TORONTO — The number of Canadians who say they plan to book a vacation for winter 2018 – 2019 is up 6% year over year, according to just-released results from the annual Canadian Winter Vacation Confidence Index.
The Allianz Global Assistance survey, conducted by Ipsos at the end of October 2018, shows that just about half (47%) of Canadians plan to take a break this winter, a significant six-point increase from last year, says Allianz.
Confidence is highest among Albertans (53%) and lowest in B.C. (41%).
When asked about the reason for their next trip, 35% said it was to relax and retreat, followed by 25% who said they’re looking to visit family and friends, and 20% who said they would be exploring new places.
Nationally, only 15% said their next trip was to escape the cold and snow. Among respondents in Saskatchewan and Manitoba it was much higher, with 28% saying they were taking a trip to escape the weather.
“Canadians are becoming more confident about their ability to take an annual vacation, and 70% of us believe that annual vacations are important, but there is still a large deficit when it comes to reality,” says Dan Keon, Vice President, Market Management, Allianz Global Assistance Canada.
“Surprisingly, 31% of Canadians have not had a vacation in more than two years, but it is encouraging to see that down from 36% in 2016. However, only 56% of us actually took a vacation in the past 12 months.”
When asked about the main reason for not taking a vacation, 65% indicated that it was a matter of money, with Gen Xers the highest at 76%.
Last month the Conference Board of Canada reported that Canadian consumer confidence had risen 4.6 points, the highest since February 2018. “Spending has remained the same over the past three years but confidence in the ability to actually take a vacation has been increasing,” says Keon. “On average, Canadians spend $1,000-$3,000 on their winter vacations (48%) with 13% spending $500-$1,000.”
He added that age and location appear to be major factors in Canadians’ confidence in taking a vacation in the next 12 months. Confidence is highest in Alberta and Quebec (75%), followed by Ontario (71%), B.C. (69%), Atlantic Canada (66%) and Saskatchewan/Manitoba (61%).
Millennials have the highest confidence in their ability to take a vacation (58%) compared to Gen Xers (46%) and Boomers (40%), with men more confident than women at 55 and 40% respectively.
“When it comes to travel, Canadians are becoming more confident but they are still clearly cost-conscious,” said Keon.
Everyone in the travel industry has heard of, or worked with, clients who didn’t heed their travel agent’s advice to purchase travel insurance. Keon adds this reminder: “Allianz Global Assistance recommends that when making plans, travellers should always budget for the cost of trip cancellation and medical travel insurance. Before you’ve even left, the last thing you want is to be out of pocket due to having to unexpectedly cancel your trip for a reason that may have been covered by travel insurance. Even more importantly, it’s critical that Canadian travellers have appropriate coverage in place to protect themselves from the potentially catastrophic cost of medical treatment abroad due to an unexpected injury or illness while on vacation.”