Destination Canada Gauges Domestic Travel Sentiment
New national campaign aims to build Canadians’ confidence to travel domestically
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

Destination Canada has launched a national campaign running mid-July to the end of August to embolden Canadians to travel within the nation and share tips on how to travel safely this summer.

In addition to videos, imagery and articles posted on its updated traveller website, “Canada Nice,” the campaign engages a star-studded lineup of notable Canadian personalities to help get the point across. Comedian Rick Mercer, former news anchor Peter Mansbridge and musician Gregory Charles among the figures promoting the urgent need to support local communities, towns and provinces.

Outlook For Domestic Travel

Travel is rebounding in pockets however, due to safety concerns and confusion about what’s permitted and what’s feasible, bookings lag behind previous years. 

To help travellers understand the patchwork of restrictions and to drive visitation, Destination Canada has created an interactive map providing an overview of each province and territories’ updated travel restrictions and self-isolation requirements.

The most universally accessible provinces for Canadians are British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, which have no travel restrictions or quarantine requirements for any domestic travellers.

Quebec’s policy is also fairly receptive. The province is prohibiting access to Nunavik and James Bay and asking residents to avoid non-essential travel between cities and regions, but there are no self-isolation requirements for residents of other provinces. 

All other provinces and territories have some form of measures in place.

As federal advisories against non-essential International travel are still in place, Destination Canada research shows Canadians are at different levels of comfort and readiness when it comes to exploring their own backyard.

The tourism body developed a framework to understand the phases of recovery of the Canadian travel market, rating provinces and territories on a scale of six stages. Provinces/territories in Phase 1 are still enforcing restricted local movement and quarantines, while the sixth and final phase means regularized international travel has been achieved. 

Most provinces and territories are currently in Phase 3, the “intra-provincial ” stage (Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories and Nunavut). In this phase, residents are booking trips limited to their province or territory. Intra-provincial travel searches are around the same level as in 2019, and accommodation bookings are moderate.

As of now, three provinces have achieved Phase 4 in travel recovery – BC, Alberta and Quebec. This stage represents regions where residents are booking trips in other provinces or territories. Inter-provincial travel searches and accommodation bookings are at moderate levels.

Several provinces – Saskatchewan, Ontario, PEI and Yukon – remain in the second, “hyper local” phase, where intra-provincial accommodation searches and bookings are low. Any travel taking place is limited to day trips or overnights with friends and family.

Canadian Resident Sentiment

Domestic travel is not just about Canadians’ appetite to venture beyond their backyard, but also about how receptive other regions are to receiving outsiders. 

To understand the level of “welcome” residents of each province are feeling towards visitors, Destination Canada engaged market research firm Leger to conduct a survey of approximately 1,800 Canadians. The results (which did not include territories due to the small sample size) showed varying sentiments across the country. 

Canadians polled in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces were generally receptive of receiving visitors from their respective provinces. 

Meanwhile, Ontarians showed the most resistance to visitors from other parts of Ontario.

This chart shows polled Canadians’ receptiveness to receiving visitors.  
The results indicate Canadians who “agree” or “strongly agree” they would welcome visitors
travelling to their community from each of the listed regions. Credit:   Destination Canada

As for receiving guests from outside provinces, the results showed a less welcoming sentiment. 

BC and Atlantic Canada were both most hesitant, with only 20% and 23%, respectively, saying they “somewhat” or “strongly agree” with welcoming visitors travelling to their community from other parts of Canada. Other provinces hovered around the 30% to 50% mark. 

Unsurprisingly Canadians are decidedly not yet ready to welcome visitors from other countries, with on average 9% of respondents saying they “somewhat” or “strongly agree” they would welcome visitors travelling into their community from other countries. That number was even lower when asked about specifically about visitors from United States.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ’s newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she’s new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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