The global recession left few travel markets unscathed and Canada was no exception. The total travel market fell 7 percent in 2009 to CAD$25 billion, according to PhoCusWright's Canadian Online Travel Overview Second Edition: 2007-2011. Online bookings, however, slipped just 2 percent, as travelers shopped online for lower prices.
"As the recession gripped global travel markets, Canadian travelers turned to the Internet in search of deals, and the travel industry was only too willing to oblige," says Douglas Quinby, senior director, research at PhoCusWright. "But the recession in Canada has been far less severe than that of the United States, where the travel market fell 16 percent in 2009. Canadian travelers benefited from lower global pricing and aggressive online promotions from suppliers."
Online travel penetration in Canada crossed the one-third threshold in 2009, PhoCusWright reports. However, growth rates are slowing, signaling a maturing marketplace. "With the Internet as the preeminent method of consumer travel planning and shopping, online penetration will continue to rise through 2011 though at a slower rate," says Quinby. "Online penetration in Canada trails the U.S. and is mapping more closely to the trends we see in Europe."