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Week of January 16, 2017



T R AV E L T R A D E P U B L I C AT I O N S I N C E 1 9 6 8

GO Canada: ACV has it packaged MIKE DUNBAR

Air Canada Vacations is moving into virtually untested waters with a major new initiative that invites Canadians to discover their own country from coast to coast to coast. It’s only fitting that ACV should be debuting its far-reaching Go Canada inclusive tour collection at this time, since Canada features prominently in the company name, and Canadians are embarking on a year-long celebration of the nation’s 150th birthday, said VP sales and partnerships George Platanitis. “The existing domestic tour program has been pretty much nonexistent,” conceded Platanitis, “So, there’s no better time to introduce a comprehensive offering that will allow Canadians

to get out there and make • Ski and Golf Vacations view the nation’s abundant this their Canada.” highlighting hotel and wildlife from the Saint The operator’s preski-pass arrangements at Lawrence to the Arctic. launch publicity propremier resorts, as well as Platanitis stressed, “The claims, “2017 is Canada’s golf at some of the finest GO Canada program will 150th anniversary, and courses in Canada from be ever-evolving. We are to celebrate, we’ve done Vancouver Island to PEI. launching with a sampling it and we’ve done it big!” • The portfolio will be of products and themes Therefore, but it’s critiACV will this cal that the month be travel trade rolling out a understands mega-array of that the offerair-inclusive ing will be in tour options. constant evoThe extenlution, so all sive offerthe collateral ing will be we create – grouped be it gatefold Skiing is just one of seven themes featured in Air Canada under seven or brochure Vacations’ Go Canada program in 2017. themes, ex– will be a plained Platanitis: rounded out with Guided sampling rather than the • Urban Getaways featurTours offering flights, full and final product.” ing hotel packages across meals, activities and accomAccording to the sales VP, all major Canadian cities. modations in western, ACV is taking a “conser• Fly & Rail and Fly & eastern and Atlantic Canada vative view” of the initial Drive tours offering muland Wildlife Adventures market pickup, but expects tiple independent itinerar- allowing participants to demand to grow steadily ies exploring Canada.

year-over-year once recognition takes hold. “The bottom line is that it’s important for us to be in this market for Canadians who want to visit Canada, so we have come up with an alternative product for Canadians who want a staycation,” Platanitis pointed out; noting that it fills a gap in the market not being fi lled by the operator’s traditional competitors in the sun category. “It’s pretty unique,” he claimed. Before embarking on the Go Canada project, ACV conducted a series of trade and consumer surveys which elicited positive responses, but concluded that there’s a substantial chunk of the population that has never experienced the broader Canada. See ACV page 13

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1/12/2017 3:20:30 PM

A classic ride in Cuba

limited to around 80 Julio Garcia is pleased kmh. that he can offer vintage Clients are given American car enthusitours of the likes asts a truly moving of Old Havana – a experience. popular tourist stompThe Havana resident is the proud ing ground – and other Havana owner of a red, 1950 Chevrolet districts, with most opting for convertible that first belonged to his tours of one or two hours. Garcia grandfather and which he now uses doubles as a guide, pointing out to chauffeur tourists around the points of interest. Cuban capital, a city synonymous Some visitors are surprised the with 1950s-era American vehicles. car serves a taxi. Garcia, who works with Havana “It’s a real attention-grabber,” says tourism stalwarts Cubanacan and Chris Chiang of Celestyal Cruises, Havanatur, says his Chevy frewhich has sailings that circumquently catches the attention of navigate Cuba and provide Havana visiting tourists who are delighted tours. to explore Havana in a vehicle that Chiang was one of a number of easily blends in with the cityscape. Celestyal passengers in a convoy “Everybody loves this car. These that featured Garcia’s Chevrolet and kinds of cars are impossible to find other older American cars working in other countries,” boasts Garcia, its way through Havana, frequently Chris Chiang (r) is among those who have toured Havana in Julio whose business card features a pichonking loudly. Garcia’s 1950 Chevrolet. ture of the classic vehicle. “I wouldn’t want to be travelling a The dent-free car – which looks as if it could have spent the past long distance in it. You could feel the springs,” Chiang said. 60-some years in a showroom – has its original engine, although the But she quickly added that it was “pretty impressive” arriving in an leather seats were replacements. Garcia plans to install a radio, enabling automotive throwback at the storied Hotel Nacional de Cuba, also a passengers to listen to Cuban music during their tours. showcase for an earlier era. Garcia also speculates the car may have covered over 200,000 kiloGarcia acknowledges there will come a time when his driving days metres, adding replacement parts are sometimes brought by people will end, at which point he will give the Chevrolet to one of his chilvisiting from the United States. dren, a development that would prevent his having to part ways with it. Garcia has a ‘newish’ Chinese car that he concedes is more pracThat way, he happily points out: “It will still be in the family.” tical when travelling outside Havana, with the Chevrolet’s speed being Garcia can be reached at . IAN STALKER

Havana vehicle is a long-running family affair

Unlocking the business of freedom Opportunity is knocking for Latin America and If that demand is met, the number of jobs the Caribbean, but if the governments of the supported by aviation in the region will region want to take advantage of that opporgrow from 5.4 million to 8.4 million over the tunity, then they need to work with industry same period. to make infrastructure a priority in unlocking And aviation’s contribution to regional GDP aviation’s economic and social benefits. will increase from $176 billion to $380 billion. That was the message that IATA’s direcBut, there are many challenges for the tor general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac region, with de Juniac pointing out that: delivered recently to members of the Latin “Operational costs are high. Taxes are signifiAmerican & Caribbean Air Transport cant. In addition, regulations are burdensome Association (ALTA). and often not aligned with global standards.” IATA’s boss pointed out that: “Aviation is To combat these challenges, de Juniac said the business of freedom. It helps people to the industry needs “a strong partnership trade, to discover and to better their lives. A with governments that focuses on unlocking successful aviation industry generates prosaviation’s benefits to tackle these issues perity. Despite protectionist rhetoric – which effectively. On top of that, in Latin America we must be robust in countering – econthere is a huge opportunity for a governomies need air connectivity to grow and ment-industry partnership to create value by integrate with world markets.” addressing the region’s many infrastructure The airline industry association notes that deficiencies.” passenger demand in Latin America and He pointed to the severe capacity conthe Caribbean is expected to more than straints in Bogotá, Lima and Mexico City, double from 298 million in 2015 to 658 as an illustration of the region’s airport million in 2035. capacity crunch.

And, while he said that there were plans in place to address those constraints, relief for the problem is still years away at best. In the meantime, there will be lost opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The key is consultation,” de Juniac said. “Airlines, governments and airport operators need to be partners in building successful cost-efficient infrastructure in line with market realities on cost and capacity,” he stated. As for infrastructure privatization, IATA’s DG & CEO sounded a cautionary note on airport privatization. “Harnessing the efficiencies of private enterprise to improve infrastructure needs iron-clad regulation to protect the users from out-of-control monopolies,” he said. And he urged governments to award infrastructure concessions with a priority on finding partners aligned with the long-term national interest of realizing the benefits of growing connectivity – not the short-term gain of those coming with the highest bid.


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1/12/2017 11:21:58 AM

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1/12/2017 11:22:36 AM



Vol. 49, No. 17, Published January 16, 2017 Edith Baxter, Editor-in-Chief


The United Nations has declared 2017 the year of sustainable development; please define the term for us? Sustainable development has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition, and the one that we align with is from Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”


There’s more to it than just climate change... The Inter-

Additionally, the International Year highlights the benefits Travel & Tourism can bring to societies through direct income to regions, but most importantly the creation of jobs, boosting livelihoods and empowering communities.

in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. A sector which at all times keeps an eye on the future, and ensures that long-term considerations are not ignored in pursuit of short- term gains.



The nominees are in for the WTTC’s 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards; why is this an important award for the

Rochelle Turner Director of Research World Travel & Tourism Council

national Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development goes beyond the focus on climate change, it is also a celebration of the importance of people in our sector. Travel & Tourism is a force for good, as it brings people from different cultures closer together and therefore bridges gaps of the unknown. Tourism can bring peace to countries; one of our recent research reports, Tourism as a Driver of Peace, showed that a more open and sustainable tourism sector reduces the chance of conflict.

tourism industry? As the Travel & Tourism sector continues to grow (WTTC currently estimates global T&T GDP growth of 3.1% for 2016), we have to ensure we safeguard the environment, local communities and cultural heritage. Tourism for Tomorrow is WTTC’s vision for a sustainable future for our sector, based on integrating the needs of “people, planet and profits.” A sector which embraces the concept of shared value – creating economic value

The new US president has called global warming a ‘hoax.’ Do you worry that could undermine or stall progress on the issue? It is too early to tell what the President-elect’s views or policies will be around climate change. WTTC believes that climate change is one of the key issues to address globally, and in Travel & Tourism. Ignoring this issue will have grave consequences for the preservation of the world’s assets.


You’re Canadian! How do we stack up when it comes to sustainability? Sustain-

ability is at the forefront of Canada’s Federal Tourism Strategy. The strategy’s four principles to grow the country’s sector are focused around sustainable practices. Canada’s image is tied to nature and the great outdoors. The need to preserve and protect this is unquestionable.

What do you hope the New Year brings? I trust the New Year will bring continued strong travellers, wishing to explore the world in more than the traditional styles of travel. Adventure, river cruising, personal challenge travel are all growing. People want to explore, experience and enjoy the world we live in – the Big three E’s! Barbara Fisk, TPI Quality Travel Guelph, Ont.


I hope the New Year brings a renewed confidence in the value of a great travel agent. I hope we continue to hear from more and more clients who see and appreciate the expertise and experience that we provide to our clients from pre-travel, during travel and post travel. Amanda Clarke, Robert Q Travel Woodstock, Woodstock, Ont.

I hope the New Year brings a drop in the exchange rate (US vs Canadian dollar) and an increase in travel.

What do I hope the New Year brings? My answer: more clients!

David McClung, President

Wendy McClung, Executive VP, Operations

Robert Mowat, Executive Editor

Michael Baginski, Managing Editor

Mike Dunbar, Assistant Editor

Greg Coates, Assistant Editor

Ian Stalker, Senior Writer

Ann Ruppenstein, Staff Writer

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1/12/2017 1:53:37 PM

Dive into Azores experience in ‘17 IAN STALKER

Rui Amen hopes that water sports enthusiasts who have never vacationed in the middle of the Atlantic will fin-ally do so. Amen, with the Azores Promotion Board, told a recent Toronto event that the Azores – an autonomous region of Portugal – is “one of the top five places in the world” for whale-watching, and the archipelago is also becoming one of the “hot spots” in the Atlantic for diving. “It’s a perfect place for you to see a dolphin while you’re diving” and also “one of the best places to dive with blue sharks,” he says, noting the latter is not in fact considered a dangerous activity. Wreck diving is also possible. Surfing and windsurfing are among other water activities. Amen says the Azores – 1,600 km from Lisbon and 3,500 from Newfoundland – also has 800 km

Not surprisingly, Portugal’s Azores are a mecca for water sports enthusiasts.

of hiking trails in an environment free of “dangerous animals,” and that “adrenalin addicts” can scale a volcano and go canyoning. Golf is available year-round in the temperate climate. Visitors can also find “outstanding beach areas,” Amen

continued, adding “nine different islands have nine different landscapes.” Amen also says the Portuguesespeaking islands are lively culturally, with locals able to “find an excuse in everything for a party.” Azoreans spend six months

United Nations declares 2017 Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has approved the adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The resolution recognizes “the importance of international tourism, and particularly of the designation of an international year of sustainable tourism for development, in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world.” “The declaration by the UN of 2017, as the International

Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, is a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued,” said UNWTO SecretaryGeneral Taleb Rifai. “As the lead UN agency for this initiative, UNWTO is very much looking forward to proceeding with the organization and implementation of the International Year, in collaboration with governments, relevant organizations of the UN system, other international and regional organizations and all other relevant stakeholders.”

celebrating Carnival “and the other six months recovering from Carnival,” he joked. Amen also praised what he described as “600 years of history” in his home, with Christopher Columbus being among early visitors. Lodging options range from eco lodges to upscale hotels. Meanwhile, Carlos Botelho of Azores Airlines’ Canadian office noted his carrier provides a yearround Toronto-Azores link. “We just don’t come in the summertime and fly away in the wintertime,” he said. The airline also flies between Montreal and the Azores during the summer. The carrier is preparing to add A321s to its fleet and also plans to make its Azores Airlines Vacations division available in the Canadian market. Azores Airlines also links the Azores with mainland Europe.



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1/12/2017 11:23:13 AM

Globus giving travellers what they want ANN RUPPENSTEIN

It’s all about ‘different strokes for different folks’


Although this year will Europe As for Europe, Globus see many Canadians take also tweaked its overseas holidays in their own itineraries with new and backyard – so to speak increased programs in – Stéphanie Bishop, the countries like Ireland managing director for the and Germany. Globus family of brands “Reykjavik, Iceland, is in Canada, believes it on fire. We already had won’t come as a detriment a good program there, to other parts of the world. but we’ve increased the “I think there’s definitely program, Spain, Portugal, more people travelling from Lisbon to Málaga, anyways,” she says. “In Canadians are really Canada, our target audiflocking to that part of ence overall in terms of Europe,” she says. our population are the “We’re also getting a baby boomers, one-third lot of inquiries for our of our country are baby Baltic and Scandinavia boomers, so you have to product. Canadians are have something that is Newfoundland is Globus’ top selling North American itinerary. discovering different good for everyone – difplaces within Europe and ferent strokes for different they’re still going [to Europe], I know some people think they’re not folks, as my mom would say to me as a kid. You have to have Europe, you have to have Asia, South America, you have to have Canada as well, going, but they’re still going, just maybe changing their habits a bit or changing the destination, which is great too.” which is great.” Outside of Europe, she notes long-haul destinations like Vietnam, O Canada Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are also boding well. With Canada topping The New York Times’ list of 52 Places to Go in 2017, the 150th anniversary of the confederation at hand and many spe- Cosmos & Monograms On the Cosmos side, she says the value collection has tours for under cial events underway, it’s no surprise why travelling within the country $1,000, coming in at $77 a day taking in countries like the Netherlands, will be hot this year. Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey, and Morocco. “Again these “People are going to look at travelling within Canada more,” she says. destinations – a lot of people think Morocco, no one is going there, or “When I say Newfoundland is our top selling itinerary in our North taking a tour of Turkey, but people are still going,” she says. “Canadians America programs, people are always surprised… We often go to a lot are still travelling to those destinations.” of other destinations before we start travelling within Canada, but if I As for Monograms, there are new and fine-tuned programs like Lake look at our trends on our Newfoundland programs, it’s a real statement Como in Italy, city getaways and multi-country escapes like Londonthat people really want to do different things… I know it’s a cliched Paris-Rome and Rome-Paris-London, as well as two new itineraries in word, but it truly is bucket list; you want to see the glaciers, but I think Africa, the 14-day Jewels of Africa (with game drives in Kenya, visits to even more important for Newfoundland, you want to experience the Zimbabwe/Victoria Falls and South Africa/Cape Town/Johannesburg) Newfoundland hospitality, their way of life.” and the 12-day East Africa Private Safari in Kenya and Tanzania. Mexico Overall, Globus family of brands has noticed more group activWhile Canadians have long been flocking to Mexico, Globus ity on the touring side, including multigenerational family travel on added Mexico to its roster this year with the launch of the 10-day Monograms. Mexico’s Copper Canyon vacation, which along with a rail journey “A lot of people say touring is gone and it’s far from gone,” she says. to the canyon and a two-night stay at the Hotel Mirador at the can“Some have been doing tours for a long time, but there’s newcomers to yon’s edge, incorporates the Sonora Desert and a private boat cruise the travel segment, people know why they want to take the tour: they on the Sea of Cortez, and the eight-day The Wonders of Mexico’s have limited time, they want structure, some more structure, some less Yucatán itinerary, which explores archeological sites and interesting structure, and that’s why we have the three different brands of touring, colonial cities with overnights in Cancun, Chichen Itza, Mérida, but they want to see a lot of things, they want to be educated while Campeche, and Uxmal. they’re taking their vacation and they want more hands-on experience.” “We’re always trying to evolve our product and we do quite a bit of As for the trade, she invites travel agents to touch base with one of the surveys with either past travellers or travel agents on both sides of company’s business development managers to find out more ways they the border, and people wanted to see a bit more of Mexico,” she says. can grow and improve their business. “Canadians really love Mexico, we grew up with many destinations for “At the end of the day, I think we’re in a relationship business, and we sun, sand and sea, but I think a lot of Canadians are at a point where value very much the relationships that are out there,” she says. “We’ve they want to experience something a bit different. They still want the got a wealth of knowledge and experience, and amazing tools that are heat and the flavour of a destination like Mexico, but they’re ready to available to the agent community, and I would encourage every one to be more active in their travel journeys.” really tap into those unique resources that are there for them.” 6 • CANADIAN TRAVEL PRESS • JANUARY 16, 2017

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1/12/2017 11:24:02 AM

Sabre report explores the future of travel Get ready for the future. In its 2017 Emerging Technology in Travel report, Sabre offers some insights into three emerging trends that will change the way people travel. The report looks at such emerging capabilities as robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality that are on the brink of permeating nearly every aspect of daily life. From humanoid robots checking-in guests at hotels to virtual immersive vacations to AI-powered chatbot assistants with unique personality traits, the Sabre Labs Emerging Technology Report explores how new technologies are evolving to shape travel and other industries in the years to come. The report points out that the travel sector is often an early adopter of new technology, and Sabre has fostered innovation for industry and consumers alike. It also evaluates the three major technology trends likely to have the greatest impact on the travel industry for 2017, as well as the key technologies anchoring each trend. Identified trends include:

that: “Sabre is constantly exploring new technologies to determine how they can best be applied to the travel industry to improve the travel experience.”

McSpadden observed: “We continue to discover new ways these technologies can fit into our portfolio and drive innovation for our customers and their travellers.”

The Emerging Technology Report distills Sabre’s ongoing research and exploration to help travel businesses make strategic decisions for 2017 and beyond,

and offers more than 40 specific takeaways for agencies, airlines, hoteliers and travellers. For more information, visit: insights/labs/


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Mark McSpadden, director – Sabre Labs, noted JANUARY 16, 2017 • CANADIAN TRAVEL PRESS • 7

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1/12/2017 11:31:42 AM

Korea ski resorts prepare for 2018 Winter Olympics TED DAVIS

There are plenty of great ski resorts around the world, but only a few can claim to be bona fide Olympic venues. Alpensia and Yongpyong ski resorts in South Korea will join that exclusive club in 2018, when the country plays host to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic/Paralympic Games. But before then, skiers and boarders can get to know these emerging international resorts, which will be subject to worldwide media and online attention in February 2018. Some 84% of Pyeongchang County territory comprises mountains, with average elevations of 750 metres above sea level. Alpensia Resort is tucked into the mountains at about 700 metres and is known for top snow quality and its views of a nearby mountain range. Alpensia will serve as the principal hub for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and will be the central location for medal presentations and other celebrations at the Olympic Village and Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. While the resort has competition venues for ski jumping, cross-country skiing and biathlon already in place, work is underway to build the luge, bobsled and skeleton tracks for use during the Olympics. Alpensia will also have a Cultural Olympiad, featuring a purpose-built concert hall within the resort.

All about choice But for pre-Olympic visitors, Alpensia’s most appealing aspect will be the gentle giant Baekdu-san mountains that frame the resort. The top point of Alpensia’s highest run is just 970 metres and the vertical drop maxes out at 195 metres – the runs are generally wide for easy riding and long turns. There are six different slopes, including one reserved exclusively for snowboarders. This is perfect terrain for ski and board learners, kids, families and those with intermediate level skills. Alpensia has a monorail that operates to the top of the Ski Jump Tower, with access to a Ski Jump Lounge. From here, visitors get great views of the Daegwallyeong mountain range. Afterward, those who are not inclined to ski or snowboard can exercise their wallets at the retail village at Alpensia.

Alpensia ski resort

More runs, more altitude Those in search of more challenging terrain can head southeast to the Yongpyong Ski Resort in the “Alps of Korea.” It has more runs and more altitude than Alpensia and is regarded as the largest ski/snowboard resort in Korea. Yongpyong has 28 slopes, including six approved for international competition, plus larger than normal half-pipes. The resort has 15 lifts (including a 3.7 km gondola), offering access to a full spectrum of ski and snowboard rides. The highest lift-served summit is 1,458 metres above sea level. Yongpyong gets an average annual snowfall of 250 cm, and it has a ski season that runs from November to early April. During the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, Yongpyong will host the slalom and giant slalom alpine competitions. The Super-G and downhill events will be held at another mountain now under development (Jeongseon Alpine Centre). Yongpyong Resort can accommodate more skiers at a time than any other venue in the country and has successfully hosted the World Cup Ski Championships, the Winter Asian Games and other international ski competitions.

Four season resorts Both Alpensia and Yongpyong have been developed as fourseason resorts. That means visitors can look forward to lots of warm weather activities in the mountains of Korea, ranging from golf to hiking and cycling. For instance, the Troon-managed Alpensia Golf & Country Club and Alpensia 700 Golf Club are components of the Alpensia Resort. Combined, the two clubs feature 45 holes of championship golf, including 27-holes designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. The 700 Golf Club offers 18 holes inspired by some of the great holes of golf courses around the world. It is a semi-private course that is available for public play, and is located 187 km east of Seoul. Alpensia also features the Ocean 700 water theme park, that offers indoor/outdoor swimming pools (lazy pool, wave pool, aqual pool, kids pool), mega slides, cabanas/sunbeds, sauna, a spa, playroom, nursery, and more.

Take note

Pyeongchang House

• Accommodations available at Alpensia include the Holiday Inn & Suites Alpensia Pyeongchang, InterContinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort and Holiday Inn Resort Alpensia Pyeongchang. • Gangwando (the province in which Pyeongchang county resides) has 11 ski resorts and 37 hotels. • A new high-speed rail line is being built to provide speedy transportation from Seoul to the east coast city of Gangneung, via Pyeongchang. The trains will run at up to 250 km/h, connecting Seoul to Pyeongchang in about 50 minutes.


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1/12/2017 11:32:23 AM

Discovering the wonders of Bali PAUL UNTERBERG

There are really two Balis. One is the hedonistic, bar-lined, somewhat sleazy south, centred on the villages of Kuta, Seminyak and Kerobokan. It’s studded with foreign fast food chains, outlets for brand name clothing, numerous very tatooed wannabe boyfriends and gigolos locally referred to as “Kuta Cowboys” and bars that don’t seem to have a closing hour. Anything typically Balinese is a rare coincidence. We prefer the cultured, traditional, Balinese lifestyle centred on Ubud. We’re very fond of Bali because despite the hordes of tourists, the Balinese have remained wonderfully friendly, welcoming and helpful. This was especially true in our very fortunate hotel choice. We chose a boutique hotel called Jungjungan Ubud . A boutique hotel is a small hotel which projects an intimate character and very friendly personalized service. Of course, the management and staff know your name, and they also remember lots of very personal preferences and phobias. They remembered that we liked a quiet corner room, that we don’t like garlic in our food and my breakfast coffee should be black, thick and strong. Many hotels try to attract clients by using the term “boutique.” Very, very few deserve to use the title. Junjungan Ubud Hotel & Spa is a genuine, authentic boutique hotel. When we arrived at Denpasar airport, the hotel owner had come from Ubud to welcome us with garlands of flowers. On arrival at the hotel his wife, Siwi, showed us to our corner room. The only sound was the lovely, burbling music from the small brook which tumbles through the middle of the hotel grounds. When we couldn’t use local SIM cards because our phones were locked, they lent us a couple of local cell phones. We eat neither garlic nor oily fried foods. Ms. Siwi and her kitchen staff prepared our buffet breakfast (including Balinese noodle soup, chicken fried rice, scrambled eggs, etc). all without garlic or oil. Ms. Siwi and her ever-smiling staff were genuinely pleased when we enjoyed our breakfast, admired the huge bathtub in our ensuite bathroom, showed them what we had bought shopping, admired the tasteful local decoration of our room, swam in the swimming pool (when we came out of the water, the staff brought us

The entrances to all temples in Bali are always “split” like this, so one enters between the two highly carved wings. The umbrellas are part of the religious aspect.

huge towels). This hotel deserves the “boutique” title. How do you find a genuine boutique hotel? It takes a little work. Using Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor and the Internet, we select the email addresses of more than a dozen hotels. We send all of them the same email with a series of questions involving personal preferences: Is your breakfast a buffet or set menu? Can you arrange that all the rooms of our group be situated close together? During which months do you offer low season discounts? etc. etc. Many of the replies consist of meaningless, computerized blurbs (our staff are always pleased to serve our clients; our food is organic; etc.) displaying clearly that they haven’t even bothered to read my questions nor to answer my queries. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple is a Buddhist/Hindu temple Obviously, personalization is dating from the 17th century. not practiced there. These phony several (small) cups every morning. boutiques are promptly eliminated from our It’s the best coffee I’ve ever had. list, leaving the good ones. All the Mandheling is grown, washed and Within hours of my email to Junjungan roasted by Indonesia’s famous COFFINDO Ubud Hotel (, Ms. Siwi replied with lengthy, clear, honest answers group. Ms. Angietha Putra Prameswari, the to my questions – all written in very fluent efficient and friendly manager of the YogEnglish. Several subsequent emails clearly yakata branch, helped us order many kilos of displayed the genuine personalization which the same beans from Coffindo’s Bali branch, characterizes an authentic boutique hotel. and we’re already again enjoying our morning That’s the reason we reserved there. espressos ( During our stay, it was clear that we had It was the group’s third trip to Bali, but everymade the right choice. one enjoyed it so much that we’re already planIf friendly, personalized service, Balinesening the next visit. style decoration and experiencing a genuine boutique hotel are important for you, then Multilingual lawyer Paul Unterberg has been you’ll love this place as much as we did. to 130 countries, often repeatedly, and his 36 COFFEE trips to India total to about a four-year stay. Coffee is our favourite beverage. Espressos He is comfortably fluent in English, French, every morning. German, Spanish and Thai. During his first In Yogyakarta last year, we bought a lot of visit to Bali in 1961, he was the sole and only Sumatran Mandheling Single origin Arabica foreign tourist on the island. He’s been back coffee beans and enjoyed the robust flavour in several times since then. JANUARY 16, 2017 • CANADIAN TRAVEL PRESS • 9

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Tickets are now on sale for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas’ new ultimate rock concert experience – “Raiding the Rock Vault” which will hit the stage starting March 11 at Vinyl. Raiding the Rock Vault brings the history of rock ‘n’ roll to life, featuring classic anthems by the biggest acts in music including The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Free, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Boston, Kansas, U2, Aerosmith, Van Halen, AC/DC, Pat Benatar, Foreigner, Heart, Journey, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Supertramp, and more. “We couldn’t have picked a more fitting show to bring to Vinyl at Hard Rock Hotel,” says Chas Smith, vice-president of

entertainment at Hard Rock Hotel. “Hosting a full-scale production in an intimate venue like Vinyl will give fans an upclose rock ‘n’ roll experience like they’ve never seen before. We are really excited to have them here and look forward to them rocking the night away.” Raiding the Rock Vault was voted as readers’ choice for “Best Musical” (2014, 2015) and “Best Tribute Show” (2016) in Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Best of Las Vegas Awards and has consistently been ranked the No. 1 performance in Las Vegas on TripAdvisor. Raiding the Rock Vault tells the story of classic rock from the 1960s to the 1980s and is performed by members of some of the greatest rock bands in history. The show’s rotating all-star line-


Hard Rock Raiding the Rock Vault Starting March 11, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas will stage its new rock concert experience – “Raiding the Rock Vault.”

up includes Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Howard Leese, guitar, (Heart); Robin McAuley, lead vocals, (MSG, Survivor); Doug Aldrich, guitar, (Whitesnake, Dio); Paul Shortino, lead vocals, (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot); Jay Schellen, drums, (Asia, Badfinger); Andrew Freeman, lead vocals and guitars, (The Offspring, Last in Line, Lynchmob); Michael T. Ross, keyboards, (Lita Ford, Hardline); Hugh McDonald, bass, (Bon Jovi); Tracii Guns, guitar, (Roses, L.A. Guns); Mark Boals, lead vocals, (Dokken, Yngwie J. Malmsteen); Phil Soussan, bass, (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol); Blas Elias, drums, (Slaughter); Rowan Robertson, lead guitar, (Dio, Lynch Mob);

Cian Coey, lead vocals (Meat Loaf, We Will Rock You, Dweezil Zappa); Lily Arce, lead vocals, (O, Fantasy); Christian Brady, lead guitar, (Hellyeah); and Z Maddox, lead guitar, (Rock of Ages). Raiding the Rock Vault will perform Saturdays to Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. beginning March 11. Tickets start at US$69 (plus applicable taxes and service fees) and are on sale now at the Hard Rock Hotel box office, by calling 1-888-9-AXS-TIX or online at . A “Rock Star Package” upgrade is available for US$100 and includes a show program, a meet-and-greet and photo opportunity with stars prior to the show. (

Yoga lovers take to the skies


Maverick Helicopters is taking yoga lovers to the skies with its new HeliYoga – Limitless program, an exclusive helicopter flight and

yoga experience featuring a remote landing at Valley of Fire State Park and a private, 75-minute yoga session. The helicopter operator has partnered exclusively with award-winning local yoga company, Silent Savasana. The 2.5-hour excursion includes limo coach transportation from the Strip to Maverick Helicopters’ Las Vegas terminal, where up to six guests will depart with a yoga instructor to the Valley of Fire. The helicopter will descend and land on one of the highest peaks of Maverick Helicopters is offering a HeliYoga – Limitless experience featuring a remote landing at Valley of Fire State Park. Valley of Fire, only accessible

via helicopter. Passengers will have an opportunity to explore the remote landscape by foot and take in the area’s extraordinary sights before being led through a private, 75-minute yoga session by a certified Silent Savasana yoga instructor. During class, participants wear wireless headphones which transmit a custom playlist and instructions. Participants will be provided with a yoga mat from Lululemon at Fashion Show Mall, water and will end the class with a champagne toast. The adventure concludes with a flight over downtown Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip. HeliYoga – Limitless (US$3,499) is available via private charter only. (


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1/11/2017 2:33:23 PM

Ontario missing the boat on tourism Province needs long-term tourism plan, says report A new report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) says that Ontario has foregone close to $16 billion in visitor spending between 2006 and 2012 because it didn’t keep up with global growth trends. The significant tourism opportunity gap – when compared to international growth rates – is outlined in “Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for Ontario.” And, while the OCC report noted that 2016 has been a strong year for tourism in Ontario, it is important that this recent growth is translated into long-term, sustainable gains in tourism visitation. OCC president and CEO Allan O’Dette said, “As one of the top employers of our next generation of working Ontarians and an economic cornerstone for many communities, the tourism industry plays a key role in supporting our overall economic health. Based on international trends, however, our report demonstrates a significant lost growth opportunity for the industry. It is critical that the province as a whole take steps to close this gap and develop sustainable growth in visitation to Ontario.” A number of challenges faced by tourism operators and the broader tourism community

in Ontario are identified in the report, which also presents a series of action items to address them. And the OCC does indicate that it is encouraged that the government is moving ahead with an action plan for the province’s tourism industry, a key consideration highlighted by its membership. The report makes it clear about the need for any provincial strategy to include measurable targets, a practice currently employed by many successful tourism destinations. Those targets would help to organize and coordinate tourism activities among the

diverse group of public and private tourism organizations in Ontario, another key recommendation of the report. Says O’Dette: “Ontario’s tourism sector needs a dedicated strategy driven by the provincial government that not only promotes tourism within Ontario, but also focuses on drawing in visitors from around the world.” And he concludes: “If we can do this successfully, the province will achieve substantial economic gains, while keeping up with global growth trends.”

Canada is Lonely Planet’s top pick for 2017 If you’re looking for somewhere exciting to travel this year, look no further than Canada, picked by Lonely Planet as its No. 1 destination for 2017. Each year, Lonely Planet ranks destinations based on the diversity and quality of travel experiences offered. Results are published in its annual Best in Travel series. “We are honoured to have been selected as Lonely Planet’s Destination of the Year for 2017,” said the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism. Chagger continued: “Of course, this recognition doesn’t mean our work is done; it should encourage us to keep this momentum building. Our tourism partners from coast to coast to coast are working hard to provide travellers with unique and unforgettable experiences. There is something for everyone here. The year 2017 is also our country’s 150th anniversary, and we couldn’t

think of a better time to invite the world to discover Canada.” Destination Canada’s president and CEO, David Goldstein said: “This is exciting. We can’t think of a better time to invite the next generation of travellers to discover Canada.” “Canada is always popular with us,” observed Lonely Planet’s Canada destination editor Alex Howard, “but there’s so much happening in 2017 that made it number one. It’s the country’s biggest birthday party in recent memory with the sesquicentennial next year, and they won’t be shy about celebrating. Now is the time to start planning a trip.” As a premiere four season travel destination, there is no shortage of extraordinary experiences for travellers to Canada. Whether you are looking to escape into pristine wilderness or explore our vibrant cities, rich in culture and great food, we have something for everyone.

Over 14 million international visitors chose to explore Canada between January and August 2016, including a record breaking 2.5 million overseas arrivals this summer. Following Canada in the rankings were Colombia and Finland, while Bordeaux topped the cities list ahead of Cape Town and Los Angeles. As for the No. 1 ‘must-see’ region in 2017, Lonely Planet picked Choquequirao in Peru, with New Zealand’s Taranaki and The Azores filling out the top three in this category. As for the best value destination of 2017, Nepal took top spot, with Namibia, Porto and Venice following closely. Turning to trends, Lonely Planet said that remote working, bike packing, sustainable travel and micro distilleries are the ones to watch in the coming year. (


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The following identified the Dec. 12 “Where In The World” as the Unconditional Surrender statue in San Diego, Ca.: Timothy Edgecombe, The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel; Marilyn Lentz, Bytown Travel; Marianne Bradshaw, TierOne Travel; Irene Rivard, CAA; Steve Torok, Avianet; Bill Young, Handa Tarvel Service; Céline Moskovitz, House of Travel;

ACV Continued from page 1

“It’s a niche, but a broad niche, so we developed a slate of products that would meet its needs,” said Platanitis, who predicted that the project will become an “interesting sales addition” for travel agents who will be in line for a 12% commission rate and will able to book via the B2B portal or the SIREV Marketplace. It could also be an interesting addition for the Air Canada family as a whole. It’s down the line right now but, according to the Montreal-based exec, there’s an opportunity to aim Go Canada at the inbound market, providing incremental income for AC and rouge. Travel agents will have the opportunity to delve deeper into the mechanics of the five- to seven-day arrangements once ACV takes its product launches to major cities across the country. And Platanitis wants feedback from the trade, as well as consumers once the launch is underway. “For instance, we could develop shorter-stay durations according to what they tell us, because we will be flexible,” he promised.

Kathy Taylor-Hallick, Luxury Corporate Cruises; Kevin Dupuis,; Veronika Andrasofszky, New Wave Travel; Christine Byrne, CMS Global Travel;

Louise Chow, New Wave Travel; Katherine Poon, Fun In Paradise Travel; Lana Black, CAA; Barb Hricina, CWT Concierge; Anca Rintala, Carlson Wagonlit; Virginia Viragh, Uniglobe Donaldson Travel; Susan Hopkins, Advantage Intravel.

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“As far as we’re concerned, the travel agent is like a financial advisor who needs to find the right product for the right customer...” — Chief Executive Officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises Jason Montague at recent town hall meeting of travel agents

Please send your answer to: “Where in the World?” at

This huge sandstone boulder hangs precariously – or does it? – by the side of the road in a scenic Colorado public park, designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971. Actually, many of these formations, often called balancing rocks, only appear to be balancing and are in fact firmly connected to a base rock by a pedestal or stem. Where in the world is it?

Gear To Go A guide to some of the amazing devices that make travel a little bit easier, or more fun Urbanears Plattan 2 Urbanears has a new version of Plattan, its on-ear headphones. Plattan 2 features an improved frequency response for clearer definition, extra isolating ear cushions, and a 3D Hinge for a more customized fit. Plattan lovers will still recognize all the iconic details that make Plattan Plattan – like the fabric cord, built-in mic/remote, and ZoundPlug for instant music sharing. The 3D Hinge gives headphones impressive flexibility, so they can adapt to the shape of a head and ears for a perfect fit. Users will find the headphones have been re-tuned and reconstructed for a clearer, more well-defined listening experience with extended Frequency response and better definition. Thicker and softer than ever before, Plattan 2’s ear cushions create the “ideal, isolated listening environment.”

The ZoundPlug isn’t really a plug, but a socket that lets the user share music with a best bud, or a full daisy chain of friends. The user simply plugs into another pair of headphones via the empty ear cap outlet and enjoys. The headphones come with a built-in mic and remote that can be used to pick up calls, skip between tracks, and send messages to the universe. Plattan 2 is available in different shades, including Powder Pink and Snow Blue. Plattan has become one of Urbanears’ most popular headphone models, with three million sold since its launch in 2009. Plattan 2 is now available for purchase online at, and at select retailers worldwide for $50.


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Cathay Pacific Cathay Pacific Airways has promoted Ross Cronin to director, sales and marketing Canada, with overall responsibility for the airline’s passenger sales and marketing communication strategies in Canada. A veteran of the aviation industry, Cronin has spent more than 22 years with Cathay Pacific Airways, most recently as sales manager, Eastern & Central Canada, overseeing Cronin passenger sales for the airline in this important region. He joined Cathay in Vancouver early in 1994 and, later that year, transferred to the management position in Toronto. Prior to this, Cronin worked in various roles with Air Canada across Canada. He will relocate to the airline’s Canadian regional office in Vancouver.

Merit Travel Group Merit Travel Group has appointed Jason Merrithew as president of the Group’s wholesale and specialty leisure travel business. In his new role, Merrithew will oversee the Merrithew Group’s flagship Merit Travel brand in addition to the operations of Travelcuts and Exclusive Tours. He will also leverage Merit’s

recent partnership with H.I.S. Travel of Japan to significantly grow the leisure travel business in Canada and lead the international expansion of all three leisure travel brands. A graduate of Queen’s University, Merrithew has served as an advisor to several industry associations and has spoken extensively on the continued evolution of the travel industry and the critical role that travel consultants play for millennial travellers. Merit Travel Group has also appointed Dirk Baerts as president, MeritBiz, the corporate travel management (CTM) arm of Canadian-based Merit Travel Group. Baerts will have overall responsibility for MeritBiz, leading the CTM teams and continuing to develop its offerings and services across North America. He will also be actively involved in the global expansion of the MeritBiz programs; working closely with the H.I.S.Merit Baerts Travel leadership team on acquisitions and partnering initiatives with the local management at more than 200 whollyowned H.I.S. Travel locations outside Japan. Baerts will be based in the Toronto head office. Prior to joining MeritBiz, Baerts worked for Egencia, Expedia’s corporate travel company, as managing director Canada since 2011, following his appointment as country manager in Belgium in 2009. Baerts has also held various senior management positions at leading technology companies in Europe, Asia and Japan.

Air Canada Air Canada has appointed Lucie Guillemette, previously senior vice-president,

On The Go Tours recently hosted a fam trip to Nepal with Flight Centre. The goal was to reintroduce agents to the country following the devastating earthquake in April 2015 and to increase tourism to the destination. The trip was a specialized version of the tour operator’s Nepal Encompassed trip, and the group visited local schools and a Tibetan Refugee camp affected by the quake. The trip started in Kathmandu, where the group did a scenic flight over Mount Everest, continued on to Chitwan National Park to see rhinos, and then onto the lakeside town of Pokhara, where agents got to relax before embarking on a two day hike into the Annapurna region. Pictured are: Kat Nitarski, OTG Australia; Flight Centre’s Melanie Reed, Lisa Campany, Alix Reginato; Miles Walker, OTG Canada; Kate Filer, OTG UK; Nicola Comley, OTG Brisbane; Anthea Verdoorn, Flight Centre Australia; Jaimie Rogers, Flight Centre Canada; Bryony Legg, FC New Zealand; Liane Bertram, FC Australia; Jana Elia, OTG Australia; Phil Hammond, OTG London; and Deenam Lamichhane, OTG Nepal.

On The Go in Nepal:

Revenue Optimization, as executive vice-president and chief commercial officer. Guillemette, who is based at the airline’s Montreal headquarters, joins the executive committee and continues to report to Benjamin Smith, president, Passenger Airlines. In her new role, Guillemette will be responsible for Air Canada’s commercial strategy and revenue Guillemette generation, including marketing, sales, network planning and revenue management. Prior to her appointment as senior vice-president, Revenue Optimization in May 2015, she was vice-president, Revenue Management, a role held since February 2008. Guillemette joined Air Canada in 1987 as a customer service and sales agent, subsequently holding various positions in

pricing, inventory control, product management and a number of senior marketing and commercial positions, as well as senior director, Human Resources.

Transat Transat has appointed Tricia Kentel as business development manager, British Columbia. She will be working alongside Fiona Schonewille to provide sales and service to Transat’s agency partners. Kentel brings over 20 Kentel years of travel industry sales experience to Transat’s team. She can be reached at .

VISIT FLORIDA Visit Florida has appointed Ken Lawson as its new president and CEO. The announcement was made following a unani-

mous vote of the Visit Florida board of directors. Lawson, who currently serves as the Secretary of the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR), assumed his new position Jan. 11. Lawson, a native Floridian and former US Marine Corps Judge Advocate General, has spent 12 years serving and protecting the public Lawson in numerous regulatory positions, including his most recent work overseeing – among other divisions – restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals with DBPR. During his six-year tenure with DBPR, Lawson managed a team of 1,600 employees charged with licensing and regulating more than a million businesses and professionals throughout the state.


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Canadian Travel Press - January 16, 2017