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April 2006 Travel Newsletter

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  • Canadian travel news
    Over 900,000 Brits visit Canada in 2005
    High loonie = low U.S. tourism
    Canadian RevPAR
  • International travel news
    U.S. ID card scheme fatal for tourism: survey
    Tourism spending in U.S. hits record but numbers a concern
  • Internet info
    Three-quarters search multiple web sites for travel planning
    Visitor traffic
  • Advice for the property owner
    Marketing

Canadian travel news

Over 900,000 Brits visit Canada in 2005
For the first time ever, the number of British visitors to Canada exceeded the 900,000 mark. The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) recently released the 2005 figures which represent a 9.9% increase over 2004, with December visitation alone up 14.5%.
"906,179 is the official number," says Maggie Davison, managing director of the CTC's UK post. "These numbers serve to strengthen the position of the UK as the second largest market to Canada after the US."
The strong results from the UK are helped by recent increases in air capacity to Canada from the UK, in particular low-fare airlines which have helped bring down ticket prices.

High loonie = low U.S. tourism
The Canadian dollar is soaring against the U.S. dollar.
Good news for Canadians who want to travel to the U.S., but not so good for tourism operators here in Canada.
As the loonie increases fewer Americans are crossing the border to spend their cash. Millions of dollars are at stake with the critical summer season fast approaching. Americans are feeling a bit nervous about coming to Canada - for them it's just too expensive. They remember when one American greenback could buy a $1.50 Canadian, now you are lucky to get a $1.13 for a Yankee buck.
The impact is already being felt in one of Vancouver's most popular tourist attractions. Normally a quarter of all visitors to the Capilano Suspension Bridge are American, but this year that number is closer to 10%.
The high loonie is just one factor in Americans choosing not to cross the 49th parallel. High gas prices as well as a worry over crossing the border are also forcing Americans to stay at home.
Toronto has had the problem for the past 5 years. Its solution: stop selling itself as a bargain destination and start promoting Toronto as a must-go city with sophisticated shows like "Lord of the Rings". And it's working, a quarter of the people buying those "Lord of the Rings" tickets are now American.
Cities and Provinces across the country are hoping for similar results, they're spending more on marketing to the U.S. and targeting their dollars to the States nearest them. They're also trying unique plans - both Vancouver and Toronto are luring Americans north with creative perks. Everyone booking an overnight experience in Vancouver gets a voucher for $20 towards the price of gas.
Whether it works or not, only the summer will tell.

Canadian RevPAR
Latest lodging report (week ending March 25th) from the Canadian hotel industry showing 'revenue per available room' (RevPAR).

Province RevPAR % change
Alberta $96.28 +44.5%
British Columbia $79.51 -0.9%
Manitoba $58.21 +19.0%
New Brunswick $59.11 +40.7%
Newfoundland & Labrador $51.56 +8.9%
Nova Scotia $61.20 +57.1%
Ontario $67.64 +34.3%
Prince Edward Island $23.91 +27.7%
Quebec $76.10 +19.6%
Saskatchewan $57.78 +42.9%
Canada $73.18 +26.0%

Notes:
RevPAR is typically defined as room revenue divided by rooms available.
% change reflects the change from the previous week

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International travel news

U.S. ID card scheme fatal for tourism: survey
A bilateral business coalition opposed to U.S. plans for new ID cards at the border says the scheme will erect a wall with grave implications for commerce because most Americans and Canadians won't buy them.
A recent survey suggests 68% of people in the United States and 54% in Canada would be unlikely to purchase a card to avoid showing a passport at land crossings by the end of next year. About a third of people surveyed in each country who don't have passports said they'd be less likely to cross the border, a sign of an impending blow to tourism that's been estimated at nearly a billion dollars in the U.S. and twice that in Canada.
"Our borders are going to come to a screaming halt because people don't have what they need," said Lisa Katz, who's with the Detroit Regional Chamber. "This is a sea change for the Canada-U.S. border. This is a big deal."
The coalition supports using an enhanced driver's license that includes proof of citizenship as a less costly, more practical alternative and hopes the Canadian government will support the idea.
It should take less time to cross the border than navigating the Berlin Wall during the Cold War, said Representative Jeff Morris, a Washington state Democrat who's among dozens of U.S. legislators worried about the security policy. "I want to ask President Bush: Please tear down this wall," said Mr. Morris. "No one has proven that this will enhance security in any way."
U.S. officials announced in January that Americans returning home from Canada would have to produce new ID cards costing about $55 (U.S.). If the policy isn't changed, Ottawa may be forced to produce its own version to avoid a passport requirement by Jan. 1, 2008, under an American law tightening security after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Canada has said little about what it will do. U.S. opponents are helping officials north of the border to craft their response, said Ms. Katz.
Michael Wilson, who recently started as ambassador to the U.S., said less-expensive options need to be considered.
Some American legislators and business groups are also demanding a major analysis of potential economic losses from the new identity card but so far the U.S. administration hasn't complied.
Mr. Morris, who predicted the measure could affect the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, said small towns near the border would be hardest hit.
But while some, like Mr. Morris, would like to see the American security law repealed, others don't think that's realistic. "We have a security focus (in the U.S.)," said Ms. Katz. "A repeal, to us, isn't a feasible option."
The survey, commissioned by the coalition of chambers of commerce from both countries, suggested 56% of Americans don't think a special card is necessary to keep the U.S. safe from terrorists.
Only about 20% of Americans have passports and some 40% of Canadians. The border cards won't be accepted at U.S. airports and seaports, where passports will be required of Canadians starting at the end of this year.

Tourism spending in U.S. hits record but numbers a concern
Foreign visitors spent more than ever in the U.S. last year despite their numbers continuing to be held down.
U.S. Government figures show international visitors spent a record $104.8 billion on lodging, meals, entertainment and other travel expenses, up 12% from 2004. The number of foreign visitors - 49.4 million - was up 7% from 2004.
The number of foreign visitors continues to lag behind the recent peak of 51.2 million in 2000. The U.S. has been losing its share of international travelers for several years, and the U.S. travel industry has become increasingly aggressive in pushing the government for help.
Jay Rasulo, chairman of the Travel Industry Association of America says the record spending by foreign visitors underscores the importance of winning a bigger share of global tourism.
The number of foreign visitors to the USA has risen annually since 2003. But Rasulo says the rebound should be much stronger in light of favourable currency-exchange rates and fast-growing international travel around the world.
"Given the explosive growth of the global travel and tourism market, the United States could and should be doing even better," Rasulo says.
He and other travel industry leaders have been lobbying the government to better balance hospitality and security at U.S. borders and to provide more help with a marketing campaign abroad.
Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said in an interview the record spending "shows that we have great appeal for tourists around the world."
According to the new figures, visitors to the USA spent nearly $10 billion more than U.S. travelers spent elsewhere.
For 2004, the USA ranked as the world's third-most-visited country behind France and Spain. China was fourth. It is not yet clear whether the USA kept its No. 3 ranking last year because worldwide figures have not yet been compiled.

Internet info

Three-quarters search multiple web sites for travel planning
According to a recent survey approximately three-quarters of U.S. adult respondents who have ever taken a vacation say they visit 3 or more web sites when researching and/or booking their vacation plans.
The most useful resources as cited by vacationers in the MSN survey were research/guides with information on what to do and see (71%), airline and accommodation (68%), and travel/news articles (45%).
Of the surveyed adults who have ever taken a vacation, more than three-quarters said they spend less than $2,000 on average while on vacation.
"The overall survey results suggested that travelers find the Web to be most useful as an information source, particularly," said Jim Quilty, vice president of travel and tourism at Harris Interactive who conducted the survey for MSN. "The fact that three out of four vacationers spread their online research across multiple web sites - with some visiting 10 or more - points to the appeal for those who want to stretch their vacation dollars as well as find out how to make the most of their time when visiting a new destination."

Visitor traffic to holiday homes.canada (www.frbo.ca) & For Rent By Owner in Canada (www.FRBO.ca) web sites for the month of March 2005:
Total 'hits' for the month = 157,141 hits (5,069 per day)
Total 'unique visits' for the month = 11,813 (381 per day)
Visitors came from 90+ countries.
For more information, including an independent audit of our site performance, and to view the countries of origin for visitors click here.

Advice for the property owner

Marketing
Marketing You can have the most desirable property in the world - but you won't get the clients if you don't have the right advertising strategy. Don't ever lose sight of the fact that good marketing is the key to success in any business. It's vital to get it right. Most owners use one of the following.... Click here for more.

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