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Global Encounters’ Explore Beyond Expedition Slated to Historic Andean Crash Site Cancun Unveils World’s Largest Underwater Museum Dunes and Drama with Abenteuer Afrika Safari’s ‘Expedition Namibia’

Austin-Lehman Adventures Adds Bike and Hike-Only Programs to Its Award-Winning Portfolio

Tauck Announces First-Ever Iceland Cruise Aboard New Le Boreal


DECEMBER 2009 executive office


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ATS Annual Meeting Held Where Berlin Wall Fell 20 Years Ago


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Ecuador Goes on the Road in the U.S. and Canada






i n t e r n e t

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Carol A. Petro design production manager

Linda Rogers Maria Rebello • Accounting Manager Shawn Hebert • IT Manager Cindy Johnson • Circulation Manager dive editor

FAM ANNOUNCEMENTS For complete and current list please visit:

CARIBBEAN BlueBay Villas Doradas in the Dominican Republic: Big Value for Small Bucks


Allen Chastanet Named Caribbean Travel Personality of the Year



Lorry Heverly

MEXICO 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 • Mary Ellen Schultz Helen Kitti Smith • Robin Swados • Diane Terry Travel World News (ISSN 1044-4602) is published monthly by Travel Industry Network, Inc., 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. The cost of a subscription in the USA is $25, in Canada $40. For subscribers outside USA or Canada, the rate is $80. Please send check or money order in U.S. dollars payable to Travel World News. For change of address, please enclose your mailing label and send to: Circulation Department, Travel World News, 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. Periodicals postage paid at Norwalk, CT, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Travel World News, 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. Address advertising inquiries and/or editorial copy to: Travel World News, 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. Copyright 2008. 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.

Discover Puebla’s Treasures Agents Can Now Become Mexico Specialists by Learning – and Earning – on the Web, Compliments of the Mexico Tourism Board Cancun Travel Mart Mexico Summit What’s New in Cancun

22 24 26 28



Casa Ceibo Resort’s Double Grand Opening a Success for Ecuadorian Travel


Panama’s Bristol Buenaventura Welcomes John Blanco as General Manager


PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS Cancun Unveils World’s Largest Underwater Museum


Austin-Lehman Adventures Adds Bike and Hike-Only Programs to Its Award-Winning Portfolio


Dunes and Drama with Abenteuer Afrika Safari’s ‘Expedition Namibia’


Tauck Announces First-Ever Iceland Cruise Aboard New Le Boreal



Global Encounters’ Explore Beyond Expedition Slated to Historic Andean Crash Site 47 NICHE MARKETS/AUSTIN-LEHMAN ADVENTURES- page 40 COVER PHOTO CREDITS: Abenteuer Afrika Safari; Austin-Lehman Adventures; Cancun Underwater Museum, Jason deCaires Taylor; Global Encounters, Explore Beyond; Tauck World Discovery, Le Boreal

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ATS Annual Meeting Held Where Berlin Wall Fell 20 Years Ago BARRY GOLDSMITH


he ATS (American Tourism Society) – whose goal is to bring down walls separating tourists from new destinations around the world – held its 2009 annual meeting where the Berlin Wall fell 20 years ago. The meeting was held at the Grand Hotel Heiligendamm in Heilligendam, MecklingburgVorpommern (“Meck-Pomm” to natives) in what, 20 years ago, was East Germany. This is the same, super-luxurious resort, on the Baltic Sea, that hosted the G-8 Summit in 2007. The actual conference hall is a magnificent late 18th-century Neo-classical building with one of the most elegant Empire grand dining rooms to be found this east of Versailles’ Grand Trianon. ATS was founded to increase understanding between the West, Eastern Block countries and the Soviet Union. Phil Otterson, President of ATS and Executive VP for Tauck World Discovery, explains, “We felt it very appropriate for ATS, whose founding members did so much to pioneer tourism from the U.S. to Eastern Europe, to use the occasion of our Fall 2009 Conference to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.” This year’s ATS meeting, which took place from October 2629, had two firsts: The first, “first annual” participation of Tourism Cares with its first tree-planting ceremony in Europe, in Schuenhagen on October 28th. The term, “first annual” can be an oxymoron. Let’s do the “first” event, decide if it’s successful and then plan it annually. This tree-planting ceremony was so successful that even the heavens cooperated with a steady downpour – to ensure that the more than 300 American maple saplings would be immediately watered. The second “first” at this ATS meeting is the NTA (National Tour Association) sponsorship of the post-tour in MeckPomm. The newly formed NTA-ATS partnership provided NTA members an opportunity to join ATS for a week of postmeeting tours starting on October 29th and ending in Berlin on November 1st. We also toured the many sites in Berlin associated with one of the most memorable events of the late 20th-century – the fall the Berlin Wall. (See my monthly column, THE INSIDE TRACK for more on Berlin.) Tobias Woitendorf, Head of Communications of MeckPomm Tourist Board, surprised us with a treat—lunch in Schwerin Palace’s 19th-century orangerie – which was far more elegant than lunch in Kew Palace’s Orangerie. Why mention Kew Palace with Meck-Pomm? Meck-Pomm’s history is international. King George III of Great Britain might have lost the American colonies, but he 4 • DECEMBER 2009

Grand Hotel Heiligendamm, on the shores of the Baltic Sea, is Germany’s first seaside resort. This spectacular hotel employs several 19th-century styles, yet has every modern convenience.

gained a wife, Queen Charlotte, from Mecklinburg. No wonder the intimate red brick Kew Palace was Queen Charlotte’s favorite palace. (The Carolinas, Charlottesville and many other American locations carry her name.) And there are strong ties to Russian royalty – the Romanovs. A nearby royal hunting lodge was owned by an Anastasia Romanova – a granddaughter of Czar Nicholas I. As a professor I can’t forgot a new ATS goal – education. ATS is not just content with promoting tourism today. ATS is investing in the tourism of the future with its Tourism College Program, which was started at last year’s annual meeting in Cairo. This year the conference had over 300 students attending including two Egyptian students (from last year’s conference) with their professor, who participated in panel-tourism discussions with German students from the University of Rostock, at the University of Rostock. Even professors have to learn to something. This professor learned a lot about travel from many of the speakers especially another professor, Dr. David Parry, ATA Chairman, who as President of Academic Travel Abroad, has created and led tours around the world for decades. According to Dr. Parry the outlook for international travel, even during this deep recession as not as bleak as might seems. It’s just changing. Americans are increasingly seeking more new and more exotic destinations. Vacations are becoming shorter. The demand for organized group bus tours is declining. While the demand for inclusive cruising is increasing as is the F.I.T. tour Flexible (free) Independent Travel. To this professor of architecture and humor it will always mean, “Fun in Travel.” And that’s exactly what we’ll have at next year’s ATS annual meeting when we get to travel to Kosovo – one of the world’s newest countries and newest destinations.

American Tourism Society (ATS), • Travel World News

INDUSTRY EVENTS CHTA CARIBBEAN MARKETPLACE 2010 CREATES LUCRATIVE OPPORTUNITIES Caribbean Marketplace 2010 is welcoming buyers from around the world to meet with suppliers to create strategies to accommodate pent-up demand for Caribbean travel evolved during the economic downturn. Staged by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), along with the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association, Puerto Rico Tourism Company, MasterCard and Virgin Holidays, Caribbean Marketplace is set for January 10–12, 2010, at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan. “With a projected tourism recovery just around the corner, Caribbean Marketplace 2010 represents an unprecedented opportunity for wholesalers and other buyers in the industry to secure extremely lucrative contracts,” said Enrique De Marchena Kaluche, President of CHTA. “Operators and wholesalers present at Caribbean Marketplace will be best positioned to reap the maximum rewards from what experts are predicting will be a large influx of tourism over the next several years,” he added. Caribbean Marketplace is the requisite business-to-business marketing event for the Caribbean, where buyers meet with hospitality suppliers to network and negotiate contracts to facilitate travel over the next few years. CHTA’s proprietary appointment matching program guarantees maximum networking opportunities with the Caribbean’s top suppliers at an efficient schedule. Buyer registration is $299 per person (after the third buyer delegate, the fee is reduced to $99 per additional delegate) and includes pre-scheduled appointments (if registration is received before December 11, 2009), listing in the electronic Delegate Directory, two buffet lunches, opening cocktail reception, buffet dinner and entertainment at the Caribbean Night event, entrance to all business and social functions, and shuttle bus service between host hotels and the Puerto Rico Convention Center. Hotel accommodations are not included in the registration fee for buyers or suppliers. The Sheraton Puerto Rico Convention Center Hotel & Casino is the host hotel for the conference. Adjacent to the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the new property offers meeting facilities, a full-service casino and resort-like amenities, including a sundeck/pool, spa and retail space. CHTA has arranged for special hotel rates for Caribbean Marketplace delegates at the Sheraton Puerto Rico as well as a number of hotels throughout San Juan. The deadline for special hotel rates is December 11, 2009. Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA),,, Travel World News •

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INDUSTRY EVENTS PATH-SPONSORED SYMPOSIUM FOR HOST AGENCIES DECLARED SUCCESSFUL On October 6, PATH (Professional Association of Travel Hosts) sponsored a one-day symposium open to all host agencies, both members and non-members. During the event, held in conjunction with the Atlantic City Home-Based Travel Agent Show, host agency owners and managers had the opportunity to come together to address common challenges within the host agency business and collaborate to identify best practices on supplier partnerships, tools, technology and training. In-depth discussions were held regarding legal issues facing both host agencies and their independent contractors by Paul Ruden (ASTA), fraud protection while working with independent contractors was addressed by Debbie Erickson (ARC Risk Management), and clarification of coverage with E&O insurance by Steve Levin (Berkely). There were interactive brainstorming sessions regarding suppliers issues—how to leverage the available training programs, working effectively across territories and maximizing opportunities to work together to reach hosted agents. Executive representatives from Carnival, Funjet, TravelSafe and OSSN who attended took a proactive interest in minimizing any barriers while working together. “Through this symposium, PATH’s mission was to provide a

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strong and equitable voice for all reputable host agencies. We have found while working together we are better able to forge a future that benefits all host agencies and the travel industry as a whole,� said Anita Pagliasso, PATH Board Member and President of Ticket to Travel. Based on the success of this first symposium, the PATH Board of Directors has agreed to make it an annual event. Date and location details for 2010 will be forthcoming. PATH (Professional Association of Travel Hosts),,

NEW SHOW SCHEDULE FOR MOTIVATION SHOW IN 2010 A change in the 2010 Motivation Show exhibit and conference has been announced, designed to reduce exhibiting costs while maintaining a full three-day program of education, exhibits, and networking for attendees. The preliminary schedule will include a dedicated “Education Dayâ€? on Tuesday, October 12, followed by two full days of exhibits on Wednesday, October 13, and Thursday, October 14, also from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. “Our new three-day Show schedule for 2010 is intended to expand our education and networking offering, while maintaining a full 16-hour exhibit schedule at a reduced cost to our exhibitors, “ said Peter Erickson, Managing Director of The Motivation Show. The new two-day exhibit schedule will mean one less travel day for exhibit booth staff and one less night in a hotel. Instead of three nights, most exhibit staff will be able to reduce their stay to just two nights, resulting in a 33-percent savings in hotel and meal costs. The 2009 exhibitors reported excellent results. Norma Jean Knollenberg, CEO/Owner of Top Brands, commented, “The 2009 Motivation Show was a great success for Top Brands. We felt the quantity and quality of attendees who visited our booth was greater than the last couple of years. The show floor looked terrific. We visited with a strong mix of both user companies and resellers. We had more customer appointments than usual and attendees seemed more focused on making the best use of their time while attending The Motivation Show so discussions were to the point and meaningful.â€? Tom Nebeling, Key Account Manager for Heys Travel Goods, echoed the sentiments. “We are exhibiting at The Motivation Show because it’s the best show for a premier audience of decision-makers. We have had very good booth traffic and have showed our products to many buyers we wouldn’t have met otherwise. It’s definitely worth the investment. We expect great sales from the people we met here.â€? Final 2009 attendee registration totaled 9,131, compared with 10,467 in 2008. The Motivation Show, • Travel World News


Ecuador Goes on the Road in the U.S. and Canada PETER LOWY

Travel World News •



emonstrating its commitment to building the North American market, Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism and the Quito Visitors’ Bureau took its “Meet Ecuador” program on the road in October to four U.S. cities and Montreal. “We’re co-investing in promotion efforts with the travel industry, which is making a big difference,” said Mariano Proaño, Ecuador’s Vice Minister of Tourism, during his Boston stop. Other U.S. cities included Nashville, St. Louis, and Raleigh. Ecuador’s third annual road trip was undertaken in connection with the Tourism Ministry’s new marketing plan. The strategy combines conventional approaches, such as co-op advertising campaigns and travel agent education, with new promotional activities that include workshops, site inspection trips, and one-on-one meetings with tour operators and agencies. Proaño said the new plan is “as part of a more aggressive, focused effort” to increase travel to Ecuador from the U.S., which accounts for 25 percent of all international travelers: “We want to reinforce the message that travel must be a rewarding experience throughout the entire trip, and that is what we promise.” Tourism to Ecuador flattened in 2009, after increasing an average of 16 percent in each of the previous two years. Dominic Hamilton, Head of International Communications for the Quito Visitors’ Bureau, enthused about the emergence of the country’s capital as a destination in itself, not just a stopover on the way to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador’s premier tourist site, one of four World Heritage locales in the country. “Quito offers a great base for visiting the entire country, from the coast to the Andes and the Amazon and the Galápagos,” he said. Noting that the city “has done well” in the rankings of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Hamilton expects business travel to strengthen after a new convention center is built on the site of Mariscal Sucre International Airport when it is replaced with a new facility by 2011. U.S.-based suppliers participating in the road show were optimistic about travel to Ecuador in the coming year. Many expressed the belief that 2010 will at least hold even with 2009 levels, and may even see increases among high-end travelers. Deborah Rosen, an adventure travel specialist from Andean Treks in Watertown, Massachusetts, whose company sends

Ecuador’s capital of Quito, a World Heritage Site located on the eastern slope of the volcano of Pichincha, serves as a gateway to the country and as a destination in itself.

several thousand tourists to Ecuador each year, said she expects her business in 2010 will stay at 2009 levels, commenting that “Ecuador is doing an incredible job of promoting the county.” Tom Pelizzaro, of Metropolitan Touring in St. Louis, which services tour operators by booking 6,000–8,000 passengers annually on its three touring vessels, said business in 2009 was down 10 percent, “but not the 30 to 40 percent that you hear a lot of.” He added, “We realize we have to bring more value, and one way to do that is by working with the airlines to offer better pricing.” A number of suppliers reported that the amount of relatively late bookings to Ecuador—for example, six weeks in advance as opposed to six months—increased dramatically this year, reflecting tourists’ desire for last-minute bargains. Extensive investments in Quito’s historic center, including development of a number of boutique hotels, combined with four national airlines and continued expansion of a public rail system on the mainland make Ecuador an increasingly attractive and easy place to visit. Less than four hours by air from Miami, U.S. visitors do not need visas to enter Ecuador and don’t have to change money once they arrive, since the U.S. dollar serves as the official local currency. Canadian tourists may also enter Ecuador without a visa.

Metropolitan Touring,; Quito Visitors’ Bureau,; Ecuador Ministry of Tourism, DECEMBER 2009 •


2010 • CALENDAR OF EVENTS DATE EVENT LOCATION CONTACT JANUARY 2010 12-17 Vakantiebeurs The Netherlands 13-17 BTL Lisbon, Portugal 15-17 Monte Carlo Travel Market Grimaldi Forum, Monaco 20-24 FITUR 2010 Madrid, Spain 21-24 MATKA Helsinki, Finland 21-24 Moroccan Travel Market Marrakech, Morocco 21-24 Slovakiatour Bratislava, Slovak Republic 21-24 Tourism & Leisure Show Ljubljana, Slovenia 27-31 Discover American Pavilion at FITUR 2010 Madrid, Spain 28-30 SATTE 2010 New Delhi, India FEBRUARY 1-5 PATA AT&RTCM 2010 Kathmandu, Nepal 4-7 Holiday World Czech Republic 7-14 Discover American Pavilion at OTM 2010 Mumbai/New Delhi, India 11-14 EMITT Istanbul, Turkey 18-21 Discover American Pavilion at Bit 2010 Milan, Italy 19-21 Boston Globe Travel Show Boston, MA 21-23 Jordan Travel Mart Dead Sea, Jordan 24-28 IFT Belgrade, Serbia 26-28 2010 New York Times Travel Show New York, NY MARCH 8-9 TTG Polish Travel Mart 2010 Warsaw, Poland 10-14 ITB Berlin 2010 Berlin, Germany 10-14 Discover American Pavilion at ITB Berlin 2010 Berlin, Germany 17-20 MITT Moscow, Russia 17-20 Discover American Pavilion at Mitt 2010 Moscow, Russia 24-26 UITT Kiev, Ukraine 25-28 TUR Gothenburg, Sweden 25-28 Discover American Pavilion at TUR 2010 Gotehnburg, Sweden APRIL 14-16 Home Based Travel Agent Show & Conference Fort Lauderdale, FL 15-17 AITF Baku, Azerbaijan 19-21 DATE 2010 Punta Cana, DR 22-24 KITF Almaty, Kazakhstan MAY 4-6 CHTIC 2010 San Juan, Puerto Rico 4-7 Discover American Pavilion at ATM 2010 Dubai, UAE 17-20 ATA 35th Annual Congress Banjul, The Gambia www, 25-27 Discover American Pavilion at IMEX 2010 Frankfurt, Germany TO LIST YOUR EVENTS EMAIL : • FOR ADDITIONAL EVENTS VISIT:

FITUR WEARS GREEN AT FITUR GREEN The 30th edition of FITUR, the International Tourism Trade Fair that will be taking place January 20–24, 2010, will devote specific attention to the topic of sustainability in the hotel industry. The FITUR GREEN framework gathers products designed to promote rational energy use in the hotel sector, organized jointly by IFEMA, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and the Madrid Tourist Board. This initiative falls under the auspices of the European Hotel Energy Solutions project, conceived to respond to the growing phenomenon of climate change and its impact on tourism. Hotel Energy Solutions is organized by the United Nations Environment Program, International Hotel & Restaurant Association, European Renewable Energy Council and French Environment and Energy Management Agency. The WTO is the executing bureau for the project. FITUR GREEN will comprise a conference organized by the WTO 8 • DECEMBER 2009

and an exhibition area. During a seminar that will take place Wednesday, January 20, in the afternoon and the next day, Thursday, in the morning, speakers will provide practical examples of establishments already achieving substantial energy savings. Experts will present technologies that reduce polluting emissions and optimize energy consumption. The savings achieved by using these devices will also be explained through real examples and, in general, the competitive benefits offered by clean energy sources for both the hotel business and resorts. The speeches will be complemented by an exhibition in Hall 10 at the trade fair, allowing professionals visiting FITUR to make direct contact with the main suppliers of these renewable energy production technologies. FITUR GREEN allows the International Tourism Fair to draw attention to its desire to achieve sustainable development of the sector, while boosting its role as an essential forum for learning about new trends in tourism. FITUR, • Travel World News

INDUSTRY NEWS CENTRAL HOLIDAYS APPOINTS GIANNI MIRADOLI CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Central Holidays has appointed Gianni Miradoli to the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer of Central Holidays Travel Group. Miradoli most recently served as its Senior Executive Vice President. As CEO, he’ll be working closely with executives in the Company’s numerous brands as well as the office in Italy. “I consider it an honor to have a professional like Gianni Miradoli in our group and accept this key leadership role within our company,” said Fred Berardo, president of Central Holidays. “Gianni’s long history with Central Holidays, coupled with his extensive experience in the travel and tourism industry and European markets, made him the perfect candidate for this position,” Berardo continued. With over 35 years in the industry, Miradoli has served in key management, leadership and consultant positions for top European travel and tour programs as well as having gained expertise in resort and hotel operations. Miradoli kicked off his career in Italy as General Manager and Chief Executive Officer for several resorts. GIANNI MIRADOLI In 1982, he was a consultant for Diplomat Tour in Rome. He also served as President of Columbus Travel in California, and was the official travel planner for the World Superbike Championship. Miradoli was first hired by Central Holidays in 1995 as Vice President of Product Development and MIS. In 2003, he was appointed to serve as Executive Vice President of World Travel Group and Senior Vice President of Product Development and Operations for Central Holidays. Central Holidays, 800-935-5000,

JENNIFER MARCHETTI TO HEAD WYNDHAM HOTELS AND RESORTS MARKETING Wyndham Hotels and Resorts has appointed Jennifer Marchetti Vice President of Marketing and Innovation. She will be responsible for leading marketing and innovation efforts for the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts® brand and its affiliated Wingate by Wyndham® and Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham® brands. Marchetti will oversee all marketing plans, agency relationships and media buys while playing an integral role in the development and execution of brand strategy, innovation and property support programs. “Jennifer’s expertise in marketing, particularly in the loyalty arena, will be a great asset as we look to further develop our partnerships across all Wyndham brands and create consumer positioning that is both distinctive and compelling,” said Jeff Wagoner, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts president. “She is a dedicated professional whose rich history with the company and its brands has given her a solid understanding of the industry and its JENNIFER MARCHETTI many nuances.” An eight-year employee of Wyndham Hotel Group, Marchetti previously served in various director-level marketing and strategy roles, most recently as Senior Director of Strategy, Loyalty and Direct Marketing. In that role, she helped oversee the strategic direction and development of the company’s Wyndham Rewards® loyalty program, manage the program’s competitive positioning and lead the program’s expansion across sister company Wyndham Vacation Ownership. Earlier in her career, she served as Director of Corporate Communications for Trilogy Inc., a privately held configuration software company in Austin, Texas, where she oversaw the development and execution of the company’s communications strategy, including marketing positioning, customer marketing, product launches and analyst and media relations. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts,

STARS BEGINS GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN FOR MEMBERS STARS’ mission is to establish an organization of professional travel agents owned, operated and controlled by its membership of individual travel agent professionals. STARS focuses on continuous training, certification and increasing the value of the professional travel agent. It is a nonprofit organization as approved by the IRS. STARS is being recognized more and more by the travel industry. The organization has a strategic partnership with the University of Travel to provide members with Seminars at Sea, personal coaching and other training. The consortium, The NEST, is supporting STARS by promoting it to their membership. Supporting partnerships have been set up with Travel Professionals of Color (TPOC), Travel Planners International and Cruise One along with several suppliers. STARS is seeking travel agents, organizations, host agencies, consortia and suppliers to work with and introduce STARS to their members and affiliations. Membership is free to travel agent professionals. STARS, with its main focus on education, training and building the certified travel professionals, is a grassroots organization designed to bring the travel agent professional together creating a strong, single voice for the segment of the travel industry. Peter Stilphen will act as the temporary Managing Director until there are at least 500 members who will then be in a position to take over the organization. He plans to donate the entire STARS’ infrastructure to the STARS’ membership. STARS,, Travel World News •



INDUSTRY NEWS ROBERT HORNMAN PROMOTED TO MANAGING DIRECTOR OF WORLDHOTELS The international group for independent hotels, WORLDHOTELS, has announced the promotion of Robert Hornman, currently Vice President EMEA & Worldwide Sales, Marketing and Distribution, to Managing Director. He will take over all responsibilities from Michael Ball, who after eight years as CEO will move to the Supervisory Board of WORLDHOTELS and continue his role as Managing Director of I.H.S., the parent company of WORLDHOTELS. Also promoted to the Management Board was Sven Larsen, the company’s CFO. Hornman has been with WORLDHOTELS since September 2008 as Vice President EMEA & Worldwide Sales, Marketing and Distribution. Previously, he served in a number of senior positions at Accor, including Vice President Sales and Marketing Asia, as well as Vice President Global Sales and Business Development in the company’s head office in Paris. “Since joining us, Robert has quickly established a strong team for the EMEA region and worked successfully ROBERT HORNMAN to keep WORLDHOTELS focused on maintaining existing revenue streams and securing additional ones in what has proved to be a challenging year,” said Ball. “We are very pleased with the new company structure and I believe that we have the necessary expertise to continue our path of growth.” WORLDHOTELS,

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS AND VIRGIN AMERICA LAUNCH INTERLINE AGREEMENT South African Airways has forged a new interline agreement with Virgin America, representing a collaboration between two worldclass, award-winning airlines. The interline agreement will result in the following benefits to customers who book connections between South African Airways and Virgin America: Convenience of interline ticketing and baggage through check-in for passengers connecting between SAA and Virgin America flights via New York (JFK) or Washington, DC (IAD), Interline baggage can be checked through from a Virgin America flight to the customer’s final destination in Southern Africa on SAA, Convenient, same-terminal connections between SAA and Virgin America, since both airlines arrive and depart from the same terminals and concourses at JFK (Terminal 4) and IAD (Concourse B), Expanded connection opportunities for customers traveling between Virgin America’s west coast network (LAX & SFO) and SAA’s extensive network throughout Southern Africa via JFK and/or IAD, and Free stopovers in New York or Washington, DC permitted on SA/VX joint fares. Customers are asked to use the following procedures and observations for reservations and ticketing of the SA/VX joint fares: all reservations must be booked and ticketed via the GDS (Amadeus, Sabre, Apollo, Worldspan, Galileo) or directly with SAA; tickets must be issued validated on South African Airways (083); and reservations for the joint SA/VX fares are not available through Virgin America or their website. South African Airways, 800-722-9675,

TRIPOLOGY CELEBRATES TRAVEL AGENT SUCCESS STORIES Tripology, the leading online travel referral service, recently held a contest among its network of over 13,000 Tripologists, asking travel specialists for their most recent Tripology success stories. Tripology was overwhelmed with the positive response it received from numerous agents. “We are always thrilled to hear the success stories from our Tripologist travel specialists, and this contest was just one way for us to receive recent feedback from our agents as well as to thank them for using our service,” said Veronique Deblois, VP Sales & Marketing at Tripology. Denise Hangsleben, Owner of Travel Your Way, said: “The third lead I ever purchased from Tripology (which was one of the first five free leads I received) was my biggest sale. The lead requested a cruise, all-inclusive resort and transfers to the Caribbean over New Years for $500–$2,000 per person for a romantic getaway. Upon their return, they asked that I work on a honeymoon for them to Fiji or Tahiti. The cost of this fantastic trip was over $26,000 with a very hefty commission. Add this to the first trip, and that was an amazing lead! It certainly paid for my next group of leads, several of which also booked trips and referred me to friends, which started a whole group. Thanks Tripology!” Since the introduction of Tripology, travel specialists have clearly demonstrated their approval for this convenient, cost-effective and efficient online travel referral service. The company has received and processed more than 100,000 trip requests since the consumer launch of in June 2007. The site’s user-friendly interface and tools help ensure the success of the travel specialists. Registration is free; there are no membership fees and no minimum purchase is necessary. Specialists only purchase the leads they want. Tripology, 10 • DECEMBER 2009 • Travel World News



Travel World News •



art of the charm of visiting cities like Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, Prague, Bruges, etc. is that they never seem to change. And that’s a major part of the attraction. You age, but these cities are ageless. There are cities that do nothing but keep on changing. If you return after just a few years’ absence, you’d think you’re in a totally different city. Berlin is one of them. It’s been ten years since I was in Berlin – or actually in the Berlins (plural). I definitely had the feeling that they were two separate cities. Now I feel as if two cities are one – especially their art collections. For the first time in more than seventy years the art collections of the two Berlins have come together on Museum Island – the last building of which opened in October – the Neues Museum (New Museum). The Neues Museum is not new – nor is it fully restored. Half the museum was reconstructed in a very simple utilitarian, functional style echoing the plan of the ruined – but restored– side. The half that did survive is missing most of its interior decoration. And what decoration did survive was deliberately left in ruins. For almost 50 years, western Berlin has had a monument to the futility of war – the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church – in which the ruined steeple served as the centerpiece for a new chapel and steeple. Now eastern Berlin has a monument to the ravages of war – the deliberately un-restored interiors of the Neues Museum that deliver Berlin’s anti-war message much more subtly. Art survives, but buildings and lives are shattered. Florence, Italy has its Ponte Vecchio – a bridge lined with shops. Berlin has its Chancellery and Parliamentary Offices & Library spectacularly straddling its river, the Spree. The 20year government spending spree is evident everywhere. Berlin is no longer a city building its future – it’s a city of the future – now – a showcase of good to great modern architecture, which dazzles in every direction. Western and eastern districts blend together – their separate distinction a thing of the past. Western Berlin’s Cultural Forum – built in the 1960’s and 1970’s along the Berlin Wall– blends in with its new neighbor, Potsdamer Platz – built in the 1990’s-2000’s. Helmut Jahn’s new tent-like spectacular domed roof over the Sony Entertainment center gracefully echoes the shape of Hans Scharoun’s Philharmonic Hall (1963). Both excellent places to spend leisure time. Even the landscaping seems “lived in.” The trees in Potsdamer Place and along the Unter den Linden have matured. (It’s like comparing the Levittown of 1947 vs. today. In 1947, it looked like a construction site, now it looks like a long-established neighborhood.)

Berlin’s spectacular new Federal buildings spanning the River Spree with the new Main Railroad Station in the middle (in the distance).

Berlin has consolidated its art museums, but it has kept its two separate symphonies and three opera companies, becoming what might be the most cultured city on the continent. The gaps in the city grid are a thing of the past. Former shopping areas like Freidrichstrasse from before the war are once again home to department stores – and department stores that are works of art – like Jean Nouvel’s Galleries Lafayette, which runs perpendicular to elegant Unter den Linden – eastern Berlin’s Champs Elysees. Much justified praise has been written about Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum. There’s also the much overlooked, new Holocaust Memorial designed by Peter Eisenman – which must be seen. And its location makes sure that it is. It’s a tribute to Berlin and Germany that its location is between the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz – prime real estate – opposite Tiergarten for this garden of tears. An entire city block is filled with tombstone-like slabs of different heights – deliberately maze-like to trap visitors in disorientation. Berlin is just one of many cities in which great change is noticed from visit to visit – even if the time span is just a few years. ( I was just in Beijing and Shanghai last May – my previous visit was in 2006. And due to the Olympics (Beijing 2008) and upcoming World’s Fair (Shanghai 2010), they seem like the timing since the last visit was generations. Like Chinese cities – St. Petersburg, Russia, improves drastically with each yearly visit. Unlike China the differentiation is not defined by new structures, but by restoring old ones – even entire neighborhoods. Travel should be surprise – surprising sites in places no one expects, which is why I’m writing a book called, CONTINUED ON PAGE







Been There. Haven’t Done That. There are cities in which ongoing change is startling, but not widely known. If you need a new map every time you visit – it’s a drastically changing city. For example, Tel Aviv. Every time I visit there seems to be a new area springing up. There is always new building on beachfront property along Hayarkon St. When I first visited Tel Aviv, beachfront architecture was low rise and ended a distance from Yaffo. Now high-rise buildings make bold architectural statements – yet blend together perfectly. And they extend all the way to a more fully restored Yaffo. Tel Aviv and good architecture? Surprised? Bauhaus did not just originate in Dessau (Germany) ninety years ago – it also had its roots in Tel Aviv – which has lovingly restored its Bauhaus buildings. Tel Aviv has always been cutting-edge in design. Philippe Starck was the designer on Yoo Towers – a new high-rise. Because financing for Yoo Towers also came from UAE and even Saudi investments, international financing could also be the secret key toward building peace. ( Like China – Brazil is becoming one of the economic powerhouses of the 21st century. And its financial capital, Sao Paolo, flaunts this status. Manhattan keeps on growing upward. With each visit, Sao Paolo not only keeps on soaring upward (with dozens of new skyscrapers all over the city) – it also expands outward creating new business areas. Sao Paolo’s new World Trade Center and convention center is just one of many newly planned centers. It has a new Sheraton Hotel. In fact, Sao Paolo is getting a new W Hotel – a true sign that a city is becoming “edgy.” ( Seoul reminds me of Berlin. A city restoring palaces ruined from war (Korean War). The five-stage restoration of Gyeongbokung Palace,which started in 1991, was just completed this year. Surprisingly, Seoul has more palaces than either Beijing or Tokyo. ( Seoul is opening new mind-boggling museums like the world-class National Museum of Korea (2005) and the new home of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (2009). Seoul is building startling bold new skyscrapers at a record pace. One new building, “The Tangent,” was designed by Daniel Libeskind for Berlin’s “Edge City.” (Speaking of “edgy” design.) Unlike most American cities, Seoul’s infrastructure, such as extended subway lines, opens in conjunction with new buildings in newly planned areas such as the Songdo Business District with Korea’s tallest building. But above all another “green” counts in this business district other than money. A large park is springing up – which will bloom for many springs. Newly designed parks in prime real estate? Watch out, Paris! Barry Goldsmith is a professor of architecture and humor. Goldsmith is a television host of travel-related TV series in the USA and UK. And he is a regular on a new syndicated radio show, Let’s Travel Radio. 12 • DECEMBER 2009


NH Harrington Hall Hotel, located in the heart of London, is a hotel of traditional elegance blended with upscale sophistication. Behind its impressive original period facade, the new four-star hotel provides every modern convenience in a beautifully designed, classical setting. This luxury 200-bedroom, fully air conditioned property is situated in the elite Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, within easy reach of Knightsbridge. Boasting many facilities such as bar, restaurant, conference, banqueting facilities and fully-outfitted business center, NH Harrington Hall is equipped to handle every business and leisure requirement. All its 200 tastefully furnished bedrooms offer wireless Internet access, a large safe, satellite TV, mini bar, trousers press, iron and ironing board, and a state-of-the-art message system that includes a personal telephone number. Elegant and spacious suites are available as either Twin- or KingSize Double Bedded Rooms. A separate lounge area has a sofa bed, second TV, workspace and a small seating area for dining. A ‘pillow menu’ provides a variety of comfort selections to assure guests a perfect night’s sleep.The hotel offers separate non-smoking floors, and specially-designed NH Woman Style rooms with added luxuries to serve female travelers.Newly refurbished Five25 restaurant mixes classical decoration and dramatic color, creating the ideal background for innovative fine cuisine. The Lounge is finished in exotic Burr Vavona and has a beautiful marble fireplace. The Concierge Desk can arrange theatre tickets, car hire, airport transfer and flight confirmations. They can make reservations and organize tours for sightseeing or tourist attractions. Some points of interest in the area include the Science, Natural History and the Victoria and Albert Museums, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Palace and Gardens and Hyde Park. The hotel is in close proximity to Earl’s Court and Olympia Exhibition Centers, and provides easy access to Harrods and the elegant shops of Sloane Square and Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea.NH Harrington Hall is ideally located just two minutes’ walk from Gloucester Road Underground Station, with entry to the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines, and providing direct access to Heathrow, the West End and Theatreland, as well as the city center. NH Harrington Hall, • Travel World News

EUROPE CELTIC TOURS ANNOUNCES 2010 BROCHURE RELEASE AND EXPANDED REGIONAL PROGRAMS Celtic Tours World Vacations has released its 2010 brochure including its most popular programs and expanded eight day/six night “Regional Discovery” offerings. The company has introduced three new eight-day regional discoveries in Ireland—Celtic Fling, Irish Adventure, and West of Ireland, all having a starting price under $1,000. In Italy regional programs have been expanded with the new Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, Sicilian Heritage and Experience Italy, a faith-based program with a trip to the Shroud of Turin. New programs are also introduced in the UK, London and The English Countryside and the escorted Scottish Dream. In Germany, the fivenight/seven-day Oberammergau and The Passion Play offers visits to Munich, Vienna and tickets to the Passion Play. The new Experience Spain program features transport by rail and visits Barcelona and Madrid, with a special Gourmet Walking Tour option in Barcelona. All prices for the tours briefly listed are based on twin accommodations sharing: Celtic Fling visits Glin, Listowel, Tralee, Dingle Peninsula, Ring of Kerry, with prices starting at $869 per person; Irish Adventure includes Dublin, Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, Derry, Donegal, Mayo, Achill Island. Prices start at $958 per person; West of Ireland tours the West Coast, Achill Island, Donnegal; starting at $798 per person; Sorrento and Amalfi coast includes Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Naples, Pompeii and a tour of a lemon farm. Prices begin at $1,099 per person; Sicilian Heritage visits Palermo, Agrigento, Taormina, Syracuse, Mt.Etna, and Corelone; prices beginning at $1,199 per person; Experience Italy features Rome, Assisi, Florence, Turin. Prices start at $1,750 per person. Celtic Tours World Vacations, 800-833-4373,

FLO USA PLANS EXPANSIVE TURKISH DELIGHT WINTER SPECIAL A 15-day/13-night Turkish Delight featuring Istanbul, Troy, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Konya, Cappadocia, and Ankara is being offered by FLO USA for departures on December 2, January 6, February 10, March 3, and March 17. Accommodating hotels are all five-star. The tour is specially priced at $1,299 and includes fully-guided sightseeing tours, all transfers, most meals, trip insurance, all entrance fees and more. Highlights are many and include the residence of the Ottoman Sultans with its jewel-encrusted treasury and elegant courts, the famous Hagia Sophia Museum. Blue Mosque, ancient Hippodrome, the Egyptian Obelisk, Gallipoli Peninsula, Homer’s Troy, Pergamon’s Altar of Zeus, Temple of Dionysus and the Asclepieum of Pergamon. Guests will get to see the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world; and the city dedicated to Aphrodite the Travel World News •

Goddess of Love, Aphrodisias. A visit will be made to the ancient city ruins of Perge, built in 1,000 B.C. by Greeks from Northern Anatolia, and the theater at Aspendos, the best preserved in the Mediterranean Basin. There’ll be a drive through mountains to Konya, an important Roman city, later the Capital of the Seljuk Turkish Empire; a visit to the tomb of Jalal ad-Din “Rumi,” the 13th-century Persian poet and theologian whose modern followers are known as the Whirling Dervishes; and viewing of the Kaymakli Underground City where early Christians hid from persecutors. A full day will be dedicated to tour the riches of Cappadocia including the Goreme open-air Museum, with its dozens of painted cave-churches. The surrealistic geological formation of Cappadocia is one of the wonders of the world—the result of the natural forces during the intense volcanic activity. Guests will check out the pottery-making village of Avanos, and visit a Turkish hand-made carpet workshop. At Ankara—once a Hittite town, then a Roman city, and now the capital of Turkey, stops will include a visit to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and the great Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic. The tour will end in Instanbul with a crossing of the famous Bosphorus bridge from Asia to Europe. FLO USA, 888-435-6872,

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BlueBay Villas Doradas in the Dominican Republic: Big Value for Small Bucks Top industry awards, excellent food and exceptional staff. D . O. C H R I S T I A N R I E G E R

14 • DECEMBER 2009 • Travel World News



lueBay Villas Doradas sits between the ocean and the Robert Trent Jones Sr. par 72, 18 hole golf course in the Playa Dorada resort complex in Puerto Plata on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Its booked occupancy for November is 92%, for December it is 92%, with a projected end-ofmonth for both at 95%. This poses the question, why is BlueBay Villas Doradas so full? Why is it there is a 92% occupancy in November when you can shoot a cannon in many resorts in the Caribbean Basin and not hit anybody? Particularly with the current economic conditions. The fact that it is the only adultsonly all-inclusive resort on the north coast could be one. It is also remarkably clean and well maintained. The staff is polite and skilled and the food is good. But for Quiet and idelyic units of BlueBay Villas Doradas overlooking a peaceful pond. Oscar Lora, the general manager, the explanation is simply, “It’s the service.” He says, “It is what customers compliment us on of the hotel industry in the Dominican Republic. That’s a lot of recognition. the most.” But whatever the reasons, BlueBay Villas Doradas was the top award winner at the De Hoteles en Hoteles Awards in The Tone of the Resort which 59 hotels on the north coast take part. Lora indicates, The tone of the vacation is set when guests arrive in the “It is an honor to receive these awards, doubly so because lobby of this four star resort: it is open, airy, bright, colorful, these annual awards are given by the resort industry to its clean. It looks like it was just renovated, but that was three best hotels, managers and staff. years ago. (When we were in the main dining room, I re“BlueBay won Best Hotel 2008, an honor gleaned from marked to Lora that the place looked freshly painted. He said guest satisfaction surveys.” This is where a rating really they paint it every month. Apparently, clean up time is all the counts. The recognition is tabulated from in-house comment time.) cards and reviews on the Internet. Additionally, the resort reThe way in which the bellmen are dressed, their demeanor ceived Best General Manager 2008, Best Housekeeper 2008, and the enthusiasm with which they greet guests, I mistook Outstanding Newcomer 2008 (restaurant services manager), them for management. This makes you feel welcomed, like a Best Chef 2008 (shared with chefs from the Iberostar Costa repeat guest. Like an honored guest. It’s that personal, warm Dorada and Gran Ventana hotels), as well as special recogni- and relaxed greeting that hits the spot. tion for Oscar Lora for having contributed to the development After a long, tiring trip from home, does anyone really want

CARIBBEAN to stand on line at a reception desk to check in? No. So the reception staff has the guests sit on comfortable sofas while they sign in, get oriented and receive their room keys. In the meantime they have received a fresh fruit drink and a cool, refreshing moist towel to wipe the dust and tension of the journey from their faces and out of their payche. The sensation upon arrival is that guests feel they are in a luxury hotel. And considering its reasonable rates, it is amazing. The resort is a complex of two and three-story buildings with 245 units, of which there are 131 standard rooms, 106 standard plus, 4 junior suites and 4 suites. Starting at the Christmas/New Years weeks and going through April 30,, 2010, the rack rates range from a reasonable $83.00 ppdo to $111.00 ppdo in standard rooms. This is an all-inclusive price for beer, booze, piña coladas, wine with lunch and dinner, the international buffet, and three a la carte restaurants — an Asian restaurant, a steak house and a seafood restaurant, with the latter two next to the beach and the steak house being opened 24 hours. At these rates, guests have one meal in each of the a la carte restaurants. However, for a mere supplement of $80.00 per room per day gets an upgrade to a junior suite, and $100.00 gets an upgrade to a full suite. The junior suites and suites have one bedroom with a king bed. The junior suite has a Jacuzzi, and the full suite has an inside jacuzzi and a terrace. The supplement includes, among other added benefits and services, daily appetizer in room, fruit basket, 24 hour room service for all meals, no limit to dining in a la carte restaurants, access to private beach area, early check-in and late check-out and private transfer to the Puerto Plata Airport. Among the sports features are three tennis courts and three pools. One pool is for lounging, socializing and drinking at the swim-up bar. Another is for sports and games like water volley ball. The third is in the spa area. It is the quiet zone and opened till 11:00 PM.

Breakfast is international fare, but with such Dominican great food stuff as yucca fritters and fried cheese. By-the-way, almost all the local dairy products — yogurt, cheeses, milk, cream — are from local grass-fed cows. I am not a fussy eater, but I do expect a hotel to meet its obligation to its guests. With that in mind, I do not have one complaint about the food. Additionally, I was amazed when I showed up for breakfast one morning ten minutes before closing and the home fired potatoes were still hot. I have been to resorts that were three times more expensive and they were not able to accomplish this simple task and basic courtesy. All the breads and pastries are homemade. The dessert table has excellent desserts, particularly the chocolate ones that are made from the local Dominican, organic, non-processed cocoa bean. Nothing taken away. For a dessert, that means it is healthy. BlueBay Hotels & Resorts can also be found in the Canary Islands: Fuerteventura and the Gran Canaria; in Mexico: the Playa del Carmen at the Mayan Riviera and Tenacatita in Costalegre. An additional one in the Dominican Republic will open next summer in the Punta Cana region, Uvero. For those of you who look to the future, the BlueBay’s Cayo Coco is in Cuba.

BlueBay Hotels and Resorts,



Exceptional Food The food is excellent in the buffet. And as most of us travelers know, that is hard to do. One reason could very well be that the hotel does not have so many choices that there is no way to do them all right. Instead of 90 or so entrée and vegetable, soup and salad items, they perhaps have 35 or 40. The fewer the items, the more attention the cooks can give the meals. This will always make for better quality. I found the food to be every bit as good as at the luxury hotels. The most popular night is Mexican night. And that is among the Dominicans who stay there as well. Tuesday nights include fresh-harvested-on-that-day oysters. Those small sweet ones that bring such a high price in the States. The man who shucks them is the guy who caught them. How is that for focusing on the customer? Travel World News •


And fortunately, completely unchanged. Several months and $6 million later, there’s a gracious new open-air lobby, elegantly redesigned suites with luxurious bathrooms, alluring new lighting and stunning new landscaping. The low-key pleasures of The Sands have become a bit more refined, but the breathtaking views of Grace Bay Beach, the considerate service and sense of peace, privacy and tranquility remain unchanged. Some things should never be tampered with.

Providenciales • Turks & Caicos

an exceptional all suite beachfront resort For reservations, see your travel professional or call 1.877.77.SANDS (72637) DECEMBER 2009•


CARIBBEAN ALMOND RESORTS APPOINTS CHRIS FORBES NEW DIRECTOR OF HOTEL OPERATIONS AT ALMOND CASUARINA BEACH RESORT Almond Resorts has announced the promotion of Chris Forbes as Director of Hotel Operations for Almond Casuarina Beach Resort in Barbados. Forbes brings more than two decades of national and international seniormanagement level experience to Almond Resorts. Most recently, he transitioned roles as the Director of Operations from Almond Beach Village to Almond CHRIS FORBES Casuarina Beach Resort. A graduate of Texas Tech University, Forbes boasts an extensive background in hotel management, having held key positions at all-inclusive resorts in North America, South America and the Caribbean. “Almond Resorts is thrilled to promote Chris Forbes to this position,” Ralph Taylor, President and CEO of Almond Resorts, said. “Chris’ dedication, combined with his proven track record, will continue to push guests’ satisfaction to new heights with superior quality service.” In addition to Forbes’ expertise, Almond Resorts’ distinguished “For You. About You.” team takes care of guests’ every whim. From beachside spa treatments or private dinners to taking a private island tour, everything is handled through specialists to achieve a perfect Caribbean retreat. Almond Resorts boasts five all-inclusive resorts. Almond Beach Club & Spa (161 rooms), Almond Beach Village (400 rooms) and Almond Casuarina Beach Resort (289 rooms) are located on the island of Barbados, and Almond Morgan Bay Beach Resort (340 rooms) and Almond Smugglers Cove (357 rooms) are located on St. Lucia. Almond Resorts, 800-4ALMOND (425-6663),

NEW RESORT OPENING AND GRAND OPENING DEAL FOR THE VERANDA RESORTS & RESIDENCES, TURKS AND CAICOS The Veranda Resort & Residences opening February 1, 2010, on the island of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, is now offering a Grand Opening Deal of 30 percent off for travel from February 1 through April 10, 2010, with introductory rates starting at $630 ppdo (including tax and service.) Rates include all meals and beverages (inclusive of premium alcohol), on-site children’s programs and non-motorized water sports. Kids under two are free; children two–15 stay for $100 per night. Managed by Grace Bay Resorts, the resort company celebrated 16 • DECEMBER 2009

for their flagship luxury hotel Grace Bay Club in Providenciales, The Veranda Resort & Residences is the only five-star hotel to offer private beachfront cottages with private pools on the island. The 10-acre resort occupies 800 feet of beachfront along the shore of Grace Bay. Inspired by British Caribbean architecture, the 168 room resort will include: two separate oceanfront restaurants offering both elegant and casual dining experiences; an outdoor lounge and contemporary bar; an Asian-inspired Wellness Centre, Spa and Fitness facility, secluded within densely lush gardens; a dedicated conference center of approximately 1,700 square feet; three separate swimming pools; a dedicated kids club; a library and business center, and a tennis court. The Veranda Resorts & Residences,

WYNDHAM SUGAR BAY RESORT & SPA APPOINTS KASHMIE ALI NEW GM Kashmie Ali, CHA has been appointed GM of Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa in St. Thomas. Ali will be responsible for the 31-acre resort, including oversight and management of its nearly 300member staff, all food and beverage outlets and sales and marketing initiatives. Ali’s impressive background in the hospitality industry spans nearly two decades in the United States and Caribbean. He KASHMIE ALI began his career as General Manager with American General Hospitality in Dallas, Texas, responsible for brands throughout Florida, Ohio, Connecticut, Tennessee and Virginia. From there, Ali became Vice President of Operations for Virginia-based Shamin Hotels with oversight of operations and management for 11 franchised hotels. In 2001, he joined Sandals Resorts International as Director of Operations for their four allinclusive resorts in St. Lucia and Antigua. Just prior to his appointment at Wyndham Sugar Bay, Ali was the Director of Operations for the five-star Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet boutique resorts in St. Lucia. While in St. Lucia, Ali held the position of first Vice President for the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association. He is also a Trustee of The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences and recipient of numerous awards including the Sterling Services Worldwide Award (2005 and 2008); Hotel of the Year for Shamin Hotels (1998); and Best Overall Performer, General Manager of the Year Nominee and General Manager of the Quarter for American General Hospitality (1997). Ali holds a Certification in Hospitality and Destination Management from George Washington University; Applied Science in Business Management certification from Tech College in Trinidad; and a Certified Hotel Administrator designation. Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa, 800-WYNDHAM (996-3426), • Travel World News

CARIBBEAN THE SANDS AT GRACE BAY CATERS TO FAMILIES THIS WINTER AND SPRING The Sands at Grace Bay is offering a weeklong Sand Castle Package where parents can enjoy quality time with their children and spouses. This unique family vacation option boasts more than 20 percent off in savings and includes signature touches for parents and children. Families will be welcomed with a signature fruit punch made for young palates and a rum punch for the parents’ delight. Guests will then be escorted to spacious suite accommodations for any family size—with one-, two- or three-bedroom options. Suites come complete with big-screen plasma TVs and overstuffed couches for comfortable cartoon-watching, full kitchens for home-cooked meals and plush bedding. The Sands at Grace Bay offers an ample menu of watersports from kayaks and windsurfing equipment to snorkel gear and Hobie Cats, as well as three freeform pools for all manner of underwater activities. Youngsters will also receive a Sand Castle Kit with all the necessary sand castle-building tools topped off with a Sand Castle Engineer hardhat. Families can gather under the cool shade of beachside palapas for a “Finger-Food-Fun” lunch. After a long day of exploration, the resort’s babysitting service will assist the children in winding down for the night, giving mom and dad the chance to start their own private vacation. Parents can sneak away for a couple’s spa treatment in the solitude of a Spa Tropique treatment room. The couple can end the night right at Hemingway’s where the staff is prepared to serve traditional island cuisine in a romantic, sandy-table setting for the ultimate romantic experience. The complete Sand Castle Package includes suite accommodations for seven nights, a Sand Castle Kit, a themed “Finger-Food-Fun” lunch for four, babysitting service for one night, a Couple’s Spa Treatment and a private dinner for two at Hemingway’s. Rates start at $4,250 for a two-bedroom garden view suite. The package is available for new bookings made for travel to the resort between January 3 and April 9, 2010. The Sands at Grace Bay, 877-777-2637,

HILTON WORLDWIDE HOTELS TAKES AWARDS AT PUERTO RICO HOTEL & TOURISM ASSOCIATION CEREMONY Hilton Worldwide hotels in Puerto Rico took several awards at the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association 23rd annual convention awards ceremony held recently. The awards included Green Hotel of the Year (Caribe Hilton, San Juan); F&B Manager of the Year (Nicolas Seda, Embassy Suites Hotel & Casino, San Juan); Employee of the Year (Maribel Rivera, Payroll Supervisor, Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza); and Manager of the Year (Yashira Feliciano, Housekeeping Director, Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza). The awards are presented to recognize hotels and employees that go above and beyond in their industry. Hilton Hotels Corporation (Caribbean & Latin America),, Travel World News •




concierge category or higher at any Sandals Resort or Beaches Resort, the Beautiful Beginnings will be included at no additional cost. Couples have the opportunity to enhance their destination wedding with à la carte Finishing Touches for the ceremony and reception. A variety of meaningful and unique style elements are available, including parasols to shield guests from the sun, a petal-strewn aisle lit by floating candles in large glass hurricanes, a candy buffet where guests can help themselves to sweet treats, a romantically lit evening on the beach for the couple and guests, and a sand unity ceremony. Sandals Resorts, 877-SANDALS (726-3257),; Beaches Resorts,; Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.,


(Left to right) Martha Stewart, MSLO founder, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, founder and chairman of SRI, and Darcy Miller, senior vice president and editorial director, MSLO.

Sandals Resorts International (SRI) and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), have introduced the elegant collaboration Sandals® Weddings by Martha Stewart™. Brides and grooms can now book a destination wedding for any time after January 1, 2010, at any of the 18 Luxury Included® Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts across the Caribbean. With six exquisite wedding themes in the most romantic settings, Sandals Weddings by Martha Stewart feature coordinated color palettes, beautifully designed wedding décor, complementary bouquets, invitations, cakes and favors, along with à la carte items, creating a memorable experience to suit every couple’s unique preferences. The Sandals Weddings by Martha Stewart themes start at $1,500. Stated MSLO Founder Martha Stewart: “We’re delighted to be working with Sandals Resorts to guide engaged couples down the aisle and help make their destination wedding unforgettable. With an array of themes to choose from, each one offering coordinated elements and special details, every couple will be able to celebrate their special day in their own personal style.” The six themes include: Vision in White, Seaside Serenade, Flutter of Romance, Island Paradise, Chic & Natural, and Beautiful Beginnings. For couples booking a minimum six-night wedding stay in a 18 • DECEMBER 2009

Three SuperClubs properties were rechristened Breezes Resorts recently under the newly expanded brand. The Super-Inclusive chain now boasts eight resorts in five countries: Jamaica, Curaçao, the Bahamas, Brazil and Panama. As part of its Super-Inclusive package, all Breezes Resorts vacations include multiple dining options, including regional fare and the resorts’ signature Munasan restaurants serving Teppanyaki dishes and sushi, unlimited premium brand drinks, and complimentary land and water sports. All Breezes properties also feature a full-service à la carte spa. The three properties rechristened are the all-suite Breezes Grand Resort & Spa Negril, formerly Jamaica’s Grand Lido Negril; Breezes Resort & Spa Rio Bueno, formerly Grand Lido Braco in Jamaica; and Breezes Resort & Spa Trelawny, formerly Starfish Trelawny. In October, Breezes Panama, located on the southern Pacific coast of the Coclé province in the beach resort community of Santa Clara, opened its doors with 274 rooms and 20 suites. The new property is in easy driving distance to some of the country’s renowned sites and can arrange day trips to Panama City, the Panama Canal and Anton Valley/El Valle. Also for vacationers who love to explore as well as take in some sun Breezes Costa do Sauipe offers optional excursions, including a visit to Project TAMAR’s sea turtle conservation beaches, horseback riding in the jungle, and day trips to Salvador. Located on beautiful Cable Beach, Breezes Bahamas completed a $10-million upgrade. Breezes Curaçao, the only Super-Inclusive property on the island, also underwent a $2-million renovation. And Breezes’ flagship property, Breezes Runaway Bay, completed a $20 million renovation two years ago. Breezes Resorts, 800-BREEZES (273-3937), • Travel World News

CARIBBEAN ALLEN CHASTANET NAMED CARIBBEAN TRAVEL PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR Saint Lucia’s Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Senator Allen Chastanet has been named the Caribbean Travel Personality of the Year. He won the honor last month at the prestigious 2009 World Travel Awards in London, established to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism ALLEN CHASTANET industry. At the Awards, Saint Lucia once again copped the Caribbean’s and World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination designations, while the Caribbean’s Leading Spa Resort went to The Body Holiday LeSport. The Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand and the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company went to Sandals Resorts. “As a Saint Lucian, I am deeply honored to witness such a small destination create a big bang on the world stage,” said Saint Lucia’s Director of Tourism Louis Lewis, who acknowledged that the awards were additional stimulus for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board to continue striving to improve in today’s competitive travel and tourism environment. Senator Chastanet, credited with starting the world acclaimed Saint Lucia Jazz festival, was Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Windjammer Landing in Saint Lucia before being appointed the island’s Director of Tourism in the early 1990s. He became Director of Sales and Marketing at Island Outpost in the mid-90s before serving as Director, then Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing at Air Jamaica for eight years. In 2001, Travel Agent magazine named Senator Chastanet “Caribbean Destination Person of the Year,” and in 2003 he returned to his native Saint Lucia to open Coco Resorts in Rodney Bay Village. He was appointed to the Saint Lucia cabinet in 2006 and assumed chairmanship of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Senator Allen Chastanet holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Bishop’s University in Quebec, Canada, as well as an M.Sc. in Development Banking from American University in Washington D.C. Saint Lucia Tourist Board, 888-4-STLUCIA (478-5824),

HARLEQUIN HOTELS & RESORTS PREPARES LAUNCH OF BUCCAMENT BAY BEACH RESORT IN ST. VINCENT & THE GRENADINES Harlequin Hotels & Resorts will unveil its flagship Caribbean destination in July next year—Buccament Bay Beach Resort, the first major tourism development in St. Vincent & The Grenadines and the first luxury five-star resort on the island. Travel World News •

The resort will offer 12 restaurants including world famous Trader Vic’s; a tennis academy headed by Wimbledon champion Pat Cash; England’s Liverpool Football Club’s Soccer Schools; a Cricket Academy; The Island Sanctuary Spa; The Kids Club; and a world-class marina offering 24 berths for cruising yachts, with mega-yacht berths accommodating vessels up to 250 feet. Added to exquisite hotel rooms, suites and villas, the resort will offer property investment options of elegant beachfront cabanas and stately plantation homes. A unique business model is being followed at all of Harlequin’s properties, including impressive partnerships with the renowned Spanish hotel chain OASIS, which will be operating the resorts, the Liverpool Football Club, Trader Vic’s, Pat Cash tennis, as well as a Performing Arts Academy. Several Harlequin resorts will also feature a golf course designed by the Hall of Fame’s Gary Player. St. Vincent is easily reached by most major airlines from key markets in the United States and Canada. Once the new Argyle International Airport is completed in 2012, direct non-stop flights will be available from all over the world. Guests booking a stay at Buccament Bay Beach Resort for next July will fly to St. Lucia, complete customs and be transported via high-speed boat to the island of St. Vincent. Harlequin Hotels & Resorts,,

HYATT REGENCY CURAÇAO GOLF RESORT, SPA AND MARINA APPOINTS HYATT VETERAN DIEGO CONCHA GM Diego Concha has been named General Manager of Hyatt Regency Curaçao Golf Resort, Spa and Marina. Set along 1,500 acres of the Santa Barbara Plantation, a multi-faceted luxury resort community, the Hyatt Regency Curaçao, opening midJanuary 2010, is the centerpiece of the grand master development for vacationing and year-round living. “Diego is the ideal person to launch DIEGO CONCHA Hyatt’s newest Caribbean resort,” commented Carlos Cabrera, Senior Vice President of Field Operations for Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “His experiences and expertise in the region make him supremely qualified to help fuse Hyatt’s high level of standards with the island’s rich cultural customs and refined offerings.” A native of Colombia, Concha has been with Hyatt for two decades, starting in 1988 as Assistant Food and Beverage Director at the former Hyatt Regency Cerromar Resort & Spa. His various hospitality positions with Hyatt have included Food and Beverage Director, Director of Operations and most recently, Hotel Manager at Hyatt Regency Trinidad. Hyatt Regency Curaçao Golf Resort, Spa and Marina, 800-55-HYATT (554-9288), DECEMBER 2009•



In conjunction with the USVI Hotel and Tourism Association, Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas is enticing travelers with an “Island Escape” package. Vacationers booking the promotion receive a fifth night free (with a minimum five-night stay on the resort’s AI or EP plan), $100 resort credit and discounts for on-island shopping, activities, dining and car rentals. This offer is valid for new bookings made through April 1, 2010, for travel January 4 through April 15, 2010. The $100 resort credit can be used at Bolongo’s two restaurants—The Lobster Grille and Iggie’s Beach Bar & Grill—towards a sailing excursion aboard the Heavenly Day’s, Bolongo’s 53-foot catamaran or for wave runner rentals. The Island Escape promotion affords travelers staying on the resort’s EP option with oceanview or beachfront accommodations; a discover “scuba diving” in-pool lesson; and use of non-motorized watersports equipment (snorkel gear, paddle boats, sunfish sailboats, windsurfing equipment, kayaks and more). Rates start at $330 per room, ppdo, from December 22, 2009 through April 30, 2010 plus a 15-percent tax and $5-per-day energy surcharge. Guests booking the All-Inclusive Plan will enjoy all of the amenities of the EP option plus all meals (seven days a week of a la carte dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner at two of the most popular restaurants on St. Thomas); a wide array of premium beverages; hotel taxes and gratuities. Rates for a five-night package from December 22, 2009 through April 30, 2010, start at $632 per room, per night, ppdo, plus $5-per-day energy surcharge. To take advantage of the Island Escape promotion, reservations must be made by telephone or email, and the name of the promotion must be mentioned at the time of booking. This program is valid on new bookings only and cannot be combined with any other offer.As a territory of the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix) does not require American citizens to possess a passport to enter the destination or return to the U.S. mainland. Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, 800-524-4746,, 20 • DECEMBER 2009

CARIMAR BEACH CLUB, ANGUILLA OFFERS WIDE SELECTION OF PACKAGES Carimar Beach Club, at the water’s edge on Mead’s Bay in Anguilla, is a delightful Caribbean hideaway with special prices and commissions now planned for the season ahead. The “Taste of Anguilla” package is valid for the dates shown. This package has been created with healthy rate reductions by Carimar Beach Club and pricing reductions by participating partners. The package is commissionable to agents at 10 percent of the accommodating portion (room only) as follows. For December 11–18, 2009 and April 20–30, 2010: One-bedroom Beachview based on double occupancy, 10-percent commission on room only ($114.75); one-bedroom Beachfront based on double occupancy, 10-percent commission on room only ($150.45); two-bedroom Beachview based on three persons, 10-percent commission on room only ($170.65); two-bedroom Beachfront based on three persons, 10-percent commission on room only ($201.45); two-bedroom Beachview based on four persons, 10-percent commission on room only ($170.65); and two-bedroom Beachfront based on four persons, 10-percent commission on room only ($201.45); For December 19–26, 2009, January 4–26 and March 17–April 1, 2010: One-bedroom Beachview based on double occupancy, 10-percent commission on room only ($198.90); one-bedroom Beachfront based on double occupancy, 10-percent commission on room only ($239.70); two-bedroom Beachview based on three persons, 10-percent commission on room only ($262.65); two-bedroom Beachfront based on three persons, 10-percent commission on room only ($306); two-bedroom Beachview based on four persons, 10-percent commission on room only ($262.65); and two-bedroom Beachfront based on four persons, 10-percent commission on room only ($306). For those persons not choosing to take the dining package, a 7th night accommodation is free. Carimar Beach Club,

FLAMBOYANT HOTEL & VILLAS OFFERS FREE-NIGHT WINTER SEASON SPECIALS Warmed by the bright Caribbean sun and genuine Grenadian hospitality, the Flamboyant Hotel provides an ideal vacation destination for those seeking to prolong summer or escape the winter cold. For stays now until January 31, 2020, the following Free Nights Specials are being offered: Stay Seven Nights/Pay for Five, Stay 14 Nights/Pay for 10, and Stay 21 Nights/Pay for 14. Reservations for these stays must be booked by phone or email by January 1, 2010, and the specials cannot be combined with any others. All rates are available online, as well as deposit, cancellation, and child policy. Vacationers may wish to have Flamboyant arrange an island tour or excursion on and under the water. Grenada is part of the Windward Island chain. The three main islands that make up the nation state are Grenada, Carriacou (the largest island of the Grenadines) and Petite Martinique. Passports and visas not required of U.S., Canadian, or British citizens. Flamboyant Hotel & Villas, • Travel World News


Discover Puebla’s Treasures CONNIE SKOOG


his “most European of Mexico’s cities” offers culture, history, charm and gourmet dining, all for a fraction of a trip to Europe. Puebla may not be on everyone’s favorite Mexican destination list, but its boutique hotels, adventurous restaurants and historic charm will soon be discovered. Introduce your clients to the next “in” spot. Do you know Mexico pretty well? How many The Church of our Lady of Remedies – framed by one of Puebla’s four volcanos – tops the largest pre-Columbian clients have you sent to pyramid in the world, Tlachihualtepetl in Cholula. Puebla, capital of the state of Puebla? Just 85 miles from Mexico City, this colonial The Spanish, however, were not the first to leave their imcity of 3.5 million was declared a World Heritage Site by UN- print on this part of Mexico. Archeologists have found eviESCO in 1987. Classic Mexican dishes such as mole poblano dence that the valley was first inhabited between 1500 and originated in this city, famous for its haute cuisine restau- 2000 BC. The largest pre-Columbian pyramid in the world, rants. Several of Mexico's top universities are located here. Tlachihualtepetl, is a must-see attraction in nearby Cholula; Puebla was meticulously planned in 1531 by a Spanish city though excavation is incomplete, visitors can walk through a designer; visitors have designated it "the most European of maze of tunnels inside the mountainous edifice and climb to Mexican cities." Despite its great charm and importance in the top where the Spanish built the Church of our Lady of Mexican history, Puebla has not made a name for itself in the Remedies in the 16th century. travel world. Most North Americans clamor to Mexico's faPuebla is known as the most Catholic of Mexican cities, a vored destinations such as the Riviera Maya, Baja, Mexico conservative place that has carefully preserved and protected City and Puerto Vallarta. You can offer your clients another its cultural and architectural heritage. It prides itself for its Mexican experience, though, one that rivals a European va- safe, clean streets and just about anyone you meet seems to cation. know its history and folklore. Clients attracted to narrow cobOffer Puebla to clients who would love a European city ex- bled streets and dining al fresco while people watching will perience for a fraction of the cost, who want to learn Spanish thank you for introducing them to this charming colonial city. at one of Puebla’s schools, who know they'll need an urban break after a few days at the beach, who live to cook and/or Tesoros: Treasures of Mexico eat, who enjoy places that feel "real" without hordes of The Mexico Treasures Quality Club (El Club de Calidad tourists, or to your clients who just love Mexico—its culture, Tesoros de Mexico) is a group of properties that focuses on people and food. preserving both historic boutique hotels and the classic cuisine of Mexico. Accommodation in this group must be loLayers of History cated in traditional buildings which have been carefully preHistory buffs can tour magnificent sites such as the served; restaurants—also located in historic buildings—offer Cathedral, San Francisco Acatepec and Tonanzintla, visit top- dishes recaptured from Mexico's culinary past. Of the Tesoros rated museums and Franciscan monasteries or wander group's 44 hotels and 28 restaurants, 15 properties are located through narrow streets lined with colonial buildings con- in the state of Puebla, 11 in the capital city of Puebla. structed in the 16th century. Seventy-six churches grace the Standards for authenticity and service are high; many propcity of Puebla. It boasts 2600 historically important buildings. erties that have tried to join the Tesoros group were rejected. 22 • DECEMBER 2009 • Travel World News

MEXICO One member of the Tesoros group, Meson Sacrista de la Compania, ( was the first boutique hotels in Puebla according to its General Manager. "We started as an antique store," GM Leobardo J. Espinosa Lopez explained. "My family has always been in the antique business. My father got the idea that we could rent some rooms out, and we expanded from there. We still only have six rooms and two suites, and we are still an antique gallery!" Indeed, staying at the Meson Sacrista de la Compania is living in an antique store. Everything is for sale; everything is beautiful—sometimes weird but always wonderful. The colorful Mexican décor inside this 18th century mansion accentuates its European and Mexican antiques perfectly. Another attraction at the Meson Sacrista de la Compania is its traditional Mexican cooking class. National Geographic recently recommended this class in Traveler Magazine. The hotel offers special packages that include a week of 3-hour classes and accommodation as well as tours of the city and restaurants. Students need not stay at the hotel to attend classes. They can be arranged for anyone, from one class to a week or more. With its excellent food, live music, and fun, eccentric atmosphere, the Meson Sacrista de la Compania should on any itinerary for a Puebla visit….as accommodation, restaurant, antique store, cooking class, or all of the above. Rack rates range from $100 to $125 plus tax. Hotel Boutique Casona de la China Poblana is another Tesoros property located in the heart of the historic downtown area. It offers five rooms and five suites, ranging from around $150 to close to $300. Imagination and design permeate this 17th century mansion turned boutique hotel. It was supposedly the home of a legendary heroine in Puebla history: China Poblana, a mystical ex-slave girl from India who captured the hearts of the people. Its décor is a skillful combination of antique and modern accessories, all for sale. All of the Tesoros properties in Puebla provide easy access to the old town with its museums, churches and restaurants. Each has a character of its own. The owner of El Sueno named each room after a famous woman poet or painter; Restaurant El Mural de los Poblanos features a mural depicting famous denizens of Puebla. Each place is indeed a treasure that will be more than just a "place to stay"; each property is a destination itself.

New Architecture Mexican Style La Purificadora, a Habita Group hotel, is another Puebla property with its roots in the past. Deigned by Richardo Legorreta, this hotel reaches new heights in design and creatively linking the past to the future. Once a water purification and bottling plant, the hotel offers a breathtaking lobby that is open to the sky. Purple couches draped with wool blankets surround fire pits; a bubbling waterfall cuts through a Travel World News •

Chef Alonse Hernandez teaches a willing journalist how to make an authentic Mexican red sauce.

mammoth staircase. Stairs, the swimming pool, even floors are fashioned from glass—unnerving for those with vertigo. Recommend that your clients drop in for a drink in the third story bar, even if they chose to stay elsewhere. This property must be experienced. Rack rates start at $130US per night.

Tours In and Around Puebla Special-interest travel is a natural for Puebla and its surrounding area. Monica Hernandez Garcia of Tip Tours ( works with travel professionals in the United States to arrange architectural tours, antique trips, cooking classes and visits with famous chefs, guided tours of ruins and churches, or any other personalized tour. Tip Tours will either pay agents a commission or will work with agents who want to price the personalized trip themselves. Several nearby towns are worthwhile destinations: The town of Atlixco claims the “best climate in the world.” If clients stay with Armando and Gabriela, owners of Antigua Alqueria de Carrion Boutique Hotel, (and they should) they will feel that they are visiting friends. Armando Saldana Flores happily takes his guests to a gorgeous 18th century hacienda where, if they are lucky, they can meet its enchanting French owner who will regale them with stories of her long eventful life in Mexico. She and Armando work to restore 17th and 18th century paintings that have been languishing in homes and churches in the area. Armando shows his guests some of these treasures, priceless works of art that are not yet on display to the public. Armando, Monica, or any of the owners of the treasured properties in Puebla will provide your clients with warm personalized care and a unique Mexican experience they will long remember. DECEMBER 2009 •



Agents Can Now Become Mexico Specialists by Learning – and Earning – on the Web, Compliments of the Mexico Tourism Board


he Mexico Tourism Board has developed an interactive learning resource for travel agents and tour operator partners. A storehouse of knowledge and instruction, resources, and sales insights is open and ready for use 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year round. The award-winning Magic of Mexico Campus helps visitors gain the knowledge and confidence to make Mexico a most popular and profitable leisure destination. Departments include Online Lessons, Webinars, FAM Trips, Resources (maps, videos, etc.), and Mexico Up-to-Date News. Whether one is a novice or a true Mexico expert, displays Mexico’s stunning beauty, historic grandeur, and unique attractions. Selling trips to this southern neighbor will be utterly simple. From 6,000 miles of sun-kissed shore, to 30 centuries of cultural heritage, Mexico is fascinating, close-by and easily explored.

Specialist status By completing the free interactive online study course, agents can receive “Mexico Specialist” status from the Mexico Tourism Board, exclusive benefits, and a fully updated “Magic of Mexico” Sales

24 • DECEMBER 2009

Guide in PDF format. There’s also a diploma to certify one’s expertise and continuing education credits. Ongoing support, rewards, and enticements extend beyond course completion. The Magic of Mexico Specialist Course makes it very good business sense to sign up via the website for this free and profitable trove of information and education. Graduates are eligible to attend any of the Mexico field inspections. Programs are currently offered to Cancun, Acapulco or Puerto Vallarta, with more coming soon. (Fees and restrictions apply.) Graduates will secure “continuing education credits” from The Travel Institute (US) and CITC (Canada), towards earning professional designation as “Certified Travel Counselors.” At the interactive campus, visitors are granted access to electronic (PDF) versions of the entire Magic of Mexico Study Guide (12th edition)—available on demand, in full-color, and ready to email or print for clients. Graduates receive colorful collateral

items (a color diploma and table tent) upon completion, ready to display, adding credibility and recognition.

Bulletin Board and Chat Course users are able to chat with other users via an innovative online bulletin board/chat room, in order to expand one’s knowledge and make friends with other Mexico-selling agents.

Consumer Leads The Mexico Tourism Board has an online database on its website, giving consumers an opportunity to search for their nearest “Mexico Specialist.” In addition to the current courses in the Mexico Specialist Program, Specialized Destination Programs as Cancun Tourism Institute, Acapulco Academy, Los Cabos Expert, Mazatlan Mazters and Puerto Vallarta Pro are available at

Mexico Tourism Board,, • Travel World News

·There ’s no bet ter time ·

Go to, where you’ll find everything you need to become a Mexico Specialist

The flight is short. The dollar goes further. The fun is endless. It’s time to discover the Mexico Specialist Program. Free interactive e-learning campus, open 24/7. Increase your knowledge and expand your expertise selling travel to Mexico!

·There ’s no bet ter pla ce ·




Over 2300 meetings took place during the Mart’s three-day event. CANCUN VISITORS & CONVENTION BUREAU

26 • DECEMBER 2009

Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Rodolfo Elizondo, and other tourism dignitaries open the Cancun Travel Mart. CANCUN VISITORS & CONVENTION BUREAU

t this year’s Cancun Travel Mart Mexico Summit sponsored by the Cancun Hotel Association, approximately 2,300 individual and pre-scheduled appointments between tour operators, buyers, meeting planners and suppliers took place during the threeday event (October 14-16, 2009). Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Rodolfo Elizondo, inaugurated the Mart along with Quintana Roo Governor Felix Gonzalez and other dignitaries. Included in this year’s 550 registered exhibitors were many Mexican destinations, not limited to Quintana Roo, the Riviera Maya and the Mexican Caribbean. William H. Coleman, Inc organized the three days of business appointments between buyers and sellers. The company is based in Jacksonville, Florida and has over 40 years’ experience in event management, 22 of which have organized the Cancun Travel Mart. “This is a strictly-business event,” said Bill Coleman at this year’s Mart. Every applicant goes through a qualifying process with some suppliers being turned away. Select Match helps both buyers and suppliers manage their time and interests by arranging 15-minute appointments, pre-scheduled one week prior to the event. Additionally, many attendees scheduled hotel site inspections. Almost 20 countries were represented at the event. Coleman noticed that this year’s marketplace was cautious. There was a lot of negotiating going on with more aggressive pricing in play. Mart participants revealed to him that they had to be more creative than in the past. However, hotel and service providers were cautious not to lower prices. Instead, they remained the same, some even raised 5%, and added values were offered. A previous experience where prices were lowered to attract business after a natural disaster took years to increase them again. Indicators suggest that Cancun and the Riviera Maya are recovering from the double and devastating impact of a declining world economy and health concerns that hit the area, as well as most of Mexico. And last-minute bookings are on the rise; a behavior that today’s traveler is more flexible. “Our December to April 2010 incoming flights are up 1% from the U.S. market,” said Jesús Amaguer, general director of the Cancun CVB, adding that commercial flights now outnumber charters. The bureau is aggressively marketing to all groups and not only visitors age 25 to 50 who typically travel to Cancun during its high season. Baby boomers and older retirees who stay three or more months are of particular interest to the bureau’s marketing team. Two major transformations are in place for the Cancun area. One is the beach recovery project, which replaces lost beach sand between Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc. The other is

Jesús Amaguer, general director of the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau and Rodrigo de la Peña, president of the Cancun Hotel Association are pleased with the Mart’s success.

the recent opening of the second runway at Cancun Airport, complete with a new control tower and a taxiway bridge. “We’re ready when the crisis is over,” said a top government official referring to Cancun’s ability to rebound and its continued growth evidenced by the two major improvements.

Cancun Travel Mart, • Travel World News

UNLEASH YOUR SECRET PASSION Now is your chance to enjoy the luxuriously pampered life you deserve, in a purely all-inclusive, adults only, intimate resort that answers to no one’s interests but your own. Come and experience award-winning service that puts the best of the Mexican Caribbean in your hands.

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What’s New in Cancun J U D I T H G LY N N


he buzz at this year’s Cancun Travel Mart Mexico Summit held October 14-16, 2009 had to do with several projects either completed or beginning in Cancun. All benefit the region and every visitor.

Cancun International Airport Completion in mid-October of the Cancun International Airport’s $67 million second runway allows for simultaneous takeoffs and landings on both runways. It’s Mexico’s first airport to have that ability. Capacity is expected to increase to 28 million passengers per year for the almost 150 domestic and international airlines that use the airport. Additionally, a new 315-foot control tower and taxiway bridge were built. According to Airports Council International, Cancun International Airport is the best airport in Latin America and among the top five in the world.

Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa.

meals can be taken a la carte in all six restaurants (only one buffet restaurant) and international premium liquor brands are served. A variety of inclusions are: salsa lessons, Spanish lessons; Kids’ Explorer Club, fitness center; aqua aerobic classes, movies on the beach and honeymoon suites are oceanfront. Confirmed weddings for 2010 already number 120.

AM Resorts – Dreams Riviera Cancun,

Xplor Quintana Roo Beaches Get New Sand It’s not true that Cancun beaches have lost their sand. And to dispel any doubt, plus recover any lost during storms, a three-month-long project has begun to replenish Cancun’s seashore. Approximately seven miles of coastline between Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc are slated for renewal (Playa del Carmen and Cozumel included) and will include 1.3 billion gallons of sand. One factor in the planning stages was for long-term environmentally conscious results. The sand chosen won’t get hot with the sun. Its high density is compatible with the current sand and will have a low volume loss in case of a meteorological event. The beach restoration project should be completed in January 2010 and will not affect Cancun’s visitors. Beachgoers are required to use biodegradable sunshine lotion at all times throughout Cancun’s beach and water attractions.

Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa This Mexican Caribbean all-inclusive 485-room resort, which is a luxurious addition to the Riviera Maya, opened in early October 2009. Its location is within a national park and close to Playa del Carmen and tiny Puerto Morelos. Add in only a 25-minute drive to the Cancun International Airport and the resort is a winner. “Everyone is a VIP here,” said Hagen Sommer, sales manager at Dreams Riviera Cancun, when referencing the property’s all-inclusive branding. That label often denotes poor quality: all meals are buffet, most liquor is sub-standard and colored wristbands determine a guest's level of service. At Dreams Riviera, no one wears a wristband; well-prepared 28 • DECEMBER 2009

Four top-notch activities take about six hours to complete in this all-inclusive underground adventure park that opened July 2009 on 149 acres. They include 11 zip lines that cover two miles; underground rafts that sail among stalactites and stalagmites; amphibious vehicles that travel on water, over winding jungle roads or through caverns and a 437-yard stalactite river swim. The park accommodates 1,200 visitors and early attendance records show this number will be reached soon. The median age, to date, is 25-35 years of age. The minimum age allowed in the park is eight with adult accompaniment. The maximum per-person weight is 300 pounds. Some activities are not recommended for pregnant women, persons with heart conditions, diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, hypertension and claustrophobia. The park uses first-class equipment and technology, considered the world’s best and safest. The staff has First Aid knowledge. A paramedic and doctor are on the premises at all times. Lifeguards are along the way for the river swim. Double-wired zip lines a distribute a person’s weight better than one line and are standard here. Unlimited servings of natural fruit beverages (no soda or alcohol) are available in the park. Meals are 70% vegetarian and created to help attendees continue their activities unhindered by a poor diet. Admission covers all four activities, plus meals. Life jackets, helmets, harnesses and hand paddles are free to use, as are lockers and dressing rooms. Xplor is located 35 miles south of Cancun International Airport and 4 miles south of Playa del Carmen.

Xplor, • Travel World News

Only for Top Travel Agents

WIN THE PERFECT VACATION YOU DESERVE AS A TRAVEL PROFESSIONAL Sell at least 5 room nights for stays dated between January 1st and April 30th, 2010 and enter the raffle for a 20,000 USD first-class vacation. Your vacation package to the Riviera Maya includes: rRound flight in private jet (pick up in selected airports) rSeven nights all-inclusive accommodation for four people rTours to Chichen Itzá, Tulum, Río Secreto and Canché rMassages and spa treatments for four people All sales must be made between November 1 st, 2009 and Januar y 31 st, 2010. The raffle will take place in June 15 th and the results will be published via email and in specialized magazines. Only members of Golden Club can par ticipate.

REAL LUXURY COMES NATURALLY Environmentally responsible all-inclusive luxury resort, nestled in the midst of a nature preserve, affording tranquil beaches, eco-adventures, and experiences unlike any others. MX 01 800 262.9268 ~ USA 1 800 224.4231 / Hacienda Tres Ríos is not reliable for errors or omissions contained in this publicity.


Eduardo Chaillo Ortiz pictured with Site CEO Brenda Anderson and Site President Patrick K. Sullivan.

During the Site International Conference in Aruba, the association presented the Kevin Forde Spirit award to member Eduardo Chaillo Ortiz, Regional Director USA & Canada of the Mexico

30 • DECEMBER 2009

Tourism Board in recognition of his integrity, strength and leadership. Ortiz is an advocate and ambassador for his destination and is a respected leader in the global motivational experience industry. Mr. Ortiz rose to meet challenges during a time when Mexico has been tested by world heath warnings, unbalanced media coverage, and natural disasters. Eduardo’s response to these challenges was to stand firmly and continue to be a collaborative leader and champion of his destination, Mexico, by honoring commitments and keeping business moving. The Kevin Forde Spirit Award is awarded to a Site member who exemplifies the traits that Kevin Forde was known and respected for: generosity of time and energy to those in the industry who needed help or advice; representation of the motivational experiences industry within a professional role endorsing one’s destination; volunteering with Site and giving back to the Site global community. Site, with more than 2,200 members in 87 countries with 34 local and regional chapters, is the only global authority connecting motivational experiences with business results. The community of Site professionals brings solutions, insights and global connections to maximize the business impact of motivational experiences regardless of industry, region or culture. Site, • Travel World News


Located beachfront on the popular Mayan Riviera, the Grand Palladium complex recently inaugurated the brand new chapel “Nuestra Señora de las Nieves.” Designed to meet increasing demand for religious wedding ceremonies, the chapel holds up to 160 people and features a charming Colonial-style architecture that blends in perfectly with the resort complex. Perfect for those opting for a destination wedding but not wanting to sacrifice the religious element of the ceremony, the Grand Palladium Resorts in the Mayan Riviera are the perfect option for a fairytale wedding. Luxurious, five star all-inclusive resorts with beachfront locations in some of the most desirable destinations (Mayan Riviera, Punta Cana, Montego Bay and Riviera Nayarit), Palladium Hotels & Resorts are ideal for a family vacation, wedding, honeymoon or event. A wide variety of facilities and services combined with The Palladium philosophy of low-density construction allow guests to truly get away from it all and submerge themselves in the breathtaking, natural surroundings of these exotic destinations. For even more luxury, there’s The Royal Suites by Palladium. These ultra-exclusive and adults-only resorts, located within the grounds of the Grand Palladium Resort complexes, feature butler service, gourmet restaurants, top-shelf drinks, personalized service and much more to satisfy even the most discerning guests. Fiesta Hotel Group,

Opened in November 2007, Valentin Imperial Maya is the first resort developed outside of Europe by Valentin Hotels, a family-run hotel business that began in 1966 in Mallorca, Spain. Inspired by grand Spanish haciendas, the 540-suite Valentin Imperial Maya Resort blends classic style and contemporary sensibility. The resort has six categories of suites overlooking the Caribbean sea, and a 900-foot meandering swimming pool surrounding three island pools. A variety of treatments and spa rituals are available at the Spa at Valentin Imperial Maya. For couples planning their weddings, the resort is home to an official Roman Catholic chapel, the only one of its kind located within the entire destination of Riviera Maya. A multi-religion wedding gazebo and a dedicated wedding concierge are additionally available for couples. Besides unlimited access to nine restaurants offering gastronomy from Italy, France, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico and more—and eight bars including cigar lounge and sports bar, the all-inclusive resort provides two tennis and two paddle ball courts, non-motorized water sport equipment, fitness center, live entertainment nightly, a fully equipped business center and complimentary high-speed Internet access. Valentin Imperial Maya Resort,

VALENTIN HOTELS INTRODUCES RIVIERA MAYA RESORT Valentin Imperial Maya Resort, a luxurious all-inclusive, adultonly resort property on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, is a secluded ecological paradise where visitors can indulge in nature’s splendor. The resort is nestled along a half-mile stretch of white sand coastline aptly named Playa Del Secreto (Secret Beach). Travel World News •




Rodolfo Elizondo flanked by Site CEO Brenda Anderson and Site President Patrick K. Sullivan during the award presentation at the Site Nite event.

Over 550 Site members and friends gathered at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago in September to celebrate and support the Site International Foundation. The main highlight of the evening was honoring Rodolfo Elizondo, Minister of Tourism, Mexico, with the Site Solidarity Award. Acknowledging the strength of collaboration with partners in government, the Site Solidarity Award is given to the government official who integrates the mission of Site into their tourism efforts and goals. Site CEO Brenda Anderson presented the award stating, “It is important that everyone from individuals to government officials speak up on behalf of our industry and keep the message strong about the value of motivational experiences. We applaud the efforts of Mr. Elizondo and his office and are thrilled to offer him this recognition.” During the event, the Foundation announced the addition of Site Nite Europe on the evening before IMEX opens, May 24, 2010. Site Nite North America will return in October of 2010 again with the Motivation Show. Generous help came from Site Nite’s Jade sponsor, InterContinental Hotels Group, and from the design team from Extraordinary Events. A complete list of Site Nite sponsors, is available on the event page of Site’s website. Site,,

LAS BRISAS ACAPULCO, LAS BRISAS IXTAPA CHOSEN 2009 EXPEDIA INSIDERS’ SELECT™ HOTELS Two of Brisas Hotels & Resorts’ properties, Las Brisas Acapulco and Las Brisas Ixtapa, have been chosen as Expedia Insiders’ Select™ hotels for 2009. The annual award recognizes the very best hotels as judged by the experiences of Expedia’s customers. Based on hotel reviews submitted by customers, Las Brisas Acapulco and Las Brisas Ixtapa were identified as consistently delivering superior services, exceptional guest experiences and notable value. 32 • DECEMBER 2009

“The Expedia Insiders’ Select™ list represents the top one percent of the nearly 80,000 properties offered by Expedia. The hotels chosen on the annual list are recognized for consistently delivering excellent service, a great overall experience and a notable value to guests who booked their stay through Expedia. Las Brisas Acapulco, with its distinctive “white and pink” color scheme and the charming bungalow style rooms known as ‘casitas,’ has been a favorite among travelers for over 50 years. Favorite tourist outings include cliff diving at ‘La Quebrada’ where people can jump over a 100-feet-tall cliff and browsing for handcrafted treasures in the market. Las Brisas Ixtapa, 866-221-2961,; Las Brisas Acapulco, 800-223-6800 (Leading Hotels of the World), 866-RELAX-MX (735-2969) [group sales],; Expedia’s Insiders’ Select,

SANDOS PLAYACAR, MEXICO, ENHANCES GETAWAY FOR COUPLES To enhance the appeal for couples seeking a getaway in the Riviera Maya, Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa offers adults-only accommodations, exclusive services and amenities, as well as a complimentary romantic package. The special section of adults-only accommodations is comprised of Select Club Ocean View suites, all with a king-size bed, marble bathroom with shower and hairdryer; air conditioning and ceiling fan for optimal climate control; satellite plasma TV; telephone; in-room safe; clock radio with alarm; iron and ironing board; coffee maker; and balcony with a view of Cozumel. Sandos Select Club guests receive additional in-room amenities including bathrobes each can use during their stay; welcome fruit basket; nightly turndown service; an expanded complimentary stocked mini-bar; additional toiletries. Sandos Select Club guests also enjoy private check-in; concierge service; late checkout (subject to availability); preferential reservations at all on-site a la carte restaurants; and access to the Select Club lounge area offering complimentary Internet access, canapés and beverages. Couples who choose the Select Club Ocean View suites enjoy added VIP services and amenities: a “child-free” partitioned section on the beach with waiter service, massage palapas, hammocks, daybeds and upgraded chaise lounges. All couples booking a Select Club Ocean View Suite are eligible to add on a complimentary Romantic Package, which includes an in-room romantic toast each evening, aromatherapy gift set, 15percent spa discount that can be used throughout the stay on all treatments in the new spa facility, 10-percent discount on motorized sports including banana boat rides, jet skiing and parasailing, and a framed photo of the couple. The package must be added to the reservation at time of booking. Sandos Hotels & Resorts, 866-887-5601, • Travel World News

TAM Business Class International menu with three entrĂŠe options.

Reclining seats that convert to beds.

Free transfer.

Access to VIP lounge.

Wide selection of movies and TV series, in addition to audio channels and multiplayer games.

For more information, please call 1-888-2FLY-TAM (888-235-9826)

Enjoy your trip before you arrive at the destination.


Galapagos Explorer II, after its yearly maintenance period, has renewed operation in the Galapagos as of November 7 on Baltra Island. As part of a five-year transformation master plan, this year the restaurant, coffee station and the Jacuzzi bar were remodeled. The restaurant was decorated with hand-painted images created by a renowned local artist. Walls received classic wood treatments, and the portholes were changed for picture windows. The coffee station and Jacuzzi wall panels were replaced with more modern wood panels. Cabins were included in the refurbishment plan, and this year eight of them in the premium category added balconies, bringing total balcony cabins to 24. This is the greatest number of balcony suites available in the Galapagos touring operation. Besides these many changes, general maintenance was performed by the technical department that included provisions for the renewal of the classification RINA, which was successfully achieved. Canodros S.A.,,

GOWAY OFFERS PHOTOGRAPHIC TRIP TO THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS ADVENTURESIncorporated, Goway’s exclusive adventure division, is offering an amazing opportunity in the Galapagos Islands to join biologist and award-winning wildlife photographer Pete Oxford on a week-long photography expedition. Teeming with wildlife, much of it endemic to the islands, the Galapagos is truly a photographer’s paradise. “On this exclusive Goway expedition you will benefit from Pete’s experience as a former naturalist guide and frequent visitor to the Galapagos for more than 20 years to ensure you are in the right place at the right time to get the best shots” states Don Forster, Product Manager for ADVENTURESIncorporated. The expedition has been scheduled for the best opportunity to capture a range of mating displays, including the elegant courtship dance of the Waved Albatross, and to coincide with warm waters and the best visibility conditions for underwater photography,” continued Forster. For wildlife photography enthusiasts, this is a rare master class run by a professional whose images have been featured 34 • DECEMBER 2009

10 times in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards and who, with his longtime partner and wife Reneé Bish, has published nine books, two of which focus entirely on the Galapagos. He is also published in many international magazines including National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, International Wildlife, GEO, Smithsonian, Nature’s Best, Airone and The Geographical. Space is strictly limited to 14 wildlife photography enthusiasts. The Wildlife Photography Expedition with Pete Oxford is slated for March 24 through April 2, 2010, and is priced at $5,950 per person, twin share. ADVENTURESIncorporated, 888-469 2949,,; Goway Travel,,

CASA CEIBO RESORT’S DOUBLE GRAND OPENING A SUCCESS FOR ECUADORIAN TRAVEL On October 24, resort owners Charles Van Diver, a Destin, Florida, developer, and Daniel Jacome, Galapagos guide and drummer for Ecuador’s top rock band, Tercer Mundo, hosted a ribboncutting party for 150 local and regional guests at Casa Ceibo Resort in Bahia de Caraquez. The co-owners hosted a second party the following Wednesday night in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, where they introduced the luxury property to a crowd of 300, including tour operators, travel agents and media, plus commercial, industry and government leaders. “Casa Ceibo delivers a superior experience, and both grand opening celebrations exemplified this, from the food to the wine, entertainment, service and overall ambiance,” Jacome says. “We’re receiving excellent response to promotions and are fully booked for the Bahia Anniversary in November and a period in December for a large group function. Few rooms remain for New Year’s Eve— we’re throwing a big celebration for hotel guests, plus Bahia’s holiday visitors and residents.” For Casa Ceibo’s grand opening, guests gathered to hear Jacome’s welcome, and then Ecuadorian national assemblyman, Doctor Leonardo Viteri, cut the red ribbon. Van Diver toasted eloquently to the Ecuadorian people, artisans who crafted and furnished Casa Ceibo, and artists whose works adorn the halls and guest rooms. Cocktails and delicacies were prepared by international awardwinning chef Hugo Jimenez. Tercer Mundo provided entertainment, and dancing lasted all night. Wednesday’s party, held at Quito’s Swisshotel, was attended by travel professionals, local business owners and government officials. Stephany Reeson, Casa Ceibo’s Quito-based sales/marketing director, gave the welcome, followed by a short speech by Jacome and Van Diver’s toasting his new Ecuadorian “family.” Guests enjoyed entertainment by Tercer Mundo, plus a presentation on the resort and coastal attractions emceed by Maria Susana Rivadeneira, former Miss Ecuador, who’s now a fashion designer. Casa Ceibo Resort, • Travel World News


duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge in Western Belize offers a satisfying way to send clients to Belize whether an agent is familiar with the area or not, with duPlooy’s “Create Your Own Vacation” fully-commissionable package. Each evening guests receive assistance in choosing tours and activities for the next day from a long list of things to do. Simply booking the number of days needed is all that has to be done— duPlooy’s handles the rest. Packages include transfers, accommodation, meals, a full day or 2 half-days’ guided activities and tours on non-transfer days, guided or self-guided tour of Belize Botanic

Gardens, and gratuities to staff and all taxes. Entrances to sites, Guatemala border fee and bar are not included, but can be for an additional $35 per day per person. Guests pay for a six-night package and get the seventh free (accommodation only). The group rate for 10–24 people is $119 a day per person. There’s a minimum stay of four days and this low rate includes round-trip transfers between duPlooy’s and Belize City, double- or triple-occupancy accommodation in duPlooy’s Belize River House, three meals daily, Traditional Healers’ Workshop and Tour at Belize Botanic Gardens and daily excursion on non-transfer days plus all taxes, and use of classroom for student groups. Lectures can be arranged. A beautiful onsite feature is the 45-Acre Belize Botanic Gardens, horses, canoes, tubes, lovely river beach, hiking trails, daily birding from the deck, spa services, restaurant and bar. Major Maya sites are in the area, as well as waterfalls and caves, birding (over 300 species within a 5-mile radius). One unique tour is a horseback ride to Flour Camp Cave (an hour and a half), guided tour of the cave and then the option of canoeing or tubing back downstream to duPlooy’s after a picnic by the Macal River. This can also be done by road. Another is an overnight to Tikal with a stop at Yaxcha on the way. These are major Maya sites and an overnight makes it possible to experience both of them. There’s an additional $150 per person charge for this trip. duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge,,; Belize Botanic Gardens,


Prime location in the town of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye with easy access to the town’s activities yet out of the hustle and bustle of town. Ideal for singles, couples and families.

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Travel World News •



LATIN AMERICA PANAMA’S BRISTOL BUENAVENTURA WELCOMES JOHN BLANCO AS GENERAL MANAGER The recently opened Bristol Buenaventura in Panama has appointed John Blanco as General Manager. Blanco brings with him over two decades of experience in all aspects of the luxury hospitality industry. He joins Bristol Hotels having previously served as the managing director of The Landmark Hotels Group in Hawaii for the past three years, where he was responsible for all opJOHN BLANCO erations at Honolulu’s Kahala Hotel & Resort and Mexico City’s Embassy Suites. Prior to his work at Landmark, Blanco was a key management member at a number of Ritz-Carlton properties, including The Ritz-Carlton, Penha Longa in Portugal; The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne in Florida; and the Ritz-Carlton Bali in Indonesia, among others. Blanco’s impressive tenure and knowledge of six languages—English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian and German—will assist in making guest experiences unique and personalized. Blanco earned his Hotel and Restaurant Management degree from Switzerland’s Centre International de Glion in 1986. From there, he underwent further extensive training under Chef Gulatiero Marchesi at the Michelin three-star restaurant, Marchesi Ristorante in Milan, as well as the Hotel Excelsior and The Dolder Grand Hotel in Switzerland. Bristol Buenaventura,

LA MANSION INN IS INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY AFFAIRS Harry Bodaan, owner of La Mansion Inn, chairs Quepos [Costa Rica’s] Sister Cities International, he’s Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, Special Law Enforcement Assistant to Oscar Monge, Mayor of Quepos and the City Council, and is liaison between Jack Seiler, Fort Lauderdale’s mayor [Quepos’ Sister City], and various departments. The cities have shared knowledge and experience about law enforcement, Ocean Rescue programs, the Chamber of Commerce, the Marine Industry, the Library, and Humanitarian programs. Mr. Bodaan chairs the Security Committee of the Chamber as well, and has overseen many efforts contributing to Costa Rican overall security this year. Cornelio Mesén, the Inn’s Administrative Assistant, acts as Chairman of the Tourism Committee. This year, it coordinated representation of Quepos/Manuel Antonio at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the Annual Sister Cities International “Dinner on the River” celebration (renamed “The Quepos Boat Show Celebration”), and offered Aguirre Chamber members free participation in a Fort Lauderdale Trade Show. The Inn supports the well being of homeless and troubled stray animals, with a long-term goal of developing sustainable care through intensive neutering and spaying programs, pet rehabilitation and adoption, owner education, and the eventual building of an animal refuge facility. Guests may participate in the “Amigos de los Animales” program by adding an extra dollar per night to the guest room rates. La Mansion Inn,,



Los Altos Beach Resort & Spa, the latest luxury boutique resort on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, has officially opened in Manuel Antonio. The condo-resort combines five-star services and the rainforest, with its abundance of Costa Rican wildlife for neighbors. The 21-acre property, part of the Grace’s Distinctive Properties Ltd collection, has one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom suites outfitted with large grand salons, gourmet kitchens and elegant furnishings of modern Balinese design. The premier location neighbors Manuel Antonio National Park, the region’s largest national park world renown for its natural beauty. It is home to exotic wildlife, various species of birds, as well as multiple nature trails that lead to the most spectacular white sand beaches of Costa Rica, noted as some of the best in the world. Opening Specials include stay for seven nights and pay for five or stay for four nights and pay for three, including daily breakfast and transfers. Specials are valid on seven-night stays over the Christmas holiday period. Grace’s Distinctive Properties, Ltd., 888-98-ALTOS (982-5867),, Los Altos Beach Resort & Spa,

At the Boutique Hotel Cala Mia, without effort one can experience dolphins, sea turtles, monkeys, beautiful birds and more. Isla Boca Brava, minutes from the mainland, is part of the Chiriqui Marine National park that includes more than 20 islands. Land activities include hiking through jungle, prairies and beaches—and a guaranteed view of howler monkeys. Travelers can visit the hotel’s organic farm and watch cheesemaking—Gouda made by Dutch owner Max and Fior de Latte, the best mozzarella, made by his Italian wife Vittoria. Water activities include deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling, humpback whale watching (during their migration), exploring mangroves and outer islands. Plus there are spa treatments, beaches and a freshwater pool. One-bedroom bungalow suites start at $220 per night in high season, $180 per night in low season. Rates include breakfast; 10-percent local tax not included. Boutique Hotel Cala Mia, Panamonte Inn and Spa, 800-783-6904,,

36 • DECEMBER 2009 • Travel World News


Lionfish report. Divers must notify the dive master, who will record the depth, time and location of the lionfish. This information will be reported to marine park officials and the diver rewarded with a free day of two tank diving for each validated Lionfish report. The offer is valid until May 31, 2010. REEF is also requesting reports of Lionfish and has made the reporting easy with an Exotic Species Sighting Form. Hotel Flamingo, a 22-room boutique hotel, is offering seven nights/five days of two tank diving for $567 ppdo or four nights/two days of two tank diving for $260 ppdo. Packages include full breakfast each morning, buffet lunch on dive days, transfers to Aquatic Sports, tanks, weights and weight belts and are valid for travel until May 31, 2010. Hotel Flamingo, 800-806-1601,; REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation),

Mexico’s Hotel Flamingo and Aquatic Sports are helping marine park officials locate and capture Lionfish, which have expanded extremely rapidly. Indo-pacific Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans) have been documented along the entire East Coast of the U.S. from Florida north to Massachusetts, east to Bermuda and throughout the Bahamas and other Caribbean nations such as Turks and Caicos, Cuba and now Mexico. Lionfish are voracious predators that eat native fish and crustaceans in large quantities. Juvenile Nassau grouper have been found in lionfish stomachs in the Bahamas. They are not known to have any native predators and are equipped with venomous dorsal, ventral and anal spines. These elegant marauders deter all who come near them and can cause painful wounds in humans. Lionfish are capable of reproducing year-round with unique reproduction mechanisms not commonly found in native fishes. These fish are relatively resistant to parasites giving them another advantage over native species. They have an accelerated growth rate and outgrow native species putting those who they compete for food and space at an extreme disadvantage. Hotel Flamingo and Aquatic Sports along with marine park officials are doing their part to preserve the reef. Aquatic Sports is offering a free day of two tank dives for each


38 • DECEMBER 2009

Despite economic conditions, people will travel to participate in an activity-based vacation. The niche market of scuba diving affords travel agents the opportunity to realize a steady source of profits by promoting dive travel to international destinations. Travel agents don’t have to be certified divers to cater to this market, but they do need a knowledgeable and trusted dive wholesaler partner to help make them successful. Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas, the innovative leader for dive travel, has helped and supported the travel agent community since 1975. These are some of the features that bring peace of mind to agents choosing Maduro Dive FantaSeas as a dive travel wholesaler: Maduro has Dive Travel packages to Select Dive Destinations in 36 countries, 230 resorts and 58 liveaboards. All packages are fully commissionable and fair-traded (no one has a different price).Maduro employs experienced and knowledgeable dive travel specialists who are divers and travel agents.Maduro is a member of ASTA (30 years), Dive Equipment Marketing Association (DEMA), Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), IATAN and ARC. Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas, 800-327-6709,, • Travel World News


The National Park West Coast of Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc, with roughly 750,000 tourists annually, will feature more than 400 concrete sculpture figurines comprising the world’s largest underwater museum, right in the waters in front of Cancun and the island of Isla Mujeres. Costing more than $350,000 in seed capital, the project has been initiated to give the natural reefs the opportunity to flourish. The Park has risen to the challenge of diverting tourists away from natural habitats along the coral reef units without losing visitors and the $36 million they bring to the area each year. Approximately 400 sculptures will be created by internationally

Travel World News •

renowned underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor and will then be sunk within this National Park on the barren areas of seabed at various depths. The first placing began in November. Each piece will be life-sized with a base of about 43 square feet. There will be several theme-based installations—an army of indigenous Mayan people entitled “The Silent Evolution,” for one, and others such as the “Dream Collector” who catalogs messages in bottles set adrift from various corners of the world. A bottle message attached to that particular sculpture reads: “May our hearts, never become as hard as our heads,” by Roberto Diaz, President of the Cancun Underwater Museum. “This is a unique opportunity to explore the boundaries of art and combine it with reef conservation,” observed British sculptor Taylor. The main piece will encompass between 300 to 400 lifelike figures based on actual living people. Once the first phase of the project is completed other artists will be encouraged to submit their own sculptures and contribute to this unique museum. The National Park’s director, Jaime Gonzalez Cano, calculates that by April 2010 there will be approximately 250 sculptures underwater. Upon opening the museum, divers will be required to gain experience in artificial habitats and snorkelers will continue to wear lifejackets for buoyancy to prevent damaging the natural corals and the new artificial habitats. Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau,;




Austin-Lehman Adventures Adds Bike and Hike-Only Programs to Its Award-Winning Portfolio AUSTIN-LEHMAN ADVENTURES


raditionally known for a multi-activity approach to adventure travel, Austin-Lehman Adventures has introduced a portfolio that now includes single-sport itineraries as well, with hiking or biking as the primary activity. Hike or bike destinations featured in the 2010 catalog currently available include U.S. and Canadian national parks in addition to select European and South American locations. “Our alumni guests asked for it and we responded,” explains Austin-Lehman Adventures Director of Operations Dan Austin on his company’s deciDAN AUSTIN sion to offer single-activity programs. “It is this very ability for us to evolve and change with the desires of our guests that gained us the distinction of being named the World’s Best Tour Operator for 2009 by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine.” The new catalog features 17 biking vacations throughout Europe and now in the U.S. and Canada. “Cycle-only trips are not new to Austin-Lehman; in fact, that is where we got our start. Just last year we returned to our roots when we launched a program of first-class European trips with our acquisition of Euro-Bike. What is new are the four tour itineraries we just added in North America,” Austin points out. Besides Austin-Lehman’s European bike adventures, ALA now offers four new trips in the Western U.S. and Canada: Grand Teton: Valley Floors to Jagged Peaks—With eyepopping views around every bend, Teton National Park offers exhilarating coasting. Bikers pass pronghorns and bison in the Antelope Flats, and Snake River has eight miles of rollercoaster rapids. Black Hills: The Great Plains of South Dakota—Biking through a sea of open prairie ends in the Old West town of Deadwood. Hikers explore Mount Rushmore at its base, and Crazy Horse Monument. Bison, elk, sheep and prairie dogs are seen while riding along Wildlife Loop. Utah: Canyonlands National Park—Southeastern Utah’s burnt-orange, sheer-walled Canyonlands are legendary; bikers see white-rimmed sandstone towers snaking through Colorado National Monument. At Newspaper Rock, ancient petroglyphs etched in stone are spectacular. Canadian Rockies: Rocky Mountain Treasures—This is world-class biking—from the backcountry roads of 40 • DECEMBER 2009

ALA guide Michael Bose feeling the magic of Machu Picchu.

Kananaskis valley to the spectacular mountain landscapes deep in the heart of the Rockies. Exhilarating Highwood Pass, Athabasca glacier, and an awesome ride down the Columbia Icefields Parkway (aptly rated one of the Top 10 cycle tours of the world) are thrillers. Austin-Lehman Adventures has added two new hike-only trips for 2010: Canadian Rockies: Ultimate Rocky Mountain—Outstanding surround awaits adventurers, with plenty of options to satisfy hikers of all ambitions in the vast wilderness of Banff, Paradise Valley and Lake Louise. France: La Provence Complète—Provence is a vibrant tapestry of fertile vineyards, ancient ruins, colorful markets and flower and spice fragrances. Travelers indulge in its charm and regional famed cuisine.

Legendary adventure tours Austin-Lehman Adventures, with a 35-year legacy dating back to 1974, provides “over the top” adventure vacations on four continents. ALA has built its reputation on small group active travel limited to 12 guests (18 on family departures), exceptional dining, distinctive accommodations and allinclusive rates and services. ALA focuses solely on destinations in North, Central and South America, Europe and southern Africa. Founders Dan Austin and Paul Lehman believe the best way to enjoy the natural beauty, culture and history of a place is to experience it as a local close up, at one’s own pace, far off the usual tourist track. In addition to scheduled group departures, ALA also offers customized trip planning for families, solo travelers and adults-only. Backing its commitment to service, ALA offers all its travelers a money-back guarantee, a rarity among adventure travel companies.

Austin-Lehman Adventures, 800-575-1540,, • Travel World News


Abenteuer Afrika Safari has a very popular “Expedition Namibia:” a seven-day/six-night chartered-flight tour that features Etosha, a visit to the Himba, Swakopmund and Sossusvlei. The journey begins with a flight to Etosha National Park for a twonight stay at Southern Africa’s most important wildlife reserve. Accommodation is at Okaukuejo, famous for its floodlit waterhole. The tour continues to rugged Kaokoland. After lunch at a nearby lodge, the flight continues to the coastal resort Swakopmund, one of Africa’s most colonially influenced towns. Guests enjoy two nights at the boutique hotel Villa Margherita, and a catamaran cruise on Walvis Bay Lagoon to view birds, seals and dolphins, and, in season, humpback whales. Schools of dolphins swim alongside the boat, and seals frequently jump aboard for a visit. Surrounding Swakopmund is a huge sand dune belt, where a Living Desert Tour introduces visitors to the bustling world of creatures living beneath the dunes. On Day 5 the flight departs for Sossusvlei in the Naukluft National Park. This is Southern Africa’s largest expanse of conserved wilderness, with the world’s oldest desert and a vast span of mineral-rich land. Dunes over 2,000 feet high offer a true sense of the desert’s beauty. Accommodation for the next two nights is at Sossusvlei Lodge, a luxurious resort built with adobe bricks typical of Arabian villages and tents like those of the Bedouin. All rooms have a desert view, and the restaurant has fine German/Namibian cuisine with South African wines. Day 6 features the excursion into Sossusvlei. The next day after breakfast, guests depart for Windhoek, where the tour is met by an Abenteuer representative and brought to a local restaurant for lunch, followed by a township tour of Katutura. At the Soweto market one can see traditional hairdressers and tailors, and an impressive open-air butchery. Visitors are later transferred to Windhoek International Airport or a destination of their choice in Windhoek. Departure dates in 2010 are February 16, March 16, April 6, June 15, July 6 and 20, August 3 and 17, September 14, and October 5 and 19. Other dates are available on request. Abenteuer Afrika Safari, 42 • DECEMBER 2009

AIR MAURITIUS TAKES DELIVERY OF SECOND AIRBUS Air Mauritius took delivery of its new Airbus A330-200 aircraft recently in Toulouse. Named after the legendary aquatic plant Nénuphar, which grows in abundance at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden at Pamplemousses, the aircraft will together with the first A330-200 Trochetia delivered in 2007, improve regional offers, deployed mainly deployed on medium haul routes in India, Asia and Australia. The aircraft is equipped with GE CF6 engines and is operated in a two-class configuration—24 lie-flat business class and 251 economy-class seats. It features fly-by-wire controls and shares the unique cockpit commonality across the entire Airbus Family. This allows flight crews to fly each aircraft of the family with minimal additional training. Mr. Manoj R.K. Ujoodha, G.O.S.K, the airline’s CEO, who was in Toulouse to take delivery of the aircraft stated, “This new aircraft is a milestone in the history of the airline as it emerges from very challenging times for the aviation industry worldwide.” The Nénuphar will operate its first commercial flight to Mumbai in October. Air Mauritius,,

DESIGN TRAVEL & TOURS PRESENTS TANZANIA UPSCALE Travel agents looking for a sure-to-satisfy itinerary to Tanzania have ideal options through Design Travel & Tours. An outline of a typically suggested tour follows. Clients begin their Tanzania adventure at Lake Manyara, where they thrill to the first game drive, perhaps seeing tree-climbing lions. Overnight is at five-star E Unoto Retreat. On to the Serengeti for a stay at a tented camp. Clients’ choose from a shared semi-permanent camp or a private camp, either one with luxury tents to best enjoy the African experience. After three days and nights in this famous park, they continue to the Ngorongoro Crater. Here a recommended stay is the elegant Manor at Ngorongoro where the food is as outstanding as the game viewing. It’s suggested that clients stay two nights so they can spend an entire day in the famous crater. Then they continue on to Tarangire National Park for a stay at Tarangire Treetops. Staying two nights is suggested, as there’s a lot to see and do—plenty of options to see buffalo, lion, cheetah or leopards, and birds, too. Finally they return to Arusha for departure. Clients may want to add a visit to Kenya by flying in/out of Nairobi. There are many sights to see and dinner at the Carnivore offers a special ending to the African experience. Design Travel & Tours, • Travel World News

PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS COASTAL AVIATION RESCHEDULES RUAHA/SERENGETI FLIGHTS As of June 2010, Coastal Travels Ltd. will bring Northern and Southern Tanzania ‘closer’ by rescheduling their flights to connect Serengeti National Park in the North and Ruaha National Park in the South via Arusha. This will make it more convenient and easier for a Tanzania Safari to include both the Northern Circuit and the Southern Circuit, ensuring a fuller, more diverse travel experience. The Serengeti National Park, named the new Seventh Wonder of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is host to the largest and longest overland animal migration in the world. Since it is a world-renowned icon, and adjacent to the Ngorongoro Crater, it is the most popular and most traveled destination on the Safari circuit. Ruaha, the second largest National Park in Africa, is one of Tanzania’s ‘undiscovered jewels,’ receiving far fewer visitors than Parks in the North, yet providing a totally different and richer Safari. For Coastal’s Arusha to Ruaha flight, the aircraft takes off at 1:30 pm. This gives plenty of time for guests to land in Arusha before transferring to Ruaha flying via Tarangire. The flight lands in Ruaha around 4 p.m. For the return, the flight takes off from Ruaha at 9:45 a.m. and arrives in Arusha around midday, connecting to Serengeti at 12:30 p.m. Tanzania Tourist Board,; Coastal Aviation,

GOWAY WAIVES PENALTIES FOR SINGLE TRAVELERS BOUND FOR AFRICA Goway’s AFRICAExperts has announced savings of up to $720 for single travelers on their World in one Country South Africa tour. “Typically, single travelers may pay up to double the twin share rates for vacations,” commented Moira Smith, AFRICAExperts General Manager.” The World in one Country tour allows visitors a glimpse of South African wildlife, scenery, traditional cultures of old as well as the dynamic South Africa of today. From wildlife reserves that teem with birdlife and excite with sightings of the infa-

mous “Big Five” to modern cities, world renowned wine farms, ancient forests and the arresting beauty of rugged coastlines to long stretches of warm waters and golden sands. This tour encompasses a huge slice of South Africa hospitality, culture and sights. Prices start at $3,158 and single passengers save up to $720 per departure. This is valid for new bookings for travel before October 31, 2010, but excludes the World Cup Soccer period from June 1 through July 31, 2010. AFRICAExperts, 800-245-0920,,; Goway Travel,,

KENYA AIRWAYS NOW FLIES TO KISANGANI Kenya Airways has launched direct flights to Kisangani, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The airline will operate three weekly flights every Monday, Thursday and Friday to the Bangok International Airport. With the introduction of flights to Kisangani, Kenya Airways now flies to 47 destinations. “Travelers on this route are expected to benefit greatly from the superb connections to Europe and Asia,” Kenya Airways Chairman Evanson Mwaniki said. He emphasized that the provincial capital of Tshopo Province will also serve to connect tourists visiting Kananga, Kinshasa and other parts of the populous African nation—endowed with resources of vast potential wealth. Others launched include Gaborone; Botswana and Ndola; Zambia which was unveiled to connect London, Mumbai, Accra, Dubai, Nairobi, Hong Kong and New Delhi. Kenya Airways has embarked on an aggressive network expansion with Congo-Brazaville and Libreville also launched this year. The airline operates three daily frequencies into Johannesburg, South Africa, and double dailies to Lusaka, Zambia; 10 flights a week to Lilongwe, Malawi and Harare, Zimbabwe; and three weekly flights to Maputo, Mozambique. The route expansion plan has been accompanied by fleet modernization and a commitment to safety and growing aviation standards in the continent. Kenya Airways operates the youngest fleet in sub-Saharan Africa. Kenya Airways,

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Tauck’s small ship ocean cruises for 2010 are highlighted by the eight-day voyage “Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice” (from $5,790 per person, plus air) aboard the all-new Le Boreal, a sleek 264-person yacht launching next May. Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, the 466-foot Le Boreal will have six decks and sail under a French flag with a crew of 140. All suites and staterooms will be outwardfacing, 95 percent with private balconies; 40 staterooms can be reconfigured to yield 20 398-square-foot suites with balconies. Amenities include Le Theatre for entertainment and lecturers, a swimming pool, fitness center, steam and massage rooms, gift shop, hairdresser and slot machines. Dining options include Le Restaurant Gastronomique for upscale French and international cuisine and Le Grill for casual dining. Le Club offers live music, a dance floor, cocktail bar and outside terrace. Le Panoramic Lounge has a library, Internet desk, live entertainment, and an open-air bar seating 50. The Iceland cruise will highlight islands with just 100 residents, the capital Reykjavik, glaciers and volcanoes, wildlife on Grimsey and sulphur fields at Namaskard. North of the Arctic Circle, guests will visit Blue Lagoon’s warm thermal waters, the site of the first democratic parliament (Thingvellir National Park) and Surtsey Island, formed by volcanic action in the 1960s. Le Boreal will also cruise Tauck’s 10-day “Venice & The Dalmatian Coast” (from $5,690 ppdo, plus air) and “St. Petersburg & The Baltic Sea” (12 days, from $6,590 ppdo, plus air). Tauck World Discovery, 800-788-7885,

MV LOUIS MAJESTY SAILS FOR LOUIS CRUISES DECEMBER 4 MV Louis Majesty was redelivered to Louis Cruises at the end of her charter to Norwegian Cruise Lines. The ship was chartered to NCL and, as Norwegian Majesty, was operating cruises from the USA until the end of October. MV Louis Majesty is on her way to Europe and will undergo routine maintenance and refurbishments. The attractive features of M/V Louis Majesty will be retained and further enhanced. Louis Cruises acquired the cruise liner from Star Cruises in July 2008 as a step in materializing the company’s policy for the renewal of its fleet and the upgrade of the product and 44 • DECEMBER 2009

services it provides. On December 4, 2009, MV Louis Majesty will sail for its maiden journey with the Louis colors and shall be operating itineraries from the ports of Genoa and Marseille to enticing destinations in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and North Africa. M/V Louis Majesty was built in 1992 and underwent over 53 million dollars’ worth of lengthening and full refurbishment in 1999, adding 111 feet to her eventual length of just over 679 feet. Her 731 well-appointed staterooms and suites can accommodate 1,790 passengers, boast stylish furnishings and come with VCRs as well as TVs. MV Louis Majesty features six international cuisine restaurants, nine bars, a show lounge shaped like an amphitheatre, an upgraded spa, health and beauty center, a disco, a large casino, six elevators, two large swimming pools and a splash pool for children, three Jacuzzis, a Kid’s corner, spacious open deck areas, duty-free and cruise value shops and an Internet corner. Louis Group is also actively involved in the hotel industry. Louis Hotels owns and operates 20 four- and five-star hotels, 10 of which are located on Greek islands and 10 in Cyprus. Louis Group,,

CRUISE PLANNERS PARTNERS WITH ROYAL CARIBBEAN TO EXPAND CHARITABLE ‘CP CARES’ PROGRAM Cruise Planners/American Express, the nation’s largest homebased travel agent franchise network in the cruise industry, has partnered with Royal Caribbean International to expand its CP Cares charitable program with the launch of Voyages for Veterans benefiting the Fisher House Foundation, a four-star charity that provides no-cost housing near VA medical centers for families of veterans undergoing extended medical treatment. Through Voyages for Veterans, Royal Caribbean will donate $50 to the Fisher House Foundation for every cabin booked through a Cruise Planners agent on one of 12 select sailings throughout 2010.The sailings, which include Mediterranean, Alaska and Caribbean itineraries, are open to the public, and there is no outof-pocket expense to the traveler. Earlier this year, Cruise Planners and Royal Caribbean teamed up and donated $2,000 to the Fisher House Foundation to kick off this partnership. Other charitable CP Cares initiatives have included efforts benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Kids in Distress, Adopt a Soldier and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. A full list of departure dates and itineraries is available by calling toll-free or visiting the Voyages for Veterans website. Information about purchasing a Cruise Planners franchise may be obtained from their Franchise Sales Department or website. Voyages for Veterans, 866-286-0015,; Royal Caribbean,,,,, or; Cruise Planners/American Express, 888-582-2150, (franchises), • Travel World News



Paul Kinney and his wife, Maria Eugenia Garnica, are heading up a new sport adventure program in Chile called Patagonia Outdoors. Paloma River Lodge will provide lodging and food services. The lodge, purchased and rebuilt five years ago by Paul, overlooks the Paloma River south of Coyhaique. Infinitely comfortable in its 1980 square feet, it has four spacious client bedrooms, each with a queen size bed and private bathroom. Maria has been guiding for 10 years and has developed an interesting multi-sport program. Activities include a mix of hiking, birding, horseback riding, rock wall climbing, kayaking, and fly-fishing. Itineraries can be customized according to a group’s desired activity choices. A walk-and-wade trip starts just 200 yards from the front door of the lodge. Dry Fly Fishing is a specialty; guests can also fish a high mountain stream accessible via horseback; Patagonia uses jet boats to access other hard-to-get-to rivers and lakes for large trout. The Chilean Patagonia has much to see. With Chile’s varied plant life, verdant rainforest, expanses of pristine landscape and pure running streams, guests thrill to boating and hiking and exploring the countryside. Pricing for a three-night all-inclusive Sport Adventure is $1,275 ppdo; four nights, $1,700 ppdo; and seven nights, $2,850 ppdo. Pickup is at the Balmaceda Airport or in Coyhaique, with drop-off at the end of stays. Patagonia Outdoors,; Paloma River Lodge,

The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize’s award-winning family vacation destination in the jungles of Central America, is offering free all-inclusive holidays to the lucky winners of its Family Vacation Sweepstakes. Chaa Creek has been family-friendly since its inception in 1981, providing culture-based environmental programs that introduce families to the tropical rainforests of western Belize. This fun-filled holiday of a lifetime is being offered to families who would like to enjoy a special Belize adventure free of charge. To enter the Family Vacation Sweepstakes, one must simply write an essay (maximum of 300 words) explaining why his family has chosen Belize and The Lodge at Chaa Creek as their best family vacation destination. The essay must be submitted via email to and will be published anonymously on the Chaa Creek Travel Blog. The Chaa Creek Team will send a link upon receiving the essay to access a short list of questions about Chaa Creek. All the answers to the questions can be found on the Chaa Creek website. Entrants must score a minimum of 85 percent in order to be entered into the final sweepstakes drawing. The Family Vacation Sweepstakes closes February 1, 2010. All qualified entries will be placed in the drawing barrel and the winning tickets for the five prizes will be drawn and monitored by the Board of Directors of Chaa Creek Limited in the Cayo District of Belize. The following five winning vacation packages accommodate a family of four and are inclusive of cottage accommodation, food, transfers, tours and activities for all the family: A Four-Night/FiveDay Eco Rainforest Package for four; A Four-Night/Five-Day Inland Expedition Package for four; A 50-percent discount on a Four-Night Inland Expeditions Package or Eco Rainforest Package for four; A 40-percent discount on Four-Night Inland Expeditions Package or Eco Rainforest Package for four; A 30-percent discount on Four-Night Inland Expeditions Package or Eco Rainforest Package for four. The Lodge at Chaa Creek, 877-709-8708,,

Explore Beyond


T/ +1 512 535 2889

A once-in-a-lifetime experience for your passengers... Join the Explore Beyond team and two of the survivors of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 plane crash in a Expedition that retraces the steps of their epic adventure of survival in 1972. The Alive Expedition 2010 consists of a moderately demanding trek thru the Argentinean Andes mountains to El Valle de las Lagrimas (The Valley of Tears), site of the crash. During different stages of this trip, crash survivors Gustavo Zerbino and Eduardo Strauch will share the life-changing experiences they encountered in their attempt to endure after their plane crashed in that majestic landscape.

ALIVE EXPEDITION 2010 Travel World News •

Sixteen people will be able to experience and relive one of the most incredible and heroic feats of survival of recent history.




Grandtravel, providing luxury vacations for grandparents and grandchildren, has packed lots of variety and hands-on adventure in its 2010 roundup: “Mushing” across an Alaskan glacier pulled by Alaskan huskies, training as the gladiators once did in ancient Rome, learning the art of Tuscan cooking, attending two of London’s top theater productions, dining atop the Eiffel Tower, or spending time with a cadet at the nation’s Naval Academy, Annapolis. The 10-day “Alaskan Adventure” departs on July 9 and August 13; prices are $6,595 ppdo for adults and children 12–17, $5,995 triple; and $6,195 double and $5,695 triple for children 7–11. The other domestic option puts faces to historical names in the world’s most powerful city, Washington, DC, and offers a stroll through 18th-century life in Colonial Williamsburg. The seven-day introduction to our history costs $2,995 ppdo; $2,695 for triples and departs July 3 and 11. Two international sojourns submerse Grandtravelers in the incredible cultures and sites of London, Paris and Italy. Departures of the 10-day exploration—July 10 and August 7 —are $6,995 ppdo; $6,780 triple. Grandparents and grandchildren get to see the best that Italy has to offer on “Italy’s Splendor.” Prices for the 12-day adventure are $6,995 ppdo, $6,780 for triples; departing July 5 and August 2. Prices include deluxe or best available accommodations with private bath, most meals, transportation, admission to all scheduled attractions and events, en route activities for children, pre-departure guidance, the services of a professional tour manager, a Grandtravel Activity Director (always an experienced educator or youth counselor), and service charges and hotel taxes. Tour managers manage the on-tour logistics to ensure grandparents and grandchildren can relax and enjoy their experience. And, it’s not just biological grandparents who are welcome to participate—surrogate grandparents like aunts, uncles and friends are welcome too. As one of only a few AARP Preferred Travel Partners, Grandtravel offers AARP members a $200 per person discount off Grandtravel’s escorted tour vacations. Grandtravel, 800-247-7651,

TOMGIRL TOURS ANNOUNCES 2010 SCHEDULE OF TOURS FOR WOMEN Tomgirl’s Red Rock Rendezvous in Sedona, Ariz. features a Pink Jeep tour, a hike below the rim at the Grand Canyon and a sunrise 46 • DECEMBER 2009

hot air balloon excursion, balanced by cultural experiences like artist-led gallery tours, and rejuvenation at the upscale creekside Amara resort. The Red Rock Rendezvous tours are scheduled for April 24 through May 1, June 5–12, and November 6–13. Tomgirl Tours’ White Mountains Adventure includes world-class Bretton Woods zip line canopy tours, indoor wind tunnel sky diving experiences, and a short, breathtaking guided hike through the pristine mountainside. White Mountains Adventure tours are March 14–15, May 16–17, August 22–23, October 3–4, and November 28–29. Another weekend tour is the Green Mountains Escape in beautiful Vermont. Guests sample adventure—Segway riding, a ropes course and a sunset hot air balloon journey; pampering at the Essex Resort’s full-service spa; and culinary delights with a local farm tour with wine and cheese tasting and a four-course food and wine pairing demonstration and dinner with New England Culinary Institute instructors. Green Mountains Escape tours will be held May 2– 5, June 20–23, August 22–25, and September 26–29. For those seeking a tropical adventure, Tomgirl Tours brings back its St. John Sojourn. These week-long seaside excursions blend beautiful vistas with snorkeling on pristine beaches, eco-kayaking with naturalist guides, and mountain hikes. Guests reside for the week in eco-tent cottages overlooking the ocean. St. John Sojourn tours are scheduled for January 21–28, and December 3–10, 2010. Tomgirl Tours,

FRONTIERS NORTH ADVENTURES WINS INTERNATIONAL ECOTOURISM AWARD Frontiers North Adventures, providing authentic Arctic experiences in Canada’s north, has been awarded the 2009 Skal International Ecotourism Award in the Tour Operator and Travel Agent category. The award was presented to Frontiers North Adventures November 2 at the Opening Ceremony of the 70th Skal World Congress held in Budapest, Hungary. Skal International is the largest organization of travel and tourism professionals in the world, with locations in 90 countries and over 20,000 members. As the winner of this year’s award, Frontiers North Adventures demonstrated excellence in contributing to the conservation of nature and cultural heritage conservation, community involvement and benefits, educational features, business viability and innovation with their adventures in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Owners and operators of the Tundra Buggy® Adventure, Frontiers North Adventures currently offers wildlife-viewing programs in Manitoba, Nunavut, and British Columbia, the most popular adventure being to experience Polar Bears in Churchill. The company has formed local partnerships with the Manitoba Metis Federation and Way of the North discussions with First Nations Elder’s from the Churchill community, and takes part in global education and conservation awareness partnerships with organizations like Polar Bears International. Frontiers North Adventures, • Travel World News


Celebrity wildlife advocate Jack Hanna, popularly known as “Jungle Jack,” was in Malaysia recently with crew to shoot the country’s amazing animal kingdom for his award-winning series ‘Into the Wild.’ Invited exclusively by Tourism Malaysia, Hanna told Malaysian reporters that Malaysia’s great apes and elephants have always fascinated him and that this was the first time he was doing a show on orangutans and pygmy elephants. “We are really glad that Tourism Malaysia kindly brought us here which is not only good for us, but good for the country too,” said Hanna who has been hosting educational animal shows for the past 43 years. “I have always wanted to come to Malaysia, but my tight schedule around the world delayed me. I am really excited to be here in Borneo,” he added. Hanna, 62, who’s also Director Emeritus of Ohio’s Columbus Zoo, said his main objective of filming animals is to educate and encourage his audience to venture to the vast regions of the globe where his show travels. “Our show is about people, culture and animals,” said Hanna whose series’ reach 98 per cent of U.S. television viewers. Tourism Malaysia,

GLOBAL ENCOUNTERS’ EXPLORE BEYOND EXPEDITION SLATED TO HISTORIC ANDEAN CRASH SITE Details of the 2010 Alive expedition, an Andes mountain adventure based on the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 and the survivors’ story, have been released by tour organizer Global Encounters through their luxury adventure travel unit, Explore Beyond. Set for March 13–21, 2010, the trip makes a moderately demanding trek through the Argentinean Andes Mountains to El Valle de las Lagrimas (The Valley of Tears), the site of the crash. The expedition also provides the opportunity for participants to interact with some who survived the 72-day post-crash ordeal. During different stages, survivors Gustavo Zerbino and Eduardo Strauch will guide the group through the majestic and mysterious Andean landscapes and share the life-changing experiences they encountered in their attempt to endure after their plane went down Travel World News •

in 1972. A group of up to sixteen will relive their adventure, considered one of the most incredible and heroic feats of survival in recent history. Despite the incredibly difficult conditions that the crash survivors endured for over two months, the Alive expedition is considered ‘moderate’ and should be well within the capabilities of any traveler with average fitness levels or above. Additionally, because March is the best month weather-wise for traveling this area and that the crash survivors were, unbeknownst to them at the time, not trapped as far from the confines of civilization as they believed, the expedition is easily accessible. “The sense of adrenaline and the connection with life that I felt in those mountains has never left me. Going back there is like being recharged and reconnected with a cosmic energy, with those mountains that are alive,” said Gustavo Zerbino Stajano, one of the survivors who will join the expedition in Mendoza where he will discuss his experiences and field questions. Eduardo Strauch will join the expedition in Argentina, mainly during the physical portions of the nine-day adventure. Explore Beyond,,

TWIN GLOBAL TRAVEL MANAGEMENT COMPANY LAUNCHES E-CAMPAIGN PROMOTING NICHE ALLIANCE PROGRAM The TWIN (TRAVELSAVERS Worldwide Independent Network) global travel management company has launched an e-campaign promoting its TWIN Niche Alliance program. The online marketing effort will run through the first quarter of 2010. The weekly e-campaign alerts TRAVELSAVERS agencies to the travel niche specialties of TWIN members in both the leisure and corporate arenas. TRAVELSAVERS agencies can then leverage this global network and create alliances with the TWIN agencies. The objective of the program is to help TRAVELSAVERS agencies build their businesses through these partnerships by increasing sales and service to their international clients. Some examples of the niche specialties offered are: motorcycle tours (in the U.S., South America and Europe), educational tours of the Holy Land, weddings/honeymoons in the Dominican Republic, Carnivale (in Rio de Janiero, Venice and Tenerife), executive adventure retreats, jet charter service, employee vacation service, outsourcing for agencies, and travel management services. TWIN members also provide in-bound travel services, including: destination expertise, local language support, VIP assistance, meeting venues, and cultural nuances and etiquette. They function as on-the-ground extensions of the TRAVELSAVERS agencies in such key travel regions as: Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, the Middle East, India, Asia, Canada and the U.S. TRAVELSAVERS agencies can access a directory of the TWIN Niche Alliance Program on their Agent Extranet. TWIN (TRAVELSAVERS Worldwide Independent Network),, DECEMBER 2009 •


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December 2009 Edition  

Travel World News, December 2009 Edition

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