It seems the world has fallen in love with food-related holidays. Everywhere I go I see folks snapping photos of their meals and posting reviews and sharing information about the hottest spots.
Now there’s a new Canadian travel company offering culinary adventures in some wonderful parts fo the world. Toronto-based Foodie-Trips.com aims to “educate, amaze and entertain those looking to broaden their gastronomic knowledge by offering unique culinary adventures around the world.”
Their upcoming travel experiences include such sensational settings as Paris, Venice and, closer to home, wonderful Prince Edward Island , where I’ve had amazing meals and where the farm-to-table movement (and sea-to-table) is huge.
The Foodie-Trips.com folks will take you to meet local suppliers and producers and to create delicious meals in delicious cities. You might be able to catch your dinner in the stunning Dolomite Mountains outside Venice or visit a Prosecco maker or perhaps tour the oldest food market in Paris.
JIM BYERS PHOTO
The Inn at Bay Fortune in PEI is a marvellous spot for food lovers!
They’re offering a trip to PEI with Chatelaine Magazine in August of this year, promising “an insider’s guide to delicious seafood” and a local market cooking class. The food scene in Charlottetown has exploded the last couple years and it’s a great place to dine! Check out the Inn at Bay Fortune if you go for marvellous cuisine and great rooms in a quiet part of the island.
They have a trip slated for Paris in September and another one next May. Trips to northern Italy are scheduled for late September this year and May, 2015.
I haven’t tried the company so I can’t vouch for them personally. But they look like good trips, for sure.
SKYTRAX AWARDS CONTROVERSY AND CANADIAN AIRLINE NEWS
I got a couple of nasty (sort of) tweets from folks after I put something out on Twitter about how SkyTrax had awarded Air Canada the title of best North American airline. It’s the fifth year in a row they’ve garnered the award, and it got some snickers from AC critics. I can see their point; the airline can occasionally be maddening. But so can any airline. And Air Canada remains quite a bit ahead of any of the U.S. based airlines I fly on a regular basis. In fairness, I haven’t tried Virgin America so I’m probably missing something. But United is a terrible airline by comparison to Air Canada, with crummy entertainment systems and blasé service. I think Air Canada folks seem friendlier and more accessible of late. On the news front, Air Canada’s first flight from Toronto to Tokyo’s Haneda airport flew earlier this month. But this week marked the first flight using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which sounds like it’s quite something. The Haneda airport is much closer to downtown than Narita, so it’s a good flight for biz folks in a hurry … It’s nice to see that Porter Airlines was named top regional airline in North America. It’s their first such SkyTrax award, but it’s the first year for that category … If you’re a WestJet fan, you’ll be glad to know that WestJet has announced the return of its popular vacation price guarantee. Guests who choose a WestJet Vacation package between now and September 30, 2014, are guaranteed to receive the best price for their WestJet vacation for travel between October 26, 2014, and April 25, 2015.
ONTARIO’S WOEFULLY MISGUIDED FUEL TAX
I fully understand how Ontario needs to raise more money to help our provincial finances. But putting in a huge fuel tax hike is a very damaging move to the local economy and to Canadian airlines and to Pearson Airport, a major economic driver in the Greater Toronto Area, where the provincial Liberals have huge support. In case you missed it, the Wynne government has proposed a whopping 148 per cent increase in the fuel tax, phased in over four years.
In a statement issued this week, the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) said it’s a hugely damaging concept. “It is extremely disappointing that the Ontario Government has chosen to proceed with this tax increase without consultation and a thorough understanding of its damaging consequences,” the council said in a statement. “This massive increase punishes consumers, makes Ontario a less attractive destination to invest and expand into, and will exacerbate an already large competitiveness gap with neighbouring U.S. airports. Sadly, the big winners of this budget are the economies of Buffalo/Niagara, Detroit, Minnesota and other U.S. border regions,” said Marc-André O’Rourke, Executive Director of the National Airlines Council of Canada.
A new study by Dr. Fred Lazar of the Schulich School of Business at York University found that Ontario’s proposed increase will directly cost the province between 1,991 and 2,907 full-time jobs and decrease provincial GDP by between $67 and $97 million over the next four years.
Furthermore, the tax increase will drive away between 292,700 and 407,800 more air travellers at a time when about three million Ontario travellers already drive across the border to fly from U.S. airports every year. Ontarians make up almost 40 per cent of passengers at the Buffalo Airport and up to 70 per cent of passengers at the Niagara Falls Airport, NACC officials said.
That, folks, we do not need. Governments in Canada don’t have any idea how important tourism and travel are to our econmy. And it’s time they woke up and figured it out.