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Destination Knowledge that impacts Revenue Generation

In this Issue... ·Talking Travel ·The Half Truth about Adventure Travel ·Fam Trip ROI ·If you wish to write travel… ·Maximum Lima ·Travel Scams Volume One, Number One Spring, 2013

Greetings from the Editor-in-Chief Welcome to the 1st issue of Talking Travel, The Magazine…

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Talking About Travel Lifestyles The Half Truth about Adventure Travel…

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Picture This We just happen to have been in Bali when…

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Enhancing Industry Skills Eight Ways to Enhance your Agencies ROI on Fam Trips…

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Professional Development If you Wish to be a Travel Writer, then Write...

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Travel Safety Travel Scams we know and love…

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Destination Discovery Maximum Lima

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Picture This Too We just happen to have been in Tokyo when…

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Cover Photo: Strolling down Santa Ana Volcano, El Salvador

Talking Travel’s mandate is to transform travel professionals into destination masters through skill development that translates into revenue generation. Specializing in Conference Keynotes, Destination Master Classes, Destination Presentations and Training, Niche Markets and Lifestyle Programs, Agency and Company Coaching, Program Development and Travel Writing, and all in the service of revenue generation Contact to discuss your training needs.

Welcome to the first issue of Talking Travel, The Magazine

In the time of Confucius, the very concept of having "10,000' of anything was equivalent to today's concepts of quadrillion dollar national budgets and computer terabytes and petabytes. It was an unfathomable idea in 550 BCE but as soon as people started to travel and the world around them became a smaller place, the idea of '10,000 miles' became yesterday's news.

Today’s travellers are looking for the ‘what else’ in travel. They translate the word ‘value’ to mean something that will satisfy their need to do something extraordinary on their vacation and ultimately to exceed their expectations. Of course the idea of ‘extraordinary’ is in the eye of the beholder.

I love that expression because it covers so many aspects of what I believe travel to be all about: Research and then embark on your travels.

A beach holiday at a three-star all- inclusive can be extraordinary if it responds to a need for fun and relaxation and convenience and cost. And an adventure in Peru or Tibet or Japan can also be extraordinary if the experience matches and surpasses the customer’s dreams of interacting with the people and the culture, engaging in some physical challenges, gazing at magnificent landscapes or ancient temples and monasteries, enjoying the food and local drinks, and adopting the attitude of ‘global tourist…out to explore as much of the world as possible’.

The research can take any comfort form you wish, whether it is through social media, Google, public forums on travel advice, seminars, webinars, travel literature, guide books, magazines, newsletters, television, movies and more.

Talking Travel, The Magazine will feature destinations, travel skills, travel trends, photography, niche markets, lifestyles and even some travel humour. You know, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Taking in the world from Table Mountain, Cape Town SA

A friend of mine discovered a wonderful saying attributed to Confucius, the Chinese teacher and philosopher who lived around 500 BCE. "Read 10,000 Books...Travel 10,000 Miles".

And while it seems to be a dying art, research can even involve speaking to real, live people who have already travelled to your destination of choice! Editor-in-Chief

Once you have done your research then travel is more meaningful and relevant, no matter what your motivation may be. Today's travellers seek experiences ranging from pure and total leisure to absolute adventure, and everything in between. They want to exercise their passion for activities that are meaningful to themselves and not necessarily restricted to a generalized packaged tour. Culinary, Luxury, Adventure, Culture, Sustainability, Giving Back...these are some of the themes that resonate on a cross-generational basis with people who love to travel.

Talking Travel: The Magazine is owned, operated and published by Steve Gillick, Talking Travel. All Rights Reserved. Protected by International and Canadian Copyright Law. Talking Travel: The Magazine can be shared, forwarded, cut and pasted but not sold, resold or in any way monetized. Permission is required for the use of any images or content from Talking Travel: The Magazine. ©Steve Gillick Please note that: Steve Gillick and Talking Travel are not responsible for outcomes based on how the ideas presented in this Magazine are interpreted or used. Talking Travel, The Magazine, 500 Duplex Ave., Ste 2210, Toronto, ON Canada M4R 1V6 Subscribe for Free:

Celebrations at a Monastery Festival in Tibet

The oft-repeated advice when it comes to Adventure Travel is:

a memory of an excursion’, to being a truly meaningful partnership with people and the environment.

Take nothing but photographs… leave nothing but footprints

Part of the ecotourism montra cautions you to ‘leave nothing behind’--but you can still…

Whether the journey is to Kathmandu or Kitimat, Montreal or Machu Picchu, Truro or Tibet, there is so much more you can get out of travel.

1) Take a photo—and when your local subject asks for a copy in the mail, actually do it! This may be the only photo they have of themselves.

It is a truism that in general, in life, you get ‘out’ what you put ‘in’. The eco-sustainable-naturetourism mantra about taking nothing and leaving nothing sounds so deliciously motherhoody, and as a primer for litterbugs, exotic souvenir seekers, and people who tend like to bring their inconsiderate attitude toward nature wherever they go, this is good, sound advice. The other half of the truth that is missing relates to all the other things you can leave behind and take with you when you travel. The list of ideas—that follows—are ways to add value to your travel experience in a world that yearns for the cooperation and understanding of travellers in order to sustain it for future generations. As well, these ideas will enhance your own travel experiences and convert them from being ‘just

2) Enjoy a conversation—share stories and ideas, thoughts, and laughs about mutual struggles with the language. Learn how people think in another country, and what is important to them. When asking a young porter on a trip to Nepal years ago, what his dream in life would be, he said, “To eat dahl bat (lentil beans and rice), everyday and to lead tours in the mountains.” A headman in a village in northern Thailand related that his dream was to be able to cultivate all three fields every year, instead of having to leave one bare to regenerate the soil. Take an interest in the people you meet. 3) Smile. In the song Wooden Ships, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sang, “You smile at me and I will understand…cuz that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language”. Remember this when you are

promoting your travel-ability. Your smile will inevitably be returned 4) Leave a T-shirt or postcard of your home town, province or country 5) Give a toy to a child. I give out finger puppets. A friend gives out Zorro masks— another, bubbles. Don't give toys with small pieces that can, if swallowed, cause a child to choke. Don’t give out coins or candy as it encourages begging and contributes to dental problems. Treat a kid, like a kid and it's ok to be a kid yourself, no matter what your age or status in life. 6) Exchange a song. When in Mongolia, sometimes you are only allowed to enter a Yurt until after you have sung a song. Row, Row, Row Your Boat, sung in rounds, is a popular selection, as is Frère Jacques, the Inky-Dinky Spider, Do Wah Diddy and even O Canada!

7) Be polite—wait your turn—be patient-have realistic expectations—leave a good impression of your culture, of your country and of you. 8) Find out how you can benefit the local culture—adopt a foster child when you return home…plant a tree…contribute to an educational foundation. 9) Leave heritage musicians. attraction

a donation when visiting cultural sites: temples, artist studios, Help the locals to maintain the that you have just enjoyed.

10) Bargain in good faith. The 50 cents you save may give you pride because you “beat down” the salesperson, but you may have also robbed that person of extra food or prevented his or her children from purchasing school books or a mandatory school uniform..

The local taxi service: Outside of Kuching, Borneo

The other part of the eco-montra is to "take nothing with you", but you can still take…

YOU were there to experience this one event in your own unique way.

1) Excitement, enthusiasm and a sense of wonderment by visiting a new destination.

8) Another country. For those countrycounters out there, you know that every country has its own unique characteristics. It is not just another number… or another country on a particular continent. It is not a faceless destination but it is actually someone’s home. Travel is a declaration against generalizing and stereotyping and should always be a celebration of the diversity of the planet.

2) Understanding and tolerance of different traditions, customs and ways of thinking. 3) Knowledge of culture, history and local dress, plus festivals, music and food. 4) Memorable smiles and photographs

The view from the Castle, Cesky Krumlov, The Czech Republic

5) The flavour of the country—smells and tastes, indigenous to that society 6) A new friend. All of a sudden the country is not a place-name somewhere on the other side of the globe—it is a friend you once visited. This is what makes the world 'smaller' and creates the vision of a global community 7) A unique experience: Ponder that when you see something, whether it is sunrise on a mountain top, or a butterfly in a jungle or forest, or a child’s smile, or the profound thought that out of the 6 billion people on the earth—only

9) What you take with you is a feeling that even if it is your first-ever country visited, you have made a positive advance toward being a global citizen. 10) What you take with you? A sense that while our planet may be lonely in the context of being the only one that supports life (that we know of) in our galaxy, the planet is anything but, a sad, disconsolate place. It is a thriving, boisterous cacophony of life—and it is there for you to fulfill your dreams of discovery.

July 15, 2008. Ubud, Bali. From the head of the royal family of Ubud named Agung Suyasa was laid to rest in a rare, spectacular Royal Funeral - the largest in decades. Suyasa, two other members the royal family, and 68 commoners were cremated in a large Hindu ceremony - their bodies having been previously preserved, awaiting cremation, which is traditionally believed to free their souls for future reincarnation. Photo by ŠSteve Gillick


School’s out for the day in Kandy, Sri Lanka This article first appeared in

For the host of a fam trip, the return on investment is measured in increased sales from the travel agents who participate. For agents themselves, the ROI of fam participation may be as simple as personal enjoyment and fulfillment. For the travel agency who sends its advisors on fams, the returns can and should be considerable – including increased revenues and improved client retention and referrals, thanks to the your agents’ insider knowledge and the excellent service they deliver as a result. Here are eight ways to get the best return on investment when your travel sellers go on a fam. 1. Set clear expectations. Provide both first-time and experienced fam trippers with what I call a “fam trip purpose and conduct manual.” This explains what the agency expects when an agent returns from a fam. For instance: educating other sellers about the destination; writing a report for the agency newsletter, social media sites, blog and/or host agency’s list-serve, and outlining a marketing plan and sales projections for the destination or product.

2. Choose sensible destinations. Not every destination is fam-worthy. We once received an application from an Antarctica specialist for a fam to Sri Lanka, a destination she admitted she would never sell. The destinations you want your staff to master are the current and future mainstay and trend-setting destinations that will accrue revenue to your bottom line 3. Ensure that agents are prepared. Begin by educating agents about the many details involved in putting together a fam, particularly when it involves a preferred supplier. Then, emphasize that the agent’s own pre-trip preparation should include, at a minimum, researching the basics of the destination, including preparatory map work, and understanding the itinerary. 4. Customize as you familiarize. If an agent is visiting a resort that fits one of your specialties, such as weddings (or sports or bird watching), she should meet with the appropriate resort specialist. An agent’s expertise includes their “little black book” of important contacts at a destination — the movers and shakers who can deliver the trip enhancements that exceed clients’ expectations

and make the difference between mastery and merely being an agent. 5. Record the details. Once I saw an agent record every aspect of a fam trip on video. She videoed hotel room numbers and the rooms’ interior details, narrating the video with her impressions, including details such as room location and view, plus interviews with the hotel sales manager to get his take on the uniqueness of the room. This gave her a record of the features that differentiated each hotel room. These nuances may constitute the critical details that make or break a client’s trip. 6. Bring business cards. In most of the world, the business card is a critical relationship builder and contact management tool, so make sure your agents bring plenty of cards with them on fams. On the receiving end, those cards communicate a strong message: “I am with XYZ Travel, and we plan to sell this destination, so we want to know it inside and out. We want your support and referrals, and we want to work with you for years to come.” 7. Use your people skills. For many travelers, the most memorable times in a destination are exchanges with locals and shared laughs. Agents

on fams should go out of their way to engage with the locals, as this is key to understanding the ambience, feel and culture of a place. Then agents can share their impressions –– and their stories –– with clients. Sometimes these alone will sell a trip. 8. Familiarize, then incentivize. While many agencies use the promise of a fam trip to reward agents who reach a certain sales threshold, not many incentivize agents after they return from a fam. Why not reward fam trip returnees for increased sales of the destination or product they experienced firsthand? This sends staff the message that fam trips are an important business tool –– not just a travel perk. Fam trips have been undervalued for too many years. For agencies, fam trip participation should lead to improved sales and revenues, an enhanced reputation, better client retention and referrals. For individual agents, the ROI of fam trips goes beyond increased sales and includes improved confidence, client appreciation, career growth and even job security. Those travel agencies that look at fams as part of their business strategy will reap the rewards in both agent and client satisfaction.

Travel Skills, Trends, Destinations, Niche Markets, Lifestyles and Revenue Generation Steve Gillick’s travel articles have appeared in the following travel industry publications over the past year. Check them out to remain on the cutting edge of industry knowledge.

Epictetus, the Greek philosopher, determined that “If you wish to be a writer, write”. This was a reflection of his firm belief that people were responsible for their own actions, and therefore ‘wanting’ or ‘dreaming’ to do something could only happen if you actually did it!

Steve Gillick…writing away

When I was 14 years old, I took a five week student trip to Europe. We travelled by ship to various coastal cities and part of our assignment was to keep a daily diary. I still have that diary today and can see snippets of a budding travel writer as I attempted to describe the incredibly luxurious Hermitage Museum in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), or the amazing souk, or marketplace, that we visited in Gibraltar. And my writing got a bit of a boost when Mr. Sperling, our teacher, asked if I would like to contribute an article to the ship’s newsletter on any topic I chose. I wrote about what was before me: A huge ship that grew smaller every day as we became more familiar with where everything was located, and as we discovered short cuts to get to the classroom or the theatre or the dining hall. And then I used this as an analogy to talk about the cities and countries that we were visiting on the trip. I wrote about Copenhagen and how on the first day it seemed so confusing and difficult to get around on the bus tour, but when we had some free time on the second day, we found that it was easy to walk from one place to another and in fact, the city had shrunk in size. My article was published and I read it 40-50 times, thinking that me—Steve Gillick—was a published writer! And perhaps this was the feeling of travel-writing-euphoria that lay the groundwork for my love of writing. So when I worked at summer camps, I wrote for the newsletter; when I worked for a tour company, I started a newsletter, and later when I worked for a travel association, I revamped their newsletters and became the writer, editor and publisher. No

This does not imply that you have to be born into the role of ‘writer’. There are many avenues that lead writers to success and in every circumstance, that old adage that ‘practice makes perfect’, comes into play.

matter how busy I was, I would always find time to write—usually on weekends, and many times on my home computer after a long day at the office and into the wee hours of the night. It became my way of relaxing and it still is a pleasant means of escape from reality and routine. But for me, writing is also an intellectual challenge, based on my personal credo that every word in the English language has a very specific connotation and it is the travel writer’s task to use the most meaningful words in each sentence to express thoughts, emotions, vistas and people, and try to capture the ambiance of a destination; the exuberance of an event, the titillation of one’s taste buds when partaking of unique foods, the exhilaration of seeing a global landmark that has always been on your ‘must-see’ list, and the euphoria of discovering something that you never knew existed. Travel writing topics are sometimes directly in our sight lines: If you visit Prague, then you may choose to write about Prague. Or you can look at specific aspects of the city which may be more meaningful to readers with different interests. Culinary. Our favourite lunch included grilled sausage, served with horseradish and mustard, fresh rye bread and dark beer (usually at U Glaubicu in Lesser Town); while our favourite dinner was at U Medvidku (In Old Town near the Narodni Bridge) which consisted of grilled duck, potato dumplings, sweet red cabbage and different varieties of dark beer.

Marionettes. There is a puppet culture in the Czech Republic dating back to the Middle Ages. You can find Marionette shops in many towns and cities with varying degrees of quality but they are all fascinating to see. As a mask collector visiting a country with no masks per se, I was entranced by the faces of the Marionettes and spent lots of time just appreciating the quality. Scenery. There are some amazing vistas in Prague. You can climb a number of towers, depending on the strength in your legs and your ability to negotiate winding staircases (Check

exchange emails with the tour guides and locals you may meet along the way). Accuracy is very important. If you are into historical dates, then ensure the dates are correct. If you are not a big history buff, then give a general time frame (eg in the early 20th century, as opposed to “1911”) And then there are other forms of writing inspiration (from the Latin ‘in spirare’ meaning ‘to breathe’, as in ‘to breathe life into something’). Many writers have what they call “eureka moments”. The word “Eureka’ has an ancient Greek origin and means “I have found it”, and goes along with the legend that the scholar

Marionette Artistry can be found throughout Prague out the Astronomical Clock Tower or one of the Charles Bridge Towers) And there are many other angles for writing about the city: history, architecture, music, art, tourists, shopping, the subway system, the bridges, museums, gardens, wine, street life, the Jewish Quarter, hidden attractions (eg. the grotto and the albino peacocks), and just about any other area or ‘niche’ that interests you. And that is one of the keys to writing: write about your own interests. Once I decide on a topic, I will spend time filling in my knowledge gaps with research, mostly online, but also from guide books or contacting someone who knows more than I about the topic. (which is a good reason to

Archimedes yelled out “Eureka” when he immersed himself into his bath water and realized that the water level rose at the same time. A Eureka moment may be listening to a song on your itunes and something about that song relates to an incident or a thought that profoundly inspires you. I have two favourite Eureka moments. My first “Eureka” involves the song Wooden Ships, by Crosby Stills, Nash and Young, wherein one of the lines is “You smile at me and I will understand/cuz that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language”. Well when I first heard that, I realized that as an inveterate traveller who only speaks English, there is a masterful way of communicating with the whole planet—and that is in the simple act of

smiling. I have written about travel to non-English speaking countries and communication on many occasions. My second Eureka moment came when I was stuck in traffic on Highway 401. We were in a construction area and it was unbelievably noisy and then drivers started to honk the car horns and it became really annoying. But through all this,

Likewise, when we arrived in Douz, Tunisia, we were not aware that the annual International Sahara Festival was opening on the same day. Groups from all across northern Africa were present for the camel races and the cultural competitions with costumes, singing, dancing, music and food. I was in seventh heaven—and I wrote about it!

Getting caught up in the music at the International Sahara Festival in Douz, Tunisia

with my ipod set to randomly shuffle songs, came the mesmerizing tune “Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkle. It was like a breathe of fresh air and, after a bit of research, I wrote an article on “Silence’ as a niche market that many travellers want, appreciate and in some cases, yearn while they are stuck on a crowded beach on a package tour during the holidays. And other forms of inspiration may include the ‘serendipitous” (something that occurs by happenstance and is rewarding, or fortuitous). When our group arrived in the town of Pisac in Peru, the festival of the Virgin of Carmen was taking place. We had no knowledge of this until we arrived and found the town in a festive mood with costumes, masks, decorations and dancing. What an opportunity for writing and photographs!

When our friend Epictetus wrote that “If you want to be a writer, write”, he was speaking a truism that some may say is not necessarily profound, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense and is in itself, inspirational. Write, re-write, show your friends what you have written and have them provide suggestions. Proof-read your writing and then post it on your blog or add it to a site such as, or send it as an addendum or comment to a newsletter article or as the article itself. Travel writing breathes fire into your experiences and allows readers to share in the spirit of your adventures. It’s an extremely satisfying activity to pursue. If you want to be a travel writer… start write now!


I've been involved in the travel industry for 30 + years. And when I say "involved" I mean that aside from my 'day job’ I was volunteering at conferences, giving keynotes, presenting workshops and writing articles on many different topics. I wrote my own speeches and researched my own presentations. Hey, I even composed a few humorous poems on occasion! Now I'm bringing my skills for you to use!

Let me make a name for yourself! Now there is no reason for you NOT to be involved. I'll write that speech to the club or social group. I'll write the article for the local newspaper or agency newsletter. And because I’m ghost writing it for you...the article is YOURS to publish; the speech is written for YOU to deliver, sign your name and take all the compliments for doing such a great job.

And the best thing is that no one will ever know...unless YOU tell them.

was 40,000 feet above the Pacific on a Korean Airlines flight when my shopping spree supposedly took place. The evidence that I uncovered now, twenty years later, was a photocopy of the signed ‘charge’ that VISA sent to me as part of the fraud investigation. Ahhh, one more travel scam to add to my collection which now tips the scales at about 150 different scams.

hotel in Bangkok apparently faxed my credit card information to Chiang Mai—361 miles to the north —where an associate proceeded to charge 46,750 Baht (roughly $2500.00 at the time) to my VISA card. I only used that card

TRAVEL SCAMS CAN FOLLOW YOU EVERYWHERE YOU GO The trick is to be aware and recognize ‘the symptoms’ when they appear Recently I finally got around to cleaning out my file cabinet and in the process, found all sorts of hidden treasures. There was the report of my ‘arrest’ for vagrancy in 1969 when the Town of Midland Police Department agreed to let Figure 1 Would you like a free 'good-luck' bracelet? How about two?my friends and I sleep overnight in the jail so we wouldn’t have to spend money on a hotel. The next morning, the officer signed our ‘warrant; with the title “Occifer” as a souvenir of our stay’. Then there was my Air Canada “Flight to the Moon” certificate issued after the Moon landing in 1969. The airline perhaps jumped the gun a bit with enthusiasm by starting a wait-list for Moon flights. I’m still curious about the number of Aeroplan miles that will add to my total. But what brought a sentimental tear to my eye was the discovery of the file I created in 1993 regarding my very first credit card scam. While I was flying back to Toronto from a trip to Thailand, the travel agency in the lobby of my hotel in Bangkok, decided to fax my credit card information to Chiang Mai—361 miles to the north —where an associate proceeded to charge 46,750 Baht (roughly $2500.00 at the time) to my VISA card. I only used that card once during my entire trip. My alibi was that I

once during my entire trip—at that travel agency. My alibi was tight. I was 40,000 feet above the Pacific on a Korean Airlines flight when the shopping spree took place. And what I discovered twenty years later in my file drawer, was a photocopy of the signed ‘charge’ that VISA sent to me as part of the fraud investigation. Ahhh… one more travel scam to add to my collection, which now tips the scales at about 150 different travel-related scams. A travel scam is any form of trickery, deceit, misrepresentation, or the taking advantage of someone that ends up separating that person from their possessions (e.g. a camera, laptop, briefcase, wallet etc.). And while the travel industry may enjoy a high season generally from December through March, travel scams flourish, thrive and prosper throughout the year. The most common scams are labelled as ‘distraction scams’. Simple enough to execute, they usually involve two scam artists. One creates the distraction while the other runs off with your possessions. A typical distraction would be the classic scenario of someone enjoying a cappuccino in one of the piazzas in Rome. The tour guide instructs everyone to

head back to the bus and just at that moment, a stranger pretends to trip in your direction and spills his coffee all over you. You are shocked, upset at the dark liquid on your clean clothes and you are definitely not paying attention to the digital camera on the table or your jacket (containing your wallet), draped over your chair. The stranger is extremely apologetic and offers to get napkins to clean up your outfit. In the meantime, scam artist #2 has already disappeared with your camera and jacket. And as soon as soon as you discover this, the stranger has disappeared into the crowd too. Other forms of this scam include tripping and dumping the contents of a hotdog (mustard, relish, ketchup) on the victim. And then there is the ‘baby-bundle’ routine. In this scenario a woman has a bundle of rags that resemble a baby. She cradles the rags, rocks them and makes cooing sounds to convince everyone that there is a real baby in her arms. Then at the appropriate moment, for example, when a street car or a subway or a bus approaches, or even when the crowd is ogling at Niagara Falls, she drops the ‘baby’ over the falls or in front of the oncoming vehicle. Everyone is shocked beyond belief at what they just saw and while in their state of distractedness, scam artist #2 goes to work picking pockets, stealing wallets and even grabbing some laptops that may be abandoned for only a few seconds. But aside from distractions, travel scams can include simple but ingenious methods. There is trick that takes place on a bus, usually in a Third World country. The victim-to-be is holding their bag or backpack on their lap when the friendly stranger in the next seat suggests that the victim place the bag under the seat in order to be more comfortable. The stranger reassures the traveller by engaging them in a conversation. The victim feels at ease and finally decides to put their bag under the seat. Little do they know that the barefoot person in the seat behind has immediately begun to use their very dextrous toes to undo the clasps on the bag and is now removing some of the contents (clothing, shoes, passport, wallet etc). By the time the traveller gets off the bus, the bag is closed again and nothing is suspected.

Then there is the lucky bracelet scenario. You are taking photos of the grand churches in an historic public square in South America (or temples in Asia) when a cheery looking child comes up to you and asks if you would like a ‘good luck’ bracelet at no charge. The bracelet is really just a colourful piece of wool string. As there is no charge and you want to bring back a story of a nice experience, you agree. The child says s/he will give you one around each wrist for double the luck, and gives you a pair of scissors to hold (so you don’t question why both of your wrists are being tied together). After the string is tied the child grabs the scissors—along with your wallet or camera—and runs off into the crowd. You are left standing there, foolishly, and bewildered, with both wrists tied together. And remember those comical scenes from the movies where the photographer keeps asking the subject to move back in order to fit into the camera frame and eventually the subject falls off a cliff or into a fountain? Well, this happens in real life, but the photographer is usually a scam artist. The typical scenario is that you are at a tourist attraction when someone asks you to take their photo. Then the stranger suggests that s/he reciprocate by taking your photo. A trust scenario has been developed because you have already held the stranger’s camera, so you agree. The stranger asks you to back up—sometimes in the direction of a low archway or doorway (where you will hit your head) or into the fountain, or down a small hill. As soon as you are off balance or hurt or a reasonable distance away, the stranger disappears with your camera (and sometimes enough information on your photos to visit your hotel room while you are touring the area). The ‘trust’ scenario is also very effective in airports where people generally feel safe. A stranger asks you to watch their luggage while they run to the washroom. When the person returns, s/he offers to watch your bags if you would also like to visit the washroom. With the trust scenario in place, you agree. The second

you walk away in one direction, your luggage disappears in the opposite direction.

and they can pester you and try various methods to extract your cash or personal information in the years ahead.

Taxi scams are high on the vigilance list. It Travel scams work because they are for the could be a simple matter of rushing to the most part, simple scenarios that take advantage airport, giving the driver money for the fare, of your fears or your receiving your change gullibility or your in a wad of bills, all sense of good will. clumped together, and One of the more then when the taxi innocent scams I takes speeds away, encountered was the you realize that s/he powdered milk scam has shortchanged you. in Kathmandu where Another popular scam a young boy is the taxi meter that is attaches himself to a pre-set from when the tourist and provides last passenger was in information on the the taxi. You don’t historic temples, for notice this and all of a free. After a while, sudden the inexpensive impressed with the ride to the hotel or restaurant is double what boy’s knowledge of the Durbar Square, Kathmandu. One of the places you can encounter the milk scam you expected. Or there is area, the tourist offers the phony night time charge some money. The boy scenario where the taxi, instead of taking you to refuses and suggests that the tourist can buy a the front door of the restaurant or hotel, parks box of powdered milk for the boy’s family. In the several meters away and then demands a spirit of being magnanimous and worldly, the special night time surcharge on the amount that tourist agrees and sometimes will even buy 2-3 the taxi meter is displaying. The aggressive boxes of the milk, which can sell for $8.00driver may keep the doors locked and try to $10.00 a box. With tears of gratitude, the boy intimidate you into paying. (In this case, the thanks the tourist and departs. But as soon as best strategy is to insist that the driver pull up to the tourist is out of site, the boy returns the the front door of the resort so you can check boxes to the store where he gets $2.00 per box with the concierge about the night time charge. commission. The storekeeper puts the boxes The driver will usually accept the metered Fare back on the shelf for a repeat performance later and leave quickly). in the day. Everyone walks away feeling good. And we have all been subject to internet and email scams, where someone has ‘found’ $20 million dollars and is willing to share it with YOU. All you have to do is provide them with your name, address, phone, and bank account number. As soon as you open an email attachment or even respond to the scammer, you have basically accomplished what they set out to do—which is to cast their net large (by sending out thousands of these emails) and then wait for a few responses. Even if you ask to be removed from future email transmissions, the scammers now know that your email is ‘live’

Being aware of travel scams and how they work is part of the preparation that any traveller should undergo before they set out to explore, whether it’s a package tour, a luxury cruise or independent travel. Always be vigilant, use hotel safes to store your valuables, take minimal cash with you when you are out and about, and retain a healthy scepticism when meeting new people. There are just too many scenarios where a traveller who has known a friendly local for less than 5 minutes, decides to put their total trust in the person and the results are sometimes disastrous.

THE HIGHER GROUND Strategies to enhance the credentials of your staff to re-energize revenue generation

A Community and Global involvement strategy for your travel company or organization Contact Steve Gillick ~ Conference Keynotes, Agency training, company retreats

It is often said that quantity is not quality, but if you can mesh the two terms together, the result can be memorable. Our first day in Lima was one of those “fill in every minute with experiences”type days, and allowed us to totally immerse ourselves in the destination, which is exactly what we wanted to do. in

Technically, aside from landing at Jorge Chavez International Airport at 6:30 am, we spent the day in the Lima suburbs of San Isidro, Miraflores and Barranco. After an all night flight from New York with little sleep, we landed on schedule, passed through passport control quickly, and despite our priority tagged luggage being the very last to be taken off the plane, we still left the terminal before 7:30 am. My colleague and I were attending the ASTA International Destination Expo and had arrived a few days early to get acclimatized. For me it was a welcome return to a city I had explored in 2003,

but for my colleague it was a new adventure in South America. ASTA had arranged for a driver to pick us up and take us to the Westin Hotel, so even with the Sunday morning traffic, we were at the hotel and checked in by 8:30 am I will say that not all Westin hotels are created alike and that this is one of the best hotels I have every stayed at. The customer service is amazing, the concierge service is outstanding, the rooms –and even the decorations in the hallways–are warm, comfortable and inviting. Really the only negative of the day was when I went to open my suitcase—the lock was still on—but the slider—on the zipper had been chopped off. Inside my suitcase was a note from U.S. Homeland Security explaining that they had randomly selected my suitcase for inspection and had every right to chop off the lock. Well, in

effect my suitcase was totally ruined, but I would resolve that another day. Time was fleeting! We made friend with the hotel concierge who gave us a few orientation tips, and then put us in a car to take us to Miraflores. While only 15 minutes away, the hotel car costs $11.00 US. A street taxi costs 6 Peruvian soles (about $2.50 US). Everyone says to be very careful when hailing a street taxi as there are some ‘bad apples’ out there, but from this point on, we always hailed our own taxi and never encountered any problems. Spotting a café by Kennedy Park in Miraflores, we had breakfast with delicious coffee (in fact the coffee is great just about everywhere in Peru) and then walked the 30 minutes toward Larcomar, the seaside shopping complex that graces the cliffs of Miraflores. Below we could see surfers, kids playing football, and even some brave souls playing in the cold Pacific waters. Larcomar has many stores that you would see at a typical mall in Canada, with a few unique craft stores and restaurants, a video arcade and some fast food. After a quick look around, we wandered back downtown. Sunday in Miraflores is quite relaxed (and very safe). There are art exhibits on the street and in the park. People are exercising in groups or doing tai-chi; walking their dogs, enjoying the flowers, attending the nearby church or chatting in the outdoor cafes. We headed over to the craft markets to browse the Inca-inspired textiles, chatchkas, masks, alpaca sweaters, ceramics, Tshirts, musical instruments and paintings. And then it was time to grab a taxi back to our hotel in San Isidro. Once there we decided to break two of our own travel rules. 1) Try not to eat at the hotel (local food at a local restaurant is preferred) and 2) Only order room service in a hunger emergency. As we had only one hour before we would leave again, we ordered ceviche (raw fish marinated in citrus juices) and a club sandwich. The ceviche was fresh and delicious, the club sandwich was one of the best I have eaten anywhere (and I’ve had a lot of clubs!).

While still in Canada, we had contacted Ronald Elward of Lima Walks regarding an afternoon tour of Barranco, and the message left in our room was that he would meet us in the lobby at 3:00 pm, So off we went again. We got a taxi to Barranco, which is a wonderful suburb just south of Miraflores known for its upscale, safe environment, colonial architecture, bars and nightlife in general. For two hours we wandered the streets, taking in the style and stories about the various houses and buildings. We learned that all the houses were built after the city recuperated from the great Lima earthquake of 1746. We wandered across the Bridge of Sighs (Puente de los Suspiros) where according to legend, anyone crossing the bridge for the first time while holding his/her breath will have their wish fulfilled, and then we ended the afternoon with cold beers at a café overlooking the ocean. Ronald had recommended the restaurant at Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores for dinner. A Huaca is a ‘sacred place’ and this particular pyramid dates back about 1000 years. The restaurant next door allows you to experience fine dining while enjoying beautiful views of the historic site. We were seated at an outdoor table. With excellent service, amazing food. (I had the grilled tuna, my colleague had the duck), and a relaxed,

The grilled tuna at Huaca Pucllana

almost mystical atmosphere. This is now entered into my list of top restaurants around the world. Finally at 9:00 pm we headed back to the Westin. Quite an active day but if anything it emphasizes all the things you can do to fully immerse yourself into a city, taking in the culture, the food and the spirit of adventure on the very first day of any trip. It was our intention to maximize our time in Lima and we were now off and running!

The Hagoita-Ichi (Battledore Fair) is held each December at the Asakusa Temple in Tokyo. The Battledores resemble wooden badminton racquets and are for sale, along with kites and other New Year’s decorations. Popular themes include Kabuki actors, celebrities, popular athletes and anime characters.


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Talking Travel - The Magazine, Spring 2013  

Talking Travel -The Magazine is a refreshing new approach to celebrating destinations as well as the skills that travel professionals bring...

Talking Travel - The Magazine, Spring 2013  

Talking Travel -The Magazine is a refreshing new approach to celebrating destinations as well as the skills that travel professionals bring...