Welcome Rewards, the Hotels.com loyalty program, has just reached 10 million members and has redeemed more than one million free nights since its launch in 2008. In the program, customers can earn a free night at more than 100,000 hotels across the world for every 10 nights stayed, with no blackout dates.
They issued a list today of where Canadians are using their points. And it’s mostly to stay close to home. Here’s the list of the top 10 redeemed destinations for Canadians in 2013: 1. Toronto, 2. Montreal, 3. Niagara Falls, 4. Edmonton, 5. Calgary, 6. New York City, 7. Vancouver, 8. Ottawa, 9. Quebec City, 10. Las Vegas.
I’m a tad surprised to see Edmonton ahead of Calgary, and to see Vancouver behind both Alberta cities. But there’s a ton of tourism growth in Alberta these days, and lots of economic growth, so perhaps it makes sense. I’m a bit surprised not to see Orlando in there, but that’s just me.
HAPPIEST U.S. STATES
According to a list I found at livescience.com, here are the ten happiest states in the U.S.: 1. North Dakota, 2. South Dakota, 3. Nebraska, 4. Minnesota, 5. Montana, 6. Vermont, 7. Colorado, 8. Hawaii, 9. Washington, 10. Iowa.
Note, please, that five of those states have borders with Canada. No wonder they’re so happy! They probably think they can share in our Olympic medal wealth.
Okay, you sickos, you want to know the 10 most miserable states, don’t you? Yeah, so do I. Here they are, in order of most unhappy to just somewhat unhappy (places 50 to 41 in the overall U.S. ranking): West Virginia,Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Ohio, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
Note that NONE of those share a border with Canada. Ohio shares a watery border with Ontario in the middle of Lake Erie. But that doesn’t count as a “real” border in my book. So my point stands. You want to be happy? Snuggle up to Canada. We’ve got room.
Here’s an interesting chart, I think. What country led the world in tourism growth last year?
According to a report on skift.com, it was Japan, with a growth rate of a whopping 24 per cent! Next was Kazakhstan (not for me, but there you go) at 21.9 per cent, followed by Thailand at 19.6. Coming in fourth was Greece at 15.5 per cent, which is helping their economy considerably.
U.S. DESTINATIONS FOR 2014
According to a study by the Travel Leaders group, these are the 10 most popular destinations in the U.S. for folks booking travel for this year: 1. Las Vegas, 2. Orlando, 3. Maui, 4. Alaska Cruise, 5. New York, 6. Honolulu, 7. San Francisco, 8. Fort Lauderdale, 9. Hawaii Cruise, 10. Los Angeles.
TRIP ADVISOR MOST POPULAR ISLANDS
According to Trip Advisor, the most popular islands in the U.S. are Marco Island, Florida, followed by Anna Maria Island, Florida, Key West, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii.
No votes I could find for Alcatraz, but then again the hotel situation isn’t so great and there’s no beach.