Chapter 3: Canadians’ International Travel Trends

The following sections reflect the actual prices paid by travellers from Canada per night in Canadian Dollars ($) to stay at international hotels during the first half of 2014, as compared to the first half of 2013.

Countries Where Canadian Travellers Paid the Most

The Bahamas rose three spots to become the number one country where Canadians paid the most in the first half of 2014 at $341 per night, versus $304 in the same period in 2013, an increase of 12%. According to Bahamas Tourism, Canada is the second largest source of inbound visitors to the country, which is beloved for its clear aqua water and stunning beaches. The number of Canadian visitors is only expected to increase with Sunwing’s latest route additions that include non-stop flights from six Canadian cities to Grand Bahama Island. Although Nassau, on New Providence Island, is the most well-known destination in the Bahamas, there are more than 700 islands in the country to explore.

Canadian spending increased significantly in the first half of the year for those travelling to several European and Middle Eastern countries. The list of Top 20 Countries Where Canadian Travellers Paid the Most is typically dominated by Caribbean and South Pacific destinations, but this year included the likes of Switzerland ($246), Croatia ($235), the United Kingdom ($225) and United Arab Emirates ($208). Brazil ($214) also made the Top 20, likely due to many Canadians heading to the FIFA World Cup, despite a 6% decrease in the average price paid, which can generally be attributed to the continued weakness of the Brazilian Real.

Only three other countries on the Top 20 list experienced a price decrease – Barbados ($211) with a 10% drop and Singapore ($194), Australia ($168) and Russia ($198) with modest 5%, 4% and 2% decreases respectively.

Conversely, there were several double-digit price increases amongst the Top 20, ranging from 23% (Switzerland, $246), to 13% (Spain, $164) to 11% (Italy and France, $202), trending with the highest Index increase (5%) for Europe and the Middle East since 2007.

Top 20 Countries where Canadian Travellers Paid the Most

Country H1 2014 H1 2013 YoY
1. Bahamas $341 $304 12%
2. Switzerland $246 $199 23%
3. Croatia $235 $199 18%
4. United Kingdom $225 $185 22%
5. Brazil $214 $228 -6%
6. Barbados $211 $234 -10%
7. United Arab Emirates $208 $186 12%
8. Dominican Republic $206 $188 9%
9. Jamaica $204 $189 8%
10. Puerto Rico $203 $189 7%
11. = Italy $202 $182 11%
11. = France $202 $182 11%
13. Russia $198 $202 -2%
14. Singapore $194 $204 -5%
15. Netherlands $189 $168 13%
16. Macau $188 $163 15%
17. Australia $168 $174 -4%
18. Hong Kong $166 $161 3%
19. Spain $164 $144 13%
20. Mexico $163 $145 13%

= (equals) denotes tie based on H1 2014 average price paid

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International Cities Where Canadian Travellers Paid the Most

Paradise Island, Bahamas ($463), known for the Atlantis resort properties, tops the list of International Cities Where Canadian Travellers Paid the Most. Canucks paid an average of $107 more per night there than in the second place city, Key West, Florida ($356), which had a staggering 30% price increase over the first half of 2013. Key West’s sharp price increase was likely influenced by the steady increase of arrivals in the city over the past three years13 and lack of inventory due to environmental restrictions14 to accommodate the influx of visitors.

Key West’s high increase of 30% was followed by Geneva ($277) with a 26% uptick in prices, Zurich ($236) with a 25% jump and London ($257) with a 20% increase, signalling confidence in the European market. London also rose in the ranks as one of the Most Popular International Cities for Canadians, coming in third place after New York City and Las Vegas.

On the lower end of price increases were New York City ($267) at 1%; Punta Cana ($309) and Hawaii’s Big Island ($233) up 2%; Dubrovnik ($270) and Miami ($231) with a 6% rise.

Only two cities on the Top 20 list had price decreases – and very minor drops at that. Prices paid in Rio de Janeiro dropped 1% to $284 and Nassau also saw a 1% decline to $232.

Top 20 International Cities Where Canadian Travellers Paid the Most

City, State Country H1 2014 H1 2013 YoY
1. Paradise Island Bahamas $463 $394 17%
2. Key West, FL U.S. $356 $274 30%
3. Lahaina, HI U.S. $340 $303 12%
4. Punta Cana Dominican Republic $309 $301 2%
5. Rio de Janeiro Brazil $284 $285 -1%
6. Geneva Switzerland $277 $220 26%
7. Dubrovnik Croatia $270 $255 6%
8. New York City, NY U.S. $267 $264 1%
9. Napa, CA U.S. $259 $242 7%
10. London United Kingdom $257 $214 20%
11. Cambridge, MA U.S. $256 $222 15%
12. Hollywood, CA U.S. $241 $223 8%
13. Paris France $239 $213 13%
14. Nice France $237 $207 15%
15. = Zurich Switzerland $236 $189 25%
15. = San Francisco, CA U.S. $236 $199 19%
15. = St. Pete Beach, FL U.S. $236 $203 16%
18. Hawaii Big Island, HI U.S. $233 $228 2%
19. Nassau Bahamas $232 $234 -1%
20. Miami, FL U.S. $231 $218 6%

= (equals) denotes tie based on H1 2014 average price paid

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Most Popular International Cities for Canadians & Prices Paid

New York City ($267) and Las Vegas ($126) have been engaged in an ongoing battle for the hearts of Canadians and this doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. In the first half of 2014, The Big Apple took the number one spot on the Most Popular International Cities for Canadians list and considering its close proximity to densely-populated Ontario, it’s an easy international getaway. Of course, the fact that it is filled with designer shopping, celebrity chef-owned restaurants and world-famous museums doesn’t hurt either.

Tokyo ($159) jumped six spots in the first half of 2014 to close out the Top 20. Japan overall has also been increasing in popularity, hitting 10 million international visitors for the first time last year15. As the host for the 2020 Olympic Games, Tokyo is a tech and food-lover’s haven, with consumer electronics and smart technology sure to bring out the inner child. Not to mention the fact that the city has more Michelin star restaurants than any other city in the world.

The most impressive jump in popularity belonged to Madrid ($144), up 13 places to number 33, signaling the strengthening of the European economy. Eight cities made their debut on the Top 50, with the highest being Athens ($143) at number 38. These newcomers replaced several U.S. cities previously ranked in the Top 50 like Grand Forks, ND; Fargo, ND; Myrtle Beach, SC; Scottsdale, AZ; Tacoma, WA; Lake Buena Vista, FL and Nashville, TN. Despite these U.S. cities falling from the ranks, Canadians continued to visit their neighbours to the south with more frequency than any other country – the U.S. made up nearly half of the Top 50 list with 23 cities.

50 Most Popular International Cities for Canadians

City, State Country H1 2014 H1 2013 YoY H1 2014 vs. H1 2013 Rank Change
1. New York City, NY U.S. $267 $264 1% +1
2. Las Vegas, NV U.S. $126 $112 13% -1
3. London United Kingdom $257 $214 20% +1
4. Paris France $239 $213 13% +2
5. Orlando, FL U.S. $118 $108 9% -2
6. Chicago, IL U.S. $186 $185 1% +2
7. Los Angeles, CA U.S. $182 $171 6% +2
8. San Francisco, CA U.S. $236 $199 19% -1
9. Seattle, WA U.S. $182 $157 16% -4
10. Rome Italy $198 $184 8% +1
11. Boston, MA U.S. $206 $189 9% -1
12. San Diego, CA U.S. $161 $151 7% No Change
13. Barcelona Spain $190 $176 8% +3
14. Newark, NJ U.S. $155 $149 4% No Change
15. Miami, FL U.S. $231 $218 6% -2
16. Hong Kong Hong Kong $166 $161 3% +3
17. Anaheim, CA U.S. $151 $142 6% +3
18. Portland, OR U.S. $149 $124 19% No Change
19. Washington, DC U.S. $186 $172 8% -2
20. Tokyo Japan $159 $146 9% +6
21. Fort Lauderdale, FL U.S. $173 $161 7% -6
22. Venice Italy $224 $203 10% +2
23. Amsterdam Netherlands $208 $186 12% +2
24. Florence Italy $212 $177 20% +5
25. Detroit, MI U.S. $123 $120 2% -3
26. Honolulu, HI U.S. $224 $224 0% -5
27. Istanbul Turkey $151 $149 1% +4
28. New Orleans, LA U.S. $184 $178 3% No Change
29. Dublin Ireland $159 $126 26% +4
30. Houston, TX U.S. $154 $143 8% No Change
31. Bangkok Thailand $75 $88 -14% -4
32. Atlantic City, NJ U.S. $132 $113 17% -9
33. Madrid Spain $144 $123 17% +13
34. Prague Czech Republic $145 $136 6% +3
35. Bloomington, MN U.S. $130 $103 26% -3
36. Berlin Germany $137 $124 11% +3
37. Philadelphia, PA U.S. $163 $155 6% No Change
38. Athens Greece $143 $122 17% New to List
39. Dubai United Arab Emirates $227 $193 18% +2
40. Seoul South Korea $136 $137 -1% New to List
41. Shanghai China $125 $119 5% New to List
42. Singapore Singapore $194 $204 -5% +2
43. Vienna Austria $154 $139 11% -1
44. Puerto Vallarta Mexico $151 $128 18% New to List
45. Lisbon Portugal $147 $123 20% New to List
46. Edinburgh United Kingdom $204 $172 18% +4
47. Cheektowaga, NY U.S. $128 $121 6% -13
48. Bali Indonesia $136 $133 3% New to List
49. Beijing China $120 $119 1% New to List
50. Munich Germany $189 $176 8% New to List

 

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Price Changes in Popular International Cities

Canadian travellers paid more for their hotel accommodation in Popular International Cities in the first half of 2014 versus the same period last year. North America experienced an Index increase of 5%, Latin America had a record-breaking Index period with a 3% rise, and there was a 5% increase in Europe and the Middle East – the highest increase in six years.

Dublin’s attractiveness as a tourist destination has steadily increased in the past couple of years, bringing it to the top of the list of Price Increases Among Popular International Cities. Whether it be the Guinness Storehouse, the city’s top tourist attraction, or the National Leprechaun Museum, Dublin has been enjoying a surge of visitors, helping to drive up room rates. Following Europe’s economic turmoil, the 26% increase in Dublin’s average hotel price to $159 is a good sign of recovery.

Similarly, other European cities among the 50 Most Popular International Cities for Canadians saw large spikes in average prices paid, likely due to the stability of the Euro and overall regional Index increase of 5% in the first half of the year. London ($257), Florence ($212) and Lisbon ($147) all saw a 20% jump in prices in the first half of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013. Edinburgh followed closely with 18% increase to $204, followed by Athens and Madrid both with a 17% rise to average room rates of $143 and $144 respectively for Canadian travellers.

With the U.S. making up nearly half of the Most Popular International Cities for Canadians, we expect to see a few of those favourites on this list. Bloomington ($159) was tied for first place with Dublin for the largest price increase on the list at 26%. Portland and San Francisco followed with a 19% rise to $149 and $236 respectively.

Largest Price Increases Among the Most Popular International Cities for Canadians

City, State Country H1 2014 H1 2013 YoY H1 2014 Popularity Rank Among Canadian Travellers
1. = Dublin Ireland $159 $126 26% 29
1. = Bloomington, MN U.S. $130 $103 26% 35
3. = London United Kingdom $257 $214 20% 3
3. = Florence Italy $212 $177 20% 24
3. = Lisbon Portugal $147 $123 20% 45
7. = Portland, OR U.S. $149 $124 19% 18
7. = San Francisco, CA U.S. $236 $199 19% 8
9. = Edinburgh United Kingdom $204 $172 18% 46
9. = Puerto Vallarta Mexico $151 $128 18% 44
9. = Dubai United Arab Emirates $227 $193 18% 39
12. = Athens Greece $143 $122 17% 38
12. = Madrid Spain $144 $123 17% 33
12. = Atlantic City, NJ U.S. $132 $113 17% 32
15. Seattle, WA U.S. $182 $157 16% 9
16. = Las Vegas, NV U.S. $126 $112 13% 2
16. = Paris France $239 $213 13% 4
18. Amsterdam Netherlands $208 $186 12% 23
19. Vienna Austria $154 $139 11% 43
20. Berlin Germany $137 $124 11% 36

= (equals) denotes tie based on year-over-year average price increase

Only three cities amongst the Most Popular International Cities for Canadians experienced price decreases in the first half of 2014 as compared to the same period in 2013. Prices paid in Bangkok fell 14% to $75, likely due to political unrest in the country causing fewer Canadians to visit. Singapore ($194) and Seoul ($136) saw 5% and 1% price drops respectively.

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13 http://www.keywestchamber.org/PDF/trends.PDF

14http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/article/12678/Hotel-investors-flock-to-Florida-Keys

15http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-11/japan-says-visitors-to-top-record-10-million-this-year-on-yen.html