COVID-19 creates 3 million first-time RV travellers in Canada

COVID-19 creates 3 million first-time RV travellers in Canada

Traveling is one of the most sought-after activities for people to do in their free time. For Canadians, a large portion of travel occurs during the summer when schools are closed, and most people book their vacations.

Unfortunately, during a global pandemic, travel is everything but normal.

This article highlights how COVID-19 has and will continue to influence Canadian travel plans for summer 2021.

Table of contents:

Note: Data found in this article comes from a new nationwide survey conducted by Abacus Data, with a +/- 2.51% margin of error.

Travel and safety concerns around COVID-19

With the slow rollout of vaccines in Canada and ongoing concerns around the third wave, 93% of Canadians mentioned doing something safe as a top priority for their vacation plans.

Canadians also consider RVing and camping as the safest travel options for 2021.

“Our survey results show that Canadians consider RVing and camping up to three times safer than other types of accommodations such as staying in a hotel. We are also seeing that roughly 70% of Canadians consider camping in an RV of little to no risk compared with 28% who feel the same way about flying on a plane to a destination,” said David Coletto, CEO of the polling firm Abacus Data.

Some of the main reasons why Canadians consider RV trips safe this summer include:

  • Being outdoors with self-contained accommodations.
  • The ability to avoid crowds and maintain social distancing.
  • No need to quarantine during or after your trip.

Interested in going RVing this summer? Check out top-rated RV rentals near you.

Local travel surge expected

The travel survey highlights that 56% of Canadians are thinking about taking a summer vacation this year compared to only 46% of Canadians in 2020 (results from a May 2020 travel survey conducted by Abacus Data).

With many travel restrictions in place, most Canadians (81%) are looking to travel within their province. Combined with the growing number of Canadians looking to go on vacation, this will without a doubt create a surge in local travel demand.

Another interesting insight shows that most Canadians have not yet started booking their vacations. Many Canadians mentioned that the uncertainty around whether or not their activities will be available is a major reason for not pre-booking their vacations. For others, it’s simply the fact that they are not used to booking vacations several months in advance. Either way, with an inevitable local travel surge expected, our best advice for Canadians looking to go on vacation this summer would be to start planning sooner rather than later.

Growing RV and camping demand

Last year, when the pandemic started, more than ever before, Canadians went RVing, creating an 800% increase in rental demand on RV Travel Central.

This year, with even more Canadians looking to travel locally, stay safe during their vacation, and explore the great outdoors, RV demand has increased again, representing a 250% increase in booking requests on RV Travel Central compared with 2020.

According to the survey results, roughly 3 million Canadian first-time RVers and campers are expected for summer 2021.

“When the pandemic hit in 2020, millions of people turned to local travel, camping, and RVing as an alternative to the traditional flights and hotels. When families discovered how safe, affordable, and convenient it was to explore the great outdoors in an RV, word got around,” said RV Travel Central co-founder Michael McNaught. “This year, demand is at an all-time high, meaning another great year for the RV industry and local economy. Campgrounds are filling up, RV dealerships are sold out, and our owners are projecting record income. As a long-time RVer myself, my best advice is to book your travel plans now, before it’s too late.”

When will travel restrictions end in Canada?

The majority of Canadians don’t think COVID-related travel restrictions will end any time soon. Close to 50% of Canadians believe that travel restrictions won’t be lifted until after January 2022.

How many Canadians believe travel restrictions will be lifted before the end of the summer? Only 29%…

Final thoughts

While the pandemic has been a tremendous burden on the majority of the travel industry, it has shined a light on traveling locally, RVing, camping, road tripping, and exploring Canada’s great outdoors.

With RV rental demand at an all-time high, there has never been a better time for RV owners to rent out their RVs to earn additional income while their RVs are not in use.

Also, for Canadians looking to go RVing this summer, it’s important to understand that bookings are happening sooner than years past, so it’s important to book your RV, campgrounds, and activities as soon as possible.

If you’re a first-time RVer looking for more information, here are some helpful resources to get you started:

Contact info

For more information about the Abacus travel survey or to schedule an interview with RV Travel Central, please contact:

Matt Thompson, Director of Partnerships
1-855-697-8399 | [email protected]

Survey methodology

The survey was conducted with 1,500 Canadians between March 4-7, 2021. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.51%, 19 times out of 20 for the country.

According to census data, the data were weighted to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

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