STILL THE BIG APPLE
Word out of New York on Monday is that the city generated a record 47 million visitors and $30 billion in tourism spending last year,
That's like the entire population of Canada visiting the city, plus a couple provinces making a repeat trip.
Despite the worldwide economic downturn, New York managed to increase its numbers from 46 million visitors in 2007 (and $28.9 billion in spending).
Didn't know this, but New York last year surpassed Orlando and Las Vegas - and even Wichita - to rank number one in tourism spending in the United States.
New York hotels are offering some great deals, but officials say the city still has a hotel occupancy rate that's more than 20 per cent higher than the national average.
New York certainly can't be accused of resting on its haunches. Over the past year, NYC and Company opened new tourism marketing offices in Toronto (gee, somebody likes us), Sydney and Mumbai, brigning the total number of offices to a whopping 18.
ON THE OTHER HAND
A story in Travel Week magazine says the world's airlines are expected to lose $2.5 billion (U.S.) in 2009.
"We face the worst revenue environment in 50 years," said Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association.
Geez, Giovanni, ya gotta stop sugarcoating it.
The Delta Toronto Airport West has a "Bon Voyage Stop Over" promotion in place that includes a night's accomodation, complimentary 24-hour shuttle to Pearson and free covered parking for up to eight days. Rates start at a reasonable $99 and are based on double occupancy for a maximum one-night stay.
"We understand travellers' concerns over missing their flights due to the bad weather and traffic delays that are common during Canadian winters," says Debbie Hastings, director of sales and marketing. "Our goal is to provide travellers with a solution, and help ease them into 'vacation mode' before they even leave the city."
Visit deltatorontoairportwest.com or call 1-800-737-3211.
Another item in Travel Week says Colombia is eliminating the need for travellers' visas for 87 countries, including Canada. Temporary visitors apparently will be issued a special permit by the Department of Security Administration upon arrival.