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December 2007 newsletter

For previous editions of this newsletter see below.

  • Canadian travel news
    European ski woes good for Canadian product demand
    Escape into the Backcountry for Winter Wildlife Viewing at its Best
    The inside track on some of Canada’s best slopes
    Canadian RevPAR
  • International travel news
    Phuket lifestyle in spotlight
    Lack of hurricanes bolsters Florida tourism
    Gold Coast Australia Luxury Real Estate To Rise
  • Internet info
    Visitor traffic
  • Advice for the property owner
    Handling your finances 

Canadian travel news

European ski woes good for Canadian product demand
TravelMole's Bev Fearis reports that European ski resort troubles last year are likely to have a positive impact on Canadian product demand. Ski holiday prices have fallen by as much as $200 per person in Europe, according to research by The Co-operative Travel and Travelcare. The independent travel agency group says, after poor snow in European resorts last season, there are plenty of bargain ski trips for sale, as European ski resorts have opened a few weeks early due to an early snowfall. Meanwhile, more skiers looking for ideal conditions took another look at Canada.

Mike Greenacre, managing director of The Co-operative Travel commented: "As a result, advance bookings to long-haul destinations have rocketed. For example, sales to Canada have increased 99% with the increase driven largely by skiers wanting guaranteed snowfall." 

Escape into the Backcountry for Winter Wildlife Viewing at its Best
Connect with your wild side this winter in the heart of the Cariboo Mountains and experience the solitude, peace and beauty of the mountain wilderness.
On snowshoe, dogsled, and by foot, Ecotours BC gives guests and naturalists a first hand look at Mother Nature's creatures including moose, mountain caribou, deer, lynx, cougar and much more. Led by local legend Gary Zorn who shares his passion and extensive knowledge about the local wildlife, the three-day winter Call of the Wild package includes accommodation at Ecotours BC's Pyna-tee-ah Lodge, all meals, and wildlife viewing excursions and is available from December 1 through April 1.
While guiding his guests through the Quesnel Highlands, Zorn shares his understanding about wildlife behaviour, habitat and the extraordinary ability of wildlife to adapt to the harsh winter environment. Guests of the Call of the Wild package can expect to snowshoe through freshly fallen snow, mush a team of dogs, and hike through fragrant boreal forests in search of birds and animals. Home to one of the province's largest moose populations, some may be even be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the noble but endangered mountain caribou.
The six-guestroom Pyna-tee-ah Lodge accommodates guests of Ecotours BC offering comfortable accommodation and homemade country-style gourmet meals. Located approximately 260-miles northeast of Vancouver, Pyna-tee-ah is set on the picturesque south shore of Quesnel Lake, the world's deepest fjord lake.
For over 25 years, Gary and Peggy Zorn from Ecotours BC have been guiding and hosting guests from around the world. Committed to environmental stewardship and wildlife preservation, the Zorn's believe in coexisting with the local wildlife and sharing their intimate knowledge of the land with others.

The inside track on some of Canada’s best slopes
Looking for that mountain high? Consult our guide to the top heli, cat, backcountry and hill skiing in the country – from the best in the West to the powder feasts of the East.

Virgin tracks in Revelstoke, British Columbia
Get true first tracks at the brand new Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Development of the billion-dollar project will continue over the next few years, but this season’s skiers won’t have to wait for their shot at fresh powder in the Selkirk Mountain Range. The resort features a new gondola and high-speed quad chairlift that can zip you up to 2,245 m. Factor in the cat-skiing and heli-skiing operations, and you have an all-access pass to 500,000 acres just east of the province’s highest peak, Mount Waddington.

Back to basics at Le Massif, Québec
Dedicated powder junkies once used a school bus to get to the top of Le Massif. Modern lifts have replaced the less sophisticated conveyance, but the charming boho chic remains. Located 1 1/2 hours from Québec City in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this eastern classic has thoughtful touches like birdfeeders, open-air picnic huts and regionally produced fare in the cafeteria (no chips found here!). You also get dramatic visuals as you shoot down 770 m toward the Saint Lawrence River, which stretches 15 km across. Look out for Le Grand Duc, the area’s owl mascot: When he circles, expect at least 30 cm of fresh snow in the next 48 hours.

Cat-skiing, Newfoundland and Labrador
If you’re looking to lose the lineups and lift tickets, head to western Newfoundland. Shoosh your way to your happy place all day long on 500-million-year-old mountains made of mantle rock. Blomidon Cat Skiing, the only backcountry operation on the East Coast, can take you there. Rides to the top of the Appalachian Chain in a heated snowcat give you access to a surprising 4,000 m of daily vertical and 7,000 stunning skiable acres in the alpine plateau.

Backcountry in Banff, Alberta
We don’t often equate ski trips with the words “rustic” or “historic.” But take a trip to Skoki Lodge in Banff National Park and you’ll also add “majestic” and “unforgettable” to the list. Backcountry buffs who make the three- to five-hour ski-in approach will be rewarded with a stay at a log cabin handcrafted in the 1930s. This off-the-grid gem (read: crackling wood fires, homemade meals and lantern-lit dinners) serves as an authentic base for exploring Alberta’s incomparable wilderness. For a full ski extravaganza after your backcountry binge, pick up a three-in-one pass for hillside slopes at Lake Louise Mountain Resort, Mount Norquay and Sunshine Village in Banff.

Heli adventures in the Coast Mountains, B.C.
Raise a toast to dry, champagne powder, big mountain skiing and Bella Coola Heli Sports. After the recent acquisition of another heli operation, the all-Canadian company can now reach a mind-blowing two million acres in the striking Coast Mountain Range, 400 km north of Vancouver. Qualified guides will take you through your paces on exclusive steeps and deeps, but if you really want to feel the burn, ask to ski the longest run in North America, a 2,150-m drop. And don’t forget to book a drawn-out massage back at lovely Tweedsmuir Lodge.

Canadian RevPAR

Latest lodging report (week ending November 24th) from the Canadian hotel industry showing 'revenue per available room' (RevPAR).

Province RevPAR*
Alberta $83.74
British Columbia $64.51
Manitoba $62.97
New Brunswick $52.59
Newfoundland & Labrador $64.61
Nova Scotia $59.47
Ontario $75.63
Prince Edward Island $29.34
Québec $68.19
Saskatchewan $72.38
Canada $72.52

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

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International travel news

Phuket lifestyle in spotlight
Phuket's position as Asia's premier luxury resort property destination is becoming increasingly entrenched as investors continue to display confidence in the destination.

Attractive returns ensure a thriving and growing property sector which, combined with the island's lifestyle benefits, is inviting the attention of numerous well-heeled regional and international investors.

The upmarket lifestyle that is now synonymous with Phuket will be in full view this week during the King's Cup Regatta, an event that has grown into one of Asia's "A" list annual social occasions.

The week Phuket will be brimming with high-net worth individuals attracted to a signature event, which acts as a stylish showcase for the island, further building its profile in the eyes of potential investors in the luxury property market.

High-end condominium and villa projects provide the residences for those drawn to Phuket and its boutiques, golf courses _ including Blue Canyon Country Club, Mission Hills, and the Phuket Country Club _ and marina. Further support services and facilities such as hospitals, shopping malls, supermarkets and international schools, and of course the Phuket International Airport (PIA), ensure that day-to-day needs are satisfied too.

One core lifestyle activity, with a vibrant social scene, that is a big draw for visitors with stronger spending power, is sailing. Royal Phuket Marina, on the island's east coast, offers excellent facilities for docking your own yacht or for chartering one, and it recently received international recognition as a centre of excellence when it was awarded the Marina Five Gold Anchors Award from the British Marine Federation.

The marine industry has been significantly strengthened over the past few years, not least due to the efforts of the Thai government which has supported boating events and reduced the import tax on luxury boats to zero. This has resulted in sending out the right message to high-end visitors and investors that they are valued and welcome to the island.

Two major boating events have also helped bolster Phuket's position as a key sailing hub. The annual Phuket International Marine Expo, which is held every December and has been running since 2003, is sponsored by Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Tourism and Sport. The event provides the ideal opportunity to present the latest luxury yachts available, and related marine fashions and technologies. It also features a number of race events, including the Phuket International Dragon Boat Challenge Cup.

The King's Cup Regatta has become a driving force in building Phuket's reputation and profile and Ramon Land is proud to prove its commitment to the island, and its seriousness as a responsible developer, by being the King's Cup's principal sponsor.

Not only have the last two years been very special for the event, and for the whole kingdom, with last year's celebration marking the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King's accession the throne, and this year His Majesty's 80th birthday on Dec 5, but the King's Cup has won international plaudits as Asia's top regatta, after picking up Yachting Event of the Year at the Christofle Asia Boating Awards, for the past two years.

Tapping in o this highly affluent community has been key to building Phuket's position and the luxurious lifestyle and tropical living that it offers. The success of our association with the King's Cup has driven us to embrace the sponsoring of other regattas _ Phangnga Bay Regatta (February), Top of the Gulf Regatta in Pattaya (May), Koh Samui Regatta (June), and Phuket Race Week (July).

Taking a leading role in helping to support tourism is central to establishing the destination's attractiveness to international investors and we are glad to see a satisfying response in the take-up rates of projects in the island.

Phuket's tourism industry continues to grow from strength to strength. PIA's first-quarter arrivals in 2007 were 10% higher than in 2006, and by May the number had reached 2.5 million with more than 25 international airlines offering direct flights on both a chartered and scheduled basis. Arrivals are expected to hit 4.7 million visitors by the year's end, matching the record set in 2004, which was hailed as the island's "Golden Year", prior to the tsunami.

The lure of Phuket as an international luxury destination has been further enhanced by an increasing number of five-star hotel brands opening on the island and in nearby provinces, such as Shangri-La, Hyatt, Peninsula, Four Seasons and Raffles-managed properties.

The luxury property market will benefit accordingly and will continue to provide healthy buying opportunities for astute investors who believe in the long-term potential of Thailand's premier resort destination.

Lack of hurricanes bolsters Florida tourism
Florida's critical tourism market rebounded sharply during the hurricane season now coming to an end, according to new figures.
More than 21 million people visited the Sunshine State from 1 July 1 to 30 Sept., a 4.8% increase over a year ago when memories of past storms sent tourism numbers down sharply.
"It shows the impact of two years of no hurricanes," said Nicki Grossman, Broward County's tourism chief and vice chairman of Visit Florida, the state tourism board that released the figures.
Tourism officials are predicting a stronger year in 2008, despite a slowing economy.
"The outlook is quite good," said Mark Lunt, a hospitality analyst with Ernst & Young.
The official hurricane season ended last week as quietly as it did last year, prompting some critics to wonder what happened to all the predicted storms. There was only one hurricane striking the US over the season, sparing Florida for the second straight year.
Hurricane predictions for three straight years have been well off the mark.
"They need to do their work quietly, in a corner -- until they get it right," said Rob Young, a coastal geologist at Western Carolina University.
Tourism officials say the inaccurate forecasts cost millions in lost dollars because tourists avoid the area.
"All because this nutty professor has the unmitigated gall and arrogance to say things he knows aren't fact," complained Orlando hotelier Harris Rosen, who last year threatened to sue prominent forecaster William Gray.
Several predictors envisioned more than a dozen storms. Forecasters say their work is instructive and meets a need.
But critics point out the forecasts are never specific and don't do anything to help tourists avoid visiting an area during a hurricane.

Gold Coast Australia Luxury Real Estate To Rise
A new luxury hotel and apartments will go up in Surfers Paradise along the Gold Coast of Australia, according to news just released on Hospitality Net. The Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel and Residences will have two high rise towers with 170 luxury hotel rooms and 340 premier apartments. The new project will be developed by the Raptis Goup in the central part of Surfers Paradise along Surfers Paradise Boulevard and Orchid Avenue.
“The creation of Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel and Residences is the next step in reshaping Surfers Paradise from a traditionally tourist town to a metropolitan, urban-chic beach city. The project will deliver a new level of luxury accommodation and shopping for residents and visitors, at the same time, becoming a professional business hub,” said Raptis Group Chairman, Jim Raptis.

The new hotel and residences will be completed in two stages over the next two to three years. The Boulevard Tower, housing the residential apartments and 32 stories tall, is due for completion in late 2009. The second part of the project, the Orchid Tower, housing both residences and hotel suites and planned to have 57 floors, is due for completion in late 2010. Both towers will be managed by Hilton Hotels. The property will be the first Hilton Hotel on the Gold Coast and the third Hilton in Queensland.
According to Gold Coast Tourism, tourism is the region's number one industry and currently attracts 4.4 million overnight visitors annually making it Australia's third most popular destination behind Sydney and Melbourne. The Gold Coast region is the number one regional visitor destination in Australia and Asia Pacific's third most popular business tourism resort destination.
The nearest major airport, Gold Coast Airport (OOL), is outside of Coolangatta and about 25 kilometers south of Surfers Paradise. There is direct and connecting service from Sydney, Auckland and other major Australian and Asian cities. Train service serves the coastline with a line running from Sydney to Brisbane, and there is also daily bus service.

Travel and save Travel Packages

Internet info

Visitor traffic to holiday ( & For Rent By Owner in Canada ( web sites for the month of November 2007:
Total 'hits' for the month = 571,052 hits (19,035 per day)
Total 'unique visits' for the month = 31,106 (1037 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
click here

Advice for the property owner

Handling your finances
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