Need a tourism boost? Invite Will/Kate or Harry ... Sing along at Abbey Road
From Alberta to Albania, tourism boards and governments around the world spend millions of dollars researching ways to boost the number of tourist visits.
They're all so stupid, really. I mean, the answer is right there in the morning drive-time TV shows and on the cover of the French tabloids. It's the three little magic words of modern tourism; Will, Kate and Harry.
When Prince Harry recently revealed his uh, great personality, in Las Vegas, bookings went through the roof. It was the best thing that had happened to Sin City since the Rat Pack breezed into town and settled in for a few billion martinis and steaks.
Now, we're apparently seeing something similar at play with Malaysia and Singapore. Travelmole.com reports bookings for both places "have jumped by more than a third due to publicity surrounding the recent visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge."
Prince William and Kate Middleton spent two recent nights in Singapore's Raffles hotel, a sumptuous spot that's the birthplace of the renowned Singapore Sling drink. They also visited the country's Botanical Gardens, the Kranji Memorial Cemetry and the Gardens by the Bay before travelling on to Malaysia.
There, they took in the sights of the capital Kuala Lumpur and then made their way to the jungles of Sabah. Travelmole says they stayed at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, an exclusive retreat.
So there you go. It's simple. Make friends with Joe, or whoever it is that does the schedule making for the royal family and get them to add you to the itinerary. Then stand back and watch the dollars roll in.
You won't need a fancy campaign with little hearts above the name of your city. You won't even need a Facebook page or a video contest where folks send in moving images of why they want to drop EVERYTHING IN THEIR ENTIRE LIVES to spend a week in Sarnia. You just need Will or Kate (preferably Kate) or Harry (along with a case or two of Budweiser if you want to get him going).
Of course, it helps if you can convince one of them to shed some clothing. This, to my knowledge, did not happen in public when Will and Kate were in Canada's far north last year. Consequently, there have been no plans announced as yet for a Trump Tower and golf course and spa with diamond-encrusted lockers in downtown Yellowknife.
Another point to make here: try for the younger royals. For some reason, having Prince Philip drop by doesn't seem to generate the same frisson of excitement as the tween idols. Ditto for Prince Edward and Princess Sophie, who've been on a tour of Canada of late and have stopped just short of dominating the nightly news cycle.
Food for thought.
ABBEY ROAD/SAVOY DEAL IN LONDON - WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!
It's not every day I get blown away by a promotion. I get, literally, dozens and dozens of emails a day to promote this hotel deal in St. Bart's or this restaurant opening in St. Tropez. Often there are invitations sent along, as if I can just drop what I'm doing and take the next flight to France and go to this cool restaurant and that, of course, I'd mention it on the front page of that week's Travel section.
Anyway, I get them all the time and it's easy to get jaded by it. But the other day came one that had me in near tears, owing to the fact that there's simply no way I can spend the Star's money on something like this.
Here's the deal: Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Abbey Road studios and The Savoy, a Fairmont managed hotel, "are joining forces to offer guests the opportunity of a lifetime with a new Record a Song Experience."
The press release says the offer "invites guests behind the velvet ropes (bestill my beating heart) for a behind-the-scenes look at one of the world's most iconic recording studios, which is not accessible to the public, where legends like The Beatles and Pink Floyd have recorded."
Once inside, "guests will get the ultimate rock star treatment when they record a group song from the Abbey Road catalogue."
OH MY LORD. Or should I say MY SWEET LORD (technically a George Harrison solo effort but you get the point).
As a memento, guests will hear their record in a playback session at the studio (do I really have to hear myself sing?) and receive a copy of their recording, professionally mixed and mastered (and hopefully overdubbed with Ringo's voice) by Abbey Road Studios engineers, which they can take home and hopefully never play at a party.
Guests also get a two-night stay at the Savoy with a welcome reception, a cocktail master class and a Sunday jazz lunch. Jazz? The experience is available Oct. 12-14 and Nov. 16-18 with 10 packages per weekend. Rates start at 780 British pounds per person, based on double occupancy, but that's still a bargain in my book.
PORTER HEADS BACK TO VERMONT
Porter Airlines says it's preparing for another year of service between Toronto's island airport and Burlington, Vermont. There will be four weekly roundtrip options this year, compared to just two last year.
The flights are great for folks heading to the ski hills of Vermont, and the Porter flights run from Dec. 15 to April 8. There are special Porter ski packages and shuttle bus service for Jay Peak, Smugglers' Notch Resort, Stowe Mountain Resort and Sugarbush Resort at www.skivermont.com/flyporter.