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Travel to Canada hits record low for fifth straight month in March
The OTTAWA - Travel to Canada hit a record low for the fifth straight month in March, following big declines in both same-day car trips from the United States and the number of visitors from overseas nations. Statistics Canada reports foreign visitors made 2.3 million trips to Canada in March, the lowest since record keeping started in 1972. That's a one per cent decline from February, and a 12.4 per cent drop from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the number of Canadian trips abroad rose 1.4 per cent to almost 4.5 million, the vast majority (85 per cent) to the United States.
U.S. residents made only 730,000 same-day car trips to Canada in March, down 2.5 per cent from the previous month. Same-day car travel to Canada has fallen by 41.1 per cent in two years. Overseas travellers to Canada made 384,000 trips in March, down three per cent. Travel declined in eight of Canada's top 12 overseas markets, with the strongest decreases in travel from Mexico, Germany and Hong Kong. There were gains in visitors from India, Italy and the Netherlands.
Overall, Canadians made 3.8 million trips to the United States in March, up 1.6 per cent from February. Canadian travel to the United States in the past six months has been the highest since 1998. Same-day car travel to the United States increased 1.5 per cent to 2.1 million trips, while overnight car travel rose 1.9 per cent to 991,000 trips. Overnight plane trips to the United States set a new record high for the fourth straight month. Canadian travel to countries other than the United States increased 0.4 per cent to a record 670,000 - the 10th month in the past year in which a new record high was set.
Canadian Geographic magazine unveils Top 25 beaches
Canadian Geographic magazine has created a list of the Top 25 beaches in Canada ? and Manitoba is home to two of them: Grand Beach on Lake Winnipeg and Little Limestone Lake Park Reserve north of Grand Rapids, reports the Winnipeg Free Press. Well-known tourist spots such as Cavendish Beach in P.E.I. and Sandbanks Provincial Park in Ontario made the list, but many of the locations came from provinces less known for their shoreline attractions.
Patricia D'Souza, senior editor at Canadian Geographic, said the publication wanted the list to represent the entire country and a wide range of beaches. British Columbia is home to seven of the top beaches, and another four come from Ontario. Every province and territory has at least one beach on the list except the Northwest Territories and Nunavut ? but they also "have stunning beaches, to be sure," added D'Souza. The list, which is not ranked in any particular order, is in the form of a photo essay.
The 25 beaches are: Kluane Lake, Y.T., Bennett Beach, Y.T., Kinosoo Beach, Alta., Manitou Beach, Sask., Grand Beach, Man., Little Limestone Lake Park Reserve, Man., Wasaga Beach, Ont., Bruce Peninsula, Ont., Sandbanks Provincial Park, Ont., Point Pelee, Ont., Demoiselle Beach, N.B., Parlee Beach, N.B., Plage de la Dune-du-Nord, Que., Black Brook Beach, N.S., Ingonish Beach, N.S., Cavendish Beach, P.E.I., The Arches Provincial Park, N.L., Pinware River Provincial Park, N.L., Long Beach, B.C., Chesterman Beach, B.C., Florencia Bay, B.C., MacKenzie Beach, B.C., Combers Beach, B.C., South Beach, B.C., Cape Enrage, B.C.
Author: TOURISM staff
Organization: Canadian Tourism Commission
Getting the customers through the door
You’ve put the finishing touches to your property, now how do you go about getting the customers through the door? The word marketing may send a chill down your spine, but forget cold calling and unsolicited junk mail. Marketing is all about helping the right people to find what you’re offering – namely your fantastic holiday home.
Forward planning and good research into the holiday market in your local area are important and if you have looked into our Buy to Let Guide you should have picked up the practice of thinking like a holidaymaker. Putting yourself in the shoes of your potential guests gives you the best insight into what they’ll be looking for and where they might be looking. You will need to spend some money on marketing your property and it is advisable to budget as early as possible for an annual spend on advertising and set this relative to your expected returns. Remember: Holidaymakers will not be falling over themselves to stay unless they know your property is ready and waiting to welcome them. If you are looking to fill your property for 30+ weeks of the year then it is worth setting a marketing budget of between £300 and £500 for the first year. If you are not in need of quite so many bookings per year then a budget of up to £300 should be enough for some basic advertising to get you started.
Advertising is the backbone of successful marketing and in our current climate of buying and booking online; the Internet is the ideal place to advertise. With millions of Holidaymakers going online every day the Internet is a marketing tool that allows you to advertise to a worldwide audience from the comfort of your own home and at very affordable rates. The best way to get your property seen on the web is to use a rental-listing site such as www.holidayhomes.ca. Rental listing sites are great value for money because they do the work of bringing thousands of holidaymakers to see your property in volumes that you would struggle to achieve in printed adverts or word of mouth recommendations.
You may be thinking that you ideally need to have your own website in order to get the most from web surfing holidaymakers. Stop and think this through first. The key to online advertising is to make sure that potential guests can find you through the main search engines like Google, MSN and Yahoo. Setting up your own website can be quite expensive and your new 6 page site will have to compete with thousands of others to attract visitors. It takes a lot of time and expertise to get your site noticed by the main search engines, the great thing about rental listing sites is that they do this work for you. Sites like www.holidayhomes.ca effectively offer you your own property portfolio page within their website. They are designed for owners like you, and they’ll let you set up and edit your own advert page. Most charge an annual fee and direct all the booking enquiries straight to you to handle.
Advertising on one or more of the established rental listing sites is an easy way of getting a great number of people to your advert and you don’t need any knowledge of web design to get set up. Shop around for the best deal in terms of how many photos you can show, what extras they offer and what prices they charge.
When you are planning your advertising you need to think about realistic time scales. Setting up an online advert in advance of the first available date is a sensible idea to maximise the interest you get, but if you have builders working on the place until June for example, be cautious about advertising your home as available from July. If the work overruns you could be dealing with homeless and seriously unhappy holidaymakers.
Finally, remember that detail and first impressions matter. Potential guests who are looking for the ideal place to stay will be put off very quickly if you only give details of last years pricing, misspell the name of your local town or only show grainy photos taken on a grey day. In order to get the most from your advertising you’ll need to have good clear information on the property and location, great photos and a sensible pricing structure.
U.S. Gas Prices Keep Some Holiday Travelers at Home
The U.S. average price of regular unleaded gasoline rose 2 cents overnight as almost a fourth of Americans shortened or abandoned plans for the Memorial Day weekend, traditionally the beginning of summer travel. Elementary private-school teacher Sarah Preston, 24, missed her first Memorial Day weekend in Bethany Beach, Delaware, in more than 10 years. She also opted to give up her summer job at the beach because of the expense of traveling the 240 roundtrip miles (386 kilometers) between the family vacation home at the shore and Baltimore, where she attends graduate classes.
``It gets expensive,'' she said. ``Usually I work down there and drive home to go to grad school. Now I'm going to try to stay at least a week when I go down this summer.'' Last summer, she would commute at least once a week from Bethany Beach to attend class, a trip that cost her about $36.77 in her Ford Taurus, according to the AAA fuel cost calculator. This weekend, that trip would have cost her about $44.30 as the average price of unleaded gas reached $3.93 a gallon.
Drivers heading for the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware usually cross the Chesapeake Bay on the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge, known locally as the Bay Bridge. More than 355,000 cars were making the journey over the spans, an increase of 3 percent compared with last year, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.
About 37.9 million people traveled at least 50 miles from home during the holiday weekend, which started May 23 and ends tomorrow, according to AAA, the largest U.S. motorist group. It's 1 percent fewer than traveled last year and marks the first drop since 2002. Some travelers, who might otherwise drive, are taking mass transit to reach their destinations. Amtrak's ridership is running 11 percent above last year, said Vernae Graham, a spokeswoman for the passenger train service.
``We anticipate ridership will be up given the gas prices and economy,'' she said. Statistics for the Memorial Day weekend won't be available until next week. Wyndham Worldwide Corp., a portfolio of 10 hotel chains with a majority of economy and mid-price rooms, was posting a modest gain compared with last year, said spokeswoman Betsy O'Rourke. ``We believe that many of our guests have chosen our brands as they seek value and economize,'' O'Rourke said in an e-mail. ``Most of our hotels offer free continental breakfast, plus kids stay free, further helping the travel budget.'' Wyndham's chains include Days Inn, Super 8, Travelodge, Howard Johnson and Ramada.
``We are seeing increased shopping for deals and packages and a shorter booking window,'' she said. ``Our timeshare resorts are booked well in advance and we expect to run full occupancy this summer as in the past.''
An estimated 23 percent of Americans shortened or abandoned their weekend travels plans because of the record gasoline prices, a survey by consulting firm Deloitte & Touche found. Among families with children under 13, 35 percent said they altered plans. Along the Gulf of Mexico in Panama City Beach, Florida, ``business is good, but it's not great,'' said Daniel Rowe, chief executive officer of the local convention and visitors bureau. Lodging failed to sell out as it did in previous years, and restaurants and hotels are providing discounts and free nights, he said.
``It's not a disaster,'' said Rowe, whose city draws visitors from places including Atlanta, Birmingham, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee. ``The economy has taken a little bite out of visitation.''
US Air Travelers Avoided 41 Million Trips in Past Year | U.S. Economy Takes $26.5 Billion Hit
First of its Kind Study Demonstrates Travelers Changing Behaviors Due to Immense Frustration with Air Travel Process
TIA CEO Dow: “The time for meaningful air system reform is now.”
Washington, DC | The Travel Industry Association (TIA) today released a landmark survey revealing that deep frustration among air travelers caused them to avoid an estimated 41 million trips over the past 12 months at a cost of more than $26 billion to the U.S. economy. Conducted by the premier, bipartisan polling firms of Peter D. Hart Research Associates and The Winston Group, the research also demonstrated that air travelers express little optimism for positive change, with nearly 50 percent saying that the air travel system is not likely to improve in the near future.
“The air travel crisis has hit a tipping point – more than 100,000 travelers each day are voting with their wallets by choosing to avoid trips,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO of TIA. “This landmark research should be a wake up call to America’s policy leaders that the time for meaningful air system reform is now.”
Dow noted that the 41 million avoided trips during the last 12 months rippled outward across the entire travel community costing airlines more than $9 billion in revenue; hotels nearly $6 billion and restaurants more than $3 billion. In addition, federal, state and local governments lost more than $4 billion in tax revenue because of reduced spending by travelers.
“Many travelers believe their time is not respected and it is leading them to avoid a significant number of trips," said Allan Rivlin, a partner at Peter D. Hart Research Associates. “Inefficient security screening and flight cancellations and delays are air travelers' top frustrations.”
“A majority of travelers thought that air travel safety was getting better and a majority thought the security was improving as well,” said David Winston, President of the Winston Group. “But there are clear frustrations around efficiency and reliability, which are contributing to travelers avoiding air travel.” The survey found that travelers believe that the air travel system is bad and getting worse, for example:
o More than 60 percent believe the air travel system is deteriorating; o One-third of all air travelers are dissatisfied with the air travel system, with 48 percent all frequent air travelers (5+ trips per year) dissatisfied; and o Travelers are most irritated about the air travel process, not the airlines. Issues the federal government can address are travelers’ top concerns: delays, cancellations and inefficient security screening.
“With rising fuel prices already weighing heavily on American pocketbooks, we need to find ways to encourage Americans to continue their business and leisure travel. Unfortunately, just the opposite appears to be happening.” said Dow.
Following this landmark survey, TIA will host an emergency summit of travel leaders on June 17 in Washington, DC to discuss next steps for moving this issue forward with policymakers. In addition, TIA has called on each of the major presidential candidates to commit to addressing this issue for the millions of American air travelers – and voters – who face the trials of the antiquated air traffic system on a daily basis and to issue a comprehensive plan to fix major elements of the air travel system during their first term in office.
The survey of 1,003 air travelers (adults who had taken at least one roundtrip by air in the last 12 months) was conducted between May 6 and May 13, 2008 and the statistical margin of sampling error is ± 3.2 percentage points.
The Travel Industry Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $740 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. TIA is proud to be a partner in travel with American Express.
Quality visitors reflected at ATM (Arabian Travel Market)
ORGANISERS of Arabian Travel Market 2008 (ATM) said that the number of quality visitors attending the Middle East’s largest travel show was this year more than 15 percent up on 2007 figures. “We saw very positive increases in the quality of visitor coming through the show’s doors this year. With considerable purchasing power, these visitors had the authority to sign deals on the spot, reiterating the importance buyers place on the region as a key tourism market,” said Simon Press, exhibition director, ATM, which ran at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) from May 6 to 9.
Organisers Reed Travel Exhibitions said the increase in quality visitors, which were judged predominantly on purchasing power, reflected the show’s comprehensive, content rich standing in one of the most dynamic and fastest growing tourism markets in the world. With over $100 billion worth of tourism development projects being showcased at ATM, the global industry, seeking to identity core business opportunities, received a first hand look at the Middle East’s impressive tourism portfolio.
“The Middle East is the fastest growing and most dynamic travel and tourism market in the world. As such, buyers from across the globe attend ATM to meet with potential customers and to identify key opportunities. As organisers of the event, we have increased the show’s offering and developed a more holistic environment for the industry’s players to conduct business. This is clearly paying immediate dividends,” said Press.
With over 2,200 exhibitors from 70 countries represented at this year’s show, organisers believe destinations and companies from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas utilised ATM to promote their offerings to an increasingly affluent Middle Eastern customer base. “The Middle East’s outbound tourism potential is increasing dramatically and the international tourism market is leveraging the show to promote their destinations,” he said.
At the opening ceremony HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman of the Emirates Airline Group, said that if the Middle East is to continue achieving unprecedented inbound tourism growth, regional countries need to ensure their product offerings compliment one another.
“Tourism is booming across the Middle East, not only here in the UAE. However, this growth can only continue if we take a consolidated approach to make sure that each country’s individual tourism products and domestic strategies compliment one another,” said Sheikh Ahmed. Regional bookings for the 2008 show were up five percent on last year, with representation from all Middle East countries - a show first - signalling a strengthening of the region’s diverse tourism propositions.
Close to 90 new exhibitors were present, with more than 62 national tourist bodies taking space including show debutants Bangladesh, The Philippines, Djibouti, Georgia, Senegal and Nepal. A total of 120 hosted buyers also attended. “Exhibitors have gone all out this year to show the stunning diversity of their offerings,” said Press.
DIECC’s stand included performing acrobats, caricature artists, dance troupes and magicians; dancers from the international performing group Cirque du Soleil entertained at the Nakheel stand, Dubailand’s stand displayed cartoon characters, superheroes and animated stars including those from Freej, Marvel’s Spiderman, The Hulk and The Thing; and many countries displayed their heritage and traditions.
Abdulla Al Falasi, Dubai World Central’s marketing and corporate communications director said, “Our participation was aimed at local, regional and global investors. The project’s recent developments - geared to boost tourism and business – will position Dubai not only as a tourist attraction, but also as a regional business hub. The response we received was encouraging, reaffirming our faith in what DWC - as a government of Dubai entity - hopes to accomplish in the next few years.”
Hojoo Sung, manager, Korean National Tourism Organisation said, “Our objective was to attract tour operators at this year’s Arabian Travel Market. The show is getting bigger by the year and it has been very helpful to us. Dubai is the trend leader of the Arab world and Arabian Travel Market is the most efficient way to promote to the market. We’re thinking about taking a bigger space next year and our hotel partners have been really busy – they’ve had a really good response.”
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