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Tourism spending up 4.6% in Canada last year
Canadians travelling at home helped tourism spending across the country in 2006, as it registered its third straight year of growth, according to Statistics Canada.
After a 2003 downturn in tourism-related spending due to SARS and the war in Iraq, tourism spending climbed 4.6% last year, following gains of 3.9% in 2005 and 5.2% in 2004.
Tourism spending reached $66.9 billion in 2006, with domestic tourists accounting for three-quarters of the total, which is up from two-thirds in the late 1990s.
Statistics Canada said spending by Canadians at home rose last year by 7.7% - its fastest pace in a decade, while spending by foreign visitors fell for the second year in a row. In the fourth quarter, tourism spending grew by 1.8%, marking a 14th straight quarter of growth.
Canada faces fierce competition
People and culture have replaced nature images in Canada's new international marketing campaign, though so far it's unclear whether the message is being heard.
It's not until page 747 that the section on Canada begins in New York Times bestselling author Patricia Schultz's '1,000 Places to See Before You Die'.
Statistics Canada reported that Canada's international travel deficit last year had increased for the fifth year in a row, reaching an all-time high of $7.2 billion.
Canadians spent $23.6 billion outside the country in 2006, up 6.2% from 2005. At the same time, foreign travelers spent an estimated $16.4 billion in Canada, a slight decline from the previous year, though foreign spending in Canada has barely moved since 2001. A large contributor to the deficit was Canada's $4.5-billion travel deficit with the United States, which reached its highest point in 13 years. Not only were Canadians taking more trips south of the border, but fewer Americans were coming north. According to figures supplied by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), there were about 808 million international travelers exploring the world in 2005, a massive increase over the 703 million in 1990 and 166 million in 1970.
With so many people taking trips to various locations, every country is trying to get a piece of the action, which last year alone contributed $76.1 billion to the Canadian economy. But with the increase in tourists has come fierce competition. In 1950, when only 25 million travelers were running around the world, Canada ranked second in terms of the number of inbound tourists. In addition, the top five tourist destinations received 71% of all the world's travelers. In 2005, Canada had dropped to 11th place, behind such countries as Mexico, Austria and Turkey. In addition, the top five tourist destinations held only 32.7% of the market share. Bill Harding, senior communications officer at the CTC, says the U.S. is Canada's most important market for tourists, but that it's the increased level of competition that is contributing to Canada's loss of market share. "You've got a global market place that is competing for the American tourist," he says. "Americans are traveling, there's no doubt about that. The whole world is competing for those American dollars. The pot is getting bigger, and new and emerging destinations are taking their share of it," says Mr. Harding. As a result, marketing has become even more essential, and finding ways to rise above everyone else has become an increasingly difficult task.
At the moment, Canada is the second most popular destination for American tourists after Mexico, and the CTC is continuing to target the U.S. market with the majority of its efforts. But whether Canada's rebranding from a natural, scenic country to one with friendly and exciting people brimming with culture and adventure will attract more American visitors, who have been exposed to the traditional message for generations, and given the tightening of border security and the strength of the Canadian dollar, is a question that has yet to be answered.
China-Canada's travel status approval on ice Talks are stalled on a deal that would see millions of big-spending Chinese tourists coming to Canada for pleasure trips. Millions of tourists are expected to flock to Beijing next year as China plays host to the Summer Olympics for the first time. Two years later, Vancouver will see its own share of foreign tourists as the Canadian city welcomes the world for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
But while a large number of Canadians will likely pack the stands in Beijing to cheer on Canada's Olympic heroes, stalled negotiations over a bilateral tourism agreement could see Chinese fans noticeably absent in Vancouver. Since 1999, Canadian tourism associations have been pushing for Canada to get Approved Destination Status. ADS is a program instigated by China's Communist government to make it more difficult for its citizens to seek asylum or refugee status while traveling abroad.
Without it, Chinese citizens can only travel to non-approved countries to study or for business purposes, and Canadian businesses and organizations are not allowed to advertise their services in the Asian country. With the Chinese economy emerging as one of the most powerful in the world, the country's middle class is exploding both in numbers and spending power. As a result, the number of outbound tourists reached 34 million last year, according to Kenny Zhang, senior research analyst at the Asia-Pacific Foundation.
While the number of Chinese citizens visiting Canada-presumably for business-has increased from 62,000 in 1999 to 150,000 last year, Mr. Zhang says countries with ADS have seen their numbers increase significantly faster. Australia, as an example, saw the number of inbound Chinese visitors increase from 93,000 in 1999 to 309,000 last year, Mr. Zhang says.
"That's a huge increase," he says. "If Canada is successful with ADS, we can probably expect to have 5% more visitors." In addition, Chinese tourists on average spend more per trip than visitors from most other countries, meaning Canada is losing even more than if the tourists were from the U.S. or Europe. Citing Statistics Canada figures, Mr. Zhang says Chinese tourists spend $1,700 to $2,000 per trip in Canada, while American visitors spend about $500 per trip. In January, the Canadian Tourism Commission released the results of a study that sought to determine the extent to which Chinese tourists are interested in visiting Canada. The study found that of affluent Chinese who travel, 73% said they were interested in visiting Canada in the next 5 years, while two-thirds viewed Canada as a dream destination.
Canadian RevPAR Latest lodging report (week ending March 24th) from the Canadian hotel industry showing 'revenue per available room' (RevPAR).
|Newfoundland & Labrador||$52.94|
|Prince Edward Island||$25.13|
*RevPAR is typically defined as room revenue divided by rooms available.
Canadian Q & A
Believe it or not these questions about Canada were posted on an international tourism website. Obviously the answers are a joke; but the questions were really asked.
Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (England)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.
Q: Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? (USA)
A: Depends on how much you've been drinking.
Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto; can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only four thousand miles, take lots of water.
Q: Are there any ATM's (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (England)
A: What did your last slave die of?
Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
A: A-Fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-DA is that big country to your North...oh, forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.
Q: Which direction is North in Canada? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.
Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada? (England)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.
Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
A: No, We don't stink.
Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you sell it in Canada? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.
Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.
Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.
Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada, but I forget its name. It 's a kind of big horse with horns. (USA)
A: It's called a Moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.
Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.
Continued decline in overseas travel to U.S.
Figures just released from the U.S. Department of Commerce reveal that overseas travel to the U.S. remains below pre-9/11 levels in 6 of the top 8 overseas markets. Travel to the U.S. in 2006 fell further in 5 out of the top 8 overseas markets. While the overall number of international visitors to America finally returned to pre-9/11 levels in 2006, travelers from Canada and Mexico account for the increase. Overseas travel has declined by 17% since 2001.
Tourism globally shows impressive growth
The strong and sustained rise of tourism over the past 50 years is one of the most remarkable phenomena of our time. In spite of the various recent crises, some of which have obviously affected tourist movements, this major industry continues to grow steadily. The number of international tourist arrivals has risen from 25 million in 1950 to 842 million in 2006; this rise is equivalent to an average annual growth of about 7% over a long period. The revenues generated by these arrivals - not including airline ticket sales and revenues from domestic tourism - have risen by 11% a year (adjusted for inflation) over the same span of time; this outstrips the growth rate of the world economy as a whole. International tourism receipts reached US$680 billion in 2005, making it one of the largest categories of international trade. Depending on the year, this trade volume equals or exceeds that of oil exports, that of food products, or even that of cars and transport equipment. Tourism, taken in the narrow sense, represents one quarter of all exports of services - 40% if we include air transport.
Travel and the Internet The Internet reaches 747 million people worldwide. Online engagement topped an average 27 hours spent each month in the top 10 countries. Hours spent was strongest in Canada (39.6 hours); Israel (37.4 hours); and South Korea (34 hours). The rush of travel consumers to the Internet has led to an online travel marketplace estimated at $68 billion - and that is in the U.S. only. This year for the first time online transactions will account for over half of all U.S. travel bookings. A recent study found that four out of five (79.0%) respondents will use the Internet to plan their upcoming personal travel. There is no difference in the number of men (79.9%) or women (78.1%) who will use the Internet to plan their travel; and similar numbers of all age as well as income segments will use the Internet for trip planning.
TVisitor traffic to holiday homes.canada (www.frbo.ca) & TFor Rent By Owner in Canada (www.FRBO.ca) web sites for the month of March 2007:
Total 'hits' for the month = 161,263 hits (5,202 per day)
Total 'unique visits' for the month = 12,154 (392 per day)
Visitors came from 90+ countries.
For more information, including an independent audit of the site performance, and to view the countries of origin for visitors
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