QUEBEC CITY, June 18, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ -CAA-Quebec's annual survey of members' vacation plans reveals that 7 out of 10 Quebecers are planning to take a holiday break this summer. And though destinations within Quebec are still the most popular in 2014, the U.S. East Coast as well as Europe remain fashionable destinations, in spite of the dip in value of the Canadian dollar.
A somewhat worrisome statistic also emerges: while planning travel outside Quebec should automatically equal a travel insurance purchase (to cover emergency medical care), 13% of out-of-province vacationers fail to take this simple precaution. In addition, 70% of respondents say a bilingual driver's licence would make life easier for them when travelling in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
Looking at the survey results in more detail, 51% of Quebecers say they are planning to take a total of two or three weeks of vacation this summer. Not surprisingly, July and August are the favoured months. However, 8% of those who aren't going anywhere this summer say they will be vacationing at some other point during this year.
"With the democratization of access to travel purchases like cruises, Europe, Asia and Sun destinations, more and more people are planning their vacations differently. Summer is still a busy time, but consumer habits are changing with the increased diversity of choices," says Angelina Miconiatis, Senior Director, Travel Products, with CAA-Quebec Travel.
Among the reasons given by Quebecers for not taking a holiday this summer, budgetary considerations headed the list at 33%, followed by factors related to employment (21%), health (7%) and family (3%).
Not everyone is insured
One particular result of the survey is cause for concern: a significant proportion of those surveyed say they will be travelling without emergency medical care insurance coverage. More precisely, 13% of people who have planned a stay outside Quebec say they haven't bought this type of insurance. For the 18-24 year-old group, the percentage is 43%. Given that the cost of emergency hospitalization in the U.S. can easily run into the thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars for just a minor procedure, a decision to forgo insurance of any kind can have severe financial consequences for a traveller and his or her family members.
"And yet, you can get basic coverage for just a few dollars," Ms. Miconiatis points out. "Everyone should make insurance an essential part of any travel plans, even a quick shopping trip to Plattsburgh, for example."
Road trips still rule
The automobile remains the favoured means of transportation of 63% of those surveyed who will be going on summer vacation, but this is tempered by the fact (noted more than once by CAA-Quebec in recent years) that plenty of respondents are bothered by high gasoline prices. A full 39% of prospective vacationers say the price of gas is having an impact on their travel plans this year, and as a result they'll be travelling a bit closer to home, cutting back on entertainment expenses, spending less time outside the country and/or eating in restaurants less often. At this time last year, the pump price of a litre of gasoline in Montreal was $140.4 cents; currently, it is hovering around $1.50.
Continuing with respondents' preferences, air travel, at 23%, was the second most popular transportation option.
Bilingual driver's licences
Nearly 70% of respondents who say they will be travelling outside Quebec believe Quebecers should be given the opportunity to obtain a driver's licence in both official languages, similar to that used in Ontario. The continuing situation with respect to Quebec driver's licences not being recognized in the U.S. state of Georgia perhaps accounts for the strong proportion of respondents in favour.
Destinations and spending
The Web traffic statistics as well as those from CAA-Quebec's TripTik itinerary production centre prove it: the U.S. East Coast remains a solidly anchored summer vacation tradition. This past April, almost 70% of TripTik requests were for U.S. maps. The survey found more than 11% of respondents were considering the East Coast, with a similar proportion looking at destinations elsewhere in the United States. Quebec, at 49%, and the U.S. (not including Florida), with 22%, were the most popular destinations, following by the other Canadian provinces (10%), Europe (9%) and Florida (5%).
Half of all travellers will be spending between $500 and $2,000, while 13% of respondents peg their expenses at between $2,000 and $3,000, and 4% say they expect their vacation to cost $5,000 or more.
Africa? Australia? Why not
CAA-Quebec also asked members to fantasize a bit and answer a final question: if they were given enough money to go on their dream vacation, what would it be? Astutely, 22% said they'd go on a culture tour through European countries; 20% would relax on the beach in a heavenly tropical destination; and 12% would see Canada from coast to coast to coast. A further 6% said they'd go on an African photo safari, while a chance to see Australia's iconic kangaroos was the dream vacation choice of 3% of respondents.
The survey was conducted online between May 6 and 11, 2014, by the firm Léger Marketing on CAA-Quebec's behalf, among 1,001 Quebecers. A random sampling of the same size among the Quebec population would have a margin of error of 3.1%.
For those on the hunt for vacation ideas, CAA-Quebec has put together a selection of attractive options (in French only).
CAA-Quebec, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1904, provides automotive, travel, residential and financial services and privileges to its 1,280,000 members.
For further information:
Assistant Director, Research and Public Affairs
418 624-2424, ext. 2418
Cell.: 418 580-1633