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Friday,  May 17, 2024 8:52 PM 

“Impressive!”: Canadian tour operator sales hit $9.8B in 2023, says CATO

“Impressive!”: Canadian tour operator sales hit $9.8B in 2023, says CATO
Brett Walker, Chair, the Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO). (Supplied/File photo)
Pax Global Media

The Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) has released the latest results of an economic impact analysis survey of its members, finding an increase in employment, labour income and economic output from 2021 to 2023 from its respondents.

Offering a before-and-after look at business, from the onset of the pandemic to now, the study notes that total economic output was at $5.4 billion in 2020, down to $291 million in 2021, and back up to $8.5 billion in 2023 – marking an increase of 57 per cent from 2020.

“Congratulations to all CATO members for their hard work in the recovery following the economic disaster caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021,” stated CATO Chair Brett Walker in a press release Thursday (April 11).

“The cumulative sales as reported by CATO members in 2023 was $9.8 billion, compared to $15.9 billion as reported by United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) members in their 2022 year-end economic impact analysis. That’s impressive! While there may not be any true comparison between the two analysis, one thing is for sure, with a market population of 1/10th the U.S., CATO members are generating many multiples more than one tenth of the revenue of our U.S. counterparts.”

CATO commissioned consulting firm BDO to carry out a second study of the economic impact of Canadian tour operators for 2023.

A first analysis was completed in 2021 to assess the situation following the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As opposed to 2021, which included members from ATOQ-Association des tours opérateurs du Québec, the 2023 report only contains results from CATO members as the response rate from ATOQ was deemed not statistically significant by BDO, the association says.

Other facts & stats

CATO shared other interesting facts and figures from the latest survey:

  • As travel restrictions were lifted, the increased demand for travel enabled CATO members, who responded to the survey, to increase total full-time equivalent staff positions by 37 per cent from 2020.
  • Direct Full-time Employment in 2020 was 2,571, and now at 3,702 in 2023.
  • Of the 3,702 direct full-time positions reported in 2023, 72 per cent or 2,675 were held by women, an increase of 46.8 per cent from 2020.
  • Total employment, direct and indirect, was at 13,344 in 2020, down to 3,197 in 2021, and up to 21,824 in 2023, resulting in a 64 per cent increase from 2020.
  • Direct labour income increased by 38 per cent to $222.9M in 2023, from $161.5M in 2020.
  • Total direct and indirect labour Income was at $864M in 2020, down to $145M in 2021, and up to $1.33 billion in 2023, an increase of 53 per cent from 2020.

The numbers reflect the positive changes that have taken place amongst CATO members and the market more generally in last few years, CATO said.

Meanwhile, members have formed a standing sustainability committee and partnered with USTOA on joint sustainability initiatives as well as through Tourism Cares.

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