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After shying away, Americans return to Canada American same-day travel to Canada plummeted to the lowest level on record in 2006, though visits picked up a little towards the end of last year.
Same day visits from the U.S. - Canada's biggest tourism market - rose 2.5% in December from November, the second month of gains, according to Statistics Canada. Overnight trips among American travellers rose 2.9%.
For last year as a whole, the picture looks dim. The number of U.S. same-day car trips plunged 12.5% to 13.7 million - the lowest level since record-keeping started in 1972. Same-day car travel reached a high of 27.3 million trips in 1999.
Canadian hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions have been struggling to cope with waning U.S. visitors, who have stayed away amid a strong Canadian dollar, heightened customs security and a lack of marketing south of the border. New rules requiring passports for travellers flying between Canada and the U.S. are also deterring visitors.
December's numbers offered some solace. Overall travel to Canada climbed to a 5-month high at the end of the year, with gains from the U.S. as well as increased travel from overseas. The move came as the Canadian dollar weakened for the third month in a row, making holidays here less expensive. Overseas visitors are picking up much of the slack.
Travel from overseas countries hit its highest monthly level in more than 2 years in December, with a 2.5% gain, as travel increased from the United Kingdom, Canada's most important overseas market.
In the opposite direction, travel to overseas countries by Canadian residents reached "unprecedented levels" in December, Statscan said. Last year, Canadians made a record 6.7 million trips overseas, up 8% from 2005. Annually, the number of trips by Canadians to non-U.S. destinations has risen in 14 of the last 15 years.
Canadians are also boosting travel plans to see more of their own country, according to a separate survey recently released. 11% more Canadians plan to travel domestically this year, a Hotel Association of Canada survey showed, amid a strong labour market and buoyant consumer confidence.
U.S. bill would force study of passport alternative A top U.S. legislator wants to force officials to fully consider allowing Canadians and Americans to use driver's licences, not passports, to cross the border.
Draft legislation commits the U.S. to a pilot project with licences. It also ensures officials use the extra time Congress gave them, until June 1, 2009, to review the passport rule and ensure it won't cause havoc at land and sea crossings. The bill, proposed by New York Democrat Louise Slaughter, who chairs the powerful rules committee in the House of Representatives, will be introduced shortly with Republican backers. Slaughter, whose district includes Buffalo and Niagara Falls, N.Y., has long backed Canada's concern the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) will seriously harm tourism and trade. "It is critical that Congress push the Department of Homeland Security to fix WHTI and do so in a timely manner," said Slaughter, who's been circulating her bill among legislators to build bipartisan support. "Unfortunately, the (U.S.) administration continues to pursue a plan that will be economically disastrous for both the United States and Canada." Canadians already need a passport to fly into the United States, a security measure passed by Congress in light of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. And they were supposed to produce one at land and sea crossings by Jan. 1, 2008, until Congress extended the deadline last year.
But many U.S. legislators from both parties are still miffed, saying officials are determined to proceed as originally planned without properly considering alternatives and adverse effects on trade and tourism. Canada has long advocated for more time to implement the rule and consider enhanced driver's licences that contain citizenship information. They'd likely cost less than passports and most people need to get them anyway. The card, dubbed passport lite, would have to cost no more than US$20 and be available within 10 days after someone applies. Slaughter, who noted she's been listening to CBC radio for 20 years, said there are a lot of families in her district who own property on both sides. "It's like one country with a river through it," she said. "We're more than friends. We all know each other. And count on each other, frankly. The Buffalo Bills require Canadians to come, as do the Sabres." Homeland Security gave the nod recently for the first phase of a project at five primary locations straddling southern British Columbia and northwest Washington state.
Ken Oplinger, president of the Bellingham-Whatcom Chamber of Commerce, said the plan is to read bar codes on the back of existing driver's licences with hand scanners to check people against criminal databases and security watch lists. All Canadian driver's licences already have the bar codes except in Manitoba, he said. Other states are interested in test projects. The issue will get an airing on Capitol Hill, likely this month, before the House Homeland Security committee.
Canada ranks 7th on top 10 tourism list
Canada ranks seventh in a new international report on the most desirable travel and tourism destinations. The first ever Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, issued by the World Economic Forum, ranks the most attractive environments for development in the travel and tourism industry around the world. Canada tied with Singapore and Luxembourg out of the 124 countries surveyed, while Switzerland, Austria and Germany took the top 3 positions. Angola, Burundi and Chad rounded out the bottom 3 positions. "I would say in general it is a very good assessment of Canada," said Irene Mia, a senior economist with the World Economic Forum who helped prepare the report. "It's in the top 10." Canada's illustrious showing was due in part to the excellent air (ranked second in the world) and ground transportation infrastructure. The continuing focus on travel and tourism across the country also bolstered the ranking. Canada also boasts 13 World Heritage sites, which continue to draw tourists from around the world, as well as an educated and healthy tourism work force ready to meet the needs of travellers. However, there are areas in need of improvement within the tourism industry. Canada's health and hygiene came in at the 38th spot, while the low concentration of doctors contributed to a rank of 48 within the physician density category. The high standard of living also contributed to visitor woes. "When it comes to the cost of living in the country, Canada scores really bad - 120th out of 124 countries - very expensive," said Mia. "Our study is not a 'beauty contest', or a statement about the attractiveness of a country," Jennifer Blanke, senior economist of the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Network, said in a written statement. "On the contrary, we aim to measure the factors that make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism industry of individual countries."
New direct flights to each coast
Starting in November Air NZ will fly direct to Vancouver. Air New Zealand general manager Ed Sims said Canada has always been an extremely popular destination for New Zealanders. The route would significantly grow tourism numbers between the two countries, which already sees 46,000 Canadians visit New Zealand and 16,000 New Zealanders visit Canada annually, he said. The reinstatement of the Vancouver link restores a route canned in the 90's. The services will initially operate three times a week between November and March to coincide with the peak travel season between the two destinations, as Canadians escape winter and New Zealand skiers head to the Canadian slopes. And Gatwick-based airline Astraeus is launching a service to St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador, in May. The route will be the only year-round direct flight between St John's and London and will operate three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
|Occupancy rate||Average room rates||RevPAR*|
|Newfoundland & Lab.||1,839||61.6%||62.5%||$118.96||$115.92||$73.28||$72.45|
*RevPAR is typically defined as room revenue divided by rooms available.
Short and long term investments. High returns! Investment packages
Concern grows over pollution from jets
Aviation, tourism and the environment are on a collision course. The number of airline flights worldwide is growing and expected to skyrocket over the coming decades. Aircraft emissions pollute the air and threaten by 2050 to become one of the largest contributors to global warming. Much remains unknown about climate change and the role aviation plays, though climate scientists express particular concern about jet emissions in the upper atmosphere, where the warming effect from some pollutants is amplified. Now, aviation is believed to be less a factor in the Earth's warming than power plants or vehicular traffic. But its emissions are considerable. On a New York-to-Denver flight, a commercial jet would generate 840 to 1,660 pounds of carbon dioxide per passenger. That's about what an SUV generates in a month. The European Union is considering strict controls on aircraft emissions, an action strongly opposed by the White House because of its potential effect on U.S. airlines. In the USA, a panel of scientists brought together by NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration agreed that the effects of aircraft emissions on the climate "may be the most serious long-term environmental issue facing the aviation industry." The FAA projects that the number of U.S. airline passengers will nearly double from 739 million last year to 1.4 billion in 2025. Air traffic controllers are expected to handle 95 million flights by all types of aircraft in 2025, compared with 63 million last year. Worldwide, a growing middle class with the means to travel is spawning new airlines and big orders for new planes. China plans more than 40 new airports to accommodate the growth.
Culture vultures spurring tourism growth
Cultural destinations have seen a 51% rise in sales from 2000 to 2005, with tourists increasingly willing to spend their travel and leisure time on more educational visits.
According to a recent report from Europe, even destinations lacking any cultural attraction are creating events such as music, film and art festivals to broaden their appeal. Sporting events are also a growing attraction, with increasing numbers of people willing to travel to watch major world events, such as the Olympics and the World Cup. With a number of high-profile sporting events coming up in the next few years, including the Soccer World Cup in South Africa in 2010, the 2010 Whistler/Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2012 Olympics in London, the report author Margaret Bremner advises both travel & tourism companies and host countries alike to prepare themselves well, in order to take advantage of these forthcoming "goldmines" of opportunity.
Bremner said: "Tourism has become one of the world's biggest and fastest growing industries, with global visitor numbers growing by 16% over 2004 and 2005 to reach 118.6 million. As a result, towns, cities and regions have started to aggressively market their natural and historical attributes in order to encourage visitors. "The growth of attractions such as historic buildings/sites, art galleries and museums is also a reflection of demographic changes, such as ageing populations. In particular the baby-boomer generation is helping to give rise to the trend towards more cultural types of attractions".
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Internet use increasing
The Hotel Association of Canada has released new market research data that reveals that the Internet continues to gain ground in the lodging industry, with the survey determining that leisure and business travel reservations by telephone are decreasing at the same rate as Internet reservations are increasing. 46% of Canadians say they will be making their leisure reservations by phone, a decrease of 4% over 2006 figures. Of those using the telephone, 52% said they will be calling the hotel directly and 46% said they would use a 1-800 number. The Internet is up 4% over 2006, at 33% and up from a reported 29% in 2005. There is still a digital divide, however, with urban leisure travellers using the Internet more than their rural counterparts.
TVisitor traffic to holiday homes.canada (www.frbo.ca) & TFor Rent By Owner in Canada (www.FRBO.ca) web sites for the month of Febuary 2007:
Total 'hits' for the month = 145,489 hits (5,196 per day)
Total 'unique visits' for the month = 10,923 (390 per day)
Visitors came from 80+ countries.
For more information, including an independent audit of the site performance, and to view the countries of origin for visitors
Should you allow pets?
Advantages of allowing pets: Lots of potential renters have pets, so allowing pets makes your property available to a larger pool of potential tenants, and thereby increases your chances of renting your home faster and even for slightly higher rates. If you already have pets, your home may be more likely to appeal to another pet owner.
Disadvantages of allowing pets: There is a greater chance of damage to your home when pets are present. And it may be difficult to recover.....For complete article click here.
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