Canada and tourism — страница 8

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and sophisticated cities, and through galleries and museums, performing arts, historic sites, FESTIVALS, and events such as Expo 86, the CALGARY STAMPEDE and winter OLYMPIC GAMES. To most of the world Canada is known as a tourist destination through its scenery, space and environment. During the review period, the travel and tourism industry was under constant pressure beginning in 2001 with the terrorist attacks. In 2003, the industry was tainted by the war in Iraq, which caused uneasiness about travel, the SARS outbreak in Toronto and a sluggish US economy. SARS was contained within two months of the outbreak, despite a second unexpected resurgence, but the damage brought on by a WHO travel advisory was done. The impact of these events was greatest on international tourism,

followed by US visitors to Canada, but was not expected to significantly influence Canadians' decisions to travel. Domestic tourism, which accounted for the bulk of the Canadian tourism industry, remained firm during the review period, with continuing popularity particularly among the older generation, highlighting the desire to stay close to home, which resulted from security and economic concerns. However, more cautious spending patterns emerged towards the end of the review period, per capita expenditure for domestic trip fell by 6% since 2000, but a drop of less than 1% over the review period as a whole. Overall, the WTO ranked Canada as ninth in the world's top 15 destinations for travel, capturing 2. 8% of the total international travel market at its last ranking, in 2001.

Demographic trends remained largely intact. Greying populations worldwide, including Canada, will mean demand for structured tourism products such as pre-packaged and all-inclusive tours and cruises and quality accommodations. Women are also increasingly becoming a larger proportion of Canadian travellers. The accommodation market suffered towards the end of the review period. Hardest hit was Toronto, suffering losses of C$5million per day in April, as many major conventions cancelled their reservations due to SARS. Accommodations across Ontario also reported losses, but not nearly as significant as those in Toronto. Through the review period, accommodation revenue increased by 9. 7%. Hotels struggled to keep up occupancy levels and in 2003 there were tremendous value deals

available in hotels. In such a competitive environment, alternative, no-frills accommodation benefited, such as hostels and guesthouses. Consumers were also more likely to stay with international brand names, such as Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Merger and acquisition activity dropped off significantly in almost all areas of the travel and tourism industry. The tone in the industry as a whole was, at best, to maintain market share and revenue with strong efforts made to avoid losing ground because of the tough economic environment. There were no significant mergers and acquisitions in 2003, although as the economy improves, through 2004 and 2005 the levels of activity may turn around. Canada's travel deficit, pushed down to its lowest level in more than 10 years, is benefiting

from an influx of American tourism dollars. The deficit declined by 42.1 per cent to $1.4 billion in the first nine months of 1998, down from $2.4 billion during the same period in 1997. Foreign spending, up 11.2 per cent from the same period last year and valued at $11.1 billion, largely accounts for this decrease. Meanwhile Canadian tourism spending abroad also rose 0.7 per cent to $12.5 billion. "The record number of Americans visiting Canada combined with fewer Canadians vacationing in the U.S. has resulted in a huge shift in the international travel account," explained Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) chairman Judd Buchanan. "This has buffered the impact of the drop in visits and spending by tourists from many of our primary overseas markets, particularly

Japan, France and Germany." What key factors are responsible for this boom in Canada's tourism industry? "Canadians are doing more internal travel because of the low value of our dollar, but that's not the motivating factor for Americans," explains John Olsthoorn, a spokesman for the Canadian Tourism Commission. "The economic situation in the U.S. is positive, with low unemployment and high consumer confidence, which means that people have more discretionary funds." Olsthoorn notes that Canada also offers Americans what they want: safe cities, the great outdoors, and friendly people. Another key factor is the Open Skies Agreement, which has opened more Canadian airports to direct flights from the U.S. This gives Americans more choices about flying into