Trip Advisor rates Stanley Park #1/More holiday time!/Canada tops reputation index/
Yesterday it was Travel + Leisure's turn. Today we have some new Trip Advisor ratings for cities and destinations around the globe.
Among the nuggets I uncovered in the latest ratings are that Trip Advisor users named Stanley Park the top park on the planet. Readers singled out Vancouver's not-so-hidden gem for a variety of activities and for its sheer beauty.
"Whether you rent a bike, stroll through, drive through or make a day of it, you can't go to Vancouver without experiencing this beautiful, massive park."
I couldn't agree more. Some of my favourite memories from Vancouver are riding a bike along the seawall, snapping photos of boats and seaplanes, zooming in on the mountains rising behind North Vancouver, the Lions Gate Bridge and the towering evergreens. If you're there in late spring do not miss the rhododendron gardens as they're absolutely stunning. The park is equally beautiful in autumn, when the deciduous trees change colour, and other times of the year.
A lot of cities have great parks, but few of them have such a magnificent facility steps from downtown like Vancouver does. Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is awesome, for example, but it's nowhere near walking distance from the business district.
There were some other nice bits in the 2013 Trip Advisor ratings. Vancouver was rated top destination in Canada, followed by Montreal, Niagara Falls, Toronto and Quebec City. L'Hermitage Hotel in Vancouver (Trip Advisor users clearly LOVE the city) was named the country's top spot to lay your head, followed by Rosewood Hotel Georgia in Vancouver, Auberge Saint-Antoine in Quebec City, the hip Loden hotel in Vancouver and the Fairmont Pacific Rim, also in Vancouver. Which gives Rain City four of the top five spots.
MORE HOLIDAYS, PLEASE
A new study from Expedia.ca shows Canadians would like more days off. According to the company's 2013 Vacation Deprivation study, Canadians will receive 17 vacation days this year. But we'd like something more like 25 or 30, which is typical for most Europeans.
We also seem to somehow feel that getting away on vacation isn't conducive to getting it on, which I find hard to believe. More on that below....
It's hard to argue that most folks anywhere in the world wouldn't want more holiday time, but there are some interesting bits in the study.
Sixty per cent of Canadians said they don't feel they suffer vacation deprivation, but that still leaves 40 per cent who feel they need more time off. The study also found that 27 per cent of Canadians are carrying unused vacation over from last year.
Younger Canadians feel more vacation deprived than others. Half of those in the 18-34 agre group said they felt somewhat or very vacation deprived, compared to 38 per cent of folks aged 35-54 and only 25 per cent of those over 55.
Folks in Ontario feel the most vacation deprived at 46 per cent, followed by B.C. at 43 per cent. Only 27 per cent of Quebecers reported feeling they don't get enough holiday time.
Here's an interesting one: Quebecers (35 per cent) are the ones most likely to regularly or constantly check email or voicemail when they're away. The least likely are Atlantic Canadians, at just 18 per cent. And I say good for them!
Lastly, and I find this hard to believe unless they have kids in their room, 48 per cent of Canadians surveyed said it's less likely they'll be intimate with a spouse or partner while on vacation compared to at home. Just six per cent felt it would be more likely.
Which makes me wonder just where Canadians are going on their holidays. I mean, if you're dragging your family to a Red Roof Inn in Bellevillle (no offence) for a week and cramming four of you into a tiny room, I can see the issue. But if you're taking your spouse or partner to the soaring skies of Banff or a romantic inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake (and you should), then how is it possible to not increase the love factor?
CANADA'S REPUTATION STAYS HIGH
Almost forgot to mention this, but Canada came out on top among all countries (again) in the Reputation Institute's 2013 Country RepTrak study.
"Canada's results confirm that it is only possible to maintain a strong reputation in the long-term when a country has the ability to transmit its leadership globally in each of the three key criteria: an effective government, an advanced economy, and an appealling environment," said Fernando Prado, managing partner of Reputation Institute for Spain and Latin America.
"A country's reputation is its calling card," said Canadian Tourism President and CEO Michele McKenzie. "We're not just inviting the world to visit us; we're capitalizing on our positive reputation to open new doors and create new opportunties for Canada."
Nice words. But as recently as last week we were reminded by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce that Canada has slipped badly in terms of tourism numbers. Canada was seventh in the world in terms of tourist arrivals in 2002. By last year, we'd fallen to 16th.
As I've said over and over again, something is most definitely amiss in terms of tourism in this country. If we're the number one country in the world in terms of reputation, shouldn't our tourism numbers be going up?
Air Canada Rouge today flew its first plane from Toronto to Edinburgh. It marks the only direct connection between Canada and the Scottish capital, and planes will fly three times a week.
"The launch of this new direct route is an amazing moment for Edinburgh in what has been a long and important relationship between Canada and Scotland," said MIke Cantlay, chairman of Visit Scotland. "With this new direct route another part of the network jigsaw is complete.
“Canadians have always had a strong affiliation with our country and, as we prepare to welcome the world with Homecoming, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup in 2014, the timing of this new service is perfect. We look forward to welcoming many more visitors from across the
Atlantic over the summer.”