Consumers Ready To Travel, TICO Survey Says
Ontarians are ready to travel this spring and summer according to new research from the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO).
According to TICO’s survey of 1,200 Ontarians, 68% of survey respondents intend to travel within Ontario, 51% intend to journey across Canada, while 47% intend to pack their bags for an international trip.
As Ontarians increasingly resume travel, 71% of respondents feel that travel is more complex now than it was prior to the start of the pandemic.
Richard Smart, president and CEO, TICO, observed: “Ontarians are ready to travel but they are also deeply aware of the complexities in today’s travel environment.” Smart continued: “Travellers can feel confident and have peace of mind knowing that TICO registered travel agencies, booking websites and tour operators will provide them with crucial information and added consumer protection. In instances where issues arise, by booking with an Ontario-based company, TICO is here to help resolve the matter.”
As for concerns about potential travel issues, the survey found that for 65% of respondents, the most prevalent travel concern is having their travel plans cancelled or delayed due to forces beyond their control. For 60% of respondents, being stranded from home is a concern.
TICO’s survey also revealed that 65% of respondents are concerned about protecting their travel investment.
Compared to pre-pandemic, 73% of respondents agreed they are more likely to book travel plans with flexible rebooking and cancellation policies.
Additionally, 78% of respondents expect to be fully refunded or offered other similar travel if their original plans are cancelled for any reason, outside of them cancelling the trip.
When considering their travel purchase, Ontarians chose these five attributes as being most important to them when making their decision to travel. These include:
- Destination (86%)
- Price (86%)
- Accommodation (84%)
- The travel experience (81%)
- Mode of travel (76%)
Respondents to TICO’s survey also noted that they considered the potential for extreme weather conditions (66%) and being eco-friendly (35%) in their purchase decision.
Additionally, 59% of respondents noted that COVID safety/restrictions continue to be important considerations in their travel purchase decision, down from 81% in 2021.
Of note, when making a travel purchase, 62% of respondents said they consider the availability of consumer protection.
And 66% of respondents consider the reputation of the travel agent or tour operator they are booking with. TICO regulates Ontario’s 2,000 travel agencies, booking websites and tour operators. These range from local travel agencies on main streets, to large booking websites, to packaged tour companies.
All TICO registered companies must follow consumer protection laws, including:
- All-in pricing, with no hidden charges or surprises;
- Outlining the change/cancellation policies of a travel booking;
- Disclosing the documentation (e.g., passport, visas, etc.) needed for the travel destination;
- Sharing information about the availability and importance of travel insurance; and
- Disclosing any unique conditions that may affect a traveller’s decision to book.
Travel agencies located outside of Ontario may not be held to the same standard, and the same level of assistance may not be available. It’s easy to verify if a travel agency, booking website or tour operator is registered with TICO by visiting: tico.ca/search.
The online survey was conducted by PMG Intelligence with 1,209 Ontario residents who lead or share travel decision making for their household. The survey was conducted between Jan. 20 to Jan. 23, 2023.