Despite uncertainty over the current state of the economy, Canadians are continuing to plan vacations. In a recent survey commissioned by BMO Bank of Montreal, 61 per cent of Canadians have plans to take a fall or winter holiday.
“Tourism generated about $30 billion for the Canadian economy in 2010, or 2 per cent of GDP, and about 4 per cent of the labour market has a direct link to the tourism industry,” says BMO economist Robert Kavcic. “So, if travel plans can hold up despite economic uncertainty and lower consumer confidence, it would certainly be welcome news for the Canadian economy.”
Many Canadians are actually taking advantage of the economy, using the strength of the Canadian dollar to travel outside of Canada. 14 per cent of those surveyed said they would be heading to the US, while 5 per cent have plans to travel to other international destinations. Conducted by Leger Marketing, the survey has some surprising results such as the fact that younger Canadians are leading the international traveling trend. Additionally, international travel in general grew 5.5 per cent over the past year.
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In a previous survey commissioned by the BMO and conducted in May, it was seen that Canadians held trip affordability as the highest determining factor on whether to travel. In this follow up survey, the BMO found that only 13 per cent of those surveyed planned on using loyalty rewards to lower their vacation costs.
“Canadian consumers are increasingly more knowledgeable about the value of rewards programs. In fact, rewards programs are the number-one determinant in the choice of a credit card," said Su McVey, VP, Customer Communications & Marketing, BMO Bank of Montreal. “In today’s economic environment, I would encourage every Canadian vacationer to take full advantage of their travel-related rewards to reduce their holiday expenses."