Saturday, May 31, 2008

Navel Gazing Tourism

I flip channels on my satellite TV and find lots of ads promoting folks to visit Ontario, not just on Ontario channels. I see ads promoting tourist to visit Newfoundland and Labrador, again broadcast across Canada. But Alberta, well once again the mentality of the One Party State is reflected in Travel Alberta campaigns.

That is they market not to Canada or the U.S. but within Alberta. Their latest campaign is to tell Albertans to stay home. And to our neighbours east and west of us, to come visit Alberta and when they do stay longer. Of course all these folks are not really visiting Alberta they are coming here for jobs.

Especially now that Alberta and B.C. have created a free trade market in labour; TILMA. And most of our so called tourism is oil business related, not the usual mom pop and the kids coming for a visit rather it is conventions and business related travel

Tourism in Canada is in a crisis and in Alberta it has been for years, due to the short sighted ideology of promoting Alberta to Albertans rather than to Americans or other Canadians.

Statistics Canada reported Tuesday that American visitation was down 14.8 per cent in March 2008 compared with the same month a year ago.

In fact, they hit a record low for the fifth consecutive month.

In March, foreign visitors made 2.3 million trips to the country, which is the lowest since record keeping started in 1972.

Overall visits were down 12.4 per cent in March 2008 compared with March 2007, Statistics Canada reported.

Worse yet Alberta has the highest costs for Skiing of anywhere in North America, go figure. Now that's sure not to help encourage folks to visit here.

Alberta is one of the most expensive places in the world to ski, says a comparison of ski passes from around the world.

Alberta's Ski Big 3 Pass that covers the Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mount Norquay resorts around Banff costs about $485 US for six days of skiing, ranking it second behind Vail, Colorado's peak season six-day pass at $552 US, said the World Lift Ticket Price Report.

And where do Albertan's go on vacation? Why B.C. of course because prices are cheaper.

B.C. remains one of Alberta's top choices for recreation property, says Rudy Nielsen, president of Landcor Data Corp.

Landcor collects statistics on real estate sales in B.C. and found Albertans accounted for 67 per cent of out-of-province "secondary property buyers" in B.C. in 2007, generating nearly $2.2 billion in sales.

"Albertans love B.C. because we have so many recreational uses, with good golf courses, good fishing -- you can still go to the Queen Charlottes and catch a 30-pound salmon, and we have the ski hills," says Nielsen.

"And of course, there's the beauty."

Even during economic downturns, interest from Alberta remains strong in B.C.

"We've had no indication of any slowdown of Albertans buying in B.C.," says Nielsen, who is also president of NIHO Land & Cattle Co.

And no amount of Vacation in Alberta propaganda will change that fact. So when will Tourism Alberta start advertising to non-Albertans? Well considering they haven't done much in the past two decades since the Calgary Olympics, don't hold your breathe. Until they do we will only get visits from the Accidental Tourist.



Jasper National Park Centennial

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