NEWS BRIEFS update as of July 23, 2019

4>Chelsea Hotel celebrates its bees

Sarah Allinson and Peter Chorabik of Toronto Bee Rescue.

Sarah Allinson and Peter Chorabik of Toronto Bee Rescue.

TORONTO — Peter Chorabik and Sarah Allinson-Chorabik of Toronto Bee Rescue were on hand July 11 to celebrate the Chelsea Hotel's bees, at a meeting of the Society of American Travel Writers hosted by the hotel's director of public relations, Tracy Ford. 

In an effort to revitalize the honey bee population in our city, The Chelsea Hotel, Toronto is now home to four bee hives on the fourth floor: Wildflower Lodge, Homey Hub, Bee Club Lounge and the Chelsea Sweet. 
Toronto Bee rescue is an urban beekeeping operation founded by Chorabik and Allinson, following in the steps of three previous generations of hobby beekeepers. Toronto Bee Rescue specializes in the humane removal and relocation of established honey been colonies.

Once the colonies are rescued, Toronto Bee Rescue works with companies and landowners in the city to find optimal locations for these colonies to thrive, from rooftops to ravines. They manage over 80 colonies in Toronto.

Destination Canada: April arrivals set records

VANCOUVER — Destination Canada’s (DC) latest Tourism Snapshot indicates tourism growth rebounded in April 2019, offsetting contractions seen in March due to the timing of Easter holidays. Arrivals for the month reached a new record high, with 1.36-million international overnight arrivals (up 19.1 per cent), resulting in year-to-date (YTD) growth of 4.4 per cent.

In April, Canada also saw new monthly-arrivals peaks from Mexico (up 102.3 per cent), China (up 1.4 per cent), France (up 12.8 per cent) and India (up 26.6 per cent). The same markets also set new arrivals records for the first four months of the year, as did Australia (up five per cent YTD). With the Japanese Golden Week holiday period starting in late April, total arrivals from Japan for the month jumped to 17,000 — up 33.7 per cent.

Canada welcomed 900,000 visitors from the U.S. in April (up 16.4 per cent), offsetting the drop in March 2019 and bringing YTD arrivals from the U.S. back up ahead of 2018 levels (up 3.9 per cent).

A year-over-year comparison of national hotel indicators were mixed, with occupancy for the month falling 0.2 percentage points. RevPAR and ADR were both up, climbing 3.2 per cent and 2.8 per cent, respectively.

The complete report is available here.

Expedia and the Amazing Race

Jon Montgomery with Colleen Isherwood. Photo: Ann Ruppenstein.

Jon Montgomery with Colleen Isherwood. Photo: Ann Ruppenstein.

TORONTO — Jon Montgomery, host of The Amazing Race, poses with Colleen Isherwood, editor of Canadian Lodging News at an event held by Expedia at the CN Tower on July 9. Montgomery mixed and mingled with media and other invited guests, and talked about some of the best places to travel in Canada — from Iqualuit — where he went on a seal hunt and built a shelter — to your own backyard. The television host from Russell, Manitoba, told attendees about his first trip as a five-month-old, where he was almost left on a picnic table. “I've been travelling ever since…,” he quipped.

Kimpton Saint George's Stay Human project

TORONTO — Kimpton Saint George launched the Stay Human Project on July 1st (ending Sept 30), a Kimpton-exclusive campaign looking to humanize the guest experience at select Kimpton hotels across the world. 

The project looks to forge meaningful ties with other guests, experience the true fabric of a destination, and challenge ones preconceived notions about travel. The guest room series transforms one premium room (available for booking) in 20 participating properties into a unique activation that honors the hyper-local character of the surrounding neighborhood. 

At Saint George specifically, the Stay Human Project looks to embody various elements of Toronto, drawing upon local artists, florists, bakers and vendors to give the Stay Human room a local, meaningful feel.

Below is a list of carefully selected experiences placed throughout the room to encourage guest interaction:

— Share your story with future guests in the guestbook, filled with various questions and prompts.

— Snap a pic with the Polaroid camera and either place it in the guestbook or take it home as a keepsake of your Stay Human Project memory.

— Make your mark on the large-scale interactive map of the city by placing a magnet on your favourite location that you’ve visited throughout Toronto. Hand-created by local Artist, Illustrator and Muralist Lauren Pirie, this custom map is the perfect guide to the city.

— Share a postcard with friends back home with Button Machine’s postcards highlighting the city’s most notable landmarks, neighborhoods and more.

— Admire the glow from the #StayHumanProject neon sign illuminating the room.

— Snack on delicious cookies inspired by the unofficial mascot of Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park; the albino squirrel. Local baker Lindsey Gazel designed and hand-crafted these cookies to delicious perfection.

— Guests can dine like a local with complimentary, in-room breakfast courtesy of the hotel-adjacent pub, Fortunate Fox.

— Listen to a selection of Canadian vinyls on TEAC turntable systems, curated by Kimpton’s Director of music Lauren Bucherie in partnership with neighbourhood record store Sonic Boom Records.

— Enjoy the sights and smells of Ontario-grown flora by local florist Flùr.

Tofino resort offers virtual reality experiences

TOFINO, B.C. — Tofino Resort + Marina is the first business in Tofino to offer guests the chance to experience Tofino’s wilderness and wildlife adventures before they embark on a tour. 

After developing a one-of-a-kind virtual reality video in partnership with XR Media Group, the resort is now equipped with two Oculus headsets, allowing guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in an adventure experience before booking a tour. The new virtual reality video is also available for viewing in 360 video format on YouTube and on the Marine Adventure Centre homepage.

“In alignment with our progressive adventure travel brand, we are excited bring virtual reality in to our marketing mix and to be able to showcase the range of exciting experiences that we can offer guests in a completely new way,” says Eva Thouvenot, Head of Marketing at Tofino Resort + Marina. “With customized virtual reality and 360 video we can share our dynamic landscape and wildlife with visitors and give them a true taste of how remarkable these experiences can be.”

Biggest Rendez-Vous Canada ever

VANCOUVER — This year’s Rendez-vous Canada (RVC) broke attendance records up again, welcoming more than 580 international buyers from 30 countries May 28-31.

The 2019 instalment of Destination Canada’s annual tourism marketplace was held in Toronto and hosted by Destination Ontario and Tourism Toronto. All provinces and territories were represented, with 571 tourism organizations promoting Canadian products and services. This included 33 indigenous tourism businesses brought together by the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) in the indigenous pavilion.

“Rendez-vous Canada continues to draw record attendance, that means buyers from around the world and sellers from across the country will be driving more international travel to Canada,” says David Goldstein, president and CEO, Destination Canada.

RVC 2019 broke all attendance records, welcoming 1,918 delegates — the most in the event’s 43-year history. During the four-day event, delegates conducted more than 31,000 face-to-face business appointments, which also marked a new record.