Expect a Longer Recovery for Business Travel

Destination Canada’s annual Tourism Outlook report shows business travel visits will take longer to reach pre-pandemic levels than leisure tourism.

Released on December 12, the forecast says that business events travel, which includes corporate meetings and association conferences or incentives, won’t recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2028.

“This is very bad news for our industry,” says MMBC Chair, Minto Schneider. “Tourism has not yet recovered. The foundation of the business events industry, year-round, is business travel. According to this report, we still have a long road to recovery.”

The report notes that while business transient trips of domestic origin will recover by 2024, transient trips of international origin will take longer to recover, stretching into 2030. Business transient trips include business development, sales and service calls.

The report has good news about the Canadian tourism industry overall, saying that total tourism revenue is set to exceed 2019 levels, thanks to leisure tourism, generating $109.5 billion by the end of 2023.

“While this is positive news, it is important to recognize that recovery both geographically and across sub sectors has been uneven. The challenge ahead is creating profitable growth for tourism businesses given their current debt loads and inflationary pressures,” according to the report.

The report outlines key levers that would accelerate Canada’s competitiveness and address constraints, including:

  • Workforce development
  • Unleashing capacity outside of peak season
  • Attracting higher yield guests 
  • Increasing air access
  • Bolstering new investment and reinvestment to the sector

Download the full report