This summer, as the world struggles with threats of global terrorism, mounting geopolitical tension and the Zika virus — it may be the perfect time for Canada to shine with both domestic and international tourists.
While the Canadian dollar has struggled, tourism to the country has remained buoyant and, according to the Ottawa-based Conference Board of Canada, it should be another great year. Domestic visits are projected to increase by 2.1 per cent, while overnight visits to Canada from the U.S. and overseas are expected to increase by 5.2 per cent. That same report also shows Canadian travel prices are forecast to increase by 1.7 per cent this year, with Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver all expected to attract more visitors in 2016.
The nine cities cited above will see varied levels of tourism growth, with Edmonton expected to see the lowest growth at 0.8 per cent. Vancouver will see the highest increase, with overnight visits expected to increase by 4.1 per cent, while Toronto should enjoy a 3.3 per cent increase. Recent surveys examined other factors impacting travel decisions. According to a Choice Hotels survey, for example, 89 per cent of Canadians plan to travel within the country in the next two years. Households with kids are even more likely to take a trip, with 92 per cent saying they are ready to hit the road soon.
Not surprisingly, children have a large impact on where a family chooses to travel — 88 per cent of those surveyed said children help determine where families go on a trip. And, according to the survey, travellers are looking for value for their money when they choose a hotel, followed by cleanliness and safety. With consumers’ love affair with loyalty points growing by leaps and bounds, 81 per cent of Canadians surveyed admit they look for discounts or reward points when they travel.
On the business side, a survey recently undertaken by Booking.com shows while Canadians travelling on business are more stressed about the logistics of business travel, many of them feel it is one of the best perks of their jobs, with half confirming what they love most about travelling internationally for business is the chance to experience a new culture (50 per cent), or to see a new city (46 per cent). Research also shows a fifth of business travellers take the opportunity to extend their business trip to a holiday. Interestingly, Canada was named the fourth most hospitable country to visit while Thailand, Japan, Taiwan — in that order — were ranked ahead. China and the U.S. tied for fifth. With summer now in full swing, hoteliers across the country hope these postive findings will ultimately make for a hot season.
Volume 28, Number 5