Tourism surveying underway right now should give Prince Edward Island businesses that rely on visitors an idea whether Canadians are still travelling to the province and spending cash during the pandemic.
Statistic Canada’s national tourism survey usually collects information from 36,000 people each month about their domestic and international travels.
However, surveying from March to June was put on hold due to many people being under COVID-19 lockdowns.
“This was not a typical year for surveying on the Canadian tourism sector,” Peter Kalhok, chief of the Canadian Centre for Tourism and Travel Statistics, told CBC’s Island Morning.
Statistics Canada restarted collecting travel information from Canadians in July — the same month the Atlantic bubble began.
Kalhok said the results for July aren’t out yet because surveying is still being done this month to gather third-quarter statistics for 2020.
“We provide this information on the travel habits and characteristics of travel by Canadians to all levels of government,” he said. “Information that the national travel survey produces is really helpful to cities, regions, provinces as they look to market their locations as a travel destination.”
The third-quarter results will be tallied and released in February.
He said a year like this, with a global pandemic, is more about survival for some.
“In terms of international travel to Canada … numbers are down in the high 90 per cents,” he said. “We know that travel by Canadians abroad has decreased significantly as well.”
Kalhok said he expects domestic travel will look different when all data is gathered.
“We are looking forward to seeing the results from the third quarter, especially to see how the habits of Canadians have changed with the pandemic,” he said.