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Photo by Nick Wong

As inflation continues to spiral upwards, many are wondering whether travel will be affected in the coming year. But according to a recent study by Virginia-based MMGY Travel Intelligence, travel seems to be the one pursuit consumers don’t want to do without.

Recently, MMGY released the findings of its inaugural Portrait of European Travellers’ study, which examined data from more than 4,000 respondents. The findings reveal that European travellers are determined to keep travelling, intending to take 2.3 international vacations in 2023 while spending an average of $3,975 — up one per cent from the reported pre-pandemic average annual spend. In terms of destinations, Europe is the top destination, followed by the U.S., the Caribbean and then Canada.

Similarly, Destination Canada’s Fall Tourism Outlook, released at the end of 2022, forecasts that the recovery trajectory for Canada’s tourism sector is strengthening. “Leisure travel is now expected to recover to 2019 levels by 2024, considered a remarkable feat, one year earlier than previously forecasted in Spring 2022,” says the report.

Not surprisingly, domestic tourism will continue to lead the sector’s recovery with strong spending providing a foundation for brisk recovery to 2019 levels. Domestic travel market spending was expected to reach 92 per cent of 2019 levels by the end of 2022 and fully recover in 2023.

The recovery of the U.S. market is poised to accelerate in 2023, says the report, with spending reaching 91 per cent of 2019 levels. In 2024, spending by U.S. travellers in Canada is expected to reach 112 per cent of 2019 levels. Visits from the U.S. are expected to hit 82 per cent of 2019 levels in 2023 and fully recover in 2024.

“This accelerated forecast is the recovery signal we have all been working to achieve. Re-starting our industry has been hard …and we have a long way to go. Over the summer months of 2022, overnight international arrivals reached only 61 per cent of 2019 levels. But the future looks very promising, if we are able to fully capitalize on it,” says Marsha Walden, president and CEO, Destination Canada. “Globally, pent-up demand for travel remains very strong, but we know travellers have many, many choices for places to go. We must ensure Canada becomes a more competitive destination, while also re-thinking our approach to tourism to maximize the socio-cultural, economic and environmental benefits the industry can bring to all of Canada.”

Interestingly, the report states if Canada’s tourism sector continues on its current forecast trajectory, it has the potential to ring in more than $142 billion in 2030 — a 35-per-cent increase in just little more than a decade. Of course, that presumes that fundamentals remain strong and barring any unforeseen circumstances.


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