In the midst of another year of COVID-19, fewer people in B.C. could be hitting roads and airways this holiday season, suggests one polling company’s research.
According to a recent Research Co. survey, 56 per cent of British Columbians said they had no intention of going on holiday in the next three months. Only 34 per cent of respondents 55 years or older and 45 per cent of 35-54 year-olds stated they intended to travel this holiday season. In contrast, 56 per cent of people 18-34 years said they planned to travel during the holidays.
In terms of transportation modes, 36 per cent of people said they were willing to travel by plane to another province. Thirty-two per cent said they were willing to fly within the province, 22 per cent said they would fly to another continent, while 21 per cent would fly to the U.S.
Twenty-seven per cent were willing to travel by car to the U.S. and 25 per cent said they would travel by bus, on a trip under three hours, while 16 per cent would take a bus trip over three hours. Twenty-three per cent said they were willing to travel by train and 11 per cent would take a cruise ship.
Forty-six per cent of respondents stated they would be willing to travel via BC Ferries, although that increased to 58 per cent among people from Vancouver Island.
Respondents also expressed pandemic-related concerns, with 78 per cent worried about facing delays due to restrictions, 77 per cent worried about losing money because their trip got cancelled and 75 per cent concerned about being infected while on holiday.
In an e-mail, Mario Canseco, Research Co. president, told Black Press Media attitudes about travel haven’t really changed since vaccine introduction.
In a poll from 2020 about a similar topic, when asked about travelling prior to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, 46 per cent of respondents stated they would travel by ferry, 36 per cent would fly to another province, 32 per cent said they’d take a flight within the province, 21 per cent would fly to the U.S. and 22 per cent would fly out of country.
Twenty-three per cent said they would take a train trip, 25 per cent said they’d take a bus trip under three hours, 16 per cent said they’d take a bus trip over three hours and 11 per cent said they’d travel on a cruise ship.
With the exception of flying to the U.S., which saw a six per cent increase, and between provinces (five per cent), all other modes of transportation were “within margin or significantly lower,” according to Canseco.
“The results show that people are still concerned about COVID-19 and may be postponing trips because of that,” said Canseco. “The numbers of COVID-19 hindrances (cancellations, delays, catching the virus) are very high. And the survey was conducted before the emergence of the Omicron variant, so people may be even more concerned now.”
In an e-mail, Kristen Learned, Destination B.C. spokesperson, said British Columbians’ holiday travel intent has dropped in the past two weeks, but it is difficult to gauge if it is a result of recent flooding and Omicron’s emergence.
Based on Destination B.C. numbers, as of Nov. 26, 39 per cent of British Columbians were eyeing travel to nearby communities in the next four weeks, which Learned said was a 14-point decrease from Nov. 10. In addition, eight per cent of B.C. residents had intentions of travelling to other provinces in the same time span, a one-point increase from Nov. 10.
Data for its current poll was gathered online from Nov. 15-17, involving 800 adults in B.C., Research Co. said in a press release. The numbers were “statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada,” it said.