Sunday,  December 4, 2022  7:57 am

Where are Canadians booking travel? ToursByLocals shares fall trends

Where are Canadians booking travel? ToursByLocals shares fall trends
Pax Global Media

Canada’s ToursByLocals is shining a light on the latest travel trends for fall. 

The Vancouver-based company has served more than 1.7 million travellers since its inception, and is an authority on travel patterns in Canada and around the world. 

“It’s refreshing to see the diversity of destinations Canadians are seeking as we look ahead to 2023,” said Paul Melhus, president and co-founder of ToursByLocals. “One year ago, international travel was still fairly limited but this summer things really took off. European tours dominated our bookings this summer, but we’re seeing an interest in shoulder and off-season travel, and a desire to push boundaries and venture further abroad. It’s great to see Japan coming back after such heavy travel restrictions, as well as countries like Argentina and Brazil.”

The company recently conducted a widespread survey sent to more than 90,000 active travellers in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. 

The findings, paired with proprietary data, reveal travel motivations, barriers, and top destinations for fall and beyond.

Fall 2022’s top destinations

The following represents the top countries where ToursByLocals tours have been booked by Canadians this fall 2022:

  1. Italy
  2. Portugal
  3. Spain
  4. US
  5. Greece
  6. France
  7. UK
  8. Turkey
  9. Croatia
  10. Canada

Top 10 destinations for 2023 (so far)

The following represents the top countries where ToursByLocals tours have been booked so far for 2023:

  1. United Kingdom 
  2. Argentina
  3. Japan
  4. Italy
  5. France
  6. United States
  7. Chile
  8. Brazil
  9. Mexico
  10. Peru
  11. Portugal

26 per cent of all tours booked so far in 2023 are customized itineraries, reflecting a continued trend towards personalized travel.

“Regardless of where they are visiting, more than ever, Canadians share a desire to unlock the most memorable travel experiences,” says Paul. “A private tour, hosted by an experienced local guide, provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in a destination and its culture.”

International travel is on the rise

74 per cent of survey respondents are planning to travel between now and December. Of those, nearly 85 per cent plan to take international trips.

“This suggests we’ll see robust sales throughout fall. The data also tells us we’ll continue to experience a shorter than normal booking window, which is a trend being felt across the entire travel industry,” said Paul.

Looking further ahead, 86 per cent say they are planning to travel internationally in 2023, with only 1 per cent stating they will not travel and 10% indicating they haven’t decided yet. The rest will travel but stay domestic.

As evidence of cruising’s comeback, nearly 50 per cent (49 per cent) of respondents indicated they are ready to return to sea and plan to take a cruise in 2023. 

“Current bookings show nearly 1 of every 2 tours booked for next year are for shore excursions,” said Paul. “We attribute this to the fact that cruisers are known to book far in advance, but it also shows how quickly the industry is rebounding.”

Not COVID, airport issues dominate traveller concerns

Congested airports, lost luggage, and flight delays, topped the list of primary travel concerns (43 per cent). This is ahead of a resurgence of a COVID (28 per cent), inflation (27 per cent), and the war in Ukraine (23 per cent). 

The ToursByLocals difference

In looking at what travellers are seeking, history, local culture, arts, and experiences are tops. 

“There is no better way to experience a destination than with a private guided tour,” said Paul, “A ToursByLocals tour allows you to fully customize your experience and venture further afield without having to rent a vehicle yourself or create an itinerary from scratch. Our customers appreciate that a local guide will also help navigate any language issues, while prioritizing safety and comfort.”

Travel advisors can help their clients design immersive experiences and earn a 5 per cent minimum commission with each booking made. Agents can register for this incentive here

Once an agency has booked $9,700CAD ($7,500USD) worth of tours, the commission is raised to 10 per cent, and applied retroactively to all tours booked that year. 

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