South Korea calling...Revolving Hotel in Croatia?...Jim's Deal of the Day
Had a chance to meet up with Korea tourism officials today. It's another place I've never visited but looks quite intriguing.
Korea is launching its first Formula One race next year. It's already staging plenty of pro golf tournaments. And Pyeongchang is bidding again for the Winter Olympics, this time in 2018. The Korean city barely lost the 2010 bid to Vancouver, you may recall.
They're also emphasizing specialty tours such as temple stays,
medical/health tours and a taekwondo experience program, where you can learn basic forms of self-defense.
"We have 500-year-old palaces like Kyoto," as well as beaches, islands, mountains and big cities such as Seoul; all in a fairly small country that can be crossed in a few hours, Lee explained.
A lot of our attention in Canada has been on how the loonie has surged against the U.S. greenback, but Lee says the dollar now fetches about 1,100 Korean wan; up from 900 not so long ago.
Korea is doing a lot with social media as well, launching its own Facebook page (www.facebook.com/visitkorea) where folks can explain why they want to visit.
EVERYONE GETS AN OCEAN VIEW ... FOR A WHILE
Spotted a great item the other day about a hotel near Split, Croatia, on Solta Island. Rather than giving a few people the great Mediterranean views and other folks a glimpse of the parking lot, the plan is to have the hotel rotate.
That way everyone gets a sea view for part of the day, or part of an hour, you'd think. You could even time your breakfast or lunch or what have you so that you have your meal or do your shopping while the view sucks, then dash back to the room to enjoy the sunset.
I don't have any more details but if I do I'll pass them along as it sounds really cool. Revolving restaurants used to be all the thing, so why not a hotel?
CONTINENTAL AIMING FOR TORONTO ISLAND AIRPORT?
Good story from my former City Hall cohort Paul Moloney in today's Star, explaining that there's a move afoot to perhaps build a giant parking lot down near the Toronto Island Airport.
Moloney explains that traffic is booming at the airport and says there's talk that Air Canada wants to get back in. And he floated the idea that Continental Airlines from the U.S. might want to grab some spots.
THE ECONOMY IS ON THE MEND....OH, WAIT
It's hard keeping track of the economic news these days. For every bright spot, there's a dull one. For every spark of energy, there's a slam to the back of your head that makes you feel we're nowhere near recovery. Anyway, here's the latest; all of it rolling in today.
The National Business Travel Association's Canadian affiliate put out a release in the afternoon to say it expects domestic and transborder airfares to increase 1 to 5 per cent this year, but that international airfares will remain flat. They also expect hotel rates and car rental rates to stay flat in 2010, although I've read plenty of stories about car agencies raising prices down south.
(On a related note, my Dad rented a car in B.C. a few weeks back and they nailed him $200 for taking it over the border to Alberta. I've been warned in previous rentals not to take my car over a state border in the U.S., but I think it's absurd. And my Dad says there was nothing in the ad he saw that said anything about a cross-border penalty. And it's within the same country, so I find it ridiculous. Taking a Canadian car to the U.S., maybe that's an issue. But B.C. to Alberta? Get real, folks.)
There were several reports on U.S. airline earnings today, as well. Delta said it will cut system capacity 3 per cent after a $161 million third quarter loss. That compares to a loss of $50 million in the same period a year ago.
US Airways lost $80 million in the third quarter of this year, but it was a smaller loss than analysts expected.
Meanwhile, over at Alaska Air Group, word was they posted a, wait for it, third quarter profit of a rather sizeable $87.6 million. The Seattle-based company operates Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. How they did it, I haven't a clue.
JIM'S DEAL OF THE DAY
A discount is a discount, no matter where it comes from. With Sunquest’s new ‘Pay No Fuel’ promotion, your savings are deducted from your travel taxes rather than the base fare. But it still adds up to $90 off per person, or $180 off per couple. To Punta Cana, for instance, the taxes normally add up to about $320 per person. With the ‘Pay No Fuel’ deal, that Punta Cana tax bill drops to just over $230 per person. ‘Pay No Fuel’ applies to all destinations and durations for all Sunquest sun packages, for travel Nov. 1, 2009 to Feb. 28, 2010. Bookings must be made by Nov. 3. See www.sunquest.ca.