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JUNE 2009

The Magazine for DestinationTravel Specialists

ITALY Emilia Romagna Someplace Completely Different

Broadening the

Dominican Republic


DATE 2009


JUNE 2009 executive office

28 Knight Street Norwalk, CT 06851-4707 Voice: 203.286.6679 • Fax: 203.286.6681 i n t e r n e t

w e b s i t e

INDUSTRY EVENTS Yucatan’s Riviera Maya to Host World Travel Awards









Charles Gatt, Jr. editor

Jennifer M. Lane

EUROPE Italy to U.S.: And Now...for Someplace Completely Different




design production manager

Linda Rogers Maria Rebello, Accounting Manager Shawn Hebert, IT Manager Cindy Johnson, Circulation Manager Carol A. Petro, Design Consultant dive editor

Lorry Heverly cruise editor

CARIBBEAN DATE 2009: Broadening the Dominican Republic Vacation Experience


Majestic Elegance: A Luxury Resort at a Middle Class Price


The Diversity of Sandos Hotels & Resorts


Michael Iachetta southeast regional correspondent

Joan Gonzalez western regional correspondent

Connie Skoog south america correspondent

Mark Zussman contributing editors

Jacquie Balaschak • Andrew Bill • Mona Birch Jerry W. Bird • Ann Charles • Gail P. Dubov George Hairston • Al Haut • Marjorie Klein Nancy Marcantonio • Anita Mason D.O. Christian Rieger • Knox Robinson • Mary Ellen Schultz Robin Swados • Helen Kitti Smith • 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.

LATIN AMERICA South America Direct – Peru


Cartagena de Indias


Body Mind Spirit Offers “Buy One Tour to Peru – Get the Second Tour Free”


Acapulco Tourism Returns to Normalcy




Recreational Divers: Affluent Travel Customers


Cayman Marketplace


Spectacular Christening for MS Amalyra



Yucatan’s Riviera Maya To Host World Travel Awards South of the border in Mexico for the first time, prestigious event to take place in lovely ecotourism hotspot, Hacienda Tres Ríos.


he World Travel Awards, the most prestigious and coveted awards in the world program of the travel and tourism industry, will be awarded, for the first time in their 16-year history, in Mexico, with the Hacienda Tres Ríos, an innovative, exclusive and private ecotourism resort in the Riviera Maya, acting as the venue for this gala ceremony, to be held on September 21 of this year. In the setting of the 34th Edition of the Tianguis Turístico in Acapulco, the CEO of Hacienda Tres Ríos, Orlando Arroyo Marroquín, announced that this grand event, considered to be the “Oscars of the travel and tourism industry,” will be an excellent showcase for promoting the natural attractions, cultural wealth and security offered, not only by the Yucatan Peninsula, but also all of Mexico. “It is a sign of confidence in our country that we have been chosen as the host nation. It is an example of the recognition that exists for Mexico’s leadership in the world of tourism, in spite of the difficult combination of circumstances that we are facing,” pointed out the Mexican businessman, who, with more than 30 years in the tourism industry, is recognized as one of the most important promoters of the Cancun project. Within six months of its opening, the Hacienda Tres Ríos, a resort with 273 rooms built with an investment of 60 million dollars in a natural park covering 132 hectares in the Riviera Maya, has become a model for sustainable tourism developments, recognized by the Mexican government, through the Environment and Natural Resources Department (SEMARNAT). It has been certified as an ecological hotel by the Green Globe international organism, was accepted as an honorary member of the World Heritage Alliance of the United Nations and maintains a program of cooperation with the Rainforest Alliance for good environmental practices.This exclusive hotel development has also been invited to share its experiences in the field of sustainability and environmental protection in different international fairs, thanks to its careful planning and construction, completely respecting the environment and the efficient use of water and energy resources, without losing the low density and high quality it possesses thanks to its location between the beach and jungle. The World Travel Awards gala ceremony will bring together the airlines, hotel operators, tourism offices, marketing campaigns and members of the media who won by obtaining the most votes awarded by 167,000 travel agencies, tour operators and tourism companies from 164 countries

Travel World News •

Hacienda Tres Ríos, an innovative, exclusive and private ecotourism resort in the Riviera Maya.

around the world. This ceremony is due to take place in place in Mexico thanks to the actions taken by Yucatan Holidays, a Mexican travel company based in England to promote the archaeological zones and the top-quality hotels on offer in Yucatan and Quintana Roo, especially the old haciendas of the region that have been converted into wonderful luxury hotels. Yucatan Holidays has sponsored Sustainable Tourism Day at the World Travel Market in London and the Cannes Festival, as well as writing a thesis on how to build a green hotel for the Tourism Fair of Spain, and gave a presentation on the successful sustainable development of Hacienda Tres Ríos in Berlin. Prior to the grand ceremony to be held in Hacienda Tres Ríos, in which the best of the travel and tourism industry of North and Central America will be recognized, there will be a gala dinner September 19 in Mérida, Yucatan. Created in 1993 to recognize excellence in the travel and tourism industry and promote world-class competition, the World Travel Awards have been awarding these prizes for the last fifteen years throughout the five continents, and for its XVI edition this year it will hold regional awards ceremonies in places like Dubai (Middle East), Durban (Africa), Singapore (Asia and Oceania), Riviera Maya (North and Central America), Rio de Janeiro (South America), Obidos (Europe), and Jamaica (Caribbean). Mexico has been selected as the country where half the American continent will be eligible to receive prizes, with a June 26 deadline for releasing nominations for this year’s event.

World Travel Awards,; Hacienda Tres Ríos,; Yucatan Holidays, JUNE 2009 •



Against the backdrop of world economic crisis many analysts predict a drop in overall consumer demand and, first and foremost, a drop in demand for traveling. However, the results of MITT 2009 clearly reveal a strong message and positive outlook. For 16 years the Moscow International Travel & Tourism show has launched the spring-summer tourist season in Russia. Held March 18-21, it occupied nearly all the space of Expocenter Krasnaya Presnya and represented all aspects of the travel and hospitality industry. This year, Dubai was Partner Destination for the show. Russia has been posting significant year-on-year growth in the number of tourists to the Emirate; between January and September 2008 Russia, CIS and Baltics sent almost 319,000 tourists to Dubai. MITT aims to attract industry professionals by offering opportunities to learn something new. At the opening press conference Alexander IDRISOV, the Founder and Managing Partner of Strategy Partners consulting company called the event “a generator of ideas.” Prior to the crisis, the Russian tourism market was regarded as one of the fastest-growing markets of the world; in 2008 developent was still steady, with total turnover (in billions of Rubles) growing by 32.8 percent, inbound tourist numbers surging by 67 thousand people, and the number of outbound tourists a spectacular jump of three million. International Tourism Trade Fairs Association (ITTFA),,; MITT (Moscow International Travel & Tourism),

NTA ANNOUNCES NEW CUSTOMIZD CONVENTION FORMAT TO HELP MEMBERS WORK SMARTER NTA has a new format for delegates to help customize their Convention experience affordably. Adapting the signature Tour & Travel Exchange model, it will be introduced at the 2009 NTA Annual Convention in Reno, Nevada, November 14-18. The new format will enable operators to meet with NTA partners 4 • JUNE 2009

that align best with their product development needs, while still having time to attend seminars and sightseeing tours. The schedule will include the following: Saturday, the first Convention day, will be filled with operatorspecific education, the Buyer-to-Buyer session where operators can partner with each other and a full schedule of sightseeing tours. Sunday, an enhanced Destination Pavilion will allow operators 10-minute prescheduled appointments with DMOs in individual stations arranged by region. On Monday, operators will have time to shop the destination area with DMOs and their supplier partners with no prescheduled appointments, to find new product ideas and meet with more potential partners. Also featured Monday will be a new Fast Pitch session: five-minute prescheduled appointments with operator and supplier partners. Tuesday and Wednesday, the format will be the traditional Tour & Travel Exchange with tour operators having 10-minute prescheduled appointments with tour suppliers. NTA will continue to offer its signature open business floor throughout the Convention for added appointments. NTA and its Reno hotel partners are offering hotel rates as low as $54 per night for tour operators and $58 for tour suppliers and DMOs. An Early Bird rate is offered to tour suppliers and DMOs in addition to tour operators. “This Convention format is streamlined, affordable and effective,” said NTA Chairman and CEO Michele Michalewicz, CTP. “Members can get business done in fewer days out of the office if they chose, while making a sound investment in their business development needs. That’s what I call working smarter. In addition, tour operators will appreciate the ability to shop destinations by region, resulting in more business for all sellers at the Convention.” The 2009 NTA Convention will be held in conjunction with the World Religious Travel Association’s World Religious Travel Expo, adding access to hundreds of buyers and sellers of faithbased product. National Tour Association (NTA),

AMERICAS REAL ESTATE EXPO WILL COINCIDE WITH BTC For the first time ever, the Caribbean Tourist Exchange Expo XIII (BTC) and the Americas Real Estate Expo III will be held at the same venue during the same dates—Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, July 1–3 this year. This is an opportunity to meet 300 to 400 real estate agents and 700 to 800 travel agents along with more than 5,000 travel consumers. AREExpo II is sponsored by the National Association of Realtors. BTC’s sponsors are Royal Caribbean Cruises, the Dominican Republic Tourist Board, ITB-Berlin, Anato–Colombia, Expotur–Costa Rica, Vitrina Turistica de Occidente–Venezuela, and FITE–Ecuador. Americas Real Estate Expo, • Travel World News

INDUSTRY EVENTS RUSSIAN MICE SECTOR SHOWS RESILIENCE TO CURRENT ECONOMIC SITUATION The Moscow International MICE Forum, with 103 International MICE suppliers covering 49 countries, attracted a record number of participants and registered visitors. A carefully targeted ad campaign ensured a good flow of qualified professionals with a total of 1,013 unique visitors attending the event. Held in the T-Module Exhibition Hall in central Moscow, the Moscow International MICE Forum is a highly professional platform for International MICE specialists to meet with Russian buyers. “After the success of the 2008 MICE Forum, we were eager to attend MICE Forum 2009 which was equally as successful for our hotel. The Forum gave us a platform to conduct in-depth meetings with potential clients and all the pre-booked appointments arrived on the day albeit at different times,”commented Howard Hartley, Senior Sales Manager of Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel. “We participated in MICE Forum for the fourth time and are one of “the oldest” participants. I consider the event as a landmark on the Russian market. Compared to other events organized within the travel trade in Russia, the MICE Forum is the most product-oriented in terms of MICE business. The quality of buyers is very good and selected by the organizers that allows exhibitors to be focused on quality, not quantity.” —Julia Lyubchenko, Kuoni Destination Management, Moscow Sales office. “The Moscow International MICE Forum provided me with an excellent platform to present myself and Diethelm Events’ products and services, meet current and prospective customers and fly the flag for Thailand’s MICE industry. The event was well-planned, promoted and executed and we at Diethelm Events shall certainly be supporting MICE Forum next year and recommending the event to our business partners here in Thailand. We came away from the show having secured deals valued at Travel World News •

over $ 2 million. We’ll be back.” —Max Jantasuwan, Assistant Director of Events, Diethlem Events “The Mice Forum–Moscow is one of the very few specialist MICE events in the Russian market. Our clients found it much more useful than participation in more general exhibitions; I would be glad to recommend this exhibition to any company which is serious about the meetings business in Russia.” —Helen Lloyd, Director, TMI Consultancy, Russia. The Moscow International MICE Forum is held annually. The next event will be March 16, 2010. Moscow International MICE Forum,

ITTFA ELECTS NEW COMMITTEE FOR 2009-2010 The International Tourism Trade Fairs Association (ITTFA) recently elected a new executive committee to lead the Association through the coming year. Tom Nutley, Chairman and founder, commented, “All appointments were aimed at strengthening the central administration of ITTFA and providing a firm base for the continued growth of the association across cultural and international boundaries.” ITTFA is dedicated to the continual development of the travel trade show industry, increasing participation and setting high standards across Europe and worldwide. Recent changes to entry requirements and the annual fee structure mean that membership is more accessible to smaller and developing shows, as well as more established ones. Johan F Lundberg, Exhibition Manager of TUR, was re-elected as President of ITTFA. Nutley commented on the appointments, “TUR has been a longstanding member of ITTFA and we are confident that Johan’s knowledge of the association coupled with his experience and enthusiasm within both the travel and tourism and exhibition industries will steer the association through another successful year.” Mr. Lundberg said, “I am delighted to take on this prestigious role and look for-

ward to a successful year ahead. We are continuing to broaden our membership base, particularly in the area of support and guidance for new and upcoming shows in less established markets and I personally look forward to welcoming members from all corners of the tourism exhibition world.” Antonio Dell Aquilano, Exhibition & Event Manager of TTG Italia Spa, elected Vice President, commented, “I am looking forward to my new role in ITTFA and hope that I can contribute to the development of the Association by bringing fresh perspectives and enthusiasm. It will be an ideal opportunity to learn from other members as well as working in partnership with them towards making the industry even better for all our customers.” Zeljka Tomljenovic, Events and Sales Manager ITE Travel Exhibitions, will take on the role of Treasurer. International Tourism Trade Fairs Association (ITTFA),,

ARTA 100% Travel Agents. We’re proud to say that ARTA does not accept airlines or other suppliers as members. We work ONLY for agents! Sign up for our

FREE 30-day trial membership: JUNE 2009 •





JULY July 1-4 BTC 2009 29-31 DMAI Annual Convention SEPTEMBER 8-10 CIBTM 9-11 La Cumbre 22-24 Leisure - Otdykh 22-25 Top Resa 23-25 Travelmart Latin America 28-29 MITM Euromed 29-Oct 1 The Motivation Show 2009 OCTOBER 6-8 Intl. Ukraine Travel Market 8-9 Home Based Travel Agent Show 10-11 Adventures in Travel Expo 14-16 CIS Travel Market 16-18 TTG Incontri 25-30 ADHT 2009 20-22 Adventure Travel World Summit 21-23 Discover American Pavilion at ABAV 2009 21-23 Discover American Pavilion at ITB Asia 2009 25-30 ADHT Conference 29 - Nov 1 Philoxenia NOVEMBER 3-5 BTC 2009 7-11 ICCA Exhibition 9-12 WTM 9-12 Discover American Pavilion at WTM 2009 14-16 WRTA Expo 2009 14-18 NTA Annual Convention 16-19 IGTM 2009 19-20 MITM Americas 19-22 Discover American Pavilion at CITM 2009 20-24 UFTAA Congress 21-24 Travel Counsellors Conference DECEMBER 1-3 EIBTM 2009 1-3 Discover American Pavilion at EIBTM 2009 5-6 Adventure in Travel Expo JANUARY 2010 12-17 Vakantiebeurs 20-24 BTL 21-24 MATKA 21-24 Moroccan Travel Market 21-24 Slovakiatour 21-24 Tourism & Leisure Show 27-31 Discover American Pavilion at FITUR 2010 FEBRUARY 4-7 Holiday World 7-14 Discover American Pavilion at OTM 2010 11-14 EMITT 18-21 Discover American Pavilion at Bit 2010 24-28 IFT TO LIST YOUR EVENTS EMAIL :

6 • JUNE 2009 •


Santo Domingo, DR Atlanta, GA

Beijing, China San Juan, Puerto Rico Moscow, Russia Paris, France Pantagonia, Chile Oviedo, Spain Chicago, IL

Kiev, Ukraine Atlantic City, NJ New York City, NY St. Petersburg, Russia Milano, Italy Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania Quebec, Canada Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Singapore Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Thessaloniki, Greece

Rome, Italy Florence, Italy London, England London, United Kingdom Reno, NV Reno, NV Malaga, Spain Havana, Cuba KunMing, China Kathmandou, Nepal Marbella, Spain

Barcelona, Spain Barcelona, Spain Seattle, WA

The Netherlands Lisbon, Portugal Helsinki, Finland Marrakech, Morocco Bratislava, Slovak Republic Ljubljana, Slovenia Madrid, Spain

Czech Republic Mumbai/New Delhi, India Istanbul, Turkey Milan, Italy Belgrade, Serbia


INDUSTRY NEWS VISITBRITAIN ANNOUNCES SANDIE DAWE AS NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER VisitBritain, the national tourist office for England, Scotland and Wales, has announced the appointment of Sandie Dawe as Chief Executive Officer. In 2008, Dawe was honored by Queen Elizabeth II with The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her services to tourism. She previously served as Deputy Chief Executive of VisitBritain. Christopher Rodrigues, Chairman of VisitBritain said, “The Nomination Committee interviewed a number of skilled candidates and was unanimous in its view that Sandie has the best combination of knowledge, experience, insight, creativity and leadership skills to do the job. More importantly, her skills are combined with a passion for promoting Britain and its nations and regions which the Board regards as an essential quality in the VisitBritain CEO.” Dawe joined the British Tourist Authority from the London Tourist Board in 1991 and since then has held a vaSANDIE DAWE riety of positions in VisitBritain in communications, PR, policy, marketing and strategy. Her early career included working for the Book Marketing Council and the BBC World Service. Christopher Rodrigues will now relinquish his executive duties and revert to the role of Chairman of VisitBritain. VisitBritain,

DEAN SIVLEY NAMED PRESIDENT AND CEO OF TRAVEL GUARD John Noel, Travel Guard’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, has stepped down after 24 years at the helm. Dean Sivley, who most recently served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Orbitz for Business and Alliance Marketing of Orbitz Worldwide, will succeed Noel as President and CEO of Travel Guard. “This is an opportunity for me to join a company that has established an outstanding reputation in the travel industry for incredible service, quality products and impeccable integrity,” Sivley said. “In no way do I feel that I need to replace John Noel; he really is one of the legends in the industry. I look forward to working with the first-class management team that’s in place to build upon the solid foundation that’s been laid and take Travel Guard to even greater heights in the very near future.” Sivley’s responsibilities at Orbitz for Business included driving performance to meet shareholder and business goals and managing day-to-day execution. His extensive travel experience includes serving as Chief Executive DEAN SIVLEY Officer of Atlas Travel Technologies, Vice President of marketing and Chief Information Officer of Rosenbluth International, and Chief Strategy Officer at Neon Systems and VerticalNet Inc. Sivley earned his MBA from Columbia University and his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Travel Guard, 800-826-7791,

ARTA CALLS ON SUPPLIERS TO PAY COMMISSIONS PROMPTLY AND INSURANCE COMPANIES TO INCLUDE CANCEL FOR ANY REASON At ARTA’s Board of Directors meeting at the Hyatt Regency DFW last week, it was agreed that in light of the current economic situations and health issues there should be a change in supplier commission paying and in insurance coverage. Agencies that belong to different consortiums and franchises are required to sell third-party insurance. Most of these insurance companies do not cover a crisis such as the Swine Flu breakout unless an actual case happens to the insured. The ARTA Board requests that the insurance companies look into extending their coverage to ‘cancel for any reason,’ as several already permit. This would alleviate many of the problems that have been experienced in the last two weeks. ARTA Chairman Lynn Hayes, CTC, MCC today called for travel industry suppliers to pay commissions due travel agencies within two weeks of final client payment. “Travel agencies in effect are providing loans to travel suppliers by virtue of commissions not being paid until sometimes months after the supplier has taken in all monies due on the sale,” said Hayes. “It is a sale, a commission is due, and should be promptly paid by the supplier from the final payment funds received”. In light of the reorganization of Happy Tours, agents are encouraged to take steps to insure that the commissions due are protected. Suppliers should not be using commissions due to travel agents as working capital. ARTA will be glad to help member agencies to develop a credit application for suppliers not paying commissions at the time of final payment. ARTA is in the process of compiling a list of suppliers that pay within two weeks of final payment and those that delay beyond that in fulfilling their obligations. Agents wanting to advise of suppliers which in the agent’s experience fall into either category may email ARTA’s Executive Director, Pat Funk. ARTA, 800-969-6069,, Travel World News •

JUNE 2009 •


INDUSTRY NEWS KOR HOTEL MANAGEMENT MAKES MICHAEL LORENZ VP OF SALES, MICHAEL DONEFF VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING Nicholas Clayton, President of Kor Hotel Management, has announced the appointments of Michael Lorenz as Vice President of Sales and Michael Doneff as Vice President of Marketing. Lorenz will supervise all hospitality sales activities and Doneff all marketing and branding activities for the company’s entire portfolio, which includes the Viceroy, Tides and Urban Retreats collections of flagged properties, ongoing new builds and contractmanaged hotels. Responsibilities will also include oversight of e-commerce developments and national sales. Lorenz joins Kor with an extensive career at prestigious firms such as Ritz-Carlton and Hyatt. Most recently he was Vice President of Sales & Marketing for IMI Living, where he managed real estate pre-sales for five IMI luxury Caribbean projects and their sales and marketing budgets and successfully launched their openings as well. Prior to that, he worked with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company for seven years, initially as Director of Sales & Marketing for The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun. He was promoted to Area Director of Sales & Marketing for the MICHAEL LORENZ Caribbean & Mexico, managing the sales team while he oversaw regional revenue management and public relations and marketing and advertising of regional properties. Previously, Lorenz was with Williams Hospitality for six years, starting out as National Sales Manager for El San Juan Hotel & Casino. Here, he was responsible for Mid-Atlantic and Southeast markets and surpassed revenue goals each year of tenure. Promotions followed, first to Associate Director of Sales for El Conquistador Resort & Country Club in Puerto Rico, where he worked both on property and from the Miami sales office. Lorenz cut his teeth as a Sales Manager at Hyatt Regency Atlanta, focusing on local corporate and government markets, and was soon promoted to National Sales Manager for Hyatt Regency Woodfield, where he developed its Midwest corporate market.Originally from Chicago, Lorenz holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Northern Illinois. Doneff joins Kor with broad-based experience in marketing and communications in the high-end lifestyle and hospitality arena, which will serve him well as he oversees branding and marketing for the hotel group’s growing MICHAEL DONEFF collection. Most recently he was Vice President Marketing for SBE in Los Angeles, where he orchestrated the successful launches and marketing for acclaimed restaurants such as Katsuya and XIV by Michael Mina, nightclubs including Hyde Lounge and Foxtail, and the recently-opened SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. At SBE, he oversaw the company’s marketing and communications initiatives. Previously, Doneff spent 14 years as Executive Vice President of Susan Magrino Agency in New York. As co-founder of the respected public relations, marketing and event firm, Doneff was integral to the agency’s management and strategic growth while spearheading brand development services and communications campaigns for prestigious clients. Doneff has long been involved in marketing and communications for top-flight hospitality and lifestyle brands including The Peninsula Hotels, Sandy Lane, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Island Outpost, chefs Alain Ducasse and Charlie Trotter, the 2006 Michelin Guide to New York City, Dom Pérignon, Red Envelope, W Magazine, and books by Dominick Dunne, John Pawson and Albert Watson. Along the way he has produced several gala opening events and has been behind many successful strategic partnerships. Kor Hotel Management,

GOWAY OFFERS REFINED ESCORTED EXPERIENCES Goway Travel is redefining escorted tours under their “Holidays of a Lifetime” signature range of vacations. The leading North American travel company designates just six experiences to Africa, Asia and the South Pacific under the “Holidays of a Lifetime” trademark theme. “We feel justified in using this expression; it sets the bar high enough for us to ensure we deliver what this promises,” says Goway’s President Bruce Hodge. “We have value-added experiences built in which make the difference between a regular escorted tour and the exceptional experience.” Examples of exclusive elements include “Fun Themes” designated on specific departures—Animal and Plant Life, Food and Wine, Geography and History, Lifestyles and Native Culture. All travelers receive a quality “Travel Companion” booklet with a wealth of destination information and a souvenir group photograph at the end of the tour. Goway also offers a benefit for single travelers: Goway will match them with someone of the same sex avoiding the single-room supplement. If this option is taken up and there is no one else wishing to share, a single room is provided at no additional cost. Goway has tours ranging in length from the 10-day “Best of New Zealand” to the 22-day “Waltzing Matilda” featuring Australia and New Zealand in depth. Their flagship tour to Africa is the 20-day “Magic of Africa” featuring South Africa, Botswana and Victoria Falls. The 16-day “Splendours of China” and the 17-day “Splendours of India” represent the best of Asia. More information on Goway’s “Holidays of a Lifetime” is available in the South Pacific, Africa or Asia travel planners which can be requested by telephone or online. Goway, 800-387-8850,, 8 • JUNE 2009 • Travel World News



The Fazendin Portfolio is offering a fastpaced Botswana Travel Trade Educational Trip to be presented by Footsteps in Africa, July 22–29. Footsteps in Africa offers agents and tour operators an efficient point of contact for booking the safari circuit. With sustainability and the “green” global trend, tourists are increasingly on the lookout for areas with more unspoiled wilderness and less mass tourism—features that aptly describes Botswana. The itinerary includes stops at Johannesburg the first day, then consecutively Delta Camp, Santawani Lodge, Meno a Kwena, Xakanaxa Fly Camp, Mapula Lodge, with the last day morning game drive and then a bush flight in time to connect with the flight from Maun to Johannesburg. The per-person price is $1,100 (sharedroom basis; subject to change due to availability of flights), excluding drinks, items of a personal nature, medical and travel insurance, gratuities. Scheduling is based on international flights (not included), assuming connection through JNB or continuing on from Explore Gorongosa FAM. To reserve space on the educational trip, a check payable to The Fazendin Portfolio for $500 should be mailed to them at P.O Box 5666, Denver CO 80217. The Fazendin Portfolio,,

FLO USA has set a fam trip to Ancient Greece for November 3–10, 2009, priced at just $1,299, with a companion’s price of $1,699 (single supplement $325). This includes arrival and departure transfers; first-class hotel accommodations; meals as described in the itinerary; all meetings, assistance, porterage, entrance fees, and touring; English-speaking guide; deluxe motor coach; FLO-USA personalized services throughout, along with FLO USA Travel Protection Plan and travel documents kit. Exclusions are: international flights, drinks with meals, tour guide and driver tips, and personal expenses. Required documents are a completed reservation form, copy of IATAN list or CLIA certificate, copy of valid IATA/CLIA ID card, copy of passport, and payment check or credit card form. FLO USA grants agent commissions of 12 percent for bookings up to $50K; 13 percent, $50K–$75K; 14 percent, $75K–$100K; 15 percent, $100K to $125K; and 16 percent for $150K and over. Commissions apply to land-only prices of scheduled tours booked at published rate, and not third-party costs like airline tickets, airport taxes, fuel surcharges, etc. Commissions can be priced, booked and tracked online via FLO USA’s agent website. FLO USA, 888-435-6872,,


Manhattan Helicopters is offering a New York special to travel agents priced at $150 per person all year round for overflight fam trips. The special price includes heliport fees. A companion is granted the same price promotion.A reservation is required (subject to availability); an IATAN card must be presented before the overflight. Manhattan Helicopters, 877-292-7554,

agent rate is available until December 19, 2009 and is valid for a maximum five-night stay, with a maximum of two persons per reservation. Certain restrictions and blackout dates apply. Travel agents must give their ASTA, NACTA, IATAN or CLIA number when making the reservation and present their card at the front desk upon checkin. For reservations, travel agents must call the hotel directly at 649-946-5199 and request the 10th Anniversary $10 Travel Agent Rate. One of the original properties on the island of Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos, The Sands at Grace Bay has recently undergone a massive renovation. The hotel is situated on the world-renowned 12mile crescent of powdery white sand known as Grace Bay Beach. The family-friendly 112-room resort on six oceanfront acres offers accommodations in studios and 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom suites ranging from 1,000 to 1,600 square feet. The Sands at Grace Bay,

NEW YORK Reefs to Rockies is sponsoring a fam trip to Costa Rica for August 3–8, 2009 at a cost of $495 per agent and $625 companion rate. A deposit of $250 deposit is required to reserve space. The quoted price does not include international airfare, alcoholic beverages, passport/visa fees, travel insurance, items of a personal nature, exit taxes, or gratuities for the guide and driver. Costa Rica is a world leader in conservation and ecotourism. Reefs to Rockies,, Travel World News •

TURKS & CAICOS The Sands at Grace Bay has announced the celebration of its 10th Anniversary with a special rate of $10 per night for travel agents! The 10th Anniversary $10 travel JUNE 2009 •


FAM TRIPS MEXICO Hotel Flamingo, a boutique hotel located in downtown Cozumel is offering travel agents and their companion a FAM rate of 50 percent off published room rates for travel until November 20, 2009. Full breakfast each morning is included in the FAM rate along with 50 percent off a trip to explore the Mayan Ruin, Chichecn Itaza. A 12-percent nightly room tax and gratuities are not included. Hotel Flamingo, 800-806-1601,,

Hacienda Tres Ríos, Riviera Maya, Mexico, is currently offering special fares for travel agents to familiarize themselves with their property. The luxury resort offers $100 ppdo, allinclusive during May, June, September and October and $150 during July and August. Hacienda Tres Ríos is a luxury Caribbean resort 45 minutes south of Cancún’s International Airport. Here México’s present joins its past and Mexican and Mayan traditions converge to create truly unique experiences. This year in September, Hacienda Tres Ríos will host the 2009 World Travel Awards North and Central America ceremony. The resort, spa and nature park is Green Globe certified. Hacienda Tres Rios,

The Inn at Loreto Bay in Baja Sur, Mexico, is currently offering special fares for travel agents’ visits to familiarize themselves with the property. A rate of $52 plus tax has been activated for the remainder of 2009 (Dec 22–Jan 4 blackout). Loreto Bay is an untouched natural paradise nestled between the rugged Sierra de la Giganta mountains and the secluded shores of the Sea of Cortez. Spectacular fishing and diving is available in the clear waters of Baja, inhabited by over 880 species of reef-dwelling and migratory fish. There’s much to explore on the surrounding 10 • JUNE 2009

islands, and also fascinating historic culture in the town of Loreto, established in 1697 as Baja California’s first settlement. The Inn at Loreto Bay, 877-522-9466,

The NH Krystal Hotels in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Ixtapa have established a special rate for travel agents to familiarize them with their stunning hotels in Mexico. A rate of just $59 is granted for both the European Plan—per single/double room per night plus taxes; and All-Inclusive, per person per night. The NH Riviera Cancun offers a rate of $75 ppdo for the AllInclusive Plan. These rates are valid until December 21, 2009. Agents must present their IATA card. NH Krystal Cancún,; NH Krystal Ixtapa,; NH Krystal Puerto Vallarta,; NH Riviera Cancun,

while it’s just minutes from the vibrant culture of Cancun and the world famous Mayan archaeological sites such as Tulúm, Cobá, and Chichen Itzá. Special rates are offered to travel agents: $65 for travel until June 30, and $70 from July 1 through December 22, 2009. These rates are on request and upon availability. Valentin Imperial Maya, 800-232-8316,,

Special travel agent rates are offered to bring agents to Sandos to experience the luxurious offerings presented to clients by the deluxe chain. Sandos Hotels and Resorts’ 2009 rates for agents have been established from $45 per person per day. This is a remarkable value that allows agents to enjoy the spacious Sandos facilities with their remarkable amenities, coupled with the charm of a Mexican coastal vacation in a setting of stunning natural resources. Sandos Hotels & Resorts, 866-856-1925,

MEXICO/DR Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico, is offering a special price to travel agents so that they may familiarize themselves with the accommodations and amenities of the luxurious property. A super deal of $216 per person per night is offered to agents to visit their spectacular new resort on the Riviera Maya. The offer is extended also to agents wishing to stay at any of the other three Grand Velas sister properties in Mexico: Casa Velas or Velas Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, and Grand Velas in Nuevo Vallarta. Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort,

Valentin Imperial Maya sits on a halfmile-long stretch of white sand beach of Playa Del Secreto (The Secret Beach) in the Riviera Maya. This all-inclusive, adultsonly resort gives direct access to the beach,

The Royal Suites by Palladium, the exclusive, adults-only resorts created by the Palladium Hotels & Resorts brand, recently inaugurated 232 ultra-luxurious rooms at The Royal Suites Turquesa in Punta Cana. The spacious, fully-equipped rooms boast “pass-thru” windows for room service, while Cabana Suites feature “Sexy Lights” and showers with telephone, music and sauna. The ground floor “Swim-Up Rooms” provide direct access to the pool that features built-in Jacuzzis. The Royal Suites by Palladium, with locations in the Mayan Riviera, Riviera Nayarit and Punta Cana, all boast butler service, gourmet restaurant, top-shelf beverages, private pool and beach with waiter service to sun beds, pillow menus, personalized check-in and check-out and more for the most discerning travelers. Special travel agent rates start at $70. The Royal Suites by Palladium, • Travel World News


Italy to U.S.: And Now…for Someplace Completely Different Emilia-Romagna Region offers a visually stunning, delectable, and thrifty alternative to the tried and true. R O B I N S WA D O S

The Heart of Emilia Romagna A three-hour drive from Milan’s Malpensa Airport brings the American visitor to the epicenter of Emilia Romagna: Bologna, a city of about 350,000. Lively, bustling, noisy, visually sumptuous, Bologna is possessed of an urban grittiness that only adds to its charm, the majority of its streets containing covered sidewalks, some on one side of the street, some on both, resulting in a hot/cool, light/dark interplay of sun and shadows, and adding mystery and romance to a city that, among so many other distinctions, is home to the oldest university in the Western world, Alma Mater Studiorum, founded in 1088. Behind Bologna’s red-tiled porticos and dark entrances are lush, hidden gardens. Enormous buildings and wide city streets give way to ancient, utterly unexpected waterways and canals—practically hidden from view, and as romantic as any found in Venice. And in a country famed for the superiority of its cuisine—honestly, is there anyone, anywhere, who doesn’t love Italian food?—Bologna has the singular distinction, by common consensus, of being home to some of Italy’s greatest food (now, that’s saying something). Moreover, Bologna has a special offering for those in search of not only a fine meal but an unusual one: Home Food (; This organization arranges a home-cooked meal that takes place in the home of a local citizen who just happens to be an exceptionally fine cook, guaranteeing a dining experience as memorable as any fine restaurant to be found in the city. A more traditional—but equally delectable—dining destination can Travel World News •



f travel agents or their clients sometimes perceive a number of Italy’s most famed cities—Rome, Florence, Venice—as suffering from “tourist fatigue,” let the record show that this country, for centuries a beloved tourist destination, is also home to other, less visible and relatively unexplored regions. One of the least well-known and most beautiful is Emilia Romagna, located in the north-central section of the country. Not only does this region rival the beauty, history, lush visuals, and superb cuisine of its betterknown counterparts elsewhere in the country, it also provides a perfect gateway to a dozen or so of Italy’s most ravishing cities, all intimate in scale, easily navigated on foot—sometimes in a matter of hours—and possessed of an easy charm, warmth and hospitality that will leave its visitors floating on air long after their sojourn in Italy has come to an end.

The enchanted hills overlooking Urbino.

be found at the Ristorante Donatello (via dell’Indipendenza), run by the Fanciullacci family for nearly a century with a mix of old-world glamour, down-home warmth, and superb cuisine. For those into fine wine, a visit to the Enoteca Regionale dell’Emilia Romagna, located in the medieval castle of Dozza, offers a beautiful subterranean tour of the region’s official wine cellar as well as a delicious, and slightly dizzying, tasting of the region’s many fine wines. As for lodging in Bologna, an excellent mid-range choice is the Aemilia, a contemporary, 124-room hotel featuring two terraces overlooking the city, a solarium, a fitness center, a restaurant and wine bar, and a conference center capable of holding up to 200 people. Aemilia Hotel, via Zaccherini Alvisi 16;; Bologna’s tourist bureau offers easily navigated half-day walking tours of the city. Bologna’s central square, the gorgeous Piazza Maggiore, is a great place to orient oneself to the innumerable directions one might choose in order to become acquainted with the city’s traditional old shops, fountains, palaces, churches, abbeys, and—impossible to miss from almost anywhere—twin towers at the Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, the symbol of the city, which dates back to the 11th century. And yes, if the intrepid traveler wishes to walk the 498 stairs to the top, he can.,

Gateway to the Region’s Cities Tempting though it would be to extol Bologna’s virtues at greater length, the fact is that the city also serves as a perfect CONTINUED ON PAGE


JUNE 2009 •




Moving Toward the Coast Rimini, the most famous seaside resort on the Adriatic 12 • JUNE 2009



point of departure to access dozens of other breathtaking cities located in the region, all no more than an hour or two away by car. Our tour began with a visit to Ravenna, the last stronghold of the Byzantine Empire, better known as the capital of mosaics, and connected by a canal to the Adriatic Sea. The city has the world’s richest and most famous examples of ancient and Early Christian mosaics dating from the 5th and 6th century, all within a few hundred yards of each other. No visit to Ravenna would be complete without a stop at the Domus of the Stone Carpets, accessible through the 18thcentury church of Sant-Eufemia. A stunningly designed modern room, located some 10 feet below street level, showcases 14 mosaic floors, over which modern, see-through footbridges allow visitors to virtually walk over the floors, restored in their original locations. Ravenna has been declared “a World Heritage” site by UNESCO. Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra, A mere 40 miles from Ravenna brought our tour to Ferrara, a city possessed of a unique mix of medieval and Rennaisance art and architecture, much of which has been added to, refined, and extended throughout the course of its history. From narrow and winding streets to geometrically planned avenues of the Rennaisance, Ferrara offers a virtual narrative tour of history, art and literature, most easily accessed by bicycle—or rather bicycles, by the thousands. Cycling and walking tours of the city’s walls, about six miles in length, are hugely popular. [Biking tours:;] And Ferrara’s Po Delta Park, located at the edge of the Adriatic, is one of the largest natural parks in Italy, open all year, and an ideal destination for ecotourism, educational visits or sporting trips, as well as being a great addition to the attractions of a seaside holiday on the stunning Comacchio Lidi. For anyone who has ever relished the scrumptious flavor of prosciutto di Parma, the city, about an hour and a half from Bologna, not only offers innumerable examples of its worldfamous ham but also recipes for regional delicacies that range from porcini mushrooms to cheeses, truffles (the kind dogs dig for) and local wine. Parma is also an antique collector’s paradise, many of the shops being located in the loveliest parts of the old town center. Last but not least, the city is also home to the magnificent Teatro Regio (first performance: 1829), which has been celebrating the works of the great opera composer Giuseppe Verdi every October since 1913, for an entire month.;; Festival:;

The fountain at the Este Castle in Ferrara.

Riviera, is a lively, hugely hospitable (more than 1,000 hotels), and beautiful town of gorgeous beaches, maze-like streets and alleyways, and dozens of small cafés, bookshops and crafts shops, all interwoven with Roman and Renaissance monuments. Its Augustus Arch is the oldest surviving Roman bridge, and the Tiberius Bridge has survived some 2,000 years of traffic (and two World Wars). The recently opened Surgeon’s House—the most comprehensive finding of ancient surgical tools in history—is a curiosity seeker’s delight, and the Malatesta Temple houses numerous glorious Piero della Francesca paintings. Rimini’s seaside location results in many mouth-watering fish dishes. And lest the visitor to Rimini believe that only traditional fare is to be had, a stop for lunch at the ultra-chic noMi restaurant at the Hotel DuoMo will correct that impression instantaneously. Both the restaurant and the hotel in which it is located are as coolly modernist and adventurously designed as any this reporter has ever seen.

Slightly Off the Beaten Track Two cities not strictly in the Emilia Romagna region—but most assuredly deserving of attention—concluded our tour. One of the most visually splendid sights in all of Italy is arriving in Mantua, since the city, with its Palazzo Ducale reigning supreme over the skyline, is situated on the edge of the Lago (Lake) di Mezzo. Mantua is essential viewing for the visitor to Northern Italy, not only for its architectural grandeur but also for the beauty of its streets, alleys, nature paths, parks and gardens. Its dazzling array of beautiful churches, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and twisting streets all make the necessity of scrutinizing the town map an act of entertainment as much as a labor of love. To label the Palazzo Ducale “huge” would be something of an understatement, since it easily rivals Versailles in stature and grandeur. At 365,000 square feet, it is really a town in the shape of a palace, with lanes, squares, 15 courtyards, gardens (some of them • Travel World News

EUROPE hanging) and 500 well-preserved rooms that house priceless masterpieces by Pisanello and Rubens.;; The spectacular—and spectacularly beautiful—town of Urbino brought our tour to an end. Nestled on a steep, high hillside, Urbino in many ways typifies the quintessential Italian hillside town—a Renaissance masterpiece of design unspoiled by the passage of time, with steep, narrow streets leading uphill to a picture-perfect, panoramic view of the city itself and the alps that surround it. Urbino’s palace of Duke Federico da Montefeltro forms the first image one has of the town—an immense complex spreading out from the core of its towers. But it is everything that surrounds the palace—museums, an ancient Botanical Garden, churches with Gothic portals, a neo-Classical cathedral—that form the essence of the beauty that is Urbino. It is also a seat of learning, its student population far outstripping the rest of the populace, and in the summer, when school is out, Urbino—the rare destination whose population actually decreases in the summer— can be considered an ideal location for either a brief or extended visit by visitors longing to experience Italy in the summer but also wishing to avoid its glut of tourists.

Tenerife tourism officials are thrilled, as it will bring more visitors—some 300,000 Floridians are of Canary Island descent—to explore the beauties of the seven islands in the archipelago. Air Europa flight UX 096 will depart Miami International Airport at 5 pm, arriving in Tenerife the next day at 7:35 am. The return flight, Air Europa UX 095, will depart Tenerife at 1:50 pm, arriving back in Miami the same day at 4:50 pm. Just 62 miles off the African coast in the Atlantic, these volcanic islands offer a year-round temperate climate, a variety of striking landscapes, every water sport imaginable, charming towns and a wealth of dining and nightlife options. The chain’s largest, Tenerife is crowned by the majestic dormant volcano of Mount Teide, Spain’s highest peak at 12,195 feet. Surrounding peaks are carpeted with thick forests. Tenerife has miles of beaches to the south where many of the resort hotels can be found and several unspoiled villages surrounded by vineyards and banana plantations in the green north. And from Tenerife, travelers can continue to Gran Canaria which features one of the archipelago’s most beautiful stretches of beach – some five miles long—or opt for the futuristic landscape of Lanzarote with its hardened lava and dark dunes. The entire island is a UNESCO biosphere reserve and conservation and controlled development make it an attractive vacation choice. Air Europa,

How to Get There


American Airlines recently added Milan to its list of international destinations, according to Nad Reynolds, Manager, Corporate Communications. At AA’s New York offices, Reynolds unveiled a number of innovative features of AA’s newly redesigned cabin in Business Class, highlighted by lieflat seats of which passengers can adjust virtually any component, allowing them to stretch out, lie on their side, or curl up in their favorite position. Should the passenger wish to move about the cabin, the seat control function memorizes the passenger’s favorite position with the touch of a button. AA’s $1.3 billion new terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport adds to the convenience and accessibility of getting to more than 700 destinations in over 140 countries around the world. American Airlines, 800-433-7300,

SWISS has introduced a new business-class seat design for optimum travel comfort, a seat that fully reclines to a lie-flat position. The innovative air cushion allows passengers to adjust the seats to their preferred comfort level—firm, soft or somewhere in between. The new seats also offer SWISS Business Seat Integrated massage functions, USB and iPod sockets, large 16:9-format in-flight entertainment screen, passenger privacy and aisle access. SWISS teamed with Lantal, a Swiss-based company specializing in textile design, manufacturing and distribution, to create the oneof-a-kind air cushion seat design. The new seat is among the lightest options available, about eight pounds lighter than standard cushions. The weight reduction will save the airline a significant amount of fuel per year, eliminating SWISS CO2 emissions by 2,000 tons. SWISS plans to install the new seat on all its long-haul aircraft. Outfitting of the aircraft has begun on the Airbus A330-300s, a new addition to the SWISS fleet, and on the A340s, the largest in the fleet. Cabin interiors will also be updated, completely in tune with the needs and wants of passengers. The first SWISS A330 equipped with the new product took flight between New York (JFK) and Zurich (ZRH) on April 20. By the end of the year, approximately one-third of the long-haul fleet will be equipped with the new seats and design. Outfitting will continue into 2010, with completion by 2011. Within two years, every SWISS long-haul business-class passenger will be flying in premium comfort. Swiss International Air Lines,

Emilia-Romagna Tourist Authority,

AIR EUROPA TO LAUNCH MIAMI-TENERIFE SERVICE TO THE CANARY ISLANDS On June 20, Air Europa will inaugurate weekly service from Miami to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The Spanish-owned airline will offer one weekly flight on Saturdays from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Tenerife’s North Airport, or Tenerife Norte (TFN), aboard a 299-passenger Airbus A330-200 aircraft, with 24 Business Class seats and 275 Economy seats. Travel World News •

JUNE 2009 •



All Aboard Yacht Charters has been providing the ultimate wildlife, natural history and fishing expedition style cruises in Alaska’s inside passage since 1981. Catering to small groups of no more than 10 passengers on scheduled eight-day cruises travelers can experience all Alaska has to offer in an intimate setting where nature has a front-row seat. Whale watching, bear viewing, glacier tours, walking in magical rain forests, fishing and kayaking are just some of the daily activities. The crew includes a USCG licensed captian/naturalist with 30 years’ cruising experience in Alaska, a first mate, gourmet chef and steward. The Classic yacht Discovery has six private staterooms, teak dining, covered fantail lounge and decks for viewing wildlife. There are four sea kayaks, a rowing skiff and 2 Boston whalers for shore excursions and fishing. All Aboard Yacht Charters has permits to Southeast Alaska’s two bear observatories. Over 95 percent of Southeast Alaska is designated wilderness area. Access to Tongass National Forest is limited to groups no larger than 12. All Aboard Yacht Charters has permits that allow shore access to many remote areas with excursions to places like Admiralty Island, “the Fortress of the Bears”— where bears outnumber people. One passenger commented: “In all the traveling I’ve done in all the trips I’ve taken, I don’t think any has affected me the way my trip down the 1,000 miles of the inside passage did. I felt truly alive in the embrace of nature, felt that I was a part of it—that it wasn’t something outside of me, something for me to use, even something for me to protect the way I’d protect a valued possession. It’s never been harder, or seemed more wrong to come home.” [Jim Molanar] All Aboard Yacht Charters, 800-767-1024,

ALASKA WATERS’ TRIBAL ENCOUNTERS A STEAL OF A DEAL Savvy visitors can save over $1,000 per person on an Alaska vacation by taking advantage of touring Wrangell with Alaska Waters, Inc., an Alaska native-owned and operated ecotour company. Little known and largely undiscovered, the community of 14 • JUNE 2009

Wrangell is centrally located in the Tongass National Forest along Alaska’s Inside Passage. The area offers three magnificent natural wonders and an island full of ancient artifacts and native culture. The Stikine (Stik-Heen) River is the largest mainland river bisecting the Coast Mountains. This trans-boundary river connects Southeast Alaska to interior Canada. The corridor is an ancient trading route used by Alaska Natives of the Tlingit nation. The river has over 100 glaciers. Day tours are offered on the lower river and overnight river safaris explore the entire navigable river including a jet boat day tour of Canada’s Grand Canyon of the Stikine. AnAn Bear and Wildlife Observatory is thirty miles south of Wrangell on the mainland’s Cleveland Peninsula. Traditionally a summer fish camp for local natives, the area is host to both black and brown (grizzly) bears that feed on thousands of spawning salmon swimming up AnAn Creek. The beautiful lagoon attracts Harbor seals as well. Bald eagles are everywhere feeding on scraps of fish left by the bears. The observatory offers world-class bear viewing from spacious observation decks overlooking two cascading waterfalls. Wildlife viewing begins once guests are off-loaded onto the beach and start their guided hike on a trail through the forest to the observatory. LeConte Glacier, fjord and bay offer outstanding views of an active, tidewater glacier. Massive cliffs more than a thousand feet high feature waterfalls that cascade down into the seven-milelong fjord. Deep in the fjord and safe from harm, Harbor seals birth and raise their young on the ice flows. White baby seals can be seen basking on icebergs primarily during the month of June. Alaska Waters, Inc. is a national award-winning company, specializing in eco-tours with an emphasis in native culture. Detailed information and videos of their tours can be viewed on the website. Alaska Waters, Inc.,,

BLUE SKY TOURS ADDS ALASKA AIRLINES Blue Sky Tours, one of the travel industry’s leading Hawaii wholesale companies, has announced a net fare agreement with Alaska Airlines. This addition will allow Blue Sky Tours to offer the best prices on the most air carriers, better availability and the best schedules for clients’ Hawaii vacation packages. “We’re excited about the addition of Alaska Airlines to our extensive airline lineup,” said Kevin Wilmore, Vice President and General Manager of Blue Sky Tours. “Alaska Airlines has a strong brand presence, especially on the West Coast and this new relationship will strengthen our product offering in that region and should benefit both companies.” Headquartered in Albuquerque, NM, Blue Sky Tours sells only Hawaii and only to travel agents. Blue Sky Tours, 800-678-2787, • Travel World News


On May 8, in a private ceremony attended by Halekulani executives and staff, honored guests and local luminaries, Halekulani celebrated its 25th anniversary. The magnificent hotel—the “House Befitting Heaven,” as its name translates, Honolulu’s Halekulani has been transformed over the years into what is now an open-air architectural masterpiece. In April this year, Halekulani announced an alliance with Japan’s legendary Imperial Hotel. Both The Imperial and Halekulani share a legacy founded upon indigenous cultural traditions, and continue to maintain the defining standards in gracious hospitality, superlative guest experiences and inspired personal service. Halekulani’s greatest treasure is its caring, gracious and exceptional staff, of which more than 10 percent have been with the property for 25 years or more. Among its many honors, Halekulani was the first hotel in Hawaii to be awarded the prestigious AAA Five Diamond for Lodging, the only hotel in Hawaii to be ranked No. 3 among all other hotels by the Zagat U.S. Hotel Survey, and rated number one in the “Top 10 Hotels Around the World” by Gourmet magazine. Since its inception in 1984, Halekulani has received more than five hundred accolades, awards and honoraria, and is consistently ranked among the world’s finest hotels. Halekulani, 800-367-2343,

LATITUDE 45O NORD PROVIDES THREE NEW REASONS TO EXPLORE CANADA THE BIKE-AND-BOAT WAY Latitude 45o Nord has launched three new Bike & Boat discovery tours in Canada for its 2009 touring season: the Spring in the National Capital Tour, the Canada Day in the National Capital Tour and the Tour of Two Canadas. Popularized on the canals of Europe and launched in North America by Latitude 45o Nord in 2008, the Bike & Boat concept offers active tourists the ultimate no-hassle cycling journey at a competitive price. Travelers looking for a new way to explore Quebec and Ontario’s sights can book any of twenty-one departures of the 2009 season starting May 16. Travel World News •

While the Tour of Two Canadas enables cyclists to explore the paradox of the two Canadian cultures and to discover the magnificent Thousand Islands, the other two impress those who want to discover both Quebec’s metropolis, Montreal, and Canada’s capital, Ottawa. The Spring Tour unveils the country’s beauty after winter; the National Capital Tour provides an opportunity to spend Canada Day in Ottawa and to celebrate by cycling and cruising on the Ottawa and St-Lawrence rivers. The escorted tours consist of seven days/six nights or eight days/seven nights cycling exploration with lodging and meals provided on a cozy passenger ship, the Latitude Amsterdam. Thanks to the Bike & Boat formula, cyclists need to unpack their bags on the ship only once at the beginning of the Tour and do not have to worry about them for the entire duration of the trip. The experience combines a relaxed cycling pace, frequent stops and visits of the unique historical, cultural and natural heritage sites, whether they are hidden gems or internationally recognized attractions. Latitude 45o Nord,

TRAVEL IMPRESSIONS HAS SPECIAL OFFERS FOR RENO AND LAKE TAHOE Travel Impressions is featuring value-added vacation escapes to Nevada with three-night vacation packages to Reno from $85 per person, and seven-night stays in Lake Tahoe from $599 per person. Guests who visit Reno can enjoy the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, while in a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. Fourday/three-night packages include hotel accommodations, roundtrip airport/hotel transfers and hotel tax. Sample rates (ppdo) for participating hotels are as follows: Circus Circus from $85, John Ascuaga’s Nugget from $115, Eldorado Hotel Casino from $119, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa from $125, Harrah’s Reno Casino Hotel from $129, Silver Legacy Resort Casino from $149, Peppermill Resort Spa Casino from $169, and The Tuscany Tower at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino from $315. For additional vacation value, Travel Impressions is also offering seven-night vacation packages to Lake Tahoe from $599 per person, including complimentary Alamo car rental. Eight-day/sevennight packages include hotel accommodations, seven-day Alamo car rental and hotel tax. Sample rates (ppdo) for participating hotels in South Lake Tahoe are as follows: Lake Tahoe Horizon Casino Resort from $599, MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa from $699, Harvey’s Lake Tahoe from $745, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe from $769, and Marriott Grand Residence Club from $875. Adding even more value, two resorts in North Lake Tahoe are offering a seventh night free. Sample rates (ppdo) for participating hotels in North Lake Tahoe are: Resort at Squaw Creek from $959, and Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa & Casino from $1,379. The special rates are valid for travel from June 7 through October 18, 2009. Travel agents earn an additional 1-percent bonus commission when booking Reno or Lake Tahoe travel packages online with Quest for Agents. Travel Impressions, 800-284-0044, JUNE 2009 •



DATE 2009: Broadening the Dominican Republic Vacation Experience Emphasizing highly competitive resorts in a destination maintaining natural beauty and culture. D . O. C H R I S T I A N R I E G E R I V

Competitive Steps Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez, First Lady of the DR, presented the DR’s innovative National Responsible Tourism program at the conference. She asked the tourism industry “to stress quality over quantity.” It is a road that the Dominican Republic has been traveling for the last seven years when it began to seriously court the American tourist. And it has paid off. By having more luxury hotels at affordable prices, the DR’s recent decrease in tourist numbers has not been as serious as in other Caribbean destinations. The First Lady said the DR’s “responsible tourism efforts will continue to incorporate public and private sectors to encourage the country’s growing tourism industry to create and support programs that . . . sustain the DR’s unspoiled natural beauty.” The Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia, said that the Dominican Republic is the “it” destination for natural beauty, amazing eco-tourism and a growing wealth of sophisticated hotels and resorts. He said that the U.S. was its most important source of tourism and the DR is working to improve the relationship by opening nine new tourist offices there. "In a time of crisis, you have two options," he said. "You sit down and cry, or you take firm steps forward. “Life will always have its ups and downs, and those ups and downs compel you to look backward and forward,” says Haydee Kuret, president of Asonahores (the DR’s hotel and restaurant association). “When you do that, you see that 16 • JUNE 2009


The tenth Annual Dominican Tourism Exchange (DATE) met April 20th-22nd. For the third consecutive year, it convened at the Barceló Bavaro Convention Center in Punta Cana at the eastern end of the Dominican Republic. The exchange provided a venue in which wholesalers, travel agents and tour operators met and conducted business sessions with Dominican Republic suppliers. DATE was conceived and organized by The National Hotel and Restaurant Association and the Tourism Promotion Council with the collaboration of the Caribbean Hotel Association and the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic. Although DATE does not have themes as such, the underlying theme of the exposition could be characterized by: consistency, expansion and improving quality.

Lunching with the delgates at the tenth annual DATE: Francisco Javier Garcia,the Minister of Tourism for the Dominican Republic and Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, first lady of the Dominican Republic.

crises are a normal part of history and so you can’t stop moving forward.” In consideration of these steps forward, Garcia emphasized “The government will continue its strong investment in the DR tourism infrastructure including building the Atlantic Boulevard in Puerto Plata, the revitalization and development of major highways and roads, and an even deeper commitment to ensuring that the natural beauty of the DR is sustained for generations to come.”

More Resorts to Come Expansion of the number of resorts is a sign that the importance of the DR as a vacation destination continues strong, he added. “Our country continues to attract international projects and capital from around the world. Savvy investors realize the DR is a very safe investment for tourism business.” “Our tropical sunny climate, world class seaports and marinas, eight international airports and growing list of upscale hotels and resorts are not going away. Our stunning coastal areas and the annual appearance of humpback whales in Samana, our unspoiled beaches, pristine mountains, and inland rivers and waterfalls are not going to go away.” Eight airports. How many countries of the DR’s size has that many? This enables tourists to pin point what area they want to vacation at without long transfer rides. Garcia also highlighted a special approach to sustainable tourism developments in the DR’s southwest region, noting • Travel World News

CARIBBEAN the area is the most bio diverse territory in the Caribbean. “There are plans for an educational institution near Baharona that will study the wealth of species, fauna and flora in the southwest with over $900 million being invested into innovative sustainable tourism developments in the southwest that could serve as global models.”

Punta Cana The Dominican Republic tourism products continue to grow at a rapid rate, even in the face of a sobering, world-wide, economic punch-in-the-nose. And the east coast region of Punta Cana continues to be the fastest growing area in the Caribbean. The area has 31,500 rooms in 62 resorts, which accounts for 48% of the rooms in the Dominican Republic. Ernesto Veloz, president of the Bavaro chapter of The National Hotel and Restaurant Association, at a press conference said that the Punto Cana hoteliers are working to continue that lead. New hotels for the 2008-2009 tourist season include the Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro, Moon Palace, The Reserve at Palma Real and the Majestic Elegance. “There are several large hotel and residential complexes that are under construction, including the expansion of the Royal Catalonia, Westin Roco Ki, Bahia Principe Esmeralda, Punta Cana Village, Hacienda Punta Cana, expansion at the Palladium, and works at Iguana in Cap Cana.” He added the area is adding 11 more golf courses to its already strong position of nine. He predicted that by 2010 there would be 51,000 rooms in the Punta Cana region. Veloz added that this year “we are seeing a 1% decline in travel compared to 2008, minimal at times when many destinations are seeing double-digit declines.” To maintain its powerful competitive position, the DR continues to diversify its markets. The Sans Souci cruise ship terminal in Santo Domingo, which opened its first phase in January, plays a major role in that direction. The 2007-2008 season ended with 82,000 visitors more than twice the previous year’s. Cruise ships also call at Samana and La Romana. There are also plans to re-establish cruise calls at Puerto Plata, which used to be an attractive magnet for passenger ships. Garcia announced a study to see what can be done to revitalize Puerto Plata’s cruise business. Besides having unique Victorian architecture brought to it by English settlers in the 1800's, the area surrounding Puerto Plata has an abundance of rain-forest, eco-tourism sites; historic sites such as Isabella, the first permanent European settlement in the New World (and the only place where Columbus owned land); and eco-participation sites such as Ocean World.

DATE 2010, Travel World News •

JUNE 2009•



Majestic Elegance: A Luxury Resort at a Middle Class Price Five stars for the middle class. D . O. C H R I S T I A N R I E G E R I V MAJESTIC ELEGANCE


young couple stood midway down on the curving stairway leading from the upper entrance lobby to the vast lower lobby whose open arches lead to the gardens, wedding chapel and outdoor nightly jazz club. A little back from the base of the stairs, a tall, slim man in a light blue shirt and dark slacks took a picture of the couple. It is a friendly gesture for staff members to help guests take home photo memories. When he returned the camera, I asked if he were a security guard. I was thinking that this was mighty well-mannered person in such a low-level job. He said, “No, I am the manager.” My jaw went slack. I was taken back by the fact that a manager would be doing something so mundane and trivial as taking a photo of guests. That is how I met Jose Gutierez, the general manager of the five star Majestic Elegance in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic — a French-trained chef and a son of Spanish parents living in Paris. As it ended up, it is his casually helpful manner and cuisine skills around which revolve the workings and success of this resort.

Service in the Service Industry Gutierez spends most of his working hours in the front of the house. Most of us in the travel business think of a manager spending most of his time in his office. Of this Gutierez says, “In the service business you can not receive second hand information from your staff. It is always better to be there and know exactly what is going on. Besides the rules of this house are against management spending most of the time in an office when the show is running. We respect the way others manage their properties, but we think they do not have the same results.” Over the past seven years, I have stayed and/or dined at many of the high-end and large resorts in the DR. There were times when the beds were more like used military cots, pancakes were served burnt and even the Dominican staple at breakfast, mangu (supposed to be hot), was served cold. Two of those single cot-beds would be pushed togther for a honeymoonig couple who requested a king size bed. That does not quite make it for American standards, does it? Most of those resorts are closed, upgraded themselves in the face of honest competition or vacationers have moved to the 18 • JUNE 2009

Jose Gutierez, general manager of the new Majestic Elegance, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, at his vantage point where he surveys all he rules.

newly built, modern, luxury resorts, particularly on the Dominican Republic’s east coast. Of which the Majestic Elegance is one.

6.5 Restaurants, Plus One What? The “point five” derives from the all-day lounge with continental breakfast and light lunch in each of the two sections of the adults-only Elegance Club. These are on the beach end of the two wings of the resort. Each Elegance Club wing has one bedroom suites on the beach, a roped-off private beach area, an exclusive-use pool with Bali beds and swim-up suites for garden level units. Each suite has a Jacuzzi, as do all the units at the resort. Better than home. The problem with such a set up is it makes life so much better than home, so much more replete with creature comforts, that home seems entirely inadequate. On the plus side, you • Travel World News


Nice Touches The main dining room and the restaurant on the beach both have paella. None of the “only for two and it will be 45 minutes before you get it,” routine. It is there every day, on the buffet, ready to eat now. As much as you want. How many resorts can you count that have paella served like this. And for dinner, chose the buffet and a man can go in wearing shorts. A bathing suit and a shirt, if you wish. As a rule, resorts require slacks for men at dinner, even in the buffet. My question is: Whose vacation is this anyway? Apparently it is the Majestic Elegance's question as well. They have decided it is ours. So, no slacks it is. But for the other dining rooms, the steak house, the continental, the Italian, the Japanese, have a dress code.

The Suite Side of Life The Majestic Elegance has 600 rooms distributed in two different wings with 4 room types in each section. Majestic Elegance has pool and garden view rooms accommodating up to four adults and and children. It is for adults 18 years and older. Have a dog or cat whose middle name is Spoiled Rotten? Travel World News •


wanna come back for this sort of treatment real soon. Hence the origin of the word: re-sort. Makes sense, yes? The plus one: to have five stars, a resort has gotta have a 24hour restaurant. And these guys got one that cannot be beat — it is comfy, cozy, and very private. It is the guests’ own room. Late night champagne supper in the Jacuzzi would do, yes? 24-hour room service included. Yes, included. Spoil yourself rotten. One thing that makes for luxury is not only escaping the hum-drum of our day to day routine, but also getting more than we expect. So it is with the restaurants, of which there are six — sort of. By way of example, breakfast and lunch in Flavours international buffet restaurant. At home breakfast is fast-food time. Emphasis on fast. There is a continental breakfast on the beach in the palapa hut and breakfast for the club guests in a private table-service dining room. But most guests eat at the buffet. And for good reason: variety, quality and speed. Find what you want at ten stations. No waiting. OK, sounds like other buffets. So what is the big deal? Well, success lies in the details. One of the details here is the omelets. At most resorts there is and omelet station with a line. Who wants to wait for eggs while the rest of your food on the plate gets cold? Or show up at the table and others have finished their meal while you were online? The cooks make a variety of mini omelets which are on the warm table for you to chose from “now.” Take two or three different kinds. No waiting. Nice touch.

The Majestic Elegance, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Nightly jazz club to the left, wedding gazebo to the right and the resort-long pool and gardens down the middle. Beach restaurant and bar in the distance.

Now it is your turn. The Majestic Jr. Suite is on the first floor of the club sections with direct access to the swimming pool and small garden and an indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi. Max equals two people. All suites throughout the resort have walk in showers with European style hose type shower and an overhead, rain type showerhead with three side shoots that actually work. The latter will be everyone's favorite because you are immersed in water, like a strong rain shower, but warm and v e r r r y comfortable. And heady. All units have flat screen TV's and Internet connection (pay for use). There are nine bars (All scheduled for different times of the day), including the fast service, swim up bar in the 1300 foot lagoon style, zig zag pool. Not a day went by that people were not having a grand time among friends and new friends. Wanna speak with the manager? Chose tea time at the main lobby bar. And off course there is the casino, located at the Majestic Colonial at a two-minute walk, gym, spa, golf near by (328 yards away from the hotel), a very large, better-than-LasVegas theater with over-stuffed wicker chairs, supervised kids club for children, Nintendo's for children in kids club, Caribbean street with boutiques (jewelry, cigars, souvenirs, mini market, photo shop, pharmacy, clothes), gazebo for weddings, 24-hour medical center, two integrated Jacuzzis within the main swimming pool, ATM machine, lighted tennis courts, ping pong, pool tables, darts and a soccer field. Elevators in each building. Handicap rooms available. July and august rates per couple per room range from $1560.00 for a standard junior suite to $2820.00 for a elegance club ocean front suite

Majestic Hotels, Info@majestic, www.majestic MajesticElegancePuntaCana.aspx JUNE 2009•



This summer, visitors will be able to rent Frenchmans Lookout, a luxury five-bedroom villa in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, during low season for only $11,500 per week for up to ten guests. This very affordable package translates to only $164 per person per day based on 10 guests and $205 based on eight guests. Included are two full days on a 35-foot powerboat with Captain Simon, who will take guests to all the private spots and best beaches. Guests can snorkel the Virgin Gorda Baths, visit the uninhabited Sandy Cay, experience the famous “Willy-T’s,” Jost Van Dyke and more to explore on the boat ride. Also featured are freshly prepared-to-order daily breakfasts; courteous, experienced staff; round-trip transfers from the airport; concierge and managerial assistance; and housekeeping. A fourpercent gratuity, seven-percent BVI tax and gas for the boat are not included in the price. When not cruising, guests may relax in the sun by a 50-foot fresh water pool (and shallow children’s cove) or in the gazebo, shaded by specimen trees. Frenchmans Lookout has five en-suite, air conditioned bedrooms, fully-equipped kitchen, WiFi, entertainment area, fitness center, outside gazebo, barbecue area, and more. Other amenities available are spa services, a chef to prepare meals, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, sunset sails, dinner reservations and babysitting. Frenchmans Lookout, 866-940-0020,

NEW MOON PALACE CASINO, GOLF AND SPA RESORT ALL-INCLUSIVE LUXURY IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Palace Resorts has announced the soft opening of its first all-inclusive luxury property in the Dominican Republic—Moon Palace Casino, Golf & Spa Resort on Macao Beach. When all of the 1,791 rooms are open at the end of the year, the magnificent oceanfront resort will be the largest in Punta Cana. Palace Resorts invites guests to be the first to experience its lux20 • JUNE 2009

ury with an exclusive soft opening rate of 20 percent off the perperson, per-night rate for all new reservations, now through December 23, 2009. This can also be combined with the Palace Passport and the Kids Stay Free Summer Promotion. The Palace Passport includes a 25-percent daily discount on select spa treatments, 25-percent discount on one round of golf daily at the Cana Bay Palace Golf Club (available when the course opens early fall 2009), unlimited select tours and more. The Kids Stay & Eat Free Summer Promotion is valid for all trips booked now through August 28 for travel June 1 through August 31, 2009, for two children 17 years and younger per room, when sharing a room with at least one adult. Aquatic facilities include eight outdoor pools overlooking the ocean, three outdoor pools overlooking the canal, submerged lounge chairs in most pools to enjoy the Caribbean sun in a cool atmosphere, one kids pools with water toboggan and toys, four swim up bars, and a lazy river that meanders through the resort. The Kids Club, open until 11, offers long hours of kid-friendly entertainment. Scheduled to open in fall 2009, the 45,000 square-foot Moon Palace Casino will be the largest casino in Punta Cana. The Cana Bay Palace Golf Club offers a challenging, par-72 Jack Nicklaus designed golf course. The Palace Resorts Signature Spa is an incredible 60,000 square-foot facility with 48 spa suites, including 11 total indoor and outdoor couples’ suites and two Golden VIP Suites. Moon Palace Casino, Golf & Spa Resort offers 11 restaurants and 12 bars, all included in the rate. All restaurants, bars and lounges serve premium beer, mixed drinks with top-shelf liquors and international wines from the Palace Resorts wine cellar, a collection of vintages all with Wine Spectator rating of 85 or higher. Moon Palace Casino, Golf & Spa Resort, 800-635-1836,

THE FLAMBOYANT HOTEL & VILLAS MARKS 20TH ANNIVERSARY WITH CREDIT CRUNCH WINNER The Flamboyant Hotel & Villas, Grenada, West Indies, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary by automatically entering all guests staying at the hotel during 2009 into a prize draw to win 20 days on all-inclusive for two! Credit Crunch Special Offers for families also include: Stay One Week, Get One Week Free available for June and July arrivals. Warmed by the bright Caribbean sun and genuine Grenadian Hospitality, the Flamboyant Hotel offers an ideal vacation destination. Fine meals and sumptuous buffets are offered in the open-air dining room, and snacks and barbecues at the beachside cabana, just steps from the water. There are comfortable rooms or self-catering studios, one-bedroom suites and two-bedroom villas, all with air conditioning and vistas of Grand Anse and the lush mountains of Grenada. The Flamboyant Hotel & Villas, 866-978-8013,, • Travel World News

CARIBBEAN PABLO TORRES NAMED GENERAL MANAGER OF THE BRITISH COLONIAL HILTON NASSAU Hilton Hotels Corporation has appointed Pablo Torres as General Manager of the 288-guestroom British Colonial Hilton Nassau, downtown Nassau’s only hotel with a secluded beach. Pablo most recently served as director of operations at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he also began his hospitality career.Pablo joins the British Colonial Hilton Nassau in time to finalize and PABLO TORRES debut the property’s multimillion-dollar makeover, featuring upgrades to rooms, public areas, and meetings space, as well as new restaurant and bar concepts. A 17-year hospitality professional, Pablo started off as a food and beverage management trainee at the Caribe Hilton. Since then, he has held key roles with an array of internationally recognized hotel brands throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. He also spent a term at Hilton’s international corporate office in the UK as a corporate food and beverage trainer and system installer, giving him an opportunity to work on projects globally from the UK and Europe to Asia and the Middle East. Pablo holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Hocking College in Ohio and has also attended Cornell University’s hospitality programs. He has a wife, Rita, and two children. British Colonial Hilton Nassau is said to be built on the site of what was once the infamous Blackbeard the pirate’s residence and served as the setting for the James Bond movies “Never Say Never Again” and “Thunderball.” British Colonial Hilton Nassau, 877-GO-HILTON (877-464-4586),

CARIBBEAN EXPERIENCES DISCOVERS MORE THAN SUN AND SAND VACATIONS The Organization of American States–Department of Trade and Tourism (OAS/DTT), through its Caribbean STEP Program (Small Tourism Enterprises Program), has unveiled the new Caribbean Experiences website featuring properties that demonstrate innovation, high quality vacation experiences and environmental stewardship. Travelers can now seek out true Caribbean attractions including adventure activities, cultural interactions, and off-the-beaten path experiences, while staying at small, handpicked properties as an alternative to large chain resorts. The website provides travelers a site to search for various STEP recognized properties while also featuring details of top attractions in each of the participating Caribbean destinations. “The Caribbean Experiences website offers an exciting new way for travelers to discover the authentic features of the Caribbean. By staying at these leading small properties visitors have an exceptional vacation and can feel confident that they have been part of a product that reflects responsible tourism practices.,” says Richard Travel World News •

Campbell, Tourism Section Chief at the Department of Trade and Tourism (DTT) of the Organization of American States (OAS). The STEP program, which is run through the OAS, is expanding at a time of growing interest in the experiential sector of travel. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports: “There is a shift from active holiday to holidays as an experience. The point is to achieve a complete participative experience that provides new knowledge and authentic experiences.” The STEP Program is a standard designed for small properties (less than 75 rooms). So far the following countries have participated in the program: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and, Trinidad and Tobago. Caribbean Experiences,

BOLONGO BAY BEACH RESORT OFFERS ‘ADULTS STAY FREE’ PROMOTION Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas is bringing back its popular Adults Stay Free Promotion where a third and fourth adult can stay free when sharing a room with two paying adults staying on the resort’s European Plan (EP). As an added bonus, Bolongo has reduced the price of its nightly EP rates for 25-percent savings. The Adults Stay Free Promotion is valid on all reservations made by June 30, 2009 for travel now through October 31, 2009. “Bolongo is a great getaway choice for adults. We are a fun, lively and active place with exceptional dining plus a wide array of watersports, land activities, and live entertainment including steel pan, calypso and karaoke,” said Paul Doumeng, owner and general manager of Bolongo. As part of Bolongo’s Adults Stay Free EP vacation, travelers will enjoy accommodations in an ocean view room; a “discover scuba diving” in-pool lesson; and complimentary use of non-motorized watersports equipment (snorkel gear, paddle boats, sunfish sailboats, windsurfing equipment, kayaks and more). Nightly EP rates in an oceanview room during the Adults Stay Free Promotion are $199 per room, now through August 31, and $182 per room, September 1 through October 31. Rates quoted reflect the 25-percent savings. Tax and service charges of 15-percent tax and $5 per day energy surcharge are additional. 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. The four adults must work with the existing bedding in their room, which consists of either two double beds or a queen bed with a day bed. Travelers making reservations at Bolongo do not have to worry about having a passport. 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,, JUNE 2009•


CARIBBEAN WYNDHAM HOTELS AND RESORTS APPOINTS DANNA HOLCK RIO MAR BEACH RESORT MANAGER Wyndham Hotels and Resorts has appointed Danna Holck as General Manager of the 600-room Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, a Wyndham Grand Resort in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. Holck, who brings nearly 25 years of hospitality management experience to her new role, is responsible for the operation of the 500-acre, AAA four-diamond rated resort including oversight and manageDANNA HOLCK ment of the 750-member staff, golf facilities, spa, casino, food and beverage outlets, rooms, sales and marketing. Holck previously held a variety of management roles with Wyndham Hotels and Resorts as well as with the Westin, Adam’s Marks and Hyatt brands. Most recently, Holck was General Manager of the 676-room Westin San Francisco Market Street hotel. Prior to that, Holck managed several award-winning hotels and resorts including: The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa in Carefree, Ariz.; Enchantment Resort & Mii amo Spa in Sedona, Ariz.; Miramonte Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, Calif.; and Naples Grande Resort & Spa in Naples, Fla. “Danna’s wealth of experience catering to discerning guests made her an obvious choice for us,” said Jeff Wagoner, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts president. “Her years of experience in resort management coupled with her proven track record in operations and sales and keen understanding of the Wyndham brand will ensure her success at Wyndham Rio Mar.” She began her career as a sales manager for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, eventually becoming the director of sales and marketing of two Hyatt hotels in West Hollywood and Los Angeles. Holck earned her bachelor of science in hotel and restaurant management from University of Hawaii’s College of Travel Industry Management where she minored in the Japanese language. Wyndham Rio Mar, 800-4-RIOMAR (800-474-6627),

ALL-INCLUSIVE JOLLY BEACH RESORT & SPA LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE Jolly Beach Resort & Spa in Antigua’s has launched a new website targeting the resort’s niche leisure travel customers including families, honeymooners and couples planning a destination wedding, as well as meeting and event planners. “This enhanced website will be the first look at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa for many customers, and as with anything, a first impression is very important,” says Patrice Christian, Marketing Analyst and Coordinator of Marketing Services for Jolly Beach Resort & Spa. “Our new site has a fresh, open design and an easy22 • JUNE 2009

to-navigate layout, and it will be an integrated part of our day-today sales and marketing and customer outreach, and will also be a gateway for our social media and media sharing outlets.” The revamped website includes a secure booking engine for air and an all-inclusive Jolly Beach Resort & Spa packages; a secure, resort-only booking engine; Live Chat with a Jolly Beach Resort & Spa Reservations Specialist; online submission forms to facilitate destination wedding requests; and brochures that can be downloaded or emailed directly from the site. There is a photo gallery with 360-degree views and new images available for download, as well as a Travel Partners area devoted to travel agents and industry professionals that lists FAM trips, and the resort’s Loyalty Program incentives. Now through December 15, 2009 all-inclusive rates start at $128 ppdo; up to two children ages three to 11 stay free with two adults in a Queen Superior room, or one child stays free with two adults in a Standard room; and there is no supplement for a single parent sharing with up to two kids in a Standard room: the parent pays the ppdo rate and children stay for $56 per night. Kids two and younger always stay free. Jolly Beach Resort & Spa is located on a stunning, mile-long white-sand beach and sports five bars and restaurants; four nightlit tennis courts; two swimming pools; two full-court basketball courts; games room; Jolly Kidz and Teenz Clubs; Think Jolly Family Program; and the Palms Wellness Centre, Spa, Gym and Salon. Jolly Beach Resort & Spa,


Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett greets Air Jamaica’s Senior Director, Government & Community Affairs Will Rodgers ahead of the special Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, April 26, to mark the airline’s 40th anniversary, at the Christway Baptist Church in Miramar, Florida. A capacitysized congregation including city officials, representatives of the diplomatic corps, members of staff of Air Jamaica and well wishers were on hand to celebrate the milestone. Air Jamaica, • Travel World News


5-STAR RESORT PACKAGES $199 per room 4 Nights / 5 Days / All Inclusive

Grand Cayman The Reef

Punta Cana Caribe Tropical

Riviera Maya Sandos Playacar

Earn 100-300% More – Paid in Advance We handle all fulfillment Please contact: 239 344 9280


The Diversity of Sandos Hotels & Resorts Full of inspired fun for the upcoming months, the deluxe hotel lineup presents creative options for vacationers to the beautiful, sunny coast.


andos has two resort complexes on Mexico’s glorious Riviera Maya—Caracol complex, which consists of Sandos Caracol Eco-Resort & Spa and the Select Club Beach section, and the Playacar complex containing Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa and the Playacar Riviera Hotel section. Specials and events are planned to add to the allure of this luxury spot. Cultural Cuisine & Dance Theme Weeks Sandos has established complimentary Mexican Cuisine & Folklore and Salsa & Merengue theme weeks taking place through December 2009. For the Mexican Cuisine & Folklore theme week, guests will learn the preparation of main dishes and drinks of the Mexican culture by experienced Sandos chefs. Participants will also enjoy three evenings filled with traditional Mexican dance such as Mariachi and Marimba. Guests may participate in an evening out at the famous eco-park Xcaret, followed by a Mexican show for an additional $60 per person, which includes roundtrip transportation and entrance to the show (food/beverages not included). Scheduled weeks are July 6–13, September 14–20 and October 19–26. For the Salsa & Merengue theme week, participants will learn these two Caribbean dance styles and have the opportunity to take part in a dance contest at the end of the week. Guests can enjoy an evening out at Mambo Café nearby for an extra $25, which includes roundtrip transportation and entrance to the restaurant (beverages not included). Scheduled weeks are August 7–14, September 18–25 and October 30–November 6. The specific theme “package” must be reserved at booking. Fitness Weeks Fitness trainer to the stars, Steve Jordan, has partnered with Sandos to offer a mind and body makeover June through December 2009, with more dates in 2010. Each Fitness Week package features a four-day program to teach the philosophy, tools and strategies to daily fitness routines as well as provide choices that create a healthier lifestyle. As a result, guests will feel tremendous transformation, gaining energy and endurance. The program features daily stretching, jogs, walks, team challenges, educational forums and more. A minimum four-night stay is required. Registration fee is $200 per person, which is added on to the cost of an all-inclusive stay. For an additional $50, there’s a Natural Energy dinner at the end of the week with Jordan and his team of professionals (limited space). The weeks scheduled at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa and Sandos Select Club are June 26 through July 3 and

24 • JUNE 2009

Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa blends seamlessly into the ecology and archeology of Mexico.

October 16–23; Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa and Sandos Playacar Riviera Hotel weeks are August 28 through September 4 and December 11–18. Package must be added at booking. Bride & Groom Spa Package Further expanding its spa menu offerings, Sandos Hotels & Resorts has debuted a Bride & Groom spa package designed to add romance and relaxation to any vacation package—especially for newlyweds. The Bride & Groom package, $294 per couple added to the cost of an all-inclusive stay, includes: Groom—facial treatment using antioxidants to give firmness and elasticity to the skin while detoxifying and eliminating the sensitivity caused by shaving; and a marine exfoliation that nourishes the skin using properties of the sea. Bride—a Pearl Essence powder facial and body wrap giving moisture, tone and elasticity to the skin. Travelers should include the package at booking. Ensemble Travel Group Member As a testament to its high-caliber vacation experience, Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa has been accepted into the exclusive Ensemble Travel Group and its Hotel & Resort Collection. To be included in the Collection, the resort had to meet specific criteria including being rated as a four-star property, located in a desirable vacation destination or cosmopolitan city, and offer superlative service. As one of the few preferred Ensemble hotels in the Riviera Maya, the hotel will offer exclusive amenities for Ensemble guests designed to enhance their vacation experience, including a room upgrade (based on availability), early checkin/late checkout, and a personalized note on behalf of the booking agent with an exclusive value-added amenity.

Sandos Hotels & Resorts, 866-887-5601, • Travel World News


Hotel Flamingo located in Cozumel, Mexico, recently received the distinguished “M” certification from the Mexico Secretary of Tourism. “M,” otherwise known as the Professionalism and Modernization certificate program, provides instruction on how to improve customer satisfaction, staff performance and waste reduction efforts. The eight-week program requires intensive staff training along with regular inspections by “M” consultants to assure that elements of the program are being implemented. A certification score is given at the end with a minimal score of 80 percent needed to pass the program. Hotel Flamingo received a score of 96 percent. In addition to achieving the “M” certification, Hotel Flamingo has recently completed an upgrade of their Superior category guest rooms, including the installation of mini split unit air conditioners, IPod alarm clocks, mini bars and feather beds. Hotel Flamingo is a 22-room boutique hotel with tastefully decorated accommodations and a high level of guest services. The Aqua Restaurant and Bar located at Hotel Flamingo offers complimentary breakfast with all stays, and serves lunch along with cocktails throughout the day and into the evening. Live jazz is available on Thursday and Friday nights. Scuba Diving, horseback riding, snorkeling, sailing, parasailing, fishing, and tours of Mayan ruins are also available for booking by Hotel Flamingo’s English-speaking staff. Hotel Flamingo is offering 25 percent off nightly room rates with a minimum stay of two nights for travel through July 1, 2009. Hotel Flamingo, 800-806-1601,, 26 • JUNE 2009

CANCUN REMAINS AN ATTRACTIVE DESTINATION FOR GROUP TOURISM The Groups and Conventions segment reports the largest worldwide growth according to data from the World Tourism Organization, and represents 18 percent of the total occupation of this destination. The eighth edition of the Mexico Showcase & Travel Expo concluded with the participation of 80 international buyers and 40 national buyers: “‘The event was a success,” commented its organizer, Andy Ortiz. One of the participants Cindy Ford, Manager of Travel Leaders/Atlas Travel wrote about her experience: “I just want to thank you for the beneficial and ‘timely’ experience I just had at the eighth Annual Mexico Showcase & Travel Expo, after the health and travel advisories were released just prior to departing for the trip, I like most, wondered if I should go ahead with the travel plans or avoid the area. I must say, I consider myself as an adventure traveler, so with that mindset, I continued on with the itinerary... and thankfully so. Immediately upon my return I contacted one of our local radio stations to advise them that I had just returned from Mexico and would be glad to share my experience with listeners. I was invited to speak briefly the next day. This is what I told the listeners: This is a wonderful time to travel to Cancun/Riviera Maya. After arriving and seeing that there were not hundreds in masks, running for cover, I observed just how normal things still were at this destination. I shared how impeccable the service was at all the resorts and restaurants, how attentive everyone was, and just what a great value Cancun/Riviera Maya is for travelers. Your dollars will get you some of the best resorts, beaches, service, and food that you can find right now in the world. And, for one, would go back in a second.” As part of the Mexico Showcase there was an educational program called “Green Meeting Strategies,” which committed itself to adopting various ‘green principles’ during the event, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint. In turn this emphasized interest and commitment for Cancun to place itself as the first eco-friendly tourist destination in Mexico, due to the combined development of good practice by groups and conventions and incentive programs together with both venues and meeting planners. Fernando Cervantes, Director of Groups and Conventions from the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau CVB in Cancun, confirmed that the MPI (Meeting Professional International) executives will be visiting Cancun during the first few days of June and confirmed that Cancun will host Meet Different 2010, which brings together more than 2000 visitors including 900 meeting planners next February. Following the health emergency, 95 percent of group events in May and June in Cancun and Puerto Morelos were rescheduled, like the XII Paediatric National Congress CONAPEME and the III Mesoamerican and Caribbean Paediatric Congress. Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau, • Travel World News


mony, a unique experience designed to strengthen mind and spirit; photographer for two hours plus 42 wedding photos; DVD from two hours of shooting (personalized label and casing), main menu and titles, music and special effects. The Platinum package begins at $20,220. For the ultimate destination wedding, Ceiba del Mar’s Diamond package offers everything in the Gold/Platinum packages with the following additions/changes: three bottles of Moet champagne for toast; Mexican Mariachi band for 45 minutes during cocktail reception; a 60-minute DVD comprised of footage from four hours of shooting including editing, personalized label and casing, main menu, titles, music and special effects; 50 photos and two handmade wedding albums for the prints; a romantic beach dinner for two; a one-night gift certificate to stay again for the couple’s anniversary, and a free upgrade to master suites. The Diamond package begins at $21,801. All are based on 10 Rooms for two nights. Inclusions cannot be exchanged for additional services, with reservations at least 14 business days in advance. Additional room nights are available. Eighty percent of guests must be registered at Ceiba del Mar; those staying in other hotels must purchase a day pass.

There’s an option to meet every destination desire with the wedding packages offered at Riviera Maya’s glorious Ceiba del Mar— combining powder beaches, relaxing Caribbean waters, and suites offering ocean views with a unique holistic spa and unparalleled amenities. Excellent indoor and outdoor venues are available, with customizable ballrooms, spacious terraces and lounges, plus over a half mile of private beach. The Gold package is perfect for those desiring a simple, elegant celebration, and includes the ceremony venue as well as a special wedding dinner and wedding cake for 20 at one restaurant. It also provides: judge, legal permission, and blood test at hotel; wedding organization and coordination; marriage certificate (available only in Spanish); bridal bouquet; boutonnière for groom; two floral options for the witnesses (one per witness); a ceremonial table; flower arrangements for centerpieces; a bottle of Moet champagne for toast; a 15-percent discount on all spa treatments; a photographer for one hour; 36 gloss-printed wedding photos; handmade wedding album for the prints; late checkout for bride/groom (based on availability); and witnesses if required. Ten rooms in the resort’s deluxe category are also provided, all-inclusive including taxes and service charges. The Gold package begins at $16,430. Ceiba del Mar’s Platinum package is for couples seeking a wedding a bit more lavish, and includes all of the amenities in the Gold package with the following additions/changes: arch decorated with flowers; two bottles of Moet champagne for toast; one-hour private cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres for 20; Mexican Trio for 45 minutes during cocktail reception; spa package (manicure and pedicure for the bride); 50-minute Swedish massage for bride and groom and participation in the resort’s 30-minute Temezcal cere-


28 • JUNE 2009

With Ceiba Del Mar’s Air Ticket Bonus Special, travelers receive a $500 credit towards airfare—and take one step closer to a luxurious retreat that leaves the entire family refreshed and rejuvenated. The Air Ticket Bonus Special includes: a six-day/five-night stay in the luxurious Ocean View master suite (two children, under 12, stay and eat free, sharing the room with their parents); welcome champagne cocktail; two 50-minute massages per suite per stay (gratuities not included); $500 air ticket bonus (maximum) deducted from final bill at check-out; daily breakfast a la carte for two; 10 percent off additional treatments in the wellness aromatherapy spa; free wireless Internet; daily in-room “eye opener;” in-suite organic bath amenities; afternoon tea time; complimentary use of the spa humid areas; sauna, indoor heated Jacuzzi, steam room and gym; yoga, Pilates and Aquafit classes; and complimentary use of water and land toys, such as bicycles, kayaks and snorkel equipment. The Air Ticket Bonus Special package starts at $3,651 per couple ($1,825.50 per person), plus taxes (12 percent) and a service charge (5 percent) based on double occupancy. This package incorporates the luxury gourmet meal plan, which includes all meals, snacks and top-brand beverages in the resort’s fabulous restaurants and bars. Packages and specials are not available for group reservations. Perfect scores for the resort’s rooms and service on Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Survey earned Ceiba del Mar a spot on the 2009 Gold List for the “Best by Rooms” and “Best by Service’ categories. Ceiba Del Mar Beach & Spa Resort, • Travel World News


Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa held its First Presidente InterContinental Golf Tournament at the Cozumel Country Club on May 2. The tournament was organized by Guillermo Valencia, General Manager of the resort, to offer guests a new world-class golf experience in Cozumel. Participants numbered 104, representing Mexico and the United States. The day before the golf tournament, a welcoming cocktail party by the sea was held, sponsored by the Miami Baptist Hospital. The next day, the tournament began with the first tee-offs at 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. A simultaneous, individual tee-off style was used to open the event. The Cozumel Country Club, host to the tournament, features an 18-hole, par-72 course situated among spectacular lagoons, dense jungle, and a variety of plants and wildlife. It was designed by Nicklaus Design Group. Players were offered a first-rate prize package: a jewelry item from Ultrajewels valued at $10,000. Mulligans were sold for around $15, contributing to a fund donated to the City of Angels Foundation. The tournament winners within distinct categories were awarded accommodations in InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, including airline tickets from the following sponsors: Mexicana, Continental Airlines, American Airlines, and COPA Airlines. The General Manager of the Hotel, Guillermo Valencia, thanked the participants and sponsors for their great help with the event. During the awards dinner, he mentioned: “Cozumel Island is one of the most beautiful destinations in our country—especially attractive given its privileged Caribbean location, its exotic vegetation and wildlife, its world-famous coral reefs, and its ancient Mayan ruins.” He then invited everyone present to attend the Second Golf Tournament, to be held in 2010. Participants also enjoyed spa treatments at the Mandara Spa, and savored first-class world gastronomy at the El Caribeño and Alfredo di Roma restaurants. Cozumel Country Club, Travel World News •

DELUXE SERVICES AT HOTEL VILLA ROLANDI THALASSO SPA–GOURMET & BEACH CLUB Hotel Villa Rolandi, Thalasso SPA–Gourmet & Beach Club, is located on the beach in the Southern zone of Isla Mujeres overlooking the impressive Caribbean Sea, with a marvelous view of Cancun. The Hotel is strategically located five minutes away from the ferry terminal in Isla Mujeres and only 20 minutes from the mainland. A unique experience in Spa treatments is offered here— “Thalasso Thearapy,” right beside the ocean. The treatment is applied professionally by a Thalasso team trained in this form of relaxation, to allow visitors to take advantage of treatments that help cure problems in the circulatory system, skin and muscle. Spa facilities repair the tired body and mind, rewarding them with the youthfulness that can easily be taken away by stress and air contamination from busy cities. Hotel Villa Rolandi Thalasso is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Its market niche is men and women (nationals and international) 45–60 years of age, with high purchasing power. Hotel Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres,

BANYAN TREE MAYAKOBA OPENS ON MEXICO’S RIVIERA MAYA Singapore-based Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts officially enters the American market with the opening of Mexico’s Banyan Tree Mayakoba, on a stretch of pristine tropical mangrove located within the Mayakoba ecological development of Riviera Maya. Garden Pool Villas, Spa Pool Villas, Terrace Residences and Beachfront Pool Villas cater to visitors needing one-, two- and three-bedroom villas with perfect proportions of space, garden pavilions and view. At Banyan Tree Spa Mayakoba, guests may experience signature treatments delivered by professional spa therapists trained at the Banyan Tree Spa Academy in Phuket, Thailand. As a spa innovator, Banyan Tree Spa introduces The Rainforest to Mayakoba, a hydrothermal circuit, comprising alternating hot and cold thermal cabins, for couples to embark on a trail of wellness treatments. Among its superb culinary choices are Saffron, its contemporary signature Thai restaurant; Tamarind, the spa cuisine purveyor serving an organic menu of special juices and fine dining cuisine; and Oriente, a must-visit for daily breakfast buffet in the mornings, and modern Mexican dinner in the evenings. Banyan Tree Mayakoba will soon offer its Ixchel destination dining experience: an intimate dinner set onboard a trajinera, a traditional Mexican flat bottom boat decorated with indigenous motifs and cloths. Soft-opened since March, a special introductory rate is offered— $655++ per night in a Garden Pool Villa, inclusive of daily breakfast for two. Guests who book a villa for a minimum of three consecutive nights will enjoy one 90-minute Banyan Tree Spa massage session (worth $100) per booking. The offer is valid for stays through June 30, 2009. Banyan Tree Mayakoba, 800-591-0439,, JUNE 2009•



South America Direct — Peru Skiing high up in the Andes, a South Seas experience on the northern coast, Paracas goes way upscale, Westin builds tall in Lima, Metropolitan Touring offers a very luxurious nature tour, and more. MARK ZUSSMAN


ima’s leading daily — El Comercio by name — recently invited readers to formulate questions for PromPerú Tourism Promotion Director Mara Seminario, and here’s what one reader came up with: Why don’t you fix up Ancash so that we can beat out Bariloche? Tall order. Bariloche in the Argentine Andes is an international ski resort in a league with Aspen and Vail and Gstaad. Peru as of yet has no ski center that international jet set skiers would recognize as such, not even in the high mountain region of Ancash Province. But one of these days a modern ski resort is going to develop there and, for adventuresome types who can make do without ski lifts (in Peru, donkeys are sometimes used to carry gear), there are opportunities galore both for Alpine skiing and ski mountaineering on the Pastoruri, Huascarán, Hualcán and other glaciers and on other mountainsides right now. Lodge in the Ancash capital of Huaraz, also go trekking, rock-climbing, canoeing, cycling, fishing, horseback riding, paragliding, and enjoy a look at spectacular pre-Columbian and pre-Incan archeological sites such as the onetime great city of Chavin de Huantar. An amazing blend of awesome mountains, fresh air, simple but clean lodgings, world-class cuisine. Ask a Peru tour operator.

A Peruvian Tahiti You don’t think of Peru as ski country? Then you are also probably unaware of how hard it is to distinguish Peru’s northern beach coast, up in the vicinity of air-accessible Tumbes and Piura, from South Pacific island paradises such as Bora Bora and Tahiti. Consider, then, for a moment Las Cabañas de Antica, a resort of 14 thatched-roof beachfront bungalows, each with a guest room, a bath and a terrace, for couples — and then another four thatched-roof bungalows with as many as three bedrooms and three complete baths, living room and veranda for families or groups of friends traveling together. The style is rustic but at the same time modern and sophisticated. The beach works for sunning and swimming, it also works for kitesurfing and windsurfing. There are two pools, one 50 feet long, the other 80 feet long. The menu at the Italo-Peruvian restaurant ranges from pasta and wood-fire pizzas to sushi and sashimi. Unconvinced? Take a second to glance at the photos on Las Cabañas’ Web site. And Las Cabañas is not unique in the area. Nothing close. There are scads of comparable places. Again, ask a Peru tour operator. Las Cabañas de Antica, 30 • JUNE 2009

South Seas living on Peru’s northern beaches.

Luxury Comes to Paracas Take a car or big-window tour bus a few hours south along the coast from Lima and you come to the Paracas Peninsula and the nearby towns of Ica and Pisco. The landscape is stark gray desert and sand dunes, but then you get on a speedboat for a two hour spin around the nearby offshore Ballestas Islands and you cannot believe the biological profusion in the form of sea lions, penguins, cormorants, boobies, pelicans, all of them elbowing at each other like commuters in a big-city subway system at rush hour. Paracas has traditionally been sold to foreign tourists along with the spooky Nazca lines another three highway hours to the south. (Nazca lines? These are the millennial drawings in the earth’s hard crust, intelligible only from the air, of birds, fish, primates, your guess as good as the next guy’s as to what they’re doing there.) Visitors on the tour to Paracas and Nazca have generally been put up overnight, on the way from the first of these attractions to the second, either in Ica or in Pisco, in lodgings that, though clean enough and comfortable enough, have tended toward the funky rather than the elegant — if by any chance it’s New York that’s your frame of reference, think Catskills, not Hamptons. How come funky? Because the region originally developed not for well-heeled foreign visitors but as a get-away for Lima’s middle class, and I have never forgotten what a Peruvian friend once so touchingly said to me over a pisco sour somewhere in the Paracas area, “This is where our parents came on their honeymoons.” North American travelers averse to the funky, take note. Paracas has now suddenly gone way way upscale. The Doubletree Hilton Paracas opened grandly a couple of • Travel World News

LATIN AMERICA months back with 124 suites, each with a spacious living room and dining area, a kitchenette, and a bedroom with either one king size bed or two full beds — and, needless to say, amenities and details galore. The ocean here is beautiful to look at, not great to swim in. How about the Hilton’s 8,000 square foot pool instead? And the Hilton is not going to be in solitary splendor for very long. The Libertador Paracas Resort & Spa is due to inaugurate in September this year with 120 finely appointed rooms (16 suites), three restaurants, bars, swimming pools and a spa, as well as its own 42-foot yacht for visits to the Ballestas and other destinations in the Paracas Reserve and its own aircraft to simplify and speed up the Nazca excursion. La Hacienda, another five-star, is due to open alongside the Hilton by year’s end. Myself, I expect to miss the funky down-home accommodations. They were a reminder that I was in somebody else’s country. But that’s just one man’s taste, and all the new five-star splendor will surely make the extraordinary attractions of the region accessible to tens of thousands of North American travelers who otherwise may have remained wary. DoubleTree Hilton Hotels,; Libertador Hotels,

Westin Debuts in South America In Lima, Peru’s capital, there are hotels aplenty. And, still, there are times of year when it’s hard to find a room — so a good thing Starwood’s Westin brand will make its South American debut early next year with a 311-room, 30-story tower in the upscale San Isidro neighborhood. The investment climate in Peru is excellent right now and this, to be sure, will be more a business person’s hotel than a tourist hotel, but needless to say tourists will be welcome and tourists will get the same red carpet treatment that CFOs get. This Westin will actually be the Westin Libertador, same ownership as of the Libertador Paracas. The Libertador people have also been pouring money like crazy into their traditional flagship property in Cusco, the Libertador Palacio del Inka, soon to reemerge as the Palacio del Inka Luxury Collection Hotel, and this year they will be opening yet another over-the-top property, the 128-room Tambo del Inka Luxury Collection Hotel in Urubamba in the so-called Sacred Valley, between Cusco and the Machu Picchu archeological site, with its own train station on the Machu Picchu line.

Metropolitan Moves Nature Upscale Fifty-six-year-old Metropolitan Touring has just come out with a new 15-day package tour of highly sought after Northern Andes ecology and biodiversity destinations that nature enthusiasts could formerly put together in a single outing only on an FIT basis — but never before with some of this tour’s very special premium features. Start out in Ecuador, one country to the north of Peru, with a four-night Travel World News •

Luxury cruising in the Peruvian Amazon.

cruise to the Galapagos Islands aboard Metropolitan’s very own 44-cabin, 90-passenger, upscale cruising yacht the M/V Santa Cruz. Metropolitan has six naturalists on board to enrich the experience — English, needless to say, no problem. The Galapagos are famous of course for those peculiar birds and mammals and fish that helped gel Darwin’s evolving evolutionary thought. The tour, whose name is Nature Explorers, then heads for Lima, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley and climaxes with another four-night cruise aboard the luxury Delfin II riverboat in the Pacaya Samiria Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon. The Pacaya Samiria is the largest protected flooded rainforest anywhere in the world. Rates for this feast are available on request. Look for departures this year on August 9 and 30, October 4, November 29, and December 6 and 13. Metropolitan Touring, www.metropolitan

Culinary Touring A company called A Taste of Peru has begun to offer 8-day culinary tours of the country and, for those who’ve missed the buzz, Peru now enjoys a reputation for fine and innovative cooking on a par with France, Italy, Spain. The tour leaders are a pair of Peruvian women, both foodies, one now living in San Francisco, one in Madrid. The cost is $3,300 p.p.d.o. exclusive of the international air fare. Next scheduled departure in October, personalized tours on demand. A Taste of Peru,

OTHER PERU TRAVEL SERVICES & TOUR OPERATORS: Amazon Explorama Lodges, Condor Travel, Explorandes Peru, Fiesta Tours Int’l, Gray Line Tours Peru, InkaNatura Travel, Lima Tours, Peru Coltur, PTS Peru, JUNE 2009 •



Cartagena de Indias Colombia’s walled city is wide open to visitors. J U D I T H G LY N N


hen the United States government repeatedly warned Americans to avoid traveling to Colombia, the label devastated the country’s tourism sector. Cartagena de Indias, the country’s northern and Caribbean port, was never considered a trouble spot, but it was tainted by its larger sister cities. Today’s travel warnings are more relaxed. Consequently, Colombia is trying hard to convince the world that life in most of the country, and certainly Cartagena de Indias, is safe for its leisure and convention travelers. In fact, Proexport, the organization responsible for tourism (and other sectors) had its 2009 promotion Cartagena de Indias is a city of vibrant colors and the backdrop of the San Pedro Claver Cathedral. fund increased. Independent tours of the sanctuary, museum and the church are welcome. Roughly 23% of the city's 1.3 million yearly inbound visitors are now Americans. For the 2008- steal at the local supermarkets. Boca Grande is the urban sprawl area, dominated by new 2009 season, 149 ships belonging to lines such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Holland America docked construction, unattractive buildings and doesn’t have the apfor a day trip into Cartagena. The city, founded in 1533, has peal of the walled part of the city. Hotel development is expanding rapidly. To date there are ancient walls that run for four miles and the most extensive fortifications in South America. Its port, fortresses and monu- 4,500 rooms of which 1,592 are luxury and 800 are deluxe ments were deemed a UNESCO Historical and Cultural units. During 2009-2010, 678 more rooms in the four- to fivestar class are slated to open. Three convention centers accomWorld Heritage Site in 1984. There’s no mistaking the city’s Colonial beauty or its ever- modate 5,450 people when combined. The city encourages present sultry pulse. Colors are primary reds, bold blues, ca- event planners to incorporate plazas and other public areas nary yellows, all softened with lush greenery and white- into their festivities. Top-notch hotels include Hotel Sofitel Santa Clara, washed walls. Year-round temperatures are in the high 80s; humidity is 90% most days. The pace is leisurely for its one where a recent guest was President Clinton. million inhabitants, many who take to the streets day and Its origins date back to a 17th-century convent, evidenced by night to sell handicrafts or coconut milk, cut-up mangoes or a convent wall left intact. But the 121-room architectural small cups of brewed coffee. Hustling street vendors are both- beauty has massive palm trees in the arched courtyard comersome, but if eye contact is avoided, they eventually walk plemented by exquisite Colonial and Republication décor away. And do take a half-hour horse-and-buggy ride through throughout. Special prices start at $259.76. Across the street, the narrow cobblestone streets lined with overhanging bal- the 7-suite, 11-luxury room Bóvedas de Santa Clara Hotel, is a sister Sofitel property conies dripping with flowers. Shopping here is first-class for Colombian emeralds that are where rates are at least $75- $100 less per night but guests remined and fashioned into exquisite pieces. Only buy in the ceive all Sofitel services: pool, restaurant, room service. All suites have two levels with skylights, queen beds and two shops that offer certificates of authenticity. And Juan Valdez and other Colombian brand coffees are a baths. Great place to stay with a rooftop solarium. The 5-star,

32 • JUNE 2009 • Travel World News

LATIN AMERICA grand deluxe Charleston Cartagena, is hands-down stunning. Guest rooms face either the ancient city or the ocean. “American’s don’t know about us unless they come for a conference,” said general manager Francisco Montoya Forero. “But we’re more typical of a Cartagena experience.” Located near the Getsemaní Convention Center with the Plaza de Santa Teresa outside the hotel, which is great for people watching and refreshments, rack rates are higher here. But with the recession and an urging from government officials, many hotels are offering deep discounts. One favorite special is four nights and the fifth is free. Tucked away on side streets, and behind large wooden doors, is a treasure trove of boutique hotels. Cartagena de Indias now has 28. Most were the private residences of the city's elite that have been renovated and offer about ten rooms or less. The amenities in some are first-class, complete with a Bose radio, Ipod docking station, private dining rooms and more. Many Europeans have discovered these charmers, as has the American Embassy for their special visitors. Unfortunately, there is no boutique-hotel association; each must be contacted individually. Casa del Arzobispado Hotel, hotelcasadelarzobispado. com/v2/, was once a bishop's home. Today, guest capacity is 22 persons in its 10 deluxe rooms. There's a swimming pool in the center of the hotel. Price range: $350-$450 per night. Casa Quero ( is a former 19th-century home and one of the highest in the city. It has a resident toucan, a romantic legend associated with a former owner and a USA Today recommendation. Price range: $260$300 per night. Casa Pestagua, / has an envied position, steps away from vibrant Plaza Santo Domingo. Service is top-notch here and the décor incorporates Colombian antiquities in the hotel's 11 rooms, but it's the massive marbled bathrooms that are notable. Travel agent commissions range from 10 –25% in Cartagena de India hotels. The larger amount is offered in smaller establishments. When pressed recently for a more definitive answer on rates and commissions, most hoteliers cited the size of the group; longevity of the agent-hotel association; time of year and extras added to the package that influence the commission – in other words, bargaining appears acceptable, especially in the smaller hotels. FAM trips depend upon time of year and the size of the group., are on Isla Grande and reached by the company's private launch. The hotel has 17 thatched-roof bungalows, PADI diving shop and two small, white-sand private beaches with lounge chairs beside the clear turquoise water and coral reefs. The menu is for fish lovers; the ambiance is low-key and most guests are couples. Nightly rate: $140 to $300. Cocoliso Island Resort, has a cafeteria-style lunch for daytrippers who have free use of the hotel's facilities, which includes a swimming pool. The large complex has 20 rooms; pricing begins at $250. Cocoliso earned an impressive government accreditation for cleanliness. Oceanario Islas del Rosario is reached by boat from Cartagena de Indias and from Isla Grande. The open-air aquarium winds through platforms beside the pens that contain sharks, stingrays, porpoise and other fish. There's a dolphin show and all activities are best viewed at feeding times. Enclosed areas track the development of marine life. One disadvantage here is the program, signs and most materials are in Spanishonly.

Cartagena de Indias Convention & Visitors Bureau,; Proexport,

Day Trips from Cartagena de Indias There's little appeal to the Cartagena de Indias beaches since many are close to an active port. Locals and visitors alike take a 45-minute daytrip by boat to an archipelago of 23 islands, collectively named Islas del Rosario. Some are so small they hold one private home that can be rented. Others, such as the Hotel San Pedro de Majagua, owned by Sofietel, Travel World News •

JUNE 2009 •




Body Mind Spirit Journeys is offering a “buy one Peruvian tour and get a second tour free” opportunity for all three of their Peruvian tour programs: Sacred Journeys’ “A Journey to the Land of the Ancient Incas,” Women’s Sacred Travel’s “A Women’s Journey to Sacred Power Spots” and BMSJ LITE’s “Peru.” Each tour is specially designed for today’s body-mind-spirit-wellness traveler desiring a rich exchange of ideas while exploring ancient sacred sites and their mysteries, and experiencing the people, culture and spirituality of the countries and places visited under the guidance of hosts with expertise and knowledge of these elements. Women’s Sacred Travel programs visit sacred sites, resorts and spas and are particularly designed for smaller groups of likeminded women. These cultural, wellness and mystical tours are for those who want to go beyond just touring a destination, and who want to connect with the people of the land being visited, to absorb the flavor of the various cultures, and to experience the powerful energies of sacred sites. BMSJ “Lite” is a new Body Mind Spirit Journeys division catering to the traveler curious about sacred travel. It features tours that are locally-hosted with just enough spiritual exploration to satisfy that inquisitiveness for some, while whetting the appetite for those who wish to “graduate” eventually to the more deeply sacred tours offered in Sacred Journeys & Women’s Sacred Travel divisions. All BMSJ tours are escorted by knowledgeable local guides, and many are led by authors, teachers and experts in the body, mind and spirit field. “Despite the current economic conditions, travel can still be affordable,” said Raymond Cortell, President of Mind Body Spirit Journeys. “We’re delighted that we have been able to negotiate with our Peruvian suppliers for lower costs, so that all Body Mind Spirit Journey travelers can take that spiritual trip of a lifetime— and, moreover, that they can bring a spouse or friend along to share the memorable experience for no extra expense on the land portion of the trip. Even better, all Peru departures for 2009 will be guaranteed. That’s an unbeatable deal.” Body Mind Spirit Journeys, 888-747-8811,

ADVENTURESIncorporated, is reducing its 11-day “Ecuador in a Nutshell” adventure by $1,000 and for the September 21, 2009 departure the exciting and relaxing “Waterfalls and Hot Springs” Quito stopover is included for free. “After a successful joint campaign with National Geographic we have seen increased demand for this Ecuador adventure,” states Don Forster, Product Manager for ADVENTURESIncorporated Goway’s adventure division. “This is a fantastic itinerary to see the best of Ecuador in 11 days. For a complete experience in Ecuador, we recommend adding the Galapagos Islands; visitors will see the four regions—Galapagos Islands, the Coast, The Andes and the Amazon—in one amazing trip,” continued Forster. Full details are available online. ADVENTURESIncorporated, 888-469-2949,,

34 • JUNE 2009

PICNIC THIS SUMMER AT DUPLOOY’S JUNGLE LODGE IN WESTERN BELIZE duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge in Western Belize is ready for summer visitors with special rates and lots to do. And its Macal River Beach is (seriously) one of the best in Belize. Included in room rates are early morning coffee on the deck to the tune of many avian visitors, continental breakfast, use of inner tubes and canoes around the property, and a self-guide tour booklet for adjacent Belize Botanic Gardens with unlimited entrance. It’s hard for people to tear themselves away for trips to nearby Xunantunich which can be accessed by horse or road or Flour Camp Cave, reached by horse or road with return to duPlooy’s by inner tube or canoe. duPlooy’s is seriously “eco,” so clients need to know that their picnics will be in re-useable containers; non-returnable drink bottles are out (it’s advisable to bring one’s water bottle to refill or purchase one from the Lodge); the straws are actually pasta; and delicious food here is made from locally-sourced items as much as possible. duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge,,, • Travel World News



Tranquility Bay Resort on Belize’s Ambergris Caye is welcoming a husbandand-wife team as its new managers. Carlos and Isabelle Settle, originally from Quebec, Canada, have been permanent residents of Belize for the past year and a half. “We look forward to working at Tranquility Bay to help make it the best water-adventure and fishing resort in the country,” Carlos Settle said. The team previously co-managed a local restaurant where they handled the accounting, purchasing and staffing duties. In their new position, they will combine management skills with their passion for the resort’s beach, which allows direct access to the Belize Barrier Reef for diving, fishing and snorkeling. Before moving to Belize, Carlos was a member of Canada’s armed forces and worked as a real estate agent. His love for the water ultimately brought him to Belize where he has been a boat captain and maintenance supervisor. Carlos is a biathlete who specializes in cross-country skiing and rifle marksmanship. Isabelle started her career as an on-air TV host in Montreal and worked as a rental property manager for two years. Currently, she is studying for a master’s degree in business administration and hopes to use her native language to reach out to French-speaking travelers. Tranquility Bay Resort, 888-843-2293, Travel World News •

JUNE 2009 •



The Acapulco Destination Marketing office has announced that the destination’s tourism infrastructure including hotels, restaurants and bars are operational with complete visitor services available while some of the large discotheques remain closed until further notice. Businesses in Acapulco like those in cities across the globe were faced with temporary closures when the A (H1N1) spread internationally. Swift planning by Manuel Anorve Banos, Mayor of Acapulco in cooperation with Ernesto Rodriguez Escalona, Secretary of Tourism for the state of Guerrero benefited the city’s residents and visitors when multiple preventative measures were immediately implemented throughout the destination to avoid spread of A (H1N1). These initiatives included enhanced health and hygiene practices, the establishment of on-site medical centers in hotels and other places of business, and the cancellation of previously planned public gatherings and events. “While all of Mexico works to recover from the economic effects of A (H1N1), Acapulco remains vigilant in taking proactive steps to safeguard our citizens and guests against the A (H1N1) virus,” said President of the Acapulco Destination Marketing Office, Mary Bertha Medina. “Tourism is of primary importance to us and we are solely dedicated to the comfort and wellbeing of our visitors.” Health experts and respected news authorities are now reporting a possible overreaction to the risks associated with the A (H1N1) virus. In a clarifying and reassuring statement, the New York Times reported on May 4, “While the disease has continued to spread across the United States and around the world, it is far less deadly than initially feared. And in Mexico, where the outbreak apparently had its origins, new cases have begun to ebb.” Nonetheless, the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control suggest the following simple precautionary steps to protect against A (H1N1): (1) Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing and throw away disposable tissues after using them; (2) Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after sneezing and coughing. Alcohol-based antibacterial soaps are very effective; (3) Avoid contact with people who have respiratory infections or who are contaminated with the virus; (4) 36 • JUNE 2009

If you get sick, the CDC recommends that you stay home and not go to school or work and avoid contact with other people to avoid spreading the virus; and (5) Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. These guidelines are also being communicated in customs, immigration points and are being distributed to all travelers through airlines, tour operators, hotels and travel agencies worldwide. A magical combination of incredible beauty and hypnotic charm, Acapulco is Mexico’s largest and most dazzling seaside resort attracting over five million visitors annually. Acapulco is exotic yet easily accessible via direct or convenient connections via all major airline carriers from gateway cities across the U.S. Acapulco Tourism,

‘FLY FREE’ PACKAGES AT THE TIDES RIVIERA MAYA AND THE TIDES ZIHUATANEJO OFFER SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS The Tides Riviera Maya and The Tides Zihuatanejo are presenting “Fly Free,” a package offering significant reimbursements on airfares ($500 to $1,500 per person!) to guests staying four nights or longer. Credit amounts are based on the cost of pre-purchased airline tickets and choice of resort accommodations—a luxurious villa at the Caribbean-reposed Tides Riviera Maya or an equally sweet suite at The Tides Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast. Travelers may “Fly Free” to The Tides Riviera Maya for seclusion at its most seductive. Sumptuous private villas characterize this eco-conscious hideaway along pristine Caribbean waterfront. Villa rates and corresponding credit limits are: Royal Villa, rates from $785, up to $500 per person airfare credit; and Tides Villa, rates from $1,600; up to $1,500 per person airfare credit. Vacationers may alternatively choose to “Fly Free” to The Tides Zihuatanejo for elegance on the Mexican Riviera. Along the white sands of serene Playa la Ropa—one of Mexico’s most beautiful Pacific beaches—thatched palapa cabanas dot six hundred feet of private beach, with an infinity pool at bay’s edge. Suite rates and credit limits are: Lagoon Suite, rates from $570, up to $500 per person airfare credit; Beach Suite, rates from $780, up to $700 per person airfare credit; Penthouse Suite, rates from $970, up to $800 per person airfare credit, and The Tides Suite, rates from $1,150, up to $1,000 per person airfare credit. There is a limit of two per room, with a four-night minimum stay required. Booking must be made by July 31 for stays through December 18, 2009. The traveler’s pre-purchased airline ticket must be presented at the front desk at check-in; a credit amount will be deducted from the room folio at checkout. There is no cash value; blackout dates apply. The offer is subject to availability at time of request. This promotion does not apply to groups, and is not combinable with other offers. The Tides Riviera Maya, 866-332-1672,; The Tides Zihuatanejo, 866-905-9560, • Travel World News

LATIN AMERICA REMODELING, VISITS FROM HEADS OF STATE AND AWARDS FOR PRESIDENTE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS At the 34th Tiangus Turístico (tourism fair) of Acapulco, the directors of the Presidente Group, Hotel Operators, Restaurants, and Vacation Club, gathered with friends of the national and foreign press, and with travel agents from all over the world, to share the Group’s plans for new projects and development. The Group has launched a multi-million remodeling of their hotel in Guadalajara that will include a complete modernization of the guest rooms and public areas of the hotel, as well as the installation of the most advanced technology. The renovation will conclude at the end of 2009. The Group also plans to remodel their properties in Cancun and Ixtapa. Presidente InterContinental Hotel recently housed Barack Obama during his first official visit to Mexico City. The hotel has been internationally recognized and selected by important heads of state, royalty, and celebrities. Since opening in 1977, the hotel has hosted over 80 official visits including the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, The Kings and Princes of Spain, the Princes of Belgium, the President of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, the Presidents of Argentina, Carlos Menem and Fernando de la Rua, the President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and the President of Cuba, Fidel Castro. The Mexico City hotel was recently awarded the distinct title Socially Responsible Company 2009 (ESR®) and also holds certificates of Eco-friendly Tourism. It has recently been recognized with the Five Star Diamond Award, presented by the American Academy of Hospitality and Sciences, the Excellence Award, by the InterContinental Hotels Group, and is now included on the list of the 100 best companies to work for in Mexico compiled by Top Companies. The Presidente InterContinental Hotel, Cozumel, was also recently awarded the Five Star Diamond Award. Presidente InterContinental Hotels and Resorts,

Travel World News •

GRAY LINE–MEXITOURS EXPLORES RICH CULTURE OF MEXICO Gray Line–Mexitours has a six-day/five-night Independence Route that examines the fabulous cultural and historical highlights of Mexico. The itinerary enables travelers to explore Mexico City’s historic downtown district with the National Palace and its beautiful murals painted by the great muralist Diego Rivera, the constitution square or “Zocalo,” the Main Aztec Temple and the Metropolitan Cathedral, Chapultepec Park and the “Pink Zone.” Next is a visit to Querétaro and the Aqueduct, the Convent of the crosses and the historic district and then on to San Miguel de Allende, home to intellectuals and artists, with its Parish church with the Holy House Chapel, the Inquisitor’s House, the San Francisco church and the Allende’s house. Visitors go to Dolores Hidalgo, where in 1810, the father Don Miguel Hidalgo, began the Independence war; then to spectacular Guanajuato—full of beautiful colonial mansions, alleys and plazas, the University, the Juarez Theater, the Kissing Alley and the Diego Rivera’s house. Other attractions are the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, the Museum of Don Quixote and the museum of the Mommies. Included in the offer are: three nights in Mexico City, one night in San Miguel de Allende, one night in Guanajuato, daily breakfast, arrival and departure transfers in Mexico city, Mexico City tour, ticket for bus ride from Guanajuato to Mexico, transfer in bus station to hotel, an English-speaking guide, and lodging taxes. Not included is the transfer in Guanajuato from the hotel to the bus station. Prices range from $701 to $790 for single, $537–$566 double, and triple is $509–$534. The price for children accompanied is $285 extra per child. Hotels on the Route are four-star or similar and will be confirmed according to their availability. Departures are on Wednesday to San Miguel de Allende every week, and passengers must arrive minimum two days before to Mexico City. Gray Line–Mexitours,

JUNE 2009 •



Price Canyon Ranch, an authentic working cattle and guest ranch homesteaded in 1879, is owned currently by just the fifth owners of the incredible spot—5,400 feet above sea level in the heart of the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona. With only 10 exclusive guest suites, the ranch can cater to its guests, yet still help them experience an authentic western lifestyle. There are two working rides per day and cattle drives generally the first week of every month, with brandings four–six times a year. A 20-percent commission is offered to agents and tour operators. Rates are the same during all four seasons; for 2009 (including all horseback riding, three incredible meals each day, and lodging) prices are $245 per person, per day, for single occupancy. $220 ppdo. A 10-percent discount is applied to stays of seven nights or more; 6.5-percent tax and 15-percent gratuity are added. There is a $50 surcharge for the cattle drives. Lessons are available for the first time or experienced rider, in all disciplines of western riding for $50 an hour. To fully appreciate ranch values and atmosphere, a minimum stay of three nights is necessary during season (October and April). A minimum two-night stay is required all other times. The ranch has a swimming pool during the summer months (unheated) and a hot tub year round. All riding is supervised. Children (at least 12) must be supervised at all times by their parents or legal guardian. Price Canyon is an operating cattle ranch without children’s programs. Round trip transportation is available from the Tucson, Arizona International Airport for $450 a vehicle (maximum four per vehicle). Price Canyon Ranch, 800-727-0065,,

RENEWAL RETREAT AT HAWLEY MOUNTAIN GUEST RANCH FEATURES SPECIAL GUEST Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch, in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness of Montana, is offering a budget-minded weeklong Renewal Retreat. At the unique Wellness Vacation, guests can at38 • JUNE 2009

tend daily movement sessions, fly fish in the ranch’s trout pond or on the Boulder River, hike one of many nearby trails, join in meditation sessions in the lodge or on the plateau overlooking the valley, partake in journal-writing exercises, or simply sit in peaceful quiet and read a good book. Heidi Fledderjohn, a highly qualified facilitator for Hawley Mountain’s Renewal Retreats, has carefully created the content, entitled “Return to the Source,” so each day provides time to share the surrounding wilderness as a group, in addition to space for people to spend much needed time alone. Her intent is to provide a “renewed sense of strength, delight, peace and the capacity to make change.” Whether sitting around the campfire, soaking in the hot tub under the stars or listening to the river flowing through the Boulder River Valley from the quiet of a porch or balcony, the peacefulness of this unique setting renews energy and spirit. Also during summer season, the ranch offers competitively-priced family vacations that include horseback riding, fly fishing, a 4x4 trip to a ghost town and alpine lake, boat float on the Yellowstone River and many hikes and cookouts. A 10-percent commission is offered to travel agents. Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch, 877-496-7848, www.hawleymountain/wellnessretreat.htm,

GREENHORN CREEK GUEST RANCH IS FOR COWGIRLS AND COWBOYS This summer, dads can thrill to a Father’s Day dream vacation at Greenhorn Ranch in Quincy, California. On June 13 beginning at 5:30, Mike Pease, who’s fished the lakes and streams of Plumas County for over 40 years, will give a fly fishing demonstration at the Greenhorn Trout Pond, and then on Father’s Day, June 14, from 8:30 am until noon, he’ll present a clinic training in the art. The cost is $75 for dad and a guest, and $50 for dad only (includes breakfast). Ranch guests are $25 a person. Pre-registration is required but last-minute registrations are taken if guests have their own gear. Rods and reels can be purchased for the workshop through Greenhorn (with two-week advanced registration, $150). There’s also the best horseback riding in the Sierra Nevada, swimming, hiking and mountain biking at Greenhorn Creek. Guests can also enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride to cookouts in the forest, horseshoe contests and rodeo games. There’s even a kiddie corral for wee wranglers 3–5 years old, and treats too for the inner cowgirl—whether in the saddle on the trail or in the saloon kicking it up to famous country crooners. Line dancing is taught, there are bonfire sing-alongs three times a week, and an outdoor movie with popcorn and homemade ice cream. The region boasts the famous Feather River Canyon Bi-Way and the historic towns of Quincy and Graeagle just 12 miles in each direction from the Ranch. Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch, 800-334-6939,, • Travel World News



Elk Mountain Ranch in Buena Vista, Colorado, is offering a week at the Ranch for $1,300 per adult for the weeks of May 31 and June 7, 2009. The intimate, remote, family-oriented ranch offers the best activities Colorado has to offer. Included in the weekly package is riding through unspoiled wilderness, a thrilling whitewater raft trip (through Labor Day), marksmanship, archery, trapshooting, fishing, hiking, van trip to Aspen, hayride and campfire, square-dancing, evening entertainment and more. An overnight pack trip is offered in off-season for a small additional charge. Also on special for the season is a rate of half price for the youngest child with two full-paying adults. At the Ranch, families ride, dine and play together. For little buckaroos seven and below, a children’s program is provided where kids enjoy riding in the arena, hiking, fishing, arts and crafts, and caring for petting zoo animals while still ensuring plenty of quality family time. A 10-percent commission is offered to travel agents. Elk Mountain Ranch,

Grapevine Canyon Ranch, an Arizona dude and working cattle ranch, offers exciting horseback riding vacations, pack trips and adventure horse treks in the prettiest part of Arizona. The Dragoon Mountains, rich in western history as well as Indian history, were once the home of Apache chief Cochise, and infamous Geronimo, feuding cowboys and Indians, miners seeking riches in the towns of Pearce, Tombstone and Bisbee—all notorious names in the history of the Old West. As well as the best trail rides and advanced rides, guests experience the extraordinary rest and relaxation features of a healthy and tranquil getaway vacation. There’s unforgettable stargazing under spectacular night skies, birding, camping, and hiking. Visitors ride well-trained, willing, responsive horses and enjoy secluded cabins and soul-satisfying home-cooked meals. The ranch is perfect for a group retreat, a family reunion, anniversary, or special occasion. Travel agents are offered a 12-percent commission on regular rates. Grapevine Canyon Ranch, 800-245-9202,,

COFFEE CREEK RANCH PAYS TOP COMMISSION TO AGENTS A 367-acre ranch lying along an excellent fly-fishing stream, Coffee Creek is nestled in the Trinity Alps wilderness area of Northern California with postcard views of mountains and lakes. With 16 cabins available from Easter until Thanksgiving—11 with wood-burning stoves—the ranch provides a romantic spot with numerous activities for fun and adventure. Individual cabins accommodate up to eight; there are usually around 45 guests a week. Stays at Coffee Creek are all-inclusive. The price includes lodging, meals, horseback riding and other activities, including the supervised children’s program. There are horseshoes, ping-pong, fishing, archery, hiking, rifle shooting, line dancing, hay rides, bonfires, Jacuzzi, heated swimming pool, karaoke, talent show, bingo, wine tasting, darts, volleyball, trapshooting, and gold panning! A 10-percent commission is paid for partial weeks, July, August and holidays; 15 percent for June; and 20 percent all other times (full weeks). Discounts are offered to military and veterans. Romantic weekends for spring and fall are available for $975 a couple. Fam trips—April, May, September, October—are offered at 50 percent off daily rates (week’s stay not necessary!). IATA/IATAN card information is essential. Two spa “Skin & Leather” Weekends are offered at $698 per person for June 5–7 and August 28–30 for ladies only. Included is one massage, a class on skin care, a class on making spa treatments from home, horse riding lessons; two nights private cabins, all meals and riding. Coffee Creek Ranch, 800-624-4480, Travel World News •

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Paradise Ranch, near the Old West town of Buffalo, Wyoming, has stood the test of time. “Paradise Ranch has been operating as a guest ranch for over 100 years. Our visitors recognize the fact that this is a cost-effective way to vacation,” says Paradise Ranch owner Clay Miller. Upon arrival, guests can put away their wallet because cash won’t needed for a full seven days. All activities, meals and lodging are included in one flat fee. Rates range from $1,200 per adult per week during the early season (early June) to $1,975 per adult per week in high season (August). Children’s rates ($550–$1,850) depend on age of child and time of year. Specially-trained wranglers run the kids’ program and age-specific activities. Extended families also gather here for reunions and anniversaries: no cars necessary, activities fully arranged, and nobody has to cook! Female guests can enjoy a women-only stay in September. Besides the usual sports and riding, massages can follow, and wine tasting and cooking demos add interest. A more relaxed riding schedule results from fewer guests on the ranch early and late summer. In 2009, adults-only weeks are offered June 7 to 14 for $1,200 per person and also August 23 to September 27 and cost $1,400 each. Paradise Ranch is renowned for its horseback-riding programs, ultra-knowledgeable wranglers and guides leading trips two hours to four days long. Wildlife viewing is outstanding, meals are festive, and nightly entertainment includes cowboy sing-a-longs, square dancing and talent shows. Other amenities include an outdoor swimming pool and horseshoe pits. Meeting planners can use the Ranch’s conference space for 50 with 2,400 square feet of space. And Paradise Ranch can accommodate up to 70 for a destination wedding in one of the most beautiful locations in all of Wyoming. Paradise will pay travel agents a 10% commission during the entire season this year. Paradise Guest Ranch,, 40 • JUNE 2009

LONG HOLLOW RANCH OFFERS ALL-INCLUSIVE DUDE RANCH VACATIONS For the real, down and dirty experience of moving cattle, riding the terrain of Central Oregon at sunset and sitting next to a (sometimes dirty) cowboy, then Long Hollow Ranch is the place to ride. Long Hollow Ranch is Oregon’s only working dude ranch and is situated on over 500 acres surrounded by elk and alpaca farms in Central Oregon’s high desert, yet conveniently located just 30 minutes from world-renowned Bend. Guests stay in a historic farmhouse B&B (with private facilities and showers), where they enjoy incredible Cascade Mountains range and Smith Rock panoramic views. Daily flights are available on major airlines offering numerous travel options. Long Hollow Ranch caters to guests’ preferences whether it’s learning how to rope, bird watching, hiking, star gazing, sitting by the fire, reading on the veranda or casting a fly in the Ranch ponds or world-class Deschutes River. It’s convenient also to numerous world-class golf courses, rock climbing at Smith Rock, mountain biking and white water rafting. A special 10-percent consideration is given to travel agents for all overnight accommodations booked by July 1, 2009. Long Hollow Ranch,,

BAR W GUEST RANCH HAS PLENTY PLANNED FOR THE SEASON There are several terrific retreats set at the beautiful Bar W Guest Ranch on Spencer Lake in Northwest Montana for the upcoming months. One is a six-night/five-day “Cowgirl Up at the Bar W Guest Ranch,” September 27 through October 3 or October 11–17. The all-inclusive package is for women who want to “Cowgirl Up” with best friends, sisters, daughters, or just come alone and enjoy the camaraderie as the “girls” take over the ranch. In addition to trails, prairies and mountainous terrain, novice and experienced riders will enjoy working cattle and learning the fine skills of individual and team sorting and penning. For the more experienced, there’s an opportunity to try barrel racing and roping. The real treat: a honey and hot cream rock foot massage followed by a couple hours of real pampering. At the end of the day, the best-tasting base camp food of a lifetime is the reward. Bar W Guest Ranch also teams up with the Covered Wagon Ranch of Big Sky, Montana, to allow guests to experience the jaw-dropping beauty of both Glacier National and Yellowstone National Parks in one spectacular vacation. Bar W is a short 23-mile drive to the West entrance of Glacier; Covered Wagon Ranch is a 30-mile drive full of breathtaking sites to the West entrance of Yellowstone. Guests spend three nights and two days at each ranch—soaking in the western hospitality, riding, relaxing and seeing each park. Or choose whitewater rafting, skeet shooting, wagon rides, singing at the campfires, cookouts, spectacular fishing—or just kicking back with Montana’s beauty the view. Bar W Guest Ranch, 866-828-2900, • Travel World News


Recreational Divers: Affluent Travel Customers


y most estimates there are about 2 – 3 million active “certified” divers in the US today. Most certified divers – in fact more than 70% - have in mind traveling to an international destination, where the water is warm and clear, for their first diving experiences. Travel is obviously an important part of the recreational diving experience and that fact makes it logical that the most active divers have time and money to travel. According to the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) the “lifestyle” and demographics of the active diving customer make it clear that this is a lucrative niche for the travel professional to target. Active divers tend to have an extremely high disposable income, a high value set and high expectations. In the US this type of potential customer is highly sought after by all marketers, especially marketers of luxury products. This target is comfortable with (in fact, they demand) the trappings of luxury consistent with their lifestyle. From a destination and standard of living perspective, this is the same target sought after by Four Seasons and W Hotels. More than 70% of all divers also indicate they will take at least one international trip each year for an average stay of seven days each. According to a 2005 AARP study of 41 to 59 year old adults, conducted by Knowledge Networks, these older affluent adults are active, healthy and seeking adventure. – A majority consider themselves adventurous (55%) and nearly 8 in 10 boomers (77%) consider their own travel experiences more adventurous than their parents. – The top five locations they would like to visit on their dream trip are, in order, located in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia/New Zealand, and Africa (all of which have exciting diving opportunities). The research also indicates that these

Travel World News •

Divers have time and money to travel.

individuals see themselves as younger than their age implies, and a majority consider themselves adventurous more adventurous than their parents. These older affluent consumers have already traveled to exciting and exotic destinations, and many have also participated in adventurous activities on so called “adventure travel” excursions, and as a part of their leisure activities. Findings suggest that these adults still have travel dreams to fulfill. Travelers who also dive look for ways to incorporate diving into their travel activities. To take advantage of this market, the travel agent must have (at least) a rudimentary knowledge of diving. Becoming a “certified” diver is the best way for a travel professional to learn the jargon, understand the needs and have direct experiences to relate. But becoming acquainted through an introductory diving program at your local diving retailer or your favorite destination/diving resort is the next best thing.

tors. But there are different ways to learn more. One is for Travel Agents to attend trade shows that help promote diving and provide education on the destinations that offer it. For the first time in 2009, DEMA Show, the largest diving and watersports show in the world, is offering educational opportunities to teach diving specialist programs for travel professionals. Travel Agents will be able to try diving at the show ABSOLUTELY FREE in the warm comfortable Be A Diver Pool, and can register to win a diver free certification course from their local DEMA Member Retail Store. DEMA Show will be held November 4 to Nov 7 in Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, and will attract Government Ministries of Tourism from all over the Caribbean and the World. One of Trade Show Week’s top 200 trade only shows in the US, there’s no better place to connect with hundreds of exotic diving destinations, diving retailers and professionals in all aspects of diving.


WHO IS THE DIVING TRAVEL CUSTOMER? Active divers– mostly older adults, those with the time and money to spend on travel and recreational diving are: • Age – Between 38 & 53 years old – Mean: 45 • 76% are male • Household Income – 56% make between $75,000 and $100,000 • Occupation – 80% are White-Collar/ Professional/ Technical/ Management

How Can a Travel Agent Most Easily Get Involved?

• Home ownership – 93% own their own home

Travel professionals can easily become involved with the diving niche in a number of ways. First by networking with local dive retailers that are creating new travel customers. Diving always starts with a retail store and its instruc-

• Mortgage amount – Mean of $175,000, Median of $148,000 • Marital Status – 71% married • Presence and age of children – 17% have kids under 18 JUNE 2009 •


PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS SANDOS HOTELS & RESORTS INTRODUCES DIVING THEME WEEKS AT RIVIERA MAYA PROPERTIES For divers looking to explore the world’s second largest living coral reef—the Meso-American Barrier Reef—Sandos Hotels & Resorts, with four all-inclusive products on the Riviera Maya, Mexico, has introduced Diving theme weeks, priced at $285 per person, June through December 2009. Each Diving week package features three days of ocean dives (two-tank dive each day) and one day of cenote dives (two-tank dive). All participants must have a diving certification prior to participating in a scheduled week. A minimum four-night stay is required to book the Diving week. The price of $285 per person is added on to the cost of an allinclusive stay. Scheduled weeks are June 19–26, September 4–11, October 9–16, and December 11–18. Additional dates will be scheduled through 2010. The specific theme week “package” must be added to the reservation at the time of booking. Each Diving week features an underwater photo contest for participants with a chance to win a complimentary stay at one of the Sandos Hotels & Resorts properties. An all-inclusive Sandos Hotels & Resort vacation includes all meals and beverages; sporting activities; watersports; use of fitness center and spa; daily activities program; water and beach activities; supervised “Kids


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.

TWO GREAT VACATION GETAWAYS: Summer Buster Offer - US$100.00 off Per Person (dbl occ) Visiting Travel Agent Special Exclusive - 50% off Published Rates Dive, Adventure and Honeymoon Packages available now thru December 18, 2009



email: website:

email: website:

toll free: 1-800-688-0191

toll free: 1-800-820-1631

42 • JUNE 2009

Club” and “Teen Club;” nightly entertainment and entrance to the disco; and all hotel taxes and service charges. Sandos Hotels & Resorts, 866-887-5601,

MADURO DIVE FANTA-SEAS CAN SAVE CLIENTS UP TO 65 PERCENT OFF Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas is the only official dive travel wholesaler for the Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple Resorts. Each of the Sandals resort group caters to a different market segment. Sandals provides ultimate luxury for couples, Beaches’ market is familyoriented, and Grand Pineapple offers moderate pricing. What makes this especially relevant to travel agents wanting to profit from a niche market is that scuba diving is included and the resorts have a broad range of activities for every diver and vacation traveler at one low price. All of Maduro’s packages are backed by the company’s Best Rate Guarantee, to ensure that agents are also providing clients with the best possible pricing. This includes the Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple product lines. The resorts are also “all-inclusive.” A new tab, All-inclusive/All Meals, or a direct search by property name is available at on the Maduro website for all Sandals, Beaches or Grand Pineapple properties. Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas, 800-327-6709,,

NEW SUMMER DIVE DEAL WITH SPICE ISLAND BEACH RESORT, GRENADA At Spice Island Beach Resort in Grenada divers may enjoy the luxury and pampering of a renowned AAA four-diamond, awardwinning resort combined with the professional dive service of Aquanauts Grenada, during a special Summer 2009 Dive Deal. Several room options and dive combinations are offered. Oleander Garden Suite, six nights/10 dives per room is $4,626 and 20 dives per room, $5,196; eight nights/10 dives per room is $5,302 and 20 dives per room, $5,872. Seagrape Beach Suite, six nights/10 dives per room is $5,718 and 20 dives per room, $6,288; eight nights/10 dives per room is $6,576 and 20 dives per room, $7,146. The Royal Collection Pool Suite, six nights/10 dives per room is $8,760 and 20 dives per room, $9,333; eight nights/10 dives per room is $10,125 and 20 dives per room, $10,695. Dive packages are based on two tank morning dives and include all gear hire, tanks, weights, dive guide, divers-tea on board and towels. Rates (ppdo) include taxes and service charge and are valid for travel from May 1 through August 31 and October 1–31, 2009. Reservations and booking may be made by telephone, email or online. Aquanauts Grenada, 800-513-5257,,; Spice Island Beach Resort, • Travel World News


Left to right: AMAWATERWAYS President, Rudi Schreiner; Vice President, Sales, Kristin Karst; Director of European Operations, Wade Korzan; Ship’s Godmother, Michelle Morgan; Ship’s Captain, Jan de Bruin and Vilshofen Mayor, Georg Krenn at the christening of MS Amalyra on April 12. AMAWATERWAYS, 800-626-0126,

‘VIETNAM, CAMBODIA & THE RICHES OF THE MEKONG’ BROCHURE NOW AVAILABLE FROM AMAWATERWAYS The wonders of South East Asia hold a unique allure for travelers, and now AMAWATERWAYS has combined the region’s most fabled sights into one spectacular new program. A glossy new brochure, “Vietnam, Cambodia and the Riches of the Mekong 2009-2011” sets forth sailing dates, prices and other details, and is available now. The brochure sets forth complete itineraries for the 15-day program, as well as an optional eight-day Central Vietnam pre-extension and an optional four-day Hong Kong postextension. Highlights of the program are two nights in Vietnam’s bustling capital of Hanoi, famous for its graceful colonial architecture, verdant parks, tranquil lakes and ancient temples; an overnight cruise onboard a luxurious traditional Junk in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its spectacular limestone cliffs; three nights in Siem Reap, Cambodia, gateway to the Angkor Archeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the legendary Angkor Wat; a sevennight cruise on the Mekong River aboard the luxurious, new 92passenger MS La Marguerite, the most deluxe vessel on the Mekong; and an overnight in historic Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. AMAWATERWAYS, 800-626-0126, 44 • JUNE 2009

DEILMANN’S ITINERARIES BLEND U.S., CARIBBEAN, LATIN-AMERICAN PORTS Travelers sailing with Peter Deilmann EuropAmerica Cruises can shake off the advent of cold weather blues with a choice of three sailings aboard the luxurious 520-guest MS Deutschland and heading to sun-soaked ports in the southern U.S., Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico in November and December. The 15-, 16- and 17-night voyages each spend two nights in New Orleans. Other highlights include stops in New York, Key West, Cozumel, Jamaica, St. Barts, Martinique, Venezuela, Curacao and Panama. Deilmann is offering $1,500 per person savings on all stateroom/suite categories, reducing fares to $4,320 to $19,150 ppdo. Other incentives include $99 economy roundtrip airfare from dozens of North American gateways; or for those booking their own air, an additional $750 fare reduction; and a complimentary shore excursion package worth $600 per person. Departing Baltimore on November 17, the 16-night cruise takes in Philadelphia and New York. The ship spends most of a day headed up and back down the Mississippi River before settling in New Orleans for two nights of fun. Then off to Mexico, with calls at San Miguel de Allende and Progreso. Disembarkation takes place in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Prices with the discount range from $4,820 to $17,510 ppdo. In addition to Progreso, the 15-night sailing departing Jamaica on December 3 puts a spotlight on Central America, with calls at Honduras’ Puerto Cortéz, and the Guatemalan port of Santo Tomas de Castilla. Guests also get a taste of Americana, with visits to Galveston and in Florida, St. Petersburg and Key West. Prices with savings are $4,320 to $15,440. The MS Deutschland spends two nights in New Orleans beginning December 18 before departing on a 17-night sailing. A stop in Key West is followed by a host of Caribbean ports before disembarking in Balboa, Panama. Ports of call along the way include Margarita Island’s El Guamache off the coast of Venezuela; Puerto Rico’s San Juan, and San Felipe del Morro and San Cristobal fortresses; St. Barts’ Gustavia, and Fort-de-France. Also on the Caribbean port roster are Scarborough, the capital of Tobago, Willemstad and Montego Bay. Discounted fares range from $5,220 to $19,150. Port charges of $165 per person; air taxes and air fuel surcharges are included in the $99 airfare; cruise fuel surcharges are no longer collected. Peter Deilmann EuropAmerica Cruises, 800-348-8287,, • Travel World News

PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS SWAN HELLENIC WILL SET SAIL ON MINERVA ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION Minerva, the pioneers of discovery cruising in the UK, will once again be sailing south for winter 2009/10 to remote continent of Antarctica. This will be the last opportunity in a while aboard Minerva to explore the rugged scenery of the Falklands Islands, South Georgia, the South Shetland Islands and to the Antarctic Peninsula itself, and passengers booking now will save approximately $2,365 per person. The award-winning Minerva Antarctic Expedition will explore islands of rare beauty in the South Atlantic amid landscapes that range from pristine ice cliffs to volcanic beaches and jagged peaks. Zodiac inflatable craft will allow travelers to access sheltered inlets for close cruising and to admire the abundant wildlife at close quarters. Crossing the Scotia Sea to the tip of Antarctica, passengers will step ashore to wildlife that includes king and chinstrap penguins, numerous varieties of seal, wandering albatrosses and silent whales. Minerva has been operating cruises to Antarctica since 2003, ensuring the perfect mix of adventure and exploration with on-board comforts. Photographs and a diary depicting highlights of the cruise are also posted on Swan Hellenic’s website. Antarctica cruises operate from November 2009 through February 2010. Fares start from approximately $4,552 per per-

Travel World News •

son for an outside cabin on Classic Antarctica I, departing on December 6, 2009 (previously around $6,916). Swan Hellenic,,

DISCOVER THE FAR EAST WITH VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY A Voyage of Discovery is the best way to explore the Oriental treasures of Asia and The Far East, and (as if any more incentive were needed) passengers that book now will save at least $760 per couple and enjoy a complimentary cabin upgrade (limited time only). Passengers will take in the sights, sounds and experiences of cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong in search of exotic wildlife, new cultures, history with breathtaking scenery. A hallmark of any Discovery cruise is its comprehensive program of guest speakers. These historians, explorers, naturalists and diplomats enrich passengers’ experiences with their expertise, insights and interests both in fascinating lectures and around the dining table. Discovery has been expressly conceived to create an atmosphere on board that is friendly and relaxed. All incidentals, such as visits to the gym or the sauna, meals and entertainment are included in the price. Voyages of Discovery,,

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Luca di Montezemolo, head of Fiat, is also the man who led Ferrari to an incredible series of racing victories. An ambassador of Italian style, he’s determined now to make a new train service— Italo—the best in the world, as Ferrari’s been noted in the automotive field. Mr. Montezemolo, with other major entrepreneurs, has created the first Italian private high-speed railway operator: Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori. An ambitious project, $1,364,920,000 will be invested. Previously a State-run monopoly, this first-time private passenger service is in anticipation of EU railway liberalization that will begin in 2010 for the rest of Europe. It will mean a massive change for the Italian travel sector and new opportunity for tourists coming to Italy. The company was founded with Diego Della Valle (owner of luxury brand Tod’s and Fay), the most important Italian bank IntesaSanpaolo, the biggest Italian insurance company Generali, the entrepreneur Alberto Bombassei (Chairman of Brembo brakes) and the French railways SNCF. NTV will focus on lines between large Italian cities (Turin-MilanBologna-Florence-Rome-Naples-Salerno, Rome-Bari and RomeFlorence-Bologna-Venice), and expects to capture around 20 percent of the Italian high-speed market, operating a fleet of 25 new ultra high-speed trains ordered French manufacturer Alstom. NTV will be the first client of Alstom to receive the AGV, the record-setter worldwide of speed for a train at over 356 miles an hour. The train is due to begin service in 2011. Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV),

BIKE TOURING IN SWITZERLAND EASIER THAN EVER Until recently, bicycle tourists in Europe could tour solo and struggle with maps and heavy panniers or purchase an expensive tour package. In Switzerland there’s now one easy option. Bike Switzerland is an outfitter in Geneva that gives cyclists everything they need: quality bikes, gear, accommodations and GPS systems with programmed routes and cultural information. No unfolding maps and missing turns, riders just keep following the 46 • JUNE 2009

red line on their GPS. The unit signals the sites and leads bikers directly to their hotel. Bike Switzerland’s luggage transfer network means no bike bags to carry. The only hard part is pedaling. Originally from Iowa, John Klemme has been running bicycle tours in Switzerland for over five years and is optimistic about the future. “This economy has helped our business”, John says. “Regular tourists are understanding that this is a cheap, safe and sustainable way of exploring Europe. We can sit down and work out an itinerary for anyone based on fitness level or area of interest. Indeed with nine different national cycling routes crisscrossing the country, bikers in Switzerland have a lot of choice. And at $990 dollars for a nine-day tour, Switzerland may soon be a well-known budget travel destination. Bike Switzerland,,

GO BARGING’S CRUISES ON THAMES AND VENICE LAGOON PERFECT FOR SEEING FAMOUS REGATTAS Go Barging, Europe’s largest luxury barge cruising company, is once again this year offering specific cruise itineraries aboard two hotel barges—Magna Carta and La Dolce Vita—to coincide with the world-famous rowing events Henley Royal Regatta on the River Thames (July 1–5) and the Regatta Storica (September 6) in Venice. The special six-night/seven-day cruise on the River Thames aboard the elegant Magna Carta starts from Windsor and ends upstream at Henley, taking in some of England’s most beautiful riverside scenery and magnificent historical landmarks, including Eton College, Cliveden, Mapledurham House, and the Colleges of Oxford. Magna Carta will also cruise along the ‘Regatta Mile’ into Henley-on-Thames, where passengers will be given a tour of this wonderful old town, including the award-winning River and Rowing Museum. There will also be the opportunity to watch the Regatta if preferred.Prices start at $3,500 per person, based on an eight-passenger charter, including accommodation aboard in air-conditioned, ensuite cabins, gourmet meals, fine wines, an open bar and all excursions. The Regatta Storica is an event that first took place in Venice in 1315. The climax of the event is the champions’ race on two-oared ‘gondolini,’ light boats shaped as a very slim gondola. Winning in ‘Canalasso,’ as natives call the Grand Canal, is still today the greatest wish of every racer. Passengers on La Dolce Vita will be able to admire the Regatta from the sundeck of the barge on the Canale della Giudecca in front of Saint Mark’s Square, while enjoying a fine, traditional Venetian menu. Then they embark on a fascinating six-day/seven-night cruise around Venice and its waterways. Prices for the all inclusive cruise aboard La Dolce Vita start at just $3,000 per person, based on a six-passenger charter, including accommodation aboard in air-conditioned, ensuite cabins, gourmet meals, fine wines, an open bar and all excursions. Go Barging, 800-394-8630, • Travel World News

PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS MEXICO TOURISM BOARD NAMES CONDUCTOR ALONDRA DE LA PARRA CULTURAL AMBASSADOR The Mexico Tourism Board has chosen Mexican Orchestra Conductor, Alondra de la Parra, as Cultural Ambassador for Mexico’s Tourism. Having earned a place as ALONDRA DE LA PARRA one of the most promising conductors on the international conducting scene today, Alondra now has the significant role of directing Mexico’s rich culture, divine beauty and essence through her work in music. One of the most compelling conductors of her generation, de la Parra was recently named one of six “Young Artists on the Rise” by Symphony magazine, and she also holds the distinction of being the first woman from Mexico to conduct in New York City. By joining forces with Mexico, she hopes to showcase the cultural diversity of her country as her inspiration for her work. Most recently, De la Parra conducted a gala concert with the Washington National Opera and Placido Domingo, entitled “Placido Domingo Sings: “From My Latin Soul.” She will also be collaborating with Mexican Tenor Rolando Vallazon in concerts this summer. Mexico Tourism Board,;

DISCOVER HEIRLOOM CUISINE PRESENTS CULINARY VACATION ADVENTURES Discover Heirloom Cuisine, a weeklong reality experience, meets increasing demand for culinary travel vacations, following in the footsteps of farmers to learn the story of sustainable heirloom foods and farms. Domestic culinary vacation itineraries feature agriculturally diverse North Travel World News •

Central Washington. A maximum 12 guests experience daily lifestyle immersion, farm visits, boutique artisan producers, and chef demonstrations. Daily menu selections feature fresh heirloom produce, seasonal fruits, and vegetables, chosen directly from local growers. Culinary travel is sizzling hot for 2009, a top pick by Specialty Travel Trends and Destinations by the Specialty Travel Agents Association. The STAA states a growing demand for travel that includes local cuisine with gourmet itineraries: “Options worldwide may include learning about food production, local market excursions, cooking classes, artisan workshops, wine tasting and farm stays. Food is a testament to the richness and vibrancy of a culture, and it forges understanding, connects people, and reveals traditions layered with history. Despite economic challenges, people are continuing to pursue travel experiences that allow them to indulge in their passions and invigorate their mental well-being.” Each Discover Heirloom Cuisine program explores agriculture rich destinations, cross-cultural and reality experiences. Guests are enticed to discover the flavor of the earth, share creative cuisine, feel personal substance through relationships to sustainable agriculture, to rural roots of agriculture history, and raised awareness of value and benefits to future generations. Discover Heirloom Cuisine, 877-459-9686,,

August, guests booking a four or six-day package also receive complimentary pretrip hotel accommodations at the Holiday Inn Express in nearby Chula Vista. A sixday/six-night program inclusive of meals, lodging, guided activities and roundtrip air from San Diego is $1,695 ppdo, or roughly $285 per person, per day. By comparison, an eight-day/seven-night Galapagos cruise on a first class yacht is approximately $3,200 per person, double occupancy (about $400 per day) for just the cruise portion only before the additional expense of pre/post trip lodging and international and regional air. Flight times to the islands can be in excess of 6 to 8 hours from most U.S. cities. Las Animas is located in Baja’s Midriff Island region in the Sea of Cortez, biologically the richest body of water on the planet supporting more than 900 species of marine vertebrates and more than 2,000 unique species of invertebrates. Baja AirVentures, 800-221-9283,

BAJA AIRVENTURES TAKES TRAVELERS TO REMOTE MIDRIFF ISLANDS Baja AirVentures features escapes to Mexico’s Galapagos, a pristine region of islands and coastline in the Sea of Cortez that offers experiences many liken to the natural wonders of the Galapagos. Twice weekly Baja AirVentures transports guests by private air carriage from San Diego to the off-the-grid Las Animas Wilderness Retreat in the Sea of Cortez’ Midriff Island region. And as a special incentive, for departures from now through JUNE 2009 •



Emilia Romagna VacationExperience Broadening the Someplace Completely Different JUNE 2009 The Magazine for DestinationTravel Specialists The...