As travel restrictions have clipped the wings of many snowbirds hoping to fly south to their Florida homes for the winter, the vast majority of Canadians support the new travel rules — and very few think exceptions should be made for those with second residences south of the border.
That’s the finding from a new Ipsos poll, which comes on the heels of the federal government announcing fresh travel restrictions. Those new rules include a mandatory hotel quarantine for those flying into Canada that carries with it a $2,000 price tag, as well as multiple compulsory PCR COVID-19 tests.
COVID-19 cases across the country have been falling recently though public health officials warned on Friday the pandemic could “resurge rapidly” if public health measures are lifted further. New variants of the coronavirus, which are believed to have emerged abroad, have spread throughout Canada as a result of international travel.
While 41 per cent of Canadians think some exceptions should be made when it comes to people who left the country before the new, stricter travel rules were announced, that sympathy dissipates slightly when it comes to snowbirds travelling to second homes or long-term rentals in sunny destinations.
When asked whether “we need to be more supportive of the needs of Canada’s ‘snowbirds’ who travel to second homes or longer-term rentals in places like Florida, Arizona, Mexico,” just 31 per cent of Canadians told Ipsos they agreed.
“Interestingly, the people who are hardest on snowbirds are older Canadians, which suggests that they’re making different choices than the people that they’re seeing who are travelling south and taking on their usual snowbird lifestyle,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos, in an interview with Global News.
“Or maybe there’s a few people who would like to be snowbirds who are upset that other people can do it, but (there’s) not a lot of sympathy for snowbirds right now.”
The vast majority of Canadians also support the new travel restrictions overall, the polling numbers show. Most people, 83 per cent, agreed that they support the new travel rules, including “pre-testing, testing upon arrival, and a mandatory hotel quarantine at the traveller’s own expense.”
Canadians also broadly rejected the idea that the new rules are too strict. In response to the poll, 77 per cent of those asked disagreed with the idea that the travel restrictions are “too stringent and excessive,” indicating that the crackdown on travel has been a popular move for the government to have made.
In addition to the ire directed at Canadians travelling south and the support of the travel crackdown, many Canadians are rethinking their own travel plans long-term.
The majority of Canadians, 64 per cent, told Ipsos they aren’t going to be comfortable travelling abroad until at least 2022. In addition to that, another 17 per cent said they won’t ever feel comfortable taking a trip out of the country.
“Granted … not every Canadian travels outside of the country, so this could have been habits that they had before. But this is certainly a significant number of people who are not prepared to travel and not (willing) take the risk right now,” Bricker said.
According to data from a government report published in 2017, just 60 per cent of Canadians hold a valid passport — which means a decent portion of the population doesn’t travel abroad even without the threat of a global pandemic.
However, the pandemic is having an impact on Canadians’ travel plans in the short and medium terms. Just three per cent of Canadians said they’d be willing to take a trip out of the country right now, and just 10 per cent said they’d consider leaving Canada between now and the fall.
“The overwhelming point of view right now is that people aren’t going to travel. And the reason they’re not going to travel is, first of all, they believe that there’s a risk associated with it. But secondly, they don’t know what travel is going to look like,” Bricker said.
“They don’t know whether the experience is going to be worth the effort.”
While 64 per cent of Canadians said they wouldn’t be comfortable travelling until at least next year, that doesn’t mean that groups are all planning to do so. Just 37 per cent of Canadians said they’d feel comfortable leaving the country in 2022.
“I assume that as we get vaccinated, as people start to see more examples of their friends and their families having successful trips… then you’re going to see people — just like we’ve seen with vaccines — rush to the front of the line, and people are going to want to travel,” Bricker said.
“But right at the moment, it’s not really something Canadians are contemplating.”
Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between Feb. 8-10, 2021, with a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ interviewed online. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled.