By SHANNON KELLY
A 2011 Travel Snapshot released by Visa Inc. last week reported that spending (among Visa account holders) in Canada and the U.S. was nearing pre-recession levels by the end of 2011, with a notable increase in Chinese tourists to Canada.
The survey, of Visa account holders travelling to and from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Brazil, showed that 2011 spending by Canadian tourists outpaced that of Americans (an 11 per cent increase from 2010, as opposed to a 7 per cent increase for U.S. travellers), indicating that Canadians are feeling confident about spending again.
In terms of tourism dollars spent in Canada, the US, France and the UK were the top three spenders, but Chinese tourists showed a 41-per-cent spending increase, which is highly significant. The Canadian Tourism Commission thinks so, too. Its January 2012 Tourism Snapshot (infographic, right) shows that Chinese tourism spending in Canada in January saw the largest jump of any country worldwide in the past year (with Japan in second). And Prime Minister Stephen Harper traveled to China last month to launch the CTC’s new tourism campaign there.