News that has caught Chris' eye in the Travel World

TransferWise launch borderless debit MasterCard (14 May, 2018)

European financial technology company TransferWise is planning a Canadian launch next year for its borderless debit MasterCard. This will allow users to hold and spend a balance in multiple currencies, all with lower fees than traditional banks. The card, which was launched in the UK and the Eurozone this month, will be useful for snowbirds in particular, who spend lots of time outside of Canada. It certainly seems like an age since Travellers Cheques was the way to go!

Crossing into the US after pot is legalized (8 May, 2018)

Have you ever smoked pot? With marijuana becoming legal in Canada this summer, there’s a lot of speculation surrounding how it will impact Canadians traveling to the U.S.  Experts are predicting that US Customs and Border Protection will ask travellers if they have ever smoked marijuana in the past.

Rosanna Berardi, an expert in Immigration Law in says, “Travellers must be very careful when answering this question. We have seen Customs and Border Protection deny travellers entry to the U.S. if they answer ‘yes’ - even if the incident was 25 years ago.”

How is this possible? The current U.S. immigration law states that a person may be inadmissible to the U.S. if he or she has been convicted of a crime OR admits to having committed acts, which constitute the essential elements of a crime. US authorities have taken the last portion of this law and have denied entry to the U.S. for individuals who admit to having ever consumed marijuana. Based on this logic, even our Prime Minister would be denied admission to the U.S.!

So how should a traveller answer this tricky question? Berardi advises that travellers must always tell the truth. However, it’s important for travellers to know their rights at the border. In order to be refused entry into the U.S. for a mere admission of a criminal offense, Customs and Border Protection must:

Place a traveller under oath, advise that it’s illegal to smoke marijuana in the U.S. and provide the traveller with a definition and essential elements of the federal and state laws prohibiting marijuana use. The traveller must then freely admit that they have committed each element of the offense.  Unless Customs and Border Protection follows each of these steps, travellers cannot be refused entry to the U.S. for merely admitting to the past use of marijuana.

The bottom line is that there it will be important to have thought through your approach before you encounter the Customs and Border Protection personnel to avoid unnecessary hassle on US trips after legalization of pot is finalized in Canada.

Trends in the Canadian Travel market

Chris recently met up with Jennifer Hendry, senior research associate for the Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Tourism Research Institute. Here are some interesting trends in our travel habits that she identified:

Zoomer Travel booming

It is the Zoomer demographic that is keeping the travel industry humming these days. The 55 plus age category is showing the biggest growth, and the 65 to 74 age group in particular is up by 15%.

The number of Canadians aged 65 and older now outnumbers children who are 14 and under. Jennifer confirmed that “Between 2017 and 2021 the proportion of Canadians aged 55 to 64 will increase 4%, but the share of people aged 65 and older is expected to increase 15%.”

As Jennifer says: “Canadian travellers are proving that age is but a number, as a growing number of citizens are continuing to cross countries off their bucket lists as they grow older, and while travel frequency typically declines after 74, Canadians are definitely bucking that trend. They’re now healthier, they’re wealthier, and they’re more mobile than their predecessors”, she says.

Multi Generational Travel

There is not only an increased volume of snowbirds, but also a lot more opportunities for multi-generational travel.

More travel than ever in 2018

The latest data for travel intentions for this summer is also positive. The proportion of Canadians who are planning any leisure travel has increased in all regions except for Alberta. In addition, the outbound market is further along the path to purchase than they were at this time last year. Of the number of travellers who have selected a destination, 41% plan to vacation outside of the country on their longest trip this summer. Whilst the Caribbean is a little weaker, Central and South America – including Mexico – is definitely stronger.

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