I am often struck in Europe by how much they promote vacations within the home country or inside Europe. And not just de luxe vacations.
Here’s a grocery store chain poster for local weekends not-far-away:
Note they are not so much selling the destination (how different is a location less than 100 miles from home?) as what you could do at the destination. Send the kids to grandma, and take the train or car to treat yourself. (24 euros is about $36 Cdn).
In France, the school March break weeks vary around the country so there isn’t one giant peak. The actual week off rotates by region, so everyone gets a crack at prime time. Schools offer trips to other regions for skiing or art galleries or just touristing. Instead of day camp in the community centre, take the kids to the Louvre. This probably generates national pride and knowledge. Our media coverage of March break is schizophrenic … its either a “suffer with the kids underfoot” survival-type story, or exhortation to spend big and go to where its warm. We fail to develop national pride at our peril.
This local train station offered tourist travel at non-rush hours at reduced rates:
However, the local big grocery store had an even better deal:
I bought my ticket at the grocery store service counter and got this folder:
… containing this disposable chip readable card …
and it came with bonus coupons, usable at the dutch train station concessions:
That American cookie (choc chip) and coffee gave the frugal tourist energy to head on to the next site:
I like the cross promotions shown here. The local version of Loblaws promoting staycations and regional travel, the domestic tourism promotions. I am vaguely surprised more businesses don’t try to tie into things like transit. I do like that Shoppers Drug Marts now have some sort of tie in to Presto cards, but just what exactly are they offering and where in the store? I haven’t seen any ticket machines in their stores …
Perhaps recognizing the purchasing power of transit users (the average transit commuter in Ottawa may well have a higher income than the average car commuter here) I do notice the Spring Home Show at EY Centre next week is offering free admission on Thursday to Presto card holders (bus #97).
May there be many more tie ins to local transit.
I live right beside Preston Street. Apparently the PBIA is running a restaurant promotion. But there were no flyers to local households to encourage us to get out and try a new restaurant. And locals are probably the most likely repeat clientele. Does the Chateau Laurier have a slow period? Why not a promotion to locals to try it out? I’ve never stayed there. But I did take up a Chateau Montebello weekend package deal once, and I have good memories of it.
Good trips and experiences have to be promoted. The market has to be developed. And there must be something interesting to do or see. It may be I miss what is local because it is local. Or maybe we just aren’t competitive.
I get the occasional gentle rebuke from readers I meet around town who urge me to cycle / vacation here in Canada. Frankly, I have no interest in sharing high speed intercity highways with F250 pickup trucks playing “mirror tag” at 80 kmh or where the slightest inattention means my injury or death. And hotel prices here in Canada constantly shock me. Once we get some more safe intercity cycle trails, I’ll be on them too. The USA has way more of these than we do. Europe has gazillions. Until then I will go where I am wanted, and can make my dollar stretch. Right now that means Europe in the summer, south in the winter. Our loss, their gain.