Interesting item from the folks at HSBC. In a survey of Canadians with investable assets of $100,000 or more, they found that well-off Canadians aren't all that different from you and me in terms of their travel preferences.
The USA was named the favourite destination, not surprising given our border, with 78 per cent of folks confirming they've travelled to the U.S. in the last three years. (I'm surprised it's not higher, actually).
Although the US got the lion's share of visits, the CITY that rich Canadians visited most was London (see photo), at 15 per cent. Next came Paris at 12 per cent, then New York (nine), Las Vegas (eight) and Rome (seven).
The study also talked about travel habits of well-off Canadians from a regional perspective. They found that affluent Montreal folks spent 2.4 months out of the last three years outside of the True North Strong and Free, compared to just 1.8 months for folks in Vancouver and two months for Torontonians. I'd have to think weather has a lot to do with that. If I lived in Montreal and had money to travel, you'd be damn sure I'd be out of town three to four weeks every winter.
VACATION IN IRAQ?
USA Today is reporting there's a slew of new hotel developments in Iraq. They're mostly in the north, an area that rebelled against Saddam Hussein long ago and is now a hive of oil and gas activity.
Which means they need hotels for travelling execs and workers. So it makes sense. And it's apparently quite safe, as well as beautiful.
Best Western is building a couple hotels in the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, while Hilton and Marriott also are active in the area. I don't know how representative it is, but I found this picture on the web of an apartment complex being advertised in Erbil, and it looks pretty damned nice.
There appear to be some fine public buildings and fountains in town and some interesting, old forts out and about in the nearby hills.
"If you look at the strong demand that will come from business and leisure travelers, and that there's a shortage of supply of hotels … that makes this appealing to us," David Kong, Best Western International president and CEO, was quoted as saying in the USA Today story.
Kong says the company is considering deals for two other hotels in Sulaimaniyah and Dohuk, also in Iraqi Kurdistan.
"This is a very positive sign of the potential Iraq has to offer," said Victoria Berry, senior strategist of FutureBrand North America, a brand-consulting firm. Still, she said, "the perceptions of safety, especially in terms of war, corruption and crime, as well as the lack of modern infrastructure, are key areas that could impact negatively on Iraq's ability to appeal to a base of leisure tourists."
Exactly. It's probably fine for biz folks, but I can't see too many Canadians heading off to the Erbil Hilton for a vacation.
It's interesting to note, however, that not so long ago San Francisco was often tagged - especially by esteemed San Francisco Chronicle columnist extraordinaire Herb Caen - as "Baghdad by the Bay" because of its exotic nature and cosmopolitan charms.
TORONTO PEARSON NOT SO SOCIAL
Finally, an intriguing item on Facebook's list of most social airports. A study was done of Facebook users and it was discovered that more people in the world are present at Los Angeles International Airport than any airport in the world.
Second was Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, followed by Chicago O'Hare, San Francisco and Dallas/Fort Worth. The top international airport (outside the U.S.) was Sydney, in the seventh spot. Poor Pearson was way down at 21st, the only Canadian airport in the top 25.