Travel’s Contribution to CDN GDP Down by More Than $59 Billion in 2020: WTTC


The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual Economic Impact Report on 08JUN revealed that the collapse of Canada’s travel and tourism sector wiped out $59.2 billion from the nation’s economy last year.

The annual report by the WTTC represents the global travel and tourism private sector, and shows that the sector’s impact on GDP dropped by over half (53 per cent).

This comes after 2018 and 2019, when the travel and tourism sector’s growth equalled or exceeded that of the overall economy. In 2020, the sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP fell from $111.6 billion (6.4 per cent) in 2019, to $52.4 billion (3.2 per cent).

WTTC noted that the travel restrictions imposed by the Canadian government, that brought international travel to a halt, resulted in the loss of 373,000 travel and tourism jobs across Canada. These job losses were felt across the entire travel and tourism industry with small and mid-sized enterprises, which make up eight out of 10 of all global businesses in the sector, affected in particular. 

The survey noted that the Canadian travel and tourism sector’s employment numbers fell from nearly 1.8 million in 2019, to just over 1.4 million in 2020 –  a 20.9 per cent drop.

The report also revealed domestic visitor spending dropped by 51 per cent, while, due to even stricter travel restrictions, international spending fell by 71.1 per cent.

“WTTC believes that if (Canada’s) vaccine rollout picks up pace, and restrictions for travel internationally are relaxed before the busy summer season, along with a clear roadmap for increased mobility and with comprehensive testing on departure in place, we predict the 373,000 jobs lost in Canada could return this year,” said Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President WTTC.

WTTC said the key to unlocking safe international travel can be achieved through a clear and science-based framework to reopen international travel. 

“WTTC believes that another year of terrible losses can be avoided if the government supports the swift resumption of international travel, which will be vital to powering the turnaround of the Canadian economy,” said Messina.

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