A Glimpse of Northwestern Ontario Visitors

July 15, 2019 - This blog first appeared in The Walleye Magazine, July issue



Summer has so much to offer for visitors coming to Northwestern Ontario. The weather permits for a greater variety of outdoor activities and attracts people towards the therapeutic lakes of Ontario. NPI wanted to look closely at which seasons were most popular for different groups of visitors coming to the Northwest. According to the data from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (Regional Tourism Profiles), the peak months for Ontario, out-of-province and overseas visitors were between July and September. Only 2% of overseas visitors and 5% of Canadian visitors (outside of Ontario) came to Northwestern Ontario between January and March. The cold weather during January and March might be scaring a bulk of visitors travelling for pleasure that are not accustomed to this. A higher proportion of Ontarians travelled to the region during the winter months than other visitors. This is probably due to more business related visits and more experience with winter related outdoor activities.  

The abundance of summer related outdoor activities begs the question of which types are most popular among visitors coming to Northwestern Ontario. In 2016, fishing won the gold with 18% of visitors who participated in an outdoor activity performing this activity. A close second went to boating with 17%. Beach visits got the bronze with 12%. The least popular summer activities included driving an ATV (1%), hunting (2%) and cycling (3%). The data suggests that visitors coming to Northwestern Ontario to participate in outdoor activities prefer to perform activities on or near the water.

What about comparing the percentage of visitors traveling with children with visitor origin? Overseas visitors more commonly came with children – 32% according to the 2016 survey. The proportion of Ontario and out-of-province visitors who brought their children was 13% and 21%, respectively. Lastly, let us look to see if the party size of those coming with children was different between our three visitor groups. The average family size was 3.4 for overseas visitors. For Ontario and the rest of Canada, the average family size was 2.2 and 2.9, accordingly. Bringing the whole family for a more extended trip seems like a good idea so that all can have the opportunity to experience the summer treasures of Northwestern Ontario!

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Maia Kvas and Irina Chen are Summer Data Analysts at NPI.

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