U.S. Visa Cardholders Contributed US$5.5 billion to Canada's Tourism Economy in 2008



    
    Travelers Originating from Canada Spent US$15 Billion on Visa Payment
    Cards While Visiting the U.S. in 2008
    

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA, June 10 /CNW/ - Despite a challenging economic
environment, international tourism remains resilient, according to the new
Tourism Outlook: USA report from Visa Inc. The report indicated that U.S. Visa
cardholders who visited Canada were strong contributors to the national
tourism economy, contributing $5.5 billion to tourism revenues in 2008, up 2
percent from 2007.
    The average purchase amount for U.S. travelers while visiting Canada was
US$113.80.
    At the same time, Canadian travelers spent $15.3 billion on their Visa
branded payment cards while visiting the United States in 2008, a 19 percent
increase over 2007. Canada was among the number one contributor to inbound
tourism spending in U.S. during 2008, as measured by Visa card spending. In
2008, Visa cardholders from around the globe spent more than $53 billion on
their Visa payment cards while visiting the U.S. Other top contributors to the
U.S. tourism economy included United Kingdom ($4.7 billion), Japan ($3.1
million) and Mexico ($2.5 billion).
    Tourism Outlook: USA also analyzed traveler attitudes and intentions,
based on a survey of 11 key source markets for international tourism. Key
findings include that international travelers are fairly resilient. Only one
in four are less willing to travel now compared to one year ago due to the
socio-economic climate. And, 23 percent are more likely to travel
internationally. However, they are not unaffected by the economic environment:
83 percent may adjust their international travel plans, with 52 percent will
opt for travel during off-peak seasons and 33 percent choosing destinations
where the cost of visiting is less.
    "For businesses that rely on tourism, data such as the Tourism Outlooks
is vital, particularly considering the current economic climate and external
events that have had an impact on tourism," said Bill Sheedy, President, North
America at Visa Inc. "This data enables businesses to improve their offerings
and marketing strategies to ensure that they appeal to travelers around the
globe."
    The U.S. continues to be a leading destination for international
travelers. Almost half of respondents have visited the U.S. at least once.
According to Visa's international survey, 93 percent of Canadian respondents
are likely to visit the U.S. in the future.
    How are travelers from Canada and around the globe making payments while
abroad? Tourism Outlook: USA indicated strong preference for electronic
payment among international travelers. Fifty-five percent of respondents
reported they prefer to use credit cards while traveling, with the next most
popular form of payment being cash (20 percent). They are opting for their
preferred payment method largely based on convenience (69 percent), security
(53 percent) and ease of access to funds (46 percent). Sixty-two percent of
Canadian respondents reported they prefer to use credit cards while
travelling, followed by cash (16 percent) and travellers' cheques (11
percent).

    About Tourism Outlook: USA

    For the Visa international tourism survey, 5,539 adult consumers aged 18+
were interviewed as part of an online panel survey hosted by GMI (Global
Market Insite, Inc). Fieldwork took place between December 11, 2008 and
January 8, 2009. During the research process, questions are posed to a panel
of consumers and data is collected until various predefined sampling quotas
are reached. The results are then analyzed and sig-tested at a 95 percent
confidence level. For this summary, the main differences that are interesting
and statistically significant have been described accordingly.
    Visa cardholder spending data cited is based upon a review of tourism
spending on Visa-branded payment cards by international visitors from key
source countries while visiting the U.S. during the calendar years 2008
(January 1 - December 31, 2008) and 2007 (January 1 - December 31, 2007) and
also based upon a review of tourism spending on Visa-branded payment cards by
American travelers to key source countries. These findings are based upon
VisaVue(R) Travel data. Visa introduced the VisaVue(R) Travel tourism reports
to the U.S. tourism industry in 2009 and offers it to a broad audience of
state and convention and visitors bureau destination marketing entities.

    About Visa Inc.

    Visa Inc. operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network
providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes
consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered
under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys
unsurpassed acceptance around the world, and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's
largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more
than 170 countries. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.





For further information:

For further information: Teri Broughton, Visa Canada, (416) 860-8869,
tbrought@visa.com

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