TORONTO — Amid conflicting reports about travel intentions and money worries this summer, one thing’s for sure: Europe will welcome its fair share of Canadian vacationers, and that suits Sandra Moffatt, Chair of ETC’s Canada chapter, just fine.
Moffatt, who is also Market Manager for Canada at Tourism Ireland, connected with Travelweek with her take on the Canadian market’s prospects for Europe travel.
Some in the consumer media say Canadians are still keeping a tight grip on their travel wallet due to ongoing economic concerns. A GlobalNews.ca story posted this past weekend cites an Ipsos poll that shows about six out of 10 Canadians are cutting back on summer 2023 vacation plans due to inflation and/or other economic worries.
At the same time, sites including CBC.ca are sharing findings from the latest RBC Consumer Spending Tracker, posted earlier this month, which suggests that Canadians are cutting back on restaurants, but not travel. According to RBC’s findings, “Canadians continue to indulge in holidays despite higher flight prices and hotel costs.” One caveat: the RBC Consumer Spending Tracker stats are compiled based on RBC credit card holder transactions, and there’s no indication if travel purchases cited are for current trips, or future trips.
Moffatt said that while outbound travel activity from the Canadian market to Europe remains below pre-pandemic levels, “travel intentions continue to strengthen and there is less uncertainty in the market.”
She told Travelweek: “Air connectivity remains critical to our successes, with winter seat capacity down 5% from 2018-2019, yet up +37% of last year (summer capacity figures TBC). Travel from Canada to Europe is definitely returning to more normal pre-pandemic travel activity. Although the pace of recovery is being impacted by financial factors, the positive trend that began last year is continuing and outbound travel is expected to perform relatively well this winter and continue to strengthen as more time passes – particularly into the peak summer season and with increasing demand for future fall-winter travel due to the strong value available off-peak.”
Last month Travelweek connected with tour operators to get their take on advance bookings for Europe this summer. The verdict? Strongly encourage Europe-bound clients to book ASAP.
According to the ETC’s ‘European Tourism: Trends & Prospects’ report for Q4 2022, and the latest Long-Haul Travel Barometer (LHTB) 1/2023, European destinations are on their way to recovering pre-pandemic tourist arrivals, and Canadian travel sentiment for 2023 is positive.
Moffatt added: “Value continues to be critical when it comes to decision-making. 40% of Canadians who do not plan to travel outside North America this year mentioned their finances as the main reason. Some destinations are recovering quicker than others with value being a core driver. Top European destinations for Canadians are France, Italy, the UK and Ireland, and Germany.”