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Ontario leisure travel growth prospects look bright despite new challenges, new survey suggests

Press Release: Economic Issues and Travel Perceptions Survey

Date: 25 May 2023


Ontario leisure travel growth prospects look bright despite new challenges, new survey suggests


Tourism in Ontario looks set to continue growing as travellers reassess their holiday plans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, according to a new survey of leisure travellers across the wider region.


The research was commissioned by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario and conducted by tourism research consultancy, Twenty31. More than 4,000 travel consumers across southern Ontario, Quebec and selected U.S. states neighbouring Canada were surveyed in spring 2023.


It reveals that the economic crisis has hit leisure travel plans hard, with more than half of travellers (55%) saying they have either shortened a planned holiday, switched from a foreign to a domestic vacation, or cancelled it altogether in response to the crisis. Similar numbers (56%) are seriously considering making similar changes to their travel plans in 2023.


But the survey found significant enthusiasm for travelling in Ontario in the near future, particularly now the COVID-19 pandemic has eased. More than half (54%) said they were very likely to do so, with men, higher-income earners and young to middle-aged people more likely to be planning travel within Ontario.


Encouragingly, the survey finds that travel within Ontario is seen as easy – two-thirds think so (66%) within barely one in ten disagreeing. Those who see Ontario travel as difficult are most likely to cite high gas prices as the major reason (34%), though some mention delays at land borders (16%) while a few cite congestion on highways (7%) or at airports (6%).


Oliver Martin, Partner at Twenty31, commented: “These findings should give confidence to tourism operators across Ontario – there is clearly plenty of enthusiasm among travellers across these nearby markets to continue exploring what’s on their doorstep during the next few years, and no major obstacles. But given their limited financial bandwidth, travellers will likely remain highly focused on value for money in the short term.”


Christopher Bloore, President of the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, commented: “For many Ontarians, the pandemic was an opportunity to rediscover how much their own province has to offer, and with the Canadian exchange rate now more favourable for visitors from the USA, Ontario has a real opportunity to capitalize. However, high gas prices and border delays are clearly still putting some people off - to encourage this growth in the Ontario tourism economy, government support is needed to combat these standing reputational issues.”


For further details, methodological notes, or comment please contact Michelle Gounden at Twenty31 at +27 73 085 7641 or at

About TIAO (

The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) is recognized by government as the voice of tourism. At TIAO, we work on behalf of our membership, collectively representing the majority of tourism businesses and employees across the province, to take on pressing policy issues that impact the Ontario tourism industry. TIAO leads the way in government relations on behalf of the Ontario tourism industry, including tourism businesses and operators, destination marketing organizations, regional tourism organizations, and educators. We provide evidenced-based policy recommendations to ensure the provincial government understands and addresses the multifaceted needs of the tourism industry.

TIAO propels the powerful and innovative Ontario tourism industry by connecting tourism leaders, innovators, government, and educators through events and conferences. We are proud to host the largest gathering of tourism leaders, educators, businesses, and government officials in Canada, at our annual Ontario Tourism Summit.


About Twenty31 Consulting (

Twenty31 partners with leaders of destinations, tourism organizations, developers and investors to help them navigate the next decade, creating a unique competitive position and developing a strategic blueprint for their future.

We are a Canadian based management consultancy focused solely on defining the business of tourism while uniquely recognising the massive change and incredible opportunity on the horizon for organisations willing to take those calculated risks to achieve competitive advantage. We understand the power of tourism to create wealth for regions and shareholders, but we also see tourism as a channel for global goodwill and understanding - a basic human right to learn and understand through first-hand experience.

Media Contact:



Madison Simmons, Vice President, Public Affairs



Oliver Martin, Partner

+1 (416) 721-3544

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