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Canada Market Profile

California’s North American neighbor injects billions annually into California’s tourism economy. California has seen steady growth from the market, though an unfavorable exchange rate continues to dissuade potential visitors. Visit California’s marketing strategy includes an East-West approach to target the differences of the travelers from the various provinces. Data updated as of February 2020.


Market Profile

$3.163 Billion
Preliminary Visitor Spending, 2019
$3.711 Billion*
Forecasted Visitor Spending, 2023
*Reflects pre-coronavirus forecast.
15.8%
Market Share (U.S. Spend), 2018

Travel & Planning

Airlift (2019)

  • 433 weekly nonstop flights
  • 62,000 weekly nonstop seats
  • 8 entry points (Los Angeles, Orange County, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Victorville)

Booking

  • Average planning timeframe: 3 to 4 months
  • Most travelers book their travel directly online
  • With no true peak season, Canadians travel year round.
  • Top five booking brands are Air Canada Vacations, WestJet Vacations, Flight Centre, TravelBrands, and Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT)

Visitor Characteristics

Sought-After Travel Experiences

  • Outdoor exploration: Canadian travelers are lured to destinations that offer unique outdoor opportunities.
  • Culinary experiences: Travelers are drawn to culinary experiences, with many willing to travel more than an hour to eat at a wish-list restaurant.
  • Sustainability: Sustainability has become a top priority for Canadians in everyday life and has begun to influence travel plans.
  • Spectator sports: Following the NBA is a new favorite national pastime due to the Toronto Raptors’ NBA championship. Canadians will travel to follow their local teams. Concerts and shows are similar trip motivators as accessibility to tickets is easier in California.

How to reach Canadian Travelers

  • Digital Media
  • Traditional Advertising
  • Social Media

Market Conditions

Canada’s economy weakened significantly in 2015 and 2016. Then, in 2017, the economy strengthened significantly, with a 3% jump in GDP. For much of 2018 and early 2019, the growth rate remained very low. Nevertheless, after two quarters of virtually no growth, in 2019, economic activity has increased 3.7%. Overall, job and wage growth remain strong and the economy is faring well amid trade wars, political uncertainty and instability in emerging markets. However, an unfavorable exchange rate continues to dissuade travelers from visiting the U.S.



Competitive Landscape

Looking at the most recent summer travel season, New York, Florida and California were the top three states for Canadian leisure travel. In the winter travel season, Canadians opt for warmer U.S. destinations such as Florida, California and Arizona.

Opportunities
In addition to desire to visit friends and family, Canadians seek to experience new destinations, adventure, beaches, food and local cuisine. Additionally, baby boomers show great opportunity as they are wealthier than previous generations taking longer vacations and have the resources to take grown children with them.

Challenges
California continues to compete with New York and Florida for Canadian travel. Due to proximity and cost, Canadians often opt for the Caribbean and Central America over the U.S. Mexico has also become a draw has flights have become more affordable. Additionally, the poor exchange rate and current political climate are cited as reasons Canadians would choose to travel outside of the United States.


Sources

  • Travel Market Insights (XBorder Canada)
  • CIC Research