Royal Couple Boosts Canada and LA Tourism, Sets Example for Travelers


Prince William and Princess Kate are covering Canada with the sugary thoroughness of a maple syrup spill, jetting around the country and engaging in such classic Canadian pastimes as playing street hockey, rowing canoes and politely feigning interest in everything.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who are traveling around North America in an effort to keep checkout tabloid sales high, have been highlighting various Canadian destinations worthy of note. They have been to beautiful Prince Edward Island, cosmopolitan Montreal, and rugged Yellowknife, where they donned Canadian Ranger hoodies. On Wednesday, they plan to head to fire-scarred Slave Lake to buck up local residents still recovering from spring blazes.

The tour, which has been covered by news sources all over the world, is a very big feather in Canada's very big mountie hat and illustrates how the couple is likely to influence the travel industry by driving coverage and providing journalists with rose colored glasses.

What is perhaps most interesting about the trendsetting royals from the travel perspective is that they seem willing, if not eager, to embrace the provincial. Rather than staying in established hotspots, the toothsome twosome may be putting new destinations on the map. Eager observers will remember that the couple headed to the Seychelles for their honeymoon, eschewing the hallowed Scottish homes that housed Charles and Diana after their wedding.

When the couple comes to Los Angeles, they plan not only to preside over a polo match, but to volunteer at a charity in a rough part of downtown. A diverse itinerary has never looked so glamorous.

The trickle-down effects of the royals' travels will be difficult to observe, much less quantify, but it is hard to imagine that the pair will not leave behind a legacy similar to that of Princess Diana, who would have made a fair nominee for patron saint of voluntourism.

And the royal couple doesn't just set an example by choosing tourist attractions. They are a tourist attraction. California is gambling quite a bit on their drawing power, too, dubbing summer 2011 the "Royal Summer."

The CEO of the California Travel and Tourism Commission told USA Today that the royal visit would "put California at the forefront of traveler's minds during the height of the summer vacation season." Her organization is tacking the line "3 Days Isn't Enough" on its royal-themed advertisements.

It probably isn't enough, but this show will be on the road for a long time.

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