Nation posts 5.6% increase in arrivals for first half of 1999

OTTAWA -- Canada registered a 5.6% increase in tourist arrivals during the first six months of 1999 compared to the same period in 1998, according to the Canadian Tourism Commission, based here.

The top source market was the U.S., which sent 6 million visitors north of the border -- a 5.9% increase over 1998 numbers -- on stays lasting one or more nights.

The increase in American tourists can be attributed to a combination of a strong U.S. economy and an exchange rate that translates into the U.S. dollar's worth being nearly one-and-a-half times that of the Canadian dollar.

The number of tourists originating from outside the U.S. also grew, by 4.5%, according to the commission.

Among major source markets, the U.K. posted growth of 2.9%, Germany rose by 5.7% and France registered a .6% increase.

Asian arrivals rose by 5.2%. The tourism commission reported that Japan sent .6% more travelers than it did during the period in 1998. South Korean arrivals rose an astounding 50.3% during the first six months of the year, according to the tourism commission.

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