BMO Financial Group
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BMO Financial Group
BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

December 02, 2013 06:00 ET

2013 BMO Holiday Travel Outlook: Vacation Spending Up 22 Per Cent; International Travel Plans Show Biggest Increase

- Canadians plan to spend $689 on holiday travel

- Domestic holiday travel remains most popular

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 2, 2013) - According to the 2013 BMO Holiday Travel Outlook, Canadians have caught the international travel bug as more plan to vacation abroad this holiday season.

The report, conducted by Pollara, found:

  • Canadians plan to spend an average of $689 on holiday travel this year, up 22 per cent over last year
  • Total holiday travel is increasing, as 65 per cent of Canadians plan winter vacations - an 8 per cent increase from last year
  • While 40 per cent of Canadians plan to vacation within their home province - unchanged from 2012 - one-quarter plan to travel outside of Canada, an increase of 32 per cent (25 per cent versus 19 per cent respectively)
  • Ontario is the most mobile province, with 71 per cent of respondents saying they plan to travel over the holidays
  • 57 per cent of Canadians say they plan to pay for their vacation with their credit card
  • International travellers tend to be younger, with 35 per cent of Canadians under 35 planning to spend the holidays abroad

"The arrival of winter leads many Canadians to get away, and their plans are helped by the still-strong Canadian dollar and a relatively stable economy," said Doug Porter, Chief Economist for BMO Capital Markets. "Compared to 2012, there is a 2 per cent increase in overnight stays by Canadians outside of the country."

The report revealed the top travel destinations among Canadians this holiday season, which include:

Within home province 40 %
Another province within Canada 11 %
U.S.A. 16 %
Mexico 3 %
Other overseas destinations 8 %

Note: Numbers add to over 100% due to Canadians traveling to multiple destinations.

To help pay for their holiday vacation plans, 14 per cent of Canadians say they intend to travel using a rewards program.

"Planning a memorable holiday vacation means accounting for all the financial and experiential details, and leveraging loyalty programs that offer first-class benefits are another way not only to reduce costs, but also upgrade your overall travel experience," said Nick Mastromarco, Managing Director, Credit Card Products, BMO Bank of Montreal.

Mr. Mastromarco added that a flexible loyalty program, such as the BMO Rewards Program, can help enhance the overall travel experience. For instance, the BMO World Elite MasterCard offers 2 per cent back for travel on all card purchases. In addition, cardholders receive best-in-class travel medical insurance, free access to VIP airport lounges with included Priority Pass™ membership, exclusive access to once-in-a-lifetime events, dream vacation packages and other premium benefits.

BMO offers Canadians tips on how to reduce travel costs and get more out of their vacation:

  • Call Ahead: To minimize any hassles abroad, take pre-emptive steps, such as alerting your bank of your travel plans. This can eliminate the chances of triggering any potential fraud alerts due to uncommon spending patterns, which can cause purchase interruptions. BMO credit card customers can quickly and easily use the online travel notification feature in BMO Online Banking to advise of their travel plans and to ensure there are no surprises with an out-of-country charge. For more information, visit www.bmo.com/onlinebanking.

  • Use the credit card's travel insurance: Premium cards typically offer insurance, among other benefits. BMO offers the BMO World Elite MasterCard which provides trip interruption and/or cancellation insurance, travel medical insurance, rental car collision damage waiver coverage and other benefits such as airport VIP lounge passes and concierge service. These benefits can substantially reduce travel costs. Know and use the card features and benefits. When in doubt, call the bank's contact centre or check online for confirmation.

  • Stick to one loyalty program: Consolidate all purchases on a single card to accumulate rewards faster and reach your travel destination goal sooner. Doing this also makes it easier to track and monitor your spending.

The survey results cited in the 2013 BMO Holiday Spending Outlook conducted by Pollara are compiled from an online random sample of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and over between October 11 and October 16, 2013. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 2.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $549 billion as at July 31, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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