QUALITY OF LIVING SURVEY NAMES VANCOUVER ONE OF THE WORLD’S TOP CITIES
According to Mercer’s 2011 Quality of Living Survey, Vancouver is the world’s fifth-best city and the best place to live in North America. The 2011 edition of Mercer’s annual assessment rated 221 cities on 39 dimensions, including culture, crime, education and public services. Among the many factors Vancouver was lauded for were its excellent health care, natural environment and stable political and social climate. Earlier in the year, Vancouver placed third in a similar global survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). In a separate report, the EIU also ranked Vancouver the second most sustainable city in North America.
DISNEY CRUISE LINES RETURNS TO VANCOUVER
Disney Cruise Lines has released its itineraries for the 2013 season, and Vancouver is once again a home port. Starting May 27, the Disney Wonder will depart Vancouver 16 times throughout the year, travelling through the fjord at Tracy Arm and docking in the Alaskan ports of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. Disney debuted its Alaskan cruises in Vancouver last year, carrying approximately 90,000 passengers and contributing $40 million to the city’s economy. The organization switched to Seattle as the departure hub for 2012, but Vancouver’s closer proximity to Alaska and positive feedback from travellers contributed to Disney’s decision to reinstate Vancouver as the departure port for Wonder next year. According to Port Metro Vancouver, each cruise call to the city contributes $2 million in economic activity. Regardless of Disney’s absence in 2012, the port anticipates an increase in cruise passengers this year.
VIRGIN ATLANTIC ANNOUNCES NEW FLIGHT SERVICE TO VANCOUVER
U.K.-based airline Virgin Atlantic recently announced the launch of a new nonstop route between London and Vancouver starting in summer 2012. Flights will depart from Heathrow Airport four times a week between May 24 and October 27, with an estimated 40,000 passengers projected to use the service during its first season. The new route is expected to increase capacity from the U.K. to Vancouver by 10 percent and add $54 million in annual revenue to Vancouver’s tourism market.
MAJOR UPGRADES ANNOUNCED FOR VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Vancouver Airport Authority recently unveiled a 10-year strategy that will allocate $1.8 billion in improvements to Vancouver International Airport (YVR). The project is intended to keep Vancouver competitive with national and international destinations - particularly the fast-growing Asian market - by facilitating the travel process. Immediate plans include new high-speed baggage systems; upgrades to the original Domestic Terminal building; runway safety enhancements; and the introduction of more than 700 metres of corridors and moving walkways to reduce connection times for passengers. YVR was voted the best airport in North America in 2010 and 2011.
ROCKY MOUNTAINEER EARNS PRESTIGIOUS WORLD TRAVEL AWARD
Luxury rail operator Rocky Mountaineer was named World’s Leading Travel Experience by Train at the 2011 World Travel Awards, marking six years in a row the company has earned the title. Travelling across Western Canada to world-class destinations like Vancouver, Whistler and the Canadian Rockies, Rocky Mountaineer bested such legendary train tours as The Royal Scotsman, South Africa’s Blue Train and the Eastern and Oriental Express. The World Travel Awards recognizes excellence in travel, with winners chosen by more than 200,000 industry professionals and travelers worldwide. This year’s ceremony took place in Quatar on January 11. Rocky Mountaineer’s portfolio of accolades also includes awards from National Geographic, Travel + Leisure and Outside magazines.
VANCOUVER SCORES A HAT TRICK OF MEDICAL CONGRESS BID WINS
Vancouver has been selected as the host city for three prestigious medical conferences taking place in 2015. All three conventions resulted from the leadership and dedication demonstrated by influential Vancouverites who worked with Tourism Vancouver’s Be A Host program to bring their associations’ meetings to the city. The latest batch of successful bid proposals includes World Congress of Dermatology, International Society for Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism (ISCBFM) and International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) World Congress.
VANCOUVER AQUARIUM TO HOST 2016 INTERNATIONAL AQUARIUM CONGRESS
With the support of Tourism Vancouver’s Be A Host program, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre has been chosen to host the ninth International Aquarium Congress (IAC) in 2016. Held once every four years, the IAC is the public aquarium industry’s most prestigious event, and is expected to attract 1,500 leading scientists and practitioners to Vancouver. Throughout the multi-day conference, attendees gather from around the globe to exchange ideas on improving operational practices and promoting the industry’s development. The IAC has been held in countries across Europe, the Americas and Asia, with the 2012 gathering scheduled to take place in Cape Town, South Africa.
VANCOUVER VOTED BEST DESTINATION IN CANADA BY TRAVEL WEEKLY
For the ninth year in a row, readers of U.S. travel trade publication Travel Weekly have named Vancouver the best destination in Canada. Every year, Travel Weekly invites its core readership of accredited U.S. travel agents to take part in the publication’s Readers Choice Awards. During a multi-round voting process, ballots are cast for national and international travel suppliers that include airlines, tour operators, cruises, theme parks and destinations, with winners considered to represent the best the industry has to offer. The awards are widely recognized as reflecting the professional opinion of agents who are not only avid travellers themselves, but also hear feedback every day from thousands of American consumers.