Good travel/tourism news on both U.S. coasts as New York and California soar
The Big Apple and the Golden State are leading a rather large tourism resurgence in the land of the red, white and blue.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced this week that the city will surpass 50 million tourists sometime this week. It's quite a success story when you consider NYC had less than 43 million visits as recently as 2006.
It was thought at one time it might take until 2015 to crack the 50 million mark, but things have been pretty much gangbusters this year, with officials projecting tourist spending of $32 billion - enough to support some 320,000 jobs.
Equally good news is being announced across the continent, where visitor numbers are up 4 per cent compared to last year. Tourists in California this year will spend an estimated $104.4 billion - more than three times the amount of New York City. It will mark the first-time ever for tourist spending to reach the $100 billion mark, and the projections for 2011 are up from the $95.1 billion tourists spent in 2010.
Included in the 4 per cent overall hike for the Golden State is a 6.9 per cent growth in international visitors, including strong growth from Canada and Mexico, according to the Los Angeles Times. There's been a sizable 9 per cent hike in overseas visitors, particularly from countries such as China, France and Australia, The Times said.
California is expecting tourism spending to reach $110 billion next year and $115 in 2013, although officials say the forecast (no kidding) is still a tad cloudy.
China, of course, is a huge market for just about anyone. Folks from the Canadian Tourism Commission were in China this week to talk about the lure of Canada, but I get the feeling that the Beijing Hilton, or whatever hotel folks use, is probably wearing out its revolving front doors and lobby carpeting from all the folks coming over and pitching their product to the massive Chinese market.
And, hey, wouldn't you like to be the guy in charge of whatever tour company the Chinese Communist Party decides is the one that should package Chinese tourists for visits to the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge? Yikes - talk about sitting on a fortune.
U.S. AIRPORT RATINGS
PCWorld has issued a report on the top American (sadly, not any Canadian) airports for tech travel purposes. They sent researchers "all over the country to canvass the gates of the 40 busiest airports in the United States and to identify the tech winners and losers. In all our airport auditors visited 3300 gates from coast to coast; they counted more than 17,000 electrical outlets, 5000 USB ports, and 1350 charging stations; and they performed hundreds of tests of airport Wi-Fi and cellular broadband service."
Isn't that great?
King of the Hill or Top of the Heap, to use an NYC reference, was Dallas-Fort Worth (see photo). Delta got high marks for on-board WiFi, a nice smartphone app that helps track checked luggage and for a social media presence.
The magazine said Dallas-Fort Worth "doesn't have the most outlets, it doesn't have the fastest Wi-Fi, and it's not number one in work desks. But no other airport achieves such consistently high scores across so many categories. Dallas ranked near the top of all airports on six of the eight tech amenities that we measured."
Second was JFK in New York, followed by Atlanta, Detroit and Sacramento.
The rest of the top 20 went as follows: 6. Oakland, California; 7. LaGuardia in New York; 8. Salt Lake City; 9. Baltimore-Washington; 10. San Francisco; 11. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood; 12. Raleigh-Durham; 13. Nashville; 14. Minneapolis-St. Paul; 15. Chicago Midway; 16. Cleveland; 17. Los Angeles; 18. Seattle-Tacoma (you'd expect more given Microsoft's Washington state headquarters); 19. Kansas City; 20. Portland.