CANADA KICKS U.S., BRITISH BUTT
It's only one report. But it's nice to see Canada's tourism biz get the nod over our friends from south of the border.
A report on tourism by the World Economic Forum gave Canada top marks for all the Americas in its "Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report (for) 2009."
The forum put Canada fifth in the world out of 133 ranked countries, behind Switzerland, Austria, Germany and France (and ahead of jolly old U.K, which was 11th, and ahead of the U.S, which came eighth). Pretty heady company, I'd say, and a solid improvement over last year's ninth spot for Canada.
"Canada's national resources constitute a key strength, with the country's nine World Heritage natural sites placing it fourth internationally," the report stated. "Its cultural resources are also a strong point, with many international fairs and exhibitions in the country and strong creative industries in particular."
(Isn't that the point Toronto Mayor David Miller often makes when he's pleading with the "hold your nose and support the arts" Tory government in Ottawa? Just wondering.)
They also said Canada's air transport infrastructure is tops in the Americas and cited the country's support for tourism and environmental policies. Good news all around.
The forum said the U.S. has solid infrastructure and the best natural resources in the Americas but cited a high rate of traffic deaths (125th out of 133 countries) and "worries about crime and violence."
Switzerland nabbed the top spot for impressive cultural and natural sites in a small country, as well as strong environmental policies and a history of strong hotel management schooling, as well as a plethora of ATM's (didn't know that but makes sense in a country with a strong banking tradition).
"Such high-quality infrastructure makes a tourist's stay in the country easy and comfortable, an experience that is reinforced by the high level of general safety and security," the authors wrote.
Other tidbits include the fact the forum ranked Venezuela last in the world "regarding the overall national affinity for Travel and Tourism." Guess Mr. Chavez might want to get right on that one.
Here's the forum's top 10, by the way:
8. United States
So, kudos to Switzerland. And our condolences to the Americans and Brits for losing to Canada. Better luck next time, guys!
For the full list, go to http://www.weforum.org/pdf/TTCR09/TTCR09_Rankings.pdf
GREAT NEW TOURISM SITE (WE THINK)
Haven't had time to fully check it out but read an interesting item in the Guardian about a travel site called www.spottedbylocals.com where local bloggers in major cities in Europe compile their thoughts about everything from restaurants to bars and hotels in their city.
It's a great resource, in theory, although you'd want to suss out whether you're reading advice from someone who's into Goth music and hooka pipes or someone who prefers sipping a Scotch in the corner of a cozy pub. In other words, you want to be clear if you're dealing with Michael Phelps or Michael Caine.
The Guardian story said bloggers range "from 18-year old Czech medicine students to 60-year old Belgian retirees," which is pretty good, gamut-wise.
As an example, Delphine Rieder in Geneva says the Auberge du Cheval-Blanc in the Carouge area of town is top-notch. "On Sunday, they serve breakfast and buffet-style brunch between 10:30 and 15:30. Salads, cheese, eggs, quiches, different kinds of bread, cold meat, fruit, cereal… It is “all you can eat," which is really good considering the usual prices for restaurant meals in Switzerland.
Definitely worth checking out before your next trip to Europe.