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Travel between U.S. and Canada surges to kick off 2017

January was the busiest first month of the year for Americans travelling to Canada in a decade, and Canadian travel the other way also surged to its highest level in a year.

Canadians made 3.6 million trips to U.S. in January, most since 2015

Travel by Canadians to the U.S. and vice versa surged in January, Statistics Canada data showed Monday. (Jon-Pierre Lasseigne/Associated Press)

Despite anecdotal reports of a slowdown of interest in travelling to the United States since the election of Donald Trump, official numbers out of Statistics Canada Monday morning showed Canadians' visits to the U.S. surged to their highest level since 2015 in January, with 3.6 million trips.

The figure was an increase of 7 per cent from December's level, Statistics Canada reported.

The numbers run counter to several recent media reports that travel to the U.S. had dried up since November. Last month, travel guide Frommer's referred to a "Trump slump"  as it cited an influential travel magazine report of a "devastating drop" in the number of visits to the U.S. by foreign tourists since Donald Trump was elected, partly on an anti-immigration platform.

And the U.S. Travel Association reported earlier this month it is seeing "mounting signs" of a broad slowdown in demand by foreign travellers to the U.S.

Travel agent Melissa Erskine, owner of iDream Travel based in Ontario, told The Associated Press last month that some of her clients "are no longer interested in going to the U.S. due to Trump's policies and have looked at other options within Canada." 

But if that sentiment is real and widespread, it's not showing up in Canada's official travel numbers yet.

And Americans don't appear to be fearful of crossing the border, either. U.S. travel to Canada surged to 2 million trips in January, up 3.6 per cent to the strongest January since 2007.

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