In the early stages of the pandemic, the world shut down almost universally. But in the months that followed different markets around the world and closer to home have begun to recover at different speeds and in different ways. For many, it’s been a case of several steps forward and then several back. Nowhere has the line been perfectly straight.

So the question is: when is it time to move back into specific markets with sales and marketing activity? When will travellers in Ontario, across Canada, and from beyond our borders be ready to travel again?

There are, of course, no definitive answers or predictors. But there signals and leading indicators that illuminate the stages of rebound. Some are easy to spot, like whether borders are closed. But beyond the simple binary condition of an open border, there are quarantine requirements on arrival – and on return. And once our border is open to visitors from a certain country, are direct flights available as they were before?

How ready consumers are in different markets to resume travel activities is harder to ascertain definitively, but again they are signals to watch. We can look at surveys that express sentiment and perceptions, as well as Google search patterns that show changes in travel-related searches and even early booking patterns for air and hotel.

Destination Toronto has developed a Market Readiness Index that is powered by data from a diverse range of sources for key source markets, starting locally with the Hyperlocal zone of Toronto and area residents, and moving outward to capture the nearby drive region, the rest of Ontario and Canada, and the U.S. and other international markets. The initial framework began with the Hospitality Recovery Task Force last summer and now reflects robust data and inputs in a simplified index.

The full index and explanations of the assess factors can be found in the Business Intelligence section of the Research and Insights Terminal, or by clicking here. It is updated every two weeks to reflect the latest available data and trends.

Planning in a pandemic has proven difficult at every turn. By consolidating a wide range of signals from Toronto’s different visitor markets, the Market Readiness index is a tool designed to enable businesses to spot relevant signals that point to opportunities as to when, where and how to return to each market.