Canada had a record number of international visitors this summer. But it could still be doing better in terms of the overall tourism picture.
July and August were the strongest and second strongest months for overseas visits from countries other than the United States since Statistics Canada started keeping records in 1972, said a Wednesday data release.
Seasonally-adjusted data shows that Canada had just over 539,000 overseas visitors in July, and just under 537,000 in August.
Those numbers represent year-over-year growth of 17 and 18 per cent, respectively.
The U.K. made up the highest proportion of visitors, with 155,297, followed by China (103,670), France (96,560), Australia (62,342) and South Korea (44,672).
Canada saw an influx of overseas travellers amid a summer tourist season that was strong overall, but still didn't reach the heights it hit in 2001, The Globe and Mail reported.
The first eight months of 2016 saw Canada bring in 14 million visitors from other countries, 10 per cent more than the Great White North received in 2015.
In 2001, however, Canada brought in 14.8 million visitors. But the Globe noted that the mix of people was different this time.
Back then, 12 million Americans made up those visitors, with the balance made up by almost three million from other countries.
This year, there have been 9.8 million American tourists from January to August, compared to 4.2 million overseas visitors.
Totem poles in Stanley Park, a key tourist destination in Vancouver. (Photo: Juergen Ritterbach/Getty Images)
These trends come in a year in which a low Canadian dollar was expected to boost tourism.
And Canadians appear to be adjusting their travel plans when it comes to the United States; that's less true of other destinations.
More than 3.2 million Canadians returned from trips to the U.S. in July and August. That was down from about 3.4 million last year and around 3.8 million in 2014.
Travel to other countries has been stable over the last two years. About 2 million Canadians returned from visits to overseas countries this year and last, up from around 1.8 million in 2014.
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