OTTAWA – Statistics Canada says the country’s international travel deficit with the world grew by $49 million to $4.6 billion during the fourth quarter of last year.

The agency says that while the deficit with overseas countries narrowed during the period, this was more than offset by a growing deficit with the United States.

On an annual basis, the international travel deficit reached $17.8 billion in 2012, up $1.5 billion from 2011.

During the year, Canadians spending abroad rose 6.7 per cent to $35.2 billion, while receipts from foreign visitors in Canada increased 4.4 per cent to $17.3 billion.

Canadians spent just under $9 billion outside the country during the fourth quarter, up 1.8 per cent from the third quarter, while receipts from foreign travellers in Canada increased 2.6 per cent to $4.4 billion

In the fourth quarter, Canada’s travel deficit with the United States rose by $95 million to $3.8 billion, as Canadian spending in the U.S. rose 2.4 per cent to $5.6 billion.