A great new study by the folks at Expedia.ca finds that 22 per cent of Canadians surveyed admit to “getting frisky” on the sand while on holidays. Which should put the lie to that stereotype of button-down, buttoned-up Canucks, right?
Actually, the provincial breakdown is pretty interesting. A full 28 per cent of Quebeckers say they’ll get down on the beach, while a pretty sizeable 25 per cent of Ontario folks said they do the same. Folks in British Columbia may think they’re all trendy and cutting-edge and adventurous, but the survey says just 18 per cent get frisky on the sand, the same as folks in Alberta.
But they’re downright crazy compared to Atlantic Canada, where the number was just 12 per cent. And WAY OUT THERE compared to Manitoba, where it was just five per cent. And what’s wrong with you Manitobans and Saskatchewanites, anyway? Your combined total for both provinces was a measly two per cent! Don’t your winters want to make you break out a bit?
The study also found that just 11 per cent of us do the Full Monty on a nude beach. Again, the provincial breakdown is pretty interesting. Going west to east, the numbers were as follows: British Columbia seven (don’t they have a nude beach in Vancouver?), Alberta nine, Saskatchewan and Manitoba three, Ontario nine (not much, folks, not much), Quebec 22 (almost one in four!) and Atlantic Canada 10.
Folks in La Belle Province also are much likely to wear revealing bathing suits. The study found 17 per cent would wear a Speedo or other type of skimpy suit on holidays. For B.C. it was four, Alberta three, Saskatchewan and Manitoba seven, Ontario 10 and Atlantic Canada a sizeable 16.
The Expedia.ca “Escape Winter Report” said 53 per cent of Canadians say they’re more adventurous on a beach vacation. But asked what they do that’s so out there, 70 per cent said they “eat unusual food,” while 35 per cent say they “try challenging water sports.”
Wow. Maybe Canadians really are the dullest people on earth. I mean, eating fish tacos or trying water polo in the pool counts hardly counts as being more adventurous on your holiday. I’m just saying.
Here’s a great bit, especially if you’re of the female persuasion. The study found that while more men SAY they’re more adventurous on a beach vacation (40 per cent of men, compared to 34 per cent of women), higher percentage of women report actually TRYING new things.
For example, more women than men have reported eating unusual foods (75 per cent versus 66 per cent), trying a challenging water sport (39 versus 32) or wearing a more revealing swim suit (13 per cent vs. nine per cent for men, thank God).
“I guess that’s nothing new,” he said with a laugh.
I asked him if any of the women in his office have teased him about the study.
“Not yet,” he said.
The study also had a few less risque bits. For example, the number one reason Canadians say they escape winter is to get away from the dark, followed by a dislike of driving in winter and the hope of avoiding snow shovelling. And amen to that.
As well, the study found Mexico remains the number one destination for Canadians heading to the beach, with 43 per cent having visited Mexico to escape winter. Next and right behind was Florida at 42 per cent (57 per cent of Ontario folks head there, compared to 44 per cent of Quebec respondents).
Thirty per cent of folks from the survey have taken holidays in the Dominican Republic, 41 per cent in Ontario and 37 per cent in Quebec.
The study also found that 73 per cent of us post pictures of scenery from our trip but only 22 per cent post “selfie” photos taken on the beach. Presumably not the nude beach, but you never know.
Finally, the study found that 19 per cent of women go on a diet before hitting the beach, compared to just 12 per cent of men.
Shannon said Mexico has been Canadians’ chosen destination for some time.
“They’ve been on a roll for so many years now, despite the news about safety issues, most of which are in border areas. There were some unfortunate stories of Canadians having issues but it’s been pretty quiet and Mexico continues to thrive, both east and west.
“You’re always going to get your Florida areas and places like Phoenix and Hawaii, too,” Shannon said. “We’re finding some up-and-coming areas in Central America, too. It’s more on people’s radar, especially Costa Rica.”
Shannon said obvious places in Europe such as Italy (see photo), Spain, France and the UK are getting attention already from folks looking to book summer holidays. The numbers aren’t nearly as large, but more folks appear to be looking at Eastern Europe than they used to; booking cities such as Prague and Bucharest.
That’s often a good call in terms of finances, as I’ve found prices to be much cheaper in Eastern Europe than in the West. Poland has been hugely popular the last couple years, especially Krakow.
The fall in the Canadian dollar has seen some tour operators bring in a surcharge to make up for their losses. WestJet Vacations the other day said they won’t be doing that, but the drop of the Canadian buck could hurt tourism to the U.S.
Shannon said it’s certainly a headwind in theory but that he hasn’t seen a big swing away from the U.S. the last couple weeks.
It was a big week for Canadian consumers as the website booking.com, which actually has more properties worldwide than Expedia, launched an ad campaign in Canada on Wednesday.
Shannon said the ad campaign is new but that booking.com has been in the Canadian market for some time.
“Historically they haven’t been into building their brand like this. They’ve been more in the background. But it’s a great product and a great site and one we certainly admire.”
While it’s a change in strategy for booking.com, Shannon said Expedia.ca won’t be changing the way they do business.
“They’ve got a lot of B and B’s,” he told me. “They started in Europe and were very aggressive. They’ve gone into some properties Expedia has not gone into, traditionally. Maybe that’s smart. Maybe not.”
Booking.com claims it has an advantage in that customers don’t have to pay up front but instead get their hotel bill when they check out.
Shannon said Expedia a while back started giving folks that option, and that more and more hotels around the world are part of that program.
“We offer the best of both worlds,” he said, a choice on whether to pay in advance and know it’s all done or pay when you leave your hotel.
Of the 240,000 or so properties Expedia had around the world as of the end of the third quarter of 2013, roughly 35,000 of those allow customers to pay when they leave. That’s about 15 per cent. But Shannon said many of those properties are chain hotels, which means they have more hotels with the pay when you leave option than the numbers might suggest.
WORLD TOURISM SPENDING NUMBERS – USA RULES BUT SPAIN NUMBER TWO
Here’s a great stat I found the other day on Skift.com; the total spending by international visitors in various countries for 2012, as compiled by the UNWTO.
According to the chart I saw, the U.S. was far and away the winner with $126.2 billion in spending, which includes all transactions related to consumption by international visitors including lodging, food, domestic transportation, entertainment, and shopping.
Five of the ten countries that filled their pockets with the most tourists’ dollars in recent years are located in Europe. But, no surprise, here, Asia is showing tremendous growth. As is the U.S. (Canada not so much but decent; more in a bit).
Here’s the top 10 with spending listed in billions of dollars U.S.
- USA $126.2
- Spain $55.9
- France $53.6
- China $50
- Macau (China) $43.9
- Italy $41.2
- Germany $38.1
- UK $36.4
- Thailand $33.8
- Hong Kong $33.1
Canada was in 17th spot with $17.4 billion in international spending.
What’s also interesting is the growth of the various countries. The U.S. figures for 2012 were up 9.2 per cent from 2011, which is quite good. Canada was up just 4.6 per cent; not nearly as impressive. China’s growth was just 3.2 per cent.
As good as the U.S. numbers were, their growth rate was nothing compared to some others. Macau spending (Chinese gamblers were the cause, I presume) was up 13.7 per cent, while Hong Kong jumped 15.9 per cent. Thailand? Try a leap of 26.7 per cent, which is amazing.
India, which had $18 million in spending and was in 16th spot, one ahead of Canada, saw its international tourism spending jump 21.8 per cent in 2012.