Survey Says: Canadians Determined to Avoid Trips to the United States For a While

December 15, 2020 Admin

Canada for sure. Europe and the Caribbean? Probably. But not the United States.

A new survey by the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada finds that the U.S. is far down the list of places Canadians want to visit in the near future.

The U.S. has typically been the most popular destination for Canadian travellers, until now. But the survey by THIA found that 79 per cent of Canadians (and 90 per cent of boomers) said they would not travel to the U.S. this winter, even if their travel health insurance policy provided coverage for COVID-19.

The survey of 1,000 Canadians also revealed that while 80 per cent of Canadians hope to travel in 2021, 59 per cent said they were only planning domestic travel due to concerns over contracting COVID-19 in other countries.

The vaccine might change some minds, but that doesn’t bode particularly well for places like Florida or usually popular European countries.

While Statistics Canada reports revealed a decline in travel to the U.S. by Canadians before 2020, that number has dropped dramatically as a result of the pandemic. Survey findings suggest that the impact of the virus in the U.S. will have a long-term impact on Canadian tourism to that market.

In fact, when asked where Canadians plan to travel to first when the pandemic subsides, respondents identified Canada (37 per cent), Europe (22 per cent), the Caribbean (16 per cent) and Asia (10 per cent) as their top destinations. The U.S. was lumped in with other destinations, which was named by just eight per cent of respondents.

“It’s surprising to see that Canadians would consider travelling half-way across the world before crossing the U.S. border. We are curious to see actual travel trends that emerge once government travel advisories are lifted and leisure travel resumes,” said Will McAleer, THIA’s Executive Director and spokesperson.

“The U.S. has been Canada’s most popular travel destination for decades because of its proximity and flight routes. This is a dramatic shift in traveller perceptions.”

One thing that is certain is that travellers will want to know what kind of travel health insurance they have before they leave Canada. Fifty-two per cent of survey respondents said they don’t know if their travel health insurance coverage is still valid when travelling to countries under a travel advisory. What many Canadians don’t realize is there are still options for those who choose to travel while the government’s travel advisory remains in effect.

It is more important now than ever to ensure that travellers understand their travel health insurance coverage and have the necessary coverage. THIA recommends always following the golden rules of travel health insurance before you leave for your vacation:

  1. Know your policy – Insurance providers have staff available to answer any questions related to policies. Make sure to ask your provider about extended coverage options for COVID-19, recent policy updates or changes.
  2. Know your health and consult a health care provider if you have any questions.
  3. Know your trip – How long will you be gone? Are you a snowbird? Will you be travelling many times during the year? Do you plan to scuba dive? Find a policy that is specifically tailored to your trip.
  4. Know your rights – the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities will help provide all travelling Canadians with additional confidence in their travel insurance purchase knowing their company is supporting their rights as a consumer and making them aware of their responsibilities. 

About the Survey

The 2020 Smart Traveller Survey was conducted in October 2020 by Ipsos, polling 1,000 responses across Canada, ranging from ages 18 to 60+.

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