Amid Pandemic Travel Fears, Canadians Eager to Explore Canada on Vacation

Eight in Ten (83%) Agree There’s Lots to Explore; Half (48%) Are Ready to Travel if They Can Avoid Flying

The author(s)

  • Mitra Thompson Senior Account Manager, Canada, Public Affairs
  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, September 8, 2020 — It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has turned Canadians’ vacation plans upside down. As summer draws to a close, fears about potential infection and transmission have prompted most of us to stay close to home, and with colder weather (read: flu season) on the horizon, these concerns show no signs of abating. A new Ipsos survey for Corona Canada reveals that a majority of Canadians – two in three (66%) – are uncomfortable traveling outside of Canada in the next few months, with nearly half (46%) strongly agreeing and a further 19% who somewhat agree.

Does this herald the era of the great Canadian staycation? While boarding a plane is still a step too far for most – just 29% agree (11% strongly/17% somewhat) they are comfortable flying within Canada – many Canadians remain open to exploring the country by other means. About half (48%) agree (17% strongly/31% somewhat) they are comfortable going on vacation in Canada as long as they don’t need to fly. Just as many (47%) express comfort traveling within Canada outside of their home province (17% agree strongly/30% somewhat) – an opinion shared equally across the country, with no one region feeling significantly less at ease than another. Vacationing in Canada isn’t simply an option for pandemic times, of course: more than half (52%) agree (18% strongly/34% somewhat) that they will opt to explore Canada even when international travel picks up again.


Coast to Coast to Coast

In a country the size of Canada, the “staycation” is a relative concept, and most Canadians (83%) agree (55% strongly/29% somewhat) that there’s a lot to see and do. The survey finds that while a majority of Canadians (78%) agree (42% strongly/36% somewhat) there’s a lot to explore in their home province, the most ardent admirers of local attractions are found on Canada’s East and West Coasts: 54% of Atlantic Canadians and 52% of British Columbians strongly agree there’s a lot to explore near them, compared to 44% of Ontarians, 38% of Albertans, 36% of Prairie residents, and 35% of Quebecers.

Most (78%) see Canada as having a lot to offer travelers of all ages (43% agree strongly/35% somewhat) – though interestingly, this opinion is a lot stronger among older Canadians than younger ones: 87% of Boomers agree, as do 85% of Gen X’ers, compared to 70% of Millennials and just 53% of Gen Z.

As the travel industry adapts to “the new normal”, there is an opportunity to seize on the wealth of sights and activities on offer here in Canada, which remain undiscovered for many. Ironically, those who feel the least connection to traveling in Canada are the ones who have yet to witness some of its most iconic scenery. The survey finds that only one in three Canadians (35%) have seen both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans from Canadian soil, and that young Canadians are the least likely to have done so: 42% of Boomers have seen both oceans from the coast, compared to 32% of Gen Z and just 28% of Millennials.

There is some evidence of uncertainty as to whether now is the time to go exploring, though many remain open-minded: about one in three Canadians (36%) say they see the pandemic as an opportunity to see more of Canada, another third (32%) disagree, while a further 32% fall somewhere in the middle, neither agreeing nor disagreeing.

While half of Canadians (51%) say that in their eyes, Canada has always been a top travel destination, two in ten (18%) disagree, and a further three in ten (31%) are neutral, saying they neither agree nor disagree. Despite this, only one in three Canadians say they take international vacations in a typical year, rising to 54% among those who already have ties abroad, having lived in Canada for five years or less.


Supporting Canadian Business

The pandemic has hit all sectors of the economy, and while Canada has put measures in place to limit the damage, many Canadians express a desire to do what they can to help by buying local.

The survey finds that this same feeling is very much alive when it comes to how we choose to vacation: six in ten Canadians (58%) agree (18% strongly/40% somewhat) they want to do their part to support Canadian tourism by travelling locally – rising to 64% among Gen X’ers and 63% among Boomers. Similarly, half (49%) agree (17% strongly/32% somewhat) they’re trying to support local Canadian businesses by travelling domestically; just 18% actively disagree, leaving 33% who are neutral.


Planning Ahead

With few feeling ready to board a plane and venture outside the country, and a majority (55%) agreeing (28% strongly/27% somewhat) they would prefer not to have to buy foreign currency for their next vacation, what would a Canadian staycation look like?

Most already have ideas about how they want to spend their vacation time: only three in ten (31%) say that they want to travel in Canada but don’t know what to do. At the same time, after months of being cooped up at home, there is appetite for novelty, with nearly four in ten (37%) agreeing (12% strongly/25% somewhat) they are looking for new Canadian vacation ideas during COVID restrictions.

For some, it could be a colder-weather affair. Four in ten (40%) say they’d be excited to plan a Canadian vacation during the fall or winter holidays – a significant number, given the backdrop of a potential second wave of COVID-19 ramping up during the winter months. Three in ten (31%) disagree, while 29% are on the fence.

Many are ready to travel long distances for their dream Canadian vacation, without ever setting foot in a plane: four in ten (42%) say they’re willing to spend up to 12 hours driving to their vacation destination, with men (48%) being more likely than women (37%) to agree.

Getting back to nature is a perennial Canadian favourite, though many are looking to switch it up: four in ten (39%) say they’re looking for unique outdoor Canadian travel experiences. Younger Canadians are most in favour of this type of vacation, with 45% of Gen Z and 47% of Millennials agreeing.


About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between August 28th and 31st, 2020, on behalf of Corona Canada. For this survey, a sample of 1,002 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Mitra Thompson
Senior Account Manager, Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 514 904 4329
[email protected]

Sean Simpson
Vice President, Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 416 324-2002
[email protected]

Jessica Walcot
Senior Consultant, Veritas Communications
+1 647 545-7735
[email protected]

Tamar Nersesian
Senior Manager, Communications, Labatt
+1 416 318-3989
[email protected]


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The author(s)

  • Mitra Thompson Senior Account Manager, Canada, Public Affairs
  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs

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