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Canadians hold nose at gas prices as they hit road, skies once again

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MONTREAL –

Even as gas prices hit record highs, Canadians are fanning out across the country for fresh travel experiences after two years of bottled-up demand.

Beth Potter, head of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, says some vacationers are still staying closer to home on camping, hiking and cycling excursions, while others opt for road trips over pricy plane tickets, as fuel costs and inflation loom larger.

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With lockdowns in China and border restrictions in some countries, aviation analyst Helane Becker says international travel is poised to remain further below 2019 volumes than domestic travel, prompting some tourism operators to double down on domestic markets.

Vancouver-based Destination Canada Tours has ramped up its one-day tour offerings in and around Vancouver and Victoria, while also marketing new getaways further afield for Canadians who exhausted close-to-home options last summer.

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Marty Firestone, president of insurer Travel Secure, says ongoing obstacles to travel include clogged airports caused by a staffing shortage as well as the U.S. requirement that air passengers present a negative COVID-19 test.

The final week of April saw nearly 460,000 travellers touch down in Canada on international flights, more than 17 times the number of arrivals in the same week a year earlier but still just two-thirds of 2019 levels, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2022.

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