Ipsos Reid Travel

July 21, 2009 11:01 ET

Canadian Information Flow Ebb's Passport Demand

91% of Travellers Without a Passport are Aware of the U.S. Border Regulations: Two Thirds (62%) Say New Regulations Not Affecting Desire to Apply

Attention: Lifestyle Editor, News Editor, Travel/Tourism Editor VANCOUVER/BC/PRESS RELEASE--(Marketwire - July 21, 2009) - While the majority (72%) of Canadians planning to travel in the next six months hold a passport (68% a Canadian passport, 4% a foreign passport), new regulations regarding entry in to the United States are not spurring those without a passport (28%) into action. Among those who do not hold a passport, over six-in-ten (62%) say the new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is not impacting their decision to apply for a passport. These are just some of the findings from a joint Ipsos Reid/Tourism Industry Association of Canada survey with adult Canadian residents who plan to travel in the next six months.

"These numbers seem to show that the demand for passports in Canada has ebbed" states Dave Pierzchala, Vice President of Travel Research. "If the threat of not being able to enter the US without a passport is not a catalyst for action, then there are very few other messages that will resonate with this audience".

The survey asked those three-in-ten (28%) travellers without a passport why they do not have one. The key reasons given were simply not getting around to it (29%), with a further 26% believing they don't travel enough to justify having a passport.

How likely are those without a passport to apply for one in the next six months? More than half (55%) state they are either "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to apply for a passport in that time period. Among those who plan to travel to the US within the next six months, the number jumps to 86%.

How aware are travellers without passports of the new identification regulations that pertain to entering the United States? Nine-in-ten (91%) are aware that Canadians entering the U.S. by land or sea, are now required to carry a passport, a Nexus Card, an enhanced driver's license approved by the U.S. Government, or a Secure Certificate of Indian Status. Among those planning to travel to the U.S. in the next six months, awareness is almost universal, with 96% knowing about the new regulations.

Similarly, nine-in-ten (88%) of those without passports are aware that when entering the U.S. by air, they now need to carry a passport or a Nexus Card. This awareness increases to near universal levels (95%) if they are planning on travel to the U.S. in the next six months.

"It's clear that the awareness program executed by Passport Canada has been very effective, with exceptionally high levels of awareness of the new WHTI regulations even among those without a passport" notes Pierzchala.

However, despite these new identification regulations, Canadians without a passport aren't in a rush to secure one. Knowing about the new identification regulations doesn't impact the decision to apply for a passport for a majority (62%) of Canadian travellers without a passport. Interestingly, 43% of travellers who don't have a passport, and don't believe the new rules impact their decision to get one, are planning to travel to the US in the next six months.

Where are those Canadians travelling in the next six months planning to go? Eight-in-ten (83%) plan to travel within Canada, while one half (54%) plan to travel to the U.S. A much smaller proportion of these Canadians plan to travel to Europe (12%) or Asia (4%).

"With so many unique tourism experiences available to visitors from coast to coast, it is not surprising that Canadians are overwhelmingly choosing to travel domestically," said Randy Williams, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. "The industry's success is a testament to Canada's innovative marketing efforts, and the professionalism and dedication of operators and employees in the tourism sector."

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted in partnership with the Tourism Industry Association of Canada from June 12-18, 2009. This online survey of 1,628 Canadian adults (18+) was conducted via Ipsos' Opinions online forum. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls, however, an unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. These data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to 2006 Census data.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Dave Pierzchala
Ipsos Reid Travel
(778) 373-5006

Kevin Desjardins
Director, Communications
Tourism Industry Association of Canada
(613) 240-7225

About the Tourism Industry Association of Canada

The Tourism Industry Association of Canada is the voice of Canadian tourism. Founded in 1930 to encourage the development of tourism in Canada, TIAC serves today as the national private-sector advocate for this $74.9 billion industry, promoting positive measures that help the industry grow and prosper.

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