Canada came out smelling pretty sweet in a survey of consumers in 20 nations.
The folks who run the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brand Index say they surveyed people about their attitudes about 50 countries and found Canada ranked first in the world in the "would make me feel welcome" category and also came first in the category "would visit if money were no object."
The nation brand index said it found that the top five countries in making people feel welcome were Canada, then Australia, Italy, New Zealand and Spain. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the bottom five globally were China, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Iran. The U.S., by the way, was ranked 25th.
In terms of a place to visit if money wasn't an issue, the rankings came in with Canada at number one, followed by Italy, Australia, Switzerland and France. The bottom five, which is kind of a bizarre ranking when you think about it, were Lithuania, Estonia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Iran.
The company asked Americans in particular where they would feel most welcome and came up with their own country in the number one spot, followed by the U.K., Canada, Australia and Italy. Their bottom five were Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, United Arab Emirates and Nigeria.
If you're interested in Canadian travel, check out the Canadian Tourism Commission's videos on youtube.
The latest information came from a survey taken late in 2008, officials say. The company's full nation brand index survey will take place this coming fall.
In an email to the Star, Xiaoyan Zhao of GfK expanded on the findings.
"It's true that Canada does not have Paris, London, or Rome, the most glamorous cities of the world. But Canada has a lot going for it. For example, it leads the world in "natural beauty," beating out Australia and New Zealand (they tie for second) and Switzerland. Canada also ranks among the top 10 countries in terms of having 'vibrant city life and urban attractions.'"
Zhao said the high ranking for city life makes sense given the film festival and music and arts scene in our nation. Canada didn't rank highly in terms of having historic buildings and museums, but came out well in other categories.
As for Canada's number one ranking in terms of visiting if people could afford it, Zhao noted that we're pretty far away from a lot of travellers.
"Canada has come a long ways in building a global image that is modern and contemporary," he said.
Good for us. If we could somehow make Canada a bit more affordable, Lord only knows what kind of tourism boost we could get.
CANADA PASSENGER BILL OF RIGHTS
MP Jim Maloway's proposed airline bill of rights quietly passed second reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday. It didn't get much attention given the Mulroney "tears for fears" performance and the Ruby Dhalla situation and all those other government scandals, but Liberals and Bloc MP's combined to outvote the Conservatives 139-131 and pass Maloway's controversial bill at second reading.
It's promising for those who'd like to see it ultimately passed, but it still has to go through a house committee and the Senate, and the Canadian airline industry will likely pull out all stops to kill it.
A WestJet spokesman told CanWest that the bill would be "disastrous" for the Canadian airline industry.
In a letter given to MP's on Wednesday, the National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents WestJet, Air Canada, AirTransat and Air Canada Jazz, said that "the threat of severe penalties will interfere with a captain's prerogative to determine the safe operations of a flight. These penalties lower passenger safety in Canada by encouraging more risk-taking."
Maloway's bill calls for $500 payments to passengers left stranded on the tarmac for more than an hour, provided the airline doesn't provide proper service and provided there was an opportunity to get passengers safely off the plane. Other provisions call for a penalty of up to $1,200 if a passenger has to give up a seat on a flight that's overbooked. Airlines also would be forced to advertise fares that include all taxes and surcharges, and amen to that.
SWINE FLU "GUARANTEE" IN MEXICO
I didn't spot this until today, but apparently some hotels on the Caribbean coast of Mexico earlier this week said they'll give people three years of free holidays if they visit their resort and come down with the swine flu. It's pretty bizarre, but the director of one of the participating hotel groups said the holidays would be given to "travellers who present flu symptoms eight days after returning from their trip."
About 5,000 hotel rooms are said to be involved in the promotion. There was no immediate word on whether the holidays would be for, say, one week a year for three years or two weeks or how the policy would work.
It's pretty interesting, but sounds like a pretty big "Buyer Beware" stamp ought to be affixed to this deal.