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Visitors from China only bright spot
The number of travellers from overseas countries to Canada declined 0.8% in September compared to August, with travel down in 6 of Canada's top 12 overseas markets.
The number of visitors from Japan fell 9.6%, the largest decrease, while a record-high 14,000 visitors arrived from China, up 13.7%, the biggest increase.
Travel from the United States also fell in September, as fewer than 2.4 million Americans took trips to Canada, down 0.6%. Same-day car travel by U.S. residents to Canada continued its downward slide as only 1.1 million people took trips in September, down 0.9% from August, the year's 7th monthly decrease and another record low. In contrast, Canadian residents took more same-day car trips to the United States in September, with more than 1.9 million trips, a 0.5% gain.
Increased spending by Canadians abroad has pushed Canada's international travel deficit to its highest level ever in the third quarter, edging out the previous high observed nearly 15 years ago.
The deficit (the difference between spending by Canadian residents abroad and spending by foreigners in Canada) climbed to a record $1.9 billion between July and September. This was up $278 million from the second quarter and slightly above the previous high set in the fourth quarter of 1991.
At that time, the ballooning deficit with the United States had been the main reason for the record deficit. Now, widening deficits with both the U.S. and overseas countries are contributing factors.
Chinese agreement near?
Canada has pinned high hopes on the Chinese tourism market.
Leading a delegation of 90 members to the 2006 China International Travel Mart (CITM) in Shanghai, Michele McKenzie, chairman and CEO of the Canada Tourism Bureau, said the country will make vigorous efforts this year to expand China-oriented travel services. The bureau launched a Chinese website for Chinese tourists recently.
Last year, Canada received 120,000 visitors from China, an increase of 15.2% on 2004. In the first 10 months of this year, growth reached 25%, McKenzie said.
Canada is expected to obtain authorization of Approved Destination Status (ADS) from the Chinese Government next year, which is expected to trigger a fast growth of Chinese visitors to the country.
"I am fully confident that ADS will be given in a couple of months," said B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell, who was in Shanghai to promote tourism for the province.
B.C. hosted nearly 61,000 Chinese visitors as of August this year, a 9% increase over the same period in 2005 and closing in on the full year total of 83,000.
"This level of growth is encouraging, and sets the stage for even more dramatic increases in the future, as marketing programs show results, and travel policies make access easier," Campbell said.
Latest lodging report (week ending November 25th) from the Canadian hotel industry showing 'revenue per available room' (RevPAR).
|Newfoundland & Labrador||$54.51|
|Prince Edward Island||$25.95|
RevPAR is typically defined as room revenue divided by rooms available.
Canada seen as safe
Australia ranks as the top overall country brand, according to the 2nd annual Country Brand Index 2006 (CBI). The United States and Italy ranked 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
The CBI identifies countries as brands and emerging global travel trends in the world's fastest-growing economic sector - travel and tourism. This sector accounts for more than one in every 11 jobs worldwide.
The CBI also identified China, Croatia and the United Arab Emirates as the top 3 "rising star" countries - those likely to be major tourism destinations in the next 5 years.
The study of more than 1,500 international travellers, travel industry experts and hospitality professionals examines how countries can be branded and ranked according to key criteria
World travellers less wary of terror
World tourism demand will cool slightly next year but still record a 3rd straight year of healthy growth as travellers become less wary of threats like terrorism, the World Tourism Organization said recently.
The Madrid-based United Nations organization said it expected tourism demand to grow at 4.6% this year and 4.0% in 2007, led by the emerging markets of Africa and Asia and the Pacific.
"Travellers have generally been undeterred by external threats and have moreover developed a certain immunity to such threats," the UNWTO's four-monthly report said.
In the first 8 months of the year tourist arrivals were up 4.5% or 578 million, compared with 553 million in the same period a year earlier, the WTO said.
Hotel review websites: a five-star scam
How can you turn a one-star hostel into a top hotel overnight? Write fake reviews online.
This online review appeared to be a glowing endorsement of a fine hotel by the shores of Loch Ness. "My parents stayed many years ago and said what a lovely spot this place has. They were so right!" said one review of the hotel posted on TripAdvisor, one of the more popular websites for travel information.
"Well done to the staff, who were really charming ... Have no hesitation in booking ... the food is outstanding ... Believe me you'll love it," was another review.
The gushing praise, however, was not the independent judgment of an ordinary guest: in fact, it had been written and posted by David Bremner, the hotel's owner.
Last week he admitted the ploy but was unrepentant. 'Maybe I shouldn't have done it,' he said. 'But I don't think it's that big a deal.'
Real guests might not agree: some previous reviews had complained of high prices and shabby rooms. Either way, Bremner is certainly not alone in exploiting the booming number of online travel guides that allow the public to post their own reviews of hotels and restaurants.
Visitor traffic to holiday homes.canada (www.frbo.ca) & For Rent By Owner in Canada (www.FRBO.ca) web sites for the month of November 2005:
Total 'hits' for the month = 155,912 hits (5,197 per day)
Total 'unique visits' for the month = 11,704 (390 per day)
Visitors came from 80+ countries.
For more information, including an independent audit of our site performance, and to view the countries of origin for visitors click here.
Keep your visitors informed
Our thanks to Robert Craig of www.niagarafallscottagerentals.com who submitted the following advice:
"I find it helpful to include links on my web site to official Government web sites that provide up-to-date information regarding the position of travel between the USA and Canada.
I recently had a guest wishing to cancel because a travel agent told her that all the family required passports for travel after January 2007 next year. (The guest had booked for July 2007.) In fact passports are not required when travelling by land and seems to change frequently with dates of requirement being set later and later. It is only by visiting the official Government web sites such as US Department of State (http://www.state.gov/travelandbusiness) and Canadian International Visitor
(http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca) that the truth can be readily available. I was able to answer that customer immediately; she did not cancel her booking and have since added the links to my web site.
On at least two occasions guests who had booked my properties had previous convictions for drink driving and were not allowed to enter Canada from the USA when attempting to cross the border. Problems can also arise when both natural parents do not accompany children and a consent letter is required from the absent parent. I think it is wise for owners to at least have some reference to these issues on their web site to avoid problems with bookings where these circumstances arise.
Also, I think it wise to include the GST in the property rates with a little add-on that it may be refunded if entitled. I'm sure like many others the majority of my guests are not Canadian. By doing it that way, it avoids complications when the Government moves the ' goal posts' and abolishes the rebate."
If you have advice or suggestions you would like to share with fellow rental property owners please send them to us. We'll try to include them in up-coming newsletters.
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