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COVID-19 Research

Travel Alberta is actively monitoring research on the pandemic's impact on tourism and the economy to help keep you informed with relevant and timely insights.

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Conference Board: Tepid recovery in consumer confidence (May 20, 2020)

Conference Board of Canada economist Anna Feng offers insights on the May Index of Consumer Confidence. While it edged higher in May after two months of significant declines, consumers remain cautious about the economy. With swings in oil prices, it is not surprising that Albertans worried the most about their future financial conditions, with more than 30 per cent indicating they expect to be worse off financially six months from now.


United States Tour Operators Associations (USTOA): Active Member Research (May 20, 2020)

A survey about post-COVID-19 plans for recovery and business resumption found that more than half (57%) of respondents reported that business on the books for 2021 is rebooked guests from cancelled 2020 departures, while one third (32%) is existing reservations made prior to the coronavirus outbreak and 11 per cent are new reservations. According to the survey, 80 per cent of traveller bookings are to international destinations, with the remaining 20 per cent to North America (US, Canada and Mexico). In Canada, one third (32%) of active members foresee resuming operations in September 2020.

canola fields

PhocusWire: Possible futures for a post-pandemic travel industry - Part 1 and 2 (May 20, 2020)

This article aims to forward-engineer four possible scenarios for how the travel industry will emerge from the pandemic.
Scenario 1: Travel Swings bank to normal in 2021
Assuming we avoid a second wave, world economies strongly rebound in Q4 and traveller confidence grows. By 2023, global hotel demand and air traffic are up +15 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.
Scenario 2: The End of mass tourism as we know it
Stricter health and social distancing jeopardize hotel occupancy rates and airline load factors, impacting low cost carriers the most. Business travel suffers a massive decline. Urban based tourism decreases in favor of outdoor and natural environments.

mountain lake

Destination Canada: Resident Sentiment (May 19, 2020)

Destination Canada wanted to better understand the level of ‘welcome’ that residents of each province/region are feeling towards visitors. Alberta is the most welcoming of visitors from other parts of Canada (27%; tied with Ontario), the US (15%) and from other countries (17%). Alberta also ranked second highest on the welcome scale for visitors from nearby communities (47%) and from other parts of the province (38%).


IMI: Wave 6 - Global Recovery Update - Playbook V1.0 (May 19, 2020)

Surveying over 59,000 people worldwide to better understand consumer attitudes and behaviors, IMI found 79 per cent of respondents are concerned about their personal health and 63 per cent about financial health. The survey also provides insight into the top ways to build consumer confidence in public places. and found offering discounts provides little value in brand building.

nothern lakes

Oxford Economics: COVID watch: Climbing out of a deep hole (May 18, 2020)

News from China suggests the global economy will quickly start to expand again as restrictions are unwound. Given the speed at which China can boost infrastructure investment and its size (accounting for about 10% of GDP last year), it may be harder for other economies to replicate some elements of China’s near-term success.


Destination Analysts: Coronavirus US Travel Sentiment Index Report (May 18, 2020)

Americans’ comfortable level with engaging in activities in their own community is at a nine week high (32.2%). Increasing numbers of Americans are feeling it is safe to go shopping (36.0%), visit friends and relatives (43.5%), take a road trip (49.3%) and engage in non-team outdoor recreational activities (56.9%). Travellers in the Midwest and South regions rate highest for intent to travel in fall.


TIAC: State of Tourism in Canada during Covid19 dashboard #5 (May 11, 2020)

Countries that are reopening to increased travel, such as China and South Korea, are seeing some resurgence in cases, suggesting a rationale for developing more deliberate and gradual reopening policies. Looking at economic impact, a new survey from Restaurants Canada indicates that most food service businesses might not have enough cash flow to successfully reopen; about seven out of 10 restaurants said they are either very or extremely worried that their business won’t have enough liquidity to pay vendors, rent and other expenses over the next three months.


Oxford Economics: Canada – Massive fiscal and monetary pandemic response swells (May 13, 2020)

Canada’s historic federal and provincial COVID-19 fiscal response package has now climbed to nearly $380 billion (almost 16.5% of GDP), up from $324 billionin a report a few weeks ago. Provincial spending totals just over $50 billion, $21 billion of which is direct support measures.

massive financial response

Conference Board of Canada: Major City Insights – Pandemic Reshapes Economic Picture for Canadian Cities (May 12, 2020)

While the impacts of COVID-19 are being felt across all cities and industries, some are being hit harder than others. Calgary’s real GDP is expected to contract by 5.5 per cent in 2020 and Edmonton’s by 5.6 per cent in 2020, with significant, double digit declines in outputs in the arts and entertainment and accommodation and food services sectors in both cities. However, as the pandemic eases and oil prices begin to strengthen over the second half of this year, in 2021, the Calgary economy is likely to expand by 6.0 per cent and the Edmonton economy by 6.2 per cent.

major city insights

McKinsey and Company: The way back – What the world can learn from China's travel restart after COVID-19 (May 11, 2020)

With consumer confidence in travel growing in China, the country’s experience can help business in other parts of the world navigate the “next normal.” According to the report, travellers still prefer to stay close to home - drive or take the train rather the flying. Younger people and the non-family segment are more open to travel while plans for group and guided tours have dramatically declined.

the way back

Moodie Davitt: Heathrow calls for roadmap to reopening borders as April passenger traffic falls -97% (May 11, 2020)

London Heathrow Airport passenger traffic fell by -97% year-on-year in April. The UK Government is imposing a 14-day quarantine on visitors arriving by air from outside the UK. London HeathrowAirport is urging government to lay out a roadmap for how they will reopen borders once the disease has been beaten and take the lead on a Common International Standard for health in aviation. 

heathrow calls