QUEBEC CITY, June 23, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - While the annual survey conducted by CAA-Quebec confirms that summer holidays remain sacred for 73% of Quebecers, it also shows that vacationers are sensitive to fluctuations in the Canadian dollar. As such, 19% of respondents stated that the value of the Canadian dollar compared to the U.S. currency has had an impact on their choice of destination, compared to 8% last year! Accordingly, only 7% of respondents are considering the U.S. East Coast as their preferred destination, down 4% from last year.
A dollar that stings
This trend appears to be confirmed by requests for TripTik Travel Planners received by CAA-Quebec, with a 20% decline in TripTiks produced for visits to the U.S. East Coast since the start of the year. Requests for Canadian destinations, in contrast, have been rising. "Although this seems to be an emerging trend, caution is the byword," says Sophie Gagnon, Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs, for CAA-Quebec. "The weather plays a major role, and consumers are quick to change their plans. Cool, rainy weeks in June or July can change plans to the benefit of sun destinations."
Being a tourist – at home!
Quebec takes top spot among respondents in 2015. Among those surveyed, 54% will be taking their holidays within the province, against 49% last year. Of this 54%, fully 38% plan to travel somewhere else in Quebec, and 16% expect to remain at home. "The 5-point difference from last year, combined with other indicators such as requests for TripTiks and the question of budgets, is far from trivial," Ms. Gagnon comments. "For all sorts of reasons, Quebec comes out on top."
Among those deciding to remain at home (16%), a great majority (72%) point to their budgets as the main factor influencing their choice. It is worth noting that 70% of those planning to take vacations are juggling with a holiday budget of less than $2,000 for at least two people.
20 cents a litre less at the pump
Since autumn 2014, gasoline prices have fallen substantially, to the great pleasure of Quebecers, a majority (68%) of whom plan to use their cars to travel during their summer holidays. At the time the survey was conducted, there had been an average drop of 20 cents a litre at the pump compared to last year, with the result that only 19% of Quebecers indicated that the price of gasoline would influence their holiday plans, compared to 39% in 2014!
Carefully planned travel!
For 81% of Quebecers, holiday travel goes together with navigation tools such as GPS devices (47%), smartphone or tablet apps (26 %) or documents provided by CAA-Quebec (10%). "Creating an itinerary with the tools we have today not only enables the planning of breaks and meal stops but also results in safer driving and even fuel savings," Ms. Gagnon notes.
Prospective vacationers are invited to discover the revised and improved TripTik trip Travel Planner to help prepare their itineraries.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not the weeks associated with the annual construction holiday that are most popular for vacations. The preferred weeks are in August (42%) and early July (30%). Also, more than one-third of Quebecers (38%) plan to take two weeks' holiday. Some 29% of the people questioned plan to be tourists during their summer holidays, while 17% would prefer to relax and do nothing at all, and 14% want to go to the beach.
CAA-Quebec's vox pop
When Quebecers are asked to dream a little, 19% of those surveyed say they would like to go on a cultural journey in one or more countries in Old Europe; 16% would choose to vacation in an idyllic spot and 13% would cross Canada from coast to coast. This vox pop conducted by CAA-Quebec (in French) provides a glimpse of what "regular folks" are thinking.
Ready for the big departure?
Something that never ceases to amaze is that 15% of respondents to the poll say they never take out travel insurance for medical care during trips outside Quebec. Among 18-to-24-year-olds, this percentage climbs to 32%. "The cost of hospital care in the United States can easily hit thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for a medical procedure," Ms. Gagnon states. "Not taking out an insurance policy could have serious financial consequences for travellers and those close to them, especially if they have no fixed income, as is the case with many young people."
This survey was conducted online for CAA-Quebec from May 1 to 6 by the firm Léger Research Intelligence Group among 1,007 Quebecers. A random survey of similar size conducted among the Quebec public has a margin of error of 3.1%.
To see a detailed version of the results (in French)
CAA-Quebec, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1904, provides automotive, travel, residential and financial services and privileges to its 1,290,000 members.
For further information: Montreal: Anne-Sophie Hamel, Communications Advisor and Spokesperson, 514 861-7111, ext. 5478, Cell.: 514 717-4040, [email protected]