The latest figures to assess the impact of Sport Tourism on the Canadian economy indicate that the industry generated $7.4 billion in value in the calendar year 2019.

The analysis, released by Sport Tourism Canada, was based on two surveys from Statistics Canada, the National Travel Survey (NTS) which covers domestic travel and the Visitor Travel Survey (VTS) which provides information from U.S. and overseas travellers.









“While the sport tourism industry both in Canada and internationally has been significantly impacted by the global pandemic since March of 2020, the analysis of the 2019 data indicates just how much value is associated with hosting sport events,” said Grant MacDonald, Chief Operating Officer, Sport Tourism Canada. “We anticipate with the safe return to holding events from the local level to international events, sport will definitely be a strong component in our overall economic recovery for Canada and at the community and provincial levels.”

At the provincial level, Ontario reaped the most benefit from visitor spending at $2.45 billion, followed by British Columbia at $1.72 billion and Quebec at $1.25. The city with the largest total visitor expenditure was Toronto at $1.1 billion, followed closely by Vancouver at $1.01 billion and then Montreal at $0.6 billion.

Spending on accommodation was the highest expenditure by visitors, followed by food and beverages, vehicle costs (gas/repairs/rental), sports/recreational activities and commercial transportation.

“We know that Canada will return to its position as an attractive host country in the near future, continued MacDonald. “We have proven from hosting several modified events in Canada that we can adapt and innovate to ensure the safe delivery of sport events at all levels.”

The 2019 numbers remained relatively stable from the 2018 data, which was updated at the end of 2018 upwards from the initial projection of $6.8 billion to $7.4 billion when the actual number of international visitors were factored in.

More details are available here.

The statistics in this report used the following data sources:

  • Statistics Canada 2019 National Travel Survey (public-use microdata file) Statistics Canada
  • Statistics Canada 2019 Visitor Travel Survey* (U.S. and overseas travellers), Statistics Canada

* The VTS includes information regarding trips made by U.S. sameday visitors, U.S. overnight visitors and overseas overnight visitors. In previous years, visitor spending was allocated based on the province of entry into Canada. Thus if a traveller cleared customs in Vancouver before continuing their trip to the final destination (for example Calgary), all of the spending was allocated to British Columbia. This methodology makes use of reallocated travel expenditures. The microdata contains information as to the spending in each of up to 10 separate destinations visited as part of a trip. Almost 42% of international respondents indicated that they visited more than one destination with their total trip spending being allocated across the two (or more) destinations that they visited. This provides a more accurate assessment of the impact of sport tourism throughout Canada by reducing the spending allocated to gateway provinces (such as BC, Ontario, and Québec) and allocates more to other regions (i.e. Maritimes). As such, the provincial value of sport tourism is not consistent with previous years. It also makes historical comparisons of the volume of sport tourism, when broken out by region, more challenging as each ‘trip’ can consist of one or more ‘visits’ to multiple regions.

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