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HAC expects modest improvement in 2005
The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) has just released its 2005 forecast, calling for a year of "tempered growth." However, there are concerns about the impact of the rising value of the Canadian dollar against its U.S. counterpart. "Analysts vary in their year-end 2005 dollar forecast from the Chamber of Commerce at 85¢ U.S. to the Bank of Nova Scotia predicting 90¢ U.S.
We don't need to be reminded that with 91% of our in-bound overnight traffic coming from south of the border we are severely impacted by the dollar. A strong loonie is another pox on Canadian tourism."
On the bright side, the report argues any detrimental effect of this will be "tempered" by "moderate gains in consumer spending, and healthy gains in government spending."
Though encouraging (considering the 27% decrease in profits experienced in 2004), profits remain down approximately 10% from the high reached in 2000. Gains appear exaggerated by comparisons with the losses of the past few years; nonetheless, indications are for a gradual return to record levels.
China ADS approval pending
Canada has not been granted Approved Destination Status (ADS), however, Canada has taken a large leap forward in developing a tourism-industry relationship with the People's Republic of China.
Last month, Canada was given approval to obtain the ADS designation - a process that can take upwards of a year.
The ADS system was created in 1995 with agreements for travel to Hong Kong and Macao; Australia was granted the designation in 1999 becoming the first ADS agreement with a country not affiliated with China. Since then, more than 60 countries have either achieved ADS status or have completed the negotiation process and have been deemed "operational." Canada is not yet at this stage, but the process is underway to get there.
The benefits of an ADS agreement are numerous, as most in Canada's tourism industry are well aware.
China is now Canada's largest source of immigrants and Chinese is the third most widely spoken language in Canada.
Latest lodging report (week ending January 29th) from the Canadian hotel industry showing 'revenue per available room' (RevPAR).
|Newfoundland & Lab.||$43.18|
|Prince Edward Island||$27.57|
*RevPAR is typically defined as room revenue divided by rooms available.
Canada's declining French market share
The French hold the world record for vacation time with 5 to 10 weeks of vacation a year. However, they are travelling less often now, even though their purchasing power has increased.
Canada has been losing their share of the French market since 1997, and considering the current state of the industry, we need their business.
Overall outbound travel from France has declined 2.1% since 2002, however, travel to Canada felt a much more drastic decline, hurtling earthward 11.9% over 2002.
There is a silver lining behind the clouds; although trips declined by 11.9% compared to the previous year, expenditures experienced a milder decline (2.5%), demonstrating the high yield profile of French travellers to Canada.
The Canadian Tourism Commission office in France offers a number of theories to explain the decline in market share: a changing economy has had an effect on the French public, as many formerly public enterprises are becoming privatized, resulting in changes to both vacation length and frequency. Privatization has also altered the retirement plans of many people. Many in France feel that the reduction in a standard work week (to 35 hours) has made the economy less competitive on the global stage.
There are lingering insecurities about the French economy, and the effect is seen in a decline in consumer spending.
International air traffic jumps in 2004
International airline passenger traffic in 2004 grew 15.3% over the same period a year ago, industry trade group International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced recently. IATA said that the Asia-Pacific region - which includes China's fast-growing aviation sector - led the way with a 20.5% passenger increase. Passenger traffic to and from North America, as well as between the United States and Canada, was up 14.8%.
Vancouver positioned as key gateway to China
Vancouver is a key gateway to North America from Asia Pacific and well positioned to receive significant increases in travel if the Government of the People's Republic of China grants Canada Approved Destination Status (ADS).
"The demographic magnitude of China and its growing economic importance are expected to have profound implications for tourism to Canada," said Stephen Pearce of Tourism Vancouver and a participant in the Canadian Tourism Commission's China National Working Group. "As a key gateway to North America, Vancouver can expect to see continued increase in visitation from China for the foreseeable future."
In 2004, total overnight visitation to Vancouver was just over 70,000. With the help of ADS, Pearce forecasts that Vancouver could receive as many as 500,000 visitors from China by 2015. "China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world," said Tourism Vancouver chair Paul Tilbury. "We're thrilled by the news of Canada's impending ADS approval. We have a marketing strategy in place and we are prepared to work as hard as it takes to realize the enormous potential of this market."
Ruling could hurt snowmobile tourism
In a decision that could cause ripples across Canada's winter tourism industry, a judge in Quebéc has ruled that people living near a snowmobile trail in the Laurentians should be compensated because of noise levels.
As the result of a class-action lawsuit filed against the snowmobile clubs and municipal and regional governments by a residents' association a Quebéc judge has handed down a controversial ruling which forced the immediate closure of a 38km stretch of the snowmobile trail. The lawsuit argues, "that the noise from the nearby trail has caused them mental and physical anguish to the detriment of their very health."
Fearing further trail closures as a result of this precedent-setting case, the snowmobile community in the province - and across the country - quickly voiced its concerns over the ruling.
As a result, the provincial government has tabled legislation that would prohibit legal action based on disturbance, noise and odour complaints linked to the use of off-road vehicles including snowmobiles.
The province will launch a full investigation into this situation to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict. During the 18-month period allocated for the investigation the appeal process has been closed, temporarily eliminating the threat of further closures. Snowmobile tourism in the Laurentians is a major economic generator, with receipts reaching $100 million dollars on an annual basis. On a larger scale, across the province snowmobilers ring up $1.5 billion in spending each winter, providing critical winter season income to gas stations, restaurants and accommodation.
New Detroit-Charlottetown service
Northwest Airlines is launching seasonal non-stop service between Detroit and Charlottetown, P.E.I. beginning in July. The carrier will offer daily service between July 1 and Oct. 15.
Edmonton lands LPGA Championship
The Royal Canadian Golf Association has announced that the city of Edmonton has been selected to host the 2006 Canadian Women's Open.
"Edmonton is proud to host this premier professional golfing event," says Allan Scott, president and CEO, Edmonton Economic Development Corp. "It will showcase Edmonton on a national and international level and generate an estimated economic impact of $14.2 million. This is also a major success for Edmonton Events International - our new initiative designed to attract major events to Edmonton."
Edmonton has already established a reputation as one of Canada's premier hosting cities. In 2003, the city hosted the Heritage Classic outdoor NHL hockey games and in 2004 hosted the Juno Awards. In 2001, Edmonton became the first city in North America to host the World Championships in Athletics. The city has also hosted Grey Cups, world figure skating championships, numerous concerts and countless sporting and cultural events.
In March 2005, Edmonton will host Canada's national curling championships and the Tim Hortons Brier, while this July will see two major international sports competitions, the World Masters Games and the Champ Car World Series.
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Visitor traffic to holiday homes.canada web site for the month of January 2005:
Total 'hits' for the month = 123,778 hits (3,992 per day)
Total 'unique visits' for the month = 9,240 (298 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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