Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism in North America

July 16, 2020

Leger Presents Our Newest Travel and Tourism Study!

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry has been effectively shut down around the globe. This has resulted in a deep and direct hit to airlines, hotels, tour operators, restaurants, and so many other tourism-related businesses. ​

While we do not yet know the full extent of the impact that COVID-19 will have, we do know that its effects will be felt long after travel bans and social distancing measures are removed.


The goal of our new specialized study, Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism in North America, is to redefine travel and tourism in the context of the COVID-19 era, and to develop an in-depth understanding of travellers’ needs, motivations, and behaviour in what may be a “new normal.”

This study is designed to provide a comprehensive look at the current and future state of travel and tourism in Canada and the United States, to provide the industry with the insights and recommendations needed to help achieve success moving forward.

Topic Areas (among Canadians and Americans)

  • Their leisure travel experiences before COVID-19, including domestic vs. international, modes of transportation, accommodation types, regional travel experiences, etc.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on their 2020 travel plans
  • Their current travel attitudes and behaviours, including their comfort levels and willingness to travel (and the extent to which certain factors will influence each)
  • Their future travel plans in general, including willingness to travel in the coming year, key destinations, modes of transportation, trip types, experiences, and accommodations
  • Whether they are willing to travel locally, including where they look for information about local travel, and how aware they are of the product and service offerings available to them within their region
  • Specific elements of their next scheduled or tentative leisure travel experience, including where they will travel, when they will travel, how they will get there, what they plan to do, and their approximate budget
  • And more!

Key Findings

 Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Canadians and half (51%) of Americans have changed or cancelled their 2020 vacation plans.

44% of Canadians and 41% of Americans are currently comfortable taking a road trip.

⇒ Currently, 46% of Canadians are comfortable taking a staycation (e.g., staying in their own homes and make day trips to local attractions), 38% are comfortable travelling in their region (up to 150 km from home within their province), and 31% are comfortable travelling in their province (more than 150 km from home).

⇒ In the next year, 64% of Canadians plan to take more staycations and explore their local region, compared to 52% of Americans.

In the next year, 61% of Canadians and 47% of Americans plan to take fewer trips outside of North America than they usually would.

When thinking about future travel experiences, the most important factor when deciding on a vacation destination among Canadians (75%) and Americans (70%) is clear communication of measures put in place to protect them from COVID-19.

⇒ About one-third of Canadians and one-fifth of Americans will not feel comfortable travelling internationally until there is a vaccine for COVID-19.

Survey Methodology

  • Web survey of 2,031 Canadians and 1,001 Americans aged 18 or older.
  • Data collection took place from June 9 – June 21, 2020.
  • The data for Canada and the United States were weighted by age, gender, and region to ensure that the results are representative of the Canadian and American populations.

Contact us to learn more!

Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the results of this study further! We look forward to hearing from you.

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Edwin Sheppard, Associate Vice-President, Leger, presented the key findings of the study and their implications.

Following the presentation, Tom Clark, Chair, Global Public Affairs moderated a discussion with three guest speakers: Bea Sarmiento (Holiday Inn Club Vacations Incorporated), Chantz Strong (Destination Canada), and Monique Smith (Global Public Affairs).


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