OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says overnight business travel to and from Canada increased at a faster pace than pleasure travel in the first quarter this year.
Canadian travellers made 673,000 overnight business trips to the United States in the first quarter, up 12.3 per cent from the first quarter of 2011.
They spent $673 million or an average of $207 per night.
In the opposite direction, American travellers made 425,000 overnight business trips to Canada, a 7.1 per cent increase. Overall, they spent $329 million, an average of $254 per night.
Meanwhile, Canadian residents took nearly 3.3 million pleasure trips to the United States, up 9.9 per cent. The federal agency said they spent less per night than business travellers, but did not give a specific figure.
By comparison, Americans took only 671,000 overnight pleasure trips to Canada, up 5.8 per cent from the first quarter of 2011.
Canadian business travel overseas increased 7.5 per cent to 157,000 overnight trips from 146,000 in the first quarter of 2011. Business travellers spent a total $268 million abroad.
Overseas residents took 133,000 overnight business trips to Canada, up 1.4 per cent from the first quarter of 2011. They spent $232 million here.
For countries other than the United States, the primary reason for coming to Canada was to visit friends or relatives.
Overseas residents made 210,000 such overnight trips, up 12 per cent from the first quarter last year.
Travel for pleasure was also the prime reason for Canadian overseas travel, accounting for 81.2 per cent of all such trips. Canadians spent $2.8 billion overseas on pleasure trips in the first quarter.