TD 9-1a: Canada-Mexico/Mexico-Canada Travel by Mode of Transportation (Thousands of visitors)


Data sources: The Tourism Statistics Program at Statistics Canada collects, analyses and disseminates data on tourism. Tourism is broadly defined as the business, pleasure and leisure activities that support a person traveling abroad. The method of collecting these international travel statistics is based on the two Statistics Canada headings of “Frontier Counts” and “Questionnaire Surveys” as described below. Both these systems depend greatly on the cooperation of Canada Border Services Agency and Citizenship and Immigration Canada in the collection of the number of crossings and the distribution of travel questionnaires. Data are based on travel from Canada by Canadian residents and on travel to Canada by U.S. or Mexican residents.

Frontier count data: All ports of entry across Canada participate in determining the number of travelers by selected categories, by type of transportation, as well as the number of cars, trucks, motorcycles snowmobiles and bicycles in the case of highway and ferry points. These surveys are conducted on a census basis.

Questionnaire surveys: Questionnaire surveys are used to secure information on the expenditures and other characteristics of an international trips and travellers to and from Canada. According to pre-arranged schedules, Canada Border Services Agency officials distribute the questionnaires to the travel party upon entry for non-residents or upon re-entry for Canadian residents. As part of a continuing attempt to improve travel surveys at minimal cost, a sampling scheme is used at all major land and air border points where a questionnaire is distributed to eligible travelers over a period of several days. Each port involved in the sampling scheme receives, for a specified period, a specific quantity of numbered questionnaires and a date on which to start the distribution. For estimation purposes, the responses obtained through the questionnaire surveys are treated as a simple random sample from the total traffic in each stratum (port or group of ports, by type of traffic, by quarter). The data may in fact be subjected to some degree of “distribution bias,” due to the fact that the questionnaires may not be handed to a random selection of travellers, or to a “non-response bias” due to the fact that the individuals replying may not be representative of the population.

Data from questionnaire surveys are captured and disseminated on the basis of person-trips. (Each time a non-resident traveler enters Canada marks the beginning of a person-trip. Canada Customs records each traveler’s entry. A person-trip concludes when the traveler leaves Canada. For Canadian residents, each time a person departs from Canada, a person-trip begins. The person-trip ends when the traveler returns to Canada.) However, for the purposes of comparability with Mexican and U.S. data, data in Sections 9 and 10 is reported on the basis of visitors, unless otherwise noted.

Changes to the International Travel Data

In 2002, a number of changes to the International Travel Survey were implemented and resulted in a break in the time series data for the international travelers’ and trips’ characteristics. The 2000 and 2001 data have been revised to incorporate these changes to enable users to compare data back to 2000. Results from 1999 and prior should not be compared with more recent data.

The following outlines a change to International Travel survey that affects this data series.

To reduce the potential presence of bias in the estimates for international air travelers, the procedure for weighting the questionnaires returned by these travelers has been modified to incorporate the information on the purpose and duration of trip, captured from a sample of Customs Declaration (E-311) cards. Canada Border Services Agency uses the E-311 card to record, on a census basis, travelers entering or returning to Canada by plane in major international airports.



Information Sources: Table 9-1a is based on data compiled by the Banco de México. A portion of this data comes from the statistics provided by the Instituto Nacional de Migración (number of tourists who visit the country and visitors in cruises) and another is being built through statistical sampling methods (surveys and sample counting applied in some border regions). The main objective of the surveys of international travelers, implemented by the Banco de México is to generate statistics for International Travelers who join the country’s Balance of Payments. In addition, it captures information about the profile of international travelers. The surveys collect data on average of the following indicators: the amount of spending, time of staying, income level, purpose of travel, transportation, point of departure and major cities visited. Surveys are applied at major international airports and border regions, and in some ports of arrival of cruises. When it refers to living abroad residents who visited Mexico (income), the interviews are applied at the time they leave the country, while the application of questionnaires to residents in the country (expenses) takes place when they return to Mexico.

For the purposes of its own survey program, the Banco de México uses specific definitions to classify the visitors. However, due to the need to use a common terminology in sections 9 and 10, some categories were used for standard data tables. The category “Travel to Mexico (non-resident visitors)” represents non-resident visitors who come to Mexico. The category “Travel from Mexico (Mexican residents)” includes departures of Mexican residents from Mexico.