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Regional News

Welcome to the RMI regional news page. If you were not contacted via e-mail about the latest newsletter being posted and would like to be added to the mailing list, please contact [email protected].

Real America News
Volume E2, Issue 3, Fall 2006


In this issue:

Nuts and Bolts 2006, Benelux

The Uniform Leisure Traveler no longer exists!

For a long time we thought we had it all under control. There were people who booked through travel agencies, people who didn’t. You had people making their arrangements through Internet, others didn’t. People who wanted to go to the beach, others seeking adventure. People loving luxury, others going back to basic.

Those easy days are gone. As recently, with all the diversity the society offers, the consumer is more unfaithful as ever. If he travels for business it can be first class, later on the same year he books a budget city trip. In summer he goes with his family to a first class Club Med All Inclusive experience, in autumn he goes back packing with friends in India. Tailor made travel is the key word together with multi channeling and flexibility.

Not only the customer is more difficult to define, also the travel industry is more and more overlapping. Travel Agencies, directly in contact with receptives, tour operators directly in contact with consumers via Internet.

In that respect counting the right numbers has proven to be more difficult. Who is the customer and when is he counted. The ANVR is composing travel statistics based on “sold” package tours. This is if at least two components are booked with the same operator. In these figures, North America is down with 24% in 2006 compared to 2005. This is in contradiction with the figures in the TRIP report. Here we see an enormous growth in travel to the RMI Region. We know some reasons for this trend: trips to fun & sun destinations as Florida are more easily replaced by low-fare holidays in Europe but also because if people book themselves segments via Internet, the booking poles loose track of them and they might not be “counted”. Figures in the last TRIP Report are proving this: the Benelux traveler is more and more in search for rest, peace and remote areas.

Travel Behavior
In general you can say that the holiday participation is at its highest possible point and won’t be growing any longer. The demand for fully inclusive and fully organized holidays is growing. The consumer wants to spend and he is willing to pay for quality. Although Turkey still has the highest market share of summer holidays, the absolute number decreased with some 30%. Turkey is known as a cheap destination. They had an explosive growth in offering All Inclusive. But if people pay 299,- for a full week on all inclusive, what can they expect. Next time they choose to spend a bit more (even the Dutch!) for receiving better quality. Two of the bigger Turkey tour operators already went bankrupt recently.

There is another trend for theme tours: wellness, golf even cultural trips and opera trips are being offered. Figures for winter holidays (both snow and sun) are in growing demand for the 2006/2007 season.

From the summer holidays (by air) abroad 87% is to a European destination. Most popular are still Turkey (Market share 24%), Greece (MS 21%), Spain (MS 21%) and Portugal (MS 6%).

In general you can say there is a small decrease in numbers, frequency and intensity of holidays. In 2005 less people went on holiday and those who went did go less
frequently. The number of holidays decreased with 2.1% tot 34.4 million, together good for 267.4 million overnights.   
The holiday participation has decreased from 81,2% to 80,8%. The holiday intensity decreased from 2,82 to 2,77
50% of the holidays are abroad, this is increasing. Also the amount
spent on holidays increased slightly with 50 million to 12.7 billion. Which means the expenditure per person per day on holiday is increasing. Is the consumer in search of better quality?

Then in general we give you the TOP 10 of trends for the Benelux:

  • The population will grow just slightly

The growth of the population has never been so low. In 2005 the population only grew with 30,000 people. Mainly caused because more people emigrated then immigrated and less births occurred. A trend started in 2000 and expected to continue. In the total EU-countries there are 462 million people counted, expectations is that this number will be 470 million in 2025.

  • The population will consists of a growing part of elderly people

Not only in the Benelux but international you can notice this trend in Europe, USA, Australia and Japan. Due to excellent medical services the number of deaths decrease and increases the average age. This is a very interesting group for tourism. This group is wealthy, has time and is willing to travel. They want to pay for a good product. The holiday experience is the main issue, more then status. Security and safety are very important.

  • Change of the constitution of households

The number of households will grow, but consist of smaller families, there will be an increase of the number of households with only one person and more double income households. This will lead to more individual travel

  • There is more need for time off

People try to combine tasks, working during traffic jams, fitness while watching TV, working from home to avoid traffic jams. Although people want to create more time to relax you see that the opposite happens. Working matters are more spread and done when having time off. And due to technical improvements people are expected to be ready for work, think of always being available by mobile phone, the lap top and so on.

  • The economy will recover

The unemployment rate will decrease further and there will be a further ability to buy for consumers. The consumer is more positive about the future. The economic growth is estimated on 2,75% and can further increase up to a 3%. For the total EU region the expectations for growth are 2,25%.

  • More and more common use of technology

More and more use of internet, supported with developed technology also available for normal consumers. Further development of digital radio, television and combinations of functions. 83% of the households have a PC and 78% has access to internet, as well as 90% of the companies have. Also the navigation technology is more and more influencing tourism. Not only for use in cars but also with city trips, with digital guidance and social software.

  • More influence of political situations on tourism

Safety will be an important issue on choices for holidays. Due to terrorist attacks and conflicts people feel unsafe. Also safety measures influence travel.

  • The TOP 50 of travel companies do expect a small growth in turnover of about 3%.

However companies working with internet, the direct sellers do expect a far bigger increase. New entrances in this TOP 50 of Dutch Travel Companies are all direct sellers like Jiba and VakantieDiscounter. Also a player like is expecting a turnover of 62 million Euros.

  • Hard times for the traditional travel agent.

However a lot of  bookers through the internet are new bookers, people who are not visiting a travel agency anyway. Expectations are that travel  agencies part of a bigger chain and those able to give added value to a travel advice will survive. But those who cannot do this will disappear; the market is too tight to survive without the right tools.

  • For America the South West will remain the most popular region

(30,6%), the South East (23%%) and the North East (18,2%). The North West however is showing a growing interest, 13,9% is willing to visit the RMI Region. The South and Mid West are the least popular, less then 7% is planning  to go to this region. Staying in hotels (43,9%) will remain the most wanted way of accommodation, followed by the motel (32,6%). Private housing however did not have a bad score either, 12,3%. But this is mainly Florida. Camper and tent are expected to get more popular, last year wanted with 6% of the travelers, for 2006 the expectation is 10%. Car rental is mainly booked with a luxury or premium car. But as stated  before the camper is growing in popularity. The USA is becoming more and more a year round destination, winter is getting more popular. Summer combined with spring however will stay the main season for traveling. 33,5% expects to go in the summer months, spring scores 31,6% and autumn/winter scores 34,9%.


News from the States:

South Dakota

Taking Art Outdoors

Sioux Falls is quickly becoming famous for a unique outdoor gallery lining its streets. SculptureWalk, an exciting venture for the community, is an exhibit of one-of-a-kind outdoor sculptures displayed year-round from the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science to Falls Park.

Enjoy the enhanced beauty of the downtown district with this display of amazing artwork from artists across the nation. SculptureWalk includes 50 sculptures loaned to the exhibit for one year. The pieces are rotated in mid-April to prepare for the next round. Rotated sculptures are either returned to the artists or purchased by individuals and businesses. A People’s Choice sculpture, voted on by viewers during the summer season, is purchased by the city.

Guided tours are available for groups of four or more. Call (605) 339-8359 to schedule a tour. Visit for more information.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s Largest City

Sioux Falls, located in the heart of the United States at the junction of I-90 and I-29, is easily accessible by major airlines and has all the offerings of a big city! Over 3,900 hotel rooms, 560 restaurants featuring local flavors to exotic cuisine, the best shopping opportunities between Minneapolis & Denver, a wide variety of entertainment and attractions, including award winning golf courses, over 70 parks, 20 miles of bike trails, arts, theatre, symphony, museums, water parks and adventure parks, a pavilion of arts & sciences, sporting events and much more await your arrival. Our vibrant downtown always has something happening from free Trolley rides to a rotating display of sculptures to year-round festivals and uptown nightlife.

Falls Park

Falls Park, located in the heart of the city, is home to a triple waterfall and the Falls Park Visitor Information Center, managed by the Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau. While visiting the Visitor Information Center, take a trip to the top of the five-story Observation Tower and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Falls of the Big Sioux River and the pink quartzite visible throughout the park.

The Visitor Center is a great resource for visiting guests, offering information on accommodations & dining, including Sioux Falls homegrown restaurants, attractions and local events. Before you go, don’t forget to visit the gift shop featuring Sioux Falls memorabilia and take home a piece of pink quartzite. The Falls of the Big Sioux River have been a focus of life in the region throughout history. Native American peoples were the first to visit the falls and bring stories of them to European explorers. They have been the center of recreation and industry since the founding of the cit y of Sioux Falls in 1856. Today the park covers 42 acres. Each second an average of 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet over the course of the falls.

A City of Presidents

Patriotism comes in many shapes and sizes but in Rapid City it comes life-sized. A 10-year project titled the City of Presidents is bringing a complete sculpture collection of American presidents to the downtown area. Four sculptures are added to the collection each year, two from the beginning presidential era and two from the contemporary past. The sculptures are life-sized and dressed for the period in which the individual lived.

Call (605) 355-0505 for more information on the Festival of Presidents. The Festival of Presidents is a two-day patriotic celebration in downtown Rapid City.


News from the States:


New von Trapp Family Musical to Film in Montana This Winter
-- $8 million Production Chooses Montana for its Backdrop --

Helena, MT – October 25, 2006 –– Montana will have a starring role in the family, musical, adventure "The von Trapp Children Christmas Movie," being produced by the Durham, NC based Studio in The Woods, Inc. Exteriors for the film are set to be shot in the von Trapp's home state of Montana in December 2006 and January and February 2007.

“Montana’s scenery will provide the quintessential ‘set’. We are extremely pleased that the producers as well as the von Trapp family have chosen Montana for this exciting project” stated Governor Brian Schweitzer.

The film’s director, Dan Curry, a multi-EMMY award winner, agrees with the Governor’s sentiment regarding Montana’s stunning landscapes and is eager to see the beauty of the state translate to the big screen.

John Demers, the creative mind behind the movie and one of the Executive Producers of the film scheduled for release during the Christmas season 2007, noted that they are committed to live up to the standards of the 1960's film inspired by the von Trapp children's great grandparents, the Captain and Maria von Trapp, made famous in "The Sound of Music."

One manner in which they are intending to do this is by bringing on board Jay Chattaway. Chattaway is a multiple original score, EMMY and ASCAP award winner and long time composer of original film soundtracks. Chattaway is writing original songs for the movie and is working with the von Trapp children, Sophia, Melanie, Amanda and Justin, to perform his compositions on the big screen. "Bringing in Jay will add heart-warming and original Christmas tunes to the movie, and they're sure to become classics," says Demers.

The film is budgeted close to $8 million, approximately half of which will be spent while in Montana. “A production of this size will make a considerable economic impact in the communities where filming will take place” said Commerce Director Tony Preite. “The fiscal benefits coupled with the opportunity to feature Montana to a worldwide audience emphasizes the importance of attracting film projects of this caliber to the state.“

The newly implemented “Big Sky on the Big Screen Act,” helps in marketing the state to film producers such as Demers. The tax incentive package is designed to encourage film production in Montana. The measure gives production companies a 12 percent incentive rebate on all Montana labor hired for film production and an eight percent rebate on all production-related Montana expenditures.

**The Montana Film Office is a part of the Department of Commerce and promotes filming in Montana as a means of economic development. In 2005, Montana’s film industry generated $5.2 million in film production spending within the state. Film production created 91 full-time equivalent jobs in the film industry and 43 full-time equivalent jobs in the general economy. In addition, the film industry contributed $416,000 of tax revenue to the state.**

Lewis & Clark Festival

Sally Murphy at the L&C Interpretive Center Association called this morning. The Annual L&C Festival in Great Fall has changed from the last week in June (as it has previously) to first weekend in July. The Annual Lewis & Clark Festival is now from JULY 6-8, 2007.

Sally Murphy at the L&C said this will (probably) be the weekend that the event will be on for future references as there were more conflicts occurring during the previous time. (But she wasn’t sure…they will see how this date goes.) The website has been updated to reflect this change.

Big Sky Resort Ranked Top 10 in the WorldBig Sky

BIG SKY, Mont. — Last week a leading British newspaper, the Sunday Times, named Big Sky Resort as a Top 10 Winter Resort in the world. The Sunday Times has a circulation over 1.3 million and is the largest Sunday quality paper in England.

Of the list, six were European resorts including Verbier, Switzerland, Val D’Isere, France along with resorts in Austria and Italy. Big Sky Resort ranked alongside four U.S. resorts including Aspen and Breckenridge, Colorado and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The designation as a top 10 resort in the world will continue to strengthen the relationships with key business partners in attracting the British market to Montana. Ski Independence is a leading tour operator who works with Big Sky Resort in booking British vacation packages; Managing Director Michael Bennett was pleased with the recognition.

Big Mountain Resort, Whitefish MTBig Mountain, Whitefish, MT

Big Mountain is debuting the new Super Pipe in March 2007. This 450 foot long, 57 foot wide and 18 foot high pipe is outfitted with lights for night skiing, a sound system, and a FIS regulation 16-degree pitch. New developments are also located at the base area with the new Day Lodge premiering at the start of the ‘06/07 season. The $10 million expansion will create a central location for all mountain services. There is also a new beginner’s quad chair lift that will load just outside the new Day Lodge and covers 269 vertical feet in a mere 6 minutes. Website: or call 406-862-1948.

Located near the entrance of world famous Glacier National Park and adjacent to the U.S. Dept. of Interior's Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning, MT, Glacier Peaks Casino is the first Vegas-style casino in the region and the largest casino in the Northwest. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the property features over 500 slot machines, non house-banked blackjack, poker, mini-baccarat, Class II Bingo-based roulette, craps tables, mini-baccarat, tuxedoed dealers and feather-clad Las Vegas-style showgirls. Additionally, there is a full service bar, daytime buffet, an evening fine dining restaurant featuring renowned chef Ed Horn and a late night and breakfast short order grill and deli. Glacier Peaks Casino ~ Junction of Highways 2 & 89 West, PO Box 1450, Browning, Montana 59417-1450 ; 888-848-8188; 406-338-2274; [email protected];




[Riggins, Idaho] (October 18, 2006) -- The Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge in Riggins was named Best of the Best in Customer Care at Best Western International’s annual North American convention held recently in Grapevine, Texas. The hotel was presented with the award in front of more than 2,000 industry peers.

This select honor is bestowed upon those member properties who demonstrate and best exemplify exceptional levels of service and care. The hotels must also meet quality and design standards and other membership requirements to qualify.

The Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge was one of only 13 hotels out of more than 2,400 eligible properties in the U.S. and Canada to receive this designation.

“The Best of the Best Awards recognize those Best Western hotels that truly demonstrate the highest levels of quality and service,” said Ray Johnston, chairman of Best Western’s Board of Directors. "The Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge represents a strong commitment to customer care. As Best Western celebrates its 60th Anniversary, we salute the 2006 Best of the Best winners for their leadership."

Overlooking the Salmon River, Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge is in a popular location for whitewater enthusiasts and salmon and steelhead anglers. With an indoor pool and outdoor spa, cookies and milk, deluxe continental breakfast and “kids stay free,” it’s a great family spot as well.

For more information or hotel reservations, call the hotel directly at 877-957-2743 or call Best Western’s 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-800-WESTERN. Reservations are also available through the hotel web site at



Sweet Secret Spots

Lynn Finney finds time to reach her mountain trails several times a week (for snowshoe sprints) while operating Spirit West River Lodge in Riverside, Wyoming. The former Senior Olympian and flight attendant for United Airlines is far from retired. She and husband R.G. host many visitors who consider the lodge home-away-from-home. Using all indigenous materials the Finneys’ and family built Spirit West from the ground up. The log and stone work is nothing less than meticulous and completely Rocky Mountain western. R.G.’s wildlife art is popularly received worldwide and many framed works adorn the lodge walls.

Guests can use skis and snowshoes supplied by the lodge or bring their own equipment. Trails are twenty minutes away. Snowmobilers will appear after a 16-18 hour truck and trailer drive and be ready to head to their chosen spots at dawn - after relishing a Lynn Finney voluminous breakfast burrito that is included as part of the B&B’s daily rate. Find more at: and obtain a complete Wyoming bed & breakfast/ranch recreation compilation from:

Lifetime Adventures

National Geographic Traveler magazine editors chose 50 of the world’s best “tours of a lifetime” as cover story for the October 2006 issue. A Yellowstone National Park winter wolf viewing expedition is cited as one of only three United States recommendations. You can check this one off your list easily this winter. The park is blanketed in white. Cars are not an option so it’s very likely you will often trek to a geyser or mud pot with less than a handful of other humans. You can most cost effectively organize your wolf viewing tour through park concessionaire, Xanterra Parks & Resorts: in order to join a Lodging & Learning program offered in conjunction with the non-profit Yellowstone Association Institute. Go to the institute directly for more information: or call: 307.344.5566. You can also contact Xanterra for a complete rundown of “Yellowstone Winter Getaway” packages. Toll-free: 866.439.7375. Yellowstone’s winter lodging season opens December 20, 2006.

A new Yellowstone discovery option rolls the loop roads starting next June once re-building is completed on eight, 1936-38, White Motor Company touring cars. The 14-passenger vehicles with canvas rollback tops were last used in Skagway, Alaska. Xanterra Parks & Resorts has sent the cars to Michigan for complete renovation including new undercarriages, new motors, and upgrading to current road safety standards. The yellow with black trim classics are going to be spread around the park and available for several Yellowstone touring options, from a few hours to a half-day, via Xanterra. Cars like this had to be named. Monikers of the antique automobile fleet include Little Rocky, Big Rocky, and Hollywood - which was used in the 1986 movie, Big Trouble in Little China.

(Journalists seeking further developments on the touring cars can contact our office. Mr. Coon is most easily reached by cell: 307.630.4004)

Iron Horse Rides

You can find places to ride four-legged horses during a Wyoming winter but the recommended mode of mountain movement is on the iron horse known as a snowmobile. Sleds are continually being upgraded and advanced – such as the much quieter and cleaner-running four stroke units.

Beginners can adapt to the machines quickly and the 2,000 miles of groomed trails are marked well. Guiding services are virtually statewide near mountain trail areas. There’s great exhilaration…and if desired acceleration…in a Wyoming snowmobile tour.

Comfortable lodging in beautiful mountain settings add to the pleasure. A good place to start your engine is by contacting the Wyoming State Snowmobile Association; and by obtaining a free Wyoming Winter Travelers Journal; or call toll-free: 800. 225.5996. You can learn more about the trail system and its condition, or get maps and weather through the state trails program office at: [email protected]/snow/

Wyoming Embers

There will be allowances for fireplaces and campfires as days shorten to signal fall and winter in the West. When the light allows we offer this collection of glowing words from a few of Wyoming’s finest writers to stir your senses and enliven your intellect:

Alexandra Fuller
Describing Red Wall Country - home of Butch Cassidy’s Hole-in-the Wall Gang hangout - near Willow Creek Ranch, west of Kaycee, Wyoming:

“The earth is so vast it’s impossible to take in at one breath….you need a panoramic camera in your head to stitch the scenery together properly.” (Cell phone dispatch to Slate, October 2002.)

James Galvin
Discussing values nurtured on his ranch near Tie Siding, Wyoming:

“The land is church. The danger is losing touch with the conversation that we call agriculture that we’ve been carrying around for a long time. Increasingly you see the incorporation or industrialization of those traditional kinds of work and that indeed does deprive us of the thread of the conversation with the land. And without that I’m not sure what good we are.” (Interview on Bookworm, KCRW Radio)

Annie Proulx
Proulx’s short story, Brokeback Mountain, became a silver-screen success. Here she is asked about her formula for story generation:

“Walking and hiking are extremely useful for some reason. One is able to untangle characters and plot lines and so forth more easily when walking. Driving does the same thing for me. I find driving, in Wyoming, not anywhere else, very conducive to clear thinking. Or useful thinking, I should say.”
(Interview with Bookslut, December 2005)

A log is on the fire. Wyoming warmth and hospitality await you.


Gateway City News:


Unwrap Great Holiday Deals During Mile High Holidays, Through January 2007

Experience the magic of Mile High Holidays with exciting holiday entertainment, millions of twinkling lights, shopping specials and restaurant deals. And, because Denver is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level – one mile high – hotel rates start at $52.80.

All Aboard America’s Only Ski Train

Denver’s Ski Train leaves from Denver’s historic Union Station starting on Dec. 27 and has taken travelers between the Mile High City and Winter Park Resort since 1940. Riders can sit back and enjoy a gorgeous ride through Rocky Mountain country that can’t be seen from the road. The route includes a 4,000-foot elevation gain and passes under the Continental Divide through the 6.2-mile Moffat Tunnel – the highest railroad tunnel in the United States – before dropping off passengers less than 100 yards from the lifts at the base of Winter Park. Ski Train passengers can purchase discounted Winter Park lift tickets on-board the train or when they make train reservations.

National Western Stock Show - The Gateway to the Wild West, Jan. 7-22, 2007

Grab your cowboy boots and ride on over to the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo at the Stock Show Complex located just north of downtown Denver. The National Western Stock Show boasts the world’s fifth richest regular season professional rodeo and second largest horse show, and it’s Colorado’s largest tradeshow. This annual favorite will mark its 101st year in 2007 with festivities including a parade, rodeo events, horse shows, Wild West shows, Evenings of Dancing Horses®, Super Dogs, children’s activities and a Coors Western Art Exhibition.

Upcoming Mile High Events

Blossoms of Light, Dec. 2, 2006-Jan. 21, 2007
Zoo Lights, Dec. 8-31, 2006
Annual New Year’s Eve Fireworks Downtown, Dec. 31, 2006
Martin Luther King Marade (March & Parade), Jan. 20, 2007
Indian Market, Jan. 20-22, 2007
Buffalo Bill's Birthday Celebration, Feb. 25, 2007

Visit for a detailed calendar of events.


Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington

Frommer’s Travel Guides recently named Minneapolis as one of the top 12 international destinations deserving your time in 2007. As a “Midwestern city that’s reinventing itself in a very cutting edge, esthetically exciting way,” Frommer’s editors highlighted the Guthrie Theater and year-round outdoor activities as reasons Minneapolis tops the list. Visit for a complete list of recent Minneapolis accolades.

Another great "WIN" for Minneapolis and all of our cultural institutions!!

The Big Ticket* attraction pass, created by the Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau (BCVB), bundles admissions into a three-day pass to the Twin Cities most popular attractions, providing guests with savings of up to 30% off regular prices. The total value of this attractions pass is worth over $110.00. It is valid for one year from date of purchase and visitors will have 3 days to use the pass once it has been scanned for the first time at the first attraction. Each pass has the following benefits: Unlimited ride wristband to The Park at MOA*, a general admission all day ticket to Underwater Adventures® Aquarium, a one-day admission to the Minnesota Zoo, including free parking, one traditional film admission to the Great Clips® IMAX® Theatre, one general admission to the Science Museum of Minnesota and extra discount offers from Macy's, Mall of America®, Valleyfair, Water Park of America, Como Town and more. The Big Ticket* can be purchased at

Mall of America® will conduct "Park In Bloom" from January-April. The Park at MOA* will have a different flower theme each month and will be a wonderful way to experience a spring/summer floral environment even though it's cold outside.



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