Canadians are still focused on outdoor travel

According to a survey by Leger, even more people are planning for trips to local, outdoor destinations.

It seems restricting what they can do indoors is having a big effect on how people feel about the outdoors.

That’s according a survey of 2,000 Canadians conducted by Leger, which reveal that 76% of them feel the pandemic has given them a greater appreciation for nature, while 65% feel it has given them a greater appreciation for travel within Canada.

As a result, 49% of Canadians are planning a road trip, a 10% increase from those who said the same last year.

Our best laid plans are being hampered by ongoing COVID volatility, and according to Leger’s survey, 73% of Canadians have had to change summer vacation plans due to the pandemic, while 84% plan to stay closer to home than usual for vacation.

Of those planning a road trip, 67% are opting for a shorter day trip, while 35% are planning for a trip between four and six hours away from home.

Overall, Canadians are focusing on destinations that bring them closer to nature and activities that keep them physically active, with sightseeing high on the list of local trip destinations, followed by national and provincial parks.

There are some notable regional differences in travel plans, though. Atlantic Canadians feel most connected to nature, with the majority stating the pandemic has given them a greater appreciation for the outdoors (85%), 9% higher than the rest of Canada.

B.C. residents are slightly more likely to have made vacation changes due to the pandemic and stay close to home for any travel, while Albertans are significantly more likely to be considering a road trip. But it’s residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba that are most willing to put foot to pedal the longest: 35% of residents there are willing to drive more than 12 hours from their homes for their vacation.

Looking to local destinations to satisfy Canadians’ travel itch that tourism organizations – which more traditionally targeted people from other provinces or countries with their marketing efforts – first began honing in on last year, and its something they appear to be looking to in order to keep the sector alive this year.

To mark last week’s Travel Week, Destination Canada urged travellers to spend locally, saying that if they re-allocate the bulk of their unspent international travel dollars towards supporting local travel, they could help make up the estimated $19 billion shortfall currently facing the industry and accelerate its recovery.

Quebec City Tourism recently launched a campaign geared towards locals, backed by one of its biggest investments in more than a decade.

Amidst all this planning, Canadins are still proceeding to summer vacation spots with caution: 75% of respondents will continue to wearing a mask in public, while many report they will be adjusting their destinations to more remote locations like campsites (37%) or cabins and cottages (34%). Additionally, only 46% of those polled plan to travel in order visit with friends and family, but only if restrictions allow.