One of Destination Canada’s key roles is supporting the Canadian tourism industry with consumer and market intelligence. Knowing how important timely information is to our partners, we’ve recently started using new arrivals data which looks at vehicle arrivals from the US which is available about 10 days following the end of the month.
What is it?
The Integrated Primary Inspection Line (IPIL) uses camera technology to scan the license plates of vehicles entering Canada for the majority of land border crossings. This data allows for detailed estimates of vehicle arrivals into Canada by US State of origin, by port of entry, and with daily granularity.
IPIL data is a valuable resource as the data is captured and processed within 10 days following the end of a month, compared to 6 weeks for Frontier Counts. This allows us to have an idea of what to expect in terms arrivals from the US as vehicle arrivals typically make up around 56% of all arrivals from the US.
But IPIL data is a useful new source of information for reasons beyond timeliness. By having data on arrivals from different US states of origin, we can better understand the patterns of vehicle arrivals into Canada. With data at a port level, we can better understand the differences in arrival patterns for different areas within provinces, while daily level detail allows us to study the effects of holidays and weekends.
A good indicator of arrivals
IPIL data captures the vast majority of US vehicle arrivals into Canada. While the IPIL data does not capture NEXUS travellers nor travellers entering Canada via ports that do not have the IPIL system set up, these represent a small minority of all arrivals into Canada. In 2017, IPIL data accounted for about 88% of overnight arrivals recorded in the official Frontier Counts.
State of origin
Arrivals from the United States made up 69% of the 20.85 million arrivals in 2017. Canada sees more tourists arriving from several states than from the majority of overseas markets. One of the biggest advantages to the IPIL data is the ability to better understand which states vehicle arrivals are coming from.
Due to how state of origin is identified, there is some uncertainty relating to travellers using rental vehicles. While we do not know the extent to which this creates a bias in the data, we believe that any such bias is fairly small in size.
Origin states for visitors will differ by province and the IPIL data can help us better understand that.
Port of entry
We can also look at individual land ports of entry. As of 2017, the IPIL data includes 124 different ports of entry into Canada. The ability to look at individual ports of entry can help tourism organizations better understand regional effects, like which land ports are the biggest channels for vehicle arrivals into Canada.
Data at the daily level
We know that holidays and weekends are key drivers of overnight land arrivals to Canada with over 47% of all vehicle arrivals taking place on Friday or Saturday. The daily granularity of the IPIL dataset allows us to investigate just how significant holidays and weekends may be. What are the effects of individual holidays like Easter, the May long weekend, and Labour Day?
Posted: May 28, 2018