Economy stalls - airlines downgrade revenue estimates...Tourism Toronto boost
Mixed news for a Monday. The latest report on the travel trade comes from the International Air Transport Association, which at its meeting in Singapore cut their forecasted airline profitss for the year by more than half.
It's a big pill to swallow. The IATA had forecast a profit for world airlines of $8.6 billion back in March. But then came the tsunami and skyrocketing oil prices.
The IATA also is worried about an emissions scheme proposed in Europe that would force airlines to spend a ton of money for permits if they exceed certain levels of carbon emissions. So, all in all, not a great time in the airline biz.
TOURISM TORONTO ON THE REBOUND
There are considerable concerns about U.S. travel to Toronto, which was down 3 per cent in 2010. Americans make up one-fifth of all visitors to the city.
On the other hand, Tourism Toronto's pursuit of overseas markets appears to be paying off. The latest report shows overseas visitors increased 11 per cent in Toronto in 2010. Visits from India were up 28 per cent and China visits were up 26 per cent. Both markets have been targeted by Tourism Toronto officials.
Tourism Toronto officials say their long-term growth will be from more far-away markets. There arent' as many visitors from those markets, but they tend to stay longer and spend more, which is the key.
Overall, visits to the city last year were up about 3 per cent, to roughly 9.9 million. Spending, however, was up 5.5 per cent, to $3.36 billion. In today's world, a 5.5 per cent spending hike is nothing to sneeze at.
Tourism Toronto has a good thing on its hand, but some observers suggest the city still lacks a certain identifiable quantity. Yeah, there's the theatre and Bollywood award shows and new architecture such as the Art Gallery of Ontario (seen in photo above) and semi-competent sports teams and cool restaurants and streetcars that sometimes work and nice neighbourhoods and ravines and a vastly improved waterfront. But Toronto can't match the beauty of Vancouver or the sheer power of New York City.
Then again, Chicago and Boston can't compete with New York, really, or with Los Angeles' star power or the beauty of San Francisco. Yet they manage just fine.
I was thinking that a really cool marketing scheme or nickname might help. Hogtown won't cut it. The Big Smoke? Not in today's age. T.O. probably works for us but most folks from outside of Canada would have no idea what the "O" is for. New York is the Big Apple, so fruit likely isn't the way to go.
But, really, does a special name matter? I don't think London or Chicago or Bangkok have special nicknames, at least none that resonate, so it probably is not an issue worth spending precious brain cells on. The city has come a hell of a long way in the last 30 years, and as long as people think "Hey, I hear good things about Toronto," that's probably just fine.