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American trips north hit 26-year low
Our $58-billion tourism industry is being hammered by the strong loonie, stubbornly high gasoline prices and congested border crossings as American visitors stay home in droves.
The number of Americans travelling into Canada is at a 26-year low, forcing resorts, restaurants and an array of tourist attractions to rely increasingly on Canadians to play slot machines, admire art, dine out and book overnight accommodation. Unfortunately the strong dollar appears to be encouraging more Canadians to desert Canada as more than 3.7 million Canadians ventured abroad in August, up 2.8% to the highest level in 4 years.
Overall travel to Canada by Americans fell in August to its lowest monthly level since May 1979, and the number of cross-border car trips slumped to the lowest since records were compiled in 1972.
At Casino Windsor, cars with U.S. licence plates don't dominate the parking lot like before. At the Wickaninnish Inn on Vancouver Island, the chef is serving fewer native-style potlatch dinners to American guests. And at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, fewer U.S. visitors are walking up the entrance ramp.
Casino Windsor spokeswoman Holly Ward said it doesn't take much to scare U.S. gamblers away from driving across the Michigan-Ontario border. "Any time there's a possibility of a delay, there's a decline in U.S. attendance," she said. The downturn in U.S. visitors has had a ripple effect across Windsor, cutting into sales from bars to shopping malls.
Wickaninnish managing director Charles McDiarmid said his high-end inn on Vancouver Island, has been able to draw more Canadians and Europeans, but not enough to offset the diminishing number of Americans. In the past 2 years, Wickaninnish has seen a 30% decline in the number of U.S. travellers.
Even a special exhibit on Leonardo da Vinci & Michelangelo at the National Art Gallery wasn't enough to buck the downward tourism trend. Gallery spokeswoman Joanne Charette said some Americans are confused by a U.S. plan that would require them to carry passports into Canada, but those cross-border rules aren't scheduled to kick in fully until Dec. 31, 2007.
Hotel Association of Canada president Anthony Pollard said uncertainty among U.S. travellers over their passport requirements is hurting Canadian tourism. While Mr. Pollard said he agrees with the need for tougher security screening, he wants the United States to do a better job of explaining that passports aren't yet needed.
Growth from overseas market
While decreased traffic from the US is a major concern travel from other international markets rose 3.7% over August 2004 to reach 604,000 trips.
The largest increase was from South America (24%), followed by Europe (5.9%).
Canada's three key European markets recorded mixed results when compared to August 2004: France (-3.3%), Germany (+11.3%) and the UK (+13.8%).
The year-to-date total for 2005 remains well ahead of last year, topping 3.1 million trips from overseas destinations to Canada.
Latest lodging report (week ending October 29th) from the Canadian hotel industry showing 'revenue per available room' (RevPAR).
|Newfoundland & Labrador||$80.42|
|Prince Edward Island||$37.52|
*RevPAR is typically defined as room revenue divided by rooms available.
Terror map blow to UK tourism
It is the world map which will have Britain's tourist industry reaching for the Prozac.
A guide to the world's most dangerous holiday destinations, based on advice from the German Foreign Office, says visitors to the UK are as much in danger from war and terror as they are in some of the world's most notorious trouble spots.
The UK has been classed as being in the same terror risk bracket as Egypt, Uzbekistan, Algeria, Iran, Pakistan, Israel and Sudan in the ratings of the world's riskiest countries.
The guide divides the world into three categories. Haiti, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan get a red "Seriously at risk" rating and Pakistan, Indonesia and the UK are given an amber "Some risk".
Destinations such as Germany, Canada, France, Australia, and even Nigeria, Colombia and El Salvador are awarded a green "Minimal risk" rating.
China's domestic tourism market world's largest
China's domestic tourism market has become the world's largest measured by tourist numbers.
The number of Chinese tourists traveling nationwide reached 1.1 billion last year, 27% more than the previous year, with tourism revenue topping 471.1 billion yuan (approximately US$58 billion), a year-on-year rise of 37%.
About 28.85 million Chinese people traveled overseas last year. In the first 8 months this year, the number of outbound tourists totaled 20.46 million, a year-on-year increase of 10%. It is estimated that the number of outbound Chinese tourists will reach 50 million by 2010.
As for inbound tourists, China received 41.8 million overseas tourists who spent at least one night on the Chinese mainland last year, ranking 4th in the world. Tourism revenue hit US$25.7 billion, up a whopping 48% on 2003, ranking 7th in the world. Tourist arrivals to China in the first 8 months of this year came to 30.89 million, up by 15% over last year's same period.
These factors make China one of the world's major tourism markets. About 6.49 million people worked in the tourism sector in China in 2003, and the number is expected to increase by more than 500,000 annually over the next 5 years.
Translation service now available
We are pleased to announce the introduction of a translation service for our websites. Visitors now have the ability to view the holiday homes canada website in a choice of 8 languages, including French, German and Spanish.
The translation service is provided by Google and although not perfect will give non-English speaking visitors added confidence to navigate our site and view your listing in the language of their choice.
The translation will extend to any property-owner web sites we link to, rendering them in the language chosen by the visitor. Go ahead and give it a try. You will find "Translate this site" links on our Home page and all "search" pages.
This translation service is also available from our sister 'gateway' site For Rent By Owner in Canada.
Visitor traffic to holiday homes.canada (www.holidayhomes.ca) & For Rent By Owner in Canada (www.FRBO.ca) web sites for the month of October 2005:
Total 'hits' for the month = 129,861 hits (4,189 per day)
Total 'unique visits' for the month = 9,921 (320 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.
Check your listings
Time to post 2006 rates? Get into the habit of regularly checking your listings, wherever they are. There is no cost to edit your listings at holiday homes.canada. Just send us a note of the changes needed and we'll take care of things.
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