Visa Inc. Data Shows 10 Per Cent Increase in Canada Inbound Tourism Spending During 2010

Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Provide Significant Boost to Canadian Tourism in 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 28 /CNW/ - Taking advantage of a significant tourism opportunity surrounding the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Canada saw a 10 per cent increase in spending by international travellers using their Visa cards in 2010 according to the 2011 Tourism Outlook: Canada report released by Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) today. According to the report, the tourism industry in Canada saw a 10 per cent spending increase from $5.8 billion in 2009 to $6.4 billion in 2010, in part due to the influx of travellers descending upon British Columbia during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in February and March. 

"As a proud sponsor of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Visa was in a unique position to help showcase Canada's natural beauty, cultural diversity and world-class destinations on a global stage," said Melissa Cassar, Head of Corporate and Public Affairs for Visa Canada. "Visa worked closely with Canada's tourism industry to promote the country as a top destination for international travellers, and provided an electronic payments infrastructure that allowed Visa cardholders from around the world to safely and securely use their cards during the Games."

Where Visitors Come From
According to the 2011 Tourism Outlook: Canada report, spending by international travellers on their Visa cards within Canada during 2010 increased 10 per cent over 2009, with the largest increase from U.S. travellers, who spent $3.5 billion within the country.  In fact, spending by travellers from the U.S. represented 55 per cent of all spending on Visa cards by international travellers in Canada during 2010.

Travellers from the United Kingdom ($359 million), France ($316 million), China ($229 million) and Australia ($167 million) were the next highest spenders within Canada during 2010, while the biggest year-over-year increases in spending came from travellers from India (65%), Brazil (50%), Russia (41%), Sweden (27%) and China (26%).

Top 2010 Inbound Source Countries, Based on Visa Payment Card Transactions

Issuer Country       2010       2009       Per cent Growth (+/-)
United States       $3.5B       $3.3B       8%
United Kingdom       $359M       $342M       5%
France       $316M       $298M       6%
China       $229M       $181M       26%
Australia       $167M       $139M       20%
Japan       $138M       $126M       10%
South Korea       $134M       $114M       17%
Brazil       $117M       $78.1M       50%
Germany       $112M       $106M       6%
Hong Kong       $106M       $102M       3%

Once arriving in Canada, international travellers used their Visa cards on general retail purchases ($3.1 billion), such as clothing and food. These purchases represented 48 per cent of all Visa transactions by international travellers in Canada during 2010. Other major merchant segments included lodging ($932 million), restaurants ($463 million) and other travel and entertainment ($242 million).  

Tourism Impact: The Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
The Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, held in February and March of 2010, provided a significant impact to Canada's tourism revenue during the first quarter of 2010. According to the Canadian Tourism Commission, total tourism spending in Canada increased by four per cent to $13.8 billion in the first quarter of 2010.1 Spending by international travellers on Visa cards rose dramatically as well, with $1.3 billion spent on Visa cards in Canada during that time frame - a 13 per cent increase over the previous year.

Infrastructure spending due to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games should provide a long-lasting legacy within Canada as the Games created approximately 17,000 jobs and construction alone generated more than $1.2 billion worth of economic activity2. In addition, Canada continued to see tourism growth in the months following the Games, experiencing double-digit growth compared to 2009 in spending by international travellers on Visa cards in the summer months.

According to a study by FutureBrand, Canada's brand awareness was also positively affected by hosting the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. According to the FutureBrand 2010 Country Brand Index, Canada ranked number one due to the positive effects of hosting the Olympic Games.

Visa has been a proud Worldwide Sponsor of the Olympic Games for 24 years and was the only card accepted at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games venues for any official Games-related transactions.  Helping ensure the payments infrastructure at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Visa installed a special ATM network and more than 800 point-of-sale acceptance devices at competition and non-competition venues, including the Main Press Centre, the International Broadcast Centre and the Olympic and Paralympic Villages in Vancouver and Whistler.

As the Canadian tourism industry continues its upward trajectory seen during 2010, Visa is committed to supporting its growth by providing a secure and reliable digital currency for cross-border transactions and access to millions of cardholders globally and partnering with the Canadian tourism industry to provide relevant spending data to help them take advantage of new tourism opportunities created by the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

For more information on VisaVue travel data and to view a complete copy of the Tourism Outlook: Canada report, please visit corporate.media.com.

About Tourism Outlook: Canada
Visa cardholder spending data cited is based upon VisaVue® Travel data, which reviews tourism spending on Visa-branded payment cards by international visitors from key source countries while visiting Canada during the calendar years 2010 (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2010) and 2009 (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2009).

About Visa
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.

______________________
1 "National Tourism Indicators Report," Canada Tourism Commission, August 2010
2 "The Games Effect," PriceWaterHouseCoopers Report 5, March 2010


SOURCE VISA Canada Corporation

For further information:

Carla Hindman
Visa Canada
416-860-8869
chindman@visa.com









Natasha Lasiuk
Fleishman-Hillard
416-645-8176
natasha.lasiuk@fleishman.ca

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