoppers (they call them Whales) not only to support their businsses but also to supply the state with much needes sales tax dollars without which the state governments could not survive.

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