Where Are Your Clients Going Next?
Discover America presents Conference Board research trends

with Martha Chapman

Attendees at the event included Colin Wood of Hawaii Tourism Canada, Sue Webb, President of Discover America Canada and Ian Tillson of Visit Myrtle Beach.

Kerry Sullivan of Visit Orlando/Canlink and Denise Graham of Experience Kissimmee.

Stephanie Free-Burns of North Carolina as well as Varuni Sakhalkar of New Hampshire Tourism.

If you sometimes wish you had a crystal ball and could figure out what the next travel trend will be, you’re not alone. Luckily there’s the Conference Board of Canada with its many (and we mean many) stats based on researching trends of the Canadian traveller.

In her wide-reaching presentation to the Discover America Canada association last week, Jennifer Hendry, Senior Research Associate at the Canadian Tourism Research Institute at The Conference Board, addressed changing cross-border travel trends and intentions. She also touched on longer haul travel. Here are some of her findings:

  • Price is a concern but the loonie, now seemingly comfortably settled in the high 70-cent range, is not a deterrent for Canadians travelling to the U.S., especially snowbirds. We are by now inured to it.
  • Canadians 65+ now outnumber children – which is a good thing for our industry. Seniors are more mobile and better off financially than in the past, thus more likely to travel to longer-haul destinations as they work their way through their bucket lists.
  • Younger snowbirds (long-stay winter sunseekers) are bypassing Florida, Arizona, Texas and other sunny U.S. states for more “exotic” destinations -- notably Latin America.
  • The Trump Slump: truth or fiction? It’s almost impossible to measure but any anti-Trump “boycotting” of travel to the U.S. is dependent on age, geography and gender. According to the Conference Board, 44% of Canadian travellers have expressed their intention to travel to the U.S. this summer, either on its own or along with additional destinations. 

On the good news front, Canadians continue to consider travel a right, Hendry told the group, adding that the momentum of “more experiences, less stuff” – i.e. travel more, acquire fewer possessions – is a reality. And best of all, “Tourism is resilient.” The terribly sad event in Toronto last week will not turn off visitors if the past similar events in London, Barcelona and Nice are anything to go by.





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