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All in all, 2011 was an eventful year for Canada - one that included a series of highs and lows for the country in everything from weather to sports to entertainment. One of those “highs" was the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s nine-day visit to Canada. Excitement for the royals didn’t overshadow the rest of the year though as the unpredictable behaviour of Mother Nature was responsible for one of the key “lows” in 2011. Across the country we experienced weather so destructive that 2011 is being touted as the second most costly year for natural disasters in Canadian history. Provinces from Saskatchewan to Quebec were affected by both flooding and abnormally high temperatures and Ontario was hit with a deadly tornado which saw winds up to 320km/hr.
On the west coast, the city of Vancouver made global news when violent riots broke out after the hometown hockey team lost the Stanley Cup. On a softer note, the riots were also the scene of one of the most celebrated photographs of the year, the famous ‘kissing couple.‘ Additionally, the nation crowned a different type of ice champion - figure skater Patrick Chan continued on his winning streak coming in first place at the world championships.
In central Canada, Toronto lost popular NDP leader and resident Jack Layton, in August, after a battle with cancer, RIM suffered a series of setbacks including a three-day service outage and then the Occupy protests started. Canadian artists continued to influence pop culture with musicians such as Justin Bieber, Drake and Michael Bublé dominating the world music charts, while sports fans were subjected to life without basketball during the nearly six-month NBA lockout.
Travel in 2011 was something that, unlike basketball, Canadians did not go without. In fact, not only did Canadians continue to indulge in their passion for exploration, but they spent 2% more for hotel rooms worldwide than they did the previous year. Areas of the world where Canadians increased their spend included North America, Europe and the Middle East.
International destinations that saw significant increases in their average daily rates (ADR) included South American countries, Brazil, Peru and Chile; which went up 12% ($222), 14% ($139) and 19% ($164) respectively. Interest in Brazil is at an all-time high, especially among sports enthusiasts, since the announcement of Rio de Janeiro as the host city for both the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Countries that saw a decrease in their rates included Cambodia which dropped 20% ($71), Jamaica and Egyptwhich both dropped 13% ($161 and $120). The rate decreases in Egypt could be attributed to the continued political turmoil in the country since a revolution began in early 2011. Egypt also made international headlines after a series of fatal shark attacks in its tourist resort areas and these factors may have played a role in the decreased tourism in the latter half of the year.
International destinations with the biggest increase in Canadian spend ($CAD)
Toronto continued to be the most popular destination for Canadians travelling domestically and Toronto hotels saw an increase of 5% ($142). It was also the number one destination for international travellers coming to Canada. The city of Toronto has an assortment of year-round attractions to entice visitors, with high-end shopping, gourmet restaurants, a diverse range of ethnic neighbourhoods and internationally celebrated festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival. For those on a budget, it also has a variety of free activities for travellers to explore, like the Riverdale Farm, a small farm uniquely planted in the city, or, if you’re a foodie, the local produce and crafts at the bustling St. Lawrence Market.
Canadians chose Montreal as their second pick within Canada, and Vancouver as third. Travellers outside of Canada picked these same two Canadian cities; however for the international community Vancouver topped Montreal coming in as inbound travellers’ second most visited city.
Overall, in 2011 hotels in Montreal increased in price by 2% ($151). Montreal is highly sought after by travellers with a passion for French culture and historic architecture. Vancouver also increased 3% ($144) appealing to visitors with its outdoorsy charm and activities. It also boasts the mildest temperatures in Canada.
For Canadians interested in travel, 2012 is shaping up to be a great year. With a strong dollar and hotel dealsto be had in both domestic and international destinations, the travel options are endless. Hotels.com helps travellers find the perfect place by providing a selection of almost 149,000 worldwide properties, over 20,000 travel deals a day, mobile booking apps for those on-the-go, over three million guest reviews and the Welcome Rewards™ loyalty program giving frequent travellers one free night for every 10 accumulated. So, if your life’s passion is to climb Machu Pichu or drink wine in Verona, hotels.com can make it your reality.
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