Where – And When – Will Canadians Travel? 3 Surveys Compared

Stock photo of survey results. We hear that survey after survey finds pent-up consumer demand for travel… but what are Canadian consumers’ real intentions?

Open Jaw deciphers three survey results for Canada’s travel community. One finding they all had in common: Canadians can’t wait to travel again… but certain conditions apply.

MarketSense’s Survey of Credit Card Holders

A survey by research firm MarketSense found significant pent-up demand for domestic travel among Canadians.

The results of the online survey of 5,000 credit-card holders show “potentially good news” for Canadian tourism, as the majority of respondents said they plan to explore their own backyard as opposed to travel internationally, summed up CTV News. The survey was conducted in OCT 2020 and the results recently released.

When asked, “Where will you travel?,” 77 per cent said within Canada and 54 per cent within their province. A quarter would head to the U.S., 17 per cent to Mexico/Caribbean and to Europe with only nine per cent venturing to Asia.

But consumers need to feel reassured about travelling again, the survey showed. Respondents want to see more vaccine distribution and fewer new cases, as well as stringent hygiene measures to feel confident travelling. Travel insurance is also a concern.

Zoomer Magazine

Zoomer magazine surveyed 2,700 of its readers in fall 2020 on their attitudes towards travel and has just reported the results in its current issue.

Summing up the findings, Zoomer’s Executive Editor Vivian Vasso said: “The clearest message was this: although you may be grounded now, many of you are already slaking that wanderlust with thoughts of where you might go next. And this was even before we got the good news on the vaccines.”

31 per cent said their next vacation will be within Canada, as “it will be easier and less restrictive than a trip to the U.S.A. or overseas” and 52 per cent expect that trip to be more than one week long.

Victoria, Vancouver Island, the Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador scored highly as destinations respondents wanted to visit.

For those planning vacations outside the country, 74 per cent expect their stays to last more than one week, with many listing one to three months. After Europe, New Zealand and Australia were the most popular destinations, followed by Ireland, the U.K. and Mexico.

Domestic VFR travel is top-of-mind right now, and multi-gen and multi-family travel is a trend that is here to stay, the survey found. The words “visiting family” or “relatives” came up in respondents’ comments more than 100 times.

And as for how Zoomers intend to book their travel, you may be surprised: 26 per cent said they expect to use the services of a travel advisor.

TripCentral’s Survey of Travel Consumers

These echo the findings of a recent tripcentral.ca survey, which found that while Canadians can’t wait to travel again, COVID-19 vaccine rollout could still slow travel recovery and affect where they intend to go.

The survey found that 51 per cent of travelers willing to get vaccinated said they would travel in fall 2021 or winter 2022. Eight per cent said they would travel in spring or summer this year.

With vaccines lagging in Canada, the expected travel “boom” might come later, rather than sooner. This finding aligns with an Open Jaw report Wednesday that Canada’s slow COVID vaccine rollout is likely to delay recovery of the country’s tourism sector.

According to the New York Times’ Vaccinations Tracker, Canada ranks 49th in the world as of 18MAR, with just 1.6 per cent of the population fully vaccinated.

Anna Kroupina


Anna's day starts at 5:30 a.m. each morning to scour daily travel news headlines to find the most relevant stories for Canadian travel advisors. She contributes to writing the daily news and covers events. The Alberta Rockies, Hawaii and France's Provence region are among her favourite destinations. She's a proud cat mom and a terrible snowboarder.

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