Tour operators report people are still on the move
So where are travellers wanting to go these days during a time when extreme weather conditions are wreaking havoc on much of our planet?
Well, tour operators say they’re continuing to head far and wide, and are still interested in vacationing in countries that have been coping with disruptive weather conditions.
“This summer we saw Europe dominate in popularity and this has continued into the fall months, with bookings to destinations like Greece, Italy and Spain during the shoulder seasons in recent years growing,” says Tom Smith, Intrepid Travel’s vice president of sales and marketing for North America.
Mediterranean countries have been among those grappling with extreme heat.
“Iceland was wildly popular this summer among Canadians, taking three of the top 10 spots of the top tours booked, including number one,” Smith continues. “This destination has been surging in popularity across North America in recent years. Morocco is also a popular choice right now, offering up an exciting mix of traditional culture, diverse flavours, beaches and more. This summer it claimed two spots on the summer top 10 list for Canadians and Intrepid will be launching four new Morocco tours in 2024 to keep up with demand. It’s also one of the top destinations that Canadians are booking for the 2023 fall shoulder season, along with others which are further afield, like Japan, Egypt and Jordan.”
Smith says every region of the world is affected by climate change, but Intrepid’s not really seeing any major changes in its booking patterns at this stage that specifically relate to the weather.
“We’re extremely aware of the impacts of a changing climate in the destinations we run trips and we are closely monitoring how this may affect itinerary design both in the short and longer term – including how this may change where and when customers wish to travel,” he adds.
Renata Snidr of NARAT says that tour operator is seeing heightened interest in South America, with Peru, Brazil and Argentina doing well. They are seen as affordable and accessible adventure getaways with convenient flights from Canada
“South America is also a continent that NARAT has been operating tours for an extremely long time, and agents have confidence in our company,” Snidr reports. “Outside of these, we have seen ongoing interest for the Far East, especially Japan travel, which had been immensely popular pre-pandemic and continues so, post pandemic. The most likely reason is because the experiences are exotic and provide an ‘escape’ from the constraints Canadians have faced the past few years.
“We have had some concern with demand for Japan this (past) week, due to the Fukushima nuclear wastewater release and consumer perceptions, though it is still too soon to determine if it will impact sales. For Europe, we are operating several groups to Italy, and it seems to be continuing in popularity. Many of the destinations we are currently selling have not been impacted by environmental issues, outside of some Mediterranean locations such as Greece, where we have paused certain activities due to consumer safety.”
Some parts of Greece have been plagued with fires blamed on hot weather in the past couple of months.
Meanwhile, Goway founder Bruce Hodge reports that company hasn’t been having to deal with cancellations or requests to switch destinations linked to extreme weather.
“We are not seeing anything out of the ordinary,” Hodge says.
Goway’s top destinations for travellers, in order, are Italy, Australia, New Zealand then Thailand, he adds.