Canadians set sights on travel to Europe

Nearly half choose the diverse continent as their preferred travel destination, survey finds

TORONTO, June 8, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the sun-kissed Mediterranean and the rugged cliffs of the United Kingdom, Canadians have overwhelmingly (44%) chosen Europe as top of their travel list of all the places in the world to visit, reveals a Harris Decima survey commissioned by The Travel Corporation.

The survey - conducted by Harris/Decima as part of its Televox National Telephone Omnibus May 27 to June 2, 2010 - asked Canadians about European travel and their ultimate vacation.

When it comes to European travel, Vivre La...Italia? Italy (24%) and France (23%) are the leading "must-see" destinations in Europe with almost half of Quebeckers choosing France as their top Euro hot spot. The United Kingdom (15%), Germany (9%), Greece (9%) and Spain (8%) rounded out the category.

When globetrotting, one in four Canadians choose seeing and experiencing as many cities and countries as possible as their ultimate vacation.

"We realize Canadians have precious holiday time and want to cover as much territory as possible when traveling,"

says Doug Patterson, President of Trafalgar Tours.

"With an escorted coach tour you can see as many as 8 countries in as little as 14 days - paired with first-class accommodations and exciting trip itineraries - this makes for a great option for Canadian travellers."

While seeing as much as possible may not be on everyone's agenda, Trafalgar also offers leisurely-paced vacations focusing on a specific region such as Tuscany or Scotland where two or three night stays in each city are made.

The love for Europe skews even higher among younger travellers, with a whopping 70% of Canadian students saying Europe is their top vacation choice in the world.

"An organized tour with Contiki has been a favourite with the 18-35 demographic for nearly 50 years. We're constantly expanding our travel options in Europe to meet the strong demand,"

says Brad Ford, President of Contiki Holidays.

Cultured Canadians

The majority of Canadians seek a diverse and enriching holiday with 40% wanting to experience the unique cultures and history every day while traveling. One-in-five (21%) favour tasting the many flavours of the Mediterranean while others (15%) prefer discovering the castles of Europe and touring the British Isles soaking in the folklore (12%).

"Half of Canadians aged 35-44 (51%) say experiencing culture and history every day appeals to them most in a European vacation,"

says Cris David, President of Insight Vacations.

"This is one of the big advantages of taking an escorted tour. Every day brings an exciting mix of new cultural and historical experiences."

Convenience is King

Apart from experiencing culture, Canadians seek convenience and value from a European vacation. One in four (23%) say hassle-free travel appeals to them most, followed by a travel package that offers the best value (17%). Meeting new people from around the world appealed to one in 10 Canadians most when traveling to Europe.

"We know what Canadians want out of a European vacation and Contiki, with an unmatched client satisfaction rate of well over 98%, meets those needs," added Ford. "The Contiki philosophy is simple. Create fun, hassle-free holidays with an unbeatable mix of sightseeing, culture, friendships and free time."

Colin Farrell and Penelope Cruz

When asked who Canadians would choose as their European celebrity tour guide, Arnold Schwarzenegger was beaten out by the Irish charmer Colin Farrell who was the number one pick for Canadian women. Canadian men of all ages chose the Spanish enchantress Penelope Cruz as their ideal European tour guide followed by Kate Moss in second.

"Given that we offer trips to all the countries that the celebrities originate from, we'd love to have any of them join us on a luxurious Insight tour,"

... laughed Cris David.