A pedestrian walks along a deserted street in Old Montreal, Wednesday, November 18, 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact tourism and the hospitality industry. Tourism spending in Canada dropped by 2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, Statistics Canada says, capping off a disastrous year for the domestic tourism industry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

A pedestrian walks along a deserted street in Old Montreal, Wednesday, November 18, 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact tourism and the hospitality industry. Tourism spending in Canada dropped by 2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, Statistics Canada says, capping off a disastrous year for the domestic tourism industry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canadian tourism sector shrank by nearly half in 2020 as COVID-19 ravages industry

Statistics Canada says tourism jobs fell 28.7 per cent in 2020

Statistics Canada says the Canadian tourism sector shrank by nearly half in 2020 as the disastrous year was capped off by a 3.3 per cent decrease in the fourth quarter.

The federal agency says the tourism industry lagged the overall economy, which grew 2.3 per cent in fourth quarter and shrank 5.4 per cent in 2020.

Statistics Canada says tourism jobs fell 28.7 per cent in 2020, with most of the drop occurring in the second quarter.

Within the tourism sector, food and beverage services and accommodation saw the biggest declines in jobs, decreasing by 32.3 per cent and 35.2 per cent, respectively.

In 2020, domestic tourism’s share of total tourism spending in Canada rose to 92.7 per cent from 78.4 per cent in 2019, in light of restrictions on international travel.

In the fourth quarter, domestic tourism spending by Canadians declined 3.4 per cent, with an 18.5 per cent increase in spending on passenger air transport partially offsetting declines in spending on fuel and food and beverage services.

The Canadian Press

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