Travel Talk: Japan or Mexico or Britain?

Where are Canadians spending their travel dollars?

Windsor Castle is one of the biggest draws for Canadian travellers visiting Britain


Travel studies bring out my nerdy side. Facts and figures about travel behavior and trends yank me right in, and the 2012 Visa Travel Snapshot, which Visa has been measuring since 2008, doesn’t disappoint.

So, when do Canadians like to hit the road? According to the survey results, Canadian Visa account holders tend to travel outside Canada during March, February and August. How much do they spend? During those three months alone in 2012, Canadian Visa account holders spent a whopping $4.6 billion.

Visiting temples of Japan during Cherry Blossom season (Photo: Commons Images)


So, where are our fellow Canadians going? Here’s a snapshot of where Canadian Visa account holders visited during 2012:

•  It’s probably no surprise that Canadians spent the most on their Visa cards during visits to the United States. Travel spending amounted to $11 billion.

• The second-most popular destination, based on Visa account usage, was  Mexico, where Canadians spent  $591 million.

• Was it the Olympics? Or perhaps the Queen’s Silver Jubilee? Or perhaps it’s because we just love Britain.  The same group spent $477 million during visits to the United Kingdom.

• Canadians increased their spending (again, on their Visa accounts) in Japan  by more than 18% compared to the year before. Translation: this group of card-holders shelled out $64 million on travel to this incredible Asian country.


Canadians continue to flock to Mexico resorts with solid reputations for service and safety. Cancun appeals to thousands of Canadian travellers.


An increase in travel spending is good for everyone, whether those journeys are taken at home in Canada or abroad. Jobs are created, for one thing. So many of the people in the countries we visit depend on tourism for their entire livelihoods. Also, when we travel abroad, we bring home more than snapshots and souvenirs. We return home with a better understanding and appreciation of other cultures. We gain insight into the lives and customs of people who are different from us, and, if we’re lucky, we undergo a change in ourselves. Who can put a price tag on that?

So, where are you planning to spend your tourist dollars this year?