Monday, February 28

Ogema forges ahead with its tourist train project

I just heard a report from Ogema (via Al Scholz) that the tourism train project is coming along nicely there.

Carol Peterson sent me this note: "We have bought the engine and a passenger car and are moving them to Ogema. It will be the only large tourist train tour in Saskatchewan. Should be up and running for our 100th Anniversary Celebrations in July 2012".

Good on these these dynamic folks!

One of the product and marketing collaborations that should be considered is a partnership through the development of themed experiences aimed at high-yield consumers with the RCMP Heritage Centre in Regina, which should really be looking at such partnerships across Canada at a range of locations, and abroad. For instance, in Yukon Great Excursions sells expedition dog mushing trips from 5 to 15-days in length to Canadians, Australians, Kiwis, Brits and Americans. It would not be very difficult for us to theme one departure around the role mushing has played traditionally in serving remote communities, and sharing sales revenues with the Centre through simple profit-sharing formulas, not unlike those we currently use.

Some product models that could explored are charity challenge products targeting international police forces (charity challenges are popular with affinity groups in the UK). Lots of possibilities.

Tuesday, February 22

Mazatlan Residents Speak Out On Tourist Safety Concerns

Worried about the economic impact of recent decisions by some cruise lines to avoid Mazatlan, local expats who live there are speaking out on what they believe are overblown, isolated incidents, not reflective of what life in Mazatlan is like for tourists and residents in general. They hope their efforts to make Canadian and American visitors feel safe in this popular Mexican Riviera destination will help alleviate some of the concerns tour operators and consumers might have about travel to Mexican cities like Mazatlan.

Monday, February 21

Pebble Beach, Gwaii Haanas National Park, Canada

Pick any spot to go ashore and you will find a world of wonder in Gwaii Haanaas National Park and Marine Reserve. Claude-Jean Harel reflects on the beauty of the temperate rainforest and the marine environment at Pebble Beach in this Queen Charlottes travelogue.

The Art of Whale Viewing - Humpbacks, Haida Gwaii, BC

Viewing marine mammals is always a priority on our sailboat nature cruises. There usually are many opportunities to view whales in the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia. This travelogue features choice moments on one afternoon spent cruising in Gwaii Haanas National Park and Marine Reserve.

Producer: Claude-Jean Harel

Thursday, February 10

Zodiac Marine Life Excursion in the Pacific Northwest

Every outing in one of our sailboat's zodiacs yields new Pacific Northwest marine life discoveries that are sure to please travellers young and old. Here we are in Gwaii Haanas National Park and Marine Reserve in the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada.

Monday, February 7

Harnessing Canada's International Tourism Competitiveness

Travel Alberta's weekly tourism industry e-newletter "The Buzz" always gives us the pulse around the latest intelligence available on where Alberta's tourism industry is heading. Quite often the information shared is if direct relevance for Canada's tourism industry as a whole. That is especially the case in this morning's edition, the gist of which you will find below.

Canada will continue to lose its attractiveness as a world tourist destination unless governments take immediate action to ease tax, regulatory and other burdens on the $71.5 billion industry, according to a study by the National Travel and Tourism Coalition (NTTC).

“Since 2002, Canada has slipped from the eighth most‐visited destination in the world to the fifteent“noted Tourism Industry Association of Canada President and CEO David Goldstein. “If we are to compete globally and regain our position as a top ten destination in the world, the policy‐based impediments that have been built in to our sector need to be addressed.”

The Coalition’s analysis and recommendations are contained in Looking to 2020 – The Future of Travel and Tourism in Canada, an unprecedented look at the state of the sector. The study provides a description of the opportunities tourism presents for Canada, together with a set of realistic policy recommendations that will set the stage for economic growth and export development in the short to medium terms. The whitepaper identifies four areas in particular that require public policy fixes:

* A fair taxation regime that assists the growth of international travel and tourism;
* A level playing field with the United States in competition for overseas and trans‐border travel and tourism;
* Policies that enhance global competitiveness of Canada’s travel and tourism industry;
* Access to a sufficiently large and skilled labour force: for Canada’s travel and tourism industry.

If you are not already , you may want to subscribe to "The Buzz"

Sunday, February 6

Moving the sailboat to anchor in Haida Gwaii - BC

For observing passengers, there is a bit of awe in moving a 68-foot ketch to its anchoring location for the night. The skipper picks a sheltered location. One senses right away that winds have dropped as the engine turns more quietly until the right depth is reached. The anchor is dropped. It drags on the bottom, then hooks and the chain pulls to complete stillness.

Saturday, February 5

Rainforest Tour in British Columbia - Windy Bay, Haida Gwaii

Exploring British Columbia's rainforest at Windy Bay on Haida Gwaii is a very special experience. This rainforest was at the root of the legendary Haida stand-off in 1985 which led to the creation of Haida Gwaii National Park, now also a marine reserve, recognized internationally. The ancient trees that make up the immense worth of fascinating Moresby Island - now co-managed with Queen Charlottes Haida communities - are very precious indeed. Windy Bay rainforest tours led by Haida watchmen are quite the meaningful journey for seasoned and new visitors alike.

Tuesday, February 1

Pilgrimage to Windy Bay, Haida Gwaii

Visiting Windy Bay on the eastern edge of Lyell Island feels a little like going on a pilgrimage. It is near here in 1985 that a group of elders from Haida communities decided to embark of a very public campaign to stop logging activities on the island, home to magnificent 100-year old trees, up to 70-meters tall. This is where the begingings of protected Haida Gwaii were hatched. Watchmen still protect the site and the longhouse-style cabin named "Looking Around and Blinking House", which they built and lived in bunk-style while events unfolded at the time. Watchmen do allow visitors in. It is a fitting prelude to any visit deeper into Lyell Island's forest.