Inflation hasn't reduced Quebecers' desire to fly: survey
Although inflation is set to influence the behaviour of Quebec holidaymakers, just as many of them want to get on a plane as before the pandemic, according to a CAA-Quebec survey.
According to the survey released on Tuesday, 22 per cent of respondents intend to take a plane during their summer holidays. This compares with 19 per cent in 2019, before the pandemic. The proportion should be considered similar since the difference is within the margin of error of 3.1 per cent.
"In the field, CAA-Quebec's travel advisers are finding that inflation has not put an end to what is known as revenge spending. It's absolutely true," said the non-profit organization's communications advisor, David Marcille, in an interview. "People are angry at not having been able to travel for several years. They're getting their act together this year. Whatever the price, they're ready to increase their budget. There's a fairly intense desire."
As a result, more Quebecers are planning a trip to Europe - nine per cent compared with five per cent at the same time last year.
The survey confirms the comments made by the heads of the major airlines, who claim that economic uncertainty, inflation and rising ticket prices have not dampened demand.
In May, Air Canada President and CEO Michael Rousseau saw no turbulence on the horizon.
"When we look at bookings for the rest of the year, we believe that demand will continue," he said.
Montreal-based Air Transat is due to unveil its quarterly results on Thursday. CIBC World Markets analyst Kevin Chiang expects the tone of the company's update to be positive for the upcoming summer season.
"If the recovery is faster than expected, we remain cautious on its stock due to high debt," he said.
At the same time, the number of Quebecers planning to stay in the province during their holidays is down from last year, from 65 per cent to 57 per cent. This represents 17 per cent who will be staying at home and 40 per cent who will be visiting another region of Quebec.
BUDGET LEADING THE WAY
Despite the resilience of demand for air travel, inflation is having an effect on holidaymakers' plans, with the majority still planning to get away by car.
More than half (54 per cent) identify gas prices as a factor affecting their plans.
Of the 17 per cent who will be staying at home, 64 per cent say that gas plays a role in their decision.
Of all respondents, 21 per cent plan to limit their travel once at their destination, 28 per cent will reduce the number of activities planned during their holiday, 28 per cent will travel less often, and 31 per cent will reduce the number of meals eaten in restaurants.
"Against a backdrop of higher prices, respondents have also increased their holiday budget. It has risen from $1,687 last year to $1,955 this year," said Marcille. "Taking a holiday costs more."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 6, 2023.