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Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

June 10, 2024

International visitors to Nova Scotia spent $111.4 million in Q4 2023, of which expenditures by visitors from the US were the majority, accounting for almost 80% of total visitor spending in Nova Scotia.  International visitor expenditures were up 51.4% from the same period in 2023.  Across Canada, international visitor expenditures were up 46.0% with gains in 6 provinces.  There were faster gains in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia.  Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Prince Edward Island reported the sharpest declines in international visitor expenditures. 

Note: during the pandemic, Visitor Travel Survey collections were suspended from March 2020 to Q1 2023.  Data were modelled using Frontier Counts estimates until the Visitor Travel Survey resumed in Q2 2023.  Comparison with modelled data should be interpreted with caution due to the different methods used.

Among individual expenditure categories, Nova Scotia's expenditures were up most for clothing and gifts as well as for other travel spending.  Expenditures in accommodations were down slightly while food/beverage, transportation and recreation/entertainment all reported strong gains.

International travel expenditures have largely recovered to pre-pandemic levels in the last year, though some of this recovery includes the effects of rising prices.

In unadjusted results by quarter, Nova Scotia's accommodations expenditures by international visitors were little changed from pre-pandemic levels for Q4.  

Clothing and gift spending by international visitors has almost recovered to 2018 levels.

Food and beverage spending by international visitors was up compared with pre-pandemic levels (though food prices as a whole were also up over this period).

Recreation and entertainment spending by international visitors was up compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Expenditures on transportation (including higher fuel prices) were up compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Other international visitor spending was also above pre-pandemic levels for comparable quarters.

Overall international visitor expenditures have increased in the last two years.

Notes: Statistics Canada’s Visitor Travel Survey (VTS) provides quarterly statistics on United States and overseas visitors to Canada, their characteristics of travel and their spending levels. From the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2020, spending data were derived from a Small Area Estimation model. Collection activity related to the VTS was suspended in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic; estimates from the second quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2023 were produced using a model based on historical 2019 VTS estimates combined with alternate data and adjusted with Frontier Counts results. As of April 2023, VTS collection partially resumed, with the Air Exit Survey (AES) restarting in five major Canadian airports. The non-air component of VTS (visitors arriving by modes of transportation other than air) uses modelled data based on historical VTS estimates while the air component is based on estimates obtained from AES survey results.

The Frontier Counts program at Statistics Canada receives administrative data from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on all international arrivals into the country, consisting of both non-resident visitors to Canada and Canadian residents returning from abroad.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 24-10-0047-01  Spending by foreign residents travelling in Canada by country of residence, tourism region and spending category (x 1,000)


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