WINNIPEG — Overnight visits to Manitoba this year will increase at more than double the pace of 2011 — 2.6 per cent versus 1.2 per cent, according to a new forecast from the Conference Board of Canada.
In its Spring 2012 Travel Markets Outlook report released today, the Ottawa-based think-tank predicts 3.5 million tourists will visit the province this year, versus 3.4 million in 2011.
It said Manitoba’s increase is expected to be almost a full percentage point above the projected national average gain of 1.8 per cent — 115.9 million versus 113.8 million.
The board also forecasts that overnight visitors to Manitoba will spend an estimated $1.1 billion this year. That would be a 3.8 per cent increase from 2011’s estimated expenditures of just over $1.0 billion.
It predicts Canada will also see tourism expenditures grow by 3.8 per cent this year, climbing to an estimated $40.6 billion from $39.1 billion.
"While we expect continued growth in the number of overnight domestic trips, Canadians’ limited gains in household discretionary income will curtail the average spending per trip," said Greg Hermus, associate director of the board’s Canadian Tourism Research Institute.