CTC News

How the UK travel market weathered the recession in 2012.

Long-haul travel felt the pinch, but the Brits still flocked to see beautiful Canadian scenery, says CTC’s new Global Tourism Watch report.

19 June 2013

The UK suffered economic trials and tribulations in 2012, and its travel market endured a fair share of that turmoil. Although total trip numbers rose to 70.4 million, growth was largely confined to short-haul destinations, with the long-haul sector still under the cosh due to factors, such as political instability abroad and prohibitive taxes.

The UK market is first under the microscope in a new series of Global Tourism Watch (GTW) summary reports by the Research department of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC). These reports have many strings to their bows, including market health, outlook and potential, competitive environment and the role of social media and advocacy in a tourism context.

Some key findings:

  • The UK is Canada’s most important overseas market in terms of volume.
  • Canada is the fourth most-visited long-haul destination for adventure-seeking Brits, just ahead of Australia but a long way back in the US’s slipstream. This American dominance does, however, offer considerable potential for Canada to attract Brits with dual country itineraries.
  • Nature and culture are top of the interest charts for Brits on holiday, with beautiful scenery, local flavours, historical attractions and national parks just some of the ways Canada piques their interest.
  • Although the majority of UK visitors from ye olde country are more than 55 years old, retired and boasting a high-income household, there is a growing band of younger and less well-off consumers interested in coming to Canada.
  • The price has to be right for UK travellers, and only 39% feel that Canada offers good value for money in comparison with the US (54%). The expense of taking a trip to Canada is the top reason by a wide margin that prevents Brits crossing the Atlantic.
  • Travel agents still have a role in Brits booking tickets and getting on a plane: nearly 50% consulted one before making their choice, but only a third actually booked a trip through an agent, a low figure compared with other GTW markets.
  • British Columbia (71%) is just ahead of Ontario (69%) in terms of interest for those intending to visit Canada in the next two years. Quebec (43%) and Alberta (39%) complete the top four.
  • Family, friends and acquaintances are the prime source of information on Canada for the Brits, followed by TV travel shows.
  • Almost a quarter of UK travellers used social networks during their Canadian adventures to share their experiences.

TNS conducts the Global Tourism Watch surveys for CTC. The company asks thousands of participants aged 18 and over from around the world for their views on Canada and CTC’s Canada. Keep Exploring tourism brand. The 2012 reports look to identify shifts in each market since 2007 via a substantially revised questionnaire.

Read the Global Tourism Watch 2012 UK summary report.


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