A majority of Canadians are ready to travel (or are travelling already) and the United States is a top destination choice, according to new market research from Travelzoo.
Representatives from the media commerce company shared its latest data on attitudes towards U.S. travel in 2022 at Discover America Canada’s annual general meeting, which was held virtually on Tuesday (March 29).
In a presentation, Travelzoo’s Faith Brillinger, business development director, and Susan Catto, head of publishing and production, shared the latest findings from the Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Attitudes towards travel to the U.S. survey, which polled 2,160 members from March 2-9, 2022.
A key finding from the study is that nearly 70 per cent of respondents are ready to pack their bags and travel again (or have already resumed their travel activities).
In contrast, only six per cent indicated they would need more time before they felt comfortable traveling again.
Catto said respondents have been researching travel ideas "like crazy" in the weeks preceding the survey.
She shared that 94 per cent enjoy reading about destinations they have never visited before, while 80 per cent enjoy looking up destinations they have visited before.
According to Travelzoo's platform, members are more than just researching, but they are also booking, and most are doing so about a month in advance.
Respondents were predominantly female, aged 25 to 64, highly-educated, and identified as the primary decision-makers when it comes to making family travel decisions.
Furthermore, 91 per cent of respondents indicated they've received two vaccine doses compared to 81 per cent of the Canadian population.
Where to and how much?
According to Travelzoo's survey, 84 per cent of respondents would consider travelling somewhere they had never been before.
Among this group, three-quarters plan to make at least one international trip in 2022, and 43 per cent plan to make at least two.
Having spent a lot of time at home during the past two years, Canadians are not only looking forward to going somewhere special but also choosing “something different” from their bucket list.
Findings also showed that respondents have the money to take these trips because they did not travel due to pandemic lockdowns in the last couple of years.
Ninety-one per cent of respondents said that their disposable income for travel actually increased or remained the same from last year.
Nearly half said they're planning to spend $2,000 or more per person on an international vacation and more than a quarter plan to spend more than $3,000 per person.
Top U.S. states & cities
The U.S. is a top contender for international travel, Travelzoo reports, with 71 per cent of respondents stating that they interested in visiting the U.S. during the remaining months of the year.
Among those who said they weren't interested in travelling this year, 49 per cent plan to travel within the next two years.
According to the survey, the top 10 most desirable U.S. states are Florida, California, New York, Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Texas, and South Carolina.
As for top U.S. cities, respondents cited New York City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Seattle, San Francisco, Nashville, Boston, San Diego/Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Phoenix.
New Orleans came in eleventh, while Palm Springs followed.
Travelzoo says there's high interest in cities that aren't usually ranked in the top 10 as people seem to be more open to exploring new destinations.
As Brillinger explained, just because people want to visit these top destinations does not mean they will not travel to other parts of the U.S.
It was no surprise that respondents to a survey in "cold" March chose going to a beach as their number one activity of choice.
Once in destination, 87 per cent reported they would stay in paid accommodations, such as rental properties and hotels and resorts.
Future travellers are likely to be "big spenders" when looking for accommodations, the survey said, with 36 per cent of respondents saying they would likely pay more for an upgraded room, such as a suite or a room with a view.
Travelzoo's research also points to a rising demand for longer stays, which means that travellers are willing to spend more money on trips to the U.S.
In its survey, Travelzoo reports that 56 per cent of respondents will most likely travel with their spouses or partners.
Family travel is also an important theme for Canadians, the survey says, and big families are likely to have a "nice spend.”
Less than 10 per cent of respondents said they would travel alone, and on their next US vacation, 37 per cent of respondents said they'd spend $1,000 or more per person.
Building Canada-U.S. tourism
Discover America Canada is a “small, but mighty” organization whose mission is to provide a networking forum to exchange marketing strategies and build Canadian tourism to the United States, explained Susan Webb, president of Discover America Canada.
Members are based in Canada and the U.S. and are from all sectors of travel, from DMOs and destinations to attractions and hotels to tour operators, airlines, and rail companies.
Discover America Canada has held virtual events during the pandemic and even grew its membership to 61 in 2021, marking an increase of 15 from 2020.
Webb said it will be a busy year with more events and meetings planned between May and the year's end.
With travel testing requirements soon about to change, Discover America Canada is looking forward to Canadians returning to the U.S. in larger numbers.
“As of April 1, there's no more testing (for Canadians on re-entry to Canada). It’s not April Fool’s, it’s really happening!" an excited Webb told AGM attendees yesterday.
For more on Discover America Canada, visit here.