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2013 BMO Spring Travel Survey: 79 Per Cent of Canadians Planning to Get Away This Season

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Mar 13, 2013) - According to the 2013 BMO Spring Travel Survey released today, the vast majority of Canadians have the travel bug, with four-in-five (79 per cent) planning a trip this spring.

The study, conducted by Pollara, revealed Canadians plan to spend an average of $2,431 on trips during the spring season, as well as the average spend among travellers making the following trips:

Trip Duration Average
Canadians Travelling
Planned Spend
Weekend trip 49 $2,157
Week-long trip 35 $2,636
Two-week trip 13 $4,254
Over two-week trip 7 $6,490

The spring season has traditionally been a popular time for travel. According to BMO Economics, because of the strong pull of warmer climates, Canadians tend to increase their spending on spring foreign travel by about four per cent over the yearly average. "Even with the moderate decline in the Canadian dollar in recent weeks, the currency remains historically strong," said Doug Porter, Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "We continue to expect the loonie to trade just below parity through the spring travel season."

The BMO survey shows that while 59 per cent of travellers plan to visit other provinces, nearly half (49 per cent) will travel to the U.S., while 18 per cent will visit Central/South America, the Caribbean or Mexico.

Regional Breakdown

Among Canadians, British Columbians (88 per cent) and Albertans (86 per cent) are the most likely to travel during the spring, while Quebecers are the least likely (69 per cent). Other key findings include:

  • British Columbians ($2,641) and Ontarians ($2,638) plan to spend the most on spring travel
  • Travellers in Alberta (75 per cent), Atlantic Canada (74 per cent) and the Prairies (72 per cent) are the most likely to head to another province, while Quebec travellers (49 per cent) are the least likely to travel within Canada
  • Nationwide, Ontario travellers (14 per cent) prefer Central and South America, British Columbians (12 per cent) favour Mexico, whereas Quebecers (10 per cent) are the most likely to travel to Europe
  • Nearly half (44 per cent) will be visiting family, with spring break family vacations (23 per cent) and romantic getaways (22 per cent) the other main reasons for travelling
Canadians'' Travel Plans TOTAL
Travelling this spring   79   80   69   79   84   86   88
Average travel costs $ 2,431 $ 2,296 $ 1,997 $ 2,638 $ 2,232 $ 2,489 $ 2,641
Visit another province   59   74   49   57   72   75   53
Visit United States   49   37   38   57   52   41   53
Visit Central/South America or the Caribbean   11   10   13   14   2   5   8
Visit Mexico   7   4   10   5   2   5   12
Visit Europe   7   3   10   9   3   7   5

Nick Mastromarco, Director, BMO Bank of Montreal, notes that Canadians looking to get away this spring can reduce the costs of travel by leveraging loyalty reward programs.

"Spring break is a popular time of the year for travel, meaning that the cost to travel can be more expensive depending on your destination," said Mr. Mastromarco. "However, increasing your spending power by leveraging rewards programs can significantly reduce your costs and also provide additional perks that can go a long way."

The majority (85 per cent) of Canadians spend a lot of time looking for deals to pay for their vacations. While 34 per cent have vacation property to help offset costs, a total of 35 per cent expect to use loyalty rewards points to pay for travel this year. This includes 15 per cent who plan to cash in their points for a spring trip and 20 per cent who will be cashing in their points for a trip later in the year.

Mr. Mastromarco added that a flexible loyalty program, such as the BMO Rewards or the AIR MILES Reward Program, lets you redeem reward currency for flights, cruises and other package holidays, train travel, hotel stays, passes to local attractions and instant savings off your fuel purchases. With BMO Rewards, if you don''t have enough points to redeem for your trip, you can use what you have and then "top-up" with cash for any amount.

To make travel more affordable this holiday season, BMO offers Canadians the following additional tips that will stretch their vacation travel dollars this spring:

Use the credit card''s travel insurance: Premium cards typically offer insurance, among other benefits. The BMO Rewards World Elite credit card provides trip interruption and/or cancellation insurance, travel medical insurance, rental car collision damage waiver coverage and other benefits such as airport VIP lounge passes and concierge service. These benefits can substantially reduce travel costs. Know and use the card features and benefits. When in doubt, call the bank''s contact centre or check online for confirmation.

Shop around: Look at the value and flexibility of the program and whether it offers other perks such as travel, merchandise, cash back, financial products or charitable donation options. For example, BMO AIR MILES World credit card customers earn 1 AIR MILES reward mile for every $15 they spend using the card and get an exclusive 25 per cent discount on the number of reward miles required to book AIR MILES flights.

Stick to one loyalty program: Consolidate all purchases on a single card to accumulate rewards faster and reach your travel destination goal sooner. Doing this also makes it easier to track and monitor your spending.

Survey results cited in the 2013 BMO Spring Travel Survey are from online interviews with a random sample of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and older, conducted between February 25th and 26th, 2013. As a guideline, a probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Data has been weighted by region, gender, and age, based on the most recent Census figures, so that it is representative of all adult Canadians.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at January 31, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.