A rebound in fourth quarter spending by tourists in Canada
was not enough to lift the sector, as overall spending dropped
in 2003 for a third straight year, Statistics Canada reported
The war in Iraq, the outbreak of SARS, the power outage in
Ontario and forest fires in the interior of British Columbia
all combined to shake tourism throughout the year.
"International visitors stayed away, and their spending in
Canada fell 12 percent," Statistics Canada said. "A 1.9 percent
increase in domestic tourism spending, as well as a return
of international visitors during the second-half of the year
were among the few encouraging signs."
The drop translated into a big drop in jobs in the sector,
as tourism employment fell 1.2 per cent in 2003. Much of the
loss occurred in the second quarter, when the Iraq war and
the SARS outbreak occurred, although most of these jobs reappeared
in the second half of the year.
The accommodation industry was one of the hardest hit in
the year, recording a 3.3 percent decline in jobs, Statistics
The final three months of 2003 was brighter, as tourism spending
advanced 3.2 percent. Spending got a boost from a 9 percent
increase in the number of international visitors to the country
in the final quarter of the year. (*CBC