Canada is Destination of Choice for Canadian Travellers during 150th Birthday Year as Six in Ten (60%) will Travel Domestically this Year

Few Travelling Within Canada (47%) Will Buy Travel Insurance, Compared to 75% of Those Travelling Internationally

The author(s)
  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON – Eight in ten Canadians (79%) plan on travelling this year, and for most Canada itself is the destination during its sesquicentennial. A new Ipsos poll for RBC Insurance finds that six in ten Canadians (60%) intend to travel somewhere within Canada this year, whether it’s exploring their home province (41%) or elsewhere in the country (29%). The poll defined travel as being a distance of at least 100 km away from home, for a minimum of two nights.

Budget Main Motivation for Canadian Staycations

Those who plan to travel within Canada this year are most likely to say their available budget (68%) influenced their decision (40% a lot / 28% some). Nearly as many (67%) say a desire to visit family or friends influenced their plans to travel within Canada (48% a lot / 19% some). For others (47%), unfavourable foreign-currency exchange rates were a motivating factor (24% a lot / 22% some), as was concern about travel to other countries (35%; 16% a lot / 19% some).

Despite this, many Canadian travellers are motivated by a desire to discover our country, and a slew of new opportunities to do just that. Within this group, six in ten (62%) say their Canadian travel decisions were influenced by a desire to discover Canada (31% a lot / 31% some).

Few Consider Travel Insurance for Trips Within Canada

With so much travel ahead, unforeseen circumstances on the road can often occur. Despite this, the survey finds that many Canadians aren’t likely to buy travel insurance before setting out on their trips – particularly if they are travelling within Canada.

More than half (53%) of Canadians travelling within Canada but outside of their home province are not likely (24% not at all / 28% not very) to purchase travel insurance for their trip, leaving 47% who say they are likely to do so (21% very / 26% somewhat). Nearly half (46%) of those who don’t intend to buy travel insurance say they don’t need it, as they are already covered by their provincial health care plan. Nearly four in ten (39%) say they already have travel insurance through their credit card or group benefits plan.

This attitude toward travel insurance for travel within Canada came through in other parts of the survey as well. For instance, only four in ten Canadians (40%) said travel insurance was something they would ‘never leave home without’ before embarking on a great Canadian road trip. By contrast, more Canadians said they would never set off on such a trip without their cellphone (75%), securing their home or property (61%), or doing a vehicle tune-up (51%).

When travelling outside of Canada, intent to buy travel insurance increases dramatically: three in four (75%) of those travelling internationally this year say they’re likely (53% very / 22% somewhat) to purchase travel insurance for the trip.


A majority (61%) of those not likely to buy travel insurance for international trips say they’re already covered through their credit card or group benefits plan, while 15% are ‘willing to take their chances that everything will go smoothly.

Who’s Travelling Where?

Prairie residents (50%) and Albertans (48%) are most likely to set their sights on exploring a different part of Canada this year, followed by those living in the Atlantic provinces (45%), British Columbia (31%), Ontario (23%), and Quebec (20%). By contrast, Quebecers are the most likely to go travelling within their own province (46%), compared to residents of BC (43%), Ontario (40%), Atlantic Canada (39%), Alberta (38%), and the Prairies (35%). For many Canadians, this year’s travel plans are further afield. Four in ten (39%) say they’ll travel to a destination outside Canada, with the United States (22%) being the most popular destination.

Who’s Doing What?

Those planning a Canadian trip this year have a wide variety of interests, and are likely to go in search of unique experiences. More than eight in ten (84%) say they’re likely (37% very / 47% somewhat) to do something on their travels they normally wouldn’t do at home. This includes…

  • Local cultural events like the theatre or sports: 71% likely (29% very / 42% somewhat);
  • Local museums or art galleries: 70% likely (28% very / 43% somewhat);
  • An adventure like whale watching or ocean kayaking: 51% likely (21% very / 30% somewhat);
  • Camping: 51% likely (25% very / 27% somewhat).

Millennials lead the way when it comes to camping: two in three (67%) say they’re likely, compared to 56% of Gen X’ers and 31% of Boomers. Millennials are also the most likely group to take an adventure like ocean kayaking (65 %), rent a car (50%) and participate in an ‘extreme’ activity (48%).

Ontario Top Canadian Travel Destination

Ontario emerges as the most popular destination overall for Canadians planning to travel within Canada this year: nearly four in ten (37%) say they plan on traveling somewhere in Ontario outside the national capital, while one in ten (12%) say they plan to visit Ottawa, specifically.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Within the Province: The car dominates as the preferred method of transport for those who plan on travelling within their home province this year. Nine in ten (90%) say they’ll travel by car, while just 4% will travel by plane, 3% by train, and 2% by bus.

Elsewhere in Canada: Many Canadians will be going on road trips this year, with 59% saying they’ll travel by car. One in three (32%) will fly, while smaller groups will make their journey by train (6%) or bus (2%).

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between April 27 and May 1, 2017, on behalf of RBC Insurance. For this survey, a sample of 1,503 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ - 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults 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:

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

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry. With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media, customer loyalty, marketing, public affairs research, and survey management. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,669.5 ($2,218.4 million) in 2014.

The author(s)
  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs

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