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August 2004 newsletter

For previous editions of this newsletter see below.

  • Canadian travel news
    Good riddance 2003
    Brits can ski Canada for the price of a European flight
    Gay marriage business booming
  • International travel news
    U.S. indicators
    Beleaguered U.S. travel agents take it home
    B&B refuses gays a double bed
  • Regional news
    St. John's accommodations report best month ever
    Study uncovers positive findings for B.C.'s diving industry
    Alberta hotel tax replaced by tourism levy
  • Internet info Online travel tops
    Visitor traffic
  • Advice for the property owner

Canadian travel news

Good riddance 2003
Recently released figures confirm the hit the hospitality industry took in 2003:

  • International border crossings into Canada as a whole were down by 13.3% in 2003 over 2002. Border crossings into Canada by visitors who spent one or more nights decreased by 12.9%.
  • Total border crossings by American and overseas visitors into Ontario were down by 16.6% in 2003 over 2002, while border crossings into Ontario by visitors who spent one night or more decreased by 17.9%.
  • In 2003, Ontario's 4 main overseas markets decreased in the double-digits compared to 2002. The Japanese stayed away in droves with a drop of 55.8% over 2002. France dropped by 29.2%, Germany by 24.4% and United Kingdom by 13.1%.
  • Total international border crossings into British Columbia decreased by 8% and into Quebec decreased by 10% in 2003 over 2002.

Next to Ontario, with 60% market share of international border crossings, B.C. and Quebec received the 2nd and 3rd highest market share of international border crossings in Canada with 19% and 10%, respectively.

Brits can ski Canada for the price of a European flight
Low cost transatlantic airline Zoom is targeting independent skiers with £99 flights to Canada this winter. The carrier plans to fly from Gatwick to Vancouver 3 times a week and weekly from Glasgow in addition to a weekly Gatwick-Montreal service from November. The Vancouver flights, which start at £139 one-way, are designed to offer seven, 10, 11 or 14 night stays in the ski resort of Whistler, north of Vancouver. Meanwhile, Montreal acts as a gateway to the Tremblant ski area at £99 single. The Canadian airline, owned by former Direct Holidays bosses John and Hugh Boyle, will not charge extra for skis, snowboards, boots or any other piece of sporting equipment. UK director Debbie Marshall claimed great demand has been generated from independent skiers "who can now experience the Rockies at prices similar to a typical European flight".

Gay marriage business booming
On the first anniversary of B.C.'s first legal same-sex wedding, wedding planners say the gay marriage business has been brisk. Since same-sex marriages became legal in B.C., Taylore Darnel of Belles and Balls has planned well over 50 marriages, some of them costing more than $80,000. And in many cases, those looking to get married in B.C. are from the United States. Debbie Turner, who owns Cakes Galore, says the number of Americans coming to B.C. to get married is "astonishing... I'd say 50% of the couples are same-sex couples coming up from the States." Turner says her business has doubled since she started catering to the gay community.
Similar stories are emerging from Ontario and Quebec, two of the other provinces in which same-sex marriages are recognized.

Planning a trip to Ontario, Canada?
Check out Available Holiday Homes in Ontario - discover the beauty of it's own

International travel news

U.S. indicators

  • Average occupancy in the U.S. lodging industry slipped 3.5% in June from the comparable month a year ago, Smith Travel Research recently reported. Occupancy in the month of June averaged 65.7%, according to the report. Average daily room rate, however, rose 3.8% to US$84.17 and revenue per available room rose 0.2% to US$55.31.
  • The Travel Industry Association of America's (TIA) Travel Price Index for May increased 5.6% from May 2003, the largest year-over-year increase since September 2000, TIA reported. Gasoline prices contributed heavily, rising about 30% vs. May 2003. Lodging prices rose 5.2%, but airfares declined 1.2% during the same period.
  • 68% of U.S. adults took a leisure or business trip of at least 50 miles one-way last year, according to the TIA's annual Domestic Travel Market Report released last month. That translates to more than 1.14 billion person-trips by Americans in 2003, 1.2% more than 2002. Since 1994, leisure person-trips have increased more than 16%, TIA reported. During that time, business travel volume fell more than 15%.

Beleaguered U.S. travel agents take it home
In the past 10 years, 20,000 brick-and-mortar travel agency locations in the US have closed their doors - that's 44% of locations nationwide, according to the American Society of Travel Agents.
The primary reason for the decline: commissions from the sale of airline tickets - once 70% of an average travel agent's revenue - are now virtually nonexistent as travellers increasingly book directly through airlines or online.

B&B refuses gays a double bed
The owners of a Scottish guesthouse have been criticized after they refused to allow a homosexual couple to share a double room. The owner of the guesthouse reportedly told the couple: "We do not have a problem with your sexual deviation, that is up to you. You are welcome to our twin room but we will not condone your perversion."
A spokesman for VisitScotland reportedly told the newspaper: "We are confident this kind of attitude is not mirrored across the vast majority of Scotland." One of the men is quoted as saying: "I am shocked that attitudes like that still exist."

Regional news

St. John's accommodations report best month ever
The Avalon Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) reports that the accommodation sector in St. John's, NL recorded its best month ever in June of this year, with 38,733 room nights sold. This surpasses the previous record of 37,000 room nights, which was set in June 1997 during the province's 500th anniversary celebrations. The average occupancy rate last month was 90.91% and average rate was $131.29. These numbers are based on statistics submitted monthly to the ACVB by the 9 major hotels in the city.
According to Mike Buist, general manager of the ACVB, the increase is directly attributable to an increase in meetings and conventions.

Study uncovers positive findings for B.C.'s diving industry
new study reveals the strength and economic contributions of the dive industry in British Columbia. For the past 3 years, B.C. had been voted Top Diving Destination in North America by readers of U.S. based Scuba Diving Magazine.
The importance of tourism to the dive industry was emphasized by findings that showed that the industry attracts 40% of its revenues from tourists, largely from within the province and short-haul markets such as Alberta and the Northwest United States. At the time of the study, direct revenues accruing to dive operators from dive tourism in B.C. were valued at about $4.3 million, marking a 30% increase from the $3 million estimated in 1993. In 2003, the overall economic contribution of the industry to the province of British Columbia was valued at some $15 million.
"One of the major challenges of this industry is that it continues to be perceived by many as a hobby sport," commented Laura Plant, Industry Development Manager for Tourism British Columbia. "This study confirms what many operators have known for some time, that dive operators in B.C. are key players in the tourism industry and that collaboration is needed to collectively garner marketing support and media attention for the industry."

Alberta hotel tax replaced by tourism levy
Call it an invitation to the world - the province will more than double its budget marketing Alberta tourism at the same time it lowers a hotel tax. And those in the tourism and hotel industry are welcoming the economic development minister's announcement. Next spring, the 5% hotel tax will be scrapped in favour of a 4% levy, which will go directly into tourism marketing, rather than the province's general revenues.
It's expected to hike funding in that area to $48 million by 2006/7 - in the 2004/5 fiscal year the province is spending $24 million marketing and developing tourism. That compares with its biggest competitor, B.C., which spends $56 million a year. Ontario spends $144 million and Quebec $125 million a year.
That marketing disparity helped Alberta lose its claim on the Rocky Mountains as a destination to B.C., said Kim Endres, executive director of the Association for Mountain Parks Protection and Enjoyment. "This will help secure our hold on the Rockies as an Alberta place to be," said Endres.
While the hotel industry initially fought for the tax's abolition, members later asked to have that money returned to tourism promotion.

Internet info

Online travel tops
The travel industry is considered to have the most successful performance online over any other industry. 91% of people recently surveyed said that the internet has changed the way they purchase travel. The majority of travel research and booking has shifted from traditional channels to the internet. The convenience, speed and access to comparison pricing that the internet affords them has won over business and leisure travellers, forcing travel-related businesses to serve their customers online or die.

Visitor traffic to holiday homes.canada web site for the month of July 2004
Total 'hits' for the month = 121,044 hits (3,904 per day)
Total 'unique visits' for the month = 9,093 (293 per day)
Visitors came from 63 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

We recommend against showing availability on your site or linking to an availability calendar. By not showing availability visitors would have to contact you and that gives you the opportunity to offer alternative dates, or in the event of a late cancellation, go back to them later. It also gives you contact information for visitors interested in renting your property. We don't believe any visitor will reject a property because availability is not shown. Click here for more advice.

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