Let's Get NAKED!!! (Apparently the new word is"nakation")..WestJet sales
After two days of Steve Slater, it's time to move on to something sexier. Like naked vacations.
It's not for me, having the legs of a semi-attractive chicken and having put on more weight than I'd like after many trips to exotic places that serve bubbling, chocolate desserts. But for a lot of folks, it's an, ahem, growing trend.
It seems the good folks at TripAdvisor recently did a poll and found that 48 per cent of respondents said they'd drop their drawers at the beach this year, compared to 31 per cent a year ago.
What I'm trying to figure out is how did this change so dramatically? A hot summer? Lady Gaga's influence? I have no idea, but I got a kick out of one "expert" who suggested folks wanted to avoid baggage fees at the airline so they're packing lighter. Much lighter. I don't think so, but it's a fun thought.
TripAdvisor spokeswoman Amelie Hurst said travelers who said they'd go au naturel didn't seem so much interested in seeing other folks naked or flaunting their own bodies but felt that many nude beaches have fewer people on them. That's kinda interesting, actually. I've ridden my bike past Hanlan's beach on the Toronto Islands, an official nude beach, many times and it seems pretty crowded to me. But so's the beach at Centre Island. So it's hard to say.
I've been to Little Beach in Wailea, Maui (see photo at right), where my wife and I on our honeymoon briefly swam sans clothing before retreating to the safety of a beach towel. It wasn't terribly crowded, but neither - most of the time - is Big Beach, also known as Makena Beach (and a great, long stretch of sand it is).
I didn't see the full list, but one story I saw on the subject mentioned that half the naked vacation spots listed in the TripAdvisor report were in the U.S., including Haulover Beach Park in Miami, Gunnison Beach in Sandy Hook, N.J. and Black's Beach in San Diego. We all know about Hanlan's,
of course, as well as Wreck Beach in Vancouver.WESTJET CONFUSION
I'm glad I'm not the only dummy. A week or so ago, I spotted an ad for a West Jet fall sale. And I was immediately confused, as back in June WestJet had sent out a press release advising of their new "everyday low fare" approach. I had read the June 17 release as an indication that sales were a thing of the past.
But I was wrong, says WestJet. And so were a lot of people who thought the same thing as me, it seems.
Officials today said they've had "numerous inquiries" from guests and wanted to clarify their recent sale announcement.
"This (the latest announcement) is a system-wide seat sale with all 71 destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean available for sale until Aug. 19 for travel on select days until Dec. 15, 2010," the airline said in a statement. "West Jet launched its everyday low fare approach on June 17, 2010, based on research which indicated guests would like the opportunity to more confidently book further out in the schedule in order to more effectively make travel plans."
(To be honest, I don't really know what that means. Do you?)
Anyway, the statement went onto say that many guests thought WestJet was permanently dumping seat sales. Au contraire, mooseface, as Johnny Carson might've said.
"While we will continue with our everyday low pricing structure, it was always our intention to offer seat sales periodically throughout the year," said WestJet's Hugh Dunleavy.
Officials say that the "new, everyday low fare" system "has reduced the top end of its fare structure by up to 25 per cent compared to its prior pricing environment. In addition, everyday low fares have been made available 330 days in advance without any travel restrictions, so that guests can confidently plan and book their travel at any time."
Now, isn't THAT clear?
GREECE'S LOSS IS TURKEY'S GAIN...and HOW ABOUT NEW YORK?
Interesting item in the always useful travelmole website says North Americans and other travelers are stiffing Greece in favour of travel to neighbouring Turkey. And you know that won't sit well with Greek officials, who have a long-standing rivalry (to be kind) with the Turks.
With all the protests and such in Greece, and with various job actions by unhappy Greek workers, it seems Greek tourism revenues are down nine per cent this year compared with 2009, which was a bad year. In Turkey, which has lovely islands and a long coastline on the Aegean and a fascinating culture, travelmole reported that tourism revenues in the second quarter were up a solid 7.4 per cent. Popular beach resorts in places like Antalya are said to be struggling to cope with overflowing hotels and bars.
Meanwhile, over on our side of the pond, New York City officials on Wednesday said they're on track to achieve record-breaking tourism levels this year. The preliminary visitor volume results show NYC welcomed 23.5 million folks in the first half of 2010, a 8.75 per cent hike over last year.
Officials said New York remains on course to host 47.5 million visitors by the end of this year, a 4.2 per cent increase over 2009 and a new record.