The Canadian Government has recently announced that its borders will reopen to US tourists from 9 August 2021. Canada’s borders have been closed since March 2020; therefore, this move marks a pivotal point in tourism recovery for the destination and one way for Canada to regain lost US expenditure in 2020 is by promoting adventure experiences, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The US is the primary source market for Canada. Pre-pandemic, Canada received 15.1 million US tourists in 2019, which accounted for 68% of its total international arrivals. Last year saw arrivals from the US decline by 86.1% year-on-year (YoY), demonstrating the importance of the border reopening.
Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “US tourists are known as some of the most active worldwide. Adventure/sport was the third most popular type of holiday for US respondents in GlobalData’s Q3 2019 consumer survey*. This demonstrates that this type of trip was already popular amongst US tourists prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In 2020, concerns regarding physical fitness and health increased in the US. GlobalData’s latest survey found that 55% of US respondents were ‘extremely’ or ‘quite’ concerned regarding personal health. Due to the nature of the spread of COVID-19 amongst inactive individuals, this likely increased concerns relating to overall health, encouraging US consumers to be more active.
Bonhill-Smith continues: “Adventure tourism can be categorized as ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ experiences depending on the level of risk involved with each activity. Soft activities can involve experiences such as walking, bird watching and fishing. On the other hand, hard activities can include skiing, white water rafting and bungee jumping. The older the target market, the less risk-based activity they will usually desire. Therefore, this demonstrates that adventure tourism can appeal to all age groups.”
Due to Canada’s diverse range of unique natural settings such as its national parks, waterfalls and forests, the destination is well-positioned for adventure tourism, which could tap into the desire for more active experiences amongst US tourists.
Bonhill-Smith adds: “Canada has a strong product offering. Holding the title as the second largest country in the world in terms of landmass, Canada holds a wealth of tourism experiences covering its diverse natural and urban landscapes. Nicknamed the ‘Great White North’, there is ample opportunity for nature and sport enthusiasts to take part in adventure activities.”
The US is the first country that Canada will open borders to on 9 August 2021. Other international visitors are not expected to be permitted entry until September at the earliest.
Bonhill-Smith concludes: “The COVID-19 pandemic has increased global concerns regarding physical health and wellness. Therefore, the promotion of the natural landscapes of a destination and the adventure experiences that can be carried out in them are major unique selling points for Canada as a destination and should be considered key in future marketing campaigns.”