Chris Ryall

Chris Ryall is an industry insider with strong, outspoken opinions that readers enjoy, whether they agree, or take issue, with his viewpoint.

Chris actually writes two columns, The Ryall Report, a general "whatever's on his mind" article which is often filed from exotic travel locations, and The Spa Scene, about (surprise) spas - which is an absolute must for any spa enthusiast or anyone with spa loving clients.

The columns run on alternate Tuesdays.


Ste. Anne’s Spa Offers Both
14 JUN 2010: Living in a sprawling metropolis like Toronto or other large cities one must endure the noise, pollution, traffic jams and incessant ringing of cellphones. It’s enough to send someone fleeing to the serenity and calm of the countryside. Ste. Anne’s Spa, voted Canada’s Best Spa from 2006-2009 by SpaFinder Reader’s Choice awards, captures the best of a country and spa retreat. This sanctuary is located less than 90 minutes east of Toronto in Grafton. MORE

Kenya goes on a Canadian Safari
08 JUN 2010: The Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) and nine tourism partners went on a Canadian safari last week to Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver to showcase the destination’s attributes to Canadian based tour operators, incentive planners and media. Instead of navigating the animal inhabited trails in their safari vehicles that they are used to they dealt with Canadian big city menaces instead – noise and traffic. MORE

Rankings give city a needed boost
01 JUN 2010: Toronto is now the center of the convention universe. Toronto ranked number one among 46 cities in North America for “Superior Convention and Visitors Bureau/Destination Marketing Organization” and for “Superior Convention Centre Services” for Tourism Toronto and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) respectively. MORE

The Free, The Costly, and The Confusing
18 MAY 2010: Is there free internet? Wi-Fi? Where’s the hotel hot spot? (Meaning where they can access the internet and not meaning where they can get lucky!) Agents are frequently being asked these questions by corporate and leisure clients. It is becoming for some clients the determining factor when selecting a hotel. For agents it can be a nightmare trying to decipher who offers free internet access and Wi-Fi with those who do charge. MORE

Booking Spas Not Stress
10 MAY 2010: Stress. Like taxes it’s a daily companion in our lives. How about a positive outlook on stress? Your clients are trying to escape it even if only temporarily. An increasingly popular way is going on a spa holiday. The spa industry has expanded considerably in the past decade and it can be quite daunting and dare we say stressful, especially for agents not familiar with the range of spa experiences available. MORE

ASTA’s Web Usage Report
04 MAY 2010: Attend any trade show or industry function and it’s immediately evident that travel agents are a social bunch. But how do you turn that social proclivity into something tangible for your clients that will add to your agency’s bottom line? Last week The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) released the results of its 2009 Technology and Web Usage Report indicating there is definite growth in agencies using traditional forms of web marketing but with room for improvement in using Web 2.0. MORE

Travel Law Conference Delivers the Goods
26 APR 2010: Anyone attending the 10th Annual Travel Law 2010 Conference, held last week in Toronto at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Hospitality Management facility, would certainly not come to the conclusion that the travel industry is glamorous with exotic fam trips and fun functions. For the almost 100 travel professionals who attended the conference organized by Baxter Travel Media and Heifetz, Crozier, Law, and listened to an impressive line-up of speakers, the travel industry reality was this – more taxes, more confusion and possibly more liability. MORE

Agents are the unsung heroes
20 APR 2010: Every day travel agents battle against Mother Nature’s wrath, slashed (or no) commissions, online competitors and unstable market forces where airlines and tour operators cease operations without notice. These are no forces of evil but they are mighty and debilitating at times. As the Hollywood movie, “Kick-Ass’’, a comic hero genre movie starring Nicolas Cage opened up this past weekend maybe it’s time Hollywood develops a script for something travel agents do every day for their clients – kick-ass! MORE

Being buried in Tokyo
12 APR 2010: Tokyo is well-known for its 24/7 frenetic pace where business, shopping, traffic, neon and ringing of mobile devices never ceases. Less known and often overlooked for business or leisure visitors is Tokyo’s tranquil side. Take a stroll in one of the beautifully landscaped parks and gardens found throughout the city. Meditate in an ornate and sacred temple. Or visit a traditional Japanese hot springs as I did on a recent visit. MORE

The scenes change
06 APR 2010: Skyservice shuts down, Air Canada gets friendly, and passengers clap for WestJet. The fresh scents of spring are in the air and with that it means it is spring cleaning time for my inbox and clearing out all those news items. I dare not risk those nasty warnings I receive saying if I don’t clean up my inbox it will get so full and explode into tiny bits all over the internet universe. MORE

Maxxim keeps its eye on the target
25 MAR 2010: Delicious lobster suppers, a fascinating Viking wedding re-enactment, an exhilarating whale watching tour and invigorating hikes up Gros Morne National Park are just a sample of the experiences that Maxxim Vacations offers. The St. John’s, Newfoundland based wholesaler offers a variety of independent and guided tours across Canada but specializes in Atlantic Canada packages. MORE

US Tourism Funding Finally Arrives
23 MAR 2010: How the mighty have fallen. In 2009, the United States welcomed 2.4 million fewer overseas visitors in 2009 than in 2000. This huge decrease cost the US economy US $509 billion in total spending and US $32 billion in tax receipts according to the US Travel Association (USTA). However, there is hope. On March 4, The Travel Promotion act was signed into law by President Obama after going through years of endless debate, arm-twisting and fierce lobbying. MORE

Warm Toilets, Warm Hearts
09 MAR 2010: Tokyo evokes many images – shopping along the designer filled Ginza strip, 24 hour traffic jams, dining on succulent sushi and buying inexpensive electronics. But most visitors are oblivious to the soul of Tokyo and its people, being caught up instead in the hustle and bustle of this sprawling city of almost 13 million residents. MORE