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September 2006 Travel Newsletter

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  • Canadian travel news
    Americans spending more in Canada
    Chinese rules on tourism leave Canada in the cold
    Canadian RevPAR
    U.K. to Edmonton service a timely development
  • International travel news
    'Don't let the bedbugs bite' heard as infestations on the rise
    2006 U.S. Lodging Survey
    World's first mobile hotel room
  • Internet info
    Online travel spending up 15% in first half of 2006
    Visitor traffic
  • Advice for the property owner

Canadian travel news

Americans spending more in Canada
The first increase in spending in a year and a half by American travellers in Canada more than offset the jump to record spending by Canadians in both the U.S. and overseas in the 2nd quarter of 2006, according to Statistics Canada. As a result, Canada's international travel deficit fell to $1.8 billion.
The decline was fuelled by an increase in spending by American travellers in Canada. American residents spent an estimated $2.2 billion in Canada during the 2nd quarter, up 4% from the 1st quarter and the first time since the end of 2004 that spending in Canada by American travellers had increased.
The higher spending was the result of increased overnight travel from the U.S. Americans made 3.5 million overnight trips to Canada in the 2nd quarter, up 2.5% from the previous quarter.
In the opposite direction, Canadian travellers spent a record $3.3 billion in the U.S. during the 2nd quarter, up 0.6% or $19 million more than the previous high set during the 1st quarter of this year.
Meanwhile, travellers from overseas countries spent an estimated $1.8 billion in Canada during the 2nd quarter, up 2% from the previous quarter. Spending by overseas travellers in Canada had fallen the previous two quarters after having steadily increased since the 2nd quarter of 2003, at the height of the SARS crisis.
The increase in travel spending from overseas occurred despite a 0.4% drop in the number of overnight trips originating from non-U.S. countries, which reached 1.1 million during the 2nd quarter.

Chinese rules on tourism leave Canada in the cold
On the 27th floor of a Beijing office tower, a life-size cardboard Mountie stands at attention, greeting everyone with a cheerful salute. But these days, there are few visitors to greet.
The red-painted Mountie stands at the entrance of the Beijing headquarters of the Canadian Tourism Commission, which tries to lure Chinese tourists to visit Canada. It's potentially a multibillion-dollar industry for Canada, since Chinese tourists are among the biggest spenders of any tourists in the world. Yet in a typical week, only 10 to 15 people visit the office. After 7 years of failed negotiations, Canada still doesn't have the right to advertise itself as a tourism destination in one of the world's most lucrative tourism markets.
Canadian diplomats have struggled to bring China back to the negotiating table. They have sent faxes and hand-delivered messages but 9 months have passed without a single meeting. The negotiations are effectively suspended.
Beijing was furious that Canada gave honorary citizenship to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, despite China's belief that he is a dangerous separatist. Beijing is also angry that Canada refuses to surrender China's most wanted international fugitive, Lai Changxing, who is charged with smuggling and has remained in Vancouver while pursuing his refugee claim in the courts.
By refusing to negotiate the accord, China is causing heavy damage to Canada's tourism industry, which is hoping to receive up to 700,000 annual tourists from China - each spending an average of $1,800 on accommodation and shopping in Canada.
China is emerging as the world's fastest-growing source of new international tourists. Within the next 7 years, Chinese tourists are projected to be making 120 million foreign trips per year - a huge potential market for countries such as Canada that have traditionally enjoyed a good image in China.
Back in 1999, when negotiations began, Canada was at the front of the race for the tourist business. Canada was one of the first Western countries to seek an "Approved Destination Status" (ADS) agreement. Today, more than 80 countries have reached an ADS agreement with China, yet Canada is still frozen out.
"We can't do direct-consumer advertising," said Derek Galpin, managing director of the tourism commission's China operations. "We're operating with one hand tied behind our back."
Despite the failed negotiations, the number of Chinese tourists to Canada has expanded significantly in recent years, including a 25% rise in the first 5 months of this year. But if a tourism agreement had been reached, Mr. Galpin said, the increase would be 10 percentage points higher this year - and more in the future.

Canadian RevPAR
Latest lodging report (week ending September 2nd) from the Canadian hotel industry showing 'revenue per available room' (RevPAR).

Province RevPAR % change
Alberta $99.28 +12.9%
British Columbia $108.60 +6.0%
Manitoba $59.70 +16.3%
New Brunswick $78.08 -3.3%
Newfoundland & Labrador $67.53 -3.5%
Nova Scotia $89.44 +1.9%
Ontario $87.27 +10.3%
Prince Edward Island $83.45 +26.3%
Quebec $93.96 -10.5%
Saskatchewan $59.28 +6.6%
Canada $90.96 +5.9%

RevPAR is typically defined as room revenue divided by rooms available.
% change reflects the change from the previous week

U.K. to Edmonton service a timely development
News of Air Canada's non-stop London Heathrow-Edmonton service starting October 31st was greeted with joy in the Alberta tourism community.
"This is just fantastic news, not only for Edmonton but also for Alberta and Canada," said Ken Fiske, VP of tourism at the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. "It is yet another non-stop flight to Canada in a new city; it's another option to go into the Canadian Rockies; it's another opportunity to access the Northwest Territories and Yukon."
The London Heathrow - Edmonton flights will begin operating three times weekly, and are projected to build up to daily service beginning April 1, 2007.
The service will make the Jasper region even more accessible for British skiers this winter. By next summer, Air Canada will be offering non-stop flights from Heathrow to 8 cities across Canada: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and St. John's.

International travel news

'Don't let the bedbugs bite' heard as infestations on the rise
Absent from the United States for so long that some thought they were a myth, bedbugs are back. Entomologists and pest control professionals are reporting a dramatic increase in infestations throughout the country, and no one knows exactly why.
"It's no secret that bedbugs are making a comeback," said Dan Suiter, an associate professor of entomology at the University of Georgia.
Before World War II, bedbug infestations were common in the U.S., but they were virtually eradicated through improvements in hygiene and the widespread use of DDT in the 1940s and 1950s.
Bedbugs are tiny brownish, flattened insects that feed exclusively on the blood of animals and humans. Their bites may cause itchy red welts or swelling. Unlike mosquitoes, though, they are not known to transmit blood-borne diseases from one victim to another. They are extremely resilient and very difficult to exterminate. Experts say bedbugs are not necessarily an indicator of unsanitary conditions. In the past 4 years, reports of bedbugs have significantly increased in U.S. cities, from New York to Honolulu, especially in hotels, hospitals and college dormitories - all places with high resident turnover.
Experts are not entirely sure what has caused the marked increase. Some speculate that increased international travel and immigration may be partially to blame. The tiny bugs may be hitching a ride in the luggage or clothing of travelers. This could explain the high concentration of the pests in cities like Atlanta and New York, which attract a lot of international traffic.
Another factor is a change in pest control practices. Companies are spraying more responsibly now, Suiter said. Instead of indiscriminately saturating the perimeter of all rooms, they often use more conservative measures and do large-scale spray treatments only when there's an infestation. As a result of consumer demand, less toxic chemicals are also being used.
In Hawaii, where tourism is a major industry, state lawmakers passed a resolution for a prevention campaign after infestations at some hotels damaged their reputations and annoyed travellers. Similarly, legislation for a bedbug task force has been proposed for New York City.

2006 U.S. Lodging Survey
More than 9,300 U.S. hotel properties were recently polled; among the many major findings, the survey revealed the following:
The percentage of hotels with cable or satellite TV in the room has grown steadily since 1990, from 69% to 99% in 2006.
Voice mail continues to become a common amenity in hotel rooms. 86% of all hotels now offer voice mail, up from 72% in 2004. All hotels in the luxury chain scale indicated they offer voice mail.
High-speed Internet access has grown substantially. Of all responding properties, 50% offered this service in 2004, which grew to 89% in 2006.
Wireless Internet access is likely the fastest growing in-room amenity. The number of hotels that offer this service more than doubled over the last 2 years. In 2006, 82% of all hotels offered this service compared to 35% in 2004.
In 2006, the upgraded bedding amenity was surveyed for the first time. 69% of all hotels indicated they had upgraded the bedding in their rooms last year.
98% of all respondents in 2006 indicated they use the Internet to obtain a booking, which was up from 89% in 2004.

World's first mobile hotel room
When it comes to hotel rooms, this one is quite literally in a field of its own...
Travelodge U.K. has produced the ultimate accessory for lovers of outdoor entertainment. Forget waterlogged tents - now you can have for the first time, a mobile bedroom or 'Travelpod' to make even the fussiest festival-goer feel at home.
The room comes complete with a luxury double bed, bedside tables, lights, duvet, pillows, fully carpeted floor, dressing table with light, mirror, chair and even its own WC.
The palatial pod is sealed in a 6 metres (length) by 2.4 metres (width) x 2.6 metres (height) clear polycarbonate glass box but inside has features that you will find in any Travelodge hotel across the U.K.
The Travelpod will be trialled this summer in a number of 'soft' tests in various environments, with a festival ear-marked for next year to run the first customer trials.
Wayne Munnelly, Travelodge's Director of Sleep said, "It is a great concept where guests can enjoy the festival, dance through the night and climb in to a nice comfy bed. Not everyone who goes to a concert wants to sleep in a tent - this is the ultimate budget fun alternative."

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Check out Romania Holiday Homes - easter Europe jewel.

Internet info

Online travel spending up 15% in first half of 2006
From January through June, total online spending by consumers totaled $80.8 billion, representing a 20.1% increase over the same period in 2005. Online non-travel (retail) spending increased by 24.6% to $46.1 billion, while travel spending reached $34.7 billion, marking a 14.7% gain.

Visitor traffic to holiday homes.canada ( & For Rent By Owner in Canada ( web sites for the month of August 2005:
Total 'hits' for the month = 161,914 hits (5,223 per day)
Total 'unique visits' for the month = 12,339 (398 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.

Advice for the property owner

Never under-estimate the importance of this vital aspect of property rentals. Garbage cans that haven't been emptied, candy wrappers lurking in a far corner under the kids' bunk beds and greasy stoves all add up to an odious start to anyone's vacation. It's essential to have good, reliable cleaners...... For complete article click here.

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