Where to travel in 2020: Canadian Prairies among top travel destinations

Winnipeg Esplanade Riel Bridge & Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Enviro Foto, Courtesy of Travel Manitoba)
Winnipeg Esplanade Riel Bridge & Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Enviro Foto, Courtesy of Travel Manitoba)

Some Canadians may be surprised that tourism experts have named cities in the Prairies among 2020’s top travel destinations.

According to Expedia, Winnipeg is the fastest-growing destination for American travellers, seeing a 465-per-cent increase in flight demand between Jan. 1 and Sept. 15, compared to the same time last year.

The Prairies in general dominated the ranking, with Saskatoon being the second fastest-growing Canadian destination for American travellers, followed by Regina and Calgary.

“We think U.S. travellers flocked to Canada this year for a variety of reasons: it’s relatively easy to get to, the exchange rate was favourable, plus there are just so many great outdoor activities to explore,” Christie Hudson, head of PR for Expedia North America, said in a statement to Yahoo Canada.

According to a report from the Conference Board of Canada from autumn//winter 2018, provided by Tourism Winnipeg, overnight visits to Winnipeg from the U.S. were projected to grow and overnight travellers have been staying an average of 3.2 nights in the city.

Assiniboine Park Zoo - Journey to Churchill (Travel Manitoba)
Assiniboine Park Zoo - Journey to Churchill (Travel Manitoba)

“Winnipeg has definitely seen a resurgence over the last 5-8 years,” Travel Manitoba told Yahoo Canada in a statement. “Winnipeggers have long recognized our city as a hotbed for culture, arts and music and it’s great to see it being recognized by travellers from around the world too!”

If you’re thinking of seeing everything Winnipeg has to offer in 2020, some highlights include the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Scandinavian thermal spa Thermëa and the Journey to Churchill at Assiniboine Park Zoo. The city will also introduce the Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2020, which will be the largest collection of contemporary Inuit Art in the world.

Where are Canadians travelling in 2020?

When it comes to where Canadians should travel in 2020, the Prairies are still highlights.

“Similar to the U.S. insights, the Prairies and the West are trending for Canadian travellers as well,” Mary Zajac, head of PR for Expedia Canada said in a statement to Yahoo Canada. “It’s a really interesting trend to see, and that correlation between both Canadian and U.S. travellers exploring that part of the country.”

The fastest-growing domestic destinations for Canadian travellers, according to Expedia, are Edmonton with a 221-per-cent increase in flight demand year over year, followed by Winnipeg with a 191-per-cent increase.

“These are all spots with close proximity to the outdoors and make great bases or starting points for trips,” Zajac said.

Aside from domestic travel, Canadians have also been increasingly interested in visiting Europe, with Spain seeing the most flight demand, particularly Palma de Mallorca, Seville, Valencia, Malaga and Bilbao.

“One thing we identified was that Europe dominated, with 6 out of the 10 countries being located in that part of the world,” Zajac said.

Here’s a look at the full list of Expedia’s top 10 places for Canadians to travel in 2020, and the cities with the highest demand:

  1. Spain & Canary Islands: Palma de Mallorca, Seville, Valencia, Malaga, Bilbao

  2. Germany: Cologne, Hannover, Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf

  3. Japan: Sapporo, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Osaka

  4. Italy: Palermo, Catania, Milan, Naples, Florence

  5. Thailand: Phuket, Chiang Mai, Bangkok

  6. Mexico: Cancun, Oaxaca, San Jose del Cabo, Veracruz , Queretaro, Puerto Vallarta

  7. Portugal: Funchal, Ponta Delgada, Faro

  8. India: Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Kochi, Chennai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai

  9. Switzerland: Zurich, Basel, Geneva

  10. Poland: Katowice, Poznan, Warsaw

“No surprise with some destinations such as Portugal, which has been growing this year in interest; however, others such as Switzerland and Poland may surprise readers,” Zajac said. “Both of these offer another piece of Europe to explore that is unique in their own way.”