Destination Research

We are now providing monthly research reports that capture the most current and relevant information within the travel and tourism industry. These reports offer a consolidation of existing travel data, visitor trends, and what to consider when looking into the future. As we continue to adapt, it is important to stay informed and guide our decisions based on what the research suggests. Happy reading!

Last updated on July 28th, 2021.

Destination Canada: GTW COVID report

  • Destination Canada has released their latest Global Tourism Watch study which focuses on domestic travel intent, spending, and future planning.
  • 28% of Canadians do not plan on visiting a major city in the next year. When asked to identify the reasons for not visiting larger Canadian cities, the top three answers all related to cautions around COVID-19. That is, cities are either too crowded (31%), there is a greater risk to being exposed (31%), or there would be a higher number of covid cases (31%).
  • A demand for rural experiences an accommodation is increasing despite the success of vaccination and market opening.
  • In total, domestic travel is becoming a more popular option among Canadians when compared to pre pandemic levels. Although international travel demand is still high, residents are planning to take more domestic trips soon.
  • 53% of people have increased their savings during the pandemic. Of those extra savings, 55% are likely to be spent on travel, and 44% claim they will continue into long-term savings. For those who are excited to spend their savings on travel, 35% will prioritize domestic vacations, while 28% will focus on international. The remainder will balance their vacation spending.
  • In the next year, the largest travel segments will be visiting domestic friends and relatives, and domestic leisure travel. Since April 2020, the leisure market has out paced the VFR market. However, this could be due to restrictions prohibiting people from VFR travel, and is, therefore, not an indicator of what to expect as restrictions continue to ease.
  • In the next year people are most likely to revert to staying with friends and family, however, 37% of respondents said they will choose mid-priced hotels as their accommodation, above resorts, and rented houses/condos.

Stone Olafson: New Experience Economy - Phase 6

  • As vaccination rates increase and the market begins to open, comfort levels are also increasing. Although 50% are still most comfortable within their own social groups, 38% are now beginning to feel better about interacting in large groups (the highest it has been since May 2020).
  • Although Albertans comfort levels are increasing, their tolerance for risk is staying relatively stable. There is a direct correlation with the number of vaccinations distributed to the levels of comfortability among residents.
  • Residents of Calgary are slightly more tolerant to risk than Edmonton, rating their excitement for reopening an 8,9, or 10 out of 10, 40% of the time. Edmonton’s population was 32%.
  • In total 69% of Albertans are excited to “get back to normal as early as next month”. 58% claim that they will be waiting until they are fully inoculated before they return to normalcy.
  • Once again, we see that Calgary is slightly more willing to make the return at 67%, while Edmonton is slightly more cautious at 62%.
  • 39% of Albertans also claim that they will not attend an event/experience if they must wear a mask.
  • Although a significant portion of the population is still cautious, there is an understanding that events and other activities need to begin.
  • Generally (75%), people are eager to ‘rediscover’ experiences in their community, however, many will continue to pursue the new activities they adopted during the pandemic. Naturally, these will be more isolating activities.
  • Across the board, people are most likely to travel, or take part in an experience as soon as they are able. Domestic travel is highest with 57% expecting to travel within Alberta, and 48% expecting to travel outside Alberta. Sporting events, festivals, and live performances are relatively balanced between people very eager to attend, and those who will likely wait until the pandemic is over.
  • For 63% of the Alberta population, any money saved from lack of travel or experiences, was spent elsewhere. 50% claim that their spending habits are ‘very different’ from pre-covid.
  • As it relates to messaging, 37% hope to hear about the safety precautions in place, and 36% “just need to know they’re open.”

Leger Marketing Research: North American Tracker – July 19

  • In the most recent iteration of the North American Tracker, 52% of Canadians oppose the opening of the Canada-US boarder, compared to only 26% of Americans. By a large margin (66%), full vaccination is the primary condition that needs to be met for Canadians to feel comfortable about boarders opening. Only 5% of respondents think a single vaccination is enough, while 16% believe a negative test result should warrant entry.
  • Outdoor activities are still offering the most comfort for Canadians, but Alberta currently has the highest level of comfort in participating in any activity, both indoor and outdoor, then any other province.
  • Alberta also has the lowest support for a vaccination passport in every category, averaging approximately 20 points below the average support level. However, 58% of all Canadians believe that vaccine passports should be implemented in some fashion.
  • 70% of all Canadians do not think restrictions should be lifted (7% do not know), along with 49% of Americans (14% do not know).
  • Dropping 3 points from July 5th, only 23% of Canadians believe all restrictions should be lifted. The United States is also down from 40% on July 5th, to 37%.

Calgary Stampede / Olympic Games


  • Calgary hosted just over 500,000 guests this year at the Stampede, slightly less then half of what they experienced in 2018 and 2019. This is to increased safety protocols and attendance monitoring put in place despite the lack of governmental restrictions.
  • Although the Stampede hosted less than half of the audience it is used to, the event was called a success thanks to the high level of safety measures in place.
  • Proof of vaccination or agreement to rapid testing was needed to enter the Nashville North night club. 18 individuals were denied entry after having been diagnosed at the door, and 73% of the 60,000 people entering Nashville North showed proof of their vaccination.
  • Moving forward with the event was not a popular decision among some infectious disease experts due to the new variants still lingering, however, the Calgary Stampede was able to provide a safe and inviting festival.

Olympic Games

  • The 2021 Olympic games have started despite Japan introducing a state of emergency, counting the highest covid infection and death rates in 6 months.
  • World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has no doubt that there will be covid infections at the games. Success will come from how well the games can isolate and care for those infected.
  • The head of the Olympic Games Committee admitted that cancelling the games is not ruled out. They will be closely monitoring cases and judge the circumstances as they arise.
  • Major games sponsorships are also questioning their involvement in the games due to the controversial opinions of medical experts and the Japanese residents. Toyota, for example, Japan’s largest automaker, has chosen to distance themselves, pulling television ads and cancelling their attendance in the opening ceremonies.
  • There have also been several outbreaks since the arrival of athletes. As of July 18, 55 cases have been confirmed, including both athletes and staff members.