Canadians prioritize visiting new places and exploring with their children, according to a survey recently presented at the 2018 Family Travel Association Summit.
Canadian families have a tremendous passion for getting away together, as evidenced by the 81 percent who told the Family Travel Association (FTA) that they are “very likely” or “likely” to travel with their child or children in the coming 12 months.
According to a survey of 755 Canadian families, conducted by Claire Zlobin, Founder, Life With A Baby Parent Network, and Heather Greenwood Davis, Founder at Globetrotting Mama, Canadians tend to book shorter vacations, with the summer being the most popular time to travel.
“The number one takeaway is that Canadian families really do want to travel,” said Zlobin, an FTA media member.
Twenty percent of American families have booked through a travel agent in the past five years, but slightly more than one in three (34.5 percent) Canadians have.
Over half of the respondents spent between $2,500 and $20,000 on travel in the last year, with the largest share (24.1 percent) spending between $2,500-$5,000.
The most common trip taken is a beach vacation, (65 percent), followed by road trips (58 percent) and cultural/museum vacations (51 percent). In the future, families most want to visit an all-inclusive resort (63 percent) or return to the beach (61 percent).
“That’s no surprise, because Canadians are heavily marketed beach vacations,” Zlobin said. “But the research tells us there is a lot of pent up demand to show their children new things.”
The average Canadian family foremost wants to visit new places and explore together (53 percent), they said in the survey, followed by a desire to “relax and unwind” (38 percent).
“We’ve had this happen on so many trips,” said Greenwood Davis. “We’ve done incredible international trips where we had the chance to see how families live in Peru or India, but we’ve also had smaller trips to Quebec or Louisiana where the kids have been exposed to different cultures.”
“It’s not really about how far you go. It’s about providing the opportunity for visitors to connect with the people who live in the places they’re visiting. It’s about a cooking lesson in a Cuban kitchen (as we did on a Adventures trip) or a Swahili lesson (as we did in Kenya). There are so many opportunities for the industry to connect the visitor with the culture they’re visiting and the rewards are everlasting.”
Zlobin told a story about a recent trip she and her husband took to Costa Rica. “By the third day, our kids were inseparable with the children of a Spanish-speaking couple we met. On the last day, we found out this other family’s children didn’t speak a word of English, and our children didn’t understand a word of Spanish,” Zlobin said.
“But yet, our kids were going to the movies with them, hanging out in the pool playing. Language wasn’t a barrier. Kids are open to new experiences, and it’s one of the main reasons Canadians love traveling with their children,” said Zlobin.
The number one challenge Canadian parents face planning and enjoying family vacations is finding alone time, according to the survey. Zlobin recommended that industry suppliers consider how they can help parents enjoy alone time, while not having to worry that their children are safe and having a good time.
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