State of Canadian Tourism in 2018

tourism translation in Canada

Canada’s tourism industry

Come visit Canada! Our people are welcoming, our history is deep, and there is a strong infrastructure in our tourism industry. This has made Canada a major tourist destination with plenty of experiences that are unique to the Great White North. Travel services, guides, and public resources operate every day to make sure each guest is shown the best Canada has to offer. From festivals and shopping in Toronto to the Icefields Parkway in Banff, Canada has something for everyone. We’ll look at the current state of tourism and travel translation in Canada and the vision for its future.

In 2017, Canada beat its 2002 record for the highest number of international visitors with a grand total of 20.8 million staying at least one night, with an even greater number of day-trippers from the United States. In 2016, international tourists brought around $20 billion CAD into the Canadian economy. That’s a lot of languages needed to tell people about the great country of Canada. The entire Canadian tourism economy is worth over $2 trillion CAD, $1.5 trillion U.S., over 2% of the national GDP.

Here are some ways tourism is integrated into Canadian society:

  • Over 1.7 million jobs, or 1 in 11, stem from the tourism industry. This covers everything from ship captains to mountaineering guides.
  • Tourism is the largest employer of young people, and an excellent arena for building hard and soft skills.
  • Tourism provides employment for immigrants and new Canadian citizens. Their talents are invaluable, and many are multilingual.
  • Tourism is Canada’s largest service export, forming a base for cultural bonds and trade connections.
  • Globally, the growth of the tourism trade has outdistanced the growth of merchandise trade, with Canada being a major player.

Canadians also like to travel in-country. Its topography and climate are such that hundreds of square miles are uninhabited, hence the nickname The Great White North. Most of the population is urbanized, living in or near major cities. This divide makes for an unparalleled level of opportunity to move between the excitement and convenience of the city and the serenity and challenge of nature. Domestic tourism came to a value of just under $72 billion CAD last year.

Who’s coming to Canada?

multicultural translation for tourism

In recent years, the United States and the United Kingdom have been the top two source countries for tourists to Canada. Over 24 million people from the US visited Canada in 2017. Canada is an attractive destination for residents of the US as it is Canada’s next door neighbor and if you are a US citizen you do not need a tourist visa, just a passport or passport card depending on how you are traveling.  The UK comes in second, but with a much smaller number, at almost 820,000 visitors in 2017. China is a close third, at just under 700,000 visitors. The number of tourists from China visiting Canada is growing quickly as Canada is sparking their interest more, and on average tourists from China spend more money during their journeys. Why is this? We’ll look at some reasons why the Chinese and citizens from other countries enjoy Canada.


What Canada has to offer

No matter what it is that you seek, Canada has something to offer.  Here are some of the best opportunities available:

  • Natural beauty

Canada is one of the best places in the world to immerse yourself in the wild world. From snowy mountain ranges to deep blue lakes, meadows of wildflowers, and the Aurora Borealis, Canada has a wealth of experiences to offer nature lovers. Canada boasts flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world, setting wildlife fans up for a treat. Expert guides are ready to lead hiking tours, whale watching trips, tours of historical sites, and much more. For example, Niagara Falls is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Canada and the United States. You will never forget going on the Maid of the Mist and seeing the Fall up close, and then indulging in world-class dining.

  • Culture

Canada is known for its friendly, welcoming culture.  This has helped it become the modern nation that it is, and in many areas, togetherness is necessary for survival. The nickname Great White North does ring true in winter and Canadians have learned that sharing and cooperation is key.

Canada has two official languages, English and French and you will see everything from road signs to food ingredients in both languages.  Most citizens are bilingual, and the high immigration rate means other languages are rising in use. Travelers looking for the local, authentic experience will find no shortage of it in Canada’s provinces. With cities like Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City, the possibilities to experience an array of culture, ethnic food, and languages as a visitor to Canada are extraordinary.

I live in Toronto and every day I enjoy Toronto’s melting pot of cultures, from its ethnic food and specialized markets, to the diversity of languages I hear, and faces that I see every day in the streets.  All of that gives Toronto the vibrant flavor of a diverse city.  More examples are Greentown, Polish Delis, and Italian bakeries, to name a few.

  • History

Canada has its own unique past that is well worth exploring, and an impressive 17 World Heritage sites. Canada can show you the earliest evidence of European settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic site with the remains of a Viking village which predates Columbus’ visit centuries later. Or if you’re into dinosaurs, go to Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta known for its fossils of as many as 35 dinosaur species.  From lighthouses to battlefields to spaces sacred to indigenous peoples, Canada should not be ignored by those with a taste for history. It would be a crime if all this history and beauty could not be shared simply because the language was not understood. In this day and age, there are many options to share this kind of information and help create memories that can be shared when visitors return home, perhaps sparking the interests of other travelers.

  • Opportunity

Canada’s economy is strong, and prospecting visitors will notice the work opportunities available. Besides tourism, the medical, financial, and culinary industries are growing and looking to hire talent. Students may also be visiting to scout for a university that is open and helpful with international students. Many times these students stay after graduation and add to the economy with their talents adding to the global texture Canada is embracing. Thousands travel to Canada every year for new and existing business deals.

  • Connection

All over the world, you will find that family is extremely important. China is a perfect example of the cultural importance of family ties. Many Chinese travelers make regular efforts to visit family and loved ones that have decided to make Canada their home.


Canada’s vision for tourism

Chinese tourism family focus

Canadian leaders have taken note of the rising number of Chinese tourists and are ramping up efforts to welcome them and attract more first-time and return visitors. 2018 has been dubbed the Canada-China tourism year with the announcement of the Nunavut Declaration which acknowledges the importance of tourism to the economy and how that improves the global image of the country. This is a plan for Canada to grow its tourism industry through provincial, federal, and territorial ministers working together to increase Canada’s competitiveness on the world stage. Here are some specific goals Canadian leaders have in mind:


  • To be one of the top ten most visited countries by 2025.
  • To double the number of Chinese tourists by 2021.
  • To increase the number of international visitors staying at least one night in Canada by 30% by 2021.
  • To increase their product offerings by innovating new experiences and maintaining the quality of those existing.
  • To discover and reach untapped markets for Canadian tourism.
  • To make the world welcome while preserving the health of natural and manmade resources and locations.
  • To build Canada’s brand and spread the word using effective, up-to-date marketing methods and media.
  • To improve Canada’s accessibility for international visitors.

What can your business learn from this?

Your business can benefit from following Canada’s example and adopting a multicultural focus to be prepared for and serve tourism and travelers.  Embracing what each language, culture, and people have to offer is vital to staying relevant and increasing goodwill between yourself and your clientele.  Having your content in the language of the visitors will make them feel welcome and will facilitate their visit to Canada.

If you want to attract Chinese customers, consider using a professional translation company to develop a version of your website in Chinese.  This will help travelers from China find your business when researching places to stay, eat, or shop, along with simply making it more comfortable to navigate.  Use a professional, multilingual SEO service to find out what keywords people from China use when researching travel destinations and businesses.  Including these selected keywords on your Chinese website’s translated copy or in other online marketing materials will help Chinese visitors find your business before they come to Canada.

Chinese translation is an obvious choice to use in your marketing mix, but there are also increasing numbers of visitors from Japan, Germany, Mexico, and India visiting Canada.  Remember languages like Spanish, German, Japanese, and Hindi if they make sense for the clientele that you want to serve.  Think multilingual when preparing for the upcoming visitors to Canada!