Stupid Canada Visitor Questions...Caribbean Dreaming...Jim's Deal of the Day
A government friend of mine (thanks!) today sent me a great list of what she said were REAL questions people asked on an international tourism website. I'm a little dubious of these things, as folks might INTENTIONALLY ask really stupid questions.
Nonetheless, as we seek to entertain ourselves on a rainy Friday, here's a few of the offerings, with the country from which the query originated in parentheses:
- I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (England)
- Will I be able to see polar bears in the street? (USA)
- I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto, can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden).
- Is it safe to run around in the bushes of Canada? (Sweden)
- Are they any ATM's in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (England)
- Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada?
- Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir Schedule? (USA)
- Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than (the male) population? (Italy)
- Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A few minutes before I got this list, I met a friend who swore she'd heard that a couple of Americans showed up in Trinity, Newfoundland this summer and asked where all the Finnish people were. Puzzled, her friend asked what they meant. "Well," came the reply, "aren't we in New Finland?"
She insists it's true. But if people are really this stupid, there's very little hope for the human race. That's all I can say....
They held a smashing lunch/reception in the Distillery District today to celebrate Caribbean week in Canada. Star freelancer Janie Robinson was awarded top newspaper story honours for a piece about delivering the mail by boat in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Association, told a packed press conference that Canadian arrivals in 2008 were up 15.3 per cent over 2007 and that total 2009 Canadian arrivals between January and July of this year were up 7.4 per cent over 2008.
He called the figures "gratifying" and said Canadians have been "a real saviour" for the Caribbean.
I hadn't thought of it like that, but Riley said Caribbean nations are "probably the most tourism dependent region in the world."
As for why Canadians continue to flock south, Riley said proximity and ease of access obviously is a huge factor. There's also tremendous cultural diversity, with French, English, Spanish and native histories, not to mention Dutch and South Asian influences and, of course, black/African culture. Naturally, there's also "unmatched beauty and spectacular weather," not to mention "hospitable people."
While numbers from Canada have been good, Riley said the value-added promotions laid on by operators and hotel owners have taken a toll on the bottom line.
"Some of these deals I hope we never have to see again," he joked.
Riley said people definitely are taking longer to book; staying up at 2 a.m. to find the best deals, "then doing it again the next night."
There are signs of improvement, but he said many experts suggest things won't really improve until the third quarter of 2010.
Riley said Caribbean nations are casting an eye on Western Canada. So stay tuned for more on that.
As for what's happening down south, here are a few tidbits I picked up:
- Air Canada Vacations is now offering B and B's and villa apartments in Barbados. They also have a deal where you can upgrade to executive class on some flight/hotel packages for Cuba and Costa Rica for just $99, including access to the Maple Leaf Lounge.
- Delta is adding more flights to St. Lucia from Atlanta.
- Plans in St. Kitts are proceeding for the Christophe Harbour project on the southern part of the island, complete with a Tom Fazio golf course.
- It's gonna be a busy winter in the Cayman Islands. There's a Jazz Festival Dec. 3-5 with Alicia Keys, as well as a marathon. January will see an international cooking event held on Seven mile beach in front of the Ritz Carlton.
- The Jumby Bay Resort on Antigua is slated to reopen Dec. 1 and the Sugar Ridge Hotel later that month.
- Jamaica is said to have the most licensed attractions in the Caribbean; some 170 in all. Direct flights from London, Ontario to Jamaica begin Dec. 21; a huge improvement for London-area residents and even folks in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge.
- Starting Nov. 4, West Jet will fly from Toronto to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos on Wednesdays, as well as Saturdays.
JIM'S DEAL OF THE DAY
Transat Holidays’ Bite-Sized Price promotion includes not just
Available exclusively for bookings made in November, Marriott and Renaissance Caribbean, Mexico and Costa Rica resorts are offering 40 per cent off leisure rates for travel from Jan. 1 to April 30, 2010. The discount applies to room rate only and isn't valid for groups of ten rooms or more. Reservations must be made through marriott.com or by calling toll-free 1-888-727-2347 and requesting promotional code LLF.