Minister Chagger celebrates Canada’s best tourism year ever

News Release

New Canadian record for international arrivals set in 2017

February 20, 2018 – Ottawa, ON

Canadian tourism is booming. It is our largest service export, supports more than 1.8 million jobs and more than 200,000 businesses, and it is the largest employer of youth.

Today, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, celebrated the release of Statistics Canada’s preliminary year-end tourism figures for 2017. The results show last year was the best-ever year on record for international visitors coming to Canada.

Minister Chagger celebrated these numbers from Mumbai, India, where she is accompanying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a state visit to further promote stronger Canada-India tourism, trade and investment. Canada welcomed an incredible 20.8 million visitors from around the world last year, thanks in part to celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation.

The 2017 figures are a 4.4-percent increase over the near-record year Canada’s tourism sector enjoyed in 2016. The Government of Canada is committed to growing Canadian tourism. This includes making key investments through Budget 2017 and launching Canada’s New Tourism Vision. The Vision aims to increase the number of international tourists to Canada by 30 percent by 2021, double the number of Chinese visitors by the same year, and position Canada to compete for a top 10 destination ranking by 2025. It also includes actions to grow culinary tourism and support Indigenous tourism.


“Canadians are known the world over for our generosity, inclusiveness and warm hospitality. And thanks to the leadership of our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, more and more travellers from around the world want to visit. Throughout 2017, I had the privilege to meet with many amazing tourism operators and I would hear so many great stories about the growth in this vital sector. I am proud of the fact that we welcomed more than 20.8 million visitors to our beautiful country last year—a new record. However, I know that we are only just beginning. Looking to the future, I am excited for what is still to come. As we celebrate the Canada-China Year of Tourism this year, I am certain that the good news will only continue. I am looking forward to many more great months and years ahead.”

– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

“Canada 150 provided Canadians with a unique opportunity to come together to reflect on our past and inspire a vision of a vibrant and inclusive future. I’m thrilled that people from around the globe took the opportunity to visit Canada and join with us in celebration of this milestone year.”

—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

Quick Facts

  • Tourism is a vital component of Canada’s economy, representing 2 percent of our GDP and is an important source of jobs, a driver of entrepreneurship and the largest employer of youth.

  • Canada’s New Tourism Vision is a 20-point, government-wide plan to grow Canada’s tourism sector. It sets out the goal of growing international visitation to Canada by 30 percent and doubling visitation from China by 2021.

  • The Government has been delivering this vision through actions such as lifting the visa requirement for Mexican nationals as well as facilitating the temporary entry of low-risk travellers, including business visitors.

  • The Government of Canada has implemented visa changes for key international markets by introducing the electronic travel authorization (eTA) and has opened seven new visa application centres in China.

  • The 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism is an opportunity to showcase Canada’s tourism sector to the Chinese market to meet the 2021 target and to benefit from this important market for years to come.

Associated Links


Follow the department on Twitter: @ISED_CA

Follow Minister Chagger on social media.
Twitter: @MinofSBT
Instagram: @minofsbt

Jonathan Dignan
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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