About the Industry

The motor coach and group travel industry are an important part of the Canadian travel and tourism sector.  It’s a diverse industry, offering from scheduled bus service, to student travel to luxury coach tours.  Coach companies, tour operators and tourism service providers (hotels, restaurants attractions, etc) all work together to offer the public first-class travel experiences.


Canada’s Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) breaks down tourism demand by the product that tourists are spending money on. Transportation accounts for 37% of total tourism demand in Canada and 35% in Ontario. The bus component under transportation in the TSA covers urban transit, interurban bus travel, charter bus services, shuttle services, and sightseeing by bus. The contribution of this industry accounts for nearly 900 million dollars to Canada’s economy. 37% of which is domestic demand, 7% is interprovincial and 56% is international demand.

Quick Facts about the industry:

  • Pre-Covid, motor coach companies planned 1,600 departures for Ontario, with 2,800 overnight stops scheduled for communities across the province. Assuming full-sized motor coaches, this creates the potential for 154,000 room nights by passengers on those tours.
  • Demand from tourists for all forms of bus transportation in Ontario was $334 million.
  • Forty-four charter bus companies with employees and 16 interurban transit bus companies registered in Ontario as of June 2022.
  • Visitors from the US, who arrived in Canada by bus and stayed overnight spent almost $250 million in 2019. Each visitor spent over $700 per trip on average.
  • In 2019, Canada welcomed 377,000 US and Overseas tourists who purchased a travel package and travelled exclusively by bus while in Canada. These visitors spent $587 million on their travel package. They spent $711 million in total, including $290 million on accommodation, $118 million on transportation, and $302 million on other tourism activities.
  • There were 262,00 trips by Canadians and 377,000 trips by international travellers who purchased some form of travel package and travelled exclusively by bus in 2019. They spent $878 million during their travels.
  • In 2019, spending by tourists on all forms of bus transportation was $807 million.
  • Tourists from the US and Overseas took 294,000 escorted tours in Canada in 2019.  
  • In 2019, 13,636 motor coach trips were planned across Canada, with 22,136 overnight stays planned. Assuming a full-sized motorcoach, that is up to 1.2 million potential room nights.
  • Did you know that in 2019 there were 2,500 motor coach tour departures planned in British Columbia, 3,600 for Alberta, 1,600 for Ontario, and 1,550 for Newfoundland and Labrador?
  • There were 200 motor coach companies in Canada in 2019.
  • The charter bus industry in Canada employed 4,100 people on average between 2009 and 2019.


Modern motor coaches are one of the most convenient, reliable, affordable and safe ways to travel.  They are generally equipped with a full range of amenities from washrooms to Wi-Fi connections which make travel by coach a great way to get around Canada and the U.S.  That’s why motor coaches carry about 860 million passengers a year in Canada and the U.S. (774 million passengers in the U.S., and approximately 86 million in Canada).  To carry all of those passengers, they go more than 200 million miles a year in Canada.

Despite all of those kilometres travelled, coach accidents are extremely rare and in fact study after study has shown that buses are the safest vehicle on the road.  In fact, bus passenger fatalities account for less than one-half of a percent of all highway fatalities.  Despite its extremely positive safety record, the industry is never content to rest on its laurels when it comes to safety and bus operators constantly take a proactive approach to ensure the safety record of the industry is continually improved.

For more information about the group travel and motor coach industries, please contact the OMCA office.

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