Deloitte: Canadian summer travel will see a surge in domestic adventures

As the summer season approaches, Canadians are gearing up for much-needed relaxation and adventure. Despite concerns over rising costs, the 2024 summer travel survey by Deloitte reveals an overwhelming enthusiasm for domestic travel. Conducted between March 28 and April 3, the survey sampled 1,064 Canadians aged 18 and above who plan to travel between May 24 and September 30. More than 80 per cent of respondents indicated they would spend their "big trip" within Canada, showing a strong preference for local destinations over international ones​​.

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This year, Canadians are ready to splurge on their summer vacations. About 77 per cent of respondents expect to spend the same or more on travel compared to 2023. Factors contributing to this increase include the rising cost of travel (49 per cent), bucket-list trips (24 per cent), making up for missed travel (25 per cent), and having skipped vacations entirely last year (35 per cent)​​. However, financial concerns still play a role, with 23 per cent planning to spend less, primarily due to economic uncertainties and opting for shorter trips​​.

The survey highlights that travel planning varies significantly among different age groups. Millennials (36 per cent) and Generation Z (43 per cent) are more likely to have their trips fully booked, whereas boomers are still in the early stages of planning​​. Notably, the average Canadian plans to spend $2,405 on transportation and lodging for their main summer trip, with Generation X expected to spend the most ($2,671) and Gen Z the least ($2,100)​​.

The hospitality and tourism sectors are facing a significant challenge: attracting and retaining talent. Despite recovering from the pandemic with over one million workers returning, labour shortages persist. The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC), in collaboration with Deloitte, has developed a comprehensive workforce strategy to address these issues​​. According to Susie Grynol, HAC’s president and CEO, improving the work experience and understanding employee needs are crucial for stabilizing the sector and reducing high staff turnover rates​​.

When it comes to destination preferences, Canadians are showing a strong inclination towards local and regional travel. Northern Ontario has emerged as a top destination, reflecting a growing trend towards outdoor and nature-based experiences. This preference for domestic travel is not just a post-pandemic shift but a continuing trend where 74 per cent of Canadians plan to vacation within their home region​​.

Road trips are the most popular mode of travel, with 65 per cent planning a road trip this summer. Most travellers will drive their personal vehicles, although some prefer rental cars or RVs. Non-urban destinations like lakes, beaches, and small towns are preferred by 58 per cent of respondents, whereas 40 per cent will head to major cities​​.

Interest in Indigenous travel experiences is on the rise, with 58 per cent of Canadians aware of the various offerings available across the country. Indigenous tourism is poised for significant growth, driven by the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada’s (ITAC) Vision 2030, which aims to create 60,000 jobs and contribute $6 billion to Canada’s GDP​​. Popular Indigenous experiences include cultural festivals, crafting workshops, and guided tours that educate visitors about Indigenous history and traditions​​.

Sustainability is becoming a key factor in travel decisions, particularly among younger generations. About 64 per cent of Gen Z and 63 per cent of millennials emphasize the importance of environmental sustainability in their travel plans​​. However, while there is strong interest in sustainable travel, there remains a challenge in convincing travellers to pay for these experiences. Only 14 per cent of Canadians are willing to pay for sustainable travel activities, although participation rates are higher if the experiences are free​​.

The trend of supporting local and independent businesses continues to gain momentum. A significant 79 per cent of Canadians prefer to support small, local, and family-owned businesses over chains and multinational corporations​​. This preference extends to dining, where 80 per cent of respondents favour local food and drink options​​.

As Canadians prepare for their summer vacations, it’s clear that domestic travel is set to flourish. With a focus on local experiences, sustainable tourism, and Indigenous travel opportunities, the 2024 summer season promises to be a vibrant period for the Canadian tourism industry. By addressing labour challenges and enhancing traveller experiences, the hospitality sector can capitalize on this wave of enthusiasm and support the continued recovery and growth of the industry.

About Deloitte

For more detailed insights, contact Leslie Peterson, National Transportation, Hospitality & Services leader, at, or Clark Hoskin, Economic Advisory Tourism and Destination Development Specialist, at​​.

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