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Issue No. 282

DeCeMBeR 2011 executive office

28 Knight Street Norwalk, CT 06851-4707 203.302.5865 w e b s i t e

www.travelworldnews.com publisher

Charles Gatt, Jr. charlie@travelworldnews.com editor

Carol A. Petro

editor@travelworldnews.com design production manager

Linda Rogers

linda@travelworldnews.com

Shawn Hebert • I T

manager

Cindy Johnson • c i r c u l a t i o n

manager

cruise editor

Michael Iachetta southeast regional correspondent

Joan Gonzalez

western regional correspondent

Connie Skoog

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 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 2011. 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.

INDusTRY eVeNTs Calendar of events

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For complete and current list please visit: www.travelworldnews.com/calendar

INDusTRY NeWs euRoPe Discovering Turkey’s Treasures with FLO-USA The Eastern Mediterranean B2B Exchange Turkish Airlines: To Istanbul and Beyond Turkey: Sura Design Hotel and Suites Magnificent Corinthia Hotel London Blends Traditional Grandeur with Sophisticated Signatures

8 10 13 14 16

EUROPE / Turkey - page 10

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Fam Announcements

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

CARIBBeAN Cancun Travel Mart: Looking Ahead to 2012 and the Mayan New Dawn Agents Can Earn $23,000 Selling Family Package at Lighthouse Bay Cancun: 2012 and Beyond The Caribbean B2B Exchange Hotel Villa Taina is Perfect for Fully Enjoying Dominican Republic’s Cararete Grand Case Beach Club Projects Excellent Winter Season

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CARIBBEAN / Cancun - page 22

23 24 25 26 27

LATIN AMeRICA Incomparable Panama’s CATM 2011 Promotes Splendors of Central America The Central America B2B Exchange Expo Manuel Antonio 2011 Features “The Best of Costa Rica” GT Tours Launches Air-Inclusive Specials for Latin American Trips Viajes Pacifico Provides Luxury Itineraries in Peru Latin Trails’ Amazon Tourism Club Will Add Variety to Ecuador Experience The South America B2B Exchange

28 29

LATIN AMERICA / Panama - page 28

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LATIN AMERICA / Costa Rica - page 32

PRoFITABLe WoRLD oF NIChe MARkeTs Global Vision Award Goes to Austin-Lehman Adventures for Used Bike Program The Adventure B2B Exchange Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas Creates Profit Widget for Dive Travel Agents The Dive B2B Exchange The Special Interest B2B Exchange UTS Offers Unusual Adriatic Region Cycling Tour

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PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS / Botswana - page 40


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INDUSTRy EVENTS souTh AFRICAN AIRWAYs AND oN shoW soLuTIoNs seT 2012 sCheDuLe FoR souTheRN AFRICA shoWCAse

South African Airways and event organizer On Show Solutions have finalized dates in 2012 for their popular Southern Africa Showcase. The information trade showcase will be held in six major US cities September 5–13, including four new cities. Plans are in place to host agents and tour operators specializing in Africa for one-one-one presentations with world-class exhibitors representing luxury hotels, safari game lodges, destinations tourism organizations and other travel services from throughout Southern Africa. Travel professionals will learn the latest updates about the region, ensuring they receive the competitive edge for sales to this lucrative

6 •DeCeMBeR 2011

and specialized market segment. The dates and cities for 2012 are September 5, Los Angeles/Orange County; September 6, Denver; September 10, Atlanta; September 11, Boston; September 12, Stamford/Greenwich, CT; and September 13, New york City/Long Island, Ny. “The 2011 Showcase was a success, thanks to a stellar lineup of exhibitors, and the truly capable planning and leadership of On Show Solutions,” said Todd Neuman, executive vice president, North America, for South African Airways. “Looking to 2012, we aim to stage an ever more enriching and valuable showcase, building on the fact that it has become a popular event for travel professionals who specialize in selling Southern Africa. We will make stops in the traditionally strong markets such as New york and Los Angeles, while also visiting new cities which continue to show a growth in interest for travel to the African continent.” “Now in our fourth year running the Southern Africa Showcase with SAA, it is exciting to see the commitment from the Southern African suppliers,” says Jacqui Reynolds, owner of On Show Solutions. “The Southern African Showcase has become a key event on the tourism calendar with many suppliers using these product seminars as their primary marketing platform for the U.S. market.” Additional details and updates about the 2012 Southern Africa Showcase will be issued in the coming months. south African Airways (sAA), 800-722-9675, www.flysaa.com; on show solutions, ideas@onshowsolutions.co.za, www.onshowsolutions.co.za

www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


INDUSTRy EVENTS eXPoTuR 2012 PRoMoTeD IN 5 CoNTINeNTs From May 9 to 11, 2012 EXPOTUR, the most important travel trade mart of Central America, will be held at the Ramada Plaza Herradura Conventions Center, in San Antonio Belen, Costa Rica. yadyra Simon, President of the Costa Rica Association of Professionals in Tourism (ACOPROT), organizer of the mart, indicated that since the last edition their executives have attended and plan to be in the main tourist fairs to promote the event. Information will also be sent to Asia, Australia and Africa. In its upcoming 28th edition, EXPOTUR, as a commercialization mart, will promote the effective gathering of buying wholesalers with the suppliers of the entire region to close business agreements. The event offers innovations in products, new properties and multiple services as well as very attractive alternatives for all participants. eXPoTuR, www.expotur.com

WoRLD TouRIsM AWARDs AT WTM

British Airways, Jonathan M. Tisch and National Geographic Traveler were presented the 2011 World Tourism Awards at World Travel Market in London recently. Celebrating its 14th anniversary, the Awards are co-sponsored by American Express, Corinthia Hotels, International Herald Tribune and Reed Travel Exhibitions. British Airways was recognized for “its investment annually (roughly $8–9.6 million) to support its Global Community Programs, in direct and in-kind donations, to more than 100 community- and conservation-focused charities around the world as well as in the UK.” Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman and CEO, Loews Hotels, was honored for “his leadership role to help rebuild New york City in the aftermath of September 11, by reviving the local travel and tourism industry and for securing major funding for NyC & Company to expand its global marketing initiatives, resulting in record tourism for New york City.” National Geographic Traveler was recognized for “its pioneering geotourism, and working with local communities around the world to create Geotourism Mapguides that raise awareness of a destination’s endemic natural and cultural assets, thereby contributing to sustainability and community-based tourism development.” Shown left to right: Patrick Falconer, Managing Director– United Kingdom, Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa, The New yorkTimes/International Herald Tribune; accepting on behalf of Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman and CEO, Loews Hotels, George Fertitta, CEO, NyC & Company; Alfred Pisani, Founder and Group Chairman, Corinthia Hotels; Sheila Heustess, VP, Travel Industry Relations, American Express; and Fiona Jeffery, Chairman, World Travel Market for Reed Travel Exhibitions. The Bradford Group, info@bradfordglobalmarketing.com, www.bradfordglobalmarketing.com Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

DeCeMBeR 2011 •

7


INDUSTRy NEWS GoWAY oFFeRs AGeNT INCeNTIVes, APT ReWARDs

A recent promotion by Australian Pacific Tours offered Goway agents the opportunity to earn an iPod Nano, iPod Touch or iPad for booking APT fully escorted coach tours to New Zealand. Australian Pacific Tours Sales Manager Aubrey Schmidt was in Toronto and Vancouver to acknowledge the top sellers of APT’s New Zealand fully escorted Premier Plus, Premier and Affordable Tours. In addition to internal incentives, Goway offers many creative incentives to all their valued agents, which range from products such as free airline tickets, to incentives paid onto Goway’s unique reward card, which can be used at a variety of stores throughout North America. Applying for the card can be done online. On Goway’s agent page, a variety of rewards are listed Pictured accepting their awards from Aubrey (center) are and updated regularly. Goway Toronto staff members sunita singh, Zarir Irani, Australian Pacific Tours is one of the South Pacific’s premier coach tourCarolyn Bell and emma Woodward and in Vancouver ing companies. Famiily owned and run for over 80 years, The McGeary famMichael Whittington. ily started APT based on a personal dream to offer unique and luxurious holidays to travelers who have a spirit of adventure and discovery. All prices are fully inclusive and guaranteed and with APT, all programs have a great mix of cultural touring experiences included so passengers can discover local culture first-hand. “Coach touring is a great way to experience Australia and New Zealand,” commented Product Manager Meghan Boyd, “It’s a worryfree tour for travelers ensuring they see all of the key sights under the guidance of a professional tour director. And for agents, it’s a simple sale that earns great commissions.” More information on Goway’s escorted touring experiences in Australia and New Zealand is available in their Downunder or Australia & New Zealand Escorted Touring brochures. Goway Travel, 800-387-8850, www.goway.com/motorcoach, www.goway.com/thecard, www.gowayagent.com, www.goway.com

GLoBAL VoYAGes GRouP NAMes jANICe TuLLY BRAND MANAGeR FoR sCeNIC CRuIses, TouRs Janice Tully, CTIE, has been named U.S. Brand Manager for two of Global Voyages Group’s (GVG) clients, Scenic Cruises and Scenic Tours. Tully is responsible for maximizing U.S. sales results for the two GVG clients and will have overall responsibility for Scenic’s marketing, public relations and collateral development as well as for developing and implementing training programs for travel sellers. Tully brings more than 30 years of travel industry experience to GVG, most recently serving as Senior Vice President, Sales, for Uniworld. She has also served in sales and marketing roles for Islands in the Sun, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises and Sitmar. “Janice is a true expert in river cruises and in the escorted tour business,” said David Giersdorf, president & CEO Global Voyages Group. “Her stellar reputation in the travel industry and vast experience in river cruising jANICe TuLLY and escorted tours will bring incredible insights and results to Scenic.” GVG was founded in 2010 and has been working to expand business in North America for clients including Scenic Cruises and Scenic Tours. The company provides a comprehensive, cost-effective and performance improving solution for cruise companies, tour operators and other travel suppliers in the North America market. Global Voyages Group (GVG), www.globalvoyagesgroup.com

hAhN AIR ANNouNCes 250Th PARTNeR AIRLINe: jeTBLue AIRWAYs Hahn Air announces JetBlue Airways (B6), New york’s Hometown Airline™, as its 250th partner airline to sign an Interline E-Ticketing (IET) agreement. A record number of airlines are now available for e-ticketing on Hahn Air’s universal e-ticketing platform. Since 1999, when the first IET agreement was signed, Hahn Air has successfully implemented a total of 250 partner airlines into its eticketing platform ensuring that the Hahn Air e-document (HR-169) covers every conceivable interline scenario. Flights of Hahn Air partner airlines are available in all Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) worldwide and in more than 190 countries. JetBlue Airways (B6) is an American value airline headquartered in New york. Its main base is the newly built Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Since 1999, when JetBlue was established, it has become the sixth largest airline in the United States by revenue passenger miles, operating 650 flights a day. JetBlue’s fleet will consist of 120 Airbus A320 and 49 Embraer E190 aircraft by the end of the year. JetBlue is available in Sabre, Worldspan, Apollo, Galileo systems and Amadeus GDS. hahn Air, www.hahnair.com; jetBlue Airways, www.jetblue.com 8 • DeCeMBeR 2011

www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


INDUSTRy NEWS

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CLAY sAWYeR NAMeD DIReCToR oF MARkeTING FoR IhG LATIN AMeRICA & CARIBBeAN ReGIoN IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has named Clay Sawyer Director of Marketing for its Latin America & Caribbean region, with responsibility for developing and implementing marketing strategies that support 77 multibranded hotel properties. He will be based at IHG’s Americas corporate office in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to his new role, Sawyer was Director of Sales & Marketing at the 780-room Holiday Inn Parque Anhembi hotel in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the largest IHG-branded hotel in the region, as well as one of city’s most popular convention services venues. Earlier, Sawyer served in a number of executive capacities with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, also in Brazil. “Clay brings with him a broad marketing skill set that will enable him to leverage the full range of IHG’s marketing resources for the benefit of the region,” said Ricardo Lopez, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, IHG Latin America & Caribbean. “In addition, Clay’s extensive experience in hotels allows him to be a key advocate CLAY sAWYeR for hotels and enable him to create synergies between regional and local marketing investments.” “These are very exciting times for the hospitality industry in Latin America and the Caribbean, and for IHG in particular,” Sawyer added. “There is a great deal of growth in the region, and I am very pleased to be working with the world’s most recognized hotel brands, within a company whose roots in the region span 65 years.” Sawyer, who is trilingual (English, Portuguese, Spanish), graduated from Florida International University, with a focus on marketing, finance and international business. IhG (InterContinental hotels Group), www.ihg.com

CoRINThIA hoTeLs APPoINTs ReNoWNeD hoTeLIeR LIAM LAMBeRT To heAD hoTeL oPeRATIoNs Corinthia Hotels has appointed seasoned hotelier Liam Lambert as its Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Lambert will be directing Corinthia Hotels’ strategic operational objectives to maximize product quality, guest satisfaction and profitability across all owned and managed hotels. Lambert joins Corinthia Hotels following an illustrious international career spanning 30 years and four continents. His last appointment was that of President of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts. Prior to that, he was Director of Operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East for Mandarin Oriental Hotels. “Corinthia Hotels is a natural move for me. Importantly, apart from its wonderful properties, the company puts great focus on its Spirit of Corinthia message and its Craftsmanship of Care philosophy among its team members, which are both very close to my heart. I am truly excited by the prospect of working as both coach and team player LIAM LAMBeRT in helping to grow the Corinthia portfolio,” said Lambert. Welcoming his appointment, Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels, said “Liam joins Corinthia at an exciting time, having just launched our flagship London hotel and looking forward to actively expanding our brand in major cities around the world. With his vast experience and extensive international luxury hospitality knowledge, Liam will be influential in giving life to our brand values across our collection of hotels, whilst providing a sound operational platform to our growth.” Lambert, an Irish citizen, is a graduate of Harvard Business School. He is married and has three daughters. He will operate from his London base initially before relocating to the company’s headquarters in Malta next year. Corinthia hotels, www.corinthia.com Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

DeCeMBeR 2011 •

9


EUROPE

Discovering Turkey’s Treasures with FLO-USA

A stable government and weak currency make this historically rich country a booming tourist mecca. G A i L P. D U b O v

A

hot air balloon: even a cloudy day can’t stop a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia from being magical!

bridge between two continents with one foot in Europe and another in Asia, Turkey’s cultural and historic treasures delight and inspire even seasoned travelers. its breathtaking natural beauty, unique archaeological sites, deluxe hotels, and ever-improving infrastructure have spiked tourism numbers for the past few years. With a tradition of hospitality that’s legendary, and a weakening local currency, not only are tourists warmly welcomed, they get a lot more bang for their buck. And, with political and economic unrest in neighboring countries, Turkey is a safe, stable travel option, a modern secular country with a booming economy. it is quickly becoming the most popular tourism destination in the region, making it easier to sell than ever before. FLO-USA, a Florida-based tour operator, is committed to bringing the glory of Turkey to the American market. A familyowned-and-operated boutique travel company, it offers small group tours, private luxury tours, and special-interest travel. its owner, Cengiz Aras, a Turkish archeologist, and his wife, Shebby, an architect, manage their Orlando-based US office, sending groups of 12-16 to Turkey, Greece, Egypt, China, and most recently, Jordan and israel. FLO has local offices in istanbul and Cappadocia as well as Cairo and Athens. Whether it's history, religion, food, golf, shopping, specialized location tours, or one-of-a-kind honeymoons, FLO offers trips that are affordable, with an eye on service and quality. The company avoids large US chain hotels, preferring five-star Turkish properties or charming, small boutique hotels. “We don’t try to save pennies and dimes when it comes to accommodations,” FLO owner Aras explained. “We book the best that’s available, even if it’s expensive beach hotels in the summer.” Tour guides are knowledgeable, licensed professionals and drivers are trained 10 • DeCeMBeR 2011

every year to operate the company’s new fleet of nine buses and eight minivans. FLO also has two S-500 Mercedes and four bMW’s for private tours. All equipment in Turkey is owned by the company, which gives them control of vehicle servicing. in fact, other tour operators rent FLO’s vehicles when available. “No one can compete service-wide with us,” explained owner Aras. Unlike many competitors, most meals are included in escorted tour packages and there are no hidden costs, no optional tours. Turkish Delight, FLO-USA’s 10-day escorted tour covers all the “must see” spots of the country.

First Stop, istanbul istanbul is a mix of the exotic and the cosmopolitan. Perhaps no coincidence, it's area code is 212, the same as New York – and despite its minarets and hilly cobblestone streets, it’s humming with the energy of a big city, with a sexy European twist. but history is what puts istanbul on the map. Roman sites like the Hippodrome, where chariot races took place, was the heart of Constantinople’s political and sporting life. Close by is the grand Haghia Sophia, built as the greatest church in the Christian world, a masterpiece of 6th-century engineering with the largest dome constructed until St Peter’s was built in Rome a thousand years later. Converted to a mosque in 1453, it now stands as a museum, its thick ancient walls echoing with history. Across from Haghia Sophia is the Sultanahmet Mosque, or “blue Mosque.” its six minarets and cascade of domes light up at night giving the Sultanahmet district a Disney-like aura. but nothing comes close to the splendor of Topkapi Palace, a former residence of the great Ottoman sultans. Wandering through its hundreds of rooms and many courtyards, the palace can take up half a day in istanbul. The harem quarters, set CONTINUED ON PAGE

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www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


EUROPE DIsCoVeRING TuRkeY

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aside exclusively for the sultan’s mother and his concubines, are rich with tile work, mosaics, domed roofs, and heated marble floors. Nearby, the Yerebatan Sarnici, the city’s ancient underground cistern, is a must-see. its brick vaulted ceilings and rows of marble columns rise from pools of water, dramatically lit under istanbul’s streets. but the liveliest destination in istanbul is the Grand bazaar, miles of aisles chock full of shops selling anything you can think of. it’s an indoor mall with aggressive salesmen playfully luring the wandering tourist in to their shop to buy carpets, leather, jewelry, pottery. When the Grand bazaar ends, the Spice Market begins. Senses are bombarded with heaps of red saffron, yellow turmeric, and a kaleidoscope of other colorful spices. Turkish Delights, small gelatin-like candies covered in powdered sugar, are offered to entice you to buy a box, or perhaps five, at a special tourist price – just for you!

To Ephesus and beyond FLO-USA packs the best of Turkey’s archeological sites into their itineraries. but perhaps the highlight of any trip to Turkey is a visit to Ephesus, one of the largest and best-preserved ancient cities in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking the remarkably preserved wide marble streets (with chariot grooves still visible!), flanked by towering columns and temples, is an unforgettable experience. The Library of Celsus, a tiered façade decorated with exquisite statues and once holding three million books, stands at the end of the wide boulevard. Arches, statues, and carved marble is everywhere, including a carved relief of Nike, the winged goddess of victory, pointing the way to the city center. Ephesus was the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, no longer standing, though if you listen carefully, you can hear echoes of history as you walk the hallowed grounds. Other sites visited in the ten-day itinerary are the Necropolis in Pamukkale with hundreds of ancient tombs dotting the hillside; Perge, most notable for its huge marble pool running down the center of the main thoroughfare, the water source in the hillside beyond; Aspendos, with its beautiful Roman theatre; and Aphrodisias, the ancient city dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. The itinerary includes stops at the fascinating Antalya Regional Archeological Museum, home to an astounding collection of artifacts, marble statuary ,and sarcophagi; the Mevlana Museum in Konya, a 13th century whirling dervish monastery and nearby tomb of Rumi; and the historic Agzikarahan Caravanserai, where travelers on the Silk Route stopped to rest their camels and spend the night. Nothing can prepare a traveler for the landscape of Cappadocia. Some call it lunar, i call it bewitching, especially seen from the perch of a hot air balloon. its rocky cliffs and towering sandstone pillars stand tall, eroding over the centuries. Rocks appear to be balancing on top of high stone columns, for12 • DeCeMBeR 2011

mations known as “fairy chimneys”. Carved into the rock are scores of hidden chapels at Goreme, an open-air museum with a series of domed rooms adorned with exquisite frescoes, their brightly colored paint still visible centuries later. Descending into the warren-like subterranean city of nearby Kaymakli is entering yet another surreal world. believed to have housed thousands of people from the 6th to the 9th centuries, it is five levels deep and covers one square mile underground. Amazing!

Oh the Food! Whether Turkish cuisine originated in the grand kitchens of the sultans or in small villages growing an abundance of eggplant, it ranks as one of the world's top culinary traditions. And everything delights the palette, whether high end cooking or simple street fare. Kebap, grilled cubes of skewered meat, are Turkey’s response to fast food. “Lahmacun” is its answer to pizza. “Dolma” is a popular stuffed vegetable with rice or meat and “borek” are pies of flaky pastry stuffed with meat or cheese. There are lamb stews cooked in sealed pottery crocks and the freshest fish from the surrounding seas. Meze are small dishes of everything from creamy feta cheese to marinated mackerel. breads abound--from flat bread to the famous “simit” – sesame seed rings sold on the streets of istanbul. Famous Turkish desserts like “helva” (a mix of flour, pine nuts, butter and sugar), baklava, or muhallebi, popular milk puddings, are a sweet end to a meal. Olives, figs, dates, apricots, fresh pomegranate juice, local cheeses, and fresh salads are on every buffet. Any meal is enhanced with a glass of raki, an anise-flavored spirit or brought to a close with a glass of thick, dark Turkish coffee.

Committed to Serve Client and Agent “Our istanbul office is doing very well,” Aras told Travel World News. international clients from Europe, China, Japan, and brazil are booking tours through local FLO offices. but, according to Aras, the American market is still timid about traveling – for economic and political reasons. With the Turkish lira so low next to the dollar, he is hoping for a banner year in 2012. “The price will be lower in 2012, even lower than this year,” Aras explained. in past years, FLO sent up to four thousand clients to Turkey a year and they are hoping to see numbers inch back up to that level. “it’s not easy to serve the American client,” owner Aras explained. To be sure he serves them well, Aras has a varied schedule of FAM trips to acquaint travel agents with FLO-USA destinations. The FLO agent site below will give dates, prices and itineraries for FAMS in 2012 to China, the Holyland, Turkey, Russia, india, Egypt, Greece, and their new destination, vietnam. Turkish Delight 10-day escorted tours to Kusadasi, Pamukkale, Antalya, Cappadocia and istanbul start at $1799/ppdo.

FLO-USA, 888-435-6872, info@flo-usa.com, www.flo-usa.com, www.agentfamtrips.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN b 2 b The Most Unusual Cycling Tour Dalmatian Island-hopping Cruise and Cycling Tour The ideal way to see some of the most beautiful islands of Adriatic and enjoy an active vacation For departure dates and pricing please call:

310-428-1343 http://www.uts-travel.com Info@uts-travel.com

GMTours specializes in programs to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Dubai & Morocco. In addition to our advertised packaged tours, which offer excellent value, we customize a program to suit specific requirements. Our tours can be booked individually or in your choice of combinations. GMTours strives to maintain superior customer satisfaction.

800-836-6836

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The exotic Mediterranean is our home, where each one of our visitors is welcome and treated as our personal guest. We recognize the significant responsibility of sending travelers to this region, rich in cultural, historical, spiritual and emotional significance. Ya’lla Tours USA has made a commitment to excellence that will meet and often even surpass all expectations.

800-644-1595

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EXCHANGE

“They take you by a boat to an island, drop you off with your bike, you cycle for about 20-40 miles to the other side of island and by the time you get there, the boat is already waiting. Aftwards, we find some secluded beach on some remote and lost island where we swim, eat, drink and have fun. Same thing the next day except you are on different island. This goes on every day; different island, different scenery, different food but always the same fun.” – L.C.

Egypt tours and travEl is a land and Cruise tour operator whichspecializes in tours to Egypt, Jordan, Israel, syria, turkey, lebanon, Kenya, greece, and Iran.

We use some of the most sophisticated and luxurious cruise ships on the Nile today!

Relying on the experience of its Egyptian sister company Sakkara Tours, STI Voyages has become one of the top French tour operators, serving over 70 thousand travelers. We thrive to provide our customers with tailor made programs while focusing on memorable voyages of discovery and relaxation where every destination, cruise, cultural circuit, safari and sea resort can be relished individually or in groups.

www.egypttours.com

www.sti-travel.com

We focus on sharing wonderful experiences in countries on the Mediterranean along with tours to Jordan. Enjoy the ancient worlds of the Egyptians, Greeks or Romans, or modern-day life in Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Jordan and Italy.

Sunny Land TourS is one of the largest specialists to Egypt and the Middle East, and had been known as a Mediterranean and Middle East specialist tour operator until the company expanded its product line to Central America and South America, and as a result of this move Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru and Galapagos have become one of Sunny Land’s most important destinations.

www.taltours.com

800-783-7839 www.sunnylandtours.com

www.cloudtours.com


EUROPE

Turkish Airlines: To istanbul and beyond

voted Europe's best Airline in 2011, there are blue skies ahead for this fast-growing carrier.

G A i L P. D U b O v

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t is hard to argue with numbers. Data from the World Tourism Organization shows that global tourism declined over 4% last year. but Turkey managed to increase tourism by over 3%. And, in the first six months of 2011, the number of visitors coming to istanbul increased 15%. but the most impressive numbers are for the country’s airline. While airlines around the world are suffering from the sluggish global economy, Turkish Airlines is showing growing profits. it was voted “Europe’s best Airline” by Skytrax in 2011, and garnered awards for “Southern Europe’s best Airline” and world’s “best Premium Economy Class MeVLuT kAYAR Airline Seat”. The survey, aviation’s “Oscars,” are based on passenger votes – and the fact is, 19 million passengers can’t be wrong. And awards keep coming. The “Market Leadership Award 2011” was presented by Air Transport World, the leading magazine covering the global airline industry. Placing 7th in the world’s “best Airline” ranking, Turkish Airlines is on a roll, growing fast as a global gateway to Turkey and beyond. it’s all about location, location, location. istanbul is in the perfect geographic spot for easy connections to destinations north, south, and east. Flying to over sixty countries, the airline has popular routes to 192 destinations, not only in the U.S. and Europe, but farther east and in Africa. it’s setting its sights on becoming a truly intercontinental hub airline, able to offer connections to all corners of the globe via istanbul’s Ataturk international Airport. Part of the Star Alliance, Turkish Airlines has gained more strength than ever in the past few years. The airline served approximately 17 million people and made $2.2 billion in 2006. in 2009 their passenger total was up to just over 25 million with total revenue of $4 billion. The target for the end of 2011 is $8 billion, with passengers totaling 35 million. The carrier plans to increase seat capacity by 16% and increase its fleet to 177 aircraft. Twenty boeing 737-800’s and 15 boeing 737-900ERs are on order, all featuring innovative Sky interiors. The 900ER airplanes will have additional fuel tanks, increasing their range and scheduled for use on African routes. Four of the aircraft will be delivered and added to the airline's fleet in late 2011 with delivery of the rest 14 • DeCeMBeR 2011

completed by 2015. These new aircraft are part of the Airlines’ ongoing fleet expansion and renewal, giving the carrier one of the most modern and technologically advanced fleets in the world.

Turkish Airlines Launches New Routes to Africa and Middle East Mevlut Kayar, Turkish Airlines’ new general manager for Chicago and the Midwest, knows Nairobi better than Michigan Avenue. in 2009 he was appointed to Kenya as general manager to open that destination with flights from istanbul to Nairobi. The airline started with three flights a week and in four months increased to five. “it was not easy to make business and start new flights in Kenya,” Kayar told Travel World News. but one year later, daily flights were started and Kenya is now one of Turkish Airlines best destinations in Africa. The airline has run FAM trips from Europe to Kenya and sponsored two documentary films about Kenya to publicize the destination. And it worked. Now, flights to Nairobi are completely booked during the holidays. The airline launched service to Entebbe, Uganda and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania last year, adding to a list of African destinations that includes Johannesburg, Tunis, Algiers, Casablanca, Khartoum, Addis Ababa, Lagos and Dakar. The airline now operates over 90 weekly flights to 17 destinations on the continent. Flights to Dar es Salaam, three a week via Nairobi, will become four direct fights a week starting in December. “Potential is great for Turkish Airlines in Tanzania,” Kayar told Travel World News. With even more name recognition than Kenya, and Zanzibar an added attraction, Kayar believes the new direct flights from istanbul will be just the beginning of a growing market to Tanzania. And for Americans connecting through istanbul, a few nights of belly dancing and kebabs are a great way to begin – or end – a safari. Turkish Airlines is becoming a serious contender for the wider Middle Eastern market. New routes have been announced to Mosul, iraq, and Mitiga, Libya with four weekly flights operating to both destinations. The airline flies to beirut and Cairo and Saudi and Gulf destinations. it flies four times daily between Tel Aviv and istanbul, one of their most popular routes. With Turkey located between the Middle East and European regions, travel time is approximately three hours. The airline has been focusing on the axis around this region where $14 billion worth of travel takes place. www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


EUROPE gail p. dubov

Airlines. The earned miles can be used for Turkish Airlines’ flights as well as flights on Lufthansa, including the entire Star Alliance Network.

Turkish Airlines, 800-874-8875, www.turkishairlines.com

2012 MeDITeRRANeAN TouR PRoGRAM LAuNCheD BY uNIVeRsAL TRAVeL sYsTeM

An imposing building in sultanahmet, haghia sophia, built in the 6th century, is now a museum.

U.S. Gateways: istanbul, First Stop Turkish Airlines has signed Kobe bryant as brand promotion ambassador and Caroline Wozniacki (No.1 female tennis player in 2011) as the new face promoting Turkish Airlines business and Comfort Class. With an aggressive marketing campaign and competitive fares in its gateways of New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago, Turkish Airlines is building greater U.S. awareness. its new premium economy “Comfort Class,” configured between economy and business class, offers more legroom, wider seats and more onboard catering without the cost of a business class ticket. Comfort Class is available on the new fleet of boeing 777s. The Chicago market now has fares as low as $505 to istanbul in low season, with “Early bird” pricing reducing fares booked three or four months in advance. Chicago has hot ticket prices to Amman, beirut, Dubai, Cairo, Damascus and Tel Aviv for as low as $699. Flights to istanbul from New York depart twice daily; Chicago flights depart once a day; Los Angeles flights depart five times a week but will begin daily service in 2012; Washington, D.C. flies six times a week to istanbul. According to general manager Kayar, 65% of Americans traveling on Turkish Airlines head for istanbul and 35% continue beyond to other destinations. Miles&Smiles is the frequent-flier program of Turkish Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

Universal Travel System (UTS), a Santa Monica, Californiabased tour operator, is launching its 2012 Tour Program. The focus continues to be the Mediterranean basin and number of tours and destinations have been added for 2012. Croatia, Turkey, Israel, Greece, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia are now featured in various UTS programs. Deluxe and budget tour programs will be available to these destinations in 2012. Another addition to next year’s programs includes Mediterranean and Adriatic cruises (luxury and budget).The company’s budget programs are particularly suitable for groups. UTS will have number of familiarization trips to various destinations including Adriatic and Mediterranean cruises and will extend special discounts to travel agents taking UTS’ regular tours. UTS will also send a number of media representatives this year to its destinations. Most UTS 2012 tours have been already been loaded onto their website. universal Travel system (uTs), 800-848-3611, info@uts-travel.com, www.uts-travel.com

GoWAY LAuNChes uNIque IsRAeL eXPeRIeNCe Goway’s 2011 Africa and Middle East travel planner has just been launched. One of the exciting and innovative products featured is Goway’s first small-group guaranteed departure program to Israel. “We recognized the demand for a tour which offers all the advantages of a small group, while staying in first or deluxe accommodation and seeing all the must-see sights,” said Moira Smith, General Manager for Goway’s AFRICAExperts. In addition to the classical tourist sites such as Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Caesarea, Acre and the Sea of Galilee, this 8-day/7-night program offers some exclusive features that include: artists’ sites in Tel-Aviv like The Nachum Gutman Museum and Dani Karavan’s environmental sculpture the “White Square;” the desert in the Negev; the ancient city of Tel Be’er Sheva, a World Heritage UNESCO site; and a visit to a unique and unusual local spice market to enjoy the rich aroma of Israeli tastes and flavors. Goway’s Treasures of Israel program starts from $1,970. This includes 7 nights’ accommodation, breakfast and dinners, all sightseeing, an English-speaking guide and a luxury air-conditioned vehicle. Goway Travel, 800-245-0920, info@africaexperts.com, www.goway.com DeCeMBeR 2011 •

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Turkey: Sura Design Hotel and Suites

Focused on high design and personal service, a luxury boutique hotel opens in istanbul. G A i L P. D U b O v

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gail p. dubov

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here’s lots of activity at the Sura Design Hotel and Suites. busboys rush by with fresh flowers as hotel staff put the finishing touches on this new addition to istanbul’s short list of distinctive boutique hotels. it's about to have its “soft opening” and there’s excitement in the air. This elegant 60-room hotel is right in the middle of istanbul’s hottest area, Sultanahmet, and within walking distance of everything that makes the city an architectural and historic treasure. Topkapi Palace, Haghia Sophia, the blue Mosque, the Archeological Museum, basilica Cistern, and the Grand bazaar are within a ten-minute walk. The area is alive with shops, cafés, and restaurants. There isn’t a better location for a visitor to stay if they want to hit the hot spots of istanbul. For the discerning client who wants comfort, contemporary elegance, and personal service, Sura Design Hotel and Suites is a quiet oasis in this exotic, energetic city. Using a twist of phrase, “if they come, i will build it,” Sura Design Hotel and Suites was conceived. ibrahim Kaygisiz, owner of an international jewelry company, welcomed business associates to istanbul, only to find it difficult to book them into the kind of hotel he would want to stay at himself. So as any entrepreneurial businessman would do, he decided to build his own hotel. Turning to his designer/architect son, Mustafa Kaygisiz, he commissioned a hotel with distinct contemporary design features – and the Sura was born – the first of nine hotels he is now building around the country. Today the hotel has references to its owner’s profession with floors named for gemstones: Amber, Turquoise, Lapis, and Silver. Each floor offers soundproof rooms with a specific color theme and stylish, uniquely-designed spacious interiors. Luxury linens, terry robes, marble bathrooms, a phone charger/radio, wi-fi access, and coffee machine are available in each room. Amber rooms are yellow and gold and exude elegance; Turquoise rooms purport to relax and ease peace of mind; Lapis rooms are rich, dark blue and “ignite passion and romance”; and Silver rooms are black, silver, and pink, reminiscent of the opulent colors of the silk road. All rooms have balconies with café tables and chairs, some overlooking a courtyard garden and the blue Mosque beyond. Others face the narrow cobblestone street the hotel opens on, its patisserie and outdoor café lining the sidewalk below. The hotel restaurant, Gurme Kebap, seats 300 indoors and 60 outdoors, with an outdoor heating system that allows for al fresco dining all year round. Not only does the restaurant serve fresh traditional Turkish specialties, all meats are raised on the owner’s organic farm 65 kilometers from istanbul. The newly opened Café Sura serves traditional Turkish pastries and coffee with both indoor and outdoor seat-

Manager Cenk sabuncuoglu and owner Ibrahim kaygisiz at the entrance to sura Design hotel and suites in Istanbul. ing. A meeting room/banquet hall for 300, a smaller one for 60, plus a garden area add potential for corporate and private events. A gym and a restored historical hamam (Turkish bath) are available, as will be the soon-to-open business center and rooftop terrace. “istanbul tourism is growing and our economy is strong,” Cenk Sabuncuoglu, Sura’s poised, well-spoken general manager, told Travel World News. Cenk, a twenty-two year veteran of istanbul’s hospitality industry, has worked for Ramada, Princess and Dedeman hotel groups. Today, as Sura Hotel’s GM, he is confident the hotel will soon see full occupancy from tourist and business travelers. The numbers prove him right. According to European hotel performance statistics from TRi Hospitality Consulting, a London based industry surveyor, hotels in istanbul enjoyed an almost 50% profit growth during the first six months of 2011. “Turkey is one of the fastest growing hotel markets in Europe and has been a focus for much development in the past few years,” explained David bailey, director of TRi. “Despite this expanded supply, hotels are continuing to perform strongly and istanbul has easily the most profitable hotels in our survey,” he continued. Two years ago, according to Sura’s general manager, hotels were empty half the year. but Turkey’s economy entered a rapid process of recovery and today hotels are full year round, thanks to its now strong economy, a stable government, and good business contracts and investments. “business travelers fill up hotels when the tourist season ends,” Sabuncuoglu explained to Travel World News. The Sura has facilities for business meetings and is not far from istanbul’s Convention and Exhibition Center. “We are determined to give quality service to our guests,” Sabuncuoglu continued. All employees were trained for three months prior to the hotel opening and a quality control comwww.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


EUROPE pany checks the hotel every two weeks. The hotel offers a number of specials including a City break Package (stay 4 nights in garden deluxe room, pay for 3; one way airport transfer; a free dinner after seven night stay); the Explore istanbul Package (3 nights in garden deluxe room; round-trip airport transfer; welcome cocktail and discount to restaurant); and the Honeymoon Package (3 nights in garden deluxe room; chocolate and wine in room; round-trip transfers; free 3-course dinner at Sura restaurant and welcome cocktail.) Following the soft opening weekend, the hotel is fully booked. “We project 70% occupancy this year and 100% next year,” Sabuncuoglu added confidently. Hotel marketing is extensive, with ads in newspapers, brochures, catalogs, club brochures and the work of two PR agencies. FAM trips are being planned three times a year with Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa. Turkish Airlines sells packages using Sura Design Hotel and Suites and offers a free night at the hotel after three Turkish Airline tickets are purchased in one year. in March of 2012 their first FAM from the U.S. will be offered. US agents get 15% commission for stays of up to three days and a generous 21% commission for stays of more than three days. Rooms start at $260/night including breakfast. Reservations can be made through online reservation websites or directly through reservations@surahotels.com.

Sura Design Hotel and Suites, www.surahotels.com

DuBRoVNIk suN GARDeNs GeTs oPP GoLD AWARD FoR ‘BesT DeVeLoPeR IN souTheRN euRoPe’

development for Croatia. It deserves to do well, and the team behind the scheme clearly knows exactly what it needs to do to get there. This is a wonderful case study in how to refresh a large-scale development with verve and quality.” “We have been methodical in our approach to create a resort real estate offering that appeals to today’s lifestyle investor,” explained Julian Houchin, Commercial Director for iO Adria Limited (Dubrovnik Sun Gardens’ owning group). Surpassing stiff competition, he noted that, through a strategic marketing and communication program, Dubrovnik Sun Gardens is quickly generating great interest from a variety of markets across Europe.” The five-star resort, uniquely located on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, just outside the UNESCO city of Old Town Dubrovnik, offers both hotel facilities as well as an opportunity for residence ownership. In addition to one of the most comprehensive spas in the Adriatic, the resort also has its own private beach, thirteen bars and restaurants, three pools and extensive sports club. It offers as well some of the largest and most flexible meeting spaces in Dubrovnik and Croatia (capacity up to 900), enabling ideal conferences and business retreats. One-bedroom residence prices range from approximately $234,360 for a ground-floor residence with a garden view up to around $461,896 for a larger one-bedroom residence with premium panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea. Two bedroom residences range from approximately $427,432 for a garden-view residence up to approximately $765,338 for larger two-bedroom residences with premium panoramic sea views. Radisson Blu Resort & spa, Dubrovnik sun Gardens, www.radissonblu.com/resort-dubrovnik; The Residences at Dubrovnik sun Gardens, www.dubrovniksungardens.com

BeRLIN joINs ‘BesT CITIes ALLIANCe’

Dubrovnik Sun Gardens has won an Overseas Property Professional ‘Gold Award for Excellence 2011’ in the category for “Best Developer in Southern Europe.” This award, coupled with the fact that the resort has experienced its most successful season to date, with a 95% occupancy rate this past summer, demonstrates how the resort is going from strength to strength under its new management. The judges (an independent panel of 50) collectively stated, “Nobody could argue with the careful planning and total commitment of the developer team involved in Dubrovnik Sun Gardens. This really is a well presented, high quality operation—a true flagship Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

Berlin is the newest member of the renowned service network “BestCities Global Alliance.” The news was announced in October at IMEX America in Las Vegas. Berlin stands out with its ultramodern hotels and locations, excellent transport links and professional marketing as a convention destination. “We have spent a year working towards becoming a part of this powerful network,” says visitBerlin CEO Burkhard Kieker. “Our membership will help us attract further international conventions to Berlin.” Ten major convention destinations are part of “BestCities,” among them Dubai, Singapore, Vancouver, Melbourne and Houston. The cities’ convention bureaus regularly share information and plan joint marketing campaigns in global markets. They also focus on the development of new markets. Information on meetings destination Berlin and the Berlin Convention Office is available online. Berlin Tourismus & kongress Gmbh, Berlin Convention office, www.convention.visitberlin.de DeCeMBeR 2011 •

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EUROPE sTuART ChAPPeLL Is NeW GeNeRAL MANAGeR FoR CoRINThIA hoTeL IN MALTA Corinthia Hotels has appointed Stuart Chappell general manager of five-star Corinthia Hotel St George’s Bay, in St Julian’s, Malta. His long hospitality career in the UK and more recently China included general manager for the 440-room, 5-star Guoman Hotel Beijing. Prior, he was general manager of the 1,000-room Cumberland Hotel in Marble sTuART ChAPPeLL Arch, London, with responsibility for the 700-room Thistle Marble Arch as well. Corinthia COO Liam Lambert said, “Stuart’s successful track record in leading both business and leisure hotels internationally guarantees that our Corinthia Hotel St George’s Bay in Malta will continue to achieve growth and meet its targets in all market segments and lead our team to service improvements and healthy returns.” The hotel, with private beachfront, is located at the mouth of St George’s Bay, just minutes from Malta’s prime entertainment areas. It boasts extensive conference and leisure facilities, including Apollo Day Spa. A large cascading pool complex flows all the way down from the restaurant level to the hotel’s own lido, offering water sports and specialty restaurants right at water’s edge. Corinthia hotels, www.corinthia.com

VICToRIA hoTeL hosTs BANk PeNsIoNeRs, AX hoLDINGs APPoINTs NATAshA FALZoN

Mr. and Mrs. Philip Chircop (center) flanked on their left by Dr. and Mrs. josie Pace LLD., and to their right, Mr. and Mrs. joe Mercieca (the group’s event organizer) and Wilfred sultana. At Victoria Hotel recently, the Central Bank of Malta Pensioners’ Group enjoyed a lavish buffet lunch as part of their monthly meeting, celebrating the group’s 18th anniversary. Led by newly elected Chairman Philip Chircop, the group numbers over 90 and also includes partners of former bank employees who passed away. Apart from keeping old friendships alive, the Group provides support to members and their partners when they require assistance, including in cases of medical treatment. In his opening talk, group Chairman Phillip Chircop said that “whilst serving its social function the Group should focus on, and 18 • DeCeMBeR 2011

provide support, to those members who are home-bound, bedridden or hospitalized.” He also thanked Saviour Portelli, Frederick Bonnici and George Camilleri who’ve led the group in the past and are still active in the organization. AX Holdings has appointed Natasha Falzon Administration Secretary at The Victoria and The Palace Hotels, 4- and 5-star properties within the group in Sliema. She has worked in various companies and gained vast exposure and knowledge in her field. Kevin Callus, Hotel Manager of both hotels, welcomed her and wished her well in her new capacities and future career with the company. The Palace, www.thepalacemalta.com; The Victoria hotel, www.victoriahotel.com

hILToN MALTA sCoRes VesTAs AND CuLINARY hoNoRs At the 2011 VESTA Awards, Hilton Malta (in the accommodation category) was among eleven winners selected as outstanding examples to showcase best practices in Europe. The Visions/DestiNet European Sustainable Tourism Awards (VESTAS) were created by Vision on Sustainable Tourism in collaboration with the Destinet Sustainable Tourism Information and Communications Portal to showcase, consolidate and highlight the enormous potential of sustainable tourism. As a VESTAS winner, Hilton Malta is highlighted to a network of 7,000 specialist European travel agencies and also brought to the attention of the UN, WTO, and UNEP as one of Europe’s best of the best practice examples. In culinary competitions, Hilton Malta has garnered accolades also. Its restaurants were again recipients of a wide variety of awards at the Restaurant Awards Gala last December. This is an annual ceremony organized by The Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants, a comprehensive guide to the best restaurants in Malta and Gozo. The awards are a direct result of the Malta and Gozo Restaurant Survey, which reviews over 1,000 establishments on the Maltese islands with the aim to pinpoint the best 150 restaurants. Big winners were The Gazebo Restaurant, The Blue Elephant, Oceana and Bottega del Vino. Hilton Malta has often been recognized by connoisseurs and lauded for its excellence, testament to its continuous striving for quality and perfection. Hilton Malta’s culinary team competed in the Malta Culinary Competition in May at the Institute for Tourism Studies. Steve Mallia, Senior Sous Chef assisted by Clint Buhagiar, Demi Chef De Partie, won the competition in the Global Chef’s challenge. Ryan Marmara Demi Chef de Partie competed in the Hans Bueschken Challenge and won this competition. Ryan was assisted by Max Brincat, Demi Chef de Partie. Both Hilton Malta team members will be representing Malta in the European qualifiers that will be held in Slovenia in January 2012. The Hilton Malta chefs competed under the guidance of Executive Chef Joe Vella. hilton hotels & Resort,www.hilton.com; www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


EUROPE MTA WINs PResTIGIous AWARD AT WoRLD RouTes CoNFeReNCe 2011

At the 2011 World Routes Conference held recently in Berlin, The Malta Tourism Authority was recognized as the best national tourism organization with the World Routes–Best Destination Marketing Campaign Award. MTA’s CEO Josef Formosa Gauci (pictured left) said, “This award recognized the continuous efforts of MTA to ensure adequate accessibility to our islands.” He thanked all the staff at MTA for their efforts and recognized the excellent cooperation with Malta International Airport with whom MTA attends the Routes events. The award was announced during the Gala Dinner held in the grounds of the new Brandenburg Airport due to open next year. The MTA had been short-listed together with the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, the Jordanian Tourism Board and the Greek National Tourism Organization. Additionally, on the occasion of this year’s prestigious “Globus Awards” in Frankfurt, the MTA’s German Office was awarded the Second Best Destination E-Learning Program for Travel Agents. Malta Tourism Authority, www.visitmalta.com

GRANDhoTeL LIeNZ ReCoGNIZeD FoR ITs MeDICAL sPA AT WTA AWARDs

TRAVeLsAVeRs esTABLIshes TIes To ITALY The TWIN (Travelsavers Worldwide Independent Network) global travel management company has established a strong tie to Italy with the signing of Frigerio Viaggi to its network. A leader in its region, Frigerio Viaggi was established in 1974 and today operates in various sectors of travel including retail services with nine offices; franchise networking (Frigerio Viaggi Network was established in1999 and currently has 63 franchises throughout Italy); and business travel, MICE, leisure and holidays, supported by over 200 employees. Sales & Marketing Director Simone Frigerio said, “We are very proud to be part of TWIN, as we’ve been chosen among some of the major national TMCs to represent Italy. The new partnership will enable us to provide travel services in highly competitive markets, offering sophisticated tools for travel management, as well as having international exposure. Frigerio Viaggi will participate in international bids and provide our customers with a global presence.” Rick Mazza, Travelsavers/TWIN President & CEO, commented, “We welcome the team at Frigerio Viaggi to our organization. They bring additional resources to TWIN and a personal touch on-theground in Italy that will help our agencies deliver higher standards of service to their clients visiting the region. In turn, TWIN gives Frigerio access to a network of top agencies on five continents to collaborate with and share business. TWIN also provides state-of-theart technology to assist them in increasing operational efficiencies.” TWIN (Travelsavers Worldwide Independent Network), twinsales@travelsavers.com, www.twintravelmanagement.com

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World Travel Awards Managing Director Graham Cook presents the “Best European Medical Spa Hotel 2011” Award to Prof. Heinz E. Simonitsch (left) for Grandhotel Lienz in Tyrol, Austria. The 5-star all-suite hotel was build within 18 months from scratch and opened on April 30, 2009. Grandhotel Lienz is a much-lauded wellness destination, complete with a medical center equipped to do checkups and testing. Markedly ecologically sound, all its energy is obtained without using gas and oil. Grandhotel Lienz, www.grandhotel-lienz.com Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

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EUROPE

Magnificent Corinthia Hotel London blends Traditional Grandeur with Sophisticated Signatures

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orinthia Hotels’ new flagship is a superlative five-star treasure in the heart of London, meticulously reconstructed from an imposing victorian-era building on Whitehall Place. “The project marks the culmination of an exciting journey,” says General Manager Matthew Dixon. “Corinthia Hotel London is an intricately restored grand hotel with a 21st century approach. its modern elegance is defined by a blend of classic victorian architecture with outstanding craftsmanship and contemporary art, mirroring the energy, style and history of the area. Guests are offered all the modern luxuries whilst enjoying an authentic experience in a hotel and location with heritage.” Opened in April 2011, the property features 294 guest accommodations, including 43 luxurious suites. Seven signature suites, located inside historic turrets with terraces, overlook some of London’s most recognized landmarks, including the Thames and Trafalgar Square. Each of the seven is a distinctive design inspired by a great figure in british history including a musician, inventor and writer. Sumptuously appointed guestrooms rank among the largest in their category in London’s luxury hotel market. There are no restrictions on check-in and checkout times, to provide guests ultimate flexibility.

Top talent touches The blending of traditional elegance with splashes of modernity is seen everywhere. A Full Moon chandelier of 1,001 baccarat crystal baubles created by Parisian designer Chafik Gasmi graces the dome in the hotel’s slick Lobby Lounge. GA Design international handled the interior, including its spa, suites, public spaces and one of the two restaurants. Laid out over four levels, the pioneering ESPA Life at Corinthia has 17 treatment rooms, a private spa suite, indoor pool, vitality pool, amphitheater sauna, ice fountain, marble-heated lounges, private sleep pods, a state-of-the-art gym and Daniel Galvin hair salon. Exceptional therapists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, osteopaths and physiotherapists offer heightened service in this striking spa setting. Award-winning David Collins created the hotel’s musically inspired bar, bassoon, that serves both molecular cocktails and colonial inspired drinks from its boutique spirits collection. Chef Massimo Riccioli, celebrated owner of La Rosetta in Rome, in his native italy, brought his fresh market style to the 20 • DeCeMBeR 2011

Grand entrance, a deluxe Whitehall welcome. hotel’s Mediterranean specialty seafood restaurant, Massimo Restaurant and Oyster bar. Michelin star winner at three different establishments, Garry Hollihead is at the helm of The Northall. This outstanding restaurant celebrates the best of british artisanal produce, including Cumbrian short horn cattle, together with an extensive selection of organic and biodynamic wines. The hotel additionally boasts a beautifully refurbished grand ballroom, with stunning original victorian grand columns and majestic coving. Natural light pours in from three large windows, reflected in full-length, antique mirrors. Located on the mezzanine floor are six state-of-the-art meeting rooms, conveniently linked through to the mezzanine dining area of The Northall for a private lunch or dinner. Five are fitted with a high-definition optical turnkey system that effortlessly allows total connectivity for media broadcasting, recording, editing and mixing. Prior to its launch, Alfred Pisani, Chairman and founder of the Corinthia Hotel Group said, “Once again, the eyes of worldwide travelers are turning towards the business and cultural attractions of London. Whether to regular visitors, or first-time tourists from the newly emerging economies, London never loses its appeal. i am dedicating myself, personally and with great passion, to delivering to London a five-star luxury hotel, which will be amongst the best-of-the-best in the world. Corinthia Hotel London will be a true grand hotel for the 21st century.” This London masterpiece certainly respects that promise.

Corinthia Hotel London, www.corinthia.com/london www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


caribbean

Cancún Travel Mart: Looking Ahead to 2012 and the Mayan New Dawn PEGGy HAGEMAN

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ancún, Mexico and its home state of Quintana Roo are gearing up for the year 2012, the year of the Mayan New Dawn. This year’s 24th annual Cancun Travel Mart, held at the Cancún Convention Center October 12-14th, focused on new opportunities in Cancún in 2012 and well beyond. Travel Mart was attended by 650 delegates from twenty different countries, all coming together to explore what Cancun has to offer, both new and established product. An estimated 3,700 business meetings were held. The event was managed by William H. Coleman, Inc. The conference opened for the first time with a sit-down dinner at the convention center, where suppliers and buyers could meet and mingle. Filmed advertisements for the new tourism promotion, “2012: A New Beginning” were shown. World attention is focused on the Mayan calendar ending in 2012 after 26,000 years but rather than an ending the campaign focuses on a “New Dawn,” and new opportunities as a starting point for the future. The next morning, the working days began with remarks from numerous important figures in Mexican tourism, from both the government and the private sector. The official opening ceremony was chaired by Eugene Rybicky, from the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies in Quintana Roo; Eduardo Muñiz Urquiza, Fonatur Director; Juan Carlos Hernandez Gonzalez, Secretary of Tourism; Rodrigo de la Peña, President of the Cancun Hotel Association; Roberto Borge Angulo, Governor of Quintana Roo; Eligio Serna, Director of Relations with Partners of the Council for Tourism Promotion of Mexico; Jesús Almaguer Salazar, the General Director of the Cancún Convention and Visitors Bureau and CEO of the Cancún Tourism Board; Paul Michel Carrillo, Deputy President of the Tourism commission. The presence of so many government officials, both state and federal, underscored the importance placed on Cancún tourism. The Cancún region makes up roughly fifty percent of Mexico’s tourism income. The first speaker of the morning was Rodrigo de la Peña, president of the Cancún Hotel Association, one of the main sponsors of the event. He emphasized the Cancún tourism’s triple threat: modern, high-quality amenities; natural wonders; and most importantly, the wonderful Mexican people providing the service. Looking ahead to the future, the goal is too maintain quality and raise occupancy. The Governor of Quintana Roo, Roberto Borge Angulo, remarked later on the great growth Travel Mart has seen and 22 • DECEMBER 2011

Jesús Almaguer Salazar, General Director of the Cancún Convention & Visitors Bureau with Erika Mitzunaga Magaña, Public Relations Manager for the US, Canada and Asia. that it has the government’s support. He encouraged wholesalers to “trust us, and trust the Cancun market.” The State of Quintana Roo has a good relationship with the Mexico Ministry of Tourism and that will help better position Quintana Roo in both the Caribbean and the world markets. Raul Marrufo, Undersecretary of Tourism for Quintana Roo, emphasized the government’s strong support of the Cancun region and how excited they were for the coming year. The Cancún region offers the best of both Mexico and the Caribbean to travelers. He spoke about important strides in the areas of weddings, spa and golf tourism, as well as new packages and initiatives and improved branding. The Cancún region has been fortunate and has not seen as much of a drop in tourism as has the rest of Mexico and the Caribbean in recent years and Cancún’s success is expected to continue. Jesús Almaguer Salazar, the General Director of the Cancún Convention and Visitors Bureau, echoed his sentiments. US arrivals in the region were only down 2% in 2011 and first quarter reservations for 2012 are already looking to be 9-40% above last year’s figures. The target goal for 2012 is to achieve numbers 5-10% above this year. Cancún is a mature destination, a leader in Latin American tourism, but it is also one that offers new experiences for travelers. Services and infrastructure will be both maintained and increased. Tourist safety is as always a top priority, and he pointed out that there has never been a serious incident involving tourists in the Cancún region. Cancún’s “Treasures of the Caribbean” program focuses on www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


caribbean the nearby islands of Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Isla Contoy, and Holbox, as well as the seaside town of Puerto Morales. Everything that tourists look for in a Caribbean vacation is available in Quintana Roo, plus a whole lot more. The Cancún CVB will be reaching out through social media to promote both “Treasures of the Caribbean” and “2012: A New Beginning” to the general public and tool kits for travel agents are on the way.

Cancún and Cancún Travel Mart, www.cancun.travel.en, www.cancuntravelmart.com

AGEntS CAn EARn $23,000 SEllinG FAMily PACkAGE At liGhthoUSE BAy Travel agents looking to “wow” their clients searching for the ultimate private vacation escape for family and friends—and earn up to a $23,000 commission—can offer the getaway of a lifetime at Lighthouse bay resort in barbuda with the seven-day/six-night “Friends and Family reunion” package. agents are offered a 20% commission on this package (priced at $114,999 for up to 20 people), which translates into significant earnings for booking a group of people on their own private island. Privacy is paramount with only nine suites allowing groups of up to 20 people to virtually “own” a private island for a week with luxurious accommodations, superior service and 17 miles of pristine pink sand beach. The seven-day/six-night “Friends and Family reunion” package includes the entire island buyout of Lighthouse bay resort which features nine suites, all meals and drinks, and use of a private fresh water pool. each room’s amenities and technology allow guests to feel “plugged in” despite their remote location with flat screen satellite televisions, iPod alarm clock cD players, personal laptops and iPads for guests’ use while on property, and Wi-Fi internet connection. Unlimited international telephone calls are at no additional cost and complimentary laundry service is available for all guests. Other highlights of this package include the following for all members of the group (except where noted): day charter complete with lunch, snorkel and sail gear; one hour of horseback riding; group cooking class with chef Lennox; beach bbQ and bonfire; and a personal photographer and commemorative album with photos. The “Friends and Family reunion” package is available through December 17, 2011, with all-inclusive package rates starting at $114,999 for up to 20 people. Transfers to the resort can be arranged for an additional cost to the package. Privacy is guaranteed, as the property is only accessible via S.V.G. (St. Vincent and The Grenadines) airlines or helicopter. Guests who want to venture off-property can visit the world’s largest frigate bird sanctuary or enjoy sailing, fishing, horseback riding and other active pursuits arranged by the hotel staff. lighthouse Bay, 888-214-8552,info@lighthousebarbuda.com, www.lighthousebayresort.com Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

ShARinG A SUitE At thE SAnDS At GRACE BAy GEtS hiGh-SEASon RAtES AS low AS $93 The Sands at Grace bay can offer families and friends a surprisingly affordable Turks & caicos retreat during caribbean’s high season in 2012. Situated alongside the world-famous Grace bay beach, families or friends can reduce vacation costs during this popular Turks & caicos travel season by simply sharing one of the resort’s spacious and luxurious suites. This luxurious family-friendly resort offers one-, two- and threebedroom suite options that can comfortably sleep four, six and up to eight people–designed to feel like a tropical ‘home away from home.’ This is the perfect excuse for travelers looking to escape the chill of winter and take a week’s vacation in paradise with their family members and friends. resort suites feature full kitchens with modern appliances, spacious bedrooms and full bathrooms, a living/dining room area complete with a big-screen plasma TV and comfy couches and a private screened balcony. in addition to enjoying the resort’s breathtaking location, guests enjoy three free-form swimming pools and complimentary access to watersports equipment—including kayaks and windsurfing equipment to snorkel gear and Hobie cats—plus free bicycle rentals for island exploration. the Sands at Grace Bay, 877-777-2637, www.thesandstc.com

nAtionAl hAnGoVER wEEk SAVinGS At BolonGo BAy BEACh RESoRt after all the celebrating, overeating and too many social gatherings to count, the overriding desire can be to just get away. bolongo bay beach resort has the perfect recipe for recovery— national Hangover Week savings on a beach vacation to the U.S. Virgin islands. between January 1 and 15, 2012, staying five nights at bolongo bay on this ‘recovery plan’ comes with 20% off room-only rates for two guests in an Oceanview room; free lodging for friends, as the third and fourth adult over 18 years of age in the room stays free; Welcome rum Punch; a bottle of cruzan rum per room; and a complimentary Sunset cocktail cruise for the two to four guests in the room (a $110 value per person). Guests can grab an ice-cold cocktail, find a beachfront hammock and relax as the holidays become a far distant memory. Then, they’ll have fun in the sun with complimentary Discover Scuba Diving inpool lesson and non-motorized water sports including Hobie cats, windsurfers, kayaks, snorkel gear, paddleboards and more. This five-night package, including all taxes and service charges, is $1,733.20 for up to four people—less than $100 per person, per day for four. The offer is subject to availability. Family owned since 1974, bolongo bay beach resort on St. Thomas is one of Frommer’s “World’s 10 best beachfront Hotels,” with a flip-flop casual atmosphere and 62 true beachfront rooms. Located in the U.S. Virgin islands, american citizens do not need a passport to visit. Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, 800-524-4746, www.bolongobay.com DECEMBER 2011•

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caribbean

Cancún: 2012 and Beyond PEGGy HAGEMAN

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ancún. The name alone conjures up images of sandy, white beaches, frosty margaritas and dancing till dawn. But Cancún and the surrounding areas are far more than just a party town. A few days of exploring all that the region has to offer might just make that time on the beach even more enjoyable. Well-established nearby tourist destinations such as Chichen Itza and Cozumel are still a great day out, but there are some great new options and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. And 2012 is just the right time to visit Cancún. The Mayan calendar ends and everyone’s wondering about isla Contoy, unspoiled beauty just 15 miles off the coast of Cancun. what it means. A new publicity campaign ties in to these Mayan myths surrounding access. One is Kolumbus Tours, which offers passage on next year and is titled 2012, A New Beginning. Mexico replica historical wooden ships, with lunch included. Isla Mujeres, or Island of the Women, is a quick (and beauis looking to 2012 as a rebirth. The eyes of the world will be on the Mayans next year and Cancún is hoping that people tiful) 30-minute boat ride from Cancún. The island is roughly will want to experience 2012 right in the heart of Maya coun- four and a half miles long. While walkable, mopeds and golf try. Many events are planned, including the first annual carts are available for rent. On the southern tip of the island Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival, March 15th – there is a former Mayan temple, now occupied by a sculpture 18th. A full schedule of events has yet to be announced but garden as well as a government-sponsored sea turtle farm. there are many events currently being planned. Further north is the village of Dolores, full of small shops and Updates will be available on the Cancun Convention and local restaurants. Aquaworld, operating out of Albatros Visitors Center website. Marina, offers a full day trip including buffet lunch and unlimited drinks, plus a snorkeling excursion to the Underwater Island Wonders Museum. Isla Contoy is a little slice of nature just 45 minutes from the hotel strip. The tiny undeveloped island is a bird sanctuary Museo Subacuatico de Arte/ with no full-time human inhabitants. There’s a winding trail Underwater Art Museum that takes you through the sea grapes and natural beauty, the Just north of Isla Mujeres is Cancún’s latest and possibly short way across the island. you can also go up inside a man- most interesting attraction: the Underwater Museum. made tower for a better view of the frigate bird nesting areas. Hundreds of life-size human sculptures have been placed in There’s a small museum with more information about the strategic locations along the sea floor. As sea life grows in and flora and fauna found on the island. After exploring, you can around the statues, new protective barrier reefs are formed. find a strip of beach and swim and watch the birds circle and Coral is constantly growing, causing the sculptures to change swoop overhead. The number of visitors to the island is and evolve, creating an amazing habitat in which to snorkel tightly controlled and only a few tour companies are allowed cOnTinUeD On PaGe 26 24 • DECEMBER 2011

www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


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or dive. It also encourages divers and snorkelers to spread out from the traditional dive sites and so helps protect the existing, fragile coral reef. There are currently 415 sculptures and more are being placed all the time. The eventual goal is to have almost 1500, creating an undersea world unrivalled in the Caribbean. In 2012 there will also be the addition of two new visitors centers with more information for tourists. A $4 million publicity campaign is in the works, in co-operation with the Mexican government.

through December 21st, 2011. Multiple packages are available, including spa and tequila tastings, with room starting at $379 USD per night. The Ritz Cancún also maintains a Culinary Center, designed by Viking® Range and run by chef Rory Dunaway. It offers cooking classes as well as a “Dine with the Chef ” night when up to twelve guests can enjoy a delicious four-course meal with wine pairings prepared by Chef Dunaway tailored to the occasion. They might even get to help out a little too.

Where to Stay

2012 and Beyond

Starwood has expanded the Westin brand in Cancún with its latest hotel, the Westin Lagunamar. (Westin is already represented in Cancún with the Westin Resort & Spa, which just received the MLT Vacations 2011 Quality Assurance Award.) At the Westin Lagunamar there are only suites (studios and one bedrooms with connecting rooms available) all of which have ocean views. Their “Sunsational Savings” deal offers 4th night free, a $200 credit on food and beverage, and upgrade when available. The Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancún Resort & Spa is one of the hotel jewels of Cancún. Movie stars and presidents stay here when in Cancún. It has won the prestigious Five Diamond Award more times than any other luxury resort in Cancún and garnered accolades from Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler as one of Mexico’s best resorts. It boasts a 40,000 sq. ft. spa, six restaurants and, of course, the beautiful beach. Destination weddings are their specialty. Le Meridien Cancun Beach Resort & Spa is another great option. It’s been designed with “residential” in mind, so guests feel at home. It’s also one of the few hotels that allows dogs to stay. The hotel has had some upgrades over the past year including new dining options and newly renovated lobby. There is a three-tiered cascading infinity pool with luxurious new cabanas and its Spa del Mar was named as one of the top spas in "North America, Caribbean and at Sea" by Condé Nast Traveler. There’s even a Penguin Club for kids with fun and educational things to do. The hotel is also a member of the Starwood Preferred Guest® program and a kids’ all-inclusive dining package is available. The Ritz-Carlton Cancún: The brand Ritz-Carlton has always been synonymous with elegance and luxury, and their Cancún property is no exception. They’ve received all the major awards the hospitality industry and consumer organizations can bestow. The Ritz-Carlton Cancún offers many spa and resort options including a tennis center, two award winning Restaurants, Fantino and The Club Grill, and of course not the least of which is the breath-taking view of the Caribbean from each room’s private balcony. They’re also more affordable than your clients might think, especially with the stay-four-nights-pay-for-only-three promotion that runs

As the Mayan calendar draws to a close, the whole world is watching and talking about what’s to come in 2012. Is it the end of the world, some ask? Absolutely not, says Cancún, it’s the start of a new beginning for the North American traveler and the Cancún region.

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Cancún Convention and Visitors Bureau, www.cancun.travel/en/2012-a-new-dawn; Isla Mujeres, www.isla-mujeres.net/home.htm

hotEl VillA tAinA iS PERFECt FoR FUlly EnJoyinG DoMiniCAn REPUBliCS’S CABAREtE For those “into” any kind of surfing, cabarete on the north shore of the Dominican republic is the place to be. Whether seeking a number of hot breaks or some world-renown kite and windsurfing, this is the place to visit. Five minutes from the center of town is Playa encuentro with five separate breaks and a host of surf shops that provide equipment and lessons, if needed. On any given day, one can find surfers from all over the globe here. The entire north coast has a number of hot spots ranging from beach breaks to reefs with topto-bottom barrels. in the afternoon as the wind comes up, cabarete bay is filled with kite and windsurfers. People return here year after year for the wind and ideal conditions. There are also a number of other local activities like horseback riding on the beach or in the mountains, kayaking, canyoning, radical zip lines, and more. in the middle of cabarete bay sits the four-star Villa Taina. The hotel itself is adorned with images and objects from the original island inhabitants, the Taino indians. acommodations are available for all individual needs ranging from a standard garden room to an ocean-view penthouse room. Villa Taina’s beachfront restaurant and bar Serenade offers a breakfast buffet plus international cuisine such as a mongolian barbeque and argentinian-style dinners, resplendent with live music. after a wild day in the water, Happy Hour at the bar is a great way to end the day before getting ready for cabarete’s nightlife on the beach. Hotel Villa Taina’s motto is “Life has its moments. make them special.” and the beach here is the perfect place to experience those moments of fun, action and memories. hotel Villa taina, www.villataina.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


caribbean DoMiniCA toURiSM tURnS oUt FoR ZiP linE DEBUt

Dominica Minister of tourism, the honorable ian Douglas, speaks at the Rain Forest Adventures Dominica Gorge Zip Challenge opening event at the Fort young hotel in Roseau. rain Forest adventures Dominica welcomed Dominica minister of Tourism, the Hon. ian Douglas, President of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism association Simon Walsh (who served as emcee), the Discover Dominica authority, and the invest Dominica authority to the opening ceremony of the park’s Gorge Zip challenge September 30 at the Fort Young Hotel in roseau. The eco-tourism park’s new zip line now reigns as the Southern caribbean’s highest zip line, with an 840-foot long line suspended over the 350-ft drop of breakfast river Gorge. The six-platform Gorge Zip challenge serves as Dominica’s largest sustainable tourism attraction launch in recent years. Three adrenaline-pumping lines navigate through the rainforest canopy, accessible by rain Forest adventures’ signature aerial Tram or chatannier nature Trail. admission begins at $50 for island visitors. children must fit in a harness to ride, with some restrictions. Rain Forest Adventures Dominica, 866-759-8726, www.rainforestadventure.com

being featured on expedia’s insiders Select List for four consecutive years. Orbitz presented the resort with its “best in Stay” award and Tripadvisors consistently rate it “excellent.” caribbean Travel & Life has named it one of the best medium-size resorts in the caribbean. Offered again this winter is the popular “Honeymoon magic” package available for either three or seven nights. Designed for honeymooners, second honeymooners or incurable romantics, the package includes accommodations with either private balcony or terrace; a bottle of red or white wine on arrival; welcome cocktail; continental breakfast daily; floral bouquet; picnic basket for two one day; Grand case beach bag and use of all non-motorized water sports equipment. From December 18, 2011, to april 14, 2012, rates for the three-night package begin at $1,070 per couple ($2,410 for seven nights). Grand case’s amenities include two beaches, swimming pool, water sports and fitness centers; tennis court; and the boardwalk that wraps around the hill overlooking the ocean and connects to the Sunset cafe, which offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and Happy Hour seven days a week. all units have a full kitchen and a flat-screen satellite TV. Those in the travel industry can access the resort through the following GDS codes: amadeus: iPSFG122; apollo: iP29999; Sabre: iP11637; and Worldspan: iP8194. Grand Case Beach Club, 800-340-3016, info@gcbc.com, www.grandcasebeachclub.com

GRAnD CASE BEACh ClUB PRoJECtS ExCEllEnt wintER SEASon Strong advance reservations indicate that Grand case beach club should see another record-breaking winter season, according to ron muzii, president of muzii & associates, inc., the oceanfront resort’s north american marketing representative. “While there is still space available, i urge anyone planning a vacation this winter at the Grand case beach club to book their reservations as soon as possible to secure preferred dates.” a variety of upgrades culminate a more-than-$2-million program that began nearly two years ago. besides major renovations to bathrooms, subtle touches include new in-room fabrics, curtains and most outdoor furniture. The resort was recently presented with its fifth consecutive “Golden apple” award from apple Vacations, which cited its outstanding service and hospitality. Over 40% of the resort’s guests are repeat visitors. The apple Vacations’ award is one in a long list, which includes Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

DECEMBER 2011•

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Latin aMeRica

Incomparable Panama’s CATM 2011 Promotes Splendors of Central America L I S b e T h h o LT

marc tremblay

I

Proud, passionate, incomparable Panama City, Panama.

ncomparable Panama played host to the Central America Travel Market october 19 -21, 2011, at Panama City’s spacious Figali Convention Center, attracting hundreds of Central American travel suppliers, international tour operators and journalists. CATM, an exciting major tourism event hosted by a different Central American country each year, promotes the innumerable splendors of the fascinating land bridge of seven nations linking North and South America, generating tourism growth from around the globe. ernesto orillac, Panama’s Vice Minister of Tourism, said, “Panama is investing $10 million for advertising and we are projecting 12 – 14% tourism growth in 2012. We enjoy partnerships with many top tour operators. New charter flights scheduled with wholesalers will increase the number of visitors.” he also noted that the Amador cruise ship port on the Pacific side will complement the home port of Royal Caribbean in Colon. Inaugural ceremonies were held in the opulent newly-renovated National Theater in the historical Casco Antiguo (or Viejo) section of the city. Winners of the “PremiosTurismo sin 28 • DECEMBER 2011

Fronteras” sustainable tourism awards for excellence included Porta hotel del Lago, Panajachel, Guatemala www.PortaHotels.com, and Punta Islita, Costa Rica www.hotelpuntaislita.com. The following evening, participants (wearing white for Panama’s tropical night!) celebrated in the famed habana Panama nightclub. The final evening, honduras took center stage in the fabulous 5-star Wyndham hotel Veneto www.wyndham.com, extending a gracious welcome to next year’s honduras CATM 2012…an extraordinary time, an extraordinary place. Prior to the travel market, many participants traveled on pretours of the host country. Destinations included gorgeous bocas del Toro archipelago in the Caribbean and boquete, home to Panama’s majestic volcano baru standing at 11,400 feet. After closing ceremonies, fairgoers departed on post-tours to one of the other intriguing Central American countries: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, el Salvador, honduras, belize, and Guatemala. CATM truly presents a “hands-on” experience for all who wish to knowledgeably promote these alluring destinations. continued on page

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www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


Travel Latin America Bringing the Americas Together www.sata.travel

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A Once In A Lifetime Adventure Tour! From the fiery majesty of an active volcano to a family adventure or romantic Honeymoon Suite, discover the splendor of Costa Rica’s natural treasures. We own and operate the magical Pacuare Jungle Lodge & the highestCanopy Tour in Costa Rica!

Experience the best in nature adventure tours!

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tucked away in the trees and cooled by the Pacific Ocean – a 170-acre private reserve bordering corcovado National Park. carefully designed and built by an american naturalist with over 30 years of local experience.

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Hamanasi is a Garifuna word meaning almond from the Belizean hamans tree, a gorgeous tree that grows on the seaside. We wanted a name connected to the Garifuna culture and the physical beauty of the location. Explore all the wonderful sites of Belize – from Mayan ruins, rainforests and caves to atolls, pristine reefs and palm-studded beaches.

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Relax into our boutique charm – stroll past our entry, down the tree-shaded sandy path, and catch the first glimpse of the beach and ocean beyond – have a drink from the beachside bar or sit in a lounge chair under a palm tree just steps from the water. This is why travelers come to Ambergris Caye.

www.panamatravelexperts.com Whether dreaming of the angler’s Grand Slam, diving in and around our world famous barrier reef, or just relaxing in a tropical paradise, the experienced staff at El PEScador resort will help plan the perfect Belize vacation. www.elpescador.com

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A new benchmark for luxury living in Panama. Rising up over Latin America’s most dynamic city, it represents the ultimate expression of architectural originality, incorporating the most advanced technological innovations and design elements.

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Latin aMeRica CATM

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What is it about this legendary land, Panama, that creates such lasting impressions, filled to the brim as it is with such a dazzling variety of what-to-do and where-to-go? Mr. Salomon Shamah, Panama’s Minister of Tourism, summed it up succinctly, “We want visitors to be surprised by our diversity and authenticity.” It’s the city, ultramodern with its thicket of commanding skyscrapers. It seems to be on steroids with its explosion of growth, the very epicenter of exciting developments and passionate discoveries. This dynamic metropolis is home to near 1 million inhabitants and continues its commanding presence as an international center of commerce. here the luxury hotels, fashionable restaurants, huge shopping malls, glamorous nightclubs and Las Vegas style casinos; culture and pleasure we’re talking about. A bevy of stunning hotels include the sail-shaped Trump ocean Club International hotel and Tower www.trumppanamahotel.com, the hotel RIU Plaza Panama www.riu.com, the Panama Marriott hotel www.marriott.com and later this year, the hard Rock hotel Panama Megapolis www.hardrockhotels.com/panama. The luxurious new Finisterre Suites & Spa www.finisterresuites.com in the capital’s business and financial center aims to please the most discriminating clientele. Guests will enjoy its wine cellar, holistic spa, and stunning views of the Pacific from poolside. The Residence Inn by Marriott Panama City Albrook is under development for 2012; and for 2013, the Ritz-Carlton, the Renaissance Panama City Financial District and the Casamar Marriott Panama Resort near San Carlos, among others! It’s Casco Antiguo, a UNeSCo world heritage site, with its historical neo-classical architecture. The Metropolitan Cathedral (Pope benedict XVI will be visiting in 2013 celebrating five hundred years of the Catholic Church in Panama); the ruins of the Convent of Santo Domingo, constructed in 1678; the Church of San Jose with its gold-covered altar that legend says was hastily covered by thick oil and mud, thereby saved from the Welsh buccaneer henry Morgan and the destruction of Panama Vieja in 1671. It’s the biodiversity Museum. This “bridge of Life” is situated near the beautiful bridge of the Americas, designed by one of twentieth-century’s most influential architects, Frank Gehry. Although the opening is slated for 2012, with an advance appointment, it’s possible to view some of the galleries. This stunning interactive museum is unlike any other; the exterior a kaleidoscope of odd angles, primary colors and the shape of a guacamaya (macaw). It’s the cuisine. Scrumptious seafood, steaks, and tropical fruits will delight the palate. The national dish is sancocho, a spicy chicken and vegetable stew. Rice and plantains are a frequent accompaniment to most every meal. It’s that audacious engineering feat, the world-renowned Panama Canal which links the mighty Atlantic and Pacific 30 • DECEMBER 2011

oceans! What ingenious plans, international intrigue, unflagging efforts, obstacles overcome, to complete this superlative project, its impact felt throughout the world. Yes, Panama is where the world meets, indeed. It is now undergoing an amazing expansion to accommodate even much larger vessels. Who doesn’t dream of cruising through the Panama Canal? The Panama Marine Adventures www.pmatours.net offers seven unforgettable days aboard its exploration cruise ship, the Discovery, “the journey between the seas.” Ports include Panama City on the Pacific, Darien jungle, Pearl Islands, Panama Canal, Chagres River, Portobelo on the Caribbean, and can be cruised in reverse. For full and partial transfers of the Canal, the company’s Pacific Queen offers daily tours. It’s the unique biodiversity of Panama. The name “Panama” is said to mean “fish, trees, butterflies, orchids.” It has a richer, more diverse flora and fauna than that of any other Central American country. Migrations, adaptations, mutations; yes, survival of the fittest! one-fourth of the country is protected by national parks. These include La Amistad International Park shared with Costa Rica, and Darien National Park, both UNeSCo world heritage sites. Panama is a birdwatcher’s paradise with over 900 species which happens to be more than found in the United States and Canada together! Magnificent rainforests abounding in amazing wildlife are here to explore! Five different big cats: jaguars, pumas, ocelots, jaguarundis, margays. Monkeys! Squirrel, howler, spider, and adorable white-faced capuchins easily viewed in the treetops of Isla Monos in Gamboa’s Rainforest Reserve. It’s the 1,500 islands! What other country can boast of having all these quintessential slices of paradise around its mainland? The San blas islands, bocas del Toro, the Pearl islands, Contadora, Taboga, on and on. Where to hang your hammock? Where to be pampered in sybaritic style? Many of these islands lie within mere minutes from the capital! It’s the indigenous peoples! Seven proud tribes, each with its own distinctive ancestral traditions and language: the Kuna, embera-Wounaan, Nobe-bugle, Naso (Teribe), Guaymi, Talamanca, and the bokata. For a fascinating glimpse into the embera’s authentic way of life, the community of Parara Puru is reached by piragua canoe on the jungle-edged Chagres River. It’s the thrilling sports activities, most easily accessible! Fishing, white-water rafting, surfing, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, boating, cycling, hiking, zip-lining, canopy-touring, bird-watching, golfing, rock-climbing. Does duty-free shopping qualify for a sport! Whatever the traveler’s fancy, it’s here in Panama. It’s the history, a legacy that has helped to shape the world! The events that happened here could not be dreamed up by even the wildest imagination. Situated at the very crossroads of the world since the 1500’s…even much, much farther geologically speaking! After all, this sinuous slender strip of land www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


Latin aMeRica was split asunder some 50 million years ago with the immense shifting of land masses until some 3 million years ago when the land bridge arose again. It’s explorer Vasco Nunez de balboa, the first european to view the Pacific in 1513; conquistadors with the looted riches of Midas hauled on mule back over treacherous terrain; Spanish galleons on perilous seas headed for royal coffers; the fierce onslaught of brazen pirates; it’s the thousands of treasure-laden vessels entombed on the ocean floor! It’s the California gold rush with adventurers scrambling over the isthmus. It’s the unforgettable country inns providing sweet tranquility and rejuvenation. Less than an hour from the city in the midst of a cloud forest in Las Nubes, Cerro Azul, bordering the Chagres National Park, the Casa de Campo Country Inn & Spa www.panamacasadecampo.com provides an oasis of blissful pampering. The inn features spa treatments, wholesome dining, and a rainwater pool. enchanting Finca Lerida www.fincalerida.com is located an hour’s flight from Panama City in the mountains of boquete, Chiriqui province. The fertile volcanic soil produces world-famous coffee and an abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables. The Finca Lerida, “a special place to connect your soul with nature,” feels like the Swiss Alps with exuberant flowers

blooming on every side. The rooms are cozy, the cuisine delectable. The dessert of a tomate del arbol drenched in syrup with flan is memorably decadent. Treasure-packed Panama is compellingly mysterious, still somehow off-the-beaten-path. It must be experienced to savor the vividly contrasting worlds in just one nation. It has the appeal of an Atlantis: an old world, a new world, a surreal world, a futuristic world! Peak tourist season is from mid-December to mid-April, the dry season, although rain is quite possible year-round. Incomparable Panama welcomes all those who travel here “leaving no footprints, taking only memories and photos”.

Central America Travel Mart, www.catmcentroamerica.com; Visit Panama, www.visitpanama.com; Tourism Authority of Panama, www.atp.gob.pa

CosTA RiCA’s TABACon REsoRT offERs VETERAns 30% DisCounTs All YEAR

lisbeth hOlt

Kuna entrepeneur with enticing textiles in Casco Antiguo. Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

this november, in observance of Veteran’s day, tabacón grand Spa thermal Resort in costa Rica, the five-star, carbon-neutral resort in the shadow of the active arenal Volcano, introduced a yearround discount for active military servicemen and women, veterans and their families. the 30% discount lowers the resort’s nightly rack rate of $195, for example, to $136, for a superior room, based on double occupancy, and includes taxes. the discount is available for all room categories, dining options (breakfast, lunch and dinner), and spa treatments and is subject to some restrictions and blackout dates. the reduced rate does not apply to off-property excursions. the promotion will be valid until november 1, 2012. “We are delighted to honor vets and, in some small way, show our grateful appreciation for the selflessness they show every day,” says resort Managing director uwe Wagner. “With its lush gardens and natural waterfalls, lagoons, thermal rivers and hot spring pools, it is hard to imagine a more rejuvenating and relaxing setting than tabacón to restore and reset the body’s natural sense of peace and balance. Whether they served years ago, have recently been discharged or are simply enjoying a short break between tours of duty, these heroic men and women will be welcomed enthusiastically and reverently. due to their efforts, today’s world is a better place.” during their stay, guests have unlimited access to the award-winning resort’s thermal mineral hot springs, lagoons and river pools and, nearby, can enjoy ziplining through the rainforest, navigating costa Rica’s picturesque hanging bridges and hiking to the arenal volcano. the resort’s top-rated chefs offer a delicious combination of ayurvedic, costa Rican and international cuisine (sure to top anything served at the canteen). at the grand Spa, signature services such as a Volcanic Mud Wrap use local mud from the volcano to capture the essence of the resort’s rainforest location. Tabacón Grand spa Thermal Resort, 877-277-8291, www.tabacon.com DECEMBER 2011 •

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Latin aMeRica

expo Manuel Antonio 2011 Features “The best of Costa Rica” A tiny republic says “Pura Vida” to friends and strangers alike. R o b I N S WA D o S

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rObiN swadOs

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rom october 8–16, expo Manuel Antonio greeted its guests with a warm welcome, beginning with the introduction of the country’s catch phrase, “pura vida.” Translated literally, the expression means “pure life,” but in the parlance used by nearly everyone in Costa Rica, the two simple words accompany almost anything that merits a smile, ranging from “hello” to “goodbye” to “great!” or “awesome!” or “cool!” The first country to formally abolish armed forces (in 1949), such is the pervasive friendliness of the Costa Rican people that no matter what you do, no matter where you go, whether bathed in sparkling sunshine or occasionally immersed in pure rain water, the visitor to Costa Rica cannot help but smile by way of agreement. because what awaits tourists here is a wealth of physical beauty nearly unparalleled in the world, with a breathtaking variety of sandy white beaches, lush rain forests, majestic waterfalls, and rivers both tranquil and raging, to say nothing of a phantasmagoria of rare birds, monkeys, alligators, and (last but not least) amazing iguanas. Put another way, Costa Rica contains an astonishing five percent of the world’s biodiversity—all in a country no larger than the size of Vermont and New hampshire combined. bordering the Caribbean Sea to the east, the Pacific ocean to the west, Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the southeast, Costa Rica also contains a wide variety of mountain ranges and volcanoes, the most popular of which—Mt. Arenal—draws hordes of tourists and nature lovers each year hoping for a rumble or two, having first erupted in 1968. [A word to the wise: although the preponderance of literature flowing out of Costa Rica proclaims Mt. Arenal to be “active,” it is only occasionally so, the last major eruption having taken place in 2010. It is currently in a “resting” phase.] Arrival in Costa Rica will inevitably involve a stopover in the capital, San José. The best way to get a feel for this modest, lively city is on foot, where such sights as the Catedral Metropolitana, Avenida (2-4 - Calle 2-4), the 120-year-old National Theater (Plaza de la Cultura 2nd Ave and 5th Street), and the Museo del oro (Gold Museum, Calle 5, between avs.

The “active” side of Mt. Arenal volcano. Central and 2), are all within a stone’s throw from one another. A visit to the Museum of Costa Rican Art, with its remarkable Salon Dorado (Golden Room), is noteworthy. There are also many lively markets, some focusing on food, others on bric-abrac, each in their own way a terrific means of absorbing the local culture.

Meeting in the Midst (and Mist) of the Rain Forest For expo Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica opened its arms to a host of travel agents and this reporter in a tented ceremony that actually took place in the Manuel Antonio Rain Forest, an approximately three-hour drive from San José. And yes, it rained, quite appropriately, but no one seemed to notice. Pura Vida! Although the smallest of Costa Rica’s protected parks, Manuel Antonio is justifiably famous, being the second most-visited in country (after the Poas Volcano). Its unique geographic situation—1,700 acres of land mass and 135,906 acres of marine reserve—draws approximately 150,000 visitors a year, opening up a mysterious and beautiful world that is home to the endangered squirrel monkey (endemic to the area), white faced capuchin monkey, raccoons, three and two-toed sloths, whitenosed coaties, brown pelicans, black-collared hawks and green kingfishers, to name but a few.

Countless Activities, With a Little help from the Professionals As much as there is to see of Manuel Antonio, taking it all in in a relatively short period of time is truly the province of the www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


Latin aMeRica experts; an excellent choice here is the Midworld Costa Rica tour group, located in a huge 1,000-acre farm and surrounded by three miles of riverfront and primary rain forest. Midworld is unique in that it offers a wide array of activities in one gorgeous setting, minimizing travel time for the tourist and replacing it instead with such offerings as the high Ropes Course, in which the intrepid traveler can get a monkey’s-eye view on the area’s only puzzle/adventure course. The tour includes numerous game bridges, a Tarzan swing, rappel line, and monkey climb. For the truly adventurous, the “Superman” zip line allows the traveler to start his journey on a forested mountaintop, fly high above the Rio Cañas and conclude his journey back in the forest. This double-cabled ride measures nearly a mile and (by the way) is compliant with the highest international standards of safety. Your guides throughout all these activities are friendly, fun, and clearly enjoy their job. Their enthusiasm rubs off. The third leg of this visit to Costa Rica moved to the area surrounding Mt. Arenal. While it’s easy to simply sit back and enjoy the fantastic vistas of the volcano, the area surrounding Arenal is—like Manuel Antonio—best appreciated when accompanied by an expert. Arguably the finest of these is Costa Rica expeditions, an all-inclusive tour group that not only offers a choice of excellent hotels and restaurants but which also includes a huge array of activities for both the first-time and returning visitor, with local excursions ranging from horseback riding to gentle bird-watching trips up the Rio Frio river in the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, to hikes through the Arenal Volcano National Park, to white water rafting that is bound to make the visitor’s heart skip a beat or two. Voted one of the “Top 10 best Tour operators in the World” by Travel and Leisure, 2011 and “Tours of a Lifetime” by National Geographic May 2011, no matter which excursion the visitor may choose, he will find that Costa Rica expeditions’ world-class guides share not only a deep love for the region, but are also possessed of an incredibly sophisticated and university-bred knowledge of history, botany, ornithology and volcanology, to name but a few of their fields of expertise. At the end of long days spent hiking, climbing, zipping, or rafting, there are a number of ultra-luxurious ways to soothe those aching bones. Spa Uno, established in 1999, offers a wide array of massage experiences from warm stone to deep tissue massages, and packages that can extend to an entire day. It’s a luxurious way for your clients to pamper themselves.

Where to Stay There is a wealth of lodging in Costa Rica ranging from the modest to the utterly extravagant. In San José, the hotel barcélo San Jose Palacio and the hotel Aeropuerto both offer remarkably pleasant surroundings in areas within easy reach of the airport. In Manuel Antonio, the hotel Parador is a beautiful enclave offering stunning views of the Pacific, including Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

some outlying islands, from nearly every room. In Arenal, the hotel Arenal Springs is a huge yet intimate place with bungalows, each with a perfect view of the volcano.

how to Get There Taca/Avianca Airlines offers well-organized, courteous, and prompt flights direct from New York to San José. It features more than generous leg room; an excellent selection of entertainment geared more toward adults than children, including unabridged movies and TV shows; a complimentary full bar; and a selection of well-prepared and delicious Costa Rican food.

Midworld Costa Rica, www.midworldcostarica.com; Costa Rica Expeditions, www.costaricaexpeditions.com, Taca/Avianca Airlines, www.taca.com

lA MAnsion inn is A DEluxE AnD ToTAl ExPERiEnCE in the ever-changing world of tourism, the global demand for specific vacations is something the industry has to watch. However there is something that will always be true no matter what the client is looking for: the experience begins in the hotel. one type of hotel simply sells rooms. the other aims to sell not just rooms, but the entire experience. this is the goal at La Mansion inn. Beyond its package deals offering whale-watching expeditions, zip line tours, and fishing adventures, first and foremost it’s the experience beginning right in the hotel that matters. from the moment of arrival, the environment welcomes, entertains and relaxes guests. Honeymooners, businessmen, eco tourists, and “paradise seekers” all share one thing in common: they want to escape to a place where worries vanish, and where they don’t necessarily need to call a cab or get in a car to achieve it. they can simply turn the corner in their hotel for one amazing experience after another. a short distance from La Mansion’s lobby, guests ascend a small wooden staircase through a hobbit-like doorway into one of the most unique bars in all of central america. the Bat cave bar, carved out of solid rock in the heart of the hotel, provides a cool, quiet tavernlike environment, with soft lighting and the subtle sound of water trickling, granting the sensation of forgetting where one is. down the ocean-view hallway past the bar, visitors emerge into an open-air waterfall pool area and swim-up bar, then arrive at the spectacular Sky Lounge. in direct and perfect contrast to the cave bar, this is an amazing open-air terrace for dining or sunbathing with a fantastic 360-degree ocean view bordered by magnificent jungle rainforest palm trees and deep forest undergrowth. When it comes time to eat, guests stroll to the Jacques cousteau restaurant, relaxing in cool elegance and selecting whatever they want from a spectacular menu. in summation, La Mansion inn is not in the business of selling rooms—they are sharing a unique experience. their very meaningful motto is: come as a guest, leave as a friend. la Mansion inn, reservations@lamansioninn.com, www.lamansioninn.com DECEMBER 2011 •

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Latin aMeRica TACA AiRlinEs REsTATEs AGREEMEnT As CATA’s solE PlATinuM MEMBER

taca airlines signed an agreement restating its participation as sole platinum member for cata, the central american tourism agency, for the seventh consecutive year at the catM world trade show in panama in october. “central america has always been an important region for the airline and therefore we encourage and join the promotion efforts that can help increase tourism towards the area,” said Roberto Kriete, chairman for aviancataca. “as the sole platinum member for cata we continue to strengthen the bond between private and public sectors working as a team in the search of synergies to further develop and improve the central american tourism sector.” the airlines’ annual contribution to cata amounts to $500,000, which is invested in promotion efforts such as fam trips, press trips, support to tour operators, and trade shows for AviancaTaca, Chairman Roberto Kriete and CEo fabio Villegas; with José napoleón as catM, in order to increase tourism flow and position the area as an important leisure Duarte, CCT President pro tempore, signing destination. on behalf of the Central American Tourism avianca and taca aim to offer a world-class service seeking passenger preference. Council. together the airlines offer a complete travel option in Latin america with hubs in Bogota, el Salvador, Lima, and San Jose; and serve over 100 destinations in the american continent and europe. AviancaTaca, www.aviancataca.com

G T TouRs lAunChEs AiR-inClusiVE sPECiAls foR lATin AMERiCAn TRiPs g t tours, a specialist on marketing and selling escorted land packages to Latin american destinations, is launching for remaining 2011 plus 2012 a promotion to ecuador, its galapagos islands and peru, with a series of specially priced tours in combination with Lan. the tour packages feature air from Miami and new York for the ecuador and galapagos tours; Miami, new York and Los angeles for the peru program; fully escorted land services on private and semi-private services in each country; four- and five-star hotels in ecuador and throughout peru; first-class and deluxe hotel and cruise-based programs in galapagos. g t tours’ website is completely updated as of december 1 to include these promotions as well and all of its tour programs for 2012. G T Tours, 800-666 8587, mar@gttours.com, www.gttours.com

ViAVEnTuRE To CElEBRATE ThE 2012 PhEnoMEnon in CEnTRAl AMERiCA next year on december 21 the ancient Maya Long count calendar will complete a 5,125-year cycle. new age interpretation suggests earth may undergo a positive transformation, but others fear it may signal the dreaded ‘end of the world.’ Modern Maya, on the whole, haven’t attached significance to the date, and classical sources are scarce and contradictory, suggesting little if any agreement about what, if anything, the date might mean. Regardless of theory, we can be certain that the onset of 2012 will mark a heightened awareness of the ancient Maya civilization and modern Maya culture. to mark the phenomenon, Viaventure is introducing a 12-day itinerary that takes in many important elements of the ancient and living Maya culture in guatemala and copan (Honduras). guests will visit the main sites and learn about the history of the Mayas and will witness the still-living culture of the Mayas during their trip. the program is called Maya Magic & Mystery With focus on 2012, and some of its features include antigua’s historical churches; 34 • DECEMBER 2011

a fairly traded coffee and Jade Workshop (jade being a sacred stone of the Mayans); a scenic atitlan lake tour and visits to San Juan La Laguna and Santiago villages with emphasis on textile weaving, painters and spiritualism; famous chichi Market; pretty copan in Honduras with its famous ruins site and tropical bird park; cruising the lush Rio dulce area and reaching Livingston on the coast; Quirigua and its uneSco-protected Mayan temple; Yaxha national park; interesting uaxactun (site of the oldest complete Maya astronomical complex) with camping in the beautiful jungle; and tikal, where huge Mayan temples rise above the jungle canopy. More information on the spectacular tour is available from Becky Harris. Viaventure, becky.harris@viaventure.com, www.viaventure.com

GAlExTuR REPoRTs A PosiTiVE YEAR-EnD, WiTh iMPREssiVE GRoWTh in 2011 With 2011 coming to a close, galextur is reporting important changes and improvements within the last 12 months, including the grand opening of its new city art Hotel Silberstein that formally opened april 27. Located centrally in Quito, this hotel is in a perfect spot for transportation connection and options. as indicated in its name, all furniture and art at the property is for sale. guests can purchase anything they see in their rooms, and there are also many pieces scattered on the property to enjoy. galextur has also started redesigning its websites online, starting with galextur.com. Here one can view various tour offerings in a more “folio” type format. their dive Base in the galapagos (Silberstein dive center) is also going through a stylistic marketing change, with updates to the actual dive center itself. a new website has been launched detailing the different combination land and diving packages the company offers along with its flagship property, Hotel Silberstein. the website will include a full 360-degree virtual tour of the hotel. Galextur (Galapagos Expedition Tours), www.galextur.com; silberstein Dive Center, www.divingalapagos.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


Latin aMeRica ECuADoR’s MinisTRY of TouRisM honoRs CAsA CEiBo BouTiquE hoTEl & sPA ecuador’s Ministry of tourism is aware of the importance of spotlighting entrepreneurs contributing to strong, sustainable tourism. Recently tourism Minister fredy ehlers recognized several awardwinning private business ventures, including casa ceibo Boutique Hotel & Spa, a luxury resort on the outskirts of coastal Bahia de caraquez. at a special event at Quito’s historic centro de convenciones eugenio espejo, ecuadorian officials and representatives from throughout its tourism industry celebrated the honors. daniel Jacome, who co-owns casa ceibo in addition to being a galapagos guide and drummer for the hit band tercer Mundo, accepted the recognition on behalf of his partner, charles Van diver of destin, fla., and staff. the trophy recognized “excellence in the hotel category,” and an international Star diamond award bestowed to casa ceibo by the american academy of Hospitality Sciences. casa ceibo is the first recipient in South america to receive the green Star diamond award, given for complete dedication to protecting the environment, plus its commitment to five-star excellence. the ceremony was hosted September 27 in conjunction with World tourism day, a global initiative that highlights the importance of tourism and raises awareness about its complex

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role in local and international economies. Casa Ceibo Boutique hotel & spa, info@casaceibo.com, www.casaceibo.com

GoWAY offERs luxuRY inCA TRAil oPTion To fAMous MAChu PiCChu goway travel has introduced a new luxury option for the classic inca trail trek. the inca trail to Machu picchu is the most famous and popular trek in South america. it is a spectacular trek through the high andes on original inca highways with a chance to visit extraordinary ruins, enjoy beautiful mountain views, walk through strikingly different climatic zones and experience the unique feeling of arriving at Machu picchu by foot. “options to walk the trail and view Machu picchu run from a 2day “Baby inca trail,” for those short on time, or the famous 4-day trail, or our preferred option, a 5-day trail. But now goway goes one step further and takes walking the trail up a notch as we are the first to offer a luxury inca trail option,” continues forster. With large Bedouin-style tents with beds, gourmet meals, crystal glasses to hold the champagne and a massage service, there is no better way to push your body hard during the day and reward it at night. the luxury inca trail option starts from $5,225. Goway Travel, 888-469 2955, info@goway.com, www.goway.com

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Latin aMeRica GoWAY hElPs TRAVElERs ExPERiEnCE ChilE liKE loCAls

ADVAnTAGE TRAVEl PREsEnTs BEsT WAY To VisiT ECuADoRiAn RAinfoREsT

goway travel has announced two new exclusive day tours in Santiago and Valparaiso chile. “our new ‘Like a native’ day tours for Santiago and Valparaiso offer travelers the opportunity to see the city from the locals’ perspective. You may ride the subway, visit local markets, art galleries, and sample local drinks,” stated don forster, product & Marketing Manager for goway’s Latin america division. “there is nothing like seeing the true nature and culture of a city in the embrace of a local who knows his or her town and is as proud to present it to travelers. goway now offers this experience,” he continued. santiago like a native from $150 offers a journey on one of the most efficient and clean subways in the world, a visit to the stock exchange, sampling local coffees, and finishing the day with a local cocktail called the terremoto. the terremoto, literally translated as “earthquake,” leaves one with the ground feeling a little shaky. Valparaiso like a native from $260 offers “grassroots” experiences such as local markets, a ride in one of the many elevators that dot the shoreline, a ride on the local trolley buses, a casino visit and a chilean Micro brew to finish off the day. goway’s Latin america travel planner features many chile options as well as a complete choice of travel ideas in central and South america. Goway Travel, 888-469 2955, info@goway.com, www.goway.com

advantage travel presents an exclusive adventure exploring the ecuadorian coast and amazon rainforest, with visits to all protected areas, and the chance to see the best variety of ecosystems. guests will enjoy the amazon rainforest on board the Manatee amazon explorer, the ecuadorian amazon region’s only floating hotel. cruising along the napo River, they’ll see the most incredible areas in 4, 5 or 8 days, in a real ecological adventure. travelers may also visit the ecuadorian coast’s most beautiful and enchanting area, the Machalilla national park, where they can stay at the Mantaraya Lodge, an exclusive Mediterranean-style hotel with the best amenities in the area. guests can become licensed scuba divers and enjoy diving with the amazing giant Manta ray, or go kayaking with a company guide along the beautiful coastline. this is an opportunity to combine two of the most remarkable destinations in ecuador. advantage travel is now offering new in-situ tours such as “the Road of the Roses,” the new and improved eloy alfaro train, the new incas complex at cotopaxi, a cultural encounter in otavalo with its world-renowned indigenous Handicraft Market, and tours of magnificent cities such as Quito and cuenca, both declared World cultural Heritage Sites, in one of the company’s entertaining and informative daily tours. Advantage Travel, www.advantagetravel.com

ViAJEs PACifiCo PRoViDEs luxuRY iTinERARiEs in PERu there is no doubt that peru should be a destination on every american’s travel list. Located in the same time zone as the eastern uS and an average 7 hours’ nonstop flight from La, San francisco, Houston, atlanta nY and Miami, this is a country that remains relatively unexplored for most americans. Lima is the gastronomical capital of Latin america due to its excellent cuisine and great restaurants with a variety of nouveau or fusion dishes. the city has many new facilities like the just-opened Westin Hotel, atton Suites and the soon-to-open Hilton and four Seasons plus the ones already established and operating successfully—JW Marriott, Sheraton, orient express, country club, Sofitel, and casa andina private collection among others. cusco and Machu picchu are must-see destinations. Located at an hour’s flight from Lima, guests can explore the traces of ancient cultures with their traditions in a comfort of modern minivans, buses and trains accompanied by english-speaking guides. new and luxury hotels are now everywhere. the Monasterio Hotel and the Sanctuary Lodge in Machu picchu run by orient express as well as the inkaterra, La casona and Machu picchu pueblo and the Libertador cusco and Sacred Valley are constantly nominated as best hotels in South america by prestigious magazines. perfect itineraries from 7 to 14 days are now provided by Viajes pacifico –Vipac, peruvian tour operator with more than 38 years providing excellence in travel. Viajes Pacifico (ViPAC), 888-392-9793, www.vipacperu.com

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Latin aMeRica METRoPoliTAn TouRinG offERs innoVATiVE, PosiTiVE ExPloRATion of ECuADoR’s CoAsTAl WoRlD

ecuador’s pacific coastline is little-known, despite being a rich source of experiences and activities for visitors to the country. Keen for its guests to experience all ecuador has to offer—from north and south to east and west—Metropolitan touring has designed a new itinerary which explores, in just a few hours from guayaquil, the fauna and flora of two different and fascinating ecosystems: man-

Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

groves and coastal forests. “By visiting this beautiful area,” explains north american commercial Manager cristina Valdivieso, “guests will contribute not only to its conservation but also to the wellbeing of the families who provide services to visitors throughout the day.” the “Manglares churute ecological Reserve” is part of the country’s national System of protected areas and is also registered in the “Ramsar convention,” due to its importance as one of ecuador’s most intact wetlands. the mangrove ecosystem, and its surrounding coastal forests, provides livelihoods for tens of thousands of families all along the coast, who use its resources for sustenance and for making some extra income. Recently, the inhabitants of a section of mangrove at the mouth of the River churute estuary, protected by the ecological reserve created in 1979 and situated to the southwest of guayaquil, embarked on a community tourism initiative to encourage visitors to explore their world and learn about their lives. the mangrove ecosystem once covered vast swathes of the ecuadorian pacific coast. But it’s been progressively destroyed over the years. pockets of this remarkable habitat remain, home to hundreds of bird species, but they are few and far between and many have had to be protected within nature reserves in order to survive. “in line with our commitment to the principles of responsible travel, our new itinerary aims to give visitors not only a wonderful experience of one of ecuador’s seldom-visited ecosystems but also an enriching insight into the lives, work and dreams of the people who inhabit it,” says Valdivieso. the Reserve is a mere one-hour drive from guayaquil, making it a perfect day-trip for visitors wanting to ‘do something different,’ while contributing to local people’s welfare. Metropolitan Touring, www.metropolitan-touring.com

DECEMBER 2011 •

37


Latin aMeRica EAsY ACCEss To ThE BEsT of liMA AT sonEsTA hoTEl El oliVER

for Kids corner, general maintenance of the furnishings for inner and outer areas including new carpeting and curtains, and renovated auditorium chairs. the chefs have also been trained in fusion cuisine to offer passengers a refreshed menu with healthy and delicious options. as pioneers in tourism, Kleintours has gotten an environmental license issued by the galapagos national park qualifying them to operate within the islands safely—without pollution, keeping an ecofriendly operation. Bookings for 2012 should be made soon to secure space. exciting, new surround and fascinating places await visitors to these ‘enchanted islands.’ Kleintours, www.kleintours.com

lATin TRAils’ AMAzon TouRisM CluB Will Sonesta Hotel el olivar is located in Lima, known as the city of ADD VARiETY To ECuADoR ExPERiEnCE the Kings, within the attractive residential and financial district in front of the historic olive grove park. nearby, visitors will find various financial institutions, large corporations as well as shopping centers, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs. Known as one of the best Lima hotels, the property, managed by gHL Hoteles, is a five-star hotel offering tradition, culinary excellence and high-quality service. Hotel el olivar offers a health club, meeting space, business center and other luxury amenities. el olivar Restaurant and Bar, the signature restaurant, features a fusion of peruvian and international flavors and ichi Ban is known as one of the best Japanese restaurants in Lima. this city offers many world-class museums, artisan markets and attractions, including Huaca Huallamarca, a pre-inca pyramid; birdwatching tours; Lima’s cathedral; and cultural highlights including the Larcomar cultural and entertainment center. the Lima international airport is 11 miles north of the hotel. sonesta hotel El olivar, www.sonesta.com; Ghl hoteles, www.ghlhoteles.com

KlEinTouRs AnnounCEs M/V GAlAPAGos lEGEnD hAs BEEn REnoVATED Kleintours, ecuadorian company operating a cruise line in the galapagos islands, has announced the renovation of its deluxe vessel M/V galapagos Legend (100-guest capacity) that took place during its last dry dock. the ship has undergone a fresh, stylish makeover in social areas and cabins. an interpretation corner will be available for guests to learn more about the islands, with guides available to answer questions. new adjustable air conditioning and noise isolating systems have been installed in the cabins, as well as a video system in each that will allow guests to select up to 60 movies and galapagos’ specialized briefing. it’s also possible to make international phone calls direct from the cabin. upgrades also include new decoration, furniture, linen and a new restroom next to Lonesome george restaurant. additional improvements consist of an upgraded sewage system, a new automatic massage chair and steam room for up to 6, new decoration and games 38 • DECEMBER 2011

With two other inbound operators’ collaboration and support from the united States agency for international development (uSaid), Latin trails is introducing the ecuadorian amazon tourism club. Joining efforts of eight top ecuadorian amazon operators, including lodges, cruises and community projects, the club’s purpose is to integrate amazon rainforest options into one complementary offer. With carefully thought-out itineraries, the club will function as an ‘amazonhopping program’ in one of most fascinating places in the world. the ecuadorian amazon is one of the few remaining mega diverse areas in the planet, with a great percentage of endemic species and millenary jungle cultures whose customs have remained intact. So 4 worlds within a small country have access to a unique, dense territory. Recognizing the lure’s huge advantage and with proven infrastructure capable of supporting numerous groups, Latin trails cofounded the club. instead of working separately and offering fewer options, the club will integrate various operators to offer richer, better itineraries. for example, one combines the cultural experience of meeting authentic indigenous locals with the opportunity to appreciate the rainforest’s exotic array: it joins the community lodge of Kapawi with the famous napo Wildlife center into an organized tour. another combines an amazon River cruise on the amazon Manatee explorer with the excellent ground accommodation Sani lodge. Several other options are certain to captivate varied clientele. this club not only makes the ecuadorian amazon a more complete destination, but gives secluded communities a way to maintain their cultures through well-applied ecotourism. all club operators have various sustainability certifications, commitments to community development, qualified professional guides and even various international recognitions and awards. infrastructure and operating capacity is so developed that they have no problem coordinating logistics to work with each other. the operators—all with over ten years’ experience— have well planned, coordinated activities designed so no excursion is similar to the next. a certified guide to accompany the groups at all times as a tour leader overseeing the operation. itinerary prices will range from $1,400 to $1,900 in the 5-day and 7-day options that include accommodations, transportation, meals and activities. latin Trails, www.latintrails.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


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Pristine Botswana, with its policy of low-impact tourism and highvalue conservation programs, is Africa at its finest. It is, however, pricey. For those who’ve yearned to experience the Okavango Delta, Goway is offering savings of up to $1,600 on an 8night itinerary. “Our itinerary includes 6 nights in two different parts of the Delta and 2 nights in Livingstone. For those with time constraints it’s perfect as a standalone itinerary and also ideal as an extension to a South Africa vacation,” said Moira Smith, General Manager for AFRICAExperts by Goway. Summer is a special time in Africa. It is the time when there is a kaleidoscope of color with rich landscapes, an explosion of new life with many species giving birth to their young and a myriad bird species to be seen. These mostly exclusive safari areas continue to offer frequent predator sightings as they take advantage of the glut of inexperienced, younger prey. Dramatic summer skies and a tapestry of green exploding with seasonal abundance provide ideal photographic opportunities of an endless assortment of subjects. At $3,780, the special includes 2 nights at Toka Leya in Livingstone, 3 nights at the Linyanti Discoverer Camp, 3 nights at Xigera camp, intercamp air transfers, all meals, camp activities, local drinks and laundry. Goway’s 2012 AFRICAExperts Travel planner is available by email or calling them toll-free. Goway travel, 800-245-0920, info@goway.com, www.goway.com

Global vision awarD Goes to austin-lehman aDventures for useD bike ProGram Travel + Leisure magazine has announced that tour operator Austin-Lehman Adventures is a recipient of its 2011 Global Vision Award. The award in the category of corporate innovation and community development recognizes the Austin-Lehman-driven program called Wheels of Change that from a collection center in Billings, MT, receives used bicycles for eventual delivery to African villages. “We are honored and appreciative of the recognition but our work has just begun,” notes Dan Austin, director of Austin-Lehman Adventures and founder of Wheels of Change. He points out that a bike can change a life in a poor country, but for millions of low-in40 • DeCember 2011

come individuals a new bicycle is financially out of reach. The project came about in 2010 when Austin realized that bikes used in its own domestic and international touring programs needed to be replaced. Along with an equal number of donated bikes he shipped them to Ngoma, Namibia, where his company operates a luxury wildlife tour. Here his team helped locals turn the used bikes into a rental and repair business operating out of a shipping container that carried the bikes. The shop became self-sufficient within 10 months, inspiring Austin to create the nonprofit organization. The benefits are significant: 10 million bikes are discarded annually in the United States, and each can give someone in the developing world vital access to water, schools, jobs and medical facilities, he said. Cyclists on Austin-Lehman Adventure’s Namibia Family Adventure and a new Kenya Adventure can visit bike shops set up by Wheels of Change. austin-lehman adventures, 800-575-1540, www.austinlehman.com; wheels of Change, www.wocmontana.org

antarCtiC Dream’s Polar exPerts set sail aGain, new ProGram introDuCeD Antarctic Dream has started in November with its seventh successful Antarctic season, offering three programs to visit Antarctica, with daily landings, kayak and camping activities, wildlife observation and lectures on board in a comfortable environment. There’s still availability, so adventurers seeking this thrill of a lifetime should request a spot. An expedition aboard M/V Antarctic Dream is a most unforgettable experience, allowing travelers to discover the awesome immensity of the White Continent. The trip finds magnificent sites for travelers in search of unique sensations. antarctica fly & sail (8 days/7 nights) explores the Peninsula and departs and returns from both Punta Arenas, Chile, and Ushuaia, Argentina. Itinerary A leaves from Punta Arenas and Itinerary B leaves from Ushuaia. antarctic Dream expedition (11 days/10 nights) is Antarctica Shipping’s classic Antarctic Expedition that crosses the legendary Drake Passage departs and returns from Ushuaia, Argentina. The highlight of this trip is the thrilling discovery of the White Continent. Polar Circle Crossing (14 days/13 nights) sails down toward the Antarctic Circle. This is a new program—Antarctic Dream’s extended classic program—departing and returning from Ushuaia, Argentina, January 6, 2012. Expedition maps, full details and available spots can be found online. M/V Antarctic Dream is an expedition vessel built specifically for Antarctica exploration and totally refurbished to add the comfort of a small cruise ship (private bathroom in each cabin). The vessel allows a true expedition experience, with multiple landings in the most unique and marvelous settings of Antarctica. antarctic Dream, 877-aD triPs (238-7477), www.antarcticdream.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


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PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS Cousteau team member albert falCo visits statia

and travel agents, are also available to help with any questions on DEMA Specials, airfare, dive destinations and how agents can make money. They may be contacted for additional information, a customized quote or to make reservations. maduro Dive fanta-seas, 800-327-6709, travelagent@maduro.com, www.maduro.com

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On October 10 and 11, Albert Falco (center), former captain for 37 years of the mythic vessel “La Calypso,” right-hand man of JeanJacques Cousteau, came to visit Statia. Falco has been diving with the Calypso team all around the word but had not yet visited Statia. The Scubaqua team was honored to guide underwater such a legend as Falco, who claims approximately 35,000 was really impressed with the quality of dive sites of St. Eustatius. Falco confirmed that marine parks are key to underwater preservation; he is still very active around the world with efforts to protect and create marine reserves. scubaqua Dive Center st. eustatius, www.scubaqua.com

maDuro Dive fanta-seas Creates Profit wiDGet for Dive travel aGents Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas, an innovative leader in dive travel for over 30 years, plans to introduce at DEMA their new online tool called PAW. PAW stands for Profit Application Widget and was designed to provide dive travel agents a proven method to enhance profits, merchandise and retain customers, while maintaining complete control of clients at all times. Those attending DEMA can see the PAW presentation at booth 1949. The PAW presentation is now available to review online by logging in (TradeZone Login) at the very bottom of their homepage, and after signing in, inside the TradeZone clicking on the PAW Tab. Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas is offering over 90 DEMA group specials, with dive resorts and liveaboards in the Caribbean, Micronesia, South Pacific/Oceania, Asia, Mexico, North, South and Central America. These offer excellent value and lucrative returns, with commissions up to 15%, free airfare, free packages, free diving, multiple value-added benefits, special negotiated group airfare, Best Rate Guarantee on all dive packages and knowledgeable dive travel specialists—all adding up to fun dive group trips and thousands in profits. Details can be found at Maduro’s booth 439 at DEMA, by logging into the TradeZone section of their website and clicking on DEMA Specials, or by contacting a group dive specialist. Maduro’s experienced dive travel specialists, all certified divers 42 • DeCember 2011

Caradonna Worldwide Dive Adventures is offering fantastic opportunities for retail dive stores to earn free air tickets (only paying air taxes) for their group leaders in 2012. Included are many top dive destinations served by Delta Air Lines: Aruba, Bahamas (Nassau, Grand Bahama, and Georgetown, Exuma), Bermuda, Belize, Bonaire, Costa Rica (Liberia), Ecuador (Guayaquil and Quito), Grand Cayman, Grenada, Mexico (Cancun, Cozumel and Cabo), Turks & Caicos (Providenciales), Roatan, San Juan, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. For these, groups can book and travel anytime through December 31, 2012. Delta is also offering free air for group leaders traveling to the Pacific: Bangkok, Guam, Manila, Palau, Saipan, Singapore and Sydney. Groups can book and travel anytime up through March 31, 2012, for these destinations. Continental Airlines is offering a free air ticket for groups to Palau, Truk, Yap, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Majuro, Guam and Saipan for travel through March 31, 2012. Groups traveling on either Delta or Continental must include a minimum of 15 paid passengers to receive a free (16th) ticket. Smaller groups can take advantage of free air tickets for which only 10 paid tickets are required to earn a free 11th ticket on Air Tahiti Nui between Los Angeles and Papeete, Tahiti, as well as Air Pacific to Nadi, Fiji. These must be booked and deposited by March 31, 2012; travel dates extend into 2013. Groups interested in Bonaire or Curacao can earn a 12th ticket free on Insel Air from either Charlotte or Miami if they book and deposit by December 2011 for travel between April 15 and December 10, 2012. They will also get an additional 22-pound baggage allowance to better accommodate dive gear. There are nearly 200 DEMA Specials with which to combine these air offers that include discounted rates, added value, special comps, and lenient deposit and payment policies. All packages are commissionable to their fullest extent including optional travel insurance (excluding non-commissionable elements, taxes and service charges). Those not already working with Caradonna in their travel program are urged to contact the company for exceptional service and turnkey quality dive vacations. By signing up as a dive retailer on their website, one can receive monthly emails and special retail emails including the latest offers for group travel. Caradonna worldwide Dive adventures, 800-329-9989, sales@caradonna.com, www.caradonna.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


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PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS sunbreeze hotel anD sunbreeze suites offer January sPeCials

Centrally located on beautiful Ambergris Caye in Belize, SunBreeze Suites has been tops for divers, adventurous and passionate travelers. With just 20 one-bedroom beachfront suites, it offers peace, relaxation and inspiring views of the Caribbean Sea and the second-largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere. There are 8 Oceanfront and 12 Ocean view suites, all suitable for families, friends and couples desiring a fun holiday of activities and relaxation. Access is easy to local and gourmet restaurants, souvenir shops, art galleries, and entertainment on this unique, multicultural island. Each suite has a private ocean-view balcony, private bedroom, private bath with hot and cold shower, fully equipped kitchen, dining/living area, queen sofa-bed, ceiling fan, air-conditioning, cable TV, telephone, radio alarm clock and hairdryer (All nonsmoking.) Mojito’s Bar and Grill serves breakfast and lunch. Hugh Parkey’s Belize Dive Connection is an 8-minute stroll away at sister property SunBreeze Hotel, for savings and professional diving. Currently the resort has on offer a January 2012 Holiday Special where guests pay just 5 nights and get 2 more nights free. SunBreeze Hotel in the heart of Ambergris Caye is a U-shaped Spanish architectural design with Caribbean flavor and dazzling tropical gardens. Located just feet from the calm Caribbean and an eye sight away from the second largest Barrier Reef in the western hemisphere, the hotel provides worldwide travelers a mind-blowing vacation—diving, snorkeling, fishing, ecological and Mayan Mountain Caving tours all within easy reach. SunBreeze Hotel offers 43 spacious garden and ocean view rooms with commodities that complement a first-class beach vacation. Amenities include Blue Water Grill Restaurant & Bar with its stylish blend of island cuisine in open-air setting overlooking the sea, and 10 feet of wooden sundeck around a relaxing and beautiful freshwater pool. Hugh Parkey’s Belize Dive Connection provides safe and professional reef dives, atoll dives, and PADI certification courses. Art of Touch Massage Studio & Wellness Center features treatments for relaxation and wellbeing. The Art of Touch Gallery offers tropical and colorful paintings by Christopher Emmanuel. A January 2012 special at SunBreeze Hotel offers 1 night free when guests pay for 6. sunbreeze suites, www.sunbreezesuites.com; sunbreeze hotel, www.sunbreeze.net 44 • DeCember 2011

afriCa tour Combines safari anD sea Africa Tour recommends a scuba diving safari to Rocktail Bay, offering perhaps the most unspoiled beach experience in South Africa. The coral is in magnificent condition and, as for the fish, over 1,250 species have been recorded. These reefs only opened up to scuba divers a few years ago. Rocktail Bay Lodge is situated within the coastal forest just behind the forested dunes along Maputaland’s coastline, with the warm Indian Ocean just beyond the dunes. The Indian Ocean is ideal for snorkeling (flippers and snorkels may be borrowed at the lodge), while surf and flyfishing is among the best on the east coast. At Rocktail, Loggerhead Turtles come ashore to nest and lay their eggs. The height of turtle activity occurs between October and March, with hatching January to March. Guests can choose to participate in evening turtle drives on the beach and to assist with the turtle conservation research project. Maputaland, on KwaZulu-Natal’s northeastern seaboard, is a diverse region of forested dunes, wetlands, sandy beaches, woodlands and warm seas. This camp is set within iSimangaliso (formerly Greater St Lucia) Wetland Park, one of South Africa’s World Heritage Sites; offshore is the Maputaland Marine Reserve, sanctuary to prolific marine life including coral reefs, huge shoals of fish, and various dolphin and whale species. Offshore is the almost virgin Maputaland Marine Reserve, offering extraordinary diving and snorkeling encounters with huge shoals of fish, pristine reefs and excellent visibility. From April through October, there’s a good chance to see the Humpback Whale migration. The reefs off Island Rock/Rocktail Bay have never before been commercially dived. Diving occurs on world-class sites, with the possibility of seeing shoals of game fish and sharks. The coral reefs are pristine, and divers’ buoyancy will be strictly controlled to avoid the possibility of reef damage. africa tour, www.africatour.co.za

Goway Celebrates hinDu festival Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is one of the most popular festivals in South Asia. The 5-day festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance, although the actual legends that go with the festival vary across India. Goway celebrated in their Toronto office October 27 in true festive spirit. Staff enjoyed traditional snacks such as Samosas, sweet cashew rolls, crunchy Bhel mix, tasty Khaman Shokla, and lentil Kachoris. Goway’s Vancouver office celebrated similarly the previous day. Many staff dressed in beautifully adorned Saris and other traditional Indian wear. Bollywood videos played on the projector, enticing everyone to break out their dance moves. Everyone received a chocolate coin, a symbol of good fortune and good luck. The Asia division has announced it will be an annual celebration, spotlighting the wonderful foods and traditions of India. Goway travel, 800-387-8850, www.goway.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


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PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS euroPean waterways’ thames Cruise Puts travelers in holiDay sPirit

century Hurley. The cruise also features an optional visit to Sir Stanley Spencer’s art gallery, as well as a final stop in Henley on Thames, home of the Henley Royal Regatta. Prices for either the Christmas or New Year full-boat charter cruise are from $30,200, with full details online. European Waterways offers at least 10% commission for all bookings. european waterways, 877-879-8808, sales@gobarging.com, www.gobarging.com

austin-lehman aDventures announCes new yellowstone in winter tour

“What better way to enjoy the holidays than by absorbing the rich cultural heritage and traditions of London and the picturesque towns along the Royal River Thames,” asks Derek Banks, Managing Director of European Waterways, suggesting a festive charter aboard the company’s 8-passenger luxury barge Magna Carta. The 4-night Christmas cruise begins December 24 with afternoon tea and mince pies at 5-star Stafford Hotel. Boarding is at St. Katharine’s Dock next to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. Guests enjoy champagne and a sumptuous dinner of regional specialties prepared by the barge’s private chef. Actors later drop by for select readings from “A Christmas Carol,” which can be followed by optional Christmas Eve mass. Christmas Day service is offered in England’s great Westminster Abbey. On return to their ‘floating hotel,’ guests enjoy hot mulled wine while cruising Chelsea to Chiswick before a wonderful, traditional Christmas feast. The following two days’ cruising can include a tour of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, a walk around Bushy Park and a visit to magnificent Hampton Court Palace. The 5-night New Year’s cruise, also available as a charter, begins December 28 with afternoon tea at the Stafford followed by a cruise on the Thames to scenic Runnymede, famous location of the sealing in 1215 of the Magna Carta, the hotel barge’s namesake. Highlights the second day include Windsor Castle, one of the country’s top 20 tourist attractions and a Royal home for over 900 years. The cruise continues along scenic stretches such as beautiful Cliveden Reach. From the banks, one can see the Astor family’s former home, now one of the world’s finest hotels. New Year’s Eve celebrations include dinner and party onboard— or guests may join villagers at one of England’s oldest pubs in 11th46 • DeCember 2011

Austin-Lehman Adventures points out that Yellowstone isn’t only a warm weather destination. The active travel company is introducing three February 2012 five-day/four-night Yellowstone in Winter programs. Activities include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice-skating, dog sledding, ranger talks and sipping hot chocolate fireside. The rate is $2,198 ppdo ($580 single supplement) inclusive of accommodations and meals at historic Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel (dates to 1883), Old Faithful Snow Lodge, and Chico Hot Springs Resort and Spa (dates to 1920s and features pools fed by mineral hot springs, a spa and exceptional dining); intra-lodge/activity snow coach transfers, sporting equipment and more. Departures based from Bozeman, MT, are February 5–9, 12–16 and February 26 through March 1. “We live and play in this special corner of Wyoming and Montana and Yellowstone National Park is literally our back yard. It’s a natural,” said Dan Austin, founding director. “Devoid of crowds, winter in Yellowstone is an amazing time. The cold temps make even more dramatic the thermal activity (geysers, bubbling mud pots, hot spring pools and steam vents), and wildlife is concentrated in the warmer, snow-free geyser basins for easier viewing.” Austin noted that while snowshoeing the Upper Geyser Basin Trail guests will experience in an approximately two-square-mile area the largest concentration and nearly one-quarter of all the geysers in the world. This is the home of Old Faithful. Yellowstone in Winter is one of six brand-new ALA adventures that won’t be found in their new 2012 print catalog but are only featured on the ALA website. The new trips include The Real Cuba, Glacier National Park Family Adventure, Croatia — The Dalmation Coast, Slovenia — The Julian Alps Adventure, and Chile/Argentina — Salta to Atacama. “National Park vacations have always been a major part of our offerings,” said Dan Austin, founding director, noting that his company first began offering trips into Yellowstone decades ago. “Year after year it’s our Yellowstone Park vacation packages that outsell all others; however we have seen interest in all of our National Park vacations grow at an astounding rate.” austin-lehman adventures, 800-575-1540, info@austinlehman.com, www.austinlehman.com www.travelworldnews.com • Travel World News


PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS uts offers unusual aDriatiC reGion CyClinG tour

California-based Universal Travel System (UTS) has an unusual, attractive tour in the Adriatic and Dalmatian Coast. A small, private boat carrying cyclists and their bikes docks at one point of an island in the Adriatic where the bikes are offloaded. Cyclists take a cycling tour of about 20–40 miles from this point to the other side of island and by the time they reach the other side, the boat is already waiting for them. After that, they find a small hidden beach on a remote island and enjoy swimming and diving. The next day is the same but on a different island and so on for 8 days/7 nights. Breakfasts and lunches are included while dinners are usually left to individual passengers to explore Dalmatian delicious cuisine. Bikers can bring their bikes or rent from the operator. One does not have to be a biker to enjoy this tour. There are plenty of activities planned for non-bikers while the bikers are circling the island, among them snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, sightseeing, wine tasting and exploring local life. With plenty of excitement, variety and pleasant surprises, this is a trip sure to exhilarate. Bikers love the fact that every day it’s a different island, different scenery, different food—“but always the same fun.” universal travel system (uts), www.uts-travel.com

Gvb to be title sPonsor for 2012 xterra Guam ChamPionshiP event The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) has announced that they will be the title sponsor for the 2012 XTERRA Guam Championship Qualifier event set for March 10, 2012. GVB will be joining forces with Platinum Sponsor and official airline of XTERRA Guam, Travel World News • www.travelworldnews.com

United Airlines, in addition to the Port Authority of Guam, Cycles Plus, Payless Car Rental, the Guam Triathlon Federation, KUAM Sports, Hornet Sports, and the Mayor’s offices of Ordot-Chalan Pago and Piti. “Our region yearns for top-notch sporting events and Guam couldn’t be a better spot to showcase our island to professional and amateur triathletes from around the world,” said Jen Crisostomo, Guam Visitors Bureau Board Director and Chairwoman of the Sports Tourism Committee, “We have our signature Ko’Ko’ Road Race for runners so we hope to see the XTERRA Guam Championship Qualifier become another signature event for visiting and local triathletes,” she said. This will be the first year that the XTERRA Guam race will be licensed as an official championship qualifier event, meaning that professionals have a chance at winning a part of the $15,000 prize purse and age-group (amateur) participants have the ability to earn a coveted spot in the XTERRA World Championship event held annually in Maui to race against the best athletes from around the world in their age group. “Having it as a championship event is important because in order to grow the event where we can attract more visiting athletes, we need to have certain components that are part of being a championship,” said Eric Tydingco, XTERRA Guam Race Director, “GVB’s inclusion is essential as their marketing presence and reach in the Asia region will help boost the international participation.” Tydingco, fresh off of promoting Guam’s race at the XTERRA World Championships in Maui, has already seen increased interest from elite professionals and amateurs alike. “The interest and attention has been fantastic,” Tydingco continued, “I was approached by Tim DeBoom of Colorado—a twotime Ironman World Champion, who basically said he wanted to race in Guam because of all the photos and stories he’s seen in magazine and the word-of-mouth reputation of the event,” said Tydingco. Besides DeBoom, Olivier Marceau (Switzerland, ITU World Champ, Olympian), Shonny Vanlandingham (USA, 2010 XTERRA World Champion), Ben Allen (Australia), Graham Wadsworth (UK), Takahiro Ogasawara (JPN), Renata Bucher (Switzerland, 5 time XTERRA Saipan Champion), Melanie McQuaid (Canada, 3x XTERRA World Champion), Richard Ussher (New Zealand), Richard Stannard (UK), and Jimmy Archer (Colorado), have all either committed or expressed serious interest to racing the championship qualifier event, according to Tydingco. “We’re very excited to have the Guam race be a championship race, they’ve done a fabulous job over the past year being an age group points series race that the pros have already discovered,” said Janet Clark, President of Team Unlimited—the organization behind the creation of the XTERRA races. Guam visitors bureau (Gvb), www.visitguam.org; xterra Guam, info@xterraguam.com, www.xterraguam.com DeCember 2011 •

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December 2011 edition of Travel World News