Not good, folks.
Statistics Canada says the country's international travel deficit vis a vis the rest of the world was $4.6 billion in the fourth quarter of last year and that our international deficit for all of 2012 was a whopping $17.8 billion. That's up $1.5 billion from 2011's figure of $16.3 billion.
It's understandable we have a travel deficit given our winters and all. That's probably never going to change. But the government in Ottawa is doing a horrible job of boosting our profile overseas and luring more visitors to Canada.
They've sent the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Maxime Bernier, to India this week to help boost things. And it's a nice start. But Ottawa also has cut the budget for the Canadian Tourism Commission, reportedly by some 20 per cent. And they've made the cuts at a time when some of our rivals, such as the U.S., are investing heavily in tourism. And don't get me started on how foolish we are to lump "small business" and "tourism" together in the invisible Mr. Bernier's portfolio.
Tourism is a business that's easy to promote. The returns can be easily measured and are often significant. And Canada has a strong brand, as survey after survey indicates. People love our (mostly) peaceful reputation and our lakes and our cities, and we should out there selling ourselves a lot harder than we do.
DINO-MITE ATTRACTION IN SASKATCHEWAN?
The T. rex Discovery Centre near Eastend, Sask. is billed as the home of Canada's largest Tyrannosaurus rex — a beast dubbed Scotty that would have stood about six metres tall and over 12 metres long. Soon it will have a life-size replica of the animal's skeleton, mounted for display, Canadian Press reports.
Fossilized fragments of the creature were discovered in 1991 near Eastend in the Frenchman River Valley. Roughly 65 million years old, they make up one of the most complete T. rex skeletons in the world.
The replica, created by Research Casting International in Trenton, Ont., is set to be unveiled March 16 by Lt.-Gov. Vaughn Schofield at the centre, 140 kilometres southwest of Swift Current.
The community-owned centre, which has a variety of fossil displays, opened in 2000 in Eastend to showcase the area's rich paleontological history. After years of declining attendance at the facility, the Regina-based Royal Saskatchewan Museum said earlier this month it would take over operations in the spring.
A marketing strategy is being planned to raise the centre's profile as a tourism destination in southwest Saskatchewan.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a Disney deal on tap. The package is for $1,068 for a week's stay in Orlando, including $139 in taxes.
- BONUS: Includes 7-Day Magic Your Way Tickets offering access to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom
- 7-night stay at your choice between Disney's All-Star Music Resort or Disney's All-Star Sports Resort located in Orlando, Florida
- Includes return airfare from Toronto or Montreal to Orlando with Air Canada, and round-trip hotel/airport transfers in Florida
- Accommodations in a Standard Room, featuring 1 king or 2 double beds. Max. occupancy: 4 adults or 2 adults + 2 children
- Option to Upgrade to include Quick Service Dining: Meal plan offers casual dining at over 50 select restaurants throughout Walt Disney World Resort
- Each of the two resorts has a different theme catering to kids' tastes and personalities
- Magic your Way passes are good for all four Disney theme parks
- Valid for travel from Toronto or Montreal on May 21, 22 & 23, 2013
- For additional information on the Quick Service Dining meal plan click HERE
- Pricing (Rates are per person):
Double: $929 plus tax
Single: $1310 plus tax
Triple: $825 plus tax
Quad: $775 plus tax
Child: $599 plus tax
Double: $1069 tax included
Single: $1449 tax included
Triple: $969 tax included
Quad: $919 tax included
Child: 739 tax included
Add Quick Service Dining (7 Nights):
Child (10-17): $279
Child: (3-9): $107
Call us at 1-855-687-5925 to book.
- Upgraded Disney Accommodations also available. Call us to book: 1-855-687-5925
- Valid passport required for travel from Canada