Canadians are Important Leisure Travelers in NH

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By MARK OKRANT, NH Travel Guru

As previous Travel Guru columns have stated, New Hampshire is dependent upon visits from a wide range of travel markets to keep state and local revenues flowing.

Foremost among sources of these visitors are Massachusetts, the other New England states, and the Middle Atlantic region. Secondary partners abound. With approximately 350-400 thousand annual visitors to New Hampshire, Canadians represent one of this state’s most important supplementary travel markets.

During 2016, Canadians provided the US as a whole with 19.3 million visits, spending nearly one thousand dollars per trip on average. Florida (3.4 million) and New York (3.1 million) rank first and second in the hearts and minds of Canadian vacationers. Within New England, Maine (753 thousand), Vermont (609 thousand), and Massachusetts (584 thousand) host substantially more Canadian visitors than New Hampshire.

What else do we know about the Canadian travel market?

According to research provided to the Division of Travel and Tourism Development (by DTTD) by Environics Analystics, upscale older family visitors—with heads of household who are middle-age and older—are a vital source of Canada-to-New Hampshire travelers. A closer look shows that household incomes among this group average approximately $196 thousand CDN ($153,000 US), while 37 percent have children under the age of 12 years living at home. Among those visitors studied, the Toronto sample exhibited a greater degree of affluence compared to their Montreal counterparts.

According to this research, a majority (74%) of inquiries to DTTD are initiated via the

Mark Okrant, NH Travel Guru

Web, similar to the state’s other sources of visitors. Travel websites are used most frequently to book commercial lodgings (22%), airline tickets (20%), or car rentals (13%). Among accommodations, 35 percent of this visitor cohort prefers to stay in hotels, and 14 percent with friends or relatives. These visitors are responsive to ads—particularly those with elegant, innovative designs—featuring original outdoor adventures.

Affluent, older Canadian travelers are not especially heavy television viewers. However, for those of you who contemplate marketing to this group, their preference tends toward movies, news programing, sports events, crime dramas, and documentaries. Favorite channels are the Discovery Channel, The Weather Network, and HGTV. Best places for television advertising include: Big Bang Theory, Hockey Night in Canada, TSN Sport Centre, and CBC News—presuming your budget allows.

Which activities do our Canadian upscale older family visitors prefer? Much like US residents, their favorites are sightseeing (33%), shopping (27%), and going to a beach (23%). The following attractions or events are most popular: live theater (29%), museums (27%), nightclubs (19%), art galleries (18%), zoos/aquariums (17%), and amusement parks (15%).

Next time you spot that Ontario, Quebec, or other Canadian license plate in the parking lot of your favorite attraction or accommodation, show our guests from the north the kind of hospitality we travelers anticipate in return.

After forty years as an educator, researcher, and consultant, Mark Okrant joined to offer concise, informative insight into New Hampshire’s travel and tourism industry as a business, while showcasing the people and places you want to know. This guy’s really been around. And, he’s funny, too.

For more about Mark’s compelling tourism-based murder mystery series, visit

Mark Okrant, NH Travel Guru is pictured with his latest book.

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