Canadian border store sales edge up in first half
Gross sales at land border shops slightly increased in the first half of the year to reach over $64.7 million, up 0.4% from the same period in 2018, according to the Frontier Duty Free Association.
Gross sales also marginally increased in Eastern (+0.45%) and Western Canada (+0.24%). Eastern Canada includes Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick (estimated) and Western Canada includes BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products continued to lead sales at land border duty free stores from January through June 2019, accounting for 43.17% and 23.31% of total sales respectively.
Tobacco sales were down across the country by 3.6% from H1 2018. In contrast, alcoholic beverages sales continued to climb this year, up by nearly 2% from 2018 and increasing in percentage share of total sales both in Eastern and Western Canada.
Tourism spending grows
Tourism represented 2.0% of economy-wide gross domestic product (GDP) and 3.9% of the total number of jobs in Canada in the first half of the year, the FDFA reported.
Over 16 million travelers entered Canada in the first half of 2019 with 76.8% hailing from the United States. Nearly 8.3 million of the US visitors traveled by car to Canada, representing an increase of 2.5% from the first half of 2018. International travelers spent $10.2 billion compared to $10.1 billion in H1 2018 due to an increase in spending by 10.7% from US visitors.
Tourism spending by international visitors to Canada rose by 2.4% in the second quarter, following a 0.6% increase in the previous quarter. Growth was driven by accommodation (+3.0%), passenger air transport (+2.8%), food and beverage services (+2.4%), and non-tourism products (+1.4%). Both overnight travel from abroad and same-day car travel from the United States increased in the second quarter.
US residents spent an estimated $4.6 billion in H1 and the average travel expenditure in Canada hovered around $428 per trip.