What's old in Scotland ... new art centre for Montreal ... Jaunt.ca cruise deals
The tourism job is a tricky one.
On one hand, folks like to talk about what’s new. It’s a natural way to start a conversation, of course. But it also can be a dangerous game.
I get dozens of emails a week from tourism boards in Canada and the U.S. and Europe, all giving me thousands of words on a new hotel in this town or a new art festival in that one.
But sometimes I think everyone in the industry, myself included, gets too focused on what’s new that we forget about the stuff that makes a city or a tourism region popular in the first place. I mean, most tourists heading to Paris don’t care if there’s a new Shangri-La hotel opening. They want to know about the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame or the Louvre.
He laughed but he said he completely understood where I was coming from (a rarity in my life).
“Tourism is our biggest industry,” he said. “We want people to understand the unique features that make Scotland different.”
Cantlay, sporting a white shirt with a red and blue tartan tie for our coffee meeting, said Scotland has to make sure it keeps its iconic sights and activities front and centre as they’re what make Scotland Scotland. That means golf, castles, whisky, Robert Burns, tartans and bagpipes.
Plus, of course, a certain emphasis on other activities and, naturally, at least some focus on what’s coming up that’s different and might bring people back a second or third time.
Sports have been a big focus for Scotland, and it’s hosting the Ryder Cup golf tourney in 2014 at Gleneagles and also playing host to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow that year. The Commonwealth Games will bring some 6,500 athletes from 71 countries and they expect to sell a million tickets.
They’re bidding for the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 and are lobbying the Tour de France to start a future race in Scotland, which would be interesting to say the least.
The year 2014 also marks a Scotland Homecoming year, and there are plans for a new branch of the Victoria and Albert museum in Dundee for 2015 or 2016.
“Tourism is the easiest industry” to help Scotland stay on its feet, Cantlay said. “You invest one dollar and you’ll get 20 dollars back.”
The British pound has fallen mightily against the Canadian dollar over the past couple years, to the point where a visit now is probably one-third cheaper than two or three years ago.
“The whole country is one-third off,” Cantlay said with a laugh. “But it won’t stay that way forever.”
NEW MONTREAL CENTRE
I don’t recall hearing about it before, but the folks at Montreal Tourism tell me The Phi Centre opened up this summer as a new art spot. It’s a multi-disciplinary centre with films, music, a new exhibition space with “cutting edge interactive installations” and room for conferences, corporate events and more.
A restaurant is planned for late 2013 or early 2014, and the centre is located at 407 Saint-Pierre at the corner of St. Pierre and Rue St. Paul in Old Montreal.
JAUNT DEAL OF THE DAY
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, still has a great deal on for cruises. Their exclusive Norwegian Cruise Lines Balcony Sale ends this coming Saturday evening and features three of NCL’s top ships, the Pride of America in Hawaii, the Norwegian Epic in the Western Mediterranean and also in the Eastern Caribbean and the Norwegian Breakaway out of New York City.
The deal includes added value such as paid gratuities, onboard credits and reduced rates.
Jaunt also has deals across Canada and other parts of the world, so check them out at jaunt.ca.