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APRIL 2010

The Magazine for DestinationTravel Specialists

®

Chile’s Touristic Gems Are Still Sparkling Brightly

TAIWAN Celebrating theYear of theTiger by Lighting Up the Sky


ISSUE NO. 262

APRIL 2010 executive office

INDUSTRY EVENTS

28 Knight Street Norwalk, CT 06851-4707

ATF Launches “Southeast Asia – Feel the Warmth” in Brunei

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Voice: 203.286.6679 • Fax: 203.286.6681

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

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INDUSTRY NEWS

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i n t e r n e t

w e b s i t e

www.travelworldnews.com publisher

Charles Gatt, Jr.

INSIDE TRACK Cities Post-Olympics

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charlie@travelworldnews.com

NORTH AMERICA editor

Carol A. Petro editor@travelworldnews.com design production manager

Down by the Bay in San Diego

EUROPE Dublin’s Fair City

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Linda Rogers linda@travelworldnews.com

Maria Rebello • a c c o u n t i n g m a n a g e r Shawn Hebert • I T m a n a g e r Cindy Johnson • c i r c u l a t i o n m a n a g e r cruise editor

Michael Iachetta southeast regional correspondent

Joan Gonzalez western regional correspondent

Connie Skoog

FAM ANNOUNCEMENTS For complete and current list please visit: www.travelworldnews.com/fams

CARIBBEAN

EUROPE/DUBLIN- page 16

Update on Dominican Republic Resorts

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Everyone Wins With the ‘Anguilla 50/50’ Incentive for Meeting Events

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Grand Case Beach Club Extends Its Free Night Program

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contributing editors

Mona Birch • Ann Charles • Gail P. Dubov Judith Glynn • Barry Goldsmith • Peggy Hageman George Hairston • Al Haut • Marjorie Klein • Peter Lowy Nancy Marcantonio • Anita Mason D.O. Christian Rieger • Knox Robinson • Mary Ellen Schultz Helen Kitti Smith • Robin Swados • Diane Terry Travel World News (ISSN 1044-4602) is published monthly by Travel Industry Network, Inc., 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. The cost of a subscription in the USA is $25, in Canada $40. For subscribers outside USA or Canada, the rate is $80. Please send check or money order in U.S. dollars payable to Travel World News. For change of address, please enclose your mailing label and send to: Circulation Department, Travel World News, 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. Periodicals postage paid at Norwalk, CT, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Travel World News, 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. Address advertising inquiries and/or editorial copy to: Travel World News, 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Printed in USA. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission. All advertising in Travel World News is based on data submitted to the Publisher by the advertisers. The Publisher shall not be liable for the accuracy or inaccuracy of any information contained in Travel World News and shall not be liable, including but not limited to consequential or special damages, to any party for any products or services advertised or reported upon herein. The Publisher shall not be responsible for typographical errors. All information contained herein is subject to change without notice by the parties providing such products and services. The Publisher reserves the right to reject any advertising that has been submitted at his sole discretion. Upon providing a refund of any amount paid to the party whose submittal was rejected, the Publisher shall not have any liability to any party for such rejection.

MEXICO Valentin Imperial Maya Resort Takes Guests on Culinary Journey

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Kids Stay Free This Summer at Palladium Hotels & Resorts

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Trip Advisor Names Pepe’s Hideaway Best Vacation Spot in Manzanillo, Mexico

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LATIN AMERICA Chile’s Touristic Gems Are Still Sparkling Brightly

Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX) June 23-27, 2010

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Hotel Punta Islata and El Silencio Lodge & Spa Join Elite Luxury Travel

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See Ecuador Program From May 16-22, 2010

LATIN AMERICA/CHILE - page 33

ASIA-PACIFIC Taiwan: Celebrating the Year of the Tiger By Lighting Up the Sky India’s Kingfisher Airlines Set to Join oneworld

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COVER PHOTO CREDITS: Taiwan, Robin Swados


In Partnership With:

Media Partner:


INDUSTRY EVENTS

ATF Launches “Southeast Asia – Feel the Warmth” in Brunei CONNIE SKOOG

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he ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) completed its 29th annual convention and travel exhibition, TRAVEX, in Brunei Darussalam January 21 - 28, 2010. The ten ASEAN member countries—Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR (also known as Laos), Malaysia, Myanmar (also known as Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam—were represented by tourism ministers, NTOs as well as booths at TRAVEX . ASEAN tourism leaders collaborated on marketing their region as a single destination. Many of its leaders emphasized the need to simplify travel between their nations and to strengthen appreciation of each other’s tourist attractions. “I can envision a time when traveling through southeast Asia will resemble a tour of Europe with tourists enjoying the same ease of movement,” predicted Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed, CEO, Brunei Tourism.

Brunei Tourism’s Director of Marketing Jean Christophe Robles Espinosa works with a buyer interested in selling Brunei travel.

Hands-on Website Available to Agents What’s In a Name? The first task for ASEAN tourism ministers was to adopt a new brand name for a joint marketing campaign and web site. A hotly debated name change, from ASEAN to southeast Asia, was at the core of a proposed new image. Anyone who thinks this kind of branding decision is not important has forgotten what Paul Hogan’s “Shrimp on the barbie” did for Australia, or “Got milk?” did for milk! ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) and ASEAN Competiveness Enhancement (ACE), an organization funded by USAID, introduced a new marketing campaign: “Southeast Asia—Feel the warmth.” Despite the fact that all of the organizations that represent this ten-country region incorporate the ASEAN acronym, those who were researching a new brand discovered that most people had no idea what ASEAN represented and did not associate ASEAN with Southeast Asia. On the other hand, polls proved that most knew where Southeast Asia was located. “Simply visiting the travel section of any bookstore will provide a reason for this,” asserted ACE project director RJ Gurley. “All of the guides to our region incorporate ‘Southeast Asia’ in their titles.” He went on to explain that “Feel the warmth” described the one element that all ten nations, despite their diversity, had in common: a warm, welcoming population. Some ASEAN members agreed that the old brand had failed, but others felt that abandoning ASEAN was a bad idea. At the end of their discussions, the ministers “expressed support” for the change from ASEAN to Southeast Asia, though they did not “endorse” it. 4 • APRIL 2010

The launch of a new website, www.southeastasia.org, will promote this new marketing campaign and will become a valuable tool for anyone planning a trip to southeast Asia. Though the site is online now, it will be officially launched at ITB Berlin in March. Online bookings will be available through WEGO and SOTA systems. WEGO represents large properties and clients while SOTA caters to smaller and medium travel organizations. When we asked if this large, interactive website would not be another “nail in the coffin” for FIT travel agents, since it allows a potential client to make his or her own travel bookings, the site’s creators answered that that would not be the result of this website. “The days of travel agents just booking a flight and a room have been over for some time now,” stated Rohizam Md Yusoff, CEO/Founder of SOTA (Standard Online Tourism Architecture). “By using our software and/or becoming a part of a regional website such as this one, a travel agent in the USA will generate more business, not less. Even an agent who has no web site can take advantage of the reach of a website such as this one.” He explained by using an example of an American agency with a special expertise in southeast Asian travel. That agency could be listed and linked on the southeast Asia web site as an expert available in the Chicago area, for instance, Yusoff pointed out that travelers still want the personal attention that comes from a knowledgeable agent. A potential client surfing the web for information on southeast Asia would find all of the usual links to properties, background inwww.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


INDUSTRY EVENTS formation and blogs found on many other travel sites, but they could also find local retail agencies in their location that focus on a certain region of the world, on cruises, adventure travel, or any other special interest.

Sustainable Growth The theme of this year’s convention, “ASEAN – The Heart of Green,� was inspired by the World Tourism Organization’s declaration of 2010 as the year for biodiversity. ATF hired Professor Walter Jamieson to write a five-year strategic plan for sustainable ASEAN tourism growth. Additionally, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia support a cooperative project aimed at protecting wildlife and rainforest called the Heart of Borneo; it was launched in 2006. Since a huge part of the appeal of southeast Asia lies in its rainforests, scuba diving, cultural exchange and other eco-tourism, all of the members agree on the importance of protecting their environments and their wildlife.

Wealth of Diversity None of the 383 exhibitors from ten ASEAN nations, the 370 buyers from 52 countries, nor even the 167 media from 31 countries who attended ATF would claim that 2009 was a great year for growth in the tourism business. In addition to

the worldwide recession, the past few years brought the bird flu, a devastating tsunami, storms, and social unrest to some nations in Southeast Asia. Many of the exhibitors we interviewed, however, told us that they had experienced a slight dip or they were “about even� with 2007-8. Most ASEAN NTOs gave encouraging reports for 2009 and forecast growth in the near future. “We have maintained at least 85% occupancy in all of our properties in Indonesia though out this recession,� reported Norbert Vas, VP Sales & Marketing for Aston International Hotels, Resorts and Residences. Indonesia was one of the few countries in the world to enjoy increased tourism this past year. Indonesia, along with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines obviously are the most developed destinations in southeast Asia. None of them, however, rely solely on past recognition; each is pioneering new attractions and development. Indonesia’s Bali has long been on most destination A-lists, but Bali is just one of 17,508 islands. The newest islands—still completely unspoiled—to gain popularity in Indonesia are Flores and Komodo. Flores offers rainforests, trekking, and cultural interaction. Komodo National Park is home to the prehistoric lizards (up to nine feet long) named for the island CONTINUED ON PAGE

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INDUSTRY EVENTS ATF

FROM PAGE

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and is a unique dive spot with an abundance of whale sharks and manta ray. In addition to its beaches and world-famous attractions, Thailand has become a major “wellness” destination. One product that intrigued me was an offering of “Thainess” stays where travelers “Live and learn the Thai way of life.” From 30 different resorts in the Thai countryside, visitors learn crafts, live on an elephant farm or experience any number of Thai adventures in education from Thai people. Malaysia and the Philippines still offer great adventure and scuba diving travel, great shopping and luxurious resorts, but both have added unique Euro-style boutique properties to their accommodation. Probably the biggest new attraction…literally the largest tourist development…is Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands. There are so many superlatives connected to this urban resort, describing it becomes an exercise in “ world’s biggest/only/most…” Its 2500-room hotel consists of three 55-story glass towers that support a “SkyPark” across the top, the largest cantilevered structure in the world, with 360-degree views of Singapore. In addition to this awe-inspiring structure, designed by Moshe Safdie, the complex will offer 1.3 million square feet of convention space, 800,000 square feet of retail and dining, a Las Vegas casino, theaters, a museum and a marina. Envisioning a new icon for Singapore and the entire region, the integrated resort has been developed by Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson. According to Ailynn Seah, Director of Sales, this island of superlatives could be the most expensive single tourist property development ever. The opening date will be in 2010…nothing more specific. If you have a client who doesn’t mind spending money to be one of the first to experience something unique, this is the place to book during its opening days. Celebrity chefs from around the world, “The Lion King” musical and lots of hoopla will accompany its opening. Check out www.marinabaysands.com for an update. Four ASEAN member countries stand in stark contrast to the wealth of Singapore’s newest development: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. For example, Lao People’s Democratic Republic reported, “of 1,493 designated tourist attractions, only 465 are open. Of these 465 sites, many are in need of improvement.” Adventurous travelers fill Internet travel blogs with upbeat, heart-warming stories of travel through these countries. Ancient ruins, unspoiled countryside and historical sites await the intrepid. Brunei is unique among in this association. Though it has attracts fewer visitors than the five ASEAN countries with well-known tourist attractions, Brunei enjoys a high standard of living and a peaceful political climate as one of the last absolute monarchies. The people of Brunei love their royal family, their Moslem faith and their way of life. Many are anxious 6 • APRIL 2010

Miriam Owiti, of Adventureland Travel in North Hollywood, CA, chats with a buyer from Germany at the ATF Travex in Brunei.

to share their quiet little kingdom (about the size of Delaware) with the world. A few complained to me that few people outside of the area have notion as to their location, or even their existence. As host to the 29th ATF, Brunei highlighted a traditional community built over its river, its mosques, beaches and jungle lodge. This family-friendly kingdom (no drinking and virtually no crime) would be a good stop on the way to Sarawak or Sabah. ATF 2011 will be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Jan 15 21 2011. www.atfcambodia.com

The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF)

TRAVEL + DESTINATION SYMPOSIUM™ ANNOUNCED FOR SEPTEMBER 27-28, 2010 Unicomm LLC, producers of the established Travel & Adventure Shows and the Green Travel Summit™, has announced plans to launch the Travel + Destination Symposium™, which will focus on destination selling, strategically designed to connect the U.S.’s topproducing travel agents with worldwide destinations and suppliers. The event, set for September 27–28, 2010, in Palm Springs, California, is expected to draw close to 1,000 top-producing travel agents and 200 destinations and suppliers. The Italian Government Tourist Board has joined the event as a Gold Sponsor and Florida Keys and Key West as a Silver Sponsor. The Symposium’s formula of top-producing agents, high-caliber education, and intense one-on-one networking will provide opportunities for stakeholders to collaborate, accelerate tourism revenues and create new business opportunities. The Symposium’s hosted agent program will position the event to attract top-producing agents through an extensive pre-qualification process. Selected agents will be fully hosted by the Symposium provided agents conduct a set amount of pre-selected appointments with participating destinations and suppliers. The educational format will combine travel economist general sessions, detailed presentations examining the opportunities and future trends of emerging domestic and international destinations, and PIVOT Sessions SM, which will lead attendees through hot travel niche trends. Unicomm LLC, www.destinationsymposium.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


INDUSTRY EVENTS SHIP INSPECTION, POST-EVENT CRUISE TO BOOKEND VACATION.COM CONFERENCE

GREEN GLOBE WORLD SUMMIT TO TAKE PLACE IN MAY IN GERMANY

Vacation.comŽ will holds its 12th International Conference & Trade Show at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort from June 27 to July 1, 2010. While training and education remain the true focus of the fourday event, other key elements—including a ship inspection and luncheon, a post-Conference cruise opportunity, entertainment and four evening events—are generating record-setting preConference enrollment numbers among Vacation.com member agents. “Each year, we find a way to deliver more education and excitement than we did the year before,� said Lauraday Kelley, Vacation.com’s Vice President of Conference & Corporate Communications. “For Orlando, not only do we have keynote speakers such as Richard Fain and Kay Urban, but we also have exciting entertainment and a collection of off-site activities to keep our attendees actively engaged.� The first off-site activity will take place Sunday, June 27, with a ship inspection and lunch aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, followed by the opening General Session, including a Broadway performance sponsored by Keith Prowse, and a festive welcome reception sponsored by Marriott. Evening events include a VIP Evening at Universal Orlando and CityWalk, and a Vacation.com signature party at Pointe Orlando. “Throw in the farewell event with entertainment provided by RCI, and there will be a chance for attendees to have fun every night during Conference,� added Kelley. Attendees will enjoy special pricing on a three-night Caribbean sailing onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Monarch of the Seas July 2–5. Educational components of Conference will include more than 120 training venues, 46 preferred supplier/destination classes, the chance to earn up to 35 CLIA credits and three popular think tank sessions. Vacation.com, 800-843-0733, www.conference.joinvacation.com, www.joinvacation.com

The Green Globe World Summit, set to take place this spring in Kassel, Germany, will provide an opportunity for meeting and networking with Green Globe licensees, partners, auditors and affiliates. Speakers from around the world will provide information and talks about new developments and products, certification criteria, success stories and more. The event will be held at Kassel’s historic Schlosshotel Bad Wilhelmshoehe, located around 30 miles from Frankfurt. It’s easily reached via train directly from Frankfurt/Main International Airport. The program is as follows: On Friday, May 28, attendees will arrive in Kassel at the Schlosshotel Bad Wilhelmshoehe. A welcome reception will be followed by a dinner sponsored by Green Globe; Saturday and Sunday, May 29–30, will feature full-day conferences including lunch (The speakers and details will be released soon.); Departure will be Monday, May 31. An optional auditor training requires an additional night of stay. Green Globe, www.greenglobe.com

NEW DISCOVER AMERICA PAVILION AT TTG INCONTRI, LARGEST B2B-ONLY TOURISM SHOW IN ITALY Over 35,000 trade visitors will convene at TTG Incontri, the leading international, strict business-to-business show taking place in Rimini, Italy, October 22–24, 2010. TTG Incontri 2009 attracted 35,352 professional operators, agents and buyers. Italy is the fourth largest European source market for inbound U.S. travel and No. 8 of all overseas tourist-generating markets. Italians vacationing abroad are considered big spenders, staying at nice hotels, eating at upscale restaurants, shopping for souvenirs and gifts, buying excursions and tours. B-FOR’s website details what the Discover America Pavilion offers and has information for applying online. The fee for participation includes accommodation and daily lunch. B-FOR International, b-for@exhibitpro.com, www.discoveramericapavilion.com

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INDUSTRY EVENTS TURKEY’S LARGEST TRAVEL EXHIBITION, EMITT, BOASTS RECORD ATTENDANCE

IMEX AMERICA INCREASES HOSTED BUYER PROGRAM TO 2,000

The 14th edition of EMITT opened in February to a crowd of 106,850 (up 10 percent compared to the previous year), including 48,000 trade visitors and 58,850 members of the public. Ertugrul Gunay, Minister for Culture and Tourism of Turkey, was joined by fellow tourism ministers from Egypt, Yemen and North Cyprus, as well as a host of Ambassadors and Consuls. Turkey’s tourism industry also came out in force, with more than 60 governors and mayors from its municipalities. Zoheir Garana, Tourism Minister of Egypt, EMITT’s guest country, said that tourism has become an important source of income “but some countries do not attach adequate importance to this sector. Turkey is one of the rare countries which is aware of the increasing importance of tourism.” One reason for the increased interest was the presence of 500 more companies this year to total 3,500 exhibitors. New destinations included Algeria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Japan, Tanzania and Tatarstan. In addition, there were many regular participants, including companies from 60 countries and more than 100 cities and resorts in Turkey. There was also a marked increase in exhibitors from the education, culture, eco, health, sports, business, schools and restaurant tourism sectors, reflecting current trends in tourism. According to independent research, over 90 percent were satisfied with the event; exhibitors were pleased with the level of visitor interest shown in their services, and visitors were impressed by the variety of companies at the exhibition and promotional activities that attracted their attention like prize draws, traditional food tasting, music and dancing, elaborate local costumes and craft demonstrations. Ahmet Barut, Chairman of the Turkish Hotels Federation (Turofed) commented, “Turkey is one of the top ten growing countries in the global tourism industry. The increase in EMITT’s participant number is proof of that. Turkey’s potential for outbound tourism is also increasing. Beyond offering promotional opportunities, EMITT also generates an exchange of tourism.” EMITT 2011 will take place February 15–18, 2011 in TUYAP Fair, Convention and Congress Centre in Istanbul, Turkey. ITE Group Plc, www.travel-exhibitions.com, www.ite-exhibitions.com

Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group, has announced that due to strong demand, 2,000 qualified buyers will now be hosted to IMEX America, the new Las Vegas trade show at Sands Expo October 11–13 next year, for the meetings, incentive travel and events industry—an increase of just over 30 percent on the figure announced at launch. Eighty percent of buyers will come from North America, with the balance attending from around the world. Says Bloom: “Our previous figures were confident but conservative. Recent discussions with our partners and other new business alliances make it clear that that there is pent-up demand. I’m confident we will see 2000 hosted buyers at IMEX America—an increase of more than 30 percent on our previous announcement. As mentioned before, the IMEX hosted buyer program is set to be the largest of its kind for any such US trade show and unique in this regard.” Qualification for places on the program will follow the strict guidelines used to build the authority and credibility of IMEX in Frankfurt. The program will bring top-quality association, corporate and agency buyers from every corner of the meetings and events industry onto the show floor to do business with exhibitors. In addition, according to the ‘IMEX model’ they will spend longer periods of time on the show floor meeting exhibitors compared to non-hosted trade visitors. As Bloom explains, “IMEX puts extremely high levels of effort and detail into making sure that only buyers who are active, serious and proven to place business attend as our hosted buyer guests. We already have some excellent partnerships with intermediaries who are similarly committed to these high standards and to driving serious business at the show.” “Together we place the strongest emphasis possible on getting this aspect of IMEX America absolutely right from the start. This is what our exhibitors expect and this is why IMEX has an unparalleled reputation. MPI, Site, PCMA and ASAE are just some of the most important organizations we will work with in the U.S. to drive buyer attendance. They know and understand our unique model and are highly committed to it. Other U.S. and international partnerships will be announced shortly,” continued Bloom. He summarized: “Although the first IMEX America is over a year away, we have a very clear vision of what success will look like for our exhibitors, hosted buyers and trade visitors and we have a clear plan for bringing that vision to life at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas October 2011.” Future dates for IMEX America are also now confirmed as October 9–11, 2012, and October 15–17, 2013. IMEX America, www.imexamerica.com/users_prereg_interest.php, www.imexamerica.com

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www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


INDUSTRY EVENTS BOSTON GLOBE TRAVEL SHOW TO BE HELD FEBRUARY 11-13, 2011 The Boston Globe has announced that the 2011 Boston Globe Travel Show will take place February 11–13, 2011 at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. The 2011 dates are a weekend earlier than this year’s show, which took place February 19–21. In its fifth year, The Boston Globe Travel Show continues to be one of the largest consumer travel shows in the United States. The 2010 show hosted 300 booths, a 20-percent increase over 2009, bringing more diversity to the show floor. The 21,734 people that attended included nearly 20,000 consumers and 2,000 travel trade professionals, making this year’s show the most successful to date. Early feedback from exhibitors indicates that on-site bookings will eclipse the $4 million booked during 2009’s event, making it a profitable event for exhibitors as well. Established in 2006, the show brings travel industry experts to Boston to share new information and present vacation opportunities to thousands of interested travelers from the New England region.The 2010 Boston Globe Travel Show was sponsored by Aruba Tourism Authority, JetBlue, Nova Scotia, Vacation Outlet, The Worlds of Discovery Parks (including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Water Country USA, Discovery Cove, Sesame Place and Aquatica), The Azores, TNT Vacations, Omni Mt.

Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

Washington Resort, The Bethel Inn Resort, InnSeason Resorts, Cruise Travel Outlet, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, and the Lakes Region Association. Boston Globe Travel Show, www.bostonglobetravelshow.com

GREEN TRAVEL SUMMIT IN WASHINGTON D.C. JUNE 10-11, 2010 Unicomm LLC, creators of travel events in the United States, has recently announced the second annual Green Travel Summit to take place at the Willard Intercontinental in Washington DC, June 1011, 2010. The Summit will assemble 350 executives from a cross-section of the travel industry including corporate travel managers, airline, hotel and ground transportation providers, meeting and incentive planners as well as travel marketing executives and destination marketing organizations. SkyTeam having partnered with the event in 2009, and whose alliance partners have contributed significantly to sustainability, will again this year work closely with Unicomm LLC. The format will include discussion-in-the-round plenary sessions plus interactive workshops to provide an innovative exchange of ideas and sharing of best practices. Green Travel Summit, www.greentravelsummit.com; Unicomm, LLC, www.unicomm.org

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INDUSTRY EVENTS LOS ANGELES TIMES TRAVEL & ADVENTURE SHOW SCORES AGAIN

Ronald Mracky and his wife Sylvia Frommer Mracky, members of the SOCAL ATA Chapter, man their popular spot at the very successful Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show in February at California’s Los Angeles Convention Center. The Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show is the largest travel show in the United States. This year’s February event attracted hundreds of captivating destinations from enticing Malaysia and exotic Indonesia to captivating Lake Tahoe and the laid-back Caribbean islands of St. Lucia and Jamaica. Mracky gave the show a thumbs up, saying “The number of people who stopped by to tell us about the Africa cruises they’ve booked was impressive—and signals that the cruise companies need to get prepared with scheduled products on the West side and the South…” He summed it up as “excellent—double the amount of consumers over last year! Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show, www.events.latimes.com/travelshow

AFRICA TRAVEL ASSOCIATION 35TH ANNUAL CONGRESS REGISTRATION NOW OPEN The Africa Travel Association (ATA) has announced that registration is now open for the 35th Annual Congress o be held May 17–20, 2010, at the Sheraton Gambia Hotel Resort and Spa in The Gambia. Hosted by The Ministry of Tourism and Culture, The Hotel Association, and private sector partners in The Gambia, the theme of this year’s event is Discover Africa’s Genuine Warmth. The four-day international networking and learning event will engage delegates in discussions on a range of industry topics, such as marketing and promotions, public-private partnerships, infrastructure development, niche markets, industry trends, development, responsible tourism, climate change, advocacy, and social media. Attending ministers will participate in a special roundtable discussion on tourism policy choices for the African continent. The program will include several evening events and receptions. Special events include the ATA Business-to-Business Exchange for Buyers and Sellers, offering travel professionals an opportunity to meet and develop business relationships and linkages with 15minute face-to-face appointments. ATA’s Young Professional Network will also meet with local hospitality professionals and stu10 • APRIL 2010

dents during the congress and an African marketplace will be open. Finally, on two separate half-day tours, delegates will explore the historical sites of Albreda and Juffureh, among the country’s other leading tourist attractions. Royal Air Maroc, the official congress carrier, offers discount rates as low as $713 (plus taxes, available on a first-come, firstserve basis) on roundtrip airfares from JFK International Airport in New York City to Banjul, the Gambia via Casablanca, Morocco. Departure dates with this special rate extend seven days prior to and after the congress. The congress sessions will take place at the Sheraton Gambia Hotel Resort and Spa which, along with other members of the Gambia Hotel Association will offer special rates for ATA delegates. Complimentary daily shuttles will be available. Registration can be done online. Special early-bird registration is available for ATA members until April 14, 2010 at $400. After this date, ATA members can register for $500. The non-member registration fee is $600. Advance media registration is also available. Media wishing to attend the seminar must apply for media accreditation by contacting ATA’s info email address. The deadline for registering for the ATA Business-to-Business Exchange is April 15, 2010. Africa Travel Association (ATA), info@africatravelassociation.org www.africatravelassociation.org,

2010 IGLTA SYMPOSIUM AND FAM TO BE HELD IN BEIRUT, LEBANON, OCTOBER 13–18 The Lebanese LGBT community and IGLTA represented by Mr. Makso, the Ambassador of the IGLTA for Lebanon and the Arab World, are extending an invitation to IGLTA’s Symposium and Fam, which will be held October 13–18 in Beirut, Lebanon. This symposium is one of the first of its kind in the Arab World, and offers participants the opportunity to get to know Beirut, one of the hottest tourism spots in the Middle East. Lebanon is a country to be visited during all seasons. At the right time of year, one can ski in world-class ski locations, featuring great runs and deep powder, go to the beach, with a choice of natural beauty or fashionable beach clubs, and then party into the wee hours of the morning—all in the same day. The situation for the LGBT community in Lebanon has significantly improved over the past few years. Gay bars, cubs, restaurants, saunas operate freely and an LGBT center has been created to cater to the community’s needs. During the IGLTA Symposium, the diverse LGBT Arabian communities will be introduced and joining will be activists and representatives from around the region. The participation fee for this event is $700 per person, per single room. All bookings made before June 10 are guaranteed a complimentary room upgrade. Reservations are being taken until September 10 with a $100 deposit required; members are urged to register quickly, as places are limited. IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association), lebanon@IGLTA.org, www.beirut2010.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


CALENDAR OF EVENTS • 2010/2011 DATE EV MAY 4-6 4-7 4-7 15-19 17-20 18-22 20-21 24-26 24-27 25-27 25-27 25-27 28-31 JUNE 2-4 2-6 3-6 10-11 14-17 23-27 27-Jul 1 JULY 1-2 21-23 AUGUST 8-11 SEPTEMBER 8-10 8-10 13-25 14-17 19-21 19-22 21-24 22-24 21-24 23-26 27-28 OCTOBER 2-3 4-7 6-8 6-8 8-10 12-14 13-18 20-22 20-22 20-22 20-22 22-24 22-24 25-27 NOVEMBER 8-11 8-11 13-17 17-20 18-20 18-21 TO LIST YOUR

ENT

LOCATION

CONTACT

CHTIC 2010 ATM 2010 Discover America Pavilion at ATM 2010 PowWow 2010 ATA 35th Annual Congress Bula Fiji Tourism Exchange Expotur OSSN Forum TRENZ 2010 WTTC Global Travel & Tourism Summit IMEX 2010 Discover America Pavilion at IMEX 2010 Green Globe Summit

San Juan, Puerto Rico Dubai, UAE Dubai, UAE Orlando, FL Banjul, The Gambia Port Denarau, Fiji Costa Rica San Diego, CA Auckland, New Zealand Beijing, China Frankfurt, Germany Frankfurt, Germany Kassel, Germany

events@caribbeanhotelandtourism.com http://www.dicec.ae www.discoveramericapavilion.travel www.tia.org/powwow www,africatravelassociation.org www.bfte.com.fj www.expotur.com www.ossn.com www.trenz.co.nz www.wttc.org www.imex-frankfurt.com www.discoveramericapavilion.travel www.greenglobe.com

Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2010 CLIA's Cruise 3sixty KOTFA 2010 Green Travel Summit Asia Luxury Travel Market BETEX 2010 Vacation.com International Conference

Bangkok, Thailand Vancouver, BC Seoul, Korea Washtington, DC Shanghai, China Belize City, Belize Orlando, FL

www.thailandtravelmartplus.com www.cruise3sixty.com www.kotfa.co.kr/eng www.unicomm.org www.altm.com.cn www.betex.bz www.vacation-corp.com

BTC 96th DMAI Annual Convention

Rimini, Italy Hollywood, Florida

www.btc.it/en-en www.destinationmarketing.com

NBTA Intl. Convention & Expo

Houston, Texas

www.nbta.org

La Cumbre Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Conf. The Trade Show PATA Travel Mart 2010 16th World Route Development Forum Texas Travel Summit Travel Media Showcase TravelMart Latin America MATIW/Leisure 2010 FITA 2010 Travel & Destination Symposium

San Diego, CA Portland, Oregon Las Vegas, Nevada Macau SAR China Vancouver, BC, Canada Galveston, TX Irvine, CA Lima, Peru Moscow, Russia Mexico City, Mexico Palm Springs, CA

www.lacumbre.com www.ecotourism.org/estc2010 www.thetradeshow.com www.pata.org www.routesonline.com www.ttia.org www.travelmediashowcase.com www.travelmartlatinamerica.com www.tourismexpo.ru/en www.fita2010.com www.unicomm.org

Travel & Adventure Show Adventure Travel World Summit 2010 Ukraine International Travel Market MITM Americas 2010 CATM 2010 The Motivation Show 2010 IGLTA Symposium ABAV 2010 Discover America Pavilion at ABAV 2010 ITB Asia Discover America Pavilion at ITB Asia 2010 TTG Incontri Discover America Pavilion at TTG Incontri 2010 ATS Conference

New York, NY Aviemore, Scotland Kiev, Ukraine Quito, Ecuador Guatemala City, Guatemala Chicago, IL Beirut, Lebanon Rio de Janerio, Brazil Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Singapore Singapore Rimini, Italy Rimini, Italy Pristina, Kosovo

www.adventureexpo.com www.adventuretravelworldsummit.com www.autoexpo.ua www.gsamark.com www.catm2010guatemala.com www.motivationshow.com www.beirut2010.com www.feiradasamericas.com.br/en/ www.discoveramericapavilion.com www.messe-berlin.de www.discoveramericapavilion.com www.ttgincontri.it www.discoveramericapavilion.com www.americantourismsociety.org

World Travel Market 2010 Discover America Pavilion at WTM 2010 NTA Convention DEMA 2010 Global Tourism Industry Expo Philoxenia EVENTS EMAIL : editor@travelworldnews.com •

Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

FOR

London, England www.wtmlondon.com London, England www.discoveramericapavilion.com Montreal, Quebec Canada www.ntaonline.com Las Vegas NV www.demashow.com Rome, Italy www.gtiexpo.it Thessalonika, Greece www.philoxenia.travel ADDITIONAL EVENTS VISIT: www.travelworldnews.com/calendar APRIL 2010 •

11


INDUSTRY NEWS COLLETTE VACATIONS NAMES ERIC WELTER SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING Daniel J. Sullivan, President and CEO of Collette Vacations, has announced that Eric Welter of Marion, Massachusetts, has been named the company’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. In this role he will oversee all global efforts relating to marketing database development and analysis, advertising, communications, public relations, partnership marketing, online marketing, print and broadcast production for the company’s group and travel agent channel. Eric is responsible for developing and executing the company’s strategic marketing plan. Most recently, Eric was Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer for Tweeter Opco, LLC. Prior to his work at Tweeter, he served as SVP of Marketing & Sales/Call Center/IT for Viking River Cruises, Inc., the largest river cruise company in the world; and was SVP of Marketing Services at J.Jill (now a division of Orchard Brands), a multichannel retailer of woman’s apparel and accessories. “We’re thrilled to welcome Eric to Collette. His wealth of experience in travel and retail with such travel comERIC WELTER panies as Viking River Cruises, Grand Circle and J.Jill will be an invaluable asset,” said Sullivan. “Eric will work closely with our partners to drive new business using the latest technical marketing innovations in the industry.” Eric is a graduate of St. Cloud State University in Minnesota with a BS in Statistics and Mathematics. Collette Vacations, www.collettevacations.com

VACATION.COM® OFFERS AIR-BOOKING ALTERNATIVE FOR AGENTS TO PROTECT CLIENT LISTS Vacation.com® is helping member agents safeguard their clients’ information from online competitors with EZair, the air-booking functionality for its comprehensive leisure sales platform, EZguider. According to a recent survey by Forrester Research, a third of travel agents make their clients’ air bookings online through a supplier or online travel agency. Such sites collect personal information, such as mailing and email addresses, credit card numbers and demographics, which they can then use to market travel services directly to the client without involving the travel agent. Available through EZguider, EZair allows registered member agents to make stand-alone and add-on bookings from more than 500 airlines worldwide from a traditional GDS feed, but without a GDS contract, monthly fees or productivity goals. Through EZair, member agents can add a service fee to the transaction as well as earn commissions of up to 23 percent from preferred air suppliers such as Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and Mexicana. EZair complements existing functionality within EZguider, a powerful Web-based tool for member agents to quickly compare similar products from multiple suppliers on one screen. EZguider users can shop, quote and book from 12 major cruise lines, preferred tour operators and third-party insurance providers, along with hundreds of airlines—all integrated into one passenger record and invoice while interfacing with Trams back-office system. Currently, Vacation.com member agents are earning up to an additional $2 incentive beyond their normal supplier commission for each qualified booking made through EZguider during 2010. EZguider is a free benefit exclusively for Vacation.com members, and EZair is offered for a nominal, onetime set-up fee. Agents can visit to learn more about this all-in-one leisure-selling tool. Vacation.com, 800-843-0733, www.joinvacation.com, www.EZguider.net, www.vacation.com

VIETNAM AND CUBA NAMED TOP EMERGING DESTINATIONS IN 2010 VIRTUOSO LUXE REPORT Asian and Latin locations rose to the top of the list as up-and-coming destinations in the 2010 Virtuoso Luxe Report released recently. India, Vietnam and Cuba were voted top emerging destinations, providing insight into the future direction of high-end travelers. Rounding out the top emerging-destination picks were the Galapagos Islands, China and Chile. Based on expert feedback from its network of travel providers and advisors, the Luxe Report results reflect booking trends, new travel destinations, comparisons to travel in 2009, and above all, forecast the travel aspirations of some of the most upscale travelers in the United States. The top three trends ranked by Virtuoso providers as influencing clients’ vacation choices included: seeking authentic experiences in new destinations; rest and relaxation; and spending time or reconnecting with loved ones. Interestingly, the survey also found that private villa rental is booming, with 41 percent saying this sector will increase in 2010 over 2009 bookings, supporting the trend towards connecting with loved ones in a private group setting. Of the travel professionals responding, 71 percent said clients are seeking international travel for 10+ days. Weekend getaways to domestic destinations garnered the smallest share with only 18 percent. The primary reasons for clientele booking their travel through a Virtuoso agent as opposed to booking directly were cited as: expertise; the comfort level of working with their travel provider; the pre- and post-trip support they receive; and the ability of the travel provider to fully customize the trip for them. The largest influences on travel decisions are word of mouth, travel magazines and lifestyle magazines. Advisors from Virtuoso travel agencies were invited to take the survey in November and December 2009. Results were tabulated from more than 250 responses from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America. The sampling represents 10,000 of the Virtuoso network’s 1.3 million-name database of affluent clients.

Virtuoso, www.virtuoso.com 12 • APRIL 2010

www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


TRAVEL TIPS

The Inside Track BARRY GOLDSMITH BARRY GOLDSMITH

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or me, the Olympics’ closing ceremony is just the beginning because I'm drawn to visit the host city to judge the Olympics’ impact. Having visited these host cities before and after the Olympics, I have a basis for comparison. My three tourism-friendly criteria: Did the Olympics improve the city’s infrastructure? What of lasting architectural value will remain after the crowds and camera crews have gone? Did the Olympics beautify the city making it even more tourist-friendly? (I hope the Vancouver CVB is reading this.) Before the 2006 Winter Olympics, Turin had an image problem similar to Seoul’s before its 1988 Olympics. Both cities were perceived as grimy, over-industrialized and charmless. For both, the Olympics worked magic. For Turin, restoration, sandblasting, pedestrianizing streets and the addition of the city’s first new subway permanently improved its image. (And the plethora of new Turin tourist guides in 2006 piqued curiosity – reminding me of suddenly seeing travel sections of bookstores filled with Costa Rica guides twenty years ago.) Olympics should improve a city’s infrastructure, which should help tourism. The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics did very little to improve that city’s awful mass transit. And it did even less to add exciting new buildings. The 1996 Atlanta Olympics created Centennial Park – with fountains still beloved by children – and Olympic housing beloved by college students. The 2000 Sydney Olympics was helped by an airport-rail connection and the largest Olympic stadium ever built. However, Sydney’s still looking for significant uses for its Olympic Park. The 2004 Athens Olympics helped finally realize Athens’ new subway lines and totally new airport with rail link. The old stadium was dramatically recreated by avant-garde architect Santiago Calatrava. The Olympic Village gave muchneeded green area to Athens. On the whole, the Athens Olympics was a success. The 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics and 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics both take home the gold. Barceleona’s Ramblas ends in a traffic circle with a statue of Christopher Columbus. If Columbus should be gazing over anything, it’s a dazzling, not derelict waterfront. Due to the 1992 Olympics, he finally does. Before 1992, the largest Mediterranean port turned its back on the Mediterranean with abandoned warehouses and other decaying facilities. Barcelona did not just build an isolated Olympic Park – it reclaimed land, created beaches, landscaped gardens, etc. To handle Olympic crowds, hotels and restaurants were added – and they stayed and multiplied long after the Olympics left. Now there are theaters, malls and an Imax theater. Before Olympics: Barcelona was Europe’s eleventh most visited city. Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

Post-Olympics photo of Beijing’s spectacular “Bird's Nest” Stadium.

After Olympics: it’s fourth – behind London, Paris and Rome. Beijing practically reinvented itself for the 2008 Olympics – everything was new: Three new subway lines were added to the six existing lines. (Ten years earlier, Beijing had only one subway line.) By 2015, Beijing will have nineteen lines!) Norman Foster’s new airport is an architectural masterpiece – including its subway station that’s larger and more lavish than most American train stations. The Olympics gave Beijing a new air of reassurance. It also gave them “new air.” Before this “Green Olympics,” Beijing moved heavy industry outside the city center. It also cracked down on other forms of pollution – including personal pollution: smoking and spitting. The Olympics’ best infrastructure aside, Beijing created bold architecture at the Olympics site and all over the city. These buildings have achieved architectural icon status and have become tourist attractions in their own right. The new, strangely stunning Olympic stadium defies gravity. It “deconstructs” post and lintel supports – weaving them in and out in every haphazard direction – like twigs more than steel, hence the nickname, “Bird’s Nest.” A few blocks from Tiananmen Square is the new, transparent, teardrop-like theater called “The Egg.” “The Egg” even came before “The Nest.” (We still don’t know whether the chicken came first. A question General Tso may be able to answer.) Other great architecture abounds like the Olympic National Swimming Center – the “Watercube.” And the best is Rem Koolhaus’ CCTV tower, which (from certain angles) looks as if it’s two skyscrapers dangling horizontally in mid-air. It’s the 21st century’s Eiffel Tower. Will my hometown, New York, ever get the Olympics? We started the unfinished Second Avenue Subway 38 years ago. At this rate, we have another 190 years to go until we complete our five new subway lines. Barry Goldsmith is a professor of architecture and humor. Goldsmith is a television host of travel-related TV series in the USA and UK. And he is a regular on a new syndicated radio show, Let’s Travel Radio. APRIL 2010 •

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NORTH AMERICA

Down by the Big Bay in San Diego PETER LOWY

14 • APRIL 2010

www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News

PETER LOWY

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ear-perfect year-round weather, combined with a rich mix of attractions and events, makes San Diego Bay a choice business and tourist destination, be it for a quick visit or an extended stay. San Diego’s waterfront—dubbed the “Big Bay” six years ago and supported by a $500,000-a-year branding and promotion campaign—is ready to receive visitors with: San Diego is investing heavily to make its downtown waterfront along the Big Bay — a pedestrian-friendly area full of museums, attractions, restaurants, and parks — even more •Fifteen hotels, providing 8,700 rooms. inviting to tourists and business visitors. •A cruise ship terminal that handles about 300 cruise ships annually. A Taste of the Big Bay •The 2.6 million-square-foot San Diego Convention Center, When exploring the Big Bay, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront host to about 70 events a year, with some drawing up to Hotel, a 10-minute drive from the airport, provides a conve125,000 attendees. nient base. It’s next to the San Diego Convention Center and •The world’s largest sportfishing fleet that can accommo- equally convenient to the Gaslamp Quarter and Petco Park. date individuals or groups on trips for a few days to a few This 30-story property, which opened in late 2008, has 1,190 weeks. rooms—all with bay views—more than 150,000 square feet of •Seventeen nearby public parks. meeting space, and a health club and spa. “It’s a working waterfront with style,” says Rita A. Tightly linked with the modern history of San Diego is the Vandergaw, director of marketing for the Unified Port of San U.S. Navy, which, along with tourism, ranks among the area’s Diego, whose group works with cruise lines, event and meet- largest employers. Today, Naval Base San Diego is home port ing planners, and other business partners. to nearly a third of the Navy’s Pacific fleet, including more Not content to rest on its laurels, the city is investing than 50 ships, two U.S. Coast Guard cutters, and the only aggressively in its future. Construction began last summer on shipbuilding facility on the west coast. a new, $28 million, 52,000-square-foot, glass enclosed cruise The USS Midway, now permanently berthed downtown at ship terminal on Broadway Pier. Due for completion in Navy Pier after 47 tears of active service, opened as a muDecember 2010, the port’s first “green” building will handle seum in 2004. Welcoming nearly one million visitors annu2,600 passengers. ally, this supercarrier serves as a popular venue for business Also on the docket is a plan to invest $200 million in public and private events, along with a sleepover program for noninfrastructure improvements that will further connect the bay profit youth organizations. Elevators enable wheelchair acwith the busy downtown area. In addition, another 440 hotel cess, allowing anyone to tour the ship’s 4.5-acre flight deck rooms are set to come online in San Diego in 2010. and inspect its 25 restored aircraft. Despite the recent economic downturn, San Diego has Further along North Harbor Drive is the Maritime Museum retained its share of the U.S. overnight visitor market. of San Diego which showcases one of the finest collections of According to the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau historic ships. Included is the Star of India, an iron-hulled (SDCVB), tourism is expected to increase in 2010 from merchant ship. Commissioned in 1893, it still sails today, 2009 levels. making it the world’s oldest active sailing ship. Nearby is the To support meeting planners, the SDCVB recently launched B-39, a 299-foot-long, Soviet-era diesel submarine that saw its “Have It All” program, offering group meeting discounts duty from 1974 to 1994 before it was bought by western busiand site inspection and on-property meeting assistance. nessmen. Exploring every nook and cranny of these and Over the longer term, the master plan for San Diego other vessels lets visitors see what life was like on and under International Airport at Lindbergh Field—named after the sea during the last century. Charles Lindbergh who began his epic 1927 flight Walk a few more steps and join one of many readily availfrom nearby Dutch Flat—calls for construction of 10 able whale watching cruises. Tens of thousands of gray additional gates and roadway, parking, and airfield whales, up to 50 feet long, pass through the waters just outimprovements. side the Big Bay as they make the longest annual migration


NORTH AMERICA of any mammal – from the Bering and Chukchi Seas off Alaska to their breeding grounds along Baja California. The best time to see whales is from December to April. MidJanuary is the peak, when it’s possible to spot dozens in a day. While whales are the main attraction, it’s not uncommon for schools of dolphins, numbering in the hundreds, to arc through the air near your boat as they herd fish below the surface. Sea lions and leopard sharks are also frequently spotted. Most cruises last three to five hours, but it’s possible to go on four-, five-, and even 11-day expeditions. The Big Bay area is pedestrian friendly. However, if you tire of walking and don’t have ready access to a bicycle, consider hopping on a pedicab. These human-powered, threewheeled vehicles have blossomed in San Diego over the past decade. While they can take you anywhere in the city, they concentrate along the waterfront, Gaslamp Quarter, and Petco Park. Pedicabs can also be hired en masse in connection with business events and meetings. A visit to the Big Bay isn’t complete without seeing Cabrillo National Monument, commemorating Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer who was the first European to set foot on the West Coast of the U.S. in 1542. Situated atop Point Loma across the bay, the park offers an excellent vantage point for viewing the entire city and environs. The monument, run by the National Park Service, features a visitor center, ranger-guided tours, and even a lookout for whale watching. It is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Touring and exploring creates an appetite, and San Diego delivers big time on this score. Seventy restaurants rim the bay with many focusing, of course, on seafood. For example, Anthony’s Fish Grotto on the Bay, a family operation that has been serving visitors for more than 60 years, is located on North Harbor Drive near the Maritime Museum and other waterfront sites. For a different visual and culinary view of the city, try Mexican nouvelle cuisine at Candelas in Coronado, a beach community located across the bay. A short water taxi ride will transport you from Embarcadero Marina Park at the convention center to Coronado Ferry Landing. Or drive down the Silver Strand, a narrow stretch of beach that connects Coronado with Imperial Beach, the southern end of the Big Bay, and take a sunset gondola cruise on Coronado Cays, complete with wine, hors d’oeuvres, and singing gondola pilots. Then step into the Mistral restaurant at Loews Coronado Bay Resort for Northern Italian and Southern French fare – and a panoramic view of the city by its bay. Getting to San Diego is easy. In addition to nine cruise lines that dock there, more than two dozen airlines fly from more than 40 airports across the U.S. and Vancouver.

San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, www.sandiego.org ; The Big Bay, www.thebigbay.com Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

TASTE OF ALASKA PACKAGE OFFERED BY ALASKAN RAILROAD

With 365 million acres of land to cover, seeing all of Alaska can seem daunting. But travelers can check off many of their must-see sights in Alaska on a spectacular five-day Taste of Alaska vacation package from the Alaska Railroad. Beginning in Anchorage, guests travel the Coastal Classic Train to Seward where they’ll witness the stunning marine life and coastal mountains of Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park, ride a dog sled and hike to Exit Glacier. After returning to Anchorage by train, guests travel the Denali Star Train north to Talkeetna, where they can circle Mount McKinley by plane, take a jet-boat tour and more. Special features of Alaska Railroad trains include GoldStar service, large picture windows to capture spectacular scenery, forward-facing reclining seats, dining service onboard with views no restaurant can match, and informative commentary along the way by Alaskan tour guides. Quality souvenirs are available in onboard gift shops and Anchorage Depot, and complimentary historical route maps and Panoramas magazine are provided. Alaska Railroad Corp., 800-544-0552, kigers@akrr.com, www.alaskarailroad.com/travel/Vacations/TasteofAlaska, www.alaskarailroad.com APRIL 2010 •

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EUROPE

Dublin’s Fair City M A R I E W H I T L A O ’ R E I L LY

IMAGES COURTESY OF DUBLIN TOURISM

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live, alive, oh!” The Dublin ballad sings of cockles and mussels hawked through “streets broad and narrow”—the same may be said of the “Fair City” itself. Sassy and spirited, Ireland’s capital is “Alive, alive, oh.” Incidentally, you’ll spot Molly Malone, the fictional fishmonger, with her wheelbarrow at the foot of Grafton Street—a vibrant pedestrian mall with entertainment on tap from morning ‘til night. Founded by Vikings and later the second city of the British Empire, the metropolis is a treasury of ancient churches, castles and graceful architecture. Literary giants too have left an indelible imprint—Swift, Wilde, Joyce and Shaw were native sons. And Barry Flanagan sculpture outside Irish Museum of Modern Art. there’s no shortage of time-honored pubs – The Brazen Head has been around since 1198; it harbored many a rebel (and, no doubt, many a spy) in the once infamous Dublin Castle; The National Gallery’s and still dispenses grub and grog along with rollicking Irish collection of Old Masters includes a lost Caravaggio that bemusic. Guinness, another legendary landmark, just cele- came the subject of a best-seller that reads like a detective story and a rare Vermeer that was held for ransom by the IRA brated 250 years of brewing “The Black Stuff.” Yet for all its antiquity, Dublin is young at heart and contin- and miraculously recovered—apparently they had weakness ually, and colorfully, reinventing itself. Staid establishments, for fine art. The Hugh Lane houses top-notch Impressionists, in addition to docklands, army barracks and Kilmainham contemporary Irish paintings and a gem of stained glass by Gaol, have evolved into innovative tourist attractions. Harry Clarke worth a trip from anywhere. Dublin has morphed too into a gourmet destination. Smart Premier hotels—The Merrion and The Westin were once Georgian townhouses and an imposing bank; two former cafés and bistros abound and five restaurants sport Michelin schoolhouses, also popular hotels, merit an “A” for architec- Stars. A Fabulous Food Trail packs zest and lively commenture. Temple Bar, a slum until its makeover as a bohemian tary into a walking/tasting tour of prize-winning eateries for quarter, pulses with exuberance as open-air markets, ethnic $45; their three-day all-inclusive weekend visits farms, marrestaurants, a film center, Children’s Ark, singing pubs, kets, cheese makers and a smokehouse in Connemara: nightclubs, discos and a TradFest take over a web of cobbled $1,250. www.fabulousfoodtrails.com Besides Walking Tours, Literary Pub Crawls, Hop-on-Hopstreets. The City is alive too with the sounds of music – from Grand off Bus Tours, Rock ‘n Stroll, Ghost Buses (Dracula’s creator Opera’s high Cs to the hypnotic rhythms of Riverdance. The was a Dubliner), there are Cruises on the Grand Canal and Dubliners, The Chieftains, Bono and U-2 all hail from here on the River Liffey. (What would Joyce think of Anna Livia’s while the country’s premier music venue attracts the world’s latest metamorphosis?) Mary Gibbon’s acclaimed day tours visit the sixth century monastic village in Glendalough and top entertainers – The Point was a former train depot. And while the arts flourish in parks, in theaters and on the travel back five thousand years to a UNESCO heritage site at street, there are treasures without measure in museums and Newgrange—the Stone Age passage tomb and astronomical galleries: Europe’s finest trove of prehistoric gold still dazzles observatory is 1,000 years older than the pyramids. $35. after 4,000 years; so awesome is the Book of Kells, illuminated www.newgrangetours.com Like everything else, Dubliners are mad about sports: track, by monks in 800 A.D., it was believed to be the work of angels; thanks to the benevolence of an American miner, a horse racing, rugby, soccer, sailing and more. The GAA sta“Holy Show” of sacred manuscripts, icons and exquisite dium at Croke Park is a state-of-the art arena and home of Korans goes on at the award-winning Chester Beatty Library Gaelic football and hurling. It also features an interactive mu16 • APRIL 2010

www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


EUROPE IMAGES COURTESY OF DUBLIN TOURISM

Golf at Luttrelstown Castle, Dublin.

seum that traces the history of Irish sports and its involvement with nationalism. The entire country is a golfers’ paradise boasting one-third of the earth’s links courses. Around Dublin alone, there are sixty clubs in spectacular seaside and mountain locations. There are Christmas Markets and pantomimes and festivals year round; St. Patrick’s Day is a six-day event and on 16th June Dubliners reJoyce in Bloomsday celebrations with readings and reenactments of Ulysses, the book that immortalized the City and changed the course of English literature. More than 60% of Ireland’s tourists visit Dublin. In anticipation of increasing tourism, Dublin Airport is undergoing renovations. A new Convention Centre opens in 2010 and the City has been designated for the Eucharistic Congress and the European City of Science in 2012. Its proximity to the London Olympic Games also augurs well for the future. And while Dublin is a stellar destination it’s also the perfect gateway for exploring the rest of the country. CIE Tours offers the largest selection of motor-coach tours and has been around for 78 years. A Taste of Ireland—six-days, four nights includes eight meals and begins in Dublin and ends at Shannon: land only prices start at $768. A Jewel of Ireland Tour —15-days, 13 nights and 24 meals—follows the island’s dramatic coastline and begins and ends in Dublin: land only prices start at $2,168. Similar itineraries are available with self-drive car. Travel agents get 10% commission. www.cietours.com Dublin Tourism offers theatre tickets; a popular Dublin Pass with entrance to 60 attractions and discount dining. A Golf Pass is priced between $99 and $199, for three rounds of play which includes the legendary Portmarnock Links. Speaking of conversions, Dublin Tourism’s office is located in St. Andrew’s Church.

Dublin Tourism, www.visitdublin.com, www.discoverireland.com Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

EUROPEAN WATERWAYS OFFERS 6-WEEK ‘JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME’ THROUGH EUROPE European Waterways has planned a thousand-mile journey along Western Europe’s finest inland waterways between the southern French Provencal town of Avignon across Europe to vibrant Amsterdam in northern Holland. The six-week cruising expedition will pass through several European countries, capital cities and cultures along Europe’s famed Rhone, Seine and Rhine as well as enjoying smaller canals and rivers and lakes as the journey unfolds. This voyage also follows the advance of the American, British and allied forces liberating the French, Belgium and Dutch populations and passes through regions held by the French resistance, liberated by General Patton and fought over by the airborne forces codenamed operation Market Garden in September 1944 to try and cross the Rhine at Arnhem. For those interested in the historical importance of this period, the voyage is an extraordinary opportunity to absorb the importance and value of the Second World War following the D-day landings of June 1944 and the 60th anniversary in 2004. The majority of meals are taken aboard ship but every week at least once passengers get to dine ashore. Anjodi generally cruises only when all the passengers are aboard, but daily excursions are programmed and on occasion the vessel may make up ground while passengers are ashore. All accommodations on board, all meals, entry fees on shore excursions, wines and bar drinks are included in the price. Rates for the six-week cruise aboard Anjodi are $25,000 ppdo and based on a minimum of six passengers, or $185,000 for a full boat charter. This price is all-inclusive (excluding travel). European Waterways, 800-394-8630, sales@gobarging.com, www.gobarging.com

SYMBIOMED AT GRANDHOTEL LIENZ WINS SENSES WELLNESS AWARD Grandhotel Lienz in Osttirol, Austria, has won the SENSES Wellness Award 2010 in the category “Best Medical SPA in a Hotel.” SENSES editors and award jurors selected the hotel among 550 other hotels and resorts worldwide in seven categories. The SENSES Wellness Award, category “Best Medical SPA in a Hotel” stands for service excellence, international world-class standards and a medical spa that is an independent part of the regular hotel spa, is guided and supervised by a medical professional (medical doctor or Ayurvedic doctor) and provides the symbioses of the different medical branches, namely conventional medicine as well as alternative medicines such as TCM. The annual SENSES Wellness Awards held to coincide with the ITB International Tourism Fair in Berlin has become an international barometer. When selecting a winner, the editorial team takes the approach of an international jury, evaluating the nominated hotels according to a number of criteria such as the range of treatments available at the spa, quality of service, etc. Grandhotel Lienz, www.grandhotel-lienz.com APRIL 2010 •

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EUROPE AUSTIN-LEHMAN ADVENTURES’ ‘HIGHLIGHTS OF HOLLAND’ BIKE TOUR IN PICTURESQUE SEASON

Vacationers will pedal past fields of brilliantly colored tulips this spring on Austin-Lehman Adventures’ “Highlights of Holland” five-day/four-night excursion—capped at a maximum of only 12 travelers per group—that winds along coastal dunes, passes over bridge-covered canals and fields bursting with color, and concludes at the world’s largest tulip auction. Travelers will cycle to the world-famous Keukenhof gardens and flower fields—only open to the public for a two-month period each spring; explore the expansive park with seven million blooms, as famous for its stunning tulips and inspirational displays of color as its horticultural precision. They’ll then continue to the picturesque neighborhoods of Haarlem, the seaside resort of Zandvoort, and the bulb-growing region of Lisse with its blooms, water-rich landscape of canals, lakes and windmills. The next journey is via ferry to the quaint village of Kaag, and then on to explore Rembrandt’s birthplace of Leiden, also home to the world’s largest tulip painting. Completed in 2009 by Dutch landscape artist Leo van den Ende, this panorama of one million tulips is the compilation of an 11-year effort. The final stop is spent at Aalsmeer, the largest tulip auction in the world. Designed for 12 adult bikers at a relaxed pace of 21 to 44 miles per day, the springtime “Highlights of Holland” trip is offered April 11–15, 18–22 and 25–25, 2010. The trip is also offered four times in the summer season. It’s priced at $1,998 ppdo with a single supplement rate of an additional $380. Austin-Lehman Adventures, 800-575-1540, www.austinlehman.com

CELTIC TOURS OFFERS TWO NEW TOURS HIGHLIGHTING ITALY Celtic Tours is offering two new seven-day/five-night programs in Italy. Each is priced at just $299 (land) per person sharing a twin room, perfect for groups wanting to travel together to experience the culture of Italy. “Taste of Tuscany” will link traditions of past and present. Visitors will take a short walk from Villa Casagrande, a wine-producing villa constructed in 1392, which will serve as the program base for five nights. The Villa is located in Figline Valdarno, a me18 • APRIL 2010

dieval village of the 12th century located in the middle of the triangle made up of Siena, Arezzo and Florence. The independent land program features five nights at Villa Casagrande in Tuscany including daily breakfast and transfers to the Villa. “Sorrento Sunshine– Sorrento and The Amalfi Coast” is the second new tour. The Amalfi Coast, Italy (la Costiera Amalfi tana) is a breathtaking 35-mile stretch of mountainous coastline situated on the Sorrento peninsula, just south of Naples, in the region of Campania. Considered one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, it is characterized by very steep, rocky hillsides plunging dramatically into the Mediterranean Sea. Across the water lies the Isle of Capri, or the Blue Island. The Isle of Capri is renowned the world over as an exclusive holiday destination.There are 13 select departures for each tour from November 2, 2010, through February 22, 2011. Celtic Tours World Vacations, 800-833-4373, www.celtictours.com

KOMPAS LAUNCHES FOUR SMALL-SHIP SAILINGS TO CROATIAN COASTLINE, ISLANDS Kompas Holidays International is introducing a series of four week-long cruises aboard the M/S Macek, a two-mast motorized sailing ship that travels along the Croatian coast, allowing guests to island hop for seven-nights starting in May through early October at savings of up to 70 percent on certain departures. “Cruising the Croatian Coast” is offered aboard the 32-passenger M/S Macek on seven-day sailings featuring Dubrovnik and the ancient city of Trogir, the Makarska Riviera, allowing guests to swim in Peljesac bay, visit the island of Mljet and Marco Polo’s birthplace on the island of Korcula, and dine on Hvar, famous for its lavender fields. The series, “Cruising the Croatian Coast,” includes four itineraries: Kvarner Bay & Northern Dalmatia; Northern & Southern Dalmatia; Southern Dalmatia & Montenegro; and Central & Southern Dalmatia. Prices range from $704 per person in shoulder season to $1,244 per person in high season with deep reductions for children: 70 percent for ages 3–7, 50 percent 8–14, sharing the cabin with two adult travelers. The program includes full breakfasts and lunches cooked onboard using local ingredients—seasonal produce and fresh-caught seafood purchased from local fishermen’s daily catches. Travelers dine on-board twice daily, disembarking in the afternoons to explore, hike and get a close-up view of the islands where summer days are long enough for travelers to spend hours on land. Other overnights are in small fishing villages such as Slano; optional excursions include a trip to Cavtat on the southernmost part of the Croatian coast; and the M/S Macek will anchor in bays along the way such as in the Elafiti islands or off the coast of Brac so travelers can swim in the cobalt, pristine waters of the Adriatic. Kompas International Holidays sells vacations seven to 19 days in duration as escorted tours, city stays, and cruises aboard its 25member fleet throughout Europe. Kompas International Holidays, kompas@kompas.net, www.kompas.net www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


EUROPE ‘ROMAN HOLIDAY’ TAUCK EVENT TO INCLUDE DINNER INSIDE THE VATICAN

To celebrate its 85th anniversary, Tauck is inviting its loyal guests on a comprehensive “insider’s” cultural exploration of Rome personally hosted by members of the Tauck family, including company CEO Dan Mahar. The six-day “Roman Holiday” itinerary will provide an in-depth and intimate look into the rich history of “the Eternal City” and its strong influence on art, religion, architecture, fashion, music and more. The itinerary will be highlighted by a once-in-a-lifetime evening in the Vatican that includes an exclusive dinner inside a Vatican Museum gallery along with private guided tours of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Tauck will offer two “Roman Holiday” departures this fall, beginning on October 21 and 26. Along with the private evening at the Vatican, the itinerary includes specially-themed half-day guided city tours that explore Rome’s history and culture. The tour is priced from $4,790 ppdo plus air. Tauck has begun taking booking on the departures; each is limited to 175 guests, to be split into smaller groups of no more than 25 for daily sightseeing with a Tauck director and local guides. (All guests will join together for special events including the welcome reception and dinner, lectures, opera performance, fashion show and the private Vatican and villa evenings.) Included in the price are five nights’ accommodations at the fivestar Westin Excelsior, which is located near the Spanish Steps in the heart of Rome. Also included are all sightseeing and special events, admission to all sites and attractions, all gratuities, most meals, Rome airport transfers and more. Tauck, 800-468-2825, www.tauck.com

BERLIN BREAKS NEW TOURISM RECORDS IN 2009 Despite the international economic crisis, Berlin closed its 2009 tourism year with record visitor numbers. In 2009, 8.3 million (+4.5 percent) guests checked into Berlin’s hotels, spending a total of 18.87 (+6.2 percent) million overnights. On the average, guests stayed in Berlin for 2.3 nights; a slight increase over 2008. Visitor Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

numbers have been increasing steadily for the past six years. Berlin’s average hotel rate of approximately $103 remained extremely competitive, comparing very favorably to Paris, London, and Rome. The USA, Berlin’s most important overseas market, continued to show strong numbers. In 2009, over 238,400 Americans visited the German capital. This all-time high is a solid 3.3-percent increase over 2008. U.S. citizens spent more time in Berlin than in the previous year, increasing the number of U.S. overnights by 3.6 percent to 585,560. In stark contrast to previous years, Canadian visitor numbers declined by 6.5 percent to 35,200. Berlin’s meetings sector also reported record numbers. In 2009, the city hosted 108,500 (+4 percent) meetings, congresses and events for about 8.26 million participants. According to statistics published by the Berlin Convention Office, meeting participants spent a total of five million overnights in Berlin (+6 percent). Berlin Tourism Marketing North America, www.visitBerlin.de

AIR EUROPA NOW CONNECTING MIAMI AND MADRID Air Europa, one of Europe’s most modern and fastest growing airlines, has announced new non-stop service from Miami to Madrid. Air Europa will offer convenient connections to more than 20 cities in Spain and to some of the most important European capitals such as Paris, Rome and London. Air Europa will operate a fleet of Airbus 330-200 with a capacity for 275 coach passengers and 24 Club Business passengers. The plane will depart from Miami International Airport at 9:50 p.m., arriving in Madrid Barajas at 12:10 p.m. the following day. “Today marks another milestone for AirEuropa, as we expand our international transatlantic route network in the United States” expressed Javier Hidalgo, CEO of Globalia Group. AirEuropa boasts a 96-percent punctuality rate and more official quality, safety and maintenance certificates than any other Spanish airline. Air Europa is also a member of SkyTeam and the only SkyTeam member to offer direct service to Madrid. Business class travelers will enjoy privileges such as access to VIP lounges, bonus miles and priority disembarkation of luggage. Economy and business class travelers will also enjoy ergonomic seating, more space between seats, customized audiovisual leisure system for coach and Mediterranean cuisine. Air Europa flies to the following destinations in Spain: Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Granada, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Madrid, Malaga, Mallorca, Mernoca, Oviedo, Santiago de Compostela, Sevilla, Tenerife, Valencia, Vigo and Zaragoza. Air Europa’s international services includes: Buenos Aires, Cancun, Caracas, Dakar, Havana, Lisbon, London, Marrakech, Milan, New York, Paris, Punta Cana, Rome, Salvador de Bahia, Santo Domingo, Tunis and Venice. This year the airline also announces new service to Lima and Panama. Air Europa, 800-238-7672, www.aireuropa.com APRIL 2010 •

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CARIBBEAN

Update on Dominican Republic Resorts New properties and new standards. D . O. C H R I S T I A N R I E G E R

I

f you had a home in the West Indies overlooking the Caribbean Sea next to a vast expanse of tropical forest, Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge boutique resort would be it. What speaks well for the establishment is that it is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. This former country home is nestled in the hills of the southwest area of Barahona with a commanding view of the sea below. Barahona is mostly visited by Dominicans and is pretty much untouched by big of foreign tourism. And how do you say “unspoiled”? It is small, 12 rooms, cozy, comfortable and intimate. It is family owned. And family owned inevitably adds a degree of service unduplicated by large hotels. Meals are made for small numbers of people, so the quality is much like having your own professional chef. As well as the $130.00 weekday rates and $170.00 weekend rates, they have introduced special packages. The honeymoon/anniversary package is $825.00. Polibro Schiffino, the owner, says, “This gives the starry-eyed couple five days and four nights stay and includes a two hour massage per couple per day and daily breakfast in the room.” Add to this dinner with wine, a bottle of Champaign in the room, one hour of horseback riding and free entrance to a cold spring at a private estate and it is quite a deal. Alternately, they have a family package at $999.00 for three days and two nights. This is a minimum of three rooms with two adults and one free child per room. It includes breakfast, fruit juices in the rooms and entrance to the cold springs. www.casabonitadr.com

Villa Punta Goleta Also family owned is Villa Punta Goleta on the North Shore of the country at Cabarete. As with Casa Bonita, it was formerly a family’s country residence. It is built in the traditional style before air conditioning with a two-story ceiling in the living room area. Plenty of windows provide cross draft from the ocean at the main veranda door to the front entrance. Though not a member of the Small Luxury Hotels, it deserves to be. Each of the nine, recently reconditioned bedrooms and one junior suite is air conditioned. They are bright, airy rooms with two double or one king-size bed. Each has its own Spanish Colonial style veranda overlooking the expansive lawn and ocean. For some vacationers luxury is not a matter of large, sleek or new. It is a matter of quiet, intimate and not like-life-backhome-at-all. Villa Punta Goleta is that luxury. The staff is attentive, without being intrusive; are clean and very profes20 • APRIL 2010

Playa Blanca Punta Cana Dominican Republic.

sional. Meals are cooked by a family chef, so the food does not have an institutional character to it. It borders a sandy bluff on the ocean at Kite Beach and is a short walk to the, independently-owned, beach-side restaurants in the main part of the small town of Cabarete. Through December 15th, rates start at $115.00 for single occupancy and go to $165.00 for double occupancy in the junior suite. It offers two nights free to travel agents and additional nights at 50% off rack, and gives a 20% commission. Punta Goleta resort closed two years ago for a complete overhaul. The villa was the first part to open and now the SeaWinds suites with one, two and three bedroom suites and three bedroom penthouses is opened. These units range from $115.00 to $700.00 through December 15th. The architect and the interior designer worked together so the furniture fits the rooms both quantitatively and qualitatively. All units have floor to ceiling windows and unit-long balconies. All with ocean views. www.puntagoleta.com

Coral Hotels & Resorts At the east end of Cabarete Bay is the 50 unit, boutique Velero Beach Resort, a Coral Hotels & Resorts’ property. It has rooms, apartments and seven penthouses thus offering a range of accommodations for a variety of vacation needs. The largest of the penthouses has three bedrooms. All rooms and suites have a view of the ocean, air conditioning (and the direct on-shore ocean breeze), internet and so forth. All suites have a kitchen. For guests who do not cook on vacation, there is a beach-side restaurant. Diane Tremblay, the manager, says, “Not all the guests rent the suites just for the spaciousness, some actually use the kitchen. Those who do, buy fresh fish, crab and lobster on the beach next to the resort from fisherman when they come in CONTINUED ON PAGE

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www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


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CARIBBEAN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

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from the sea. They will buy a variety and cook them into a Caribbean Lobster Bake or into an aromatic Paella. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.” A two minute walk from the hotel along the beach and guests have access to world-class kite surfing, and can dine at trendy restaurants and funky bars, like Jose O’Shay’s Irish Beach Pub. (O’Shay’s, along with Presidente beer, sponsor the only St. Patrick’s Day parade on the beach in the world.) From April 28th to June 9th, rates range from $83.00, for a unit that accommodates two people with one or two beds, to $276.00 with four beds and accommodates up to six people. Rates are per room. At the beginning of the season Coral also opened an additional resort in Cabarete, the all-inclusive, 320 room (and suites), 62 acre Coral Sol de Plata Resort for adults, singles and families. All meals, wine, local and international beverages, various non-motorized water sports and land sports with equipment and instruction, entertainment and other activities are included in one single price. Spring and summer per person rates start at $125.00 for garden rooms and go to $149.00 for ocean view rooms. www.coralhotels.com

Princess Hotels & Resorts 2010 is a year of new features for the Dominican Republic properties of Princess Hotels & Resorts. It has completed the first phase of remodeling rooms in the Bavaro Princess All Suites Resort, Spa & Casino. “Remodeling has gone beyond mere furniture, fixtures and paint, to innovative concepts and services. We seek to upgrade the total experience,” says Leonardo Casaretto, director of e-commerce. In this regards, Bavaro Princess created the Platinum Beach Club as part of its premium Platinum Club. This is a private area on the beach with butler service, Bali beds and refreshments. The Platinum Club has also instituted a weekly piano concert in the Platinum Lounge that includes Sushi, and wine and cheese tasting. Additional Dominican Republic Princess Hotel & Resorts properties that have changes are the Punta Cana Princess, Caribe Club Princess and Tropical Princess. All these resorts are in the popular Punta Cana area at the east end of the country. Current rates: The bungalow suite is $151.00, the Honeymoon Spa Suite is $176.00 and the Platinum Suites start at $185.99. www.princess-hotels.com

VIK Hotels in Punta Cana VIK Hotels has two resorts in the Punta Cana area on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, the 4 star, 447 room, VIK Hotel Arena Blanca and the boutique 5 star VIK hotel Cayena Beach with only 47 deluxe ocean-front suites. Robert Petris, director of sales, says this is the hidden jewel of Punta Cana. 22 • APRIL 2010

He continues, “These two resorts are on one of the very best beaches on the planet, with an intact coral reef and well preserved nature. For 20 years, Punta Cana has kept the construction law of the “Coconut Palm Tree,” which means, no building can be taller than a mature coconut palm. This gives us a maximum of three story buildings in our hotels and the entire area. It is what makes Punta Cana so beautiful. This is a unique concept and gives the traveler a magnificent view from a landing airplane.” VIK Punta Cana hotels are conscientious about other green and natural aspects to operating a resort. In January, they started a pioneering power plant powered by a clean liquid gas technology, almost no change to the fresh air quality as a result. Mr. Petris says, “It is lowering our current astronomic energy cost by almost 50%.” So they have found themselves doing well by doing right. The two resorts offer two wedding packages. The standard one is $1300.00 and the deluxe at $1500.00. “This year we are offering special promos, like a free wedding if ten or more rooms are booked.” These rates are in addition to the rooms. Net rates start at $58.00 in May and June in Arena Blanca and at $65.00 in July and August, p.p.d.o., all-inclusive for a garden room. Add $5.00 net price for ocean view and $20.00 for the ocean front suites or $35.00 for a deluxe Cayena Jr. Suite. www.vikhotels.com

Punta Cana Resort & Club Playa Blanca is the newest addition to the Punta Cana Resort & Club’s restaurants. Located directly on a white, white, white, white Caribbean sand beach, the staff serves fresh local seafood, grilled meats, and cocktails for lunch and dinner. Live music by local Dominican musicians rotates weekly. The Playa Blanca section is also the center for many onsight activities including horseback riding, Segway tours, kite and windsurfing, bicycle and golf cart rentals. The flat, waist deep water combined with steady cross onshore trade winds that blow consistently from mid November until the end of March, allow for a safe and controlled learning environment. Punta Cana Resort and Club’s new kiteboarding school has only instructors certified by the International Kiteboarding Organization. The resort’s 2010’s three-night summer golf and spa package includes transportation to and from the Punta Cana Airport, daily breakfast, two rounds of golf at P.B. Dye's La Cana Golf Course, and one round on Tom Fazio's recently opened Corales Golf Course. This package is like golf heaven. And the package includes a hot-stone, couple’s massage, and more. All for $1,685.00 per couple. Does this sound like an anniversary or birthday present to anyone? http://www.puntacana.com/ To contact the writer: dochristianrieger@gmail.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


Dominican Republic Has It All Comprised of Coral Hotels & Resorts, Coral Comfort Serviced Residences and Coral Elite Serviced Residences...we bring over 20 years of experience in Resort Operations, Sales & Marketing and Development. Within these areas we will custom design a program that will suit the resort, its location and its consumers.

www.coralhospitalitycorp.com

CASA BONITA TROPICAL LODGE Kids stay free this summer at

Palladium Hotels & Resorts! There are ecological tours of the resort to learn about the nature and culture of the area and arts and crafts...an unforgettable experience. Additionally...first class spas, gourmet restaurants, bars, lounges and a wide variety of activities and shows to top off the perfect family getaway.

Located in Barahona, in the still unspoiled and secluded southwest region of the Dominican Republic, adjacent to the only biosfere reserve in the country. CASA BONITA sits on a hilltop with an impresive view of the Caribbean Sea, nestled within a vast tropical forest surrounded by rivers and mountains. This former private vacation retreat, still family owned, provides twelve rooms caba a style, that dramatically overlook its surroundings.

Princess Hotels & Resorts is a hotel chain specializing in holiday and urban hotels in top class tourist resorts, which, from the start, has enjoyed the prestige, confidence and consideration of our customers. A chain with a business philosophy and methodology in the management of large hotels.

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MAJESTIC RESORTS PUNTA CANA ***** Punta Cana | La Altagracia | RepĂşblica Dominicana

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www.majestic-resorts.com


CARIBBEAN CAST, COTAL SIGN MEMORANDUM ON SUSTAINABILITY OF CARIBBEAN TOURISM

weight and balance limitations, all customers will be permitted one carry-on bag and one personal item, as well as two checked pieces of luggage on flights into Port-au-Prince free of charge, unless prior arrangements have been made. Excess and overweight luggage charges will apply. Delta Air Lines, www.delta.com

EVERYONE WINS WITH THE ‘ANGUILLA 50/50’ INCENTIVE FOR MEETING EVENTS

Attending to the importance of cooperation among entities in the tourism sector to strengthen Caribbean tourism development, Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) and Confederación de Organizaciones Turísticas de América Latina (COTAL) have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to jointly support initiatives promoting sustainability in the Caribbean tourism industry. Shown left to right are Manuel Castro Inocencio, Asociación de Guías de Turismo de la República Dominicana (AGTRD); Tirso Cabral, President of AGTRD; Luis Felipe Aquino, President of Confederación de Organizaciones Turísticas de América Latina (COTAL); José Mella, President of Dominican Travel Agents and Tourism Association (ADAVIT); and Adolfo López, Executive Director for the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST). La Confederación de Organizaciones Turísticas de América Latina (COTAL), Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, (CAST); Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com/CAST.php, www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com

DELTA TO RESUME SERVICE BETWEEN NEW YORK AND HAITI Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) has announced it will resume service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, three times weekly starting on April 3, 2010. Service from JFK to Port-au-Prince will expand to five times weekly, effective June 10. Delta’s previous service between New York-JFK and Haiti started June 20, 2009, but was suspended following the tragic earthquake that struck the country on January 12 this year. As part of its philanthropic efforts, Delta continues to contribute financial and in-kind support to Haiti relief efforts through multiple organizations. Delta will operate on the following schedule between New YorkJFK and Port-au-Prince starting April 3: Flight DL 435 departs New York-JFK at 9 a.m. and arrives Port-au-Prince at 12:08 p.m. on Monday, Thursday and Saturday (and Tuesday, Friday, effective June 10); and DL 436 departs Port-au-Prince at 1:20 p.m., arriving New York-JFK at 6:10 p.m., also on Monday, Thursday and Saturday (and Tuesday, Friday, effective June 10).Due to aircraft 24 • APRIL 2010

The island of Anguilla is a relatively new destination for incentive and meeting travel. Anguilla, right off the coast of Puerto Rico, has easy air access that is perfectly suited for executive retreats, intimate meetings and top-tier incentive programs. Never-before-published rates for incentive and meetings groups are now available with the “Anguilla 50/50” promotion. Beginning in April and running through October 2010, the “Anguilla 50/50” will reward a minimum group of 50 guests, with a minimum booking of twenty-five rooms at participating properties, with 50 percent off peak room rates. Sample room rates may include $448–$348 at Cap Juluca; $495–$247.50 at CuisinArt Resort & Spa; and $335–$247 at Malliouhana Resort & Spa. Additional offerings and discounts may apply, rates vary, are based on availability and subject to change. Blackout out dates, taxes and qualification requirements apply. Those interested may access additional information on the website under the “Events & Promotions” tab; it’s important to include the term “Anguilla 50/50” in details. The sales representatives at the properties may also be contacted directly—with mention of the “Anguilla 50/50” promotion in order to receive the package details. Anguilla Tourist Board, www.anguilla-vacation.com/ meetings-incentives, www.anguilla-vacation.com/sites/ default/files/ATB_IncentiveBrochure2008.pdf, www.anguilla-vacation.com

VALUABLE SUMMER SPECIAL RATES AT BIRD OF PARADISE IN ANGUILLA Asian/tropical in style, Bird of Paradise villa on Sandy Hill Bay beach in Anguilla is an intimate compound of four buildings with meandering, lagoon-style pools weaving between to create an intimate compound. This summer, the secluded resort is offering special pricing effective May 1 until September 15, with a starting rate as low as $1,390 including a rental car—compared to a high-season net rate beginning at $2,285 per night. High-level pluses such as whirlpool tubs, Bvlgari amenities, wet bar/ice maker and free US/EUR telephone are offered. Low summer airfares are available to St. Maarten (Princess Juliana International Airport). From JFK to SXM with connecting flights, the base rate is $239; Chicago to SXM rate is $216+. Anguilla’s Greg Norman-designed golf course is now open. Bird of Paradise, anguillabird@yahoo.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


CARIBBEAN THE SANDS AT GRACE BAY WINS BIG AT TURKS & CAICOS HOTEL ASSOCIATION STAR AWARDS DINNER The Sands at Grace Bay took top honors at the annual Turks & Caicos Star Awards dinner in February. General Manager Pierre Beswick was named “Hotelier of the Year,” the pool and beach attendant Christopher Suerte was “Employee of the Year” and the hotel’s developer Stan Hartling, the CEO of The Hartling Group, received the “Lifetime Achievement” award. Only in its second year, the Star Awards honors local hoteliers and staff for exceptional service and commitment to their community. Applications are submitted by each property and reviewed by a panel of judges, except for “Hotelier of the Year” which is voted on by all Hotel Association members. General Manager Pierre Beswick joined The Hartling Group in 2004 after five successful years with Chris Blackwell’s Island Outpost Group. He’s served in his GM post at The Sands at Grace Bay for the past five years. Employee of the Year winner Christopher Suerte has been at The Sands at Grace Bay since 2007, emerging as a leader in the Pool & Beach Department. As CEO and lead partner, Stan Hartling plays a vital role in all aspects of The Hartling Group’s development projects—from initial design, feasibility studies, financing and promotion, to grand openings and the ongoing operations of each project. He also owns and operates Hartling Reality, a licensed real estate brokerage firm in the Turks & Caicos Islands. Sands at Grace Bay, 877-777-2637, www.thesandstc.com

LADERA’S EXECUTIVE CHEF ORLANDO SATCHELL APPEARS AT LE CORDON BLEU IN LONDON Executive Chef Orlando Satchell of Ladera’s acclaimed Dasheene restaurant appeared as a guest of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in London last month. Ladera’s Dasheene and Chef Orlando are known for introducing the concept of sustainable cooking to St. Lucia and have successfully raised innovative West Indian food to its rightful stature within World Cuisine. “Ladera is proud to extend a taste of St. Lucia to this audience, all of whom possess the knowledge and passion to fully appreciate the tropical flavors and creative renderings of island cooking,” commented Waddy Francis, General Manager of Ladera. On the menu for the Le Cordon Bleu demonstration was Chef Satchell’s signature Lobster Salad on Watermelon with a cocoa balsamic dressing and Cocoa Red Snapper on Sweet Potato Cake with ginger rum fruit salsa. The menu is based on native ingredients and relies on local bounty for a fresh, innovative take on West Indian cuisine. The produce is grown for the resort by island farmers and neighboring plantations. Fish is caught daily in the nearby waters and the spices are harvested from indigenous St. Lucian plants. Ladera, 866-290-0978, www.ladera.com; Le Cordon Blue, www.lecordonbleu.edu Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

APRIL 2010•

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CARIBBEAN SAND DOLLAR WELCOMES GILBERTO LIRA AS GENERAL MANAGER Sand Dollar Condominium Resort in Bonaire has announced the appointment of Gilberto Lira as General Manager. Mr. Lira is of Antillean birth, and has more than twenty years’ experience in the hotel, restaurant, and tourism industry within the Antilles. He has worked in management positions in several highly regarded Caribbean resorts—Sunset Beach GILBERTO LIRA Resort, Divi Flamingo Beach, and the Plaza Resort in Bonaire, La Cabana and Divi Tamarijn in Aruba, and Pelican Resorts and Atrium Beach Resort in Sint Maarten. Gilberto has a BS in Hospitality Management from Florida International University and a diploma in Hotel & Restaurant Management from the Aruban Hospitality Trade Training Center, along with a certification in Leadership & Motivation from Cornell University and training certifications from the Caribbean Hospitality Training Institute. Sand Dollar, 800-288-4773, res@sanddollarbonaire.com, info@sanddollarbonaire.com, www.sanddollarbonaire.com

ANTIGUA’S COCOS HOTEL CELEBRATES SUMMER BRIDES WITH WEDDING, HONEYMOON PACKAGES Cocos Hotel is toasting summer brides with a distinctive wedding and honeymoon package that provides value and personalized services for their special day. With June traditionally the most popular month for weddings, couples are increasingly choosing July and August for their destination weddings for greater choice and individual attention. Celebrating this trend, Cocos Hotel, a Caribbean boutique hotel in Antigua, is offering for July and August their “Summer Bridal Package.” It features a dedicated wedding team, including marriage officer and witness, to assist with every detail to give couples an island-style, stress-free Caribbean wedding. The package includes personal selection of an intimate romantic location for the wedding ceremony, decoration with Caribbean elegance, coordination of registration and legal fees, and provision of a one-tier wedding cake, bridal bouquet for the bride and button hole for the groom—all value-priced at $950. Also offered is a fifth night free for stays of five nights or more, free room upgrade based on availability, an additional complimentary 30-minute spa treatment per person, and a private intimate romantic champagne dinner on the beach for bridal couples and honeymooners. Cocos Hotel carefully manages the number of weddings at the resort to allow for dedicated service, so it’s advisable to reserve the date of choice as much in advance as possible. Cocos Hotel, reservations@cocoshotel.com, www.cocoshotel.com

BREEZES RESORTS’ REBRANDING DELIVERS INCREASED BOOKINGS

The beach is so close, shoes are strictly optional. Emerald green mountains as a backdrop. The turquoise Caribbean Sea at your feet. Could there be any place more charming than this picture perfect cove called the Grand Case Beach Club ? Two powder white beaches. Fresh water pool. Day and night tennis. Delightful dining. Invigorating water sports. Shopping and excursions. Everything your heart desires.

For reservations see your travel professional or call 1-888-845-5821. www.grandcasebeachclub.com 26 • APRIL 2010

Breezes Resorts & Spas’ November 2009 rebranding initiative has successfully increased bookings at its expanded portfolio, eight properties in six countries including Jamaica, Curaçao, the Bahamas, Panama and Brazil. Breezes Rio Bueno (formerly Grand Lido Braco), located on Jamaica’s western coast, saw a nine-percent increase in February occupancy compared to last year. Breezes Panama in Santa Clara, which opened last October, got off to a solid start with a near sellout during its introductory weekend and 100-percent occupancy both during Christmas week and Valentine’s Day weekend. The allsuite Breezes Grand Negril has seen an influx of younger couples with its new pricing structure. Also expanding its customer base is Breezes Trelawny, now Super-Inclusive, has struck a chord with couples seeking an active getaway and a convenient base for exploring Jamaica. Slated to open this summer, Breezes Buzios will be the second Breezes in Brazil, upping Breezes’ offerings to nine resorts. Located near bustling Rio de Janeiro, Breezes Buzios will entice guests of all ages. In addition to 330 rooms and suites, the resort will also feature 110 villas. All Breezes resorts also offer free weddings, including government fees, for stays six nights or longer. Tipping is prohibited at all Breezes Resorts. Breezes Resorts, www.breezes.com; SuperClubs, www.superclubs.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


CARIBBEAN ST. MAARTEN TOURIST BUREAU WELCOMES KRYSTLE RICHARDSON TO NEW YORK TEAM The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau has added Krystle Richardson to its New York City office team, joining industry veteran Louis Peters and travel agent liaison Cyndi Miller Aird. The office is a portal for agents and consumers seeking information about St. Maarten, including brochure fulfillment and representation at tradeshows nationKRYSTLE RICHARDSON wide. St. Maarten has recently launched a new branding campaign and initiatives to capture the lucrative North American leisure travel market. Richardson’s new responsibilities are to help promote awareness of the island, including building relationships with tour operators, wholesalers, and consumers; delivering and scheduling seminars and educational material to the travel agent community; and representation at tradeshows. Richardson noted: “I believe that the exploration of new places and new cultures is important to a person’s development and personal growth and that traveling is essential for hands-on education intertwined with recreation and relaxation. I embrace the opportunity to work with the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau and add to the experiences that visitors have during their stay.” She holds a Masters Degree in International Applied Communication from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, England, and has additionally studied in Utrecht, Netherlands as well as Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. Richardson has lived in St. Maarten, St. Croix and St. Thomas, as well as various other regions of the world. She currently resides in New York. St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, www.vacationstmaarten.com

through April 30, 2010. The trip is commissionable for travel agents.Verdanza Hotel is also featuring the Official Foodie Package for Saborea Puerto Rico Culinary Festival 2010, to be held April 9–11. Verdanza Hotel, www.verdanzahotel.com/specials-packages, www.verdanzahotel.com

GRAND CASE BEACH CLUB EXTENDS ITS FREE NIGHT PROGRAM The Grand Case Beach Club, located on the ocean adjacent to Grand Case village in St. Martin, French West Indies, has announced it’s extending its fifth-night-free program to the summer months. It is valid in all room categories for new bookings started and completed between June 1 and October 31, 2010. The free night only applies at the end of the stay and may not be used in conjunction with groups or any other promotion. The Grand Case Beach Club offers a wide range of activities for its guests, including the Sunset Cafe, open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus Happy Hour; a fully equipped kitchen and flat-screen satellite TV in each unit; swimming pool; tennis court, fitness center, island boutique and a water sports center.Room rates include continental breakfast daily, a bottle of wine on check-in, and the use of all non-motorized water sports equipment. Grand Case Beach Club, 888-340-3016, info@gcbc.com, www.gcbc.com

UNSPOILED

A leisurely swim in sparkling azure waters. A soothing massage on your own private balcony. An afternoon spent gazing at the sun-splashed Atlantic with not a cruise ship or a care in sight.

ALL-NEW VERDANZA HOTEL IN PUERTO RICO HAS EARLY SUMMER VIBE PACKAGE An off-season package at Isle Verde’s new Verdanza Hotel offers added values for a sunny trip to Puerto Rico. Perks of the Summer Vibe package include accommodation in a Superior Room; daily buffet breakfast per adult; a $25 food-and-beverage credit per room, per night; a welcome gift per room; one Rondanza (our signature rum drink) per adult; a 20-percent discount in massages from Body Healers, and a bonus certificate for a free night with the purchase of three consecutive nights for a future stay. The package starts at $90 ppdo per night, plus 9-percent government tax and 8-percent resort fee. Up to two children 16 years or younger are welcome to stay in the same room with adults at no additional cost. Children up to five eat free at Eighty20 Bistro. The minimum stay is two nights. The food-and-beverage credit may not be applied to cover service gratuity and may not be redeemed for cash. Unused package features are not redeemable for cash. The offer is subject to availability, restrictions apply, and it’s valid Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

The Sands at Grace Bay

UN C O M M O N

offers a soul-satisfying tranquility along with inspired cuisine, considerate service and as much – or as little – activity as you choose.

UNPRETENTIOUS

Providenciales • Turks & Caicos

an exceptional all suite beachfront resort For reservations, see your travel professional or call 1.877.77.SANDS (72637) www.thesandstc.com

APRIL 2010•

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CARIBBEAN DELTA’S NEW FLIGHTS PROMOTE EASE OF TRAVEL TO THE EXUMAS Expanded air service will make it easier than ever to visit the gorgeous Exumas in The Islands of the Bahamas. Beginning June 13, 2010, Delta Air Lines will offer nonstop flights from HartsfieldJackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to George Town Exuma International Airport (GGT) on Wednesdays and Sundays, making it possible to escape gridlocked highways for The Exumas’ uncrowded beaches in roughly two hours. Travelers can book online for summer travel to The Bahamas with fares starting at just $129 each way, based on a required round-trip purchase. (Additional taxes/fees/restrictions/baggage charges may apply.). The new flights operate Wednesdays and Sundays starting June 13 on the following schedule: DL 5607 departs ATL at 10:55 a.m. and arrives GGT at 1:17 p.m.; DL 5606 departs GGT at 2 p.m., arriving ATL at 4:34 p.m. The Exumas have become a retreat for celebrities including Johnny Depp and country music couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, who both own private islands in the Exuma Cays. With celebrated tour operators Dive Exuma and Four C’s Adventures, travelers can cruise past these private islands while experiencing oneof-a-kind activities such as snorkeling Thunderball Grotto, made famous by 007; exploring Exuma Land and Sea Park; feeding

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Exumas lovable swimming pigs and iguanas; and kite surfing above turquoise waters. Resorts throughout The Exumas are offering specials on air-inclusive packages, including the newly opened, all-inclusive Sandals Emerald Bay, the world’s first all-butler, oceanfront resort complete with a 16,000-square-foot spa. Vacation packages to The Exumas and other islands in The Bahamas, including free companion airfare or air credit offers, are available for a limited time and may be booked online or by calling the toll-free number for Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. A portion of travel for some itineraries may be on Delta Connection carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines. The 700 Islands of the Bahamas includes such diverse and beautiful islands as Eleuthera, Abaco, Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island. Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, 800-Bahamas (224-2627), www.bahamas.com; Delta Air Lines, www.delta.com

MALLIOUHANA HOTEL & SPA HAS GIRLFRIENDS AND STAY-FREE OFFERS FOR 2010 For 2010, the award-winning Malliouhana Hotel & Spa in Anguilla, British West Indies, has in place two stay-free offers. The first—an offer to stay seven nights and pay for just five, in an Ocean View Double Room in the Main House—is good through April 30. Then from April 1 through August 31, visitors can stay four nights and pay for three in the Ocean View Double Room. These stay-free offers are good for new bookings only and not possible for use with other packages or specials. A special ‘Girlfriends Retreat’ package is available for stays April 1–30 and May 1–August 31, 2010. Gals can gather up mom, sisters, best friends and journey to Malliouhana Hotel and Spa for a soothing retreat, a renewed sense of connection and rejuvenation of mind, body and spirit. The Girlfriends package includes four nights accommodation based on double occupancy, a welcome greeting at the airport/ferry, transfers to and from the hotel, daily continental breakfast, a threecourse dinner on two nights from the full a la carte menu, and three Malliouhana Spa massage treatments per person (60 minutes) at the 15, 000-square-foot ocean front spa, from the following: therapeutic massage treatments, Body Polish, facial treatments, an oasis manicure and pedicure. The April 1–30, 2010, package, with an Ocean View Double/Twin Room, is priced at $3,585 ($582 government tax and service charges additional). From May 1 through August 31, 2010, the package (with Ocean View Double/Twin Room) cost $2,985 ($462 government tax and service charges additional). Malliouhana Hotel and Spa has been named one of three Best Hotels for Food in the Americas and Caribbean by Conde Nast Traveler in its January 2010 Gold List. Malliouhana Hotel & Spa, reservations@malliouhana.com, www.malliouhana.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


MEXICO VALENTIN IMPERIAL MAYA RESORT TAKES GUESTS ON CULINARY JOURNEY

couples staying at Valentin Imperial Maya Resort is a romantic dinner on the beach complete with a private wait staff. Valentin Imperial Maya Resort, www.valentinmaya.com

VACATION EXPRESS PARTNERS WITH PALLADIUM RESORTS AND RENOVA SPA ON SPA PACKAGES

Valentin Imperial Maya Resort, one of Riviera Maya’s newest adults-only, all-inclusive resorts, transports their guests from the white beaches of Playa del Secreto to explore the gastronomy of Italy, France, Japan and more through the signature dishes of their nine restaurants. Ginger offers a fusion of traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine with Peruvian influences. Guests can dine a la carte, at the sushi bar or at lively interactive hibachi tables. Il Olivo specializes in using authentic Mediterranean ingredients. Lobster Pot offers casual dining at beachside. L’ Alsace, inspired by traditional French cuisine, addresses the concerns of health-conscious travelers with its spa menu. Taman Sari’s specialty is Indonesian-inspired cuisine. La Hacienda combines traditional Mexican gastronomy with a contemporary touch. Restaurant Mar & Tierra—by day at beachside—offers a fresh selection of seafood, traditional Mexican dishes, salad bar, freshly squeezed fruit juices and more. At nightfall, this restaurant is transformed into a classic American steakhouse. Le Márche perfectly combines Valentin Maya’s gastronomic offerings: it’s the resort’s top choice for breakfast and lunch and offers an appetizing mix of traditional Mexican and American dishes. In additional to these restaurants, a popular dining option for 30 • APRIL 2010

Vacation Express is offering two free body exfoliations with every spa package booked by April 30, 2010. The promotion is valid only with pre-purchased Renova SPA Packages at the Grand Palladium Resorts in the Riviera Maya, Jamaica and Punta Cana and at The Royal Suites by Palladium in the Mayan Riviera and Punta Cana for travel through December 22, 2010. The following Spa Packages are available: Soft Delight includes two Swedish Massages and exclusive use of the humid area including the hydro-river, biothermic, Scottish and chromotherapy showers, sauna, steam room and multi-temperature Jacuzzi. Stress Cure includes two Stress Cure Massages, combining three different techniques and is enhanced with warm, soft pillows and aromatherapy, as well as exclusive use of the humid area Renova Combination Package includes two signature Renova Combination Massages based on ancient massage therapies and enhanced with modern wellness techniques, plus exclusive use of the humid area. Palladium Resorts is partnering with Renova Spa for services in the Palladium Resorts properties throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. Guests visiting Palladium Resorts at the Mayan Riviera, Mexico, and other Palladium destinations such as Montego Bay (Jamaica), Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) may choose among a broad selection of therapies to enhance their stay in any of these destinations. Palladium Hotels & Resorts, www.fiestahotelgroup.com

REINA ROJA HOTEL NEW ADDITION IN THE RIVERIA MAYA Reina Roja Hotel is a new boutique hotel in the center of Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya, only 40 miles from Cancun. With its unique, avant-garde style, Reina Roja Hotel offers 63 comfortable rooms, including thematic suites. To celebrate the opening of the hotel, the following promotions are being offered, valid until December 23 this year: For those making a reservation for one night, a 15-percent discount is given, for two nights it’s 25 percent, and for three nights 35-percent discount—the equivalent of one free night for every two paid nights. The hotel’s website lists all the promotions currently offered. GDS codes are: Apollo/Galileo: WV 68823; Sabre: WV 117230; Worldspan: WV73731; Amadeus: WV PCM731; and Pegasus: WV 73731. A 20-percent commission is granted to U.S. agents. Reina Roja Hotel, 877-299-8639, sales@reinarojahotel.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


MEXICO ‘MORE BEACH FOR YOUR BUCK’ AT SANDOS PLAYACAR BEACH RESORT & SPA’S EXPANDED BEACH AREA

Guests traveling to all-inclusive Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa in the Riviera Maya, Mexico, can relax on an expanded stretch of white-sand beach as a result of the Beach Recovery project implemented by the Mexican government which restored beaches that were eroded by hurricane activity over the years. Guests of Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa can now enjoy 164 more feet of one of the best beaches in the Riviera Maya hotel zone, featuring umbrellas, a bar offering refreshing cocktails, snack bar and daily activities with the Sandos animation team. Select Club guests also enjoy a partitioned area with waiter service and day beds. The property has seven swimming pools, featuring one lagoonstyle swimming pool, an adults-only pool, two pools designated exclusively to children, and one main activity pool. For extra pampering, the modern Sandos Spa features 22 treatment rooms; sauna; steam room; two Jacuzzis (one hot and one cold); wellness program; thermal circuit; hydrotherapy zone; beauty salon on three levels; eco-massage area in an outdoor palm shelter; and a fully-equipped LifeFitness gym with rooms for spinning, floor Pilates, yoga and aerobics. Use of the fitness equipment, sauna, steam bath and Jacuzzis is free to all guests; spa treatments are available at an additional cost. An all-inclusive Sandos vacation features accommodations; all meals and beverages; sporting activities; access to the spa and fitness facility; daily activities program; nightly entertainment and entrance to the disco; and all hotel taxes, service charges and gratuities. Additional activities and services that can be arranged include babysitting, golf at the nearby Playacar Golf Course, and other excursions such as deep sea fishing, visits to archaeological sites like Tulum, Cobá, Chichen Itza, Ecological Park Xcaret and Xel-Ha, and scuba diving and snorkeling trips. Prices vary according to activity. Sandos Hotels & Resorts, 866-336-4083, www.sandoshotels.com Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

KIDS STAY FREE THIS SUMMER AT PALLADIUM HOTELS & RESORTS This summer Palladium Hotels & Resorts is offering free accommodations for kids—two children (up to 12 years old)—free of charge when sharing the room with two adults. To take advantage of early booking discounts and this special offer, reservations must be made before May 30, 2010, for travel May 1 through August 31 in Riviera Maya, Montego Bay and Punta Cana; and April 11 through August 31 for Riviera Nayarit. The special offer is available via tour operators. With connecting rooms especially designed for families and groups, children’s menus, ecological tours of the resort to learn about the nature and culture of the area and arts and crafts, children of all ages can enjoy an unforgettable experience on these trips. The Baby Club (ages 1–3), Mini Club (ages 4–12) and Black&White Teenager’s Club (ages 13+) are also excellent options for kids to have fun and interact with others their age from all over the world. Located beachfront in the most popular destinations, Palladium Hotels & Resorts also feature first-class spas, gourmet restaurants, bars, lounges, and a wide variety of activities and shows to top off the family getaway. Palladium Hotels & Resorts, 888-237-1226, callcenter.america@fiestahotelgroup.com, www.fiestahotelgroup.com

SANDOS HOTELS & RESORTS ACQUIRES LE MERIDIEN CANCUN RESORT & SPA Sandos Hotels & Resorts, with two resort complexes on the Riviera Maya, Mexico, is increasing its portfolio with the acquisition of Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa, located in the heart of the Cancun hotel zone. “The purchase of Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa is a wonderful addition to the Sandos Hotels & Resorts product line and offers superior accommodations, a world-class spa facility, and a paramount location for our clientele,” said Alex Ferri, Director of Strategy and Development, Sandos Hotels & Resort. Situated on the magnificent Caribbean Sea, Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa offers the ultimate in relaxation and enjoyment for guests. With a world-class 15,000-sq. ft. spa facility, three-tiered cascading pool, and walking distance to downtown nightlife and fabulous shopping, the resort is sure to exceed the needs of even the most discerning traveler. The Sandos Hotels & Resorts chain was established with the mission of offering the most competitive product on the market and becoming a benchmark hotel chain in the areas of the world in which it operates. The Sandos Hotels & Resorts philosophy is that each of the hotels preserves the personality and customs of the region in which it is located, while at the same time offering a unique brand of hospitality, facilities and comfort, as well as unbeatable value. Sandos Hotels & Resorts, 866-336-4083, www.sandoshotels.com APRIL 2010 •

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MEXICO CONSUL GENERAL OF MEXICO JOINS MEXICO TOURISM BOARD AT BOSTON GLOBE TRAVEL SHOW

Dr. Fernando Estrada-Sámano, Consul General of Mexico in Boston, joined representatives from the State of Baja California Sur; Mexicana Airlines; and the Riviera Maya hotels: Excellence and Hacienda Tres Rios in a ribbon-cutting ceremony February 19 at the Boston Globe Travel Show. The Mexico Tourism Board exhibited at the show and featured a giveaway trip to Riviera Maya’s Hacienda Tres Rios with round-trip transportation provided by Mexicana Airlines. Mariachis took to the stage to promote the country’s rich musical history. The Boston Globe Travel show is one of the largest consumer-attended travel shows in the United States. Mexico Tourism Board (MTB), 800-929-4555, www.magicofmexico.com, www.visitmexico.com

FAMILY-FRIENDLY SOLMAR HOTELS & RESORTS CREATES LASTING MEMORIES AT LAND’S END Located along the white beaches of Playa Solmar minutes away from bustling downtown Cabo San Lucas, Solmar Hotels & Resorts provides choice accommodations, on-site activities, close proximity to some of Los Cabos’ most popular attractions and an amazing “Kids Stay & Eat Free with Parents” policy offered through spring, summer and fall months. Solmar Resort offers suites with two beds, sofa sleepers, two bathrooms, separate living room areas and kitchenettes. Playa Grande Resort & Grand Spa’s Deluxe Junior Suite includes a king bed, queen sofa sleeper, full bath and kitchenette or a Luxury Suite with king bed, queen sofa sleeper in the living room area, two full baths and kitchen. The Ridge Luxury Villas’s spacious suites have full-size kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, two–three bathrooms, king-size beds and twin Murphy beds. The Master Suite accommodates up to four and the Penthouse Suite up to six with separate master bedroom and guest room including two twin beds in addition to the Murphy bed. Solmar Hotels & Resorts’ proximity to Los Cabos offers many activities. Kids can experience in-water interaction at Cabo Dolphins. Families can horseback along the beautiful Medano Beach or ven32 • APRIL 2010

ture out to the desert landscape for a hike or safari ride. Another popular activity is a glass-bottom boat tour that sails past the famous El Arco and neighboring sea lion colony viewing the colorful marine life of the Sea of Cortes. Playa Grande has a daily Kids Club for children 5–12 with pool games, beach volleyball, dance lessons, cooking demonstrations, Spanish lessons, basketball and more. The cost of the program is $20 per day or $50 for the entire week per child; lunch is included. The Ridge Luxury Villas invites kids to enjoy the resort’s mini golf course. Its pool area, separate from the two adults-only pools on property, includes a special treat for kids with a twisty water slide. Playa Grande Resort’s current offering, a “Five-Night Family Package,” includes accommodations for five nights in a one-bedroom luxury suite, daily breakfast buffet, $50 certificate for dinner at one of the on-site restaurants, daily access to the kids club, a Couples Baja Getaway treatment package at the spa that includes a neck, shoulder and back massage and a family four-pack of sunset cruise tour tickets on the Buccaneer Queen. Its price of $1,299 with taxes included is based on two adults and two children under the age of 12. Solmar Hotels & Resorts, resortvacations@vmdirect.com, www.solmar.com

TRIP ADVISOR NAMES PEPE’S HIDEAWAY BEST VACATION SPOT IN MANZANILLO, MEXICO Trip Advisor recently declared Pepe’s Hideaway to be number one for hotels in the heart of Manzanillo, Mexico. “Pepe, an ex-fashion magnate from New York and Paris selected everything with exquisite taste; including the staff who work there,” says Trip Advisor member Pugigalante. “I have written quite a few reviews and never before did I find nothing to complain about.” Guests at the hotel enjoy toiletries by Hermes of Paris, monogrammed bathrobes, scented candles, handmade cups and dishes and high-quality handicrafts, effortlessly blending the sophistication of a five-star resort with the native tradition of Mexico—a perfect combination of the old and the new. That combination of sophistication and Mexican culture at Pepe’s Hideaway carries over into the cuisine proudly served by Pepe’s staff. Guests enjoy Colima coffee and tea served on a private deck each morning and full breakfast anytime. Mexican snacks are served around the pool, and each day concludes with a gourmet meal featuring fresh fish, shrimp and Mexican dishes prepared from fresh ingredients daily. No Mexican vacation would be complete without the opportunity to explore the local attractions. Each Pepe’s vacation comes complete with a Pacific paddling kayak tour or a trip to El Salto waterfalls or a half-day snorkel adventure or scuba experience or a trip to the turtle sanctuary or a day trip to the city of Colima during a week’s stay. Pepe’s Hideaway, www.pepeshideaway.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


LATIN AMERICA

Chile’s Touristic Gems Are Still Sparkling Brightly

C

hile is welcoming visitors to its many spectacular untouched regions, after a catastrophic 8.8 quake February 27 struck a small portion of its vast territory, rocking tourist sentiment. The entire Chilean travel industry has had to endure the whiplash of cancellations, although the greatest part of the country was not impacted in its ability to operate normally. Where service was disrupted in many areas, it was quickly restored due to the rapid responses of a strong government. The U.S. travel industry has joined the rest of the world in solidarity for victims and their families that took the brunt of the quake at its epicenter, and urges that people of good will everywhere contribute to relief efforts. The American Red Cross has a page devoted to processing donations to help victims of the disaster (see link at end). But the travel industry can contribute also in another way, and that is to communicate to their South America-bound clientele that the vast majority of operations in this huge country—from the North to the South, from the Lake District to Easter Island— remain intact, and with their doors open to visitors.

Atacama Desert Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa currently has a promotion whereby for the purchase of a three-night, all-inclusive stay,($1,290 ppdo), the hotel is offering a free night for guests

The Atacama Desert – Northern Chile.

at The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago, valid for travel through June 30. There are also two special-interest programs upcoming: a gourmet program, “Gastronomic Adventure” with Ruth Van Waerebeeck, former instructor at Peter Kump’s NY Cooking School, currently executive chef and culinary consultant for Concha y Toro wines, May 16–20, and special “Days of Wine” weeks in June. www.tierraatacama.com

Central Chile The Santiago bicycle and walking tours of La Bicicleta Verde are personalized to get tourists out of the bus, onto the street and interacting with locals—in their homes and with visits to family-owned boutique vineyards. CONTINUED ON PAGE

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Expedition Cruises Patagonia - Tierra del fuego - C ape Horn

the lastinfrontier in SouthinAmerica in the of our newly-built “ExploreExplore the last frontier South America the comfort of acomfort newly-built expedition ship. expedition Special ratesships, in selected Mare, departures Via and Stella (under construction). We offerand3-December and 4-night departures Arenas 3-night fromAustralis Punta Arenas, Chile between September 2006 aboard thebetween M/V ViaPunta Australis.” and Ushuaia, exploring Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn in Southern Patagonia.

877-678-3772 • www.australis.com • australis@bellsouth.net Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

APRIL 2010 •

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LATIN AMERICA CHILE

FROM PAGE

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For any tour booked between now and September 2010, operators will be granted a 25-percent commission. Per-person rack rates for 2010-2011 on bicycle tours range from $30 to $180 (minimum two) for Bike and Wine, and for walking tours $50 to $90 (full tour and food) for Santiago Huachaca. www.labicicletaverde.com The forte of the tour company Santiago Adventures is wine and skiing, with popular four-day/three night programs in Easter Island, from $656 ppdo, and San Pedro de Atacama, starting at $609. Week-long Ski Tours in 2010 in the Central Region include Heli & Cat Skiing in the Chilean Andes priced at $6,995 pp, and their most popular: Best Chile Ski Tour for groups starting at $1,995 (single supplement $499), a skiing and riding tour that takes skiers to four of South America’s best resorts with two days of cat skiing at Ski Arpa. Commission paid to agents is 10 percent, and higher with volume. The company will donate one percent of sales over the next three months to earthquake reconstruction efforts. www.santiagoadventures.com Five-star Ritz-Carlton, Santiago, is perfectly located between world-class skiing and warm beaches, upscale shopping and the city’s most renowned businesses. With the splendid Andean Mountain Range in sight, this luxurious retreat in El Golf, one of the city’s most prestigious

neighborhoods, has since its creation received all the major awards the local and international hospitality industry and leading consumer organizations can confer. The elegant hotel is currently fully operational, with its program structure and rack rates as outlined on their website unchanged. The commission rate for agents is 10 percent. www.ritzcarlton.com Located in the very stylish and cosmopolitan Providencia area, Hotel Diego de Velázquez is modern, elegant, varied and international. Streets are populated by execs, professionals, artists, musicians, actors, foreigners, student—great numbers of young and old flock to this lively spot. There’s a huge upscale shopping area, financial and cultural gathering places, and a wide choice of exciting restaurants. The hotel has just introduced for travel agents a spectacular 30-percent discount over the promotional rates posted on the Internet. www.hoteldiegodevelazquez.com Hotel Isla Seca is in Zapallar, Central Chile, approximately 105 miles northwest of Santiago and about 37 miles from Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. It’s reachable by safe and rapid highways. The beach resort of Zapallar has long been recognized as the most exclusive and attractive on the Chilean coast. Isla Seca is the principal hotel in the area; it offers 40 guest rooms decorated in a classical style, with services designed to satisfy guests seeking peace and the natural beauty of the environment. Rates are $150–350, depending on room choice; specifics are published on the website. The fee offered to travel agencies and tour operators is 15 percent of guest payment. The Hotel’s CALA restaurant serves high-level, gourmet cuisine, using local produce to create its menu. www.hotelislaseca.com The experienced team at Style Travel Latinamerica organizes Chile itineraries meeting specific client interests such as Intercultural, Food and Wine Routes, Farm, Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Nature and Adventure, Photographers, Rural Villages, Academic, Agriculture, Biodiversity & Environment, and others. A 13-day/12-night tour—Pre-Columbian Heritage, Wine, Seafood and a Unique Experience at Patagonia—is currently featured.Highlights are Santiago, Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas with Angelmo Market, Llanquihue Lake with Frutillar, Puerto Octay and Osorno volcano, Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, Navigation Glacier Balmaceda and Serrano, Milodon, National Park Payne Towers. There are visits to San Pedro de Atacama with Salt Lake Atacama including Flamingos Reserve, Altiplanic ruins, Toconao and Moon Valley. Guests will see Tatio Geysers at sunrise and Puritama Hot Springs. Transfers, breakfasts, lunches/box lunches, Park entrance fee and overnights are included. Optional tours (not included) are a Santiago tour with wine tasting at San Cristobal CONTINUED ON PAGE

34 • APRIL 2010

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www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


5

Spectacular Chile 5 INSPIRING GLOBTROTTERS FOR YEARS

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METROPOLITAN TOURING Come explore with us our World Heritage Sites, Natural Wonders, Living Cultures, Breathtaking Landscapes, Gastronomic Experiences... and much more! email:

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With responsible, off-the-beaten-track excursions, Las Torres offers a different vision, emphasizing respect for nature and conservation in its efforts to maintain pristine nature untouched.

www.lastorres.com

A narrow band between the Andes and the Pacific, from the high plain of the Altiplano to the storm-whipped rocks of the Cape Horn...Chile unites the extremes in geography and climate within its borders: from the Atacama desert in the North to the windy pampa of Tierra Fuego, from the Lake District to the Patagonian Icefield, from the Mediterranean landscapes of Central Chile to the southern rainforest. Have fun surfing our site, and while trekking, kayaking and experiencing nature in Chile!

— Your Trekkingchile Team

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With a vast experience developing all inclusive arrangements through a reliable network of in-house resources, local representatives and multilingual staff with courteous and prompt attention to every detail. Since 1962, a reliable partner providing high quality service. for further information and/or reservations email:mailbox@sportstour.cl

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We offer travel services to Chile and Argentina for travelers who want to live an interacting experience with people, gastronomy, culture and extreme endless nature.

Adventure - Warm Service - Excellent Gastronomy Contact us for information on our special wine, gastronomy and photography events, free nights in The Ritz Carlton Santiago and spa packages.

CONTACT INFORMATION

USA: 1-800-829-5325 info@tierraatacama.com www.tierraatacama.com

Tel. (56) 2 207 7070 Tel. (56) 45 45 0000 email: reservashotel@vplh.cl

Villarrica Park Lake Hotel Camino Villarrica Pucan KM13 IX Region - CHILE

www.vplh.cl

Our details for contact are Web: www.styletravellatinamerica.cl E-mail: info@styletravellatinamerica.cl Skype: styletravellatinamerica Chile telephone: 56-2-9207582 Chile cell phone: 56-9-79777720 Europe Representative Cell phone: 31-6-22579737


LATIN AMERICA CHILE

FROM PAGE

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Hill; Ancud at Chiloe Island, Santiago farewell dinner/folkloric show and vineyard/wine tasting. Prices (two-person minimum) based on hotel category are: Tourist $2,803 ppdo for double room, single supplement $522; Superior $3,107 ppdo for double room, single supplement $860; and Deluxe $3,402 ppdo for double room, single supplement $1,090. Prices valid April 15–September 15, 2010. Style Travel gives priority to travel agents and tour operators over passengers who may wish to contact the company by visiting its offices. Agent commissions are 20 percent. www.styletravellatinamerica.cl Trekking Chile arranges trekking tours in all regions of Chile—in the North with its open countryside, aridness, immense altitudes, and volcano ascents; Central Chile, from Santiago to Los Angeles, offering everything for the heart's delight in relatively compact areas, the Lake District with its breathtaking volcano landscape; and Patagonia, a trekking mecca with the Torres del Paine National Park, and beautiful scenery along the Carretera Austral. The foundation of Trekking Chile is based on fostering positive impact on environment and society. In contrast to traditional tourism, nature-based tourism does not require major investments but an intact environment. The company maintains that when this kind of tourism is accessible for a wide range of people, jobs are created and environmental awareness stimulated. Personal contact with the population, distinctive features of their cultural customs and traditional ways of life are highlighted. www.trekkingchile.com

Lake & Volcanos Five-star deluxe Villarrica Park Lake Hotel is located in Chile’s lovely Lake District. It features 70 deluxe rooms and suites especially designed to provide comfort and harmony throughout stays. Most rooms and suites offer a private terrace with amazing views of the great Lake Villarrica. All rooms and suites are equipped with telephone, international direct dialing, air conditioner, heating, satellite TV, hairdryer, mini-bar and Internet.

The hotel’s Aguas Verdes Restaurant, whose broad windows reveal the expansive beauty of the lake, features original dishes inspired by the executive chef—meals that complete an experience unique in the region. Spa Aquarius, over 18,000 square feet, offers modern and exclusive installations for total relaxation and fitness. www.vplh.cl

Patagonia & Antarctica Las Torres Patagonia in Punta Arenas is enveloped in the breathtaking Torres del Paine National Park. Those who acquire a tourist package at Hotel Las Torres automatically become members of Ama Torres del Paine (Love Torres del Paine), an environmental organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the beauty of this area. Packages at the hotel are all-inclusive, and transportation is in small groups of no more than eight. Twenty different thrilling excursions are offered—either by car, trekking or on horses. Virgin forests, pampas, and marvelous scenery and wildlife are experienced. Guests choose between rooms with views of the snowcapped mountains of Almirante Nieto or the Sierra Contreras pampas. According to views, per-person high-season rates until May 3, 2011 for the four-day/three-night Aonikenk Paradise package are $1,624 or $1,524 ppdo respectively, fiveday/four-night Macizo Paine $2,043/$1,843 ppdo, and the eight-day/seven-night Secrets of the Nothofagus is $3,468/ $3,168 ppdo. Single and triple accommodation accommodations are also available. Coiron Restaurant features exquisite Patagonia cuisine; white-covered Almirante Nieto Mountain can be seen from the Pionero Bar-Lounge. The Boutique Spa offers beauty treatments at a 35-percent discount. www.lastorres.com Antarctic Shipping S.A., based in Santiago, is the largest Chilean company that operates cruises to Antarctica, with the highest safety and quality standards as well as environmental regulations laid down by the International Association of

Isla Seca is located in Zapallar, the fifth region of Chile, 170 km. northwest from Santiago and about 60 km. from Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. It’s reachable by safe and rapid highways. We at Hotel Isla Seca, are proud to count with a very special boutique hotel with excellence in service and with an exclusive location that enchants everyone. Come on visit us! 36 • APRIL 2010

Camino Costero Ruta F 30 - E, Zapallar – Chile Tel. 56 - 33 - 741 224

www.hotelislaseca.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


LATIN AMERICA Antarctica Tour Operators, IAATO, for all companies. As the Antarctic Dream departs from Ushuaia in Argentina, where there was no impact of any kind, the company will meet its commitments without problems, beginning a new Arctic Season in June 2010. The itinerary is concentrated in the archipelago of Svalbard (Norway), Greenland and Iceland, mainly focusing on the island of Spitsbergen, inside the Arctic Circle, where, among its attractions is Ny-Alesund, the most northern populated area of the world, the former mining port and now a research center; Phippsoya Island, 540 miles from the North Pole; and other remote locations such as the Hinlopen Straits and the Prins Karl Forland island. The Antarctic Season will start November 7. Tourists are invited to experience the lives of the explorers in one of the most exciting places on the planet, discovering the awesome immensity of the White Continent and living the adventure of camping on the coast or adventuring in a kayak trip. The ship’s polar explorers have a high level of expertise and the value of this activity includes the equipment necessary to make the experience unforgettable and enjoyable. Company shareholders represent Chile and American interests; Antarctic Shipping is a permanent member of the International Antarctic Tour Operators Association, IAATO. www.antarctic.cl Vessels of the small-ship cruising company Cruceros Australis—Australis, Via Australis, and Stella Australis (in construction around 200 miles from Concepcion)—are undamaged, their base Punta Arenas over 1,200 miles south of the quake’s epicenter. For a limited time during low season, a special Promotional Season rate is being offered for three nights from $840 for Ushuaia–Punta Arenas voyages departing April 3, 7 and 14; and four nights from $1,120 for Punta Arenas–Ushuaia departing April 3 and 10. Their new cruise ship Stella Australis, currently in construction, also remains unharmed and is set to begin its 2010–2011 season December 18 this year. Cruceros Australis’ Jorge Rodriguez expressed his concern for the Chileans affected by the quake and his commitment to their recovery: “We are committed with the rest of our country to rebuild what was lost. We ask the world to remain excited about Chile as a destination. We welcome you with open arms.” www.australis.com Chile is a strong and vital nation. Its government is well-developed, its people hard-working, and its natural resources magnificent and varied. Go there. And raise a glass of fine Chilean wine to toast the resilience of this vibrant mecca of South America tourism.

Donations: http://american.redcross.org/site/PageServer? pagename=ntld_main&s_subsrc=RCO_NewsArticle&s_ src=RSG000000000 (select Chile Relief and Development) Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

MILA TOURS PROMOTING INTERESTING COLOMBIA MILA Tours attended the Destination Colombia 2010 tradeshow February 24–26 in Bogota, Colombia. Sponsored by Colombia’s Tourism office PROEXPORT, the meetings of Colombian ground operators and hotels held great interest for MILA. Much was learned to support the value of the Columbian travel experience. “Colombia is passiona,” as its slogan says. MILA Tours will be promoting the ‘Coffee Trianglea’ region made up of the towns of Pereira, Armenia, and Manizales. With good access from Bogota by air or land, this area has been growing in popularity and offers comfortable accommodations and a variety of activities such as visiting coffee farms, bird and butterfly watching, horseback riding, and floating trips. MILA Tours features memorable trips throughout popular Latin American countries. MILA Tours, 800-367-7378, milalatin@aol.com, www.milatours.com

METROPOLITAN TOURING’S FINCH BAY ECO HOTEL INCORPORATES SEA LION FOR DAY ISLAND EXPLORATION Metropolitan’s Finch Bay Eco Hotel on Santa Cruz Island now has a second yacht to operate day tours in the Galápagos. This increases the capacity of the Finch Bay Eco Hotel’s Land & Sea Programs, which will now operate with the Sea Finch for 20 guests and the Sea Lion for 16. Guests aboard both yachts enjoy an air-conditioned inside lounge and dining room, as well as the outdoors deck to bask in the sun during inter-island navigation. The Galápagos National Park has authorized visits to North Seymour Island, South Plaza Island, Santa Fe (Barrington Island) and Bartholomew Island. The 60.53-ton Sea Lion was built in 1987 by Van der Hoeven Yachts/Holland, and was completely renovated in Ecuador during 2009; it has a crew of five, plus one or two English-speaking naturalist guides certified by the Galapagos National Park. Maximum priority has been given to security matters, to comply with international safety standards The Finch Bay Eco Hotel offers three-, four- and seven-night programs starting Sundays and Wednesdays. The Land & Sea Programs include transfers from the airport, all meals, a guided visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and exploration of neighboring islands on the hotel’s private yachts Sea Finch and Sea Lion. The Finch Bay Eco Hotel has added six new Oceanview suites with a private terrace; this is in addition to its 21 Premium rooms, all with private bath, air conditioning and all amenities. The hotel, refurbished in 2009, obtained the Smart Voyager Certification for best practices in sustainable tourism, and applies rigorous environmental, social and safety standards throughout its operation. Finch Bay Eco Hotel, www.finchbayhotel.com; Metropolitan Touring, www.metropolitan-touring.com APRIL 2010 •

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LATIN AMERICA TWO EXCITING PRODUCTS IN BOLIVIA COMING IN 2010 FROM CRILLON TOURS

Crillon Tours is developing a new project in the bay of Cocotoni, with the installation of a Hydro-Pier that will be ready mid-2010. A camping project will be developed in this paradisiacal bay as a base for their Highland Adventure program. Cocotoni was known during colonization as the “Lovely Corner,” chosen by elites as their place to live; nowadays it’s abandoned, with just a few small fishing communities. Classic Lake Titicaca will set sail from the new Hydro-Pier of Cocotoni with an option of overnighting at Inca Utama Hotel & SPA, with all its respective facilities. Adventure Travel Bag Camping at Cocotoni Bay at Lake Titicaca’s shores will feature treks through idyllic and bucolic sceneries, direct contact with the community of Cocotoni, bonfires, Aptapi (local picnics) and songs in the night. And under clear Southern skies, the small village of Jirira at the shore of the Uyuni Salt Flats presents one of the most pollutionfree zones on the planet; the Milky Way, Scorpio, Jupiter and Capricorn and the Southern Cross and Centaurs all shine strikingly over Jirira. From there, gorgeous treks and unforgettable activities are possible, such as bicycling on the flats; soft and short treks to an island with petrified cactus and a complete view over Uyuni Salt Flats; and trekking to “Ojos de Agua” to watch pink flamingos that abound. Nearby is the cave with “chulpares” (native graves). The magnificent Thunupa volcano looms before Jirira, providing a fantastic view and a moment for reflection. Adventure with Comfort features “glamping”—glamorous camping, with heating, beds, toilets, gourmet cuisine and spirits. Adventure Travel Bag provides overnight at a local basic lodge and local meals. Once the paved road from Oruro to Salinas de Garci Mendoza is operating in September, it will take just five hours to go from La Paz to Jirira. There’s a one-hour ride through the desert road from Salinas de Garci Mendoza to Jirira, greeting the fabulous contrast of green-and-red vegetation and Quinoa plantations against the dazzling white of the Uyuni Salt Flats. Within the framework of strategic alliances with indigenous communities, Crillon has begun the projects in joint ventures with Cocotoni and Jirira. Crillon Tours S.A., www.titicaca.com 38 • APRIL 2010

SEE ECUADOR PROGRAM FROM MAY 16 - 22, 2010 Agents interested in selling Ecuador are invited to Ecuador for a week of seminars, workshops, site inspections, supplier meetings, and sightseeing in Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil. The cost is $195. Those who have attended a recent “Meet Ecuador” Seminar pay a reduced $125 fee. The fee includes: hotel accommodations, double occupancy (incidentals, taxes, gratuity not included); connecting flights between Cuenca and Quito; presentations to “show & tell” all Ecuador offers agents and clients—and how to promote the destinations; a Marketplace, pre-scheduled appointments with tour operators who will provide product, commission, and “how to book” info; meeting suppliers who will actually be taking care of clients; hotel site-inspections and sightseeing to help “See Ecuador ” in a personal way; optional pre- and post-tours; a CD of marketing and contact information for following up leads: an ‘Ecuador Encyclopedia.’ Specially-priced airfares to Guayaquil and returning from Quito on American Airlines, official “See Ecuador ” airline, and other participating airlines are available. Registration is limited. See Ecuador, www.seecuador.com

GOWAY INTRODUCES SOUTH AMERICA ESCORTED TOURS Goway Travel has introduced two new escorted tours to South America, an expansion of the Holidays of a Lifetime brand. The 20-day Magical Ecuador and Peru highlights the Galapagos Islands with a five-day cruise and Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas.” Travelers also visit Quito, Otavalo, Lima, Cusco and the Sacred Valley. The accommodation includes four designated Stays of Distinction properties. There’s the opportunity to take a flight over the Andes, experience a cooking lesson in Peru and visit local native tribes at Lake Titicaca. Prices start at $7,699 per person. Departure dates for 2010 are June 8 and September 28. In 2011, the departure dates are April 19, June 7 and September 27. The 17-day Splendours of South America highlights Chile, Argentina and Brazil, with a Santiago wine tour, the Lakes District of Chile, the resort of Bariloche, Buenos Aires with a tour to Uruguay, Iguassu Falls (both Argentina and Brazil) and Rio de Janeiro. The accommodation includes two Stays of Distinction. Prices start at $6,549 per person. Departure dates for 2010 are July 2 and October 22. In 2011, the departure dates are February 18, July 1 and October 21. The February 18 departure allows for a stopover in Rio to experience the Carnival. This being Goway’s 40th Anniversary, there will be celebrations on all departures. Goway, 800-387-8850, info@goway.com, www.goway.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


Belize – Land of Adventure BETEX will help to extend your skills far beyond just selling travel to Belize. BETEX will give you the first-hand experience needed for you to sell all the unique opportunities Belize provides to travelers.

REGISTER

ONLINE OR EMAIL:

info@betex.bz

THE MAGIC OF THE JUNGLE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE MAYA Located on 72 acres of private reserve in the Northern Maya Mountains, Hidden Valley Inn is the ideal base from which to enjoy the many natural wonders of Belize.

You Are Here And We Are Here For You!

HIDDEN VALLEY INN Toll Free: 1 866 443 3364

RADISSON FORT GEORGE HOTEL & MARINA #2 Marine Parade, PO Box #321, Belize City BELIZE

Reservations: reservations@hiddenvalleyinn.com

501-223-3333

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Toll Free: 1-800-333-3333 www.radisson.com/belizecitybz the newly renovated

SAN IGNACIO RESORT HOTEL is Cayo s premier full service resort

Be Pampered in Paradise Turneffe Flats has long been recognized as a premier saltwater fly fishing, scuba diving and marine ecotourism destination. It is the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Caribbean.

* Green Iguana Conservation Project * Swimming pool with views of the jungle * Patio lounge, tennis court * Running W Steak House and Restaurant * Meeting space for 200 * Luxury spa

WORDS ALONE ARE JUST NOT ENOUGH...

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dive with the whale sharks

explore hidden caves climb mayan ruins see exotic animals sail into the sunset

ride horseback through the hills stroll deserted beaches listen to garifuna drums

Ideally located to enjoy 250 square miles of expansive flats, healthy coral reef and remarkably rich marine habitat.

Call toll free: 1-888-512-8812 Email: vacation@tflats.com

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toll free: 1-800-822-3274 E-mail: reservations@sanignaciobelize.com

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www.tropicair.com reservations@tropicair.com

Situated on the banks of the Rio Grande river in Belize's southern Toledo District...located on a meander of the river with almost a mile of river frontage and features views towards the Maya Mountains to the northwest while the south eastern bank faces the village of Big Falls... email: info@thelodgeatbigfalls.com www.thelodgeatbigfalls.com

The Lodge at Big Falls is the ideal base in the heart of Toledo for your Belize adventure!


LATIN AMERICA BELIZE TOURISM BOARD APPOINTS SELENI MATUS NEW DIRECTOR OF TOURISM Beginning this month, Seleni Matus assumes her role as Director of Tourism for the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), replacing Tracy Panton, who held the position for 12 years. A born Belizean, Matus has over 10 years’ experience leading largescale initiatives mainstreaming sustainable tourism principles into key sectors of the tourism industry. While with Conservation International’s SELENI MATUS (CI) Center for Environmental Leadership in Business, Matus worked throughout Mexico and Central America to engage members of the private sector and governments to implement destination-level sustainable management plans and programs; in particular, for the cruise and hotel sectors. She also developed many tourism planning and supply-chain management tools, and provided capacity-building and technical assistance to CI’s country programs throughout Latin America. Matus’ professional experience is deeply grounded in Belize, where she guided the development and implementation of the country’s tour-guide training and certification program.She holds a Masters Degree in Corporate Strategy and Governance from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and a Bachelor’s Degree in Personnel Management from Viterbo College in the U.S. Belize Tourism Board (BTB), www.travelbelize.org

BELIZE TOURISM EXPO (BETEX) JUNE 23 - 27, 2010 BETEX is a five-day business-to-business event organized by the Belize Tourism Industry Association, showcasing Belize travel destinations, hotels, tour operators, and other tourism service providers. It’s an exclusive opportunity for international travel resellers to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with local travel suppliers. By attending BETEX, participants gain immediate competitive advantage for their business and stay abreast with the latest developments in Belize. Travel agents and wholesalers can increase profitability through business interaction, destination education and personal encounters. Local tourism service providers will have a chance to showcase their products. Held every two years, the next BETEX takes place from Wednesday, June 23 (arrivals) through Sunday, June 27, with departures on Monday, June 28, and is open to registered participants only. With four days of countrywide expeditions and nine itinerary options, international travel professionals will have the opportunity to visit destinations countrywide, immerse themselves in the product, and learn firsthand how to sell Belize. Suppliers will exhibit at decentralized marketplaces on three mornings, allowing for one-on-one business meetings between all suppliers and all buyers. The registration fee—$299 or $399, depending on the selected itinerary—includes all in-country meals, transfers, double-occu40 • APRIL 2010

pancy accommodations, tours and functions as noted on the itinerary. This fee does not include international airfare to Belize, which must be purchased separately. Upon approval of registration, trade attendees will be entitled to: participate in one expedition itinerary; attend three marketplace business sessions; attend the educational seminar and orientation session; attend all programmed tours, site visits and social functions; access programmed transfers between airport and hotels; access any discounted fares previously agreed to by BETEX and the participating Airlines; and access any applicable hotel discounts as previously agreed to by BETEX and the participating hotels. BETEX, www.betex.bz

THE LODGE AT CHAA CREEK PRESENTS HONEYMOON VACATION CONTEST The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belizean luxury eco-lodge in the jungles of Central America, is offering free five-day all inclusive Honeymoon Vacation Packages to winners of its Belize Honeymoon Vacation Sweepstakes. Whether it’s a romantic honeymoon vacation getaway, renewing vows, or celebrating an anniversary, the honeymoon vacation package will create rich memories for couples. Couples can enjoy a Belize honeymoon in one of its luxurious suites and villas surrounded by tropical gardens in the foothills of ancient Maya Mountains. They’ll receive a bottle of champagne in their private Jacuzzi, share a candlelit dinner under the thatched canopy of a well-appointed dining room, engage in numerous adventurous activities within the 365-acre private reserve, and relax with a personalized assortment of professional treatments in the hilltop Spa. To enter the Belize Honeymoon Vacation Sweepstakes, an essay (minimum 300 words) must be written explaining why contestants would want to celebrate a honeymoon in Belize and at The Lodge at Chaa Creek. The essay must be submitted via email and will be published anonymously on the Chaa Creek Travel Blog. Upon receiving the essay, a link will be forwarded to access a short list of questions about Belize and Chaa Creek. Answers to the questions can be found on the Chaa Creek website. Entrants must score a minimum of 85 percent in order to be entered into the final sweepstake drawing. The Sweepstakes closes May 1, 2010. All qualified entries will be placed in the drawing barrel and winning tickets will be drawn by the children of St Andrews Primary School and monitored by the Board of Directors of Chaa Creek Limited in the Cayo District of Belize. Four prizes will be awarded; all include cottage accommodation for two persons, food, transfers, tours and activities, and spa treatments. The top prize is the complete four-night/five day Belize Honeymoon Vacation Package or the Maya Wellness Rainforest Vacation Package for two. The other three prizes are a 50-percent discounted four-night/five-day package for two, a 40-percent discounted package, and a 30-percent discounted package. Each winner may choose either the Belize Honeymoon Vacation Package or the Maya Wellness Rainforest Package. The Lodge at Chaa Creek, 877-709-8708, marketing@chaacreek.com, www.chaacreek.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


LATIN AMERICA BAOBAB EXPEDITIONS LEADS BELIZE TRIBAL TREK Travelers will trek in the footsteps of the Mayans, with a unique 12-day Belizean adventure from Baobab Expeditions offered from May 9–20, 2010. Some highlights of the tribal journey include visits to Belmopan’s Belize Zoo; the Green Iguana Farm hidden on an Indian Reserve, the famous Mayan ruins of Caracol, the Toledo District, the non-excavated Uxbenka site and Kayuko Cave and Mound Group. The group will camp out in open-air evenings by campfire, sleeping under the jungle’s thick canopy in hammocks, bashas and mozzy nets. After several days, travelers will reach Sun Creek Jungle Lodge and explore the Mayan village of Santa Cruz, the Pusilha Acropolis and the Maya Bridge, before proceeding on to several days in the sun at either the stunning diving destination of Caye Caulker or the beautiful beaches of Placencia. It will be back to Belize for return flights home. (There must be a 24-hour layover between diving and flying.) Pricing for Baobab’s tribal Belize journey begins at $4,444 ppdo and includes accommodations, all meals on expedition and breakfasts at hotels, local experienced guides, drinking water, all transportation and excursions, and Royal Geographic Society membership. A luxury camp upgrade is available that provides higher-quality hotels (where available), vehicle upgrades, faster boats (where available) and the use of tents on expedition. The expedition, avail-

able to groups of up to ten, will require moderate to difficult physical effort. Baobab Expeditions, www.baobabexpeditions.com

HIDDEN VALLEY INN IN BELIZE IS A TRULY PRIVATE WONDERLAND Located on 7,200 acres of private reserve in the Northern Maya Mountains, Hidden Valley Inn is an ideal base from which to enjoy the many natural wonders of Belize. The secluded Inn offers exclusive access to 90 miles of hiking and biking trails, dramatic vistas and swimming in the many private pools and waterfalls surrounded by broadleaf jungle. The bird watching even for the uninitiated is spectacular. Orange Breasted Falcon and Black and White Hawk Eagle are highlights for birders from throughout the world. Still working closely with the Peregrine Fund and now the Belize Raptor Research Institute, Hidden Valley Inn is committed to assisting various research projects on the extensive and dramatic landscape of Hidden Valley Inn’s Private Nature Reserve. The location of the Inn provides convenient access to the endless attractions of the area. Day trips to Mayan archaeological sites including Tikal, Caracol, Xunantunich and ATM Cave are available. Other excursions include caving, horseback riding and river trips. Hidden Valley Inn, 866-443-3364, reservations@hiddenvalleyinn.com, www.hiddenvalleyinn.com

PAUL AND KELLY GERMAN JOIN ECI DEVELOPMENT

ECI Development, Ltd., the regional Latin America resort and retirement community developer with properties in Belize, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, has appointed the Canadian husband-and-wife team of Paul and Kelly German to drive strategic tourism development. They are charged with attracting the worldwide rental community seeking high quality, oceanfront resort destinations. Based at ECI’s Grand Baymen Resort in San Pedro, Belize, the Germans have 35 years of combined tourism travel experience as well as a track record of regularly producing double-digit growth in business volume and return guest ratios. Their initial priority will be to grow Grand Baymen tourism as the company integrates the Exotic Caye Resort oceanfront complex with its new San Pedro Fitness Center. Earlier, they were adventure sports managers with a St Lucia-based resort voted “Most Romantic Caribbean Resort” by Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine, and before that, General Managers of Vancouver-based travel tourism companies focused on outdoor adventure and wilderness tourism. ECI Development, events@ecidevelopment.com, www.ecidevelopment.com; Grand Baymen, www.grandbaymen.com

Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

APRIL 2010 •

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LATIN AMERICA PRISTINE BAY RESORT DEBUTS PHASE ONE OF LUXURIOUS BEACHFRONT RESORT VILLAS

Pan Caribbean Capital Partners I, Ltd. and Pristine Bay Resort have introduced The Resort Villas at Pristine Bay in Roatan, Honduras. The first 11 of an eventual 30 two-bedroom, two-bathroom luxury units—each with unobstructed views of the beach and ocean— have been released to the public for sale. There are three different floor plans from 2,700 to 3,400 square feet (inclusive of air-conditioned, covered deck and outside deck area). The villas are inspired by Caribbean architecture with high, whitewashed ceilings; stained-wood trusses and trim; Italian terracotta tile roofs; wood shutters; and white plaster walls. Other design features of the fully-furnished units include spacious bathrooms with the finest fixtures; large great rooms; full-service kitchens; dining and living areas with French doors opening to expansive terraces; infinity edge pools and more. Owners acquire the property in fee simple and enjoy full access to all resort amenities. They receive 60 days of annual use and excellent cash flow from the hotel rental pool. Prices range from $805,000 to $895,000. Pristine Bay Resort’s amenities include Roatan’s first golf course, The Black Pearl, designed by Pete and Perry Dye, with ocean views on 14 holes and a signature island-green, par-3 11th hole. A 155slip, full-service marina near The Black Pearl clubhouse will provide deep-water access for a wide variety of vessels. The five-star, 120-room Resort and Spa at Pristine Bay is planned to open in February 2011 and will be managed by Destination Resorts, Ltd., which also manages Victoria House Resort on Ambergris Caye, Belize and Casa Encantada in Antigua, Guatemala. The Resort Villas at Pristine Bay, rsharman@ResortVillasatPristineBay.com; Pristine Bay Resort: mmonica@pristinebayresort.com, www.pristinebayresort.com

HOTEL PUNTA ISLITA AND EL SILENCIO LODGE & SPA JOIN ELITE LUXURY TRAVEL Elite Luxury Travel has announced two award-winning Costa Rican resorts have joined their ranks. Together, the beachfront Hotel Punta Islita and its inland sister, El Silencio Lodge & Spa, add the first eco-tourism options for Elite travelers. The resorts are ideal for couples seeking a romantic getaway or unforgettable setting for an eco-wedding. 42 • APRIL 2010

Hotel Punta Islita, located along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast in the Guanacaste region, is one of the original eco-resorts, and features 54 stylish thatched-roof bungalows and villas, tiered into a hillside overlooking a pristine beach. Moving inland to the cloud forests of the Central Volcanic Valley, the intimate new El Silencio Lodge & Spa offers just 16 cottage suites with private decks opening to mountain views. Both are distinguished by sophisticated, locally sourced organic cuisine inspired by Costa Rican flavors, nature-inspired spas with a focus on local healing, and an unending array of activities, from zip-lining above the forest canopy to river kayaking, horseback riding, hiking and cultural tours led by expert guides. Punta Islita and El Silencio were developed with an unyielding commitment to environmental stewardship, creating an exceptional synergy between the hotels, their surrounding ecosystems, and the local culture. Guests can learn about the hotels’ responsible tourism initiatives through activities such as complimentary educational tours at Punta Islita and tree-planting ceremonies at El Silencio. Elite Luxury Travel, 877-437-1060, www.eliteluxurytravel.com

LA MANSION INN PURCHASES COSTA RICAN VIRGIN FOREST Harry Bodaan, founder of Hotel La Mansion Inn in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, has recently purchased 500 acres of virgin jungle property in the Altos de Cerros area in order to protect the natural resources of the region and offset the carbon emissions created through day-to-day operation of the La Mansion Inn CondoHotel complex, situated on an acre of land overlooking Manuel Antonio National Park. Vegetation and soils have the ability to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The jungle protected by La Mansion Inn has the potential to remove up to 32 tons of carbon dioxide per year and produce enough oxygen per year to equal the amount consumed by 222 people annually. As a world leader in developing conservation programs, the Costa Rican government, under the leadership of President and Nobel laureate Oscar Arias, launched an initiative to convert Costa Rica into a carbon-neutral nation by 2021. With the recent election of Laura Chinchilla, a protege of Arias, the government is set to continue moving forward with sustainable environmental policies. The Costa Rican “Certification in Sustainable Tourism” (CST) is a pioneering initiative that categorizes and certifies tourism and hospitality companies according to how well operations comply with sustainability and socioeconomic requirements. La Mansion Inn is currently working to fulfill requirements of the CST program, as well as maintaining a strong presence in the community through social programs such as Sister Cities International, the local Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, and animal support and rescue programs. La Mansion Inn, reservations@lamansioninn.com, www.lamansioninn.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


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ASIA-PACIFIC

Taiwan: Celebrating the Year of the Tiger By Lighting Up the Sky City of Chiayi Illuminates its Lantern Festival in Grand Style R O B I N S WA D O S

Special Deals For visitors with a seven-to-24-hour layover in Taiwan who come from countries eligible for visa-exempt entry to enter the Republic of China—that would include the United States—the tourist bureau has offered a special promotional “free half-day tour.” This could include a sampling of the lively city of Taipei’s famously delicious cuisine, a stroll through its wildly crowded night markets, or a visit to Taipei 101, until recently the tallest building in the world. The three branches of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau in the U.S.—New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles—draw up their own special program and promotion with local travel agents and offer a very attractive reason to spend extra time in a country not many tourists may know. But Taiwan is not content to merely serve as a stopping place en route to other countries. “The Taiwan Tourist Bureau is constantly coming up with new tourism products,” says 44 • APRIL 2010

ROBIN SWADOS

T

he Year of the Tiger began in China on February 14. Two weeks later the famed annual lantern festival, in which hundreds of thousands of paper lanterns are illuminated—frequently with a live flame, drifting dramatically into the skies above—began throughout Taiwan, most specifically in Chiayi, an ancient southwestern provincial city of about 250,000, and ran through March 7. For even the most jaded tourist, the festival is an eye-opener. There’s nothing else quite like it in the world. Taiwan, the tiny island off the coast of China that is smaller than the size of New York State, and whose rapid economic growth over the course of the last half century has come to be known as the “Taiwan Miracle,” is unarguably an economic powerhouse whose technology industry plays a key role in the global economy. But for travel professionals (and their clients) under the impression that Taiwan is principally a meeting place for businessmen in a hurry, think again. The U.S. forms the fourth-largest inbound market of Taiwan (Japan, China and Hong Kong top the list), with more than 360,000 visitors from this country having visited the island in 2009 alone, a stunning leap forward from 100,000 in 2008.

The 2010 Taiwan Lantern Festival opens in Chiayi.

Kerry Wu of the bureau’s international affairs division. “We are also raising the quality of our hotel facilities and service standards, with the aim of bringing satisfaction to tourists from all corners of the world.” Because Taiwan is relatively small, traveling around the island is both convenient and efficient. Its public transportation system—including domestic flights and its Taiwan High Speed Rail, capable of whisking the traveler from the top of the island to the bottom in an astonishing 90 minutes—is one of the best in the world. Within an hour of Taipei, tourists can enjoy a quiet hike up many of the surrounding beautiful mountains, soak relaxingly in a hot spring pool, or try fresh and tasty seafood in the coastal areas. Ms. Wu added, “We have ecotourism, recreation farms, national forest recreation areas and theme park tourism packages that may be especially suitable for families with children.” And while a number of the hotels encountered on a recent trip to Taiwan—Taipei’s Formosa Regent; the beguilingly austere Silks Place in Taroko National Park; Kaohsiung’s 85-story-high Splendor—are on a par with the world’s finest, many places on the island, such as Kenting National Park, situated at the southernmost tip of the island, have small, affordable hotels charging only $50 a night, or family-style resorts such as the Janfusun Prince Hotel, located at the entrance to the gigantic Janfusun Fancyworld CONTINUED ON PAGE

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www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


Һ೽ഋᢎӎ‫׋‬ġ Taiwan Tourism Bureau http://taiwan.net.tw


ASIA-PACIFIC FROM PAGE

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theme Park, or the Nice Prince Hotel, based at the foot of Mt. Alishan, a mountain resort and natural preserve nestled in the mountains of Chiayi that contains mountain wilderness, four villages, waterfalls, high altitude tea plantations, the Alishan Forest Railway and several hiking trails. Many of these include buffet breakfasts and swimming pools and charge around $120 a night, everything included—an unbeatable deal. The stunning Sun Moon Lake, the largest natural lake in Taiwan, is another family-friendly attraction. The area surrounding it is home to the Thao tribe, one of aboriginal tribes in Taiwan. Sun Moon Lake surrounds a tiny island called Lalu. The east side of the lake looks like a sun and the west side looks like a moon, hence the name. Not only can families and couples enjoy the gorgeous scenery; they can also learn about Taiwan’s indigenous tribes and their unique but little-known cultures. Environmentally aware tourists will find much to love among the abundance of flora and fauna and pure natural atmosphere, especially on the outlying islands of Penghu and Green Island. Formosa Regent, www.grandformosa.com.tw; Silks Place, www.silksplace-taroko.com.tw; Splendor Kaohsiung, www.thesplendor-khh.com.tw; Janfusun Prince Hotel, www.princehotels.co.jp/janfusun-e; Nice Prince Hotel, www.niceprince.com.tw Children and adults alike will find fascination with the Gold Ecological Park, located in the hills above Taipei, about an hour’s drive away. Once a booming town, with the decline of the local mining industry, the gold mining years became but a chapter in history. The beautifully preserved park allows visitors to go back in time, walking through the Benshan Fifth Tunnel, an actual gold-mining tunnel, to learn first-hand the working conditions of miners in former times, including how they extracted the gold and transported it out of the tunnel; inspecting the old copper refinery factory, wandering through old Citang Alley, visiting Cyuanji Temple and visiting the Museum of Gold. Gold Ecological Parkwww.gep.tpc.gov.tw Although in the past it has focused largely on its manufacturing and high-tech industries, Taiwan has an abundance of natural beauty—majestic mountains, magnificent coastal areas—that it has begun promoting in recent years. The Yehliu Geopark, a geographical curiosity, is located some 45 minutes outside of Taipei. Known by geologists as Yehlio Promontory, it is distinguished by the “hoodoo stones,” or rock formations, dotting its surface. Many of these have been given imaginative names based on their shapes. The most well-known is the “The Queen’s Head,” an iconic image in Taiwan and an unofficial emblem for the town of Wanli, where the park is located. Tourists in search of the out-of-the-ordinary will find much to love in Taroko National Park, with its vast canyons, rushing streams, alpine lakes, natural cliffs and tunnels, to say nothing of the opportunity to visit with mem-

A temple on the cliffs of the Taroko National Gorge.

bers of the island’s Aborginial tribes, even sampling some of their mountain bamboo dishes and other unique cuisines. Every November, the Taroko Music Festival takes place, attracting many tourists and visitors, with shuttles from Xingcheng station available for convenient transportation. And now in its 10th year, the Taroko International Marathon, restricted to only 10,000 participants, also takes place in November, when cool breezes flow in with the onset of autumn. It’s a great opportunity to experience the Gorge’s lush paradise on your own two feet. Chinese Taipei Road Running Association, www.sportsnet.org.tw/en/

The Quest for the Spiritual For the many travelers in search of spiritual enlightenment, a visit to two of the island’s enormous Bhuddist monasteries would certainly pave the way. The first, Dharma Drum Mountain, is a worldwide organization, with 41 offices and sanctuaries in Taiwan alone. Its flagship location in Kaohsiung is a vast, 55-acre complex of temples, sanctuaries, educational centers and libraries, as well as being the home to Dharma Drum University. Some 3,500 monks and nuns dine in silence three times daily. The second, the Fo Guang Shan Monastery, is an international Chinese Mahayana Buddhist monastic order based in the Republic of China (Taiwan), and one of the largest Buddhist organizations. The headquarters of Fo Guang Shan, located in Kaohsiung, is the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. The organization itself is also one of the largest charity organizations in Taiwan. Dharma Drum, www.dharmadrum.org;Fo Guang, www.fgs.org.tw

How to Get There China Airlines offers direct flights to Taiwan from New York and Los Angeles. China Airlines, www.china-airlines.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


ASIA-PACIFIC INDIA’S KINGFISHER AIRLINES SET TO JOIN ONEWORLD

Kingfisher Airlines welcomed by oneworld (from left): oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch, Royal Jordanian Chief Executive Hussein Dabbas, Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler, British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh, Kingfisher Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive Vijay Mallya, Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce, American Airlines Senior Vice-President Planning Virasb Vahidi, and Finnair Vice-President Alliances Paavo Virkkunen. India’s leading domestic carrier and only five-star airline, Kingfisher Airlines, is lining up to join oneworld® after signing a memorandum of understanding as its first step towards full membership of the world’s leading quality airline alliance, subject to Indian regulatory approval. The agreement was concluded at a recent meeting between Kingfisher Airlines’ Chairman Vijay Mallya and Chief Executives from oneworld’s 11 existing member airlines, which include some of the best and biggest names in the industry. Kingfisher Airlines has applied to India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation for authority to proceed with its membership of oneworld. A target date for Kingfisher Airlines to join the alliance will be confirmed once this approval is gained. The process to bring any airline on board normally takes around 18 months to complete, so Kingfisher Airlines could be expected to start flying as part of oneworld during 2011. Kingfisher Airlines’ addition to oneworld will link India’s most extensive domestic network with oneworld’s unrivalled global network, as the only alliance with airlines based on every continent. It will add 58 cities to the oneworld map—all of them in India. This will expand oneworld’s network to 800 destinations in almost 150 countries, served by a combined fleet of 2,350 aircraft operating some 9,000 flights a day, carrying some 340 million passengers a year. Established oneworld members American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Qantas and Royal Jordanian already serve five gateways in India between them—Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. British Airways will support Kingfisher Airlines through its alliance implementation program, as its oneworld sponsor. Kingfisher Airlines, www.flykingfisher.com; oneworld, www.oneworld.com

GOWAY ASIA GROWS ‘EXOTIC, SOFT ADVENTURE’ ASIA DESTINATION PROGRAMS TO MONGOLIA Goway Travel has expanded their product offering to one of Asia’s most intriguing countries—Mongolia. Mongolia lies at the heart of Asia, on the balance between the ‘East’ of China, and the vast wilderness of Siberian Russia. This huge, sparsely populated land encompasses a fabulous array of pristine landscapes and a nomadic people whose lives are in many ways unchanged from the days of Genghis Khan and the mighty Mongol Empire. Some of the many travel ideas include a five-day Mongolia Stopover starting at $1,029, which includes tours and sightseeing Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

in Ulaan Bataar, Kharkhorum and the Hustai National Park. Goway also offers a three-day Mongolian Adventure and Nomadic Experience tour, a seven-day Mongolia In Depth program, Mongolian Nature Expeditions for eight days or their 21-day Trans Mongolian Express rail package. Travel professionals can access detail on the packages within the list of Goway’s Exotic products to Mongolia on their website. Goway, 800-387-8850, www.goway.com/asia/mongolia, www.goway.com

KUMUKA WORLDWIDE LAUNCHES NEW ASIA & OCEANIA 2010-11 BROCHURE Kumuka Worldwide is presenting a variety of new tours for the year across India, Nepal, South Korea, Borneo, Fiji and South East Asia, with its Asia & Oceania 2010-11 brochure. The smorgasbord includes five new tours in South East Asia and three in South Korea as well as new itineraries in India, Nepal, Fiji, Borneo and Papua New Guinea. Kumuka’s new Highlights of South Korea is a seven-day tour that includes travel to Seoul to experience the famous Namdaemun Market, Gyeongbokgung Palace and national dish of Kimchi; to Geongju known as the ‘museum without walls;’ to Busan the port city and finally to Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kumuka’s new 18-day Heritage India Discovered tour offers a stylish, indulgent experience, with stays in lavish Heritage Hotels in Jaipur, Pushkar, Johdphur and Sardargarh, so travelers experience the opulent lifestyle of the Maharajas who previously resided in them. Trips to see the stunning Taj Mahal, Golden temple of Amritsar and Holy River Ganges can be added for a true Indian experience. A new Romantic Vietnam tour is perfect for couples looking for a unique getaway. It combines the best sights of Vietnam like historic Hoi An with relaxation time on the beaches of Nha Trang and Quy Nhon. Couples get to indulge in massages, champagne and sunset cruises. Kumuka’s Fiji Relaxation & Adventure Holiday is a nine-day tour to Fiji that takes in beaches, highlands and rafting through stunning canyon scenery—with an exhilarating jet boat safari to more remote traditional villages. New train tours through Thailand and Malaysia feature seven memorable train journeys through Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, with visits to the idyllic islands and vibrant cities of each. Kumuka’s more than 120 tours throughout Asia are comprised of Small Group Tours, Active Tours and Specialist Tours. Some have an age limit that takes into account suitability required for participation—for the enjoyment and safety of themselves, and their fellow traveling companions. Travelers with Kumuka have the peace of mind to know that once paid in full, their tour price will remain the same regardless of exchange-rate fluctuations. Kumuka Worldwide, 800-517-0867, adventureexperts@kumuka.com, www.kumuka.com APRIL 2010 •

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Travel World News - April 2010 Edition