Prince Harry's favourite Vegas spots unveiled ... Europe travel holding up well
Okay, let's get to the juicy stuff first. Reports suggest Prince Harry, the younger, irascible brother of the wife of the Duchess of Cambridge, has been partying quite solidly in Las Vegas.
For those who've been watching the Parliamentary Channel to see what colour tie the Prime Minister might be wearing during Question Period, let me explain that Harry is temporarily stationed in the southern California-Arizona border region as he undergoes military helicopter training. Why they couldn't have found him a safe place in, I don't know, Oklahoma or Arkansas I can't quite explain. I mean, his base isn't anywhere near Hollywood or anything but he's obviously close enough to LA and to Vegas that he can get away. And the guy IS a chopper pilot, so I assume he can bypass highway traffic easily enough.
Prince William found a military station in the quiet of north Wales. Harry? He goes on military assignment within spitting distance of Las Vegas and L.A.. Hmm.....a coincidence?
Anyway, it seems Harry was doing his best on the weekend to invigorate the Vegas economy. Writing in USA Today, Kitty Bean Yancey (isn't that a great name for a reporter?) quotes People magazine as saing the prince "took in Cirque du Soleil's O aquatic extravaganza at the Bellagio resort" before "partying at the hot XS nightclub at Steve Wynn's Encore resort."
People claims he lost $300 gaming and was amazed that he got free drinks while at the tables. I remember being 21 in Reno once and I went into a casino with my Mom and Dad for a few minutes. After a half hour or so, my Dad came over and asked how I was doing at the slots. "Pretty good," I said. "Some lady came by with drinks but I didn't want to get ripped off so I didn't get one." I was feeling pretty proud of myself until my Dad replied, "Uh, Jim, the drinks are FREE if you're gambling." Doh.
As for Harry, apparently he also twisted the night away at Tryst nightclub, drinking Grey Goose vodka with tonic and dancing with, wait for it, "a young mystery woman." Of course.
EUROPE HOLDING UP WELL?
A report from Germany suggests European tourism is holding up well under the economic strains of the Euro these days.
The ITB World Travel Trends Report says international trips to Europe rose to 671 million from January to August of this year, a 4.5 per cent increasefrom the previous year. That's pretty impressive given the European troubles and the general health (or lack thereof) of the world economy.
It also appears European residents aren't afraid to come out of the house. A September survey of travellers from 13 European countries found that 43 per cent of folks plan to travel as much in 2012 as they did this year. 27 per cent said they would travel more, and only 20 per cent said they'd be on the road less.
That's excellent news for the European economy, and most certainly for airlines and hotels. I keep reading about growth in Asia, and there's no doubt it's a huge market. But one should never discount the enduring appeal of Europe.
I remember a couple years ago my oldest son was chatting with my daughter about her plans to travel to Europe after graduating from university. He'd been to Europe twice and also had recently travelled throughout Southeast Asia. He was telling his sister about how wonderful it was in Thailand and Laos and how cheap it was and that she consider that instead of Europe.
Nothing wrong with Asia, she felt, but she'd grown up reading books about London and Paris and seeing photos of Greece and Rome, and there was no way she was going to miss it. And that's pretty common for most North Americans who are lucky enough to travel. We don't care how many people have done it before, almost all of us want to see the Eiffel Tower for ourselves and sit on the Spanish Steps and gaze up at Big Ben or the Swiss Alps.
As long as that's the case, Europe should do just fine.