Where will we be going and what will we be doing in 2010? That’s a question that many analysts have tried to predict so industry can be ready to capitalize on the latest trends in the marketplace.
When it comes to travel, most analysts believe that Canadians will be travelling more than they did last year, but the numbers will still be below what they were before the onset of the recession. A number of marketing analysts believe that even though H1N1 kept some people at home during 2009, it will not have a significant impact on North American travel in 2010.
“H1N1 is so 2009,” declared Lonely Planet staff as they placed Mexico in the No. 4 spot on their top 10 countries to visit in 2010.
Domestic leisure travel is predicted to increase in Canada and a number of new attractions and tourism events will lure visitors to destinations around the world. For those planning to enjoy a vacation, there will be plenty of interesting events and new attractions to entice and entertain in 2010.
What’s new in Alberta
• Art Gallery of Alberta: The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is scheduled to open on Jan. 31 in a new building located on Sir Winston Churchill Square in Edmonton. The 85,000-square-foot gallery was built with a considerable amount of recycled materials and designed by Los Angeles-based Randall Stout Architects. It promises to provide the opportunity for visitors of all ages and backgrounds to experience and enjoy contemporary art first-hand. There is a new children’s gallery, named BMO World of Creativity and a number of events, classes and programs planned for 2010.
Hot tip: Free tickets to visit the AGA during the two-day grand opening will be available online starting Jan. 18. (www.youraga.ca)
• Dinosaurs Alive! Starting on Feb. 5, the Calgary Zoo’s Prehistoric Park will come to life with 20 giant animatronic dinosaurs that actually move and roar. Some of the eight-metre-tall dinosaurs can even be remotely controlled by guests. Dinosaurs Alive! is a $1-million exhibit and will be the first of its kind in North America. While at the zoo, visit the new Enmax Conservatory that opened in November and the new baby giraffe, born in December. Hot tip: Early bird tickets are now on sale at 30 per cent off the regular price for the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit. (www.calgaryzoo.org)
• 25 Years of Discovery: Throughout 2010, the Royal Tyrrell Museum will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new exhibit entitled 25 Years of Discovery. The exhibit will include 25 of the museum’s most significant specimens, which will be presented alongside stories of the people and situations that led to their discovery. One of the exhibit highlights will be Black Beauty, a tyrannosaurus rex that was found by two young teens on a fishing trip in southwestern Alberta. The fossil is considered one of the most beautiful specimens of its kind — preserved in very hard, light grey sandstone, with black bones and teeth. The exhibit opens on May 22. (www.tyrrellmuseum.com)
• Marmot Basin: Jasper’s Marmot Basin just opened the longest high-speed quad chairlift in the Alberta Rockies. The new $8-million lift is 2.4 km in length and takes only seven and a half minutes to reach the top. It is one of the most significant ski lift developments in North America for the 2009-10 season and will eliminate lift waits and provide non-stop access to longer runs on the upper mountain. (www.skimarmot.com)
Around the world
• Headline Events: Event travel is a growing tourism trend and several destinations will benefit from hosting headline-grabbing events this year. Close to home, the Winter Olympic Games (www.vancouver2010.com) in Vancouver from Feb. 12 to 28 will bring in thousands of visitors to that city and to other destinations in Western Canada. Other events that will capture worldwide attention include the FIFA World Cup (www.fifa.com/worldcup/) soccer games in South Africa from June 11 to July 11 and the Shanghai World Expo (en.expo2010.cn), a modern world’s fair scheduled for May 1 to Oct. 31 in Shanghai, China.
• Oberammergau Passion Play: In 1633, the villagers of Oberammergau, Germany were so much in the grip of war, plague and poverty that they made a promise that if they survived they would put on a passion play every 10 years. The first passion play was performed in 1634 and the tradition has continued for almost four centuries. Only actual villagers can take part. The show will be staged this year from May through October and will be seen by an estimated 500,000 people. (www.passionplay-oberammergau.com)
• Waitukubuli National Trail: The Caribbean’s first long-distance hiking trail will fully open within the next two years on the island of Dominica, but sections of the trail are open now. The trail covers the length of the island from north to south, a staggering 185 km. Sections of the trail follow the coastline and are very scenic. (http://www.dominica.gov.dm/cms/files/wntp_Booklet_final.pdf)
• The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Universal Studios Orlando is planning to open its new Harry Potter attraction in its Islands of Adventure theme park later this spring. The main attraction will be a high tech ride called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. (www.universalorlando.com)
• King Kong 3D: Universal Studios Hollywood will open its latest 3 D attraction this summer. King Kong 360 will replace the previous King Kong attraction on the backlot tram tour and transport visitors to Skull Island where they can see “the eighth wonder of the world.” (www.universalstudioshollywood.com)
• Disney’s World of Color: Disneyland California is debuting a new and unique night-time water show in April called World of Color. The show will take visitors on a journey through animated Disney classics like The Lion King and Toy Story. (http://disneyland.disney.go.com)
Other stuff to know about 2010
• 2010 has been proclaimed by the United Nations to be the International Year of Biodiversity. Events will be taking place around the world to celebrate biodiversity.
• Feb 14 marks the beginning of the Year of the Tiger, according to Chinese astrology.
Hot tip for snagging a good travel deal in 2010: One of the big travel marketing trends is for airlines and hotels to go directly to consumers with promotions and special offers via email newsletters, facebook or twitter. Signing up for frequent flyer programs, email newsletters, and twitter feeds will keep you in the loop when there are seat sales and discounts.
Debbie Olsen is a Lacombe-based freelance writer. If you have a travel story you would like to share or know someone with an interesting travel story who we might interview, please email: DOGO@telusplanet.net or write to: Debbie Olsen, c/o Red Deer Advocate, 2950 Bremner Ave., Red Deer, T4R 1M9.