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April 2005 Travel Newsletter

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  • Canadian travel news
    2004 was a good year, says Statistics Canada
    Overnight trips increase
    Canadian RevPAR
    Federal tourism office heads west
  • International travel news
    Tourism tax could be extended to more visitors
    And you thought tin foil was for cooking
    Sleep with the sharks!
  • Regional
    Tourism Vancouver results show growth
    Rockies to be viewed by 55 million worldwide
    N.B. group urges increase in tourism spending
  • Internet info
    Online travel segment soars to increasingly impressive heights
    Visitor traffic
  • Advice for the property owner
    Website management

Canadian travel news

2004 was a good year, says Statistics Canada
After two years of decline, 2004 was a good one for tourism, says Statistics Canada.
Spending in the industry was up by 4.8%, with international visitors a major factor, the agency said recently. Overnight stays increased by 8.9%, prompting an 8.4% jump in spending by international visitors.
"A series of adverse events, including the war in Iraq, the outbreak of SARS and the power outage in Ontario had kept visitors away in 2003," the agency said.
"Domestic tourism spending also gained momentum in 2004 rising 3.3% to a record level."
Tourism spending on air transportation soared 10.3%, helping the industry rebound.
Accommodation also registered a notable 4.7% gain.
Recreation and entertainment spending rose 3.2% but was hindered by a poor fourth quarter.
Employment in the tourism industry rose last year by 1% to 583,000 jobs, breaking the previous annual record of 579,000 jobs in 2002. Statistics Canada said early signals are mixed for the first quarter of 2005.

Overnight trips increase
Travel to Canada remained stable in January compared with December, with 301 million trips.
Overall, the number of trips to Canada from the United States declined 0.3% to 2.8 million. However, American residents took more overnight trips and the number of overnight trips by plane rose 6.8% to 344,000. This was the highest number of overnight plane trips by Americans to Canada since the record set in August 2002.
In addition, about 354,000 overseas visitors came to Canada in January, an increase of 1.8% following 2 consecutive monthly declines. Of Canada's top 12 overseas markets, 8 recorded increases in January with Italy (+27.3%) and Germany (+13.1%) posting the largest gains.

Canadian RevPAR
Latest lodging report (week ending March 26th) from the Canadian hotel industry showing 'revenue per available room' (RevPAR).

Province RevPAR*
Alberta $66.98
British Columbia $79.78
Manitoba $49.04
New Brunswick $41.54
Newfoundland & Lab. $47.52
Nova Scotia $39.10
Ontario $50.25
Prince Edward Island $18.72
Quebec $64.51
Saskatchewan $40.62
Canada $51.16

*RevPAR is typically defined as room revenue divided by rooms available.

Federal tourism office heads west
The federal government announced that it will move the headquarters for the Canadian Tourism Commission to Vancouver from its current home in Ottawa, most likely by year's end.
Ottawa billed the move as part of its efforts to make good on a promise in the February, 2004, throne speech to draw on the skills of Canadians in all regions, although more cynical observers have suggested the switch is also meant to win the Liberals more Western Canadian votes.
"The Canadian Tourism Commission is a national marketing organization that will continue to serve the interests of all Canadians," Prime Minister Paul Martin said in a statement announcing the change. "The vibrant tourist market in British Columbia is a natural fit for the commission."
The commission works with public and private partners to research markets, develop products and increase interest in Canada as a tourism destination.
The government's efforts to strengthen the federal presence in Western Canada comes alongside an expected increase in tourism associated with the 2010 Olympic winter games in British Columbia and efforts to woo the expanding Asian travel market. In response, Randy Williams, Tourism Industry Association of Canada's (TIAC) President and CEO said "The federal government has chosen to move the Canadian Tourism Commission's head office, but the real issue for the industry is not where the CTC is located, but the inadequacy of its marketing budget. At a time when the CTC's resources are already stretched to the limit, it will have to deal with a two-year transition period of reduced efficiency and increased costs while it rebuilds at a new address."
TIAC has been calling for an increase in the CTC's marketing budget to enable Canada to successfully meet growing international competition for tourists. It maintains the CTC needs a budget of $175 million; the corporation's current allocation is just $79 million.

International travel news

Tourism tax could be extended to more visitors
In a possible sign of things to come for other jurisdictions, Oregon state tourism officials want vacation rental houses, bed-and-breakfasts, campgrounds and dude ranches to be included in the list of places where visitors must pay a 1% tax on overnight accommodations.
The tax passed by the 2003 Legislature has been collected from visitors at hotels, motels and RV park facilities to fuel an aggressive campaign to lure tourists to the state. It has generated $8.2 million for tourism promotion since it went into effect in January 2004. Tourism officials say the extra marketing dollars are drawing people to Oregon, but not all visitors to some of the state's best-known destinations are contributing.
A state legal opinion determined the tax applies only to places "designed for" overnight accommodation, and not for places that were built as cabins, houses or condos but are now used as vacation rentals.

And you thought tin foil was for cooking
If you are travelling in Switzerland this summer, and see what you believe to be a glacier wrapped in a huge sheet of aluminum foil, your eyes are probably not deceiving you.
Believe it or not, authorities in the country are reportedly planning to wrap some of its glaciers in tin foil in an effort to stop them from melting.
Many of Switzerland's glaciers are shrinking because of rising temperatures, with many scientists predicting that this could have a severe environmental impact in years to come. They hope that wrapping the glaciers will prevent the sun's rays from melting the ice - or at least slow it down.
Carlo Danioth, head of mountain rescue services in Andermatt, said: ""We will initially cover around 30,000 square feet on the upper Gurschen glacier at the beginning of May, as a test."
Glacial expert Martin Funk reportedly added: "The foil reflects almost all of the sun's rays. That will sharply reduce the rate of melting."
While other resorts are reportedly planning to try out the foil-wrapping, environmental groups have condemned the plan. Raimund Rosewald, head of a landscape protection foundation, said: "We cannot stop the glaciers melting using foil."

Sleep with the sharks!
A Florida entrepreneur says he is a long way towards launching the world's first underwater hotel, which is planned to open in the Bahamas in 2006.
The Poseidon resort will be situated 15 metres underwater of the Bahamian island of Eleuthera and will be connected to dry land by two tunnels and an escalator.
Bruce Jones, who is heading the project, is quoted as saying: "People who are interested in experiencing something they can't find anywhere else in the world will find it a real bargain. Guests will enjoy five-star luxury accommodation, all with stunning views of the underwater world."
If and when the hotel is opened, it may well be in competition with Hydropolis, a 220-suite hotel planned for Dubai. Planners of the Dubai resort reportedly say that rooms will cost around $600 per night, but Jones is quoted as saying that staying at the Poseidon would cost three times that amount: "It's an economic reality. We couldn't do it and make a profit for less."

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Tourism Vancouver results show growth
According to Tourism Vancouver's 2004 year end statistics, last year saw a significant renewal in Vancouver's tourism industry. The number of overnight visitors to Greater Vancouver in 2004 was up 7% over 2003 volumes. Much of this increase can be attributed to the continued strength of the Asia/Pacific market, which increased by 22.5% over 2003.
In 2004, travel from Europe increased 11.2%, with visitation from Canadians increasing by 6.6%, and Americans by 2.8%.
"These results are truly encouraging for our industry and the city as a whole," said Tourism Vancouver chair Paul Tilbury. "By building our Vancouver brand, aggressively marketing leisure travel, using opportunities such as the impending expansion of the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre, emerging tourism markets such as China, and hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, we believe that we're in a great position to build on this momentum."
The number of passengers moving through the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) also showed an increase in 2004, with numbers up 9.4% over 2003.
Contributing to this growth was a 19.9% increase in passengers from the Asia/Pacific region, followed by increases in passengers from domestic markets (up 10.4%), Europe (up 6%) and the U.S. (up 2.4%).

Rockies to be viewed by 55 million worldwide
The number one rated Mexican drama series is getting set to film outside the borders of Mexico for the first time ever. Televisa's "Rebelde" will be filming in Calgary and the Banff/Lake Louise region in early April. The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) in Mexico and Televisa, agreed to work together on a very ambitious project to create awareness about Canada as a premiere tourism and educational destination for Mexicans.
The family-oriented program "Rebelde" is seen around the world and translated into 25 different languages. In Mexico alone, 10 million viewers tune in each night.
"We welcome filming in Alberta both as a business and as a tourism promotion opportunity," said Clint Dunford, minister of Alberta Economic Development. "International visitors generate economic activity while they are here, and the resulting programs will profile the Rocky Mountains as a scenic holiday destination."
In addition to the great exposure gained by the program "Rebelde", a group of media from Mexico will cover the filming. The primary focus for this group of journalists is to report back to their viewers and readers in Mexico the various sites and attractions this crew visited.
Canada is the first international location for a successful Mexican drama series.

N.B. group urges increase in tourism spending
New Brunswick tourism operators want the provincial government to spend more money marketing the province to tourists.
Rhéal Robichaud, head of the province's tourism association, said his group is spending $500,000 to advertise New Brunswick. "One person in 11 works in the tourism industry," Robichaud said, and he thinks the government's support should reflect the revenue and employment the industry generates.
Robichaud said studies show that every $1 spent on marketing generates $25 of revenue from tourists.
The association said other Atlantic provinces are spending more money than New Brunswick on tourism.

Internet info

Online travel segment soars to increasingly impressive heights
The online travel segment has grown tremendously over the past 3 years, a trend that is expected to continue. eMarketer summarizes the rapidly growing online travel market scenario with the following indicators:

  • The total dollar amount of online travel has grown significantly;
  • The total number of Internet users booking travel online has increased by 61% over the last 12 months;
  • Nearly 4 out of 5 adult Internet users who made at least one overnight trip in the past 6 months purchased airline tickets online, while more than two-thirds of these same Internet users booked accommodation online;
  • A Direct Marketing Association survey shows that 'travel services/airline tickets' was the third leading type of purchase among US online buyers.

eMarketer emphasizes that when measuring online travel purchasing, the total dollar value of purchases is particularly significant and reveals just to what extent travel dwarfs all other online categories. In 2003, travel accounted for 43% of total online sales, while the next largest category, 'computers/peripherals/PDAs' represented only 17% of total online sales.

Visitor traffic to holiday homes.canada web site for the month of March 2005:
Total 'hits' for the month = 123,629 hits (3,988 per day)
Total 'unique visits' for the month = 9,425 (304 per day)
Visitors came from 70+ 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

Website management
So many small businesses build Web sites, invest in online marketing campaigns and then devote little or no effort to analyzing the return on their investment.
At holiday homes.canada we recommend you check the effectiveness of your advertising strategy. For those with their own (top level domain) website one of the most important aspects of website management is traffic analysis. The beauty of the Internet is that you can measure in great detail exactly....For complete article click here.

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