The past few years have definitely been tough for Canadian tourism. Strict virus protocols have made it hard for international travelers to visit the country. Even within Canada, the domestic travel market had all but stalled for several years.

In 2023, however, it seems that there’s been a progression in Canada’s tourism recovery. For the first time in years, Canadian tour operators will get to enjoy their first tourism season in the new normal. And in order to maximize your revenue, tour operators will need to prepare the infrastructure for additional bookings. Furthermore, it’s important that you’re equipped to handle the challenges that still lie ahead.

In this guide, we’ll help you better understand the outlook on Canada’s tourism reopening and how you can position your Canadian tourism business for success.

What you need to know about the Canada tourism reopening 

Canada tourism

Domestic & U.S. markets

The domestic tourism market is going to take center stage during Canada’s tourism reopening. This is followed closely by the re-emergence of the U.S.-to-Canada travel market. which will be the first time since the pandemic that American visitors will be allowed to visit Canada uninterrupted.

In 2023, Canadian tour operators can expect there to be a rise in demand—and spending—among domestic and U.S. travelers. Insiders anticipate domestic travel spending will exceed 2019 spending levels by about 103%. Furthermore, the U.S. spending level is expected to reach about 92% of what they were prior to the pandemic.

Right now, Canadian tour operators should focus mainly on the U.S. market. U.S. travelers will be motivated by the fact that border restrictions have been lifted. This will allow them to easily access their favorite Canadian destinations without COVID requirements. In addition, U.S. travelers know their dollar is strong in Canada, which allows them to enjoy a rich and fulfilling travel experience for an affordable price.

Rest of the world

At this time, the international market from Europe, Asia, and other parts of the globe is expected to be slow—however, interest and demand are starting to increase.

It is expected that spending will steadily increase throughout the year, but by 2024, spending is expected to rise to 112% of 2019 levels, according to Destination Canada.

Navigating possible tourism recovery challenges of 2023 

Navigating canada tourism reopening

While hope permeates the atmosphere in Canada, remember some challenges that arose during the pandemic have not disappeared entirely. It is still necessary to be aware of situations that could impact the overall strength of the tourism recovery period.

Some challenges Canadian tour companies may face in 2023 include:

Navigating the impact of the new COVID-19 strain that has appeared, including in the U.S. and U.K. 

The XBB.1.5 variant is proving to be an easily transmissible strain of the virus, and medical experts fear it has the ability to evade vaccine protection. This strain of COVID-19 could potentially cause another surge of cases, which could temper the demand for travel to Canada, according to Sky News. There is still a lot to learn about this new variant of XBB, however, more than 40% of cases in the U.S. can now be attributed to this variant, proving it’s worth watching in the next several weeks and months.

Working through Canada’s new temporary testing mandate requiring Chinese travelers to show a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada

This testing requirement is similar to those imposed by other countries around the world, including the U.S. and the U.K. Attracting travelers from China is critical to recovering the Chinese tourist market in Canada. Chinese travelers have historically spent the most money while traveling in Canada, and this demographic brings in the highest number of visitors, compared to other countries around the world.

While these challenges are certainly present, it doesn’t mean Canadian tour operators won’t have a successful year. Canadian tour operators who are aware and prepared with the right technology will be able to easily maneuver through these challenges and still enjoy a record-breaking year.

6 ways Canadian tour operators can prepare for the tourism recovery 

All tourism companies have become experts in flexibility. While this year will hopefully not be as tumultuous, it may still throw a few curveballs. You can be best prepared for anything by following these six steps.

1. Make automation a top priority for your business

By automating the majority of your administrative tasks, you can reduce the time you and your staff spend behind a desk. When you automate your processes such as bookings, inventory management, customer communications, and reporting, you’ll be able to spend more time with your customers. At the same time, your business will see the number of bookings begin to grow.

Utilizing a reservation software for tour operators will help you achieve seamless automation of all the processes listed above.

2. Integrate your system with a payment gateway

Tourism recovery

Did you know that over 70% of online shoppers are now opting for digital payments and close to 70% of travelers are booking online?

Integrating your system with a payment gateway will allow your business to start accepting different payment methods. Payment gateways offer your business the ability to accept numerous online payment methods such as credit cards and mobile wallets. Meaning, you’ll be able to target international customers a lot more effectively. As a matter of fact, according to Shopify, offering payment methods such as mobile wallets can help you increase your conversion rate by up to 250%.

Ready to start accepting quick and secure digital payments? Have a look at RezdyPay.

3. Allow for increased flexibility in your business

Pre-pandemic, it was easy to tell your customers you could not accept last-minute bookings. In today’s post-pandemic world, most travelers expect you to offer flexibility—both in accepting last-minute bookings and accommodating unexpected cancelations. If we learned anything throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, it’s that nothing is set in stone anymore.

4. Increase customer loyalty through a rewards program

coupon marketing strategy

To encourage travelers to book with you again, try providing special offers for your existing customers. This could be in the form of a gift card or a discount code. Furthermore, you can offer rewards on special days such as birthdays, anniversaries, and more to boost customer loyalty.

5. Develop strategic partnerships

Travelers who are beginning to explore the world once again are looking for convenient and affordable options, which means different types of tour packages are trending. Tour operators should consider creating local partnerships with complimenting tour companies in the area.

For example, you can partner with local hotels and transportation companies to create packages that include all your services. This will attract travelers seeking a hassle-free trip to book.

5. Seek new channels to uncover additional market segments

We all know that broadening your distribution channel is key to maximizing bookings. By working with various resellers to promote your products, you’re expanding your reach to a wider range of potential customers.

With the Rezdy Channel Manager, you have unparalleled access to some of the best agents in the industry. Not only will you be able to partner with information centers and retail travel agents, but you’ll also have access to the most powerful OTAs in the industry such as GetYourGuide and Tripadvisor.

Prepare for Canada’s tourism reopening with Rezdy

Rezdy is the solution that can help usher your business to success and allow you to thrive during Canada’s tourism recovery.

As demand for Canadian tourism products begins to rise, you can be prepared with our online booking solution and accept payments through RezdyPay. This makes it easy and convenient for your customers to book your tours with confidence. In addition, you can grow your business through the Rezdy Channel Manager, which gives you access to more than 25,000 agents who can resell your products for you.

Ready to see how Rezdy can elevate and fuel your business during the Canada tourism reopening, start your FREE 21-day trial or book a demo today.

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