OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says international tourism set an annual record during Canada 150 last year, with 20.8 million trips of one or more nights.
The overall figure surpasses the previous record of 20.1 million set in 2002.
The statistics agency says the number of U.S. tourists rose 3.1 per cent in 2017 to reach 14.3 million, the highest figure since 2005, and there were also a record 6.5 million visitors from overseas countries, up 7.2 per cent from 2016.
The report says there were year-over-year increases in travel from all continents in 2017, most notably a 26.1 per cent increase from the region of North America, Central America and the Caribbean and a 19.0 per cent increase from South America.
These increases follow the lifting of visa requirements for travellers from Mexico in December 2016 and modifications to visa requirements for citizens of Brazil which took effect in May 2017.
Excluding the United States, Mexico and Brazil are the two largest sources of travellers from the Americas.
Following three years of decline, the number of same-day and overnight trips to the United States by Canadian residents rose 2.7 per cent in 2017 to 42.1 million, 25.1 per cent fewer than in 2013 when the Canadian dollar was last on par with the U.S. dollar.
Statistics Canada said in 2017 the average value of the Canadian dollar was US$0.77, up slightly from an average of US$0.76 in 2016.