Travel Activities and Motivations Survey

Canadian Travellers who visited Northern Ontario - A Profile for Marketing Implications

Full report available in pdf format

June 2007
Executive summary

A PROFILE OF CANADIAN TRAVELLERS WHO VISITED NORTHERN ONTARIO:

  • Majority reside in Ontario, particularly Toronto
  • Seek undiscovered and less built up destinations
  • Seek more solitude and isolation than other Canadian Travellers
  • Seek to be more physically challenged than other Canadian Travellers
  • Have a strong relationship with outdoor recreation activities, particularly camping and fresh water fishing
  • Value accessibility by car more than other modes of transportation
  • Are not traveling to be pampered or stay in luxury accommodation
  • Have higher incomes compared to other Canadian travellers
  • Generally are slightly younger than other Canadian travellers
  • Live mainly with a spouse or partner without young children
  • A majority use the advice of friends and relatives as an important source of information for planning their trips
  • A majority of them made their travel decisions over the Internet (accommodation and air tickets)

PRODUCT IMPLICATIONS:

Experiences that offer relaxation and physical activity

  • Product development could move towards offering experiences that incorporate relaxation with physical activity. 67.3% of Canadian travellers to Northern Ontario seek to relax and relieve stress. However, this group of travellers differs on the fact that they also seek to be more challenged physically than all other Canadian travellers.
  • 52.8% swam in lakes during a trip in the past two years
  • 41.9% camped during a trip in the past two years
  • 35.2% fished in fresh water during a trip in the past two years

Camping as a popular activity

  • Camping is of significant interest to Canadians who have visited Northern Ontario. Supporting this is the fact that 14.3% of Canadian travellers to Northern Ontario indicated that the availability of camping was highly important in their travel making decisions compared to all Canadian travellers (12.7%). Fewer travellers to Northern Ontario indicated that the availability of camping was of no importance in their travel making decisions (47.3%) compared to all Canadian travellers (51.0%).

A niche market for nature-based activities

  • Although shopping at clothing, shoe and jewellery shops and dining at restaurants that offer local ingredients are activities that are common to most Canadian travellers to Northern Ontario, they are also common to most Canadian travellers in general. Among the most frequently mentioned activities by travellers who had visited Northern Ontario, there are a number which relate to the natural environment (swimming in lakes, fresh water fishing, camping, and visiting national or provincial nature parks).
    • There exists an opportunity to capitalize on the existence of specialized outdoor activities in the North such as fresh water fishing.
    • Relaxation in the outdoors is an influential factor as 24.6% of Canadian travelers who visited Northern Ontario indicated that sunbathing/sitting on the beach was a main reason for taking an overnight trip in the past 2 years.
    • The remoteness of the North is also an influential factor.
    • However, given the importance of activities such as shopping and dining, there is a need to emphasize that these activities are available alongside of the specialized, nature-based activities.

FACTORS PREDICTING TRAVEL:

  • Northern Ontario's primary travel market includes residents of Ontario. Toronto not only generated most of the Canadian travellers visiting Northern Ontario (primarily because of its population size), but also had the highest incidence of travel to Northern Ontario.
  • Factors predicting travel to Northern Ontario include: participation in one of Northern Ontario's intrinsic activities; fresh water fishing as a main reason for travel; and traveling to seek undiscovered, less built up places.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH:

  • The Primary potential visitor market for Northern Ontario is Toronto.
  • Secondary potential visitor markets for Northern Ontario include:
    • Montreal
    • Areas of British Columbia (excluding Victoria and Vancouver)
    • Vancouver and Calgary, however, to a lesser degree
  • These areas had the highest incidence of Canadians who did not visit Northern Ontario, rated Ontario highly and indicated that at least one of Northern Ontario's intrinsic activities was a main reason for taking a trip in the past two years.