Air Canada adds New Orleans/Harry Potter in Orlando/Europe's ugly people
Good news for the Louisiana tourism folks: Air Canada today said it will launch daily, non-stop service to new Orleans starting Oct. 30.
They'll only be flying Jazz CRJ's with 75 seats, but they say it still marks the only non-stop, daily service between the Big Easy and the Big Smoke. Flights depart Toronto at 9:50 a.m. and arrive at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (beats the heck out of Lester Pearson in Toronto for names, doncha think?) at noon; just in time for a drink! Flights out of New Orleans depart at 12:35 and get into Toronto at 4:20 p.m., just in time to hasten downtown for dinner on West Queen West. Which means it's good news both for Louisiana and for Toronto, of course.
"New Orleans was recently voted one of the top ten cities to visit in the U.S. and Canada by the well-respected Travel + Leisure magazine and there are also important business connections between New Orleans and Canada," said Ben Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for Air Canada.
"There is a special relationship between Canadian travelers and New Orleans, making Canada our number one international market," said Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.
This marks the eighth Air Canada daily service expansion to the U.S. this year. Earlier, AC added Orange County (Santa Ana) and San Diego in California, plus Portland (Oregon), Memphis (Tennessee), Cincinnati (Ohio), Portland (Maine) and Syracuse. They've also added service to Athens and Barcelona this year and non-stops to Copenhagen.
WestJet a few days back, I'm reminded, said they'll start four-weekly flights from Toronto to New Orleans, and back, with an introductory fare of $139, so there should be plenty more Canadians heading down for beignets and crayfish.
On a related note, I see that the folks with the Mississippi Tourism Board are launching a major campaign to lure folks to the state, no doubt because of concerns that the oil spill is hurting travel. The television spot, “Wish You Were Here,” is the highlight of an aggressive, multi-platform, tourism campaign running in 15 regional markets, including Atlanta, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Memphis, with a media budget of $4.2 million.
Not sure they realize how important Canada is to their market, as I don't see any mention of the true north in the press release....
MAXIMUM MUGGLES AT HARRY POTTER PARK
Seems like the Harry Potter park at Universal in Orlando is going gangbusters. A story in the Orlando Sentinel says folks have been warned to avoid The Wizarding World of Harry Potter until late afternoon lest they spend too much time in line clogging up the place.
Park officials are scrambling to find the best way to keep crowds down, sometimes handing out tickets for people to line up later in the day.
OOPS - MY MILAN MISTAKE
I wrote in this space yesterday that I was quite surprised to see Milan named as the third most attractive city in Europe in a poll of tripadvisor users. I didn't see the fine print, so I apologize. The category wasn't most attractive city but city with the most attractive locals, which explains Milan finishing third behind Rome and Barcelona. Milan's a decent place to visit, but it would hardly be classified as one of the top three attractive cities in Europe.
I also had the label wrong for least attractive. I said the least attractive cities were Krakow, Birmingham and Gdansk, but those are actually the results for the least attractive locals. The hallowed buildings of those three cities should be relieved, but the men and women who live there probably feel a little insulted.
I noted Tuesday that the three dirtiest cities were listed as Athens, Istanbul and Rome. I didn't realize that London was named dirtiest city in the 2009 poll, so let's give them a round of applause for a good tidying-up job in the past year. London came third in the "safest city" category this year, finishing behind only Geneva and Zurich.
So, to recap, London was named #1 for worst cuisine (undeserved), #1 for most exciting (seems fair, although I'd pick Barcelona), #1 for best to get around, #3 for safest and #1 for most expensive. Quite the combination.
SOCIAL MEDIA TRAVEL
A recent poll by Travelocity found that more than half of all travelers share vacation information through social media. But nearly 30 per cent have either never thought about precautions or don't take any precautions when posting about their holidays.
"It's only natural to want to share your excitement about an upcoming trip on social media sites," said Travelocity senior editor Genevieve Shaw. "But it's probably safest to wait until you return to share the details of the trip."
Guess all those "Hey, we're packing up the kids and heading to New Brunswick but leaving the key under the mat" messages on Facebook aren't such a great idea.
BUT THERE'S NO SHORTAGE OF MOOSE...OR BEER
"Some of the car dealerships are booked for the latter part of July and into the early days of August," Tourism Minister Terry French said Tuesday in an interview with Canadian Press. "We're not totally sold out yet. You may have to shop around. It may take you a little bit of time, but hopefully we can do our best."
I hate it when people speak in those kind of vague terms. "Hopefully we can do our best?" Of course, you'll do your best. "Hopefully, we'll buy some friggin' cars" is more like it, although that's still a misuse of the word "hopefully."
Anyway, it's like the TTC guy that comes on and says they hope to have service restored as soon as possible. No kidding. What would be more meaningful is to say "We hope to have serviced restored in five minutes." Or "We hope to have service restored in a half hour so you don't have to sit next to the guy that last showered when the Liberals were in power in Ottawa."
If you have no idea, just say, "We WILL have serviced restored as soon as possible."