Report On Canadian Operators’ Domestic Product Offerings

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

A number of studies taking the temperature of the Canadian population’s taste for travel indicates that under the present conditions there is a marked preference for staying close to home this summer. 

The resulting opportunity has not gone unnoticed, with Canadian operators placing an emphasis on domestic travel packages. 

Open Jaw reached out to several operators to review what they have in store for Canadians eager to discover their own country. 

Globus family of brands: Undiscovered North America

The Globus family of brands has expanded its  North America lineup with nine new Undiscovered tours for 2021.

The eight- to 14-day trips will be sold under the company’s Globus and Cosmos brands and include itineraries such as Globus Québec In Depth with the Gaspé Peninsula, Cosmos Alaska & the Yukon, and Cosmos Western Canada with Inside Passage, which are also available for 2020 bookings. 

“These unique and unparalleled itineraries help travellers discover North America’s tucked-away towns, secluded seafronts and lesser-known nooks for an unforgettable vacation,” said Stéphanie Bishop, managing director for the Globus family of brands in a news release. 

“With our series of ‘Undiscovered’ tours, we are invested in taking travellers to the places and parks other tour operators do not visit.”

Bishop said the appetite for the offerings was demonstrated in "very strong" sales last week. 

"The launch of our Undiscovered North America vacations contributed to that uptick as did our current marketing efforts focused on Canada and our 'discover our own backyard' platform," she said. 

Globus' domestic tour season traditionally ends in late SEP. Given this – and the company's proactive suspension of tours through 31AUG – there are not as many opportunities for travellers to book a domestic vacation in 2020.

For 2020, Bishop says Newfoundland and the Maritimes are doing particularly well, as well as Festive Cruise bookings with Avalon.

Insight Vacations: Responding to demand for experiential travel 

Brad Ford, President of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold, tells Open Jaw new journeys within Canada are being developed for 2021, modelled on the recently-released new U.S. itineraries.

Ford says the Canadian domestic product will be released in the fourth quarter of this year for sales going into the second quarter of 2021.

Three new U.S. journeys -- all seven days in duration -- include Cajun Country Escape, a round trip journey from New Orleans, The Spectacular Southwest Escape exploring national parks and canyon lands, and a paradise escape to Hawaii.

Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold have suspended operations through the end of AUG, and Ford says he is "cautiously optimistic" that trips will restart in SEP.

"It depends on what our provincial governments are able to enact. We have journeys scheduled for September and October that are ready to go, but we want to ensure that the airlines and governing bodies have all the information established at that point for us to be able to proceed," Ford said.

As for travel demand, Ford says it is undoubtedly there.

"The message has been very clear from our best travel advisors and travellers that there is a rise in conscious and experiential travel and the desire to re-explore or explore for the first time our own backyards. Canadians definitely want to explore Canada, but I do think Europe is a close second."

ACV & Transat: On the road again!

Some operators are anticipating that road trips will make a resurgence this year, with Air Canada Vacations and Transat revealing new itineraries and partnerships that offer RV vacations.

ACV introduced RV Discoveries as part of its 2020 Canada Collection program. The itineraries include an RV rental for seven nights, transfer between the rental office and the airport and are available in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. 

As the domestic economy starts reopening, ACV is “really forecasting that the domestic market is going to be the first to rebound," said Marigold Fortuna, General Manager Western Canada during a webinar launching the product line on 04JUN.

Fortuna added that Fly & Drive itineraries are expected to "fly off the shelf" this summer. Click here to read more on ACV's 2020 Canada Collection.

Like ACV, Transat announced a new domestic RV product, made possible through a new partnership with CanaDream, an RV rental and sales company in Canada. 

Transat Distribution Canada (TDC) says recent feedback from its suppliers indicates Canadians are eager to travel and that now "is an ideal time" to see Canada, according to a news release.

“Because we all want to support local business and communities to rebound, and with gas prices so low, now is a great time to experience Canada. And with this unique RV offer, travellers from across the country will be able to enjoy the comfort of their own 'home away from home' on wheels," said TDC General Manager Louise Fecteau.

Transat is resuming flights to 22 destinations on 23JUL, 2020. This includes a domestic flight schedule between major Canadian cities. 

"To open the door to even more destinations via connecting flights and to allow Canadians to explore more of their country, the airline will also offer domestic flights between Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver," said Annick Guérard, Chief Operating Officer of Transat, in a news release.

WestJet: More Canada

WestJet released its updated summer schedule yesterday. With a focus on domestic service, the carrier is offering 39 Canadian destinations.

"Jurisdictions around the world are opening, allowing citizens to begin flying once again which is kickstarting their economies for recovery. We've heard from the communities we serve and look forward to having Canadians safely participate and stimulate domestic tourism this summer," said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. 

Sunwing: Domestic program on the horizon

Sunwing is "closely monitoring" provincial travel restrictions and will launch a domestic program once it is deemed safe to travel and restrictions are lifted, Marie-Josée Carrière, Senior Marketing Director, Quebec, told Open Jaw.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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