More time down south? Canada tourism chases China & Brazil ... Deal of day
Fascinating news that the U.S. is considering a law that would allow Canadians to spend more time on American soil.
Currently folks are allowed to live in the U.S. only for 182 days or six months. After that, you're considered an American for tax reasons. And you don't want to be paying Uncle Sam and Mr. Harper, do you? No, I didn't think so.
Six months is a long time, but some folks might prefer more time in Florida or California or Arizona or some other sunny spot. Which makes the potential new law so intriguing.
It seems a clause buried inside a massive immigration bill that's before the U.S. Senate would allow Canadians - and apparently only Canadians - to stay in the U.S. for 240 days, not 182. Which would mean perhaps a snowbird being able to stay from October til the end of May and avoiding (pretty much) any chance of the white stuff.
The bill apparently would apply to Canadians 55 and older who own a residence in Canada and would rent or own in the U.S. Those eligible wouldn't be able to work or go on welfare.
It's an attractive proposition except for the fact that provinces usually limit how much time we can spend outside our provincial homes if we want health coverage. In Ontario and B.C., the limit is seven months.
The Canadian Snowbird Association is hoping it can get the provinces to match the U.S. eight-month limit, but that's no sure thing. Nor is it a sure thing that any bill will be approved by the U.S. government given the complexity and the rancour that exists these days in American politics.
Still, it'll be interesting to see what happens.IGNORE U.S. TOURISM AT YOUR PERIL
China, China, China.
Brazil, Brazil, Brazil.
Almost every day I get press releases from tourism boards, or stories about tourism boards, around the world. And almost every day they say the same thing: “We really have to zero in on the Chinese market. And Brazil. That’s where the money is.”
And now comes word, courtesy of the Sunday Star and a story from Star reporter Curtis Rush, that the Canadian Tourism Commission, too, has heard the siren call.
And I’m a little worried.
Rush notes in his story that the average American who visits Canada spends $518 per trip. But the average Chinese person spends $1,670 and the average Brazilian spend $1,874.
On the face of it, the quotes from CTC officials about having limited resources and not chasing the U.S. market make sense. The Harper government has for no explicable reason slashed the CTC’s funding from $72 million in 2012 to $58.5 million. And this at a time when the Americans are going nuts with their lively and effective Brand USA campaign.
Also note that the state of New York last week upped its tourism spending from $19 million to $60 million. Which means that one single (albeit large) state in the U.S. is spending more than the entire Canadian Tourism Commission. Nice.
The CTC may be right when it suggests re-allocating dollars to China, Brazil, Australia and Europe. But one has to be careful not to chase the dazzling new baubles and ignore the steady stream that comes from the U.S.
If you look at the CTC’s just-released annual report, you’ll see that Americans don’t spend as much per trip as other visitors. But Americans last year spent a whopping $6.4 billion in our country. Brazilians spent a puny $152 million. The Chinese spent a healthier but still relatively tiny amount of $481 million.
In fact, if you add the spending together from Brazil, China, Australia, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, The UK and South Korea you get only $3.7 billion in spending; barely half of what Americans spend here.
True, the provinces spend a good deal of money in key U.S. markets. But the CTC, I think, has to be careful not to focus so much on growing but still small markets in Brazil and China and needs to keep its eye on the American ball.
Besides which, to get back to my first point, EVERYONE is chasing Brazil and China. And, rich as they are, the Brazilians and Chinese can only spend so much.
A GOAT ON A HORSE IN NEWFOUNDLAND
You gotta love a province that sees a goat on the back of a horse and includes it in their tourism campaign. It happened in Newfoundland and you can find it by clicking here.
Kudos to the tourism folks, who at first rejected the idea but then figured they'd go ahead and emphasize that this is a province that's a far cry from Disneyland. And that's a good thing.
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