by Karen Galles
O Canada! Set to celebrate its 150th birthday, the world’s second largest country is poised as a top tourist destination for 2017.
The New York Times has named this northern nation No. 1 on its list, noting that Canada is “a world unto itself, with cosmopolitan cities, barely explored natural wonders and everything in between.” Additionally, Canada topped Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2017” list, while the Travelzoo Spring 2017 Travel Trends Survey also reported a significant uptick in popularity.
Gaining Significant International Popularity
No longer is Canada lagging behind countries such as Colombia, Finland, Dominica, and Nepal as a top travel destination. The number of American and German visitors has nearly doubled from the previous year. Moreover, interest from Chinese, Spanish and British travelers has increased.
A weak Canadian Dollar means American travelers get a bargain vacation north of the border. Lonely Planet says this is a positive outlook for travelers and the perfect opportunity to experience “Canada’s exciting fusion food and mysteriously underrated wine.”
The country boasts more than delectable dining. Canadians themselves are some of the happiest people in the world, according to the latest World Happiness Report. Canada is praised for its “inclusiveness and impeccable politeness” as well as “positivity unleashed by its energetic new leader, Justin Trudeau,” Lonely Planet reports.
All this and the country is gearing up for a celebrated anniversary of Confederation.
So, let’s look at what awaits tourists…
Top Destinations Within Canada
Let’s look at what Canadians consider their favorite destinations within the country:
- Most popular provinces in order of preference: British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta.
- Must-see destinations/attractions: Banff and Lake Louise in Alberta, followed by Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Canadians enjoy exploring the 9.985 million square kilometer country. Per Travelzoo’s survey, those polled stated they were planning to travel within Canada at least twice in 2017, with 29% traveling within their borders four times in the year. (Appreciating the Nuances in Travel Trends contains great insights into Canadian travelers.) Wide-open vistas and urban cultural centers offer travelers a wide array of choices. And Canada is rolling out its welcome mat.
Celebrating Canada’s Anniversary
Canada will be celebrating its sesquicentennial the whole year through (2017 marks 150 years since Confederation). Visitors can expect free admission to more than 200 national parks and historic sites across Canada throughout 2017. There will be a full year of celebrations in the capital Ottawa and tons of events in the city of Montreal, which also celebrates its 375th birthday this year.
Here’s a highlight from Lonely Planet as to the best places to be to celebrate the event in style:
- Ottawa: The Canadian capital will be star of the party with celebrations throughout the year. From New Year’s onwards celebrations lead up to the biggest party Parliament Hill has seen on July 1.
- Charlottetown: The birthplace of the Confederation. Prince Edward’s Island’s capital offers a sailing race, tall ships, and a cultural festival.
- Montreal: One of Canada’s oldest cities, Montreal celebrates its birthday as well. Expect the city’s Old Port to be even more bustling than usual with Canada Day events spectacular.
- Vancouver: This western city will host the 2nd largest celebration, after Ottawa. There will be full-day concerts, ceremonies, parades, and dazzling fireworks displays. The city, however, will also pay special tribute to First Nations traditions, hosting an 11-day festival featuring Aboriginal culture.
- Dawson City: This small Yukon town grants visitors an authentic Canadian experience rooted in the Klondike Gold Rush. You’ll be making history here.
Canada is the hottest destination for 2017—so travel suppliers, get ready to serve more international travelers than ever before. You might want to Get to Know the Leisure Travel Trendsetters, because they just might be booking their trips.