Where are Canadians booking travel? ToursByLocals shares fall trends

ToursByLocals highlights the latest fall travel trends.

That Vancouver-based company has served more than 1.7 million travelers since its inception and is an authority on travel patterns in Canada and around the world.

“It’s refreshing to see just how diverse the destinations Canadians are seeking as we look to 2023,” he said Paul Melhus, President and Co-Founder of ToursByLocals. “A year ago, international travel was still quite limited, but this summer it really took off. European tours dominated our bookings this summer, but we’re seeing an interest in off-season travel and a desire to push boundaries and venture further abroad. It’s great to see Japan coming back after such severe travel restrictions, as well as countries like Argentina and Brazil.”

The company recently conducted a broad survey that was sent to more than 90,000 active travelers in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The results, coupled with proprietary data, reveal travel motivations, roadblocks, and top travel destinations for fall and beyond.

The top destinations in autumn 2022

The following represents the top countries where Canadians booked ToursByLocals tours this fall 2022:

  1. Italy
  2. Portugal
  3. Spain
  4. US
  5. Greece
  6. France
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Turkey
  9. Croatia
  10. Canada

Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2023 (So Far)

Below are the top countries where ToursByLocals tours have been booked so far for 2023:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. Argentina
  3. Japan
  4. Italy
  5. France
  6. United States
  7. Chile
  8. Brazil
  9. Mexico
  10. Peru
  11. Portugal

26 percent of all tours booked so far in 2023 are bespoke itineraries, reflecting the ongoing trend towards personalized travel.

“Regardless of where they’re visiting, more than ever, Canadians share a desire to have the most memorable travel experiences,” says Paul. “A private tour led by an experienced local guide offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a destination and its culture.”

International travel is increasing

74 percent of survey participants plan to travel between now and December. Of these, almost 85 percent are planning international trips.

“This suggests that we will see robust sales throughout the fall. The data also tells us that we will continue to experience a shorter than normal booking window, which is a trend being felt across the travel industry,” said Paul.

Looking further ahead, 86 percent say they plan to travel internationally in 2023, with just 1 percent saying they won’t travel and 10 percent saying they haven’t made a decision yet. The rest will travel but stay domestic.

As evidence of the comeback of cruising, nearly 50 percent (49 percent) of respondents said they are ready to return to sea and plan to cruise in 2023.

“Current bookings show that almost 1 out of 2 tours booked for next year are shore excursions,” Paul said. “We attribute this to the fact that cruise lines are known to book well in advance, but it also shows how quickly the industry is recovering.”

Not COVID, airport issues dominate travelers’ concerns

Crowded airports, lost luggage and flight delays topped the list of top travel concerns (43 percent). This is ahead of a resurgence of COVID (28 percent), inflation (27 percent) and the war in Ukraine (23 percent).

The ToursByLocals difference

When looking at what travelers are looking for, history, local culture, art and experiences rank first.

“There’s no better way to experience a destination than with a private tour,” said Paul. “A ToursByLocals tour allows you to fully customize your experience and venture further afield without having to rent a vehicle yourself or create an itinerary from scratch. Our customers appreciate having a local guide to help with language issues as well, while prioritizing safety and comfort.”

Travel Advisors can help their clients create immersive experiences and earn a minimum commission of 5% on every booking made. Agents can register for this incentive here.

Once an agency books $9,700 CAD ($7,500) worth of tours, the commission increases to 10 percent and is applied retrospectively to all tours booked that year.

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