Jen Savedra 
editor in chief

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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.


Land of Smiles and Service
24 JUL 2019: A shy smile, hands together, head slightly bowed and the melodic “Sawasdee” greets me as I explore this fascinating country. Thailand ticks the boxes of my usual must sees and dos when visiting a destination: a plethora of cultural activities, savoury cuisine, soft adventure, diverse landscape, and luxurious resorts and spas. But it is the service oriented culture prevalent throughout Thailand that is the magnetic force drawing me back time and again to this intriguing kingdom. MORE

03 JUL 2019: Tourists matter.  Too many tourists however to one destination can cause problems.  The island of Maya Bay near Phuket where the Leonardo DiCaprio film, “The Beach,” was shot in 2000, closed in June 2018 due to damage to the eco-system caused by too many tourists.  Maya Bay will likely remain closed for another two years to allow the coral reefs and other natural resources to regenerate.  Thailand wants tourists, but prefers tourists to go beyond the most popular destinations.  Are tour operators and travel agents on board with the new strategy? MORE

27 NOV 2018: Nine and a half years. More than 250 columns later. It’s been an enjoyable ride writing for TravelIndustryToday.com readers through my two columns, The Ryall Report and The Spa Scene. My initiation in the world of column writing began with a bang. My first column on the collapse of Conquest Tours generated a range of responses from industry players and readers. Rather than retreat I credit the editor, Jen Savedra, in sticking by me. I knew then I could have her support and hopefully provide a new perspective on the industry through my columns. MORE

13 NOV 2018: The most meticulously planned trip can go off the rails when a flight delay, tour bus breakdown, or severe weather event occurs. For the travel agent or traveller it can be a nightmare or perhaps a blessing in disguise. On a trip last July to Honduras, organized by the Honduras Institute of Tourism, a national transportation strike and ensuing protests and road blockade made mincemeat of my itinerary. Did I stomp my feet and get angry or let my inner adventurous and “go with the flow” persona come out?   MORE

Club Med in Florida
30 OCT 2018: What do Jim Carrey, the late Alan Thicke and the song “Hands Up” all have in common? The first two starred in a comedy movie, Copper Mountain, produced in 1983, that featured the Club Med Copper Mountain village (no longer exists). “Hands Up” was the catchy tune that was heard repeatedly on radio stations and on Club Med TV commercials back in the late 1980s. That tune, not the panned movie, resurfaced in my head 30 years later when I boarded my flight to Florida. Destination – Club Med Sandpiper Bay, less than an hour’s drive from West Palm Beach. Staying at a Club Med was virgin accommodation territory for me. Has Club Med changed over the years?   MORE

18 OCT 2018: Has customer service gone missing in practice? Who hasn’t encountered a snarly store clerk or someone who is supposed to service you but instead is feeding their addiction to Facebook or Instagram. Has a smile to a customer been replaced with a frown or attitude of “Don’t bother me?” Is an offer to help, “How can I assist you?” still in fashion? Thankfully there are service, travel and hospitality professionals and companies who still adhere to the principles of providing excellent customer service. Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts is one of them. MORE

Go high or go away
02 OCT 2018: Many Canadians have October 17, 2018 marked on their calendars when the new Cannabis Act comes into force in Canada.  I’m sure there will be masses of people lighting up everywhere.  Some Canadians will be rejoicing that recreational use of marijuana is finally legal while others like me will be lamenting the onslaught of more smoke-filled public spaces.   What effects will there be on the tourism industry here in Canada? Will it attract or detract more tourists from coming? MORE

18 SEP 2018: Lying on a massage table, covered by a white sheet, I contemplate the people, the conversations and the activities that took place inside these walls and beyond. I wouldn’t normally think about walls but these impressive etched stone walls date back to 1785 and are today a part of the Hôtel William Gray located in Old Montreal. I’m in a treatment room at the hotel’s spa. Normally a history lesson isn’t part of a spa treatment but with one of Montreal’s newest and chic luxury boutique hotels it’s fascinating to see how history and architecture blends seamlessly with modern society and design. MORE

04 SEP 2018: When it comes to taxes and fees the travel industry leads the way.   Look no further than the recent baggage fee increase by JetBlue followed quickly after by Air Canada and WestJet.  Hearing about the increases made me think back to actor Peter Finch’s immortal line in the 1976 Hollywood film Network, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”   MORE

21 AUG 2018;: British Columbia’s capital, Victoria, has long been associated with “The newly wed and nearly dead.” But as Bob Dylan sang, “The Times They Are A Changin” and a recent visit to Victoria provided me with a new perspective and admiration. The beautifully landscaped English gardens, seafood restaurants and scenic harbour are still there but what has emerged is a city with a new vitality and dare I say even a shade of hipness. Tagging along for this city reformation is one of Victoria’s iconic symbols, the Fairmont Empress. MORE

Montreal just gets better
7 AUG 2018: I used to visit Montréal frequently in the 80’s and 90’s for both business and pleasure.  I would check out the film and jazz festivals, explore Old Montreal, hit the bars on Crescent Street and devour my share of smoked meat sandwiches. But I haven’t visited the city in the summertime in many years, so Tourisme Montreal’s new marketing campaign, “Never Grow Up,” called out to me and I went.   MORE

24 JUL 2018: The word cottage takes on new meaning when it comes to Muskoka. Massive so-called cottages dot its lakes’ shoreline where boathouses are bigger than most people’s homes back in the city. It’s Ontario’s upscale cottage and resort playground. When I was child back in the late 60’s, Muskoka just meant summer camp – tipping canoes and discovering the joys and tasty victories of whipped cream and Jell-O fights. Can I still find that kind of joy in Muskoka today but in different way?   MORE

Discovering Florida's Treasures
10 JUL 2018: “Release Your Inner Hippie,” the sign on the street reads. Being a child of the 60’s I ponder how I should go about this. I’m fashioning a longer than usual hair length – as much as my increasing aging baldness will allow. I start humming one of the most famous hippie songs, “Blowin’ in the Wind.” I’ve been to Florida dozens of times over the years but this part of Florida is a new discovery. Where is this hippie inner sanctum?   MORE

26 JUN 2018: A recent trip to Buffalo, New York was part discovery, part learning and part erasing personal demons. My girlfriend from college had dumped me in Buffalo on what was supposed to be a romantic weekend retreat 35 years ago. Negative thoughts against Buffalo lingered even though the city had nothing to do with the break-up. As John Lennon sang, “Give Peace a Chance” it was long overdue that I “Give Buffalo a Chance” and replace my negativity with positive thoughts towards the city. I’m so glad I did as my eyes were opened up to a city that has and is still going through a renaissance.   MORE

Marriott's Vancouver Experiment
12 JUN 2018: Boldly go where no hotel development has gone before.  Vancouver, with its stunning mountain and sea landscape, is playing host to Marriott International’s latest hotel venture.  Parq Vancouver incorporates two distinct Marriott brand hotels side by side in one location – the JW Marriott Luxury Collection and the Douglas Hotel, an Autograph Collection hotel brand.   MORE

29 MAY 2018: Some men are still hesitant about visiting a spa. They have the false notion it isn’t manly enough. This ignorant attitude is their loss. In many European and Asian countries you have more men going to the spa then women. Spa treatments can have a multitude of health benefits and they can make you feel and look good. One way the Ritz-Carlton Toronto’s Spa My Blend by Clarins is enticing more men to its spa - add beer to the spa treatment mix. MORE

15 MAY 2018:  It’s not every day I stay in hotels owned by someone knighted by the Queen, have artwork created by high school students adorning the walls and guests rooms, have dedicated hypoallergenic hotel rooms or even a 13th floor.   Ottawa’s Four-Diamond, 276-room Brookstreet Hotel checks off all of these boxes and more.  It strives to serve not only its guests but the community as well in many different ways from supporting many charitable causes to hiring locals.  A hotel supporting the community is always welcome but not always the norm. MORE

01 MAY 2018: It’s been a long love affair. Visiting spas has been an integral part of my life for almost 30 years. My first introduction to “massage” was not with a girlfriend or at a spa but in an office where I worked part-time for a cheque approval agency that required me to wear a headset. One day a co-worker and friend offered to rub my neck and shoulders when I complained about being very sore. Of course I said yes, and a massage addict then spa addict was born! MORE

Namibia does it right
17 Apr 2018:  Namibia is a young country but mature beyond its years when it comes to welcoming tourists.  Like any traveller I enjoy seeing the natural and man-made attractions of the destination.  However, etched into my memory banks are people – vendors selling fruit or crafts at a local market, a hotel front desk clerk, a safari guide, a restaurant server or a local historian.  It is conversations with locals that may begin with a simple hello then veer off into deeper and philosophical discussions about their culture and daily living.    MORE

03 APR 2018: Bath time is a centuries old ritual in Budapest.  In fact it can be traced back to the 1st century when Roman soldiers would soak their tired and injured bodies from battle in the therapeutic thermal springs.  Even back then there were more than 15 baths.  Today there are more than 100 natural springs that can be found in the area comprising 30 million litres of water.  No wonder Budapest has been called the City of Spas and the Spa Capital of the World.   They take their baths seriously here and I was happy to experience Budapest’s famous bath culture first-hand.     MORE

A Blessing or a Curse
20 MAR 2018: Technology has always played an integral role in how the travel industry functions. Travel has led other major industries utilizing technology while at other times it has lagged far behind. Aircraft Autopilot, computerized airline, car rental and hotel reservations systems, and e-tickets are just a few examples how technology has had a direct and positive impact on how people travel. It can also have negative consequences when reservation and software systems are hacked or break down. Do you ever yearn for a simpler time with less technology? MORE

06 MAR 2018: A sense of peace and comfort wafted over me. I was in a cocoon on a journey back to the womb. The reality? I was ensconced in Zion Spa Luxury's darkened room and experiencing its Alpha Sphere treatment. Sometimes the mind lets go of life's stresses and gently moves into a more tranquil state. My eyes were heavy and the body willing as I lay on this uniquely designed lounge style chair in the most unlikely of places - Bratislava, Slovakia.   MORE

Profitable and growing market for agents
20 FEB 2018: Destination weddings have been on my mind as I just returned from my daughter’s wedding.  There wasn’t a palm tree, rum punch, sandy beach or bathing suit in sight.   This wedding featured bikes, winter coats, warm coffee, Danish traditions and snow speckled trees.  The destination – Copenhagen in the middle of winter.  Different?  You bet, but still as memorable as a Caribbean destination wedding.   MORE

A touch of country bliss
06 FEB 2018: Old Man Winter and I have had an adversarial relationship. I usually try and escape its wrath by travelling south where sandy beaches, palm trees and umbrella adorned drinks are served. But now, my partner Sarah and I are driving the wintry roads 90 minutes east of Toronto to Ste. Anne's Spa in Grafton, Ontario. No palm trees here just a thick blanket of snow covering the Northumberland hillside. Could I still get the sun and relaxation fix I sought desperately sought?   MORE

23 JAN 2018: When 2017 took its final breath millions of people around the world said, "Good riddance." It was a tumultuous year to say the least. Mother Nature demonstrated she was in a very foul mood unleashing devastating earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, drought, floods and mudslides affecting millions of people worldwide. The hurricane style winds were also swirling around the White House all year with Donald Trump at the helm. His policies and tweets, had a direct impact on the travel industry. Will 2018 be any different?   MORE