Last week Tourism Prince Rupert welcomed our first major press trip of the season, spending three days with travel veteran Chris Gray Faust.
Chris has seldom remained in one place for long ever since she left the powerhouse hockey community of Eidna, just outside Minneapolis. She received her journalism degree from Northwestern in Chicago, and later added a master’s degree in American Civilization from Brown University in Rhode Island.
Chris began her career in journalism with two years at the York Daily Record in York, Pennsylvania, followed by seven years at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and six years at the Philadelphia Inquirer before joining USA Today as travel editor at the beginning of 2008. The following year, while still at USA Today, she began her own successful travel blog, Chris Around the World (CAroundTheWorld.com). Last year she added freelancing for other publications.
“Chris Around the World is about value luxury,” Chris says. “My audience doesn’t mind paying for an experience, but the value has to be there for them. I bill it as unique, chic, and boutique experiences for the sophisticated traveler. We also offer value luxury take-away tips.”
In addition to her own work on the blog, and her social media outlets, Chris was in Prince Rupert on assignment to the San Francisco Chronicle. She arrived last Wednesday afternoon and stayed until Sunday morning, and spent a day of fishing, a day of grizzly bear watching, and a day experiencing Prince Rupert’s museums. Of course, there was also plenty of time to explore the community, and experience the flavours of several of our restaurants. Her photos, especially one of a standing grizzly in the Khutzeymateen Inlet, have already traveled a surprising distance through social media.
As she explains on her blog, “Value luxury travelers are easy to spot, once you know what we find important. We’ll pay extra for a hotel room with a killer view, but we’ll avoid the costly mini-bar and pricey room service. We’ll shell out for dinner at a top resort restaurant, but we’ll stay at the charming B & B down the beach. We scour TripAdvisor and Frommer’s forums, book through Hotwire and LuxuryLink and tell our friends on Facebook when we’ve found a great deal.”
I was curious to know how her experiences here stacked up against her readers’ measure of value travel. “You definitely need to spend a few days here,” she told me. “You have the same sort of experiences that Alaska has, but in a lot of ways this is a bargain by comparison. There are no crowds. There aren’t bunches of seaplanes overhead while you’re trying to experience pristine wilderness, and you’re not crowded by other fishing boats while you’re out fishing. It’s very authentic, yet you’ll find the more sophisticated things that make life comfortable – you have cappuccino, sushi and other local seafood, and all the amenities. So the value is here.”
Indeed, knowing from our research that our visitors have a higher than average income and higher levels of education than most similar destinations, it’s no surprise that Prince Rupert is a good match for value travel – and a good fit for Chris Around the World.