Toronto tourism on rise, says MasterCard, Canberra gets the Ottawa treatment
I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but it certainly sounds good.
A study issued this week by MasterCard says Toronto last year drew 3.2 million international visitors. That put the city third in North America, they said, trailing New York City (7.6 million) and Los Angeles (3.9 million). But Toronto was ahead of Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and a slew of other American cities, and well ahead of Vancouver (9th in North America with 1.7 million).
The study said Toronto has the highest growth rate for international visits of ANY CITY in North America, with a rate of 7.6 per cent. Next was Washington D.C. at 7.2 per cent, then Houston (6.2).
Toronto didn't fare as well in the international visitor spending department, finishign sixth behind New York, L.A., Miami, Chicago and San Francisco. But MasterCard said the city's rate of international visitor spending was up 10.2 per cent; the highest in North America.
It certainly sounds promising for the city's tourism biz, which is getting bigger every day with new hotels at Vaughan Mills (Starwood) and Pearson Airport (ALT Hotel, a division of the swish Germain group).
CANBERRA GETS THE OTTAWA TREATMENT DOWN UNDER
Readers may remember how we talked last summer about Ottawa feeling ignored by the Canadian Tourism Commission's "Signature Experiences" program. It ultimately got resolved, of course, and Ottawa politicians calmed down.
But now I see there's a similar row going on in Australia with that nation's under-appreciated capital.
A report from the Australian Broacasting Corp. said the 90-second TV ad features the usual images of Australia (I presume that means barrier reefs, cute girls at Bondi Beach, koalas and kangaroos, waves of vineyards shining in the sun and a morning sunrise over Uluru/Ayers Rock, and that doesn't sound too bad to me).
Canberra Business Council Tourism taskforce chair David Marshall said the flagpole at Federal Parliament should have been included.
What? A flagpole? I don't think so.
Sure, I suppose that SOMEWHERE in a 90-second bit they could've shown something in Canberra. But if the best the Australian capital can do is a flagpole, they've got bigger problems than getting snubbed by a TV commercial.
I've been to Australia a couple times and never gave, to be honest, a moment's thought to checking out Canberra. I'm sure there's stuff to do but I simply don't have an image of it in my mind.
Come to think of it, maybe a spot in one of those ads would be a good idea after all...
This is quite common in all countries and cities. I remember covering North York city council and city controller Esther Shiner (mother of current councillor David Shiner) wanted to show me the city's sights as she felt Toronto got all the glory. We went to Black Creek and all sorts of other spots. At one point, we drove down near Sunnybrook Park and Esther told me how great it was. I remember her saying something like "When you a brook babbling like that, you just have to love it."
When I covered Scarborough city council, they were up in arms about a similar issue. I remember one local councillor trumpeting the virtues of the Bo Peep Restaurant, as if that was going to draw in folks from New York and Chicago.