Future of travel is promising for Canada, Virtuoso says

For those wondering how the affluent are travelling these days, Virtuoso provided some answers during its Canadian Forum that was recently held in Toronto.

Using data and insights that it gathered from its network of travel advisors, preferred partners and high net worth/ultra-high net worth clientele across Canada, Virtuoso offered a clear picture of when, where and how the affluent are travelling in 2024 and beyond.

In fact, its trends forecast clearly demonstrated a surge in outbound leisure spend and ‘a staggering rise’ in future cruise bookings as well as strong interest in foreign destinations like Costa Rica, Portugal, Japan and Thailand.

“All signs point to growth mode for the Canadian travel market over the next several years,” said Úna O’Leary, general manager. “Network bookings continue to rise, indicating we’re well past the days of ‘revenge travel’ and the demand is no longer pent up; it’s simply that travel remains a priority for many. This is evidenced by the 16 per cent year-over-year increase in future bookings for 2024 and 2025. The cruise category stands out significantly, with a 32 per cent increase in future bookings. There’s a prevailing feeling of optimism amongst our members, signalling a promising outlook for the future of travel in Canada.”

Significant sales growth from Canada

The group reported that its 2023 sales from its Canadian members increased significantly over 2022, growing by more than 22 per cent, which is a record high.

Cruise sales led the way, posting a 48 per cent increase, followed by tours (32 per cent), on-sites (29 per cent) and hotels (six per cent).

In 2023, ocean cruising was up 48 per cent, river cruising grew a staggering 87 per cent, small ships (yacht) increased 38 per cent and expedition cruising was up 42 per cent. Virtuoso’s data indicates that the growth of cruising is continuing in 2024.

Also of note is the fact that the average booking window is increasing. In 2022, the average booking window was 92 days. In 2023, it was up by over 14% to an average of 105 days.

Looking ahead, Virtuoso highlights the fact that:

  • Future sales from Virtuoso’s Canadian members are strong, with a 16% uptick in advance bookings (18-24 months out) compared to the same period in 2022. This is on track with the global percentage of 19%.
  • The real standout is cruise: Virtuoso’s future cruise bookings from Canadian members are 32 per cent higher than they were for 2022, outpacing global bookings, which are at 30 per cent.

For more, go to www.virtuoso.com.


From L to R: Rob Blowes, BST Vacations/Blowes & Stewart Travel Group; Virtuoso’s general manager for Canada, Una O’Leary; Renshaw Travel’s Carly Renshaw; Omega Travel’s Thomas Panos; and Direct Travel’s Stephen Smith.