U.S. West Coast forecasted to be summer "hot-spot" for British Columbians

    BURNABY, BC, June 27 /CNW/ - BCAA Travel expects to see the traditional
road trip along the U.S. West Coast return as a vacation of choice for many
British Columbian vacationers this summer. The combination of a strong loonie,
freedom to cross land borders without producing a passport, and cheaper U.S.
gas prices has created a surge of interest in road trips to destinations such
as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
    An internal survey of BCAA Travel Consultants, North American Travel
Specialists and Member Travel Counsellors confirms the impact of U.S. air
passport regulations on summer vacation plans. Of the 120 BCAA travel experts
surveyed between June 14 and June 25, 2007, 82 per cent agree that summer
vacation choices are being impacted by the new regulations, which require
travellers to present valid passports for all U.S. air travel. While most
customers, they say, are delaying air travel until they have their passport in
hand, many are choosing to drive to the U.S. rather than fly to avoid
potential passport hassles.
    "The interest in western U.S. destinations this summer is not just about
side-stepping airport passport requirements; it's about getting great value,"
says BCAA Travel Director Michael Middelaer. "The U.S. exchange rate is the
best it's been in many, many years. Add the facts that gas is cheaper in the
U.S., and California and Nevada are only two to three days away by car for
most British Columbians, and it becomes obvious why many summer travellers are
heading south this summer."
    Currently, Canadians entering the U.S. at land or sea border crossings
are required to present valid photo identification. Passports will not be
required until summer 2008. Regardless, BCAA recommends all Canadians
travelling outside the country attain a passport as soon as possible to avoid
potential travel delays and disappointment.

    BCAA summer travel survey highlights (all from the perspective of
    B.C. vacationers):

    -  Most popular Canadian destination
        outside B.C.:                                 Nova Scotia
    -  Best value Canadian destination outside B.C.:  Calgary
    -  Most popular U.S. destination:                 Los Angeles
    -  Best value U.S. destination:                   Los Angeles
    -  Most popular international destination:        Western Europe
    -  Best value international destination:          Mexico
    -  Most underrated summer destination:            Alaska/Alaska cruising

    The most popular summer savings tips offered by BCAA's travel experts
were to book early and be flexible with travel times and seasons. They also
recommended utilizing alternative airports, such as Abbotsford, and renting a
car at a location away from the airport to avoid convenience and rental
recovery fees.

    About BCAA Travel

    BCAA Travel is one of the largest travel agencies in British Columbia and
boasts the most qualified travel professionals in the industry. All BCAA
travel consultants are required to be certified members of the Canadian
Institute of Travel Counsellors, the highest level of professional achievement
in the Canadian travel industry. BCAA backs its travel advice with the
Anytime, Anywhere Travel Guarantee. BCAA also offers travel planning tools
such as Lonely Planet WorldGuide destination information (available on
BCAA.com), TripTik(R) routing maps and TourBook(R) guides.

For further information:

For further information: Michael Middelaer, Director, Travel Services,
Tel: (604) 268-5070, E-mail: michael.middelaer@bcaa.com; Jennifer Timm,
Advisor, BCAA Media Relations, Tel: (604) 268-5342, Cell: (778) 228-8859,
E-mail: jennifer.timm@bcaa.com

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