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How many Canadians plan on travelling this year? New survey breaks down the numbers

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It seems travel is on the minds of many people now that spring has arrived, and a new survey suggests more than half of all Canadians plan to hit the road in 2023.

More than 1,200 people from across the country were surveyed by Narrative Research last month and the results were released last week.

“So a really good representative sample of Canadians across income categories and genders and provinces,” says Narrative Research’s chief operating officer Margaret Chapman.

The survey revealed 56 per cent of all Canadians plan to travel this year.

“About a third said, ‘No, I don’t think I’m going to do it,’ and then there’s a few people who are still uncertain this early on in the year,” Chapman says.

She adds the numbers have elevated “a little bit” compared to previous years.

“Two years ago, 2021, heart of the pandemic, about half of Canadians still thought they were going to travel in some way, but what’s really changed is where they’re going to go.”

About three quarters of those surveyed this year reported they are going to the United States, somewhere else within the Canada or Europe.

“And then there’s about five per cent of people who are planning to go to Asia, or Africa or South America or other parts of the world,” Chapman says. “But it’s three top destinations.”

Only about one in 10 Canadians said that they would travel outside of the county two years ago, according to Chapman.

“So now that’s blossomed to over half of travellers are saying that they want to travel,” she says. “It’s kind of scratching that itch to get on a plane and go somewhere different.”

The survey also revealed men are more likely to plan to travel this year compared to women.

“I don’t know what’s up with that one,” Chapman admits. “It doesn’t kind of gel, but maybe it’s people who are a little more decisive about where they’re going to go or something like that.”

Not surprisingly, household income played a role in those who are planning to travel.

“The income one absolutely makes sense,” Chapman says. “And with inflation where it is, of course the higher your income, the more likely you are to have concrete travel plans.”

Older Canadians are less likely to travel than younger people, according to the numbers, though people 55 and older are more likely to travel within Canada.

Chapman says it’s interesting to look at where people are going.

“Boomers are more likely to travel within the country for a vacation and younger people are a little bit more likely to have told us they’re planning to get on a plane and travel somewhere else,” she says. “But generally older people are maybe more likely to now want to travel at all.”

Narrative Research also found 28 per cent Canadians have no plans to travel this year, while sixteen per cent are still unsure.

“I put that down really to the economic times that we’re living in and a lot of people are struggling with the cost of food, the cost of daily expenses and I think that makes it really tough to buy a vacation in advance or have the disposable income to buy a plane ticket,” Chapman says.

She thinks pent up demand has led to travel returning to more pre-pandemic levels.

“I do think the spring was coiled and now people are ready to take off. It really seems like Canadians are just eager to get out and see the world again.”

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