Canadians looking to take a vacation should consider destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, as travel prices are currently at their best.
TravelPulse Canada spoke with Canadian travel executives to determine the trendiest and most affordable destinations for Canadians this year. Frank Demarinis, the President and CEO of Travel Brands, says tropical places like Cancun and the Mayan Riviera are exceeding tourism expectations so far.
"Pricing, I think, is at an all-time low in terms of packages,” said Demarinis." Four or five-star places in the Caribbean and Mexico can be found for less than $1,000.”
The boom in Mexico and Caribbean tourism comes after a brutal hurricane season that caused many Canadians to opt for other vacation spots like Hawaii, California and Florida. Many island nations have worked tirelessly to repair the damages in their cities and it looks like it has paid off.
Nino Montagnese, the Managing Director for Air Canada Vacations, agrees with Demarinis, adding that the company's 'Ultimate Escapes' packages are also doing very well this year.
"[Ultimate Escapes] is a luxury lineup with 43 hotels that span Mexico, the Caribbean and a bit of the U.S. A beautiful little gem can get lost in our regular brochure so we pulled them out and they’re doing really well."
In Europe, Montagnese says Greece, Portugal and Paris are the top three most popular bookings among Canadians so far. Other European locations gaining momentum include underrated gems like Croatia, Prague, Bucharest and Budapest.
Back home, Canadians are expressing great interest in Atlantic Canada. According to Montagnese, Halifax is particularly strong right now in terms of visitations from Canadians and new immigrants.
With the launch of new discount airlines, Canadians will have more opportunities to explore cities across the country. As a result, major cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal could expect an increase in tourism this year.
Here's what TravelPulse Canada and other travel executives had to say about trending destinations for Canadians this year:
Tim Croyle, WestJet Vacations: "I’d say Belize and Costa Rica both are strong. People are looking for something a little different; a bit more adventure and more of an eco-experience. So those two are doing well . . . Obviously the hurricanes last year moved a lot of bookings around. Mexico benefitted a lot, as did some English-speaking areas of the Caribbean. Aruba and The Bahamas did well. So did Antigua."
Nicole Bursey, Air Transat: "Traditional destinations such as Italy are going great for guided tours. Folks also are booking the Czech Republic, Croatia and Spain." — TravelPulse Canada
Andrew Dawson, Sunwing: "In terms of destinations Cancun is doing very well, especially the Playa Mujeres area. The U.S. market was soft into Cancun so hotels reacted with lower rates. I think people can sense the value, and there’s definitely a consistency in the quality in the Cancun area. I think Canadians are getting more and more used to it."
Conference Board of Canada: "Dominican Republic is up 13 per cent, while Jamaica is up 12 and Mexico up 11 per cent. Cuba is down, as are St. Martin, Turks & Caicos and Puerto Rico." — TravelPulse Canada