March 1 2011 by Bryson Forbes
I have the distinct pleasure to be able to call Tony Pollard (President of the Hotel Association of Canada) a friend. If there is one thing I know for sure Tony, it's that Tony is passionate about travel and government policy. If something is out of whack, he's a man that will let you know.
I share Tony's ire over the number of dollars flying...well, actually, driving--- out of Canada to the US. The Hotel Association of Canada conducts an annual study and they ask travelers a series of questions about their travel intentions for the coming year. Twenty one percent of respondents in 2011 claim that they will definitely fly out of the US as opposed to Canada to lower costs. This number is up from eighteen percent in 2010. There are a further eleven percent who say they have not driven to fly out of the US before but are considering it this year. Combining those two numbers gives you an astounding one third of all Canadian travelers planning to take their business and money to the US. To put that in perspective, that is almost six million passengers, roughly the number people who travel annually from a major airport like Halifax.
According to Tony: "This growing trend has serious consequences for the Canadian travel industry and needs to be addressed by the reduction of airport fees, travel security costs and airline surcharges".
It does seem like an airline issue but the economic impact is felt in other areas too, such as hotels, restaurants, parking and concessions at and around Canadian airports..
To make matters even worse the government is considering a new tax that would see Canadians flying to the US (from Canada) charged a further $5.50 in the form of an "inspection fee."
The issue is finally getting some traction and more and more Canadians are joining Tony's crusade to have government level the playing the field.
Have you driven out of Canada to fly from the US?
Let me know, because I have.