As borders re-open and vaccinations rise, Canadians are increasingly planning to travel again, according to the latest figures from the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC). Based on the organization’s latest quarterly survey, close to half of all Canadians plan to take a trip by next spring – a significant rise over past intentions.
The pandemic is still the “primary deterrent” preventing a full return to travel normalcy however a 51% favourable rate for travel in October was over double the figure from January (22%). Moreover, currently 23% of survey respondents said they would travel outside the country for leisure, compared to just 16% at the start of this year.
While the latter figure still lags at about half of historical travel intentions (most Canadians plan to travel domestically), it is more than double the proportion recorded last year. The trajectory is definitely moving in the right direction.
The biggest barrier now is more likely to be related to testing requirements and other travel protocols, rather than health concerns.
Nevertheless, CBoC data says that 86% of Canadians surveyed said they miss travel, and when they do, will take into account a series of factors, dubbed the ‘4 Ps” – personal connection, proximity, pandemic management, and price.
It’s a checklist that bodes well for short-haul destinations, especially the US, where Canadians have close, easy access, and great familiarity. And now, a fully open border.
Canadians have become more accepting of and more comfortable with the health protocols that they’ve been subject to over the last year and half.
Yet, this acceptance comes with conditions: Canadians prefer destinations where vaccination rates are high and COVID protocols such as masks, social distancing and use of official proof of vaccination are in effect and they are also cognizant of the situation (i.e. COVID rates) at home. Logistical travel concerns include access to flexible change and cancellation policies and insurance; and are more accepting of testing protocols to enter a destination than to return home.
The travel demand is there with snowbirds making a large share of winter travellers. Two thirds of all US-bound travellers plan to do so by air – which is good for airlines and the travel industry and leading to an overall forecast of 40 to 50% of pre-pandemic volume of transborder traffic – “and that’s better than the 5% we saw last winter.
There is a lot of optimism in the market. Assuming there isn’t another significant wave, travel confidence will continue to grow prompting more people to travel.