Summer in Canada: What’s hot?

With summer fast approaching, we look at the biggest travel trends for the upcoming sunny season in Canada

Summer in Canada: What’s hot?

With summer fast approaching, we look at the biggest travel trends for the upcoming sunny season in Canada

From Vancouver’s cosmopolitan streets to the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies to the small-town charm of the Atlantic provinces, Canada offers a huge range of holiday experiences – but which are shaping up as best sellers for summer 2024?

Seeing wildlife in natural settings, the great outdoors and Indigenous experiences are all in demand, according to specialist Canada operators, with bear viewing, whale watching and hiking near the top of the wish list of many visitors.

Clients will be looking to get the most out of their time wherever they visit in Canada and will opt for longer stays with a typical duration of 18 nights, says Denise Hunn, Director, Canada Tour Programme at Prestige Holidays.

“We are also seeing clients looking for lodge-type accommodation in more remote settings for a couple of nights during their holiday,” she adds.

Trends louise
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Switching from those major tourist destinations that draw the crowds, such as Lake Louise and Banff, to quieter places like Moraine Lake, located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks and around 15 kilometres from Lake Louise, will also be popular, says Meg McBroom, Senior Product Executive for Canada at Audley Travel.

“The Rockies remain ever-popular and Alaska land arrangements twinned with the Yukon are also both selling well,” she adds.

“Western Canada is in strong demand for summer 2024, particularly amongst families seeking adventure and the outdoors,” says Keir Ashely, Tailor Made Specialist at First Class Holidays.

“Also, there has been huge interest in escorted touring, and again particularly in the west for the summer months.”

Cruise trends

Cruise enquiries are also on the rise, especially west coast cruises out of Vancouver, and the Eastern routes such as Boston to Montréal or Québec via Canada’s maritime provinces.

“Both Holland America and Celebrity cruises are really popular. for their round-trip Vancouver-Alaska sailings, with some great deals to be had, but we are also seeing increased interest and bookings for adventure-style cruising and the luxury end of the market such as Silversea and Regent,” says Ashley.

Lure clients in with inclusions, says Hunn, such as drinks packages and wi-fi paid for in advance so that there’s no big expenditure whilst on the cruise.

Selling tips

As always, a top tip for Canada is to book early, says Carolyn Addison, Head of Product for Black Tomato, adding: “Many of Canada’s most popular lodges are small in size and always fill up so fast.”

2024 is going to be back to “pre-pandemic booking levels,” predicts Prestige’s Hunn.
“There is already limited availability with some experiences, such as bear viewing in September, which is the prime viewing time for seeing them feasting on salmon,” she recommends

“Book early for in-demand areas such as Vancouver Island and once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as bear lodges and Rocky Mountaineer to ensure that itineraries can include multiple experiences for clients,” suggests First Class Holidays’ Ashely.

“We have some great exclusive experiences with outfitters like Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures, which offers multi-day kayaking with whales, and Coastal Rainforest Safaris, which operates a wolf tracking multi-day adventure. Both are in British Columbia and we expect them to sell well,” says Audley’s McBroom.

Luxury trends

Luxury clients are focussing more on bucket list trips, whether that be wildlife experiences such as bear viewing lodges or trips to Manitoba for polar bears and belugas. “These are even being combined with Rocky Mountaineer and high-end cruises, putting all elements into the one holiday rather than splitting them over two or more trips,” says Ashley.

Trends foundland
Serene scene in Newfoundland and Labrador

Luxury cruise lines such as Regent offer 11- or 12-day east coast cruises that start in Boston but end in Québec City, along the way taking in Saint John and the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Halifax and Sydney in Nova Scotia, Corner Brook in Newfoundland, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Saguenay in Québec.

Popular accommodation choices for those with bigger budgets include Nimmo Bay and Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge in British Columbia, says Addison.

“One of our new favourites is the Chilko Experience Wilderness Lodge, set in five million acres in a remote part of the province. It is great for families and groups and one we get amazing feedback on.”

Going big

Upgrades and exclusivity are also resonating with clients, says Hunn, with more requests for higher-end rooms and lodges and resorts in unique settings.

“More customers are requesting upgraded room categories and SUVs rather than standard vehicles… and are also favouring small group or private excursions rather than full coaches,” she says.

But value for money is also important, she notes, adding: “Although more (clients) are putting aside a healthy budget for their holiday they want reassurance that they will be getting good value.”

And more luxury clients are joining larger groups, booking with other couples and taking longer trips, says McBroom.

“Many holidays we are booking are of three weeks-plus, with several elements such as road, train and cruise.

“Plus clients are booking more combinations, for example wilderness and bear lodge experiences, often with either two wilderness lodges or one bear lodge and one wilderness lodge or wildlife experience in their itinerary”

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