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 April 7, 2021.
Vaccine Distribution and Herd Immunity
A survey done by Leger Marketing Research provides some insight on the receptivity of the vaccine among Canadians and Americans. 73% of Canadians, and 59% of Americans, plan to get vaccinated once it becomes available to them. Further, 43% of Canadians are willing to take the first vaccine available to them, and 26% will wait for others to become available.
Consideration: Herd immunity will be important to consider as vaccines continue to be developed and distributed throughout the world. Herd immunity can only be achieved when enough of the population has the necessary antibodies to create a barrier the virus is unable to penetrate. The ratio of people that need to be vaccinated needs to be equal to the potential of transmission (i.e., how many people a single person can infect). Because COVID-19 is highly infectious, a substantial proportion of the population will need to be vaccinated.
It will be important to gage the receptivity of the vaccine in our major markets. Although vaccines are becoming widely available, the demand for the vaccine may not meet the requirement for herd immunity. Markets with a low receptivity rate of vaccination may lower their market potential.
It is likely that there will be some type of policy or requirement to indicate one’s potential for transmission. One way this is being developed is through a digital health pass, or vaccine passport. A survey was distributed in several countries including Canada, U.S., U.K., France, Germany, India, Australia, Chile, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and Singapore, indicating that 80% of people are in favour of this type of technology, with the expectation that their data will be private, and not centrally stored. The Digital Health Pass may be a critical program in increasing confidence to open borders.
Consideration: Although the supply of the vaccines is starting to meet demand, we need to be prepared for what happens next. What does it mean for people who have received a vaccine? What does it mean for those who haven’t? Airports and boarder crossings will play a large roll in monitoring the health of travelers but there may be implications for venues, and other establishments capable of supporting large gatherings as well. Venues will need to understand what policy, technology, and implications exist for hosting groups. A ‘health pass’ may be a way to carefully monitor the health and safety of delegates and staff during conferences, sport and cultural events, tradeshows, and exhibitions.
Canadians want to travel: while safety is a key consideration in planning travel, data shows high interest in future international travel.
In 2019, Canadians spent $28.2 billion. If Canadians shift two-thirds of their planned spend on international leisure travel towards domestic tourism, it will make up for the estimated $19 billion shortfall currently facing our visitor economy—and help sustain 150,000 jobs.
Recovery is forecasted to take years, but a significant increase in domestic travel can accelerate recovery by one year.
The visitor economy saw unprecedented losses in 2020 alongside business closures and rising unemployment. The impact on tourism is greater than that experienced after 9/11, SARS and the 2008 economic crisis combined.
The level of welcoming visitors has increased in nearly every province since the previous week, with residents becoming less averse to out of province travelers. Alberta currently has the highest rate of welcoming in every category, while British Columbia has recently begun trending more negatively, wanting to focus on intra-provincial travel and less from other parts of Canada. Ontario is the only province to see a decline in feelings of safety in their own province. This suggests residents of Ontario are beginning to feel more vulnerable in their own province.
COVID-19 has had a severe impact to business events, with the loss of 3,495 planned events and the resulting 1.39 million delegates that would have visited Canada. This has led to $1.18 billion lost revenue for 2020 events. This level of loss and uncertainty in the sector will have a lasting impact on the business events industry and the industries it supports for many years to come. Looking at business events spanning from 2020-2026, including both definite and tentative events, Destination Canada is forecasting to see an additional impact to more than 4,000 business events, representing 1.9 million delegates and $1.6 billion in direct spending.
Tourism Industry Association of Canada
HEALTH IMPACT - Despite new variants, worldwide cases are declining. However, the risk to Canadians is still considered high. The border closure has been extended to April 21, marking a full year of suspended land movement. It is likely that the border closure dates will continue to be postponed.
ECONOMIC IMPACT - The tourism industry lost an estimated $1.3 trillion in export revenue in 2020. The travel industry's recovery will be slow as new COVID-19 variants are causing governments to continue using travel bans to stem the spread.
FOCUS CASE STUDY 1 – IATA TRAVEL PASS UPDATE - Low traveller confidence may still stop many from traveling; GlobalData’s survey also found that 52% of global respondents are either ‘quite’ or ‘extremely’ concerned regarding restrictions on international travel. The travel pass—or similar technologies—will play a big role in easing these concerns among international travellers.
FOCUS CASE STUDY 3 – TECH TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY – people are becoming more accustom to an increase in technological operations due to many organizations having to shift, or pivot, from their traditional operations. It will be important for customer experiences to be accessible through technology in the future as these transformations are likely to become commonplace.
Domestic demand is driving booked room nights and travel searches upward since December 2020, paving the way for a positive impact on accommodation metrics for February 2021. Continued restrictions on indoor gatherings and travel are pushing people outdoors, as evidenced by strong visitor attendance at national parks.
Air capacity is increasing substantially as airlines understand that people want to ensure their travel plans in 2021, peaking in August. However, airlines have been trying to secure future bookings in hopes to manage the supply if the borders open, meaning last minute cancellations may continue to manipulate this information into the summer.