Tuesday, November 18

Orcas, Totems and Grizzly Bears cruise -- August 15 to August 21

This is will be the first departure of the season for this trip. So far we have 4 booked + 4 more are expected to book in the next few days. We need a minimum number of 9 passengers to guarantee the departure. We expect fully this trip to go ahead because this is our most popular trip and it is a great time of the year to go. So if you have been thinking about it: August 15 to August 21, 2009!

Monday, November 17

People flying in the face of green concerns

Phil Davies reports in TravelMole that concerns over aviation’s affect on the environment are doing little to discourage people from flying, a new study shows.

While green issues, such as climate change, noise and air pollution, worry almost three quarters of people (74%), only 22% admitted that these concerns had affected the number of flights they take.

More than half (54%) of the 2,023 adults questioned were unconcerned by the proposed third runway expansion at Heathrow and other UK airports.

In fact, 41% felt that more capacity was required to meet flight demands, according to the research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Camcon Technology, the UK developer of the digital valve.

For the 46% of adults that remained more apprehensive about airport development plans, key causes for concern are:

*Noise pollution (67%)
*Climate change (65%)
*Air quality (60%)
*House prices in the surrounding area (30%)

While the research revealed people’s hesitance to reduce their air travel, the majority of those surveyed were more than happy to embrace technology designed to make aircraft more environmentally friendly.

Of those concerned about airport expansion plans, more than three quarters (77%) would feel more comfortable if they knew that airlines and air manufacturers were investing money into the development of environmentally friendly aircraft that burn less fuel and produce less noise.

Camcon CEO Danny Chapchal said: “The majority of the UK population is evidently concerned about the environment but, rather than altering their travelling habits, people expect airline operators and aircraft manufacturers to reduce aviation’s environmental impact.

“To protect the environment, the aviation industry needs to examine the technologies that are now available to reduce carbon emissions and help decrease the noise from engine jets, fans and landing gear.

“With European Union regulations placing pressure on airlines to cut emissions by three per cent in 2012 and airport expansions set to be rolled out across the UK, it’s time that a new generation of quieter and more environmentally friendly planes was developed.”

Yukon dog sledding filling up nicely, but still availabilities

The month of January is one of the best times to view northern lights in the Yukon. In the bottom left ... one of the wall tent camps we use for the longer trips.

Our trips in the Yukon are attracting guests of all ages. February and the first half of March are fully booked.

There is still room in November, December and January. January is an excellent time to go because of the northern lights.

Here are some trip options:

Sunday, November 16

Great Excursions now offers RV rental services across Canada

Discover Canada at your own pace! RVing is gaining in popularity as a mode of travel. Families and friends looking for the ultimate in autonomy while on vacation are looking increasingly to renting a campervan or a motorhome. The freedom to venture off the conventional roadways, the beauty of waking up every morning in a different scenic spot is a hard to resist temptation. Have a look at some of the units we offer through our Canada-wide partnerships. To find out more, call 1-866-975-8687 or email us at info@greatexcursions.travel, and start planning your next holiday now!

Monday, November 10

Rail disruption causes WTM chaos

Bev Fearis reports in the TravelMole that major disruption on the Docklands Light Railway this morning caused chaos for visitors to World Travel Market in London.

On the opening day of the show, hundreds of exhibitors and visitors from around the world experienced the British capital’s transport system at its absolute worst.

DLR staff were unable to explain the reasons for the problems, which saw hundreds of people stranded at Canning Town. A later announcement on the DLR website blamed a faulty train at Royal Albert.

While many were unable to board trains due to severe over crowding, those that braved it had to suffer being crammed in like cattle.

On arrival at Canning Town, they were unable to disembark due to over crowding on the platforms. Doors remained closed until DLR staff had cleared enough space on the platforms to allow passengers to leave the trains.

Eventually a replacement bus service was put into operation, taking visitors slowly through rush hour traffic, and the rain, to Excel.

Many visitors complained that they had been forced to make five or six changes at different stations because of various other problems across the London underground network.

“It doesn’t look good for London,” said one visitor from Cyprus. "It's always bad, but this is the worst I have known it. Next year I will not make any appointments before midday."

Other disgruntled visitors to WTM described the transport chaos as a "farce" and questioned the message it gave to those from overseas about the ability of London to effectively host the 2012 Olympics.

Friday, November 7

Travel companies failing to track online customers

Bev Fearis reports in TravelMole that nearly half of travel companies don’t know if customers using their website achieve what they set out to do.

And according to a survey by digital market research specialists, eDigitalResearch, 33% don’t actively track the opinion of their online customers.

“For a sector hampered by rising fuel costs and with the economic slowdown increasing the demand for online bookings, these results show a lack of online customer knowledge,” said head of research Derek Eccleston.

“With more people turning to the internet to research and book their holidays, finding out how customers like to interact is the cornerstone in helping travel companies to achieve customer loyalty and sustain competitive advantage.”

Companies should be using online polls, panel surveys and rating systems to better understand their online customers, he added.

CanoeSki's Cliff Speer to give talk Wed. Nov. 12 at 7:00 pm at the J.S. Wood Library in Saskatoon

Our friend Cliff Speer sent this note around... A not to miss evening!

"In some ways, Saskatchewan is still a frontier province with many places practically undiscovered. Exploring those places can be a fascinating pursuit. Done in a sustainable, responsible way, such exploration is the essence of ecotourism.

On Wed. Nov. 12 at 7:00 pm at the J.S. Wood Library in Saskatoon, I will be giving a talk and slide show on ecotourism entitled: Eco-explorations in Saskatchewan’s Backcountry. My presentation will, of course, highlight canoeing and cross-country skiing, but will touch on other self-propelled modes of exploring the backcountry. You may be surprised to discover that backcountry in Saskatchewan can be both remote & almost on your doorstep!

The Nov. 12 event is one in a regular monthly series of public presentations on environmentally-related topics co-sponsored by the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and the J.S. Wood Library. It is free and everyone is welcome to attend. Coffee accompanies the discussion session. I look forward to seeing a whole bunch of eco-oriented explorers come out next Wed. evening!

Winter is hovering in the wings somewhere, but I’m a bit reluctant to bring up the topic of skiing as I’m still trying to catch up from a busy summer of canoeing! When we do get skiable conditions, check out the CanoeSki site for cross-country instruction and tour programs. I’ll be once again teaching all the adult ski courses for the Nordic Ski Club, so there should be plenty of options for everyone interested in learning to ski or improving their technique.

Private lessons have become popular over the last few years as a final option for those with tight schedules or simply wanting personalized attention. Give me a call to discuss any skiing questions. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the fall and dream of a protracted winter of deep snows!

Cliff Speer
CanoeSki Discovery Company
Wilderness Canoeing & Skiing EcoExplorations
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Tel/fax: 306-653-5693

Tuesday, November 4

AAA & Partners Announce 'Best and Biggest' Vacation Bargains to Kick-Start Economy

AAA, North America's largest leisure travel agency network is partnering with domestic and international travel industry leaders to offer special savings on an unprecedented set of travel experiences, TravelMole reports.

The effort,which runs Nov. 8 - 22 is intended to boost the number of Americans traveling this fall and winter, and spur an increase in overall economic activity in the process.

"At AAA's request, many of the world's leading travel providers have come forward with outstanding, special promotional discounts, extras and upgrades to help get America moving again," said Amy Nicholas, managing director of Tour, Cruise and Product Development for AAA. "World-class cruise lines, tour operators, hoteliers, theme parks and other special destinations have agreed to work with AAA in bringing consumers the widest-possible menu of incredible travel opportunities over the next few months. We are positive new and experienced travelers will like what they see," she said.

An estimated $700 billion is spent on travel annually and the travel industry directly or indirectly employs 7.5 million Americans. It contributes hundreds of billions of dollars to global trade and enriches our collective understanding and appreciation of other people and places.

To access AAA's "Best and Biggest" travel promotion, consumers will be directed through a series of media and AAA club advertisements to: www.AAA.com/SavingsEvent. Savings are available to members and the non-members, but there are additional exclusive benefits for members.

The complete list of travel industry participants and their special offers will be available via the website Oct. 31. The promotional portion of AAA's "Best and Biggest" campaign begins with a virtual travel show on Nov. 12 which will guide consumers through the various experiences and elements that are available or on sale. Consumers will be invited to attend the virtual show via advertising on web banners, regional promotions, and postcard and email campaigns.

As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at www.AAA.com.

Airlines Set to Turn Profits

TravelMole reports that even though the troubled economy has dimmed the 2009 outlook for most sectors, airlines are poised to equal their most profitable year this decade, according to a veteran airline industry analyst.

FTN Midwest analyst Mike Derchin said he expects carriers to produce net income of $5 billion next year, equaling the 2007 level, assuming oil is at $80 a barrel, revenue per available seat mile grows at 8% to 9%, and domestic capacity is reduced by 8% to 9%.

With similar metrics currently in place, Derchin also expects the industry to report a small profit for the fourth quarter.

"Consolidation has begun, resulting in a sharp reduction in capacity and higher average fares," he wrote in a research report. "Managements are focusing on core operations, eliminating noncore flights and grounding inefficient fleets."

Ironically, the U.S. airline industry is in a strong position because it began to reduce capacity early this year in response to high oil prices. Capacity showed slight declines in the first three quarters, but in the fourth quarter, growth by the three principal low-fare carriers slowed to zero, resulting in an industry-wide decline of 9%. Now fuel prices are falling, as is demand, but reduced capacity means current booking load factors are generally flat.

Additional favorable trends include the merger between Delta(DAL Quote - Cramer on DAL - Stock Picks) and Northwest, which was approved by regulators last week. It "is expected to result in additional capacity removed in 2009," Derchin said.

The five remaining legacy carriers have formed alliances with foreign carriers, with antitrust immunity likely, enabling coordinated pricing and scheduling. And "numerous marginal carriers have gone into liquidation," further reducing capacity.

"There may be worst cases, but most airlines have done what needs to be done to get back to profitability," said US Airways CEO Doug Parker in a recent interview.

After posting net income of $2.5 billion in 2000, the industry lost $35 billion in the next five years, then made $3.1 billion in 2006 and $5 billion in 2007, according to the Air Transport Association. Through the first three quarters of 2008, airlines lost about $4.8 billion, the ATA said.

A recent report by Avondale Partners analyst Bob McAdoo says airlines still trade at the same prices as they did when oil cost $120 to $125 a barrel, even though it now sells for half that.

"Investors seem convinced that the recession will outweigh the positives from lesser capacity and $65 oil," McAdoo wrote. "Looking back, recessionary airline revenues have only dropped about 1.2%, even during the most severe economic downturn of the last couple of decades. Combining today's jet fuel costs with capacity cuts, even with an assumed recessionary revenue shortfall of 2.0%, still leaves the airlines with near record profits.

Source: TheStreet.com