CTC News

Canadians make for intrepid international travellers.

Spending on trips abroad has almost doubled since 2005, says CTC’s latest Global Tourism Watch report.

10 April 2014

Despite a population of less than 35 million, Canada has the world’s ninth largest economy. The short-term economic outlook remains cautiously optimistic, based on a slow recovery from the worldwide recession in 2008, according to the new Global Tourism Watch (GTW) summary report by the Research department of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC).

More facts and figures (edited April 22):

  • Lukewarm economic growth, shaky consumer confidence and a falling Canadian dollar may encourage more Canadians to take their trips domestically.
  • Canadians love to pack their bags and hit the road, taking 32.3 million international trips in 2012.
  • With all that travel abroad, commensurate spending has almost doubled since 2005 and Canada is now ranked seventh globally in terms of international tourism spending.
  • The US is the primary choice for Canadians travelling abroad, with 22 million-plus visits in 2012.
  • Much of Canadians’ pleasure travel is to sunshine destinations in the winter (such as Cuba, Dominican Republic and Mexico) and to Europe (such as France, Italy and the UK) in the summer.
  • In terms of brand personality perceptions, Canada is seen as No. 1 for being friendly, beautiful, informal and liberal. Canada comes second to the US for being confident and energetic, Italy for inspirational and the UK for witty.
  • While nature and culture top Canadian travellers’ wish lists on vacation,  city activities, local unique experiences and city culture are all growing in popularity.
  • Travel agents have a role in the Canadian marketplace, with a quarter of trips booked this way.
  • Being able to afford a trip is the biggest stumbling block for Canadian consumers planning a holiday. Weather concerns are the next barrier cited.
  • Talking to friends and family is how two-thirds of Canadians like to share their travel stories when back home, with photo sharing in person or via e-mail and social networks the next two methods.

TNS conducts the Global Tourism Watchsurveys 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 Exploringtourism brand. The 2013 reports look to identify shifts in each market since 2011 via a substantially revised questionnaire. 

Read the Global Tourism Watch 2013 Canada summary report.


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Hi David - There was no intention to belittle travel agents, and we're sorry if it came across that way. They are indeed a vital part of the Canadian tourism industry and we value their work tremendously. I have revised that section of the text. best, Mat

I find it disturbing when an agency funded by taxes belittles an industry. It seems that my tax dollars should not be spent telling me I'm a "bit player" rather than in integral part of this multi-billion dollar industry. 25% 0f billions is still a significant sum. Can you think of any company that would not be happy with 25% of billions in shares of such a spend. I found the following article in a travel publication and feel compelled to share it with you. I challenge you to share it in your next article. ASTA's Version: "8 Reasons Why Booking with a Travel Professional Creates Value"
1. Customer advocacy: If you have a problem with a particular part of your travel experience, the agent is there to act on your behalf to see that restitution is made. ASTA, for example, is the only travel industry association aggressively fighting to improve the travel experience, and air transportation in particular, for all consumers, not just those with access to the Internet.
2. Expert guidance: Travel agents, unlike instructions on a Web page, are experts in understanding and deciphering the myriad of travel information and codes out there. It's what they've been trained to do and they do it every day.
3. Personalized service: Instead of an impersonal voice thousands of miles away, travel agents are your neighbors. They know what you want and what you value in your travel experience.
4. Professional advice: Travel agents are there to make sure you get where you want to go, when you want to go and for the lowest price.
5. Time: Instead of checking a long list of travel Web pages, which only provide rates and fares for the companies that have contracted with them, why not go straight to the source? A travel agent has all the information at their fingertips, saving you a few hours in front of a computer screen.
6. Unbiased information: Agents work for their clients, not for a travel supplier. It makes sense that a happy customer will be a repeat customer.
7. Value: Travel professionals have access to online deals, as well as many consolidators that only work with travel agencies. A travel agent will help you find the best products that provide you value.
8. First-Hand Experience: Many travel professionals have been to where you want to go and will give you the inside-scoop on what to do and when to do it. Look for a travel professional that is an expert in your chosen destination or type of travel.

How about supporting this valued group of dedicated people. Thanks for your time, David Edwards, DS Travel/Nexion Canada