Market & Trade Profile
Updated January 2006
Market & Trade Profile
Updated January 2006
CONTENTS 1 – THE MARKET
1. Market Snapshot
2. General Market Conditions
• Population / Languages
• Economics / Politics
• Holidays / Annual Leave
• General Emerging Consumer Trends
3. Access Overview
• Political, Passport & Visa issues
• Gateways / Access to Britain
4. Market Size / Share
• Current and forecast overall market size / Britain’s % share
• Current volume / value statistics and trends for UK
• Key Competitor Destinations – actual & aspirational
5. Market Shape / Dynamics
• Purpose of visit
• Length of stay
• Regional spread / top towns
• Seasonal spread
• Type of Accommodation – where do they stay?
6. Britain’s Brand Image in Canada
• The bigger picture – Britain as a nation brand
• Britain as a tourist destination – DEPTH, HEART, VITALITY
7. Product / Market Fit
• What products / experiences are most attractive to Canadian visitors?
8. Who is the Canadian Visitor to Britain?
• Demographics (age, gender) / key market segments / travelling group
• 1st timer / repeat markets (and demographic differences)
9. Caring for the Canadian Consumer
• Language / information provision
• Food & Drink
10. Reaching Canadian Consumers
• Deciding, planning & booking patterns for travel
• Online environment / Internet access
• Media habits
CONTENTS 2 – THE TRADE / B2B
11. The Trade
• Overview of Trade structure
• Reaching the Trade
12. Business Visits & Events
• Statistics & Trends
13. VisitBritain in Canada
• Working in partnership with VisitBritain
• Overseas contacts
• London contacts / Further information
• Information sources used to compile this report
1) Market snapshot
GENERAL MARKET CONDITIONS
MARKET SIZE / MARKET SHARE
MARKET SHAPE / MARKET DYNAMICS
PRODUCT / MARKET FIT
DEMOGRAPHICS / POTENTIAL
REACHING THE CANADIAN CONSUMER
• Population 32.5 million – growing & aging
• IMF Forecasts 2006: GDP (based on PPP per capita) USD$35,989.
GDP Growth Rate 3.2%. Unemployment 6.7%. Inflation 2.5%
• NO visa required
• 20 million outbound in 2004. UK has 3.7% market share
• UK ranked 2nd outbound destination for Canadians (USA is top destination)
• 740,000 visits in 2004 (+14% on 2003)
• £477 million spent in 2004 (+39% on 2003). AEV £642; AED £53
• 45% are VFR visitors; 31% HOLIDAY
• 51% stay 1-7 nights
• 56% visit between July – December
• Top Towns = London, followed by Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and York
• History, Heritage, Culture
• Youth & University Students, Mature Travellers, Affluent Boomers and
Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR)
• Internet access 77%
2) General market conditions
Population / Languages
The US Census Bureau puts the population of Canada at 32.5 million in
2004. According to Statistics Canada projections, Canada’s population of
32.2 million will grow to 33.4 million by 2011.
More than 80% of all the people in Canada live in towns and cities within
250 kilometres of the United States border. 86% live in four of the ten
provinces and three territories, namely Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario
45% of the population live in the six largest metropolitan areas of
Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton.
Language: English is the official language in the all provinces and
territories except Quebec where French is the official language. French
is the mother tongue of 5.6 million Canadians living in Quebec.
Economics / Politics
Canada has a diversified economy. Natural resources industries, such as
forestry, mining, oil and gas extraction, farming and fishing, are
important sources of jobs and export earnings. Canada is also a world
leader in the fields of telecommunications, biotechnology, aerospace
technologies and pharmaceuticals. More and more jobs involve work in
service industries or in information technology. Along with the United
States and Mexico, Canada is a partner in the North American Free Trade
Canada has seen slower economic growth than its neighbour to the
south, with typical growth rates a shade below 3% per annum in recent
years – a trend that the IMF expect to continue through to 2006.
Twelve years of Liberal government in Canada ended in late January
2005 with the Conservative Party winning the general election brought
about by a confidence vote following a corruption scandal. The
Conservatives under Stephen Harper will need the support of smaller
parties to form a working government.
High gas prices and warnings to prepare for higher heating bills this
winter resulted in the index of consumer confidence plummeting in
September 2005. While the there was a recovery in consumer
confidence in October of 3.2 points, confidence remained lower in
October 2005 than during the past four Octobers. Fewer than half of
Canadians believe that now is a good time to make a major purchase like
an appliance, house or automobile. It appears that the combination of
higher gas prices and a boost in interest rates is serving to slow down
consumers’ desire to spend.
Holidays / Annual Leave
Canadian employees are entitled to a minimum of two weeks by law.
However, Britain’s ‘best prospects’ are primarily high income managerial
/ professional Canadians with four to six weeks annual leave.
Statutory Holidays 2006:
January 1st – New Years Day
April 14th – Good Friday
April 17th – Easter Monday
May 22nd – Victoria Day
July 3rd – Canada Day
General Emerging Consumer Trends
August 7th – Civic Holiday
September 4th – Labour Day
October 9th – Thanksgiving
December 25th – Christmas Day
December 26th – Boxing Day
Canadian outbound travel has been growing at impressive rates through
2004 and 2005. Out-of-country air travel grew by 11.8% during the first
eight months of this year. Air travel to the US increased by 13.8%, while
air travel to overseas destinations increased by 10.3%. Total outbound
travel by Canadians through August 2005 grew by 9.3%. All provinces in
Canada are experiencing positive growth in outbound travel, with
Alberta experiencing the largest increase, up 20.6 per cent. Canadian
visitors to Britain increased 14% in 2004 and January through August
2005 grew a further 7% over 2004. Travel economic indicators remain
strong for continued growth in outbound travel in 2006.
Life Stage Age Wave
The Canadian population is projected to grow 3.5% between 2004 and
2011. However, the 55+ population is forecast to grow 15% compared to
a decline for aged 15 to 44. The population age trend bodes well for
growth in Canadian visitors to Britain as trips by 55+ in 2004 represented
33% of Canadian visits to Britain.
3) Access overview
Visitors to Britain by Region (000)
Canadian gateways to Britain
Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow
Heathrow, Gatwick, Glasgow
Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester
Heathrow, Gatwick, Glasgow
Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff,
Exeter, Birmingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh
Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff
No political issues currently exist to restrict travel to Britain from Canada.
Passport and Visa Issues
Canadian visitors do NOT require a visa to visit the UK.
Canadians must hold a valid Canadian Passport, which is valid for the
duration of their stay in the UK. Visitors must travel with a return ticket to
show when they intend to leave the country. The maximum stay in the
UK is 6 months.
The "Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative" (WHTI) will force Canadians
wishing to visit the United States to carry a passport by 2007. The
initiative is bound to have a negative impact on travel between Canada
and the US in the short term. Currently 41% of Canadian adults carry a
valid Canadian passport. In the next eighteen months this percentage
will increase substantially for travel to US and therefore more Canadians
will have travel documents for potential international trips.
Gateways / Access to Britain
In 2004 (IPS), 91% of visitors from Canada travelled to the UK by air, 6%
by sea and 4% by tunnel. Average flight times from Canada range from 5
hours from St Johns through to 9 hours 30 minutes from Vancouver.
Ontario represents 48% of all Canadian visits (IPS 2004). Other main
provinces are Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec.
Air Canada operate one flight a day to Heathrow
Zoom operate one flight per week to Gatwick
Zoom operate one flight per week to Gatwick
Air Canada operate a daily flight to Heathrow via St Johns
British Airways operates a daily flight to Heathrow
Air Canada operates twice daily to Heathrow
Zoom fly once per week to Stansted
Air Canada operate one flight per day to Heathrow
Zoom operate one flight per week to Belfast and Cardiff, 3 flights per
week to Glasgow, 3 flights per week to Gatwick and 1 flight per week to
Air India operate 3 flights per week to Birmingham
Air Transat operate a daily flight to Gatwick
British Airways operates 17 flights per week to Heathrow
Air Canada operate 35 flights per week to Heathrow
Zoom operate 1 flight per week to Belfast, 2 flights per week to Gatwick
and 1 flight per week to Glasgow
Air Transat operate 3 flights per week to Gatwick
British Airways operate 10 flights per week to Heathrow
Air Canada operate 21 flights per week to Heathrow
Zoom Airlines has announced the introduction of scheduled transatlantic
service from Vancouver to Cardiff and Belfast. Zoom Airlines is the only
Canadian air carrier to provide non-stop service from Vancouver to these
cities. The new service begins June 12, 2006 and will be available every
Monday up to October 30, 2006.
Zoom operate 1 flight per week to Gatwick
4) Market size/share
Current & Forecast Market Size
Global Insight estimates that there were 20 million outbound overnight
visits from Canada in 2004. There are forecast to be 27.4 million such
trips by 2010, an increase of 37%. UK currently accounts for 3.7% of
outbound trips from Canada.
2003 2004 Change
year on year
Total Visits 652,000 740,000 +14%
Visits Rank (League 10 10 No change
Table No. Visitors to UK)
Total Spend £343m £477m +39%
Spend Rank (League 9 8 Up1 place
Table £ Spend in UK)
Average Spend per Visit £524 £642 +23%
AEV Rank 29 25 Up 4 places
Average Spend per Day £46 £53 +15%
Outside top 30 rankings
Current Volume and Value Statistics / Trends
1 USA 6 Dominican Rep.
Destinations – actual
Global Tourism Navigator
2 UK 7 China
shows us that UK was 2nd in 3 Mexico 8 Italy
the actual ranking of top
destinations (short and long 4 France 9 Hong Kong
haul included) for Canadian
5 Cuba 10 Germany
outbound travel in 2004, and
that France would appear to be our key European competitor.
1 Australia 6 Spain
2 Italy 7 Sweden
According to the Anholt-GMI
Nation Brands Index (Wave 3
2005), which surveys a
representative n=1000 sample
of the online population in
5 UK 10 Ireland
Canada, UK is ranked 5th out of 24 (i.e. not all potential are asked about)
destinations that would be likely for a leisure visit "if money were no
We have several key European competitors from an aspirational point of
view – Italy being the key one to watch.
5) Market shape/dynamics
Purpose of Visit
Trend of Visits (000) by Purpose of Visit - Canada
45% of the visitors from Canada to the UK come for the purpose of
visiting friends and relatives (VFR).
31% come for a holiday and 11% come for business.
Length of Stay
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
The GMI Nation Brand Index research asked 1,000 Canadian
respondents about their awareness of the regions of Britain. Canadians
know London by far the best out of all the regions, followed by Britain
overall, Scotland and then the rest of England excluding London. Wales
is the least well-known region. Looking at the 244 Canadians who had
ever visited Britain the mean scores increase for all the regions,
particularly for England excluding London (up to 5.1).
3 3.5 4 4.5 5 5.5 6 6.5 7
Trend of Visits (000) by Duration of Visit - Canada
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Over half of Canadian visitors stay in the UK for less than 8 nights with
27% coming for a short break (1-3 nights). 1/4 come for 15 nights or
27% of Holiday visitors stay in the UK for 4-7 nights. The Holiday shortbreak
market accounts for 26% of Holiday visits and the 8 + night stays
VFR visitors tend to stay longer with 64% staying in the UK for 8 nights or
Regional Spread / Top Towns
We have seen that visiting friends and relatives is an important segment
for visits from Canada and this ensures that there is a good regional
spread of destinations visited.
83% of visitors from Canada stayed in England, 50% in London, 20% in
Scotland and 6% in Wales in 2004. (IPS)
Taking advantage of the fact that a fifth of all visits from Canada included
time spent in Scotland and 6% included time in Wales, the Canadian
airline Zoom are set to expand their network of flights to the UK, with a
good mix of regional airports such as Glasgow, Manchester, Belfast and
Top Towns for Canadian visitors in 2004 were:
1 London 369
2 Glasgow 68
3 Edinburgh 46
4 Manchester 28
5 York 18
Trend of Visits (000) by Quarter of Visit - Canada
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
The summer months July-September are the most popular period for
Canadian residents to visit the UK (35%).
The summer months are even more popular for Holiday visitors as 40% of
them travel to the UK in July-September.
VFR visitors also prefer the period July-September to visit the UK (35%).
Due to the high numbers of VFR visitors, 58% of Canadian visitors stay as
a free guest with friends and family when they visit the UK, which
accounts for 57% of nights spent.
60% of Holiday visitors stay in Hotel/guesthouse, 41% as free guests and
15% in a B&B.
91% of VFR visitors are free guests.
87% of Business visitors stay in Hotel or guesthouse.
6) Britain’s brand image in Canada
The bigger picture – Britain as a "nation brand"
Canadian respondents perceive the US and China to make a major
contribution to innovation in science and technology, with the UK in 5th
place. Products made in the UK are well perceived by Canadians who
place the UK in 3rd place behind the US and Japan.
The countries Canadian respondents would be most willing to live and
work in for a substantial period are Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland
and the UK. The US is considered the best place to study for educational
qualifications followed by the UK.
Britain as a Destination Brand – DEPTH, HEART &
The Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index (Wave 3 2005) is an online panel
survey of 1000 CANADIAN respondents. The 6 points of the hexagon
are made up of several different questions, which compare 25 countries
as Nation Brands.
Overall, the Canadian panel find the British people welcoming and
friendly and rank the UK in second place after the Australians on the
PEOPLE aspect of the hexagon. The UK is also somewhere the
Canadians would like to live and work, ranking in second place after the
US on INVESTMENT. Products made in the UK are well perceived by the
Canadians who rank the UK 3rd for EXPORTS (US and Japan in the top
two positions). UK CULTURE is ranked 4th and the UK is in 5th place for
TOURISM. The UK is ranked in 6th place for GOVERNANCE.
Italy is considered to be the country with the richest cultural heritage,
with the UK in 7th position. Canadians perceive the UK to offer more
in the way of contemporary culture and rank it in third place behind
the US and France as a country that has an interesting and exciting
contemporary culture such as music, films, art and literature.
Canadian respondents rank the UK in 6th place as a country that
excels at sport, with the US, Russia and Germany in the top three
If they were to visit the UK, Canadians feel the British people would
make them welcome, with the UK in fourth position behind Australia,
New Zealand and The Netherlands. Canadians would also like to
have someone from the UK as a close friend and perceive a British
person as a good choice when filling an important employment
position (2nd place for both attributes behind Australia).
If money were no object, Canadians would like to visit Australia followed
by Italy and New Zealand (in joint second place), Switzerland and the
UK. The UK is perceived to be a country rich in built heritage/historical
heritage (4th), rather than rich in natural beauty (11th) compared to the
other countries surveyed.
Canadians see the UK as well governed. It is ranked in 3rd place for
behaving responsibly towards international concerns over the
environment and world poverty and in 4th place for being both
competently, honestly and fairly governed and a country that respects
the human rights of its citizens and treats them with fairness. The UK is
ranked in 7th place for being a country that behaves responsibly in the
areas of international peace and security.
As an update to 2003’s Brand Tracking, Wave 3 2005 of the Anholt-GMI
Nation Brands Index included questions to measure perceptions of
Britain as a holiday destination on attributes related to Britain’s brand
values, DEPTH, HEART & VITALITY.
In the NBI, 1000 CANADIAN participants rated Britain on a scale of 1-7,
where 1 was "poor" and 7 was "excellent" and overall, they gave a range
of mean scores from 4.96 – 5.80 across the 16 attributes.
This is a simplified diagram showing the relative strengths of the different
brand attributes. People were asked to rate Britain on each attribute
using a scale of 1-7 (where 1=poor and 7=excellent). As nobody rated
below 4 or above 6, the diagram below has a mid-point of 4 and an outer
rim of 6. Basically, the closer the shading to the outer rim, the better the
perception of Britain on that attribute!
Lots Experiences (V)
Vibrant Cities (V)
Canadians give Britain’s DEPTH brand values of traditional, history and
fascinating stories the highest scores and this effect increases even more
for those Canadians who have visited Britain.
Natural scenic beauty is the highest-ranking HEART attribute, followed
by friendly and welcoming. Britain is not perceived to perform as well on
the HEART values of relaxing and good sense of humour. However,
perceptions of all these HEART attributes improve when rated by the 244
Canadians who have actually visited Britain. Good sense of humour
shifts the most, moving from a mean of 5.1 when rated by all Canadians
to 5.4 when rated by those who have visited. Although these shifts are
not significant they certainly give a positive message that those who have
visited Britain have better perceptions of the British people.
From the VITALITY values, Britain is perceived as having lots of
experiences in one destination, sociable and fun with vibrant and
exciting cities. The British are not thought to be an energetic nation.
7) Product/market fit
What products / experiences are most attractive to
A qualitative European Travel Commission (ETC)/ Menlo study of the
image of EUROPE (generally) in North America, found that American and
Canadian travellers hold fairly similar perceptions of Europe. Above all
else, Europe is associated with HISTORY, CULTURE and
GASTRONOMY (although from other research, this latter is unlikely to
be as associated with Britain as other European destinations).
Europe’s history is by far its most compelling feature – more than
anything else it differentiates Europe from the United States and Canada
and is a defining element of Europe’s identity. A historical backdrop to
modern day living is enormously appealing.
Culture is another defining element, although it means different things to
different travellers and for most the performing and fine arts are a core
component. For many, culture also equates with lifestyle. Amongst
Canadians generally in the research, there was a desire to observe and
experience the way that Europeans live. Young Canadians in particular
wanted to understand local culture and even to blend in / live like a local.
Older travellers were more likely to speak of exploring museums,
galleries, music and the arts.
In The Canadian Conference Board December 2004 survey, cultural
attractions were at the top of the list amongst the images that first come
to the mind of Canadians when thinking about Britain as a vacation
destination. Quaint villages and country scenery were second on the list
of images. Visiting historical and cultural sites was also seen as the most
important experience to have when visiting Britain.
In the ETC report, in addition to HISTORY, CULTURE and
GASTRONOMY, Europe is also strongly associated with scenic beauty –
in landscapes, small towns, villages and even cities. Interestingly,
Canadians do not seem to share Americans’ fascination with icons quite
so much (e.g. Big Ben, Eiffel Tower).
VB Canada Database Interest Profiles
Over the past five years a rich database has been developed on our
consumer customer product interests / experiences. In order of
Castles /historic houses, countryside, museums / galleries, gardens,
cities, walking (not hiking), theatre / musicals, ancestry, TV / movie
locations, history / heritage, pageantry / royalty, restaurants / dining,
churches / cathedrals, football, literary Britain, golf and opera / ballet /
There are a number of shared symbols between UK and Canada:
Commonwealth country / Queen – head of state / royalty; similar
language / law / political structure; icons – Big Ben, pipe bands,
guardsmen, gardens, fashion, history / heritage / culture.
8) Who is the Canadian visitor?
Trend of Visits (000) by Age of Visitors - Canada
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Age Male Female
Group % %
0-15 5 5
16-24 6 12
25-34 15 14
35-44 18 17
45-54 20 22
55-64 21 18
65+ 14 12
9) Caring for the Canadian consumer
Britain is a home away from home for most Canadian visitors, sharing a
common language, culture, tradition and heritage. There are very strong
ties with both countries. Canadians are experienced, well travelled
No language issues exist, however there are some variations in word use
and meaning. Detailed information is appreciated.
Some of Canada's standards for public behaviour may be more
conservative than you are used to, while others may seem more liberal.
For example, Canadians may seem impersonal and cold to some
newcomers; to others, they may seem overly friendly.
Social practices – not laws – govern many types of behaviour in Canada.
Some traditions are well established and are politely but firmly enforced.
• Lining up, or queuing: People normally line up or queue
according to the principle of "first-come, first-served." They will be
angry if you push ahead in a line-up instead of waiting your turn.
• Not smoking in private homes: Most Canadians do not smoke.
When you are in people's homes, you should always ask their
permission to smoke.
• Being on time: You should always arrive on time. People who are
often late may be fired from their jobs or suspended from school.
Many Canadians will not wait more than 10-15 minutes for someone at
a business meeting. For social events, it is expected that you will arrive
within half an hour of the stated time.
• Respect for the environment: Canadians respect the natural
environment and expect people to avoid littering.
• Bargaining: Bargaining for a better price is not common in Canada,
but there are some exceptions. People who sell things privately may
• Smart shopping: Stores compete on price with one another to
attract customers. Note: The price marked on goods in stores does not
include taxes, which add from 7-15% to the cost of an item, depending
on the province.
• Canadians often identify themselves as Canadians by wearing a
maple leaf pin, or a maple leaf on clothing, etc. Acknowledge they are
• Shaking Hands: It is customary that you always shake hands at a
first time meeting and always in business situations.
• First Names: Canadian’s are always on a first name basis; especially
in social situations and informal business environments.
The Canadian visitor to Britain is not an American. Many in Britain
treat Canadians as Americans even though they are quite different from
their American neighbours.
69% of Canadians are repeat visitors to Britain. Therefore they are well
travelled and knowledgeable about Britain. They seek new experiences
and destinations within Britain to explore.
Accommodation / Food & Drink
Canadians are used to a high standard of living and good quality of
service. If something is wrong, they will be extremely polite when they
complain, almost apologetic, however they will expect an immediate
remedy to the situation.
Canadians are used to space and lots of room and would expect this in
cars and hotel rooms.
Canadians will always tip (10-15% standard).
Canadians are used to being served by waiting staff as opposed to at the
10) Reaching Canadian consumers
Canadians book primarily through retail agency distribution channels
whether it is in-person, telephone or online. Growth in e-commerce in
Canada over the past year has been fuelled predominantly by travel
spending (ComScore). 73% of consumers planning to visit Europe will
search the Internet to help plan their trip and 48% plan to buy at least
some part of their Europe trip over the Internet (CTRI).
Canadians are knowledgeable independent travellers who are
accustomed to a high standard of living, a quality service and expect
value-for-money product. Therefore, they require many products geared
towards FIT such as car hire, rail, coach transport, accommodation
ranging from Bed and Breakfast to 3-4 star hotels, cultural and heritage
attractions, museums and galleries and events.
Deciding, planning & booking patterns
Canadians, due to growing empty nester demographics, are more able to
make "last minute" trip decisions with 42% of international travellers in
2005 deciding one to six weeks prior to trip departure instead of 2 or 3
months. More than 8 in 10 summer trips to Europe were yet to be
arranged by March 2005. The collapse in time between arranging and
taking trips means that airlines, tour operators and destinations must be
prepared to advertise and promote throughout the entire year.
Canadians made a total of 4.6 million pleasure visits, which do not
include VFR (Statistics Canada). Europe remained the number one
overseas region for Canadians in 2004 with a 47% visitor share compared
to 21% for the Caribbean. However, stronger growth to Asia and the
Caribbean enabled these regions to grow market share. Visitors to
Europe are forecast to grow 3.1% per year in 2005 and 2006 following a
rebound increase of 10.5% 2004 (CTRI).
Canada’s wealthiest with annual household income of at least
CA$200,000 take an average of three vacations per year, expect to pay
$5,000 per person, per trip and are more interested in collecting
experiences and memories than possessions. 76% shop around for the
best price but the majority agrees that quality and good service are more
important than the price tag (Leger Marketing).
Consumer travel and lifestyle exhibitions remain popular for leisure
travellers to obtain destination trip planning information. In 2004, more
than 300,000 attended travel exhibitions while specific lifestyle interest
shows such as golf, gardening and home furnishing continue to grow
attendance (Print Measurement Bureau). Based on 2004 VisitBritain
evaluation, an average of 24% of respondents claimed that they were
definitely influenced to holiday in Britain having received information at
Nearly 3 in 4 Canadians travelling to Europe in 2005 will use the Internet
to help them research and plan their trip. When planning and/or booking
their international trip, travellers are most likely to use the following web
sites: airline 26%; Expedia.ca 25%; destination 21%; hotel 14%; other
22%; Travelocity 11% and Itravel2000 9%.
Canadians are amongst the most connected populations in the world.
The ETC estimate that 77% of the population is online, and 66% of
Canadian households now have a broadband connection (Canada
Internet & Broadband Usage Report 2004).
On-line travel e-commerce has become the fastest growing segment of
the travel industry (Statistics Canada). Research by comScore Media
Metrix indicates that Internet users with a high-speed connection, 5.2
million Canadian households, are more likely to purchase products online
than are dial-up Internet users. The Conference Board of Canada’s
summer 2005 travel intentions survey indicated 90% of summer travellers
planning an international trip have high-speed Internet and 62% are likely
to buy part or their entire summer trip to Europe on the Internet.
There has been a significant change in the growth and diversity of media
distribution channels. Viewership of speciality TV has doubled in the past
five years (Statistics Canada). Readership of community newspapers by
professionals has grown to 67% compared to 52% who read daily
newspapers (ComBase 2004 Study). Major daily newspapers and
magazines actively promote their on-line editions.
Canadian TV broadcasters are carrying more British programs in prime
time. Movies filmed in Britain continue to receive prominent media
coverage. Many high-end cultural institutions are offering an increasing
number of British exhibitions and cultural events.
Lifestyle magazines are widely read by Britain’s Best Prospects and
provide an excellent means of reaching these consumers with targeted
11) The Trade
Overview of trade structure
Product distribution to the customer has traditionally been through retail
The rising importance and sophistication of travel Internet sites, together
with global uncertainty has led more Canadians to take a "wait and see"
attitude before committing to taking a trip. This trend has forced
fundamental changes in how travel is marketed, promoted and sold.
Travel e-commerce has grown rapidly with the entry of new web-based
companies and traditional agencies offering a web site booking facility.
Airlines and tour operators are placing more emphasis on direct sell. The
number of holiday travellers using a traditional travel agent has fallen to
51% in 2004 from 64% in 2002 (CTRI)
While more Canadians are buying their travel on-line, this has not
replaced the need for the storefront travel agent. What Internet travel
sites have done is change the role of the travel agent. Internet travel
websites perform a valuable service for Canadians looking for a flight,
hotel and/or car rental for a domestic or US business or leisure trip.
However, the same traveller will turn to a travel agent to help them with
booking a package vacation or a group tour to Europe or Asia. The more
complex and costly the trip, the more likely the traveller is to use a travel
Agencies using a multi-channel approach seek to get customers to visit
their website for product information and then either to book the trip
directly on-line or to visit their nearest storefront agent.
On-line retailers started out relying on selling air travel as their main
source of revenue. However, they had to branch out to selling higher
margin hotel, car rental, insurance and packages in order to churn out a
profit. While on-line retailers are getting good at capturing customer
information to sell more proactively (usually with emails offering late
booking specials), the storefront agent will continue to be relied upon for
the higher margin, more complex trips.
Canada’s major tour operators share more characteristics with tour
operators in the UK than with US tour operators. British travel companies
own two of Canada’s major tour operators, Signature Vacations and
MyTravel. Many of Canada’s major tour operators are vertically
integrated with their own fleet, tour operations and travel retailers. They
are also national in scope.
In the past five years the number of IATA approved retail travel agencies
has fallen by nearly 25% to 3,034 (IATA). The drop is a result of a
consolidation in the retail travel industry, agencies going out of business
and agencies being acquired or joining consortiums or becoming a
franchisee. The independent retailers have become specialists in group
travel and other niche travel products. Off-line agencies are beginning to
use the power of the Internet to develop personal relationships with their
clients through e-communications.
The majority of tour operators are based in and around the greater
Toronto area with branch offices in other Canadian cities. The top twenty
tour operators offer air seats and a choice of add-on land products such
as gateway hotels, car hire, coach tours, fly-drive programmes, etc.
As Britain is the number one European destination, tour operators
normally title their product brochure "Britain and Europe". The
planning/buying is completed in September through November and the
brochure is printed and launched in January and February. Tour
operators are moving content to their web-sites and investing in e-
brochures, virtual touring, etc, while using print for image and branding
purposes and reach through traditional travel agencies.
British coach tour operators such as Contiki Holidays, Globus, Cosmos,
Insight Vacations and Trafalgar Tours have corporate offices in Toronto.
There are hundreds of small tour operators, often part of a retail travel
outlet, offering one-off group tours. The majority will use the services of
a UK ground handler.
There are 5,000 retail travel agency outlets throughout Canada. The
number of IATA accredited agencies fell from 4,011 in August 1999 to
3,179 in August 2004 as a result of agency consolidation, bankruptcies
and changing business practices. The popularity of carrier Web based
booking systems has also reduced the demand for BSP accredited
agencies. Air Canada reports that half of its domestic bookings are now
made through its Website.
The number of holiday travellers using a traditional travel agent has fallen
to 51% in 2004 from 64% in 2002 (CTRI). While more Canadians are
buying their travel on-line, this has not replaced the need for the
storefront travel agent. What Internet travel sites have done is change
the role of the travel agent. Internet travel websites perform a valuable
service for Canadians looking for a flight, hotel and/or car rental for a
domestic or US business or leisure trip. However, the same traveller will
turn to a travel agent to help them with booking a package vacation or a
group tour to Europe or Asia. The more complex and costlier the trip, the
more likely is the traveller to use a travel agent.
For lists of retail agents you can purchase the following publications:
Baxter - Personnel Guide
Travel Week – The Blue Book
There are 4,855 retail travel agency outlets throughout Canada. The
popularity of carrier Web based booking systems has also reduced the
demand for accredited agencies. Air Canada reports that half of its
domestic bookings are now made through its Website.
The major national retail chains, with Toronto head offices, are
Advantage Travel, T-Comm, American Express, CAA Travel, Carlson-
Wagonlit, Giants, Goliger’s, MyTravel, Thomas Cook, Sears, Uniglobe
and Vacation.com. They tend to have preferred agreements to enhance
their commissions and profitability.
VisitBritain can advise you on representatives. However, on-territory
representation is a declining trend.
• The Canadian climate varies enormously. There are four distinct
seasons. British Columbia has a moderate climate similar to Britain. The
rest of Canada has more extreme seasonal differences. Temperatures
range from bitterly cold winters and lots of snow to hot and humid
summers. If you do visit in the winter, do not be surprised by
temperatures of -35˚C.
• Avoid the holiday periods for your visit – most Canadian public
holidays are different to American ones.
Distances in Canada are measured in kilometres. Canada is over 7,000
kilometres from east to west. You would need seven days to drive from
Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Vancouver, British Columbia. By airplane, the
same trip would take about seven hours.
The distance from Toronto to Montreal is 546km – recommend flying.
The Greater Toronto Area covers a huge geographic area and there is a
lot of traffic congestion – getting from one side of Toronto to the other
during rush hour can take several hours.
Commitment to the market: You must be prepared to take a long term
view and persevere in the market for at least 2-3 years, and modify your
product to meet Canadian needs where necessary. Keep the visits going
and back these up with e-communications and a web presence in the
marketplace. Send messages and New Year cards.
Reaching the Press
Due to Canada’s vast area, newspapers tend to be more provincially
based, with all major cities having at least one daily paper. The Globe &
Mail and the National Post are national papers published in Toronto.
Community and ethnic newspapers are also very prevalent in most cities
Four papers dominate the trade scene and are nationally distributed –
Canadian Travel Press, Travel Courier, Canadian Traveller and
Travelweek. In addition, openjaw.com, a travel trade web site, has
revolutionised the delivery of industry news, product, pricing, etc. to the
travel agents’ desktop.
British Incoming Tour Operators
Reaching the Canadian Travel Trade
One of the best ways to target the trade is to make contact with them
face to face via sales calls. VisitBritain can assist you in identifying which
operators are most suitable for your product. VisitBritain has developed a
range of marketing opportunities targeted at travel trade contacts in the
market which you can select to form a campaign approach to targeting
the travel trade.
• Canadians tend to use British and not American spelling, therefore
your literature and correspondence should reflect this.
• Office hours in Canada are generally the standard 9-5.
• Make appointments in advance with all the people you wish to meet.
• Dress code tends to vary with the season in Canadian offices. Normally
during the winter period business attire is worn and in the summer
months business casual wear (polo shirts) is worn.
• English is spoken all over Canada. Quebec is the exception, although
most in the travel industry will speak English as well as French. Montreal
is a bilingual city.
• Follow-up is very important. Canadians like prompt answers to
questions, whether by telephone, letter, fax or e-mail.
12) Business Visits / Events
Business Visits Statistics
During 2004, 11% of travel from Canada to the UK was for business
purposes, and this accounted for 25% of spend (IPS).
BUSINESS VISITORS Visits % Spend %
CANADA 2004 Business 2004 Business
(000) Visits (£m) Spend
Trade Fair/Exhibition 2 2.6 4 3.4
Conference/Large Meeting 18 22.2 21 17.6
Other Business 62 75.2 94 79.0
BUSINESS VISITORS AEV £ AED £ ALS Days
Trade Fair/Exhibition 1875 333 5.6
Conference/Large Meeting 1137 128 8.9
Other Business 1509 160 9.4
Canadian Business visits are made up of 25% Conferences, Large
Meetings, Trade Fairs or Exhibitions and 75% individual business travel.
Business Visits Trends
Based on research and evaluation conducted by VisitBritain Canada in
The average number of clients sent was 86. 82% said they send groups to
North America. 49% sent groups to Britain in the past 4 years. Of those
that sent groups to Britain in 2001, 2002, and 2003, the average number
of people in a group was 75. Of those that travelled to Britain in the past
92% visited London
44% visited Scotland
24% visited South of England
20% visited North of England
16% visited Central England
12% visited Wales
64% of respondents said they worked with a UK based DMC in the past
Those who had organised groups said they booked:
City centre hotels 82%
Luxury hotels 75%
Resort hotels 55%
Countryside hotels 51%
Moderate hotels 47%
Country house hotels 29%
About 10% said they were planning groups to Britain in 2005, with the
average number of people they intended sending being 93.
About 4% had confirmed plans for groups for Britain in 2006 and 4%
were planning groups for that year. About 2% said that they were
planning groups to Britain in 2007.
Current BT Trends in Canadian Market: (CM&IT Magazine 2005
Companies are spending as much money as they ever have, sending the
same size or even larger groups, but there are fewer companies using
incentive travel to reward top employees.
23% chose group incentive travel as part of their incentive mix last year,
down from 31% in 2003. 10% of corporate buyers indicated their
companies used individual incentive travel as reward in 2004, down from
15% in 2003. The reasons for the decline vary, but corporate buyers
suggest the most common reasons were other incentives were used
(41%), it was against company policy (17%) and cash rewards were
preferred (15%). Interestingly, political instability and the threat of
terrorism were not mentioned as a factor.
36% of survey respondents organised a trip for less than 10 winners in
2004, up from 33% in 2003. 21% of respondents organised a travel
program for 100 to 299 winners, while 17% said their group fit into the 20
to 49 attendee range. 10% of respondents planned travel jaunts for
groups of more than 300.
Almost three-quarters (72%) indicated their incentive travel group in
2004 was the same size as the previous year, while 18% indicated the
group size was larger. 10% reported a decline in the number of winners
on the trip.
In 2005, 87% of companies surveyed with an incentive travel budget will
spend the same amount and 9% will have an increased budget. $24.9m
was spent on incentive travel programs in 2004 – the same as they plan
to spend in 2005.
Average spend per participant:
13) VisitBritain in Canada
Working in Partnership with VisitBritain
There are many ways of working in partnership with VisitBritain in any of
our 37 global markets. We deliver numerous marketing campaigns and
produce various targeted guides and publications which are seen by
millions of potential visitors throughout the world – offering excellent
advertising and partnership opportunities.
We undertake both print and online advertising, and produce e-
newsletters communicating with both consumers (via our substantial
databases) and our trade partners on-territory whilst the exhibitions,
workshops, sales missions and media events we organise provide the
perfect platform to promote your product firsthand to trade, press and
In some markets where the travel trade remains a crucial element of the
booking process we produce Agents' Sales Guides and offer Agents' online
training programmes to ensure both the destination and range of
British tourism product is at the forefront of the travel agent's mind.
For more details on these and other diverse opportunities in markets of
interest to you, please visit our UK Industry Website and read our
worldwide marketing prospectus, or contact your VisitBritain
representative in London or overseas.
5915 Airport Road
Ontario, L4V 1T1
T: 001 905 405 1720
F: 001 905 405 8490
Press and PR Manager
T: 001 905 405 1720 ext 225
T: 001 905 405 1720 ext 226
London Contacts / Further information
For any further information relating to Canada, please contact the
London-based International Markets Team:
Alternatively, visit VisitBritain’s dedicated website for the UK tourism
Why not sign up to our Industry E-Newsletter, or register with
VisitBritain to be kept up to date with all that’s new in Canada
and other markets worldwide?
Information Sources used to compile this report
• International Passenger Survey figures (IPS) 2004 (Office for National
NB: Data from International Passenger Survey has been made available
by the Office for National Statistics and has been used by permission.
The ONS do not bear any responsibility for the analysis or interpretation
of the data reported here.
• Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index – Waves 2 & 3 2005 (Quantitative)
• Foresight – June 2005
• ETC / Menlo "The image of Europe in North America" 2004
• IMF / Economist / US Census Bureau
• BBC websites
• Global Tourism Navigator
• FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office)
• ETC (European Travel Commission) and ETC New Media Review
• VisitBritain CANADA Business Plans, Insights and Intelligence Reports
• The Conference Board of Canada
• Statistics Canada
• Meetings & Incentive Travel Magazine annual survey 2005
Printed in England
Published by VisitBritain, Thames Tower, Blacks Road, London W6 9EL
in partnership with England’s tourism industry.
Telephone 020 8846 9000
© British Tourist Authority (trading as VisitBritain) 2006
Conceived by Britain International Market Research, International
Partnerships and Industry Relations
Photography supplied by britainonview.com
Copyright in all images and text is the property of the respective copyright
holders. Unauthorised reproduction is prohibited.
Important note: The information contained in this publication has been
published in good faith on the basis of information submitted to
VisitBritain and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.
However, where appropriate, you are strongly recommended to check
prices, opening times, dates, etc before making final arrangements.
All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or damage caused by
reliance on the information contained in this publication is hereby
excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.
The opinions expressed by contributors to this publication are not
necessarily those of VisitBritain.