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December 2004 newsletter


For previous editions of this newsletter see below.

  • Canadian travel news
    Canada's hoteliers wait to get back to better numbers
    Visitors to Canada up in September
    Canadian RevPAR
  • International travel news
    Global tourism recovers
    Changing face of tourism
    $8 million for a weekend break
  • Regional News
    Sport Tourism in Saint John
    P.E.I. tourism figures discouraging
  • Internet info
    One in four bookings are online
    Visitor traffic

Canadian travel news

Canada's hoteliers wait to get back to better numbers
Hotel Association of Canada president Tony Pollard recently warned that new properties coming on stream are biting into the profit picture.
At a recent conference Pollard stated, "Capacity and demand are never in perfect balance. Gauging demand is tough and there are always people out there who want to invest in hotels. Right now, there are overcapacity problems. New product is cutting into the occupancy rates of existing hotels and there are probably a lot of hotels trying to sell occupancy through rates. The result is that we're not getting the rates we should compared with the global average." He predicted, "Average daily rates will probably get back to 2002 levels fairly soon," but he noted that the all-important revenue per available room (RevPAR) figure will continue to be down "a couple of points and we won't return to the 2000 level until 2008."
Recovery from a series of disasters impacting the industry appears to be spotty. While travel to Western Canada is up, Atlantic Canada numbers are still very depressed. He noted, "Montreal and Quebec are not doing badly, but Ottawa, which was one of the best markets in 2000, is now one of the worst."
Pollard pointed out that economic growth in Japan and China will help ensure a brighter future for the industry but of greater importance is the solid GDP performance of the Canadian and American economies. "If their economy is in the tank, American's don't travel, so there's a good outlook for Canada's hotels over the next year or so," he stated.

Visitors to Canada up in September
An estimated 3.3 million foreign visitors arrived in Canada in September, up 8.5% from August. Just over 2.9 million American residents travelled to Canada, up 9.3% from August. Most of the gain was due to same-day car travel, which rebounded from a record low in August.
Overnight travel rose a more modest 1.6%. About 356,000 travellers from nations other than the United States visited Canada, up 2.8% from August. This was the seventh increase in the last 8 months and the highest level since November 2002.
Travel was up in 8 of Canada's top 12 overseas markets. Travel from South Korea (up 45.8% to a record 21,000 visits) and Hong Kong (+13.6%) posted the largest advances, while travel from Switzerland and the Netherlands posted the largest declines.

Canadian RevPAR
Latest lodging report from the Canadian hotel industry showing 'revenue per available room' (RevPAR) for the week ending November 29th.

Province RevPAR*
Alberta $60.04
British Columbia $50.69
Manitoba $58.88
New Brunswick $50.72
Newfoundland & Lab. $58.04
Nova Scotia $53.75
Ontario $65.52
Prince Edward Island $26.10
Quebec $64.76
Saskatchewan $61.70
Canada $50.17

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

International travel news

Global tourism recovers
Global tourism is on the rebound as world travellers gain confidence from a long-awaited economic recovery and downgrade their fears over international terrorism and health.
More than 3 years after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US spooked many travellers, the World Travel Market 2004-05 report said tourists are returning to the skies in large numbers.
"We live in a new world," David de Villiers, deputy secretary general of the World Tourism Organization, said at the World Travel Market in London recently. "People have come to live with insecurity. Tourism will continue to grow, barring any worldwide catastrophe." De Villiers said the number of worldwide arrivals rose 12% to around 526 million in the first 8 months of 2004, adding that he expects the figure to remain in double digits for the entire year.
The report showed growth across the board - instead of one region at the expense of another - for the first time since the September 11 attacks. It was driven by greater numbers of US travellers, a return in the popularity of long-haul destinations and the easy booking of low-cost flights over the Internet.
Travellers are also unperturbed, so far, by the avian influenza scare in Asia - a contrast to the massive travel downturn in the region in 2003 that resulted from the SARS outbreak. A total of 28 people have died from the H5N1 strain of the avian influenza virus, which ravaged poultry farms earlier this year, killing or forcing the cull of about 100 million birds across Asia. It appeared to have disappeared but resurfaced in Vietnam, killing three people, in August and other cases have since been reported in Thailand and Indonesia.
The report said that the Asia Pacific region, up 37% to 99 million international arrivals, recorded the most impressive growth for 2004. The Middle East was also a strong performer, up 24% to 23 million international arrivals, due in large part to continued strong growth in intra-regional tourism demand and the popularity of Egypt as a destination. In Europe, travel to long-haul destinations, which fell by 9% from January to August last year, grew by 12% during the same period this year.
Interestingly, worldwide, the Japanese spend an average of 2,100 (E)uros per person per trip; the Chinese E1,900 ; the Americans E1,400 and Europeans E900.

Changing face of tourism
As dollar-hungry tourist havens seek to lure an ever greater share of a constantly expanding and evolving market, one country stands on the verge of changing the face of the entire industry.
The single step that is likely to prove a giant leap came with the move recently by Chinese authorities to liberalize rules on issuing visas to its nationals for foreign travel. But is the world ready for the consequences? Five years ago some 8 million Chinese nationals were on the move but many limited their touring to venues such as Hong Kong and Macau, both newly returned from British and Portuguese rule. By 2001, that figure had risen to 12 million, according to WTO figures. But by 2020, with their international visas - and increased purshasing power - in their pocket the total is set to mushroom to 100 million, says the WTO.
By contrast, the WTO put at 20 million the number of hotel rooms worldwide in 2002 - the United States and Japan alone accounting for a third of the total.

Regional news

Toronto fees called 'outrageous'
A planned increase in landing fees at Toronto's Pearson International Airport is outrageous, and could force some carriers to put the brakes on their growth plans for Toronto as a destination, says the global group representing airlines.
The jump for 2005, as high as 18% according to a draft proposal by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, would be the latest in a series of landing fee increases hurting the Toronto airport's competitiveness.

P.E.I. tourism figures discouraging
Tourism suffered another dark season but new projects will brighten the future of the industry, says the Minister of Tourism. Philip Brown, the director of policy, planning and research for Tourism P.E.I. said though the statistics for the 2004 tourism season are discouraging, the government and tourism industries are working to improve the industry. "In the season that just passed there's no surprise in the numbers," he said adding the key to success is in information. "I believe research is the key to success in the future. If we want to know the industry better we need to strengthen the research base."
Jones said though the full results of the season won't be available until the end of the year, this year's estimates are low compared to 2003. "Estimated total tourist visitation is down 12% to 15%, to 340,500 (visitors) from 394,000 from last year," he said.
95% of all traffic is from rubber tire with 80% coming across the Confederation Bridge, which saw a 14% drop of non-resident traffic.

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Internet info

One in four bookings are online
People are increasingly booking travel with the click of a mouse, as price, convenience and marketing lead them online to buy airline tickets and reserve cars and accommodation.
By 2009, online travel purchases are expected to reach $91 billion, or a third of the total market, JupiterResearch said recently. This year, the online travel market is expected to reach $54 billion, or a fourth of all purchases.
Suppliers in the travel industry are spending more in marketing their sites to consumers and businesspeople. "They're really trying to drive their customers online to reduce distribution costs," JupiterResearch analyst Diane Clarkson said. "Online as a channel is less expensive than the traditional methods."
Internet search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, are the starting point for 18% of travelers using online services, compared with 2% each for newspapers, magazines and radio, JupiterResearch said.
The biggest drivers to a particular site, however, is a recommendation from a friend or because the consumer has used the supplier before. The importance of search engines, however, is not reflected in the marketing budgets of travel suppliers. Many airlines, accommodation suppliers, car rentals, etc. are spending too much money for advertising in traditional media to reach online travellers. "There's a disconnection between where they're spending their marketing dollars, and what prompted consumers to visit a web site," Clarkson said.

Visitor traffic to holiday homes.canada web site for the month of November 2004:
Total 'hits' for the month = 113,731 hits (3,791 per day)
Total 'unique visits' for the month = 8,342 (278 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.

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