The United States and Canada are each other's largest tourism partners. With 74 percent market share, the United States continued to be by far the most popular destination for Canadian outbound travel in 2007. Canada remains the largest inbound travel market for the United States, with Canadians accounting for 31.7 percent of U.S. international visitors and 13.2 percent of visitor spending. Canada ranks first in visitors to the United States (nearly 18 million); first in spending (US$16.17 billion); and second in balance of trade surplus (US$8.52 billion).
Visits to the U.S. from Canada are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 4 percent from 17.8 million visits in 2007, to 18.5 million in 2008, and an estimated 19.2 million by 2009.
During 2007 and early 2008, the Canadian exchange rate was at its strongest in point since 1971. Whenever the Canadian and U.S. dollars are at or close to par, this has a positive effect on Canadian tourism to the United States, as well as the level of spending in the United States.
In 2007, fifty-seven percent of Canadian travelers reported that the main purpose of their trip was leisure. The other reasons were: 19 percent to visit friends or relatives; 14 percent business; and 10 percent other. These trends are expected to continue, albeit with somewhat weaker demand due to the weakness of the Canadian dollar to the U.S. currency.
All states benefit from Canadian travelers but a few states dominate the numbers. New York leads with 17 percent of visitors; however, Florida takes first place in visitor nights (33 percent) and spending (26 percent), due to the large number of Canadian "snowbirds."
Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia accounted for the largest share of visitors to the United States. Ontario has 39 percent of the population but 46 percent of travelers to the United States, while Quebec and British Columbia both have 17 percent of visitors with 23 and 13 percent of the population, respectively.