If the recent SITV consumer travel show in Montreal is anything to go by, Canadian interest in travel remains unabated. Compared to the last show in 2019 where people seemed more interested in collecting free bags and merchandise than really exploring the destination, this time around people were asking serious questions about flight availability, accommodation, activities and things to do. Some booths seemed busier than others reflecting perhaps a desire to go somewhere perceived as “covid-safe.” But despite rising inflation and the triple threat of new covid variants, an early flu season and RVS – people are ready to travel.
A recent Angus Reid survey found that 56 per cent of the 2,279 Canadians surveyed said they can’t “keep up with the cost of living” due to high inflation and rising interest rates. Nevertheless, these survey results assert that international travel is still increasingly popular. In August, 1.3 million Canadian residents returned by air from international travel. The number of travellers was almost three times greater than August 2021.
The travel industry still faces serious headwinds including pandemic flare-ups, inflation, international uncertainties, the strength of the Canadian dollar, but none of these appear to be slowing pent up demand. The challenge for destinations in ensuring they capture their share of this resurgence is providing high standard health and safety conditions, value for money and a quality experience. If people are choosing travel over holiday gifting, they want to know that their choices will deliver on their dreams and expectations. Luxury spending is a bit unseemly in a world where so many are feeling the impact of all these forces so even among the uber rich expect to see less interest in sybaritic experience. Authenticity appears to be what most consumers want from their travel now.
Those destinations that hope to reap the whirlwind, know that and are placing their priorities on value, rich cultural diversity, local cuisine and genuine encounters with people.