The turbulent economy has caused many Canadians to scale back their vacation plans. ((Nathan Denette/Canadian Press))

Close to half of Canadians are planning to spend less on their summer vacations than they typically do, suggests an EKOS poll released to on Thursday.

The poll found that 48 per cent of respondents plan to spend less on summer vacations than they have in recent years. About 20 per cent of respondents indicated they would spend more, while 32 per cent said they would spend about the same amount.

Also in the survey: support for federal political parties still gridlocked.

The poll interviewed a random sample of 2,262 people between June 25 and June 29. The margin of error on the national results is considered to be 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

EKOS suggests the economic distress many Canadians are experiencing has affected their vacation plans.

"Like so many patterns in a recession, this has a paradoxical quality," said EKOS president Frank Graves. "It is obviously sensible from an individual perspective to cut back in hard times. However, this will also make it harder for the economy to emerge from the recession."

British Columbians were the most likely to say they would spend less — 54 per cent indicated they would do so.

Over half of the Ontarian respondents (51 per cent) also said they would be spending less. Ontario in particular has been hit by heavy job losses since the recession began.

The poll results come three days after Statistics Canada released numbers that indicated total spending on tourism in Canada declined 1.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2009.

The decrease marked the third consecutive quarter in which spending has shrunk. That last occurred in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when the tourism industry experienced a major decline.

Poll question:

Compared with recent years, would you say you are spending more, less, or about the same on vacation plans this summer?

  Less About the same More
 Nationally 48% 32% 20%
 British Columbia 54% 28% 19% 
 Alberta 49 % 28%  22%
 Saskatchewan/Manitoba 40% 40% 19%
 Ontario 51% 26% 23%
 Quebec 42% 42% 16%
 Atlantic Canada 46% 33% 21%

Margin of error is about 6% on provincial statistics, 9.5 % in Prairies and Atlantic Canada.Source: EKOS Canada.