Holiday plans according to CAA-Quebec: changes for summer 2011

QUEBEC, June 14, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - CAA-Quebec's annual survey of its members' vacation plans reveals that 70% of respondents plan to take a major break this summer, 10% fewer than last year. In addition, a larger proportion of members than last year have no plans to make a trip requiring a night away from home during their holidays.

Gas prices to blame?
Higher gas prices could be one explanation for the change in plans observed in the annual survey of CAA-Quebec members, conducted in May with 907 respondents. To the question "Will the current price of gasoline have an impact on planning of your 2011 summer vacation?," 55% of respondents said yes, while 40% said this is not an influencing factor. As a result of the high cost of gasoline, 57% of vacationers will not go as far away, 26% will reduce their entertainment, 21% will spend less time away, and 21% will cut back on the number of meals eaten in restaurants.

"Considering that the means of transportation for three out of four vacationers remains the automobile, it is understandable that higher gas prices are impacting family holiday budgets," says Sophie Gagnon, CAA-Quebec's Assistant Vice-President, Public and Government Relations. "And unfortunately, it seems that hoteliers, restaurateurs and providers of entertainment activities could pay the price, based on the data collected."

Where will we go?
Besides these two main findings, preferred destinations and activities during this coming summer holiday season are essentially the same as in the past. Nearly 50% of vacationers will stay in Quebec. The U.S. Eastern Seaboard is still the favourite destination for sun and beach, accounting for 14% of members' plans, while the other Canadian provinces will be the destination of 13% of respondents. Other U.S. states, Europe, Florida and other sun destinations follow with smaller percentages.

What will we do?
The majority of respondents - or some 44%, the same proportion as in the 2010 survey - will travel in their own region this year. They will use the opportunity to visit family and friends (20%), lounge on the beach (15%), explore a provincial park (6%) and to enjoy sports (4%). Considering this, it's not surprising that 74% of members plan to use a car to reach their destination. Members are also sticking with tradition when it comes to preferred type of accommodation: 36% plan to stay in a hotel, motel or inn, while camping remains popular among 21% of respondents.

How much will we spend?
In general, the trend continues: a good proportion of members surveyed who plan to take a vacation (32%) intend to spend between $500 and $999, or about the same proportion as in 2010. For most respondents (52%), the budget devoted to holidays is the same. So even if people who plan to travel intend to spend as usual, there will still be 10% fewer people to make these expenditures, based on overall changes in members' holiday plans compared with 2010.

"Even if this is a survey of intentions, we can say that the data indicate a change in members' attitude regarding their 2011 summer holidays, since in the past CAA-Quebec has found that intentions closely match reality," Ms. Gagnon says.

Safety, the car and TripTik
In conclusion, CAA-Quebec reminds the public that road safety is essential and that frequent rest stops should be taken to avoid excessive fatigue while driving. A break every two hours is recommended. Similarly, a vehicle inspection is always a good idea before departure to avoid unpleasant surprises. Also, online itineraries are available on CAA-Quebec's website and members can order a paper version of the TripTik. Finally, the Travel section of caaquebec.com includes numerous vacation packages and services at affordable prices, including rental cars.

CAA-Quebec, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1904, provides automotive, travel, residential and financial services and privileges to 1.1 million members.

SOURCE CAA-QUEBEC

For further information:

Montreal
Cédric Essiminy 
Public Relations Officer 
514 861-7111, ext. 3210 
Cell.: 514 717-4040
cessiminy@caaquebec.com 
   Québec
Philippe St-Pierre
Communications Advisor
418 624-2424, ext. 2418

pstpierre@caaquebec.com

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