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MARCH 2011







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MARCH 2011 executive office

28 Knight Street Norwalk, CT 06851-4707 Voice: 203.286.6679 • Fax: 203.286.6681 w e b s i t e

FITUR 2011 – World Tourism on Exhibit

CALENDAR OF EVENTS INDUSTRY NEWS EUROPE The BTC and Agora 2.0 Will Promote Common Identity for the Baltic Sea Region


Charles Gatt, Jr. editor

Carol A. Petro design production manager

Linda Rogers

Shawn Hebert • I T


4 10 11 14



For complete and current list please visit:

CARIBBEAN Jamaica’s Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa Makes Move to All-Inclusive Plan Exclusively


Caribbean Marketplace Returns to Jamaica, Caribbean Hotelier of the Year Announced


Generous Vacation Packages Offered at Treasure Beach Hotel Barbados


Sandos Carocol Eco-Resort & Spa – The Magic Planet and Sustainable Tourism


Glamour Destination Management Company Named Virtuoso On-Site for Jamaica



Cindy Johnson • c i r c u l a t i o n



cruise editor

Michael Iachetta southeast regional correspondent

Joan Gonzalez western regional correspondent

Connie Skoog

LATIN AMERICA Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges Sets Ecuador Four Worlds Tour


G T Tours has Useful Tools for Marketing Latin America


More Awards for Victoria House Belize


Travel World News (ISSN 1044-4602) is published monthly by Travel Industry Network, Inc., 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. The cost of a subscription in the USA is $25, in Canada $40. For subscribers outside USA or Canada, the rate is $80. Please send check or money order in U.S. dollars payable to Travel World News. For change of address, please enclose your mailing label and send to: Circulation Department, Travel World News, 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. Periodicals postage paid at Norwalk, CT, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Travel World News, 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. Address advertising inquiries and/or editorial copy to: Travel World News, 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Printed in USA. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission.

Costa Rica Calling With Two New Friendly Planet Travel Tours


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.

contributing editors

Mona Birch • Ann Charles • Gail P. Dubov Judith Glynn • Barry Goldsmith • Peggy Hageman George Hairston • Al Haut • Marjorie Klein • Peter Lowy Nancy Marcantonio • Anita Mason


D.O. Christian Rieger • Knox Robinson Helen Kitti Smith • Robin Swados • Diane Terry

PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS Ten Tips From World’s Top Tour Operator, Austin-Lehman Adventures


Down the Irrawaddy in Colonial Splendor


101 Dive Destinations Identified in Sabah, Malaysia


Europe’s Oldest Civilization: Malta’s Temple-Builders


Variety Cruises Unveils New Variety Voyager For Mediterranean Sailings


USTOA Winter–Spring Outdoor Adventures From Alaska to Himalayas


COVER PHOTO CREDITS: FITUR 2011, Austin-Lehman Adventures, Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa



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FITUR 2011 – World Tourism on Exhibit 2010’s 7% recovery fuels 2011’s anticipation. HELEN KIT TI SMITH

FITUR 2011 - Around the World As testament to the industry upswing, FITUR 2011 saw the return of three major exhibitors to the show: Iberia, the leading airline in the Spanish market, Amadeus, the multi-national tourism technology provider, and Accor, the French hotel group. In addition, three new destinations, the Republic of the Congo, Zambia and Pakistan, also participated in FITUR for the first time. In another sign of optimism, the Central American Tourism Promotion Agency (CATA) increased its presence at the show by 24 percent over past years.



he huge photograph displayed behind Spain’s Queen Sophia as she opened FITUR 2011 captured the mood of this year’s International Tourism Fair in Madrid. In a word, celebratory. The start of the show in January came six months after Spain, with a definitive extra time goal, defeated the Netherlands to win the country’s firstever World Cup fútbol championship. The thousands of travel industry professionals attending the show also had something to cheer about: a new UN World Tourism Organization report that documented a 7 percent global increase in tourism in 2010. The increase marked the continuation of a recovery that began in 2010 and, according to WTO projections, will continue in 2011 with a 4 percent growth. FITUR, the third largest travel industry show in the world, included representation from 166 countries, 10,500 companies and more than 200,000 attendees - tourism professionals: wholesalers, tour operators, travel agencies, transportation companies, hotels and accommodation facilities, leisure/ cultural service companies, and myriad international and Spanish domestic travel entities. More than 7,500 journalists covered the show, which ranks in importance only behind London’s World Travel Market and Berlin’s ITB. While providing a platform for international exhibitors, FITUR showcases Spain’s domestic tourism product and provides a meeting place for buyers and sellers. The show also takes note of industry trends, marked this year with the launch of FITUR LBGT to cater to the growing Lesbian/Bi-Sexual/Gay/ Transgender market. Underscoring the importance of the LBGT market was a recent report by Turespaña, the Spanish Institute of Tourism/Ministry of Economics that showed that LBGT tourists on average spend 30 percent more than other tourists.

Spain’s Queen Sophia opening FITUR 2011.

FITUR 2011 – In the Americas The Discover America Exhibit spotlighted New York City and Las Vegas, which advertised itself as “much more than just neon lights, casinos and fun.” For its part, New York highlighted new finds among its worldclass sites - a Cold War Era bunker below a ramp onto the Brooklyn Bridge, an unlikely bowling alley underneath the Frick Collection and “romantic corners” among the gardens at Rockefeller Center known only to a handful of lovers in the Big Apple. Mexico, broadly promoting its new moniker “Mexico - The Place You Thought You Knew,” defined 10 tourism routes that showcased a range from its pre-Hispanic heritage to its sundrenched destinations. According to Paulina Segura, an official with the Riviera Maya Destination Marketing Office, the region in 2011 will sharpen its focus on sustainable tourism. “Of 300 hotels along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, (the “Mayan Riviera”), one-third are registered as sustainable hotels and are actively engaged in those associated practices,” she said. “This is important. Over 50 percent of our arrivals are from North America, and we are accommodating demands to address the sustainable consciousness.” Peru showcased the capital city of Lima, which serves as the backdrop for several of the novels of native son and Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa. Colombia received the FITUR 2011 Best Stand Award for an exhibit that featured clean architectural lines that evoked the country’s warmth. Brazil directed its energies toward promoting its designation as host country for World Cup 2014. Embratur, Brazil’s national tourism entity, promoted the 12 cities that will host the games at this world-class sporting event. CONTINUED ON PAGE

4 • MARCH 2011

6 • Travel World News

INDUSTRY EVENTS For those planning to attend FITUR in the future, two very different, yet warmly Spanish hotel experiences are available. Just off the Gran Vía in the heart of Madrid, the Hotel Santo Domingo takes command. This 80-room property offers an inspired rooftop vista (and pool) near the Plaza Mayor. A variety of room décor indulges guests, while art can be found in Madrid’s most famous parking garage: hand-painted by rising Spanish artists. The hotel caters to an eclectic mix of guests, from families to business travelers. Doubles begin at $193. Agents receive 10% commission. In an up-scale neighborhood near the Paseo de la Castellana, the five-star Hotel Melia Castilla reigns. This regal property offers an elegant respite for any traveler. Outstanding amenities combined with classic European style underscore the small sense of place at this large city hotel. Internet specials


FITUR FROM PAGE 4 During FITUR in Madrid

New York City at FITUR 2011. year-round, and rack rate individual rooms begin from $456. Agents receive 10% commission. (All prices quoted based on 1 Euro = $1.40 US).

FITUR 2011,

MANAGING DIRECTOR, ANA LARRAÑAGA – MOVING INTO HER SECOND DECADE An upbeat Ana Larrañaga, managing director of Spain’s International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) remains optimistic about the future, citing predictions that global tourism will grow by about 4 percent in 2011. Although that’s lower than the industry’s 7 percent growth in 2010, according to the UN’s World Tourism Organization, it’s a vast improvement over the anemic performance during the worst of the worldwide recession the previous two years. The positive trend was evident in Madrid at the FITUR 2011 trade show, the third largest tourism fair in the world, which attracted nearly 11,000 exhibitors –from wholesalers to tour operators to travel agencies, hotel companies and transportation services. “For 2011, we saw large international companies return: Iberia, tourism technology provider Amadeus and the international hotel group Accor,” Larrañaga says. “That reflects the renewed vigor within the marketplace. ANA LARRAÑAGA This is important not only within Spain, where 92 percent of our population travels throughout our diverse country, but also the return of these large companies (to FITUR) has a positive impact on the international marketplace.” Larrañaga, FITUR’s top executive for 11 years, acknowledges that Spain’s trade show, the largest after London’s World Travel Market and Berlin’s ITB, plays an important role in the success of the industry, but credits the companies that exhibit at FITUR and travel professionals who attend with driving the show’s success. FITUR Under Managing Director Larrañaga Larrañaga’s management skills became evident from her first FITUR, in 2001, a fair that saw record-breaking numbers. A year later, FITUR 2002 opened just four months after the shock of the 9/11 attacks. Though subdued in spirit and reflecting the world’s somber mood, FITUR 2002’s numbers exceeded expectations, marked by a significant jump in participations by companies and attendance by journalists. FITUR 2003 showed a 3 percent increase in trade professionals, exhibitors and countries represented and then jumped 12 percent the following year. For FITUR 2005 – the 25th edition – an unprecedented number of professionals and companies attended, wildly exceeding the anticipated figures, and creating a milestone year in FITUR’s history. FITUR shows in 2006 and 2007 continued the upward trajectory. In 2007, 43 percent of the products exhibited at the trade fair were from outside of Spain, testifying to the show’s international flavor. Participation remained high in 2008 and 2009 despite the economic downturn and malaise that beset the travel and tourism industry. FITUR 2010 marked FITUR’s Third Decade Debut. Three new market sections were introduced to meet marketplace demands: INVESTOUR (Tourism Investment Forum for Spanish companies in Africa), INBOUND SPAIN (Destination Promotion for Spain), and FITUR GREEN (Sustainable Tourism Development). FITUR 2011 expanded to encompass what Larrañaga sees as an important and growing tourism market: FITUR LBGT – for the Lesbian/Bi-Sexual/Gay/Transgender segment. FITUR for 2012 During an interview with Travel World News, Larrañaga smiled when asked to discuss plans for FITUR 2012, saying she just wanted to get through FITUR 2011. Recognizing the importance of a day dedicated to networking, Larrañaga plans to provide travel professionals at next year’s show with better opportunities to market their products and services through “matchmaking events” called “B2B FITUR Workshops.” “Direct access and immediacy between buyers and exhibitors is important.” she says. 6 • MARCH 2011 • Travel World News


CARIBBEAN HOTEL & TOURISM INVESTMENT ITTFA, the International Tourism Trade Fairs Association, CONFERENCE MAY 10–12 IN JAMAICA

has launched an innovative program to support and develop new travel trade shows around the globe. Changes to entry requirements and the annual fee structure over the past few years have meant that membership has become more accessible to smaller and developing shows, as well as established ones. The Association has gone a step further now—and introduced ITTFA Incubator, which offers new shows an opportunity to benefit from the backing of the association and the experience and expertise of its members for minimum outlay. Tom Nutley, ITTFA’s Chairman since he helped establish the original association in 1992, stated, “Growth markets are an integral part of the future development and success of travel exhibitions and I am delighted that we now have an opportunity to assist new shows by providing them with a voice and an arena to promote their event, supported by tried and trusted organizational methods. Akwaaba, African Travel Market, currently a member of ITTFA and now in its sixth year, is now the most important travel marketing platform in the region, drawing attendance from over 20 countries. It is now a major fixture in the events calendar for Africa, listed by UNWTO as the only travel event in West Africa. ITTFA (International Tourism Trade Fairs Association),,

On the heels of a successful Caribbean Marketplace event in Jamaica, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) returns to the new Montego Bay Convention Center in Jamaica May 10–12, 2011, to stage the prestigious 15th Annual Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC). Registration is currently open at $450 per person, with the price increasing to $650 for registrations received after April 29. Sponsorship opportunities start at $8,000. Sponsors will be highlighted throughout the conference, as well as in CHTA’s marketing and public relations activities leading up to and following the event. The Sponsors’ Exhibit will also afford direct contact with representatives of sponsoring companies and will be open throughout the conference. In 2010, there were 26 conference sponsors. Sponsors currently confirmed include FirstCaribbean International, Interval International and MasterCard on the Patron Sponsorship level as well as Gold sponsors ARDA and Best Western International. CHTIC is staged by two not-for-profit organizations, CHTA representing the regional hotel and tourism associations, and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the public sector tourism body representing represents countries of the region. Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA),


36th Annual ATA Congress Hosted by:

THE REPUBLIC OF SENEGAL The Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts, Liaison with the Private Sector and Small Businesses When: May 25-29, 2011

Where: Dakar, Senegal

What: The four-day event provides a networking, learning and agenda-shaping platform for travel professionals, and addresses timely industry topics. It also offers professional development opportunities, round-tables for tourism ministers, an Africa Bazaar for buyers and sellers, host country days, gala dinners and pre- and post-country tours. Media Partner:

MORE INFORMATION • +1.212.447.1357 Travel World News •

MARCH 2011 •



Acting Director of Tourism Charles Lindo and Public Relations Officer Makeba Mitchell represented Oranjestad, St. Eustatius, in Utrect at the Netherlands’ largest vacation fair. Held annually in January, this year’s theme was “Unforgettable Destinations” and St. Eustatius was a perfect fit. The fair started January 11 for tour operators and travel agencies only, and was open to the general public January 12–16. Decorated with colorful pull-up banners showing photos of the island, Statia’s booth in the Caribbean village close to the entertainment stage attracted thousands. Promotional handouts included bookmarkers, posters, maps, postcards, pens, brochures, etc.—all courtesy of TVC Reclame BV in Holland. Many stopped by whose interest in the islands was piqued by a [Dutch] TV documentary about the three new municipalities to Holland. Figures show that visitor turnout at the fair exceeded 100,000, the slowest day attracting over 14,000 visitors. The fair was a first-time experience for Mitchell, who reported delight with the contacts she made and the interest shown in Statia as a vacation destination. She’s confident she’ll see a positive increase in the arrival of Dutch tourists to the island later this year and into next year. St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation,

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER TRAVEL SHOW EXCEEDS ALL EXPECTATIONS More than 7,500 Philly-area travelers braved the winter cold to find great deals and to listen to noted travel experts at the new Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show held January 22–23 in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Nearly 100 exhibitors showcased cruises, international travel packages, weekend getaways and warm-weather destinations like Florida and the Caribbean. Travelers packed the seats for renowned national travel experts Arthur and Pauline Frommer, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die author Patricia Schultz, and PBS Television’s “Grannies on Safari,” as well as an exclusive appearance by the bowtie-sporting Dhani Jones, NFL linebacker and star of the Travel Channel series “Dhani Tackles the Globe.” Local and national experts covered diverse topics, the local Joseph Fox Bookshop hosted an onsite bookstore, and a Kids’ Zone offered family fun for everyone. 8 • MARCH 2011

In total, 7,614 travelers (including 591 trade participants) attended the event, which started Saturday morning with trade-exclusive hours and a breakfast sponsored by Visit Orlando. Additional support was provided by title sponsor The Philadelphia Inquirer and additional sponsors Crown Cruise Vacations and Apple Vacations. This revived event is owned and managed by J2L Events, who also manage the top-attended Boston Globe Travel Show and the inaugural OneWorld Travel Mart in San Francisco. “We couldn’t have done this without the strong support and partnership of the Philadelphia Inquirer,” said Jeremy Garrett, J2L’s President. January 14–15 has been announced as dates for the 2nd Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, returning to the downtown convention center; booth and sponsorship sales have already begun. Photos from this year’s event are posted online. Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, 888-705-6576,,; J2L Events,

‘CREATE YOUR OWN CONFERENCE’ THIS YEAR AT NBTA EUROPE IN AMSTERDAM NBTA Europe, the largest European buyer-led business travel and meetings network, has announced the location, dates and new elements to its anticipated annual conference. The event for 400 delegates, entitled The 3rd Dimension, will take place September 19–21 at the Grand Hotel Huis Ter Duin in Noordwijk near Amsterdam. Following its inaugural conference in Lisbon in 2010, where results showed that 95 percent of delegates achieved objectives while attending the event, the organizers have taken the concept of objectives and content to another level and are encouraging delegates to set their own content through a new program called My Conference. Talking about the My Conference element of the event, Paul Tilstone, Managing Director of NBTA Europe, said, “Some of the feedback from 2010 was that delegates really benefited from the intimate nature of the event and time to talk with other delegates. The sharing of experiences is one of the most valuable elements of our conference. So we are taking this one step further and asking delegates in advance to identify subjects where they can share best practice. We will then be matching up delegate pairs to meet and exchange. This means that they arrive with very clear objectives and we provide the information, time and tools for them to achieve these objectives by helping each other.” The conference theme, The 3rd Dimension, refers to the interaction of travel buyers with other internal stakeholders and the organizers also plan to bring elements from HR, Legal, IT and Security functions to the event, as well as alternative supplier strategies and the hidden systems of travel management—such as hotel revenue management and CRS technology. Registration for the event will open in March 2011 and the network has chosen ATPI and its event division ATP Event Experts to deliver the new format. NBTA Europe,; ATP Event Experts, • Travel World News

INDUSTRY EVENTS ATA’S 2011 WORLD CONGRESS TO BE HELD IN SENEGAL The Africa Travel Association (ATA) has announced that the Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts, Liaison with the Private Sector and Small Businesses of the Republic of Senegal will host the 36th Annual ATA World Congress in the capital Dakar May 25–29, 2011. ATA has longstanding ties with the West African nation, where it held its Eco and Cultural Symposium in 1992. ATA’s signature event in Africa provides a unique networking, learning and agenda-shaping platform for hundreds of travel professionals in Africa, including African tourism ministers and industry experts representing tourism boards, travel agencies and tour operators, ground operator companies, airlines, and hotels. Many participants from the travel trade media and the corporate, nonprofit and academic sectors are also expected to attend along with leaders of the African Diaspora. The event will address timely industry topics such as public-private partnership, branding and marketing, emerging trends and niche markets, airlines accessing Africa, and accommodations. The Congress also offers professional development opportunities and networking events, including receptions and gala dinners. Delegates will also participate in a Destination Africa Marketplace, and explore Senegal and its sites during Host Country tours. Pre- and post-congress trips are also available. ATA’s Young Professionals Program, representing travel, tourism and hospitality students and young professionals from North America and Africa, will also participate in the event. Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities for the 2011 Congress should email ATA. Africa Travel Association (ATA),,;

The most important business development of the year for Latin America Tourism.

THIRD EDITION OF CULTOUR UPCOMING IN JUNE IN QUITO Coinciding with Quito as 2011 Americas Capital of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador and the City of Quito are sponsoring the third edition of CULTOUR, Global Heritage & Cultural Travel Exhibition, from June 22 to 24, 2011. CULTOUR is a professional travel exhibition where worldwide travel and tourism suppliers sell and promote their services to professional buyers, such as worldwide product managers of tour operators and travel agents. CULTOUR is a two-day closed event where the exhibitors are guaranteed up to 20 individual meetings with the buyers. Buyers attending CULTOUR are fully hosted and come mostly from the USA, Europe and Asia. GSAR Marketing,, Travel World News •

September 11,12,13,2011 Florianopolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil MARCH 2011 •




APRIL 7-10 13-15 14-16 19-22 20-22 27-29 28-30 MAY 2-5 5-11 10-12 11-13 12-15 15-18 16-18 19-20 21-25 25-29 26-29 JUNE 3-5 9-12 13-16 21-23 22-24 30-Jul AUGUST 30-Sept 1 SEPTEMBER 7-9 11-13 11-13 20-23 21-24 22-25 28-30 OCTOBER 4-6 4-6 6-8 11-13 12-14 19-21 19-21 21-23 27-30 NOVEMBER 2-5 7-10 11-14 14-17 16-18 16-18


SITC 2011 New Europe Travel Mart Toursib 2011 ASTA IDE Kazakhstan Intl. Travel & Tourism Fair DATE AITF

Barcelona, Spain Dubrovnik, Croatia Novosibirsk Russia San Juan, Puerto Rico Almaty, Kazakhstan Punta Cana, DR Baku, Azerbaijan

Arabian Travel Market Indaba CHTIC Expotur TPOC Conference & Trade Show Peru Travel Mart Global Spa Summit Faith Travel Conference & Expo International Pow Wow ATA Congress OneWorld Travel Mart

Dubai, UAE Durban, South Africa Montego Bay, Jamaica Costa Rica Louisville, KY Lima, Peru Bali, Indonesia Atlanta, GA San Francisco, CA Dakar, Senegal San Francisco, CA

Karibu Travel Fair ITE Hong Kong Intl. Luxury Travel Market ASIA AIBTM CULTOUR BTC

Arusha, Tanzania Hong Kong, China Shanghai, China Baltimore, MD Quito, Ecuador Rimini, Italy


Beijing, China

La Cumbre Travel Mart Latin America THETRADESHOW IFTM Top Resa Astana Leisure FITA 2011 PRHTA 25th Annual Convention

Las Vegas, NV Florianopolis, Brazil Las Vegas, NV Paris, France Astana, Kazakhstan Mexico City, Mexico San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Motivation Show Ukraine Intl. Travel Market TTG Incontri IMEX America Cancun Travel Mart ABAV ITB Asia Akwaaba: African Travel Market CITM 2011

Chicago, IL Kiev, Ukraine Rimini, Italy Las Vegas, NV Cancun, Mexico Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Singapore Lagos, Nigeria Kunming, China

DEMA WTM London Taipei International Travel Fair Intl. Golf Travel Market Cruise Shipping Asia Exhibition MITM Americas TO LIST YOUR EVENTS EMAIL : •

10 •MARCH 2011


Orlando, FL London, England Taipei, Taiwan Antalya Expo, Turkey Singapore El Salvador, CA FOR ADDITIONAL EVENTS VISIT: • Travel World News




The Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA) announced its 2011 Board of Directors when it met in San Francisco recently. ARTAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new Chairman is Nancy Linares, CTC, Holidays â&#x20AC;&#x2122;n Travel, Austin, Texas, and Vice Chairman and Treasurer is John Faulds, CTC, Travel Destinations, Phoenix, Arizona. Rounding out the 2011 ARTA Executive Committee is Carol Young, CTC, Experience Travel!, Hixson, Tennessee, as Secretary, and Gerda Myer, CTC, World Travel Management, Woodland Hills, California, Member-at-Large. Eleanor Bronner, Paradise Travel Service, San Francisco, California, is joining the board for the first time as director. Continuing on the board for another term is Bruce Bishins, CTC, Helen Thompson Travel, Toronto, Canada; Jane Dever, Crosby Cruises and Tours, Florida, New York; Lynn Hayes, CTC, CWT Vacations, Greenville, South Carolina; Barry Richcreek, Richcreek Vacation Center, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Sally Watkins, CTC, Century Travel Service, Austin, Texas. The board appointed Bruce Bishins, CTC, as Managing Director to oversee ARTAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s day-to-day operations, communications, and services to members, and Pat Funk as Editor of ARTAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s popular Daily E-Newsletter. Among tasks for the year outlined at the meeting, the new ARTA team will focus on increasing new automated and self-service tools for members, implementation of a new ARTA website, and preliminary planning for events and a national conference to celebrate ARTAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 50th anniversary in 2013. The board also decided to place particular emphasis on travel consumer issues, airline distribution and technology, the Travel Retailer Identification Program (TRIP), and improving travel supplier relationships for the industry as a whole. More information is available by contacting Bruce Bishins, ARTAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Managing Director, toll-free or by email. Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA), 866-369-8969,,

MAYFLOWER TOURS ANNOUNCES LUCKY 7 TRAVEL AGENT PROMOTION Mayflower Tours Lucky 7 Travel Agent Promotion is an easy way for agents to earn $700 or more in bonus cash. The Lucky 7 Jackpot is awarded for new 2011 retail reservations made until April 30, 2011, for holidays departing in 2011. There is no limit to the prize money a travel agent can earn. The more new twin reservations an individual agent makes during the promotion period, the more bonus cash they will earn. There are multiple levels of bonus cash earnings available to travel agents: $100 for two new twin reservations; $200 awarded based on four new twin reservations; $400 earned on six new twin reservations; and the jackpot of $700 will be awarded on seven new twin reservations. Once an individual agent hits the jackpot, they start earning from the first level again. In addition, travel agents will have the chance for an additional $25 per twin reservation during the promotion period when they make their clientsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; reservations on select holidays announced monthly and listed on the Lucky 7 Bonus page on the Mayflower Tours website. All travel agents are eligible to participate in this promotion. New twin 2011 retail reservations booked through April 30, 2011 will qualifyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;no forms to complete, no need to keep track of anything. Travel agents will be updated on their Lucky 7 progress each month during the promotion period. Winners will be announced in early May. The Lucky 7 Winner Check will be issued after all qualifying travelers have returned from their holidays. Checks are made payable to the travel agent based on the number of qualifying new 2011 retail reservations made during the booking period. Each travel agent playing Lucky 7 is an individual player. Lucky 7 reservations may not be combined with other agency reservations or group reservations. Reservations made based on other travel agent promotions or offers may not be combined with reservations in the Lucky 7 promotion. Mayflower Tours, 800-323-7604 (x1),,



Ä&#x192;Ä&#x192;Ä&#x192;Ä&#x192;ZZZJRZD\FRPÄ&#x192;LQIR#JRZD\FRP Travel World News â&#x20AC;˘

MARCH 2011 â&#x20AC;˘







Airworld Alliance has appointed Aigars Placitis as Area Manager for the company’s Chicago office. Placitis has been promoted from within the company where he has played a key sales role for the past six years. Mok Singh, President of Airworld Alliance, commented, “Aigars brings a wealth of firsthand experience with carrier account management. He promises to do an outstanding job in his new position as our company continues expanding in the coming years.” Singh further added that, “Our Midwest office is very important to our revenue results as are our other five strategically placed sales offices in North America.” Airworld Alliance is an airline representation firm headquartered in Los Angeles with additional sales offices located in New York, Toronto, Chicago, Houston and Vancouver. As GSA, the company provides strategic and tactical cost effective solutions for the maximization of passenger sales revenues in the North

American market. A current list of the company’s carrier accounts includes Afriqiyah Airways, Air Botswana, Air Madagascar, Air Malawi, Air Mauritius, Air Zimbabwe, Bangkok Airways, Daallo Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Hahn Air, Hainan Airlines, Kenya Airways, Safi Airways and TACV Cabo Verde Airlines. Airworld Alliance,

OSSN SURVEY REVEALS HOME-BASED AGENTS’ PROGRESS IN 2010 The year 2011 promises to be a banner year for home-based travel agents, according to the results of the Year-End Member Survey conducted by the Outside Sales Support Network (OSSN). Nine in 10 responding agents (89 percent) reported they are optimistic that their business will increase this year, and 65 percent said their profitability as home-based travel sellers increased last year. In another positive sign for the home-based channel, 91 percent of OSSN agents surveyed find more suppliers supporting home-based agents these days. “These survey numbers confirm what we see every day within OSSN: The home-based agent channel is thriving in today’s economy,” said Gary M. Fee, OSSN’s President and founder. “Home-based travel sellers have greater operating efficiencies and lower operating costs, so they’re well positioned to succeed when times are tough.” Contrary to lingering perceptions that these agents tend to be new to the industry, 52 percent of the respondents have been in the travel business for at least 10 years; another 20 percent have sold travel for at least five to 10 years. Seventy-six percent plan to create a marketing plan for 2011, and 56 percent use a database to track and market to their clients (with another 25 percent planning to start a database this year). Fifty-two percent of those surveyed use the Travel Retailers Universal Enumeration (TRUE) system as their travel industry booking code (followed by 23 percent with the CLIA number and 22 percent with an IATA number). Forty percent have a host agency, and 25 percent joined a consortium in 2010. Thirty percent use airline websites, 30 percent use consolidators, nine percent a host agency, and 22 percent some combination of these methods or alternatives. Twenty-four percent don’t have a website yet, 24 percent get hardly any traffic from their sites, and 12 percent said they need help with their sites. Almost 1,600 OSSN agents around the US completed the online survey in December. (Respondents were limited by the survey technology from submitting responses more than once.) Complete results may be viewed online. OSSN (Outside Sales Support Network),,

NEW KUMUKA BROCHURES FOR 2011–2012 NOW AVAILABLE Kumuka Worldwide, offering stimulating tours for over 27 years, is able to map out more than 500 itineraries across 83 countries, a number that increases each year with the development of new destinations, activities and adventures for passengers. The company has announced the release of its full range of brochures for the 2011–2012 season including Escorted Group Tours, Cruises, Coach Tours, Lodge Safaris, Overland Tours, Family Adventures and much more. Altogether, there are seven brochures: Africa & The Middle East, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, Lodge Based Safaris, and Family Adventures. They may be obtained by calling Kumuka toll-free or through email contact. Kumuka Worldwide, 800-517-0867,, 12 • MARCH 2011 • Travel World News

The Baltic Sea is one of the fascinating areas in the world – with a rich history, an unspoiled nature in a safe and secure environment. Travelling is easy in our region – our members offer all transport and accommodation facilities for you to explore the medieval cities, the Scandinavian metropolis, the white beaches, cliffs and huge woods. VYTIS TOURS has been the leading tour operator to Baltic States for the past 19 years.

GoBalticEurope with Ann Charles Explore the history, culture and nature of Northern Europe’s Baltic Sea region, including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Travel the Baltic Amber Road to Lithuania, the Land of Amber, and Palanga’s world famous Amber Museum.

We specialize on golf but we don’t limit ourselves to it. We can offer our customers the following services: * Golf tour * Beach holidays * City breaks and * Country travel weekends * Incentive tours * Guide services * Train holidays * Hotels booking * Coach tours * Spa and health * Tailor-made holidays tourism * Cruises

Now members of NATO and the European Union, the Baltic States have become modern countries, living up to western standards. All hotels, restaurants and other travel related services are ready to accept visitors from the west and VYTIS TOURS is ready to help.

Gdansk Convention Bureau’s primary objective is to promote Gdansk and the region in the international arena. This will be achieved by means of undertaking a variety of actions with the aim of promoting the city among potential conference organizers who will thus be encouraged to consider Gdansk as a venue for their events.

Helsinki is trendy and rich in culture, characterized by flavors of both East and West. The city has ample offerings for visitors who look for new experiences and nightlife. Distinctive features of the city are large green areas and a strong presence of the sea.

Latvia Tours Group is one of the largest travel groups in the Baltic states. It operates in 3 Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and employs more than 100 people. Con-Ex is our brand that focuses on incoming, incentives and conference service. Become our partner and introduce your clients to New Europe Our mission is to provide the best possible travel arrangements in the areas we serve and know so well. We want our clients to experience and take home unforgettable memories of their visit to our countries.

You deserve nothing less! Via Hansa has a large inbound leisure operation and has sales and service offices in Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kaliningrad, Minsk, Warsaw and Shanghai.

TAS Baltics celebrating its 20th anniversary. The product line includes a wide selection of innovative products and services for leisure groups and FITs. We look forward to the future with enthusiasm.


The BTC and Agora 2.0 Will Promote Common Identity for the Baltic Sea Region

14 • MARCH 2011



o doubt about it, US travel agents interested in developing business to Northern Europe’s Baltic Sea region, including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, will benefit from the partnership between the Baltic Sea Tourism Commission (BTC) headquartered in Norrkoping, Sweden, and Agora 2.0 which is focused on promoting a common identity for the region, says Ann Charles of GoBalticEurope. According to Charles, a member of the BTC for many years, the Municipality of Palanga in Lithuania is focusing attention on the “Baltic Amber Road – heritage tourism and trade,” whereas Agora 2.0 will partner with the BTC in Sweden, and their other partners in the region, including Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Germany. Heritage Tourism is being promoted for increased Baltic Sea Region identity according to Agora 2.0. In Lithuania, the Lithuanian State Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Economy and the Administration of Neringa Municipality, are project partners with Agora 2.0. The Latvian Tourism Development Agency, Latvian Fund for Nature and the Latvian Country Association Lauku Celotajs are project partners in Latvia, and the Estonian Heritage Society, NGO West-Estonia Tourism and Narva city government are project partners with Agora 2.0 in Estonia. Other project partners include the Finnish Tourist Board and the National Board of Antiquities, Hame Castle (Finland), Copenhagen Business School (Denmark), Skokloster Castle and the Baltic Sea Tourism Commission (BTC) in Sweden, the National Foundation For Enterprise Culture, Regional Development Agency of Koszalin, County of Lebork, and Association Sustainable Development, and Gdansk in Poland. Project partners in Germany include the University of Greifswald, Institute of Geography and Geology (lead partner for Agora 2.0), Institute for Tourism and Recreational Research in Northern Europe, German Association for Housing, Urban and Spatial Development, and Entrepreneurs Association Rostock and Surroundings. Agora 2.0 also lists the Belarussian Association Country Escape in Belarus as a project partner. As stated, “Agora 2.0 focuses on fostering the common identity of the Baltic Sea region by highlighting, developing and marketing natural and cultural heritage of business environment and outstanding strength of the region. Heritage Tourism for In-creased Baltic Sea Region Identity places emphasis on Red-Brick Gothic Castles and Museums, Forests, Shifting Sand Dunes, and Stones (rocks).” It contributes to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea region by developing strategies for sustainable tourism.”

Vilnius Cathedral and Bell Tower.

Region Marketed at NYT Show In North America, the Baltic Sea region has been promoted on a global scale for six consecutive years by Lithuanian American Ann Charles at The New York Times Travel Show. She initiated the first Baltic exhibit, Baltic cultural performances, and Baltic Travel Seminar at the show back in 2005 under the name GoBalticEurope/Baltic Sea Tourism Commission (BTC), in an effort to promote the entire Baltic Sea region, with emphasis on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Exhibiting right next to the Scandinavian Tourist Board in that first year, colorful brochures on the Baltic Sea region provided by government tourism departments were on display, and on occasion, besides material on the Baltic States, information on other Baltic countries like Germany and Poland were available from the BTC. During those years, Ann Charles also drew attention at the show to the Scandinavian countries, namely Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Iceland, by showcasing the photographic images of Swedish writer/photographer Bo Zaunders through the Baltic Travel Seminar that she produced under GoBalticEurope/BTC. Lithuanian-American Algis Norvila, a fine arts and commercial photographer, presented a series of striking architectural images at a Baltic Travel Seminar, and his technical expertise for six consecutive years proved to be valuable to GoBalticEurope/BTC. In 2009, “Vilnius, the European Capital of Culture 2009” and the “Lithuanian Millennium” were heavily promoted at the show. Colorful photos of the Baltic Sea region taken by Ms. Charles, a photojournalist, were on display. Information on the entire Baltic Sea Region, including copies of the magazine CONTINUED ON PAGE

16 • Travel World News



Brekke Tours strives to strengthen cultural, as well as ethnic ties between North America and Scandinavia/Europe by creating meaningful travel experiences. A dedicated and knowledgeable staff works to achieve this goal by assisting clients with making connections to ancestral ties, offering an array of enriching experiences while traveling and providing the level of customer service our clients have come to expect.

Personalized vacation planning throughout Turkey, Greece, Egypt and the Mediterranean. Although our main office is in Istanbul, our North America sales office is located in Boston where we are available to speak with you personally about the details of your trip.

Lifelong memories for them. Peace of mind for you.

Specializing in providing tailor-made European travel packages. Working exclusively with travel agents, A one-stop shop, arranging every detail of your client’s trip from take-off to landing. With suppliers based in every European country we can promise thoughtful, local insight into current travel trends. Born of a passion for All Things Italian

Specializing in Spain, our home, we ensure a vacation is all that it can be. We get feedback during a trip to make minor adjustments or improve special details that make a trip memorable. We hope to be more than just a tour company – we hope to become friends.

IL VIAGGIO means The Voyage – yet it stands for much more than packinga suitcase and catching a plane. It means opening up to a new experience. Truly, it is Ultimate Travel to Italy. Look to IL VIAGGIO’s two decades of Italian travel expertise to provide personalized attention for a memorable trip. Travel World News •

Journeys to Greece, Italy, and Turkey for the body, mind and spirit... for travelers accustomed to not just seeing a land, but truly experiencing it. Our formula is simple: small groups, marvelous meals and sheer passion for these Mediterranean gems.

A family run business that has been offering a unique experience to Italy-bound travelers since 1988. Our passion and knowledge for Italy is what sets us apart from other travel agencies. We are in the unique position of being able to offer extremely competitive rates as well as great advice to our clients.

We take pride in our exceptional service and do all that we can to deliver a truly authentic Italian experience – including pre- and post-tour activities – and it is our pleasure. We pay careful attention to details, so you don’t have to.

We design walking and cooking tours throughout Italy and we are knowledgeable about All Things Italian

Norsemen Travel handles domestic and international leisure & corporate travel. With the assistance of our professional and experienced staff we make certain travel arrangements meet and exceed expectations through personal service, product and destination knowledge and attention to detail.

With Norsemen Travel We Bring the World to You MARCH 2011 •





“Baltic Sea Breezes,” published by the BTC, was available at the exhibit.

Baltic Positioning Expands In 2010, independent-minded entrepreneurs like Vilija Turiene of IN VIA Baltic and Nijole Pakalniene of Lithuanian Holidays, both incoming tour operators from Vilnius, Lithuania, teamed up with Charles, under GoBalticEurope/BTC Lithuania, to promote tourism to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and beyond. Whether it’s Beijing, Berlin, London, or New York, these independent entrepreneurs travel to major travel shows around the world. Obviously, it’s a worthwhile investment. And this year? Most recently, February 25–27, Scandinavian Airlines exhibited at The New York Times Travel Show 2011. The Air Berlin Group, which offered nonstop flights from New York to Berlin, was there as well. The airline markets itself as “one of Europe’s leading airlines with convenient service between New York and Germany.” Dusseldorf City & Airport also exhibited at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, describing itself as: “Hidden gems, Dussel-dorf city and airport are hassle-free launching points for better Germany and itineraries. Fly direct from NYC and all over the US.” Bike Sherpa, based in Dresden, Germany, “offered great bicycle tours in Europe and beyond” at the show.” As they put it, “enjoy the freedom of independent travel or choose a group trip and connect with great people.” The Estonian American Chamber of Commerce & Industry also had a presence at The New York Times Travel Show 2011. The exhibit description read: “The Consulate General of Estonia, EACCI and the Embassy of Latvia regularly sponsors FAM trips for tour operators and press to the Baltic region.” Exciting promotions for GoBalticEurope/BTC are planned for 2011 and will be announced in Travel World News.

GoBalticEurope,; Baltic Sea Tourism Commission (BTC),; Baltic Sea Region,,,

ZAGREB GAINING DRAMATIC POPULARITY AND SUPPORT FOR TOURISTS The Zagreb Tourist Board is reporting positive results for 2010 that, once again, prove its cultural and tourist offers, hosting of various congresses, sports events, concerts, symposiums and other events, is making it an unavoidable tourist destination. In 2010, Zagreb saw 602,186 tourist visits and 1,041,827 overnight stays, reflecting a four-percent increase in visits and three-percent over overnight stays the previous year. Of overall tourists, 456,700 were foreign guests with 785,806 overnight stays—seven-percent higher visits and six-percent greater overnight stays compared to 2009, when figures registered were 427,239 and 740,821 respectively. Topping the list were German 16 • MARCH 2011

tourists (37,715), followed by those from the US (29,769), Italy (29,201), Spain (29,002) and Japan (23,611). Guests from Germany also came in first in overnight stays, followed by those from the US, Italy, Spain and Great Britain. In December 2010, Zagreb also saw an increase in visits and overnight stays—34,824 and 59,023 respectively, representing a six-percent increase in visits and five-percent more overnight stays as compared to December 2009. In cooperation with Navigo Sistem Ltd., the Zagreb Tourist Board has created AdriaGUIDE Zagrebe, a downloadable electronic travel guide that gives detailed, easy directions for touring. Every point contains text (point description), photography, location’s exact coordinates, contact information (address, phone number, fax number, website, email address), and other info to make it easy to find and appreciate interesting destinations for sightseeing. By choosing a point via GPS device, a user can see where it’s located and immediately guide his auto to the destination. The Tour Guide reveals 200 points of interest by categories: Sights, Culture, Lodging, Food, Entertainment, Sport and Recreation, Service Information and Tourist Information. Users may opt for instruction by motor vehicle (GPS takes into account one-way streets, pedestrian zones, etc.) or by foot (shortest direct path). A great advantage is being able to choose the most convenient time for starting a tour, and to establish one’s own order for visiting desirable points. AdriaGUIDE Zagreb is available in the Croatian, English, German and Italian languages. Zagreb Tourist Board,

UTS HAS UNIQUE TRAVEL CONCEPT TO CROATIA Universal Travel System (UTS) has come up with truly unique travel concept to Croatia for the 2011 travel season. It starts by picking up clients with a limo at their home before they depart for their overseas flight. The limo is supplied with bottle of champagne and delicious hors d’oeuvres. The driver will pick up the luggage at the client’s home. UTS staff will be on hand at the airport to check in the luggage and the clients at their specified airline. Clients won’t need to handle their bags during the entire trip. At all hotels, they are provided express baggage and check-in service from the airport to the hotel. Upon arrival at the best hotel in town, clients will be escorted directly to their reserved suite. No waiting in line to check in, no dragging bags. A Personal Tour Director (PTD) is assigned for the duration of trip, and he/she will do all the formalities. Clients are driven around in a shiny limo for sightseeing, various excursions, museums and galleries all with the assistance of private guides. Breakfasts are served in bed, lunch and dinner open a la carte dining; clients choose the restaurant and may order anything on the menu. Meals are preceded with cocktails and aperitifs. After dinner there is usually concert, opera or some kind of live show and entertainment. And there are Old Europe’s traditional “digestifs” or good-night drinks before retiring. Universal Travel System (UTS),, • Travel World News

E U R O P E The Complete Golf Experience Renowned for its annual golfing tournaments. From The World Invitational Father & Son Golf Tournament to The Sawgrass International Golf Championship. We guarantee participants a fantastic combination of highly enjoyable golf, beautiful locations and excellent entertainment. sells Eurail train passes online to travelers from all over the world. We are a subsidiary of the Eurail Group, which is a cooperation of 30 European Railway companies and shipping lines. Eurail offers Rail Passes to non-European residents who want to explore Europe in the best possible way: By Rail

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Customized Family Tours, Private Group Tours, Choir Tours and Gardens Tours in Ireland. Small and large groups in 3-, 4-, 5-star hotels, castles, B&Bs or Farmhouses. Our experienced guides and driver-guides will ensure your private customized vacation in Ireland is a success.

A leading winter tour operator from North America to Europe. We provide winter vacation arrangements in over 60 resorts in seven countries: Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.

Enjoy an unforgettable journey with

IMPERIAL RIVER CRUISES Every property within the Historic Hotels has its own distinctive style and character, and guests will be sure to enjoy a variety of experiences when travelling from country to country and staying at our member hotels.

The mystery and romance of ancient Russia and Ukraine may seem like a faraway, unreachable dream in the current economic climate, but our company is doing its best to keep that dream within reach.

Ljubljana – the capital of Slovenia – a central European city lying between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea has preserved its small-town friendliness and relaxed atmosphere. A vibrant city full of surprises surrounded with natural beauty and cultural sights bearing witness to the city’s dynamic history.

All hotels – Bristol Palace Hotel, Villa Livia, Royal Villa, Pavlov Hotel, Bristol Hotel, Villa Tereza – provide accommodation, full board and complete spa services in their own balneology facilities. Beautiful settings, luxurious furnishings and the most modern technology.

EUROPE TOP EVENTS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC IN 2011 Masopust, the Czech Republic’s Mardi Gras, is marked annually by Prague’s Bohemian Carnevale festival, which started February 25 and continues until March 8. It includes a fun-filled masquerade ball, parades and children’s activities. The program features evening parties in allegorical costumes at the Clam-Gallas Palace, art shows, food events and Candelion–Grand Defilé, an extravagant street celebration with lanterns and masks. Guests will love staying at Prague’s Hotel u Zlate Studne, rated by Trip Advisor as the #1 hotel in the world in the category Top 25 Hotels in the World. Art and design buffs should not miss the Designblok art and design festival October 5–10, with artworks assembled in showrooms, studios, shops and boutiques. From May 12 until June 4, the Prague Spring International Festival will welcome music lovers with a program celebrating Gustav Mahler and a top lineup of symphony orchestras. In 2011 the Czech Republic celebrates the “Rozmberk Year,” the 400th anniversary of “Lords of the Rose,” presented by a prominent Rozmberk aristocratic family. An exhibition in the Regional Museum in Cesky Krumlov takes place June 20 through December 31. Straznice International Folklore Festival June 24 through July 27 comes alive with traditional international participation. Visitors as well as dozens of folklore ensembles and groups come to see beautiful folk songs and dances performed. Cinema aficionados will enjoy visiting the famous spa town Karlovy Vary July 1–9 for the annual International Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Wine lovers should venture into the South Moravian town of Mikulov for the Palava Vine Harvest and Wine Festival September 9–11, a festival the region has kept up for over two centuries. Visitors come to taste authentic regional wine while enjoying autumn festivities including parades and folk events. Holiday events and markets will transpire from November 27 until January 2, 2012. Classical music buffs should not miss special Christmas and advent music concerts, which will take place at concert halls, markets, churches and castles all around the Czech Republic. Prague Christmas Market fills the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square with music, traditional food and shopping stalls. Czech Tourism,

HURTIGRUTEN’S ‘PEARLS’ EXPLORES PORTS FROM COPENHAGEN TO BORNHOLM Hurtigruten’s 11-day “Pearls of the Baltic Sea” immerses guests in history and culture as it cruises to some of the most captivating destinations in the Baltic, from bustling Copenhagen and Helsinki— filled with breathtaking architecture, to the smaller Gudhjem, a charming fishing town in Bornholm. Optional excursions start at only $36 and allow guests to personalize their cruising experience. Prices for the April 25, 2011, voyage range from $3,612 to $6,309. Hurtigruten’s explorer ship MS Fram sails roundtrip from Oslo— home to the Fram Museum, where the original Fram is located—to Copenhagen, an eclectic mix of old and new, known as much for its 18 • MARCH 2011

historic sites and museums as for vibrant cafes and excellent shopping. The cruise stops in Helsinki, a fusion of styles from Art Nouveau structures and neoclassical cathedrals to 19th-century railway stations, before sailing on to St. Petersburg, hailed for its incredible beauty and rich history. Visits to Estonia’s capital city of Tallin, and the fishing village of Gudhjem, Bornholm, allow fascinating insights before the cruise returns to Oslo. The optional excursions in each port provide wonderful opportunities to delve deeper into the areas visited, returning with a greater understanding of histories and current attractions. Offerings include a harbor cruise and tour of Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen; a city tour of Helsinki with a classical musical performance in a cathedral designed by Carl Ludvig Engel; the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg plus visit to the recently opened Gold Room; and bicycle tours in Gudhjem and Bornholm. Fares include the cabin grade of choice; transfers; all meals on board, including a selection of drinks for those in suites; and a windand waterproof jacket. International flights and optional excursions are additional. Hurtigruten sails to remote destinations including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic’s Spitsbergen and year-round also along Norway’s coast and Europe in the spring. Additional information on all their adventures, as well as brochures and reservations, can be obtained from travel agents or by visiting Hurtigruten’s visitorfriendly website. Hurtigruten, 800-323-7436, 800-582-0835 (brochures),

BERLIN CONVENTION OFFICE REPORTS RECORD NUMBERS FOR 2010 The tourism and convention destination Berlin reached record attendee and revenue numbers in 2010, and remains the frontrunner in the German convention industry. This is the result shown by statistics published recently by the Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin. According to the statistics, 9.1 million visitors attended meetings and conferences in Berlin during the last year; a 10-percent increase compared to 2009. The number of events rose by four percent to 113,100. Berlin’s convention hotels contributed to this success, reporting 5.5 million room nights, up 11 percent. Economic clout continues to grow, with total meeting and convention market sales revenue showing a 10-percent increase to almost $2.25 billion. The positive 2010 balance can in part be attributed to the city’s convention centers, such as the ICC Berlin, which hosted large-scale events attended by 1.2 million participants (30 percent over 2009). Furthermore, a trend towards the staging of longer events is becoming evident. Presently, 35 percent of all meetings are multi-day events; average duration of meetings and conventions rose by 0.2 percent to 1.9 days. Complete convention statistics can be downloaded online. Berlin Convention Office, article/congress-statistics (survey), • Travel World News


Jamaica’s Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa Makes Move to All-Inclusive Plan Exclusively P E T E R G AT T

Stylish and modern guestrooms at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa.


hen booking your clients at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa you will notice that the only option is its All-Inclusive Plan. That is because this popular luxury property has recently announced plans to offer its All-Inclusive Plan exclusively, beginning February 1, 2011. While the Montego Bay property used to provide its guests with both all-inclusive and European Plan options, the property says that all –inclusive plans has always been the preferred experience with guests. “Achieving the highest level of guest experience has always been our utmost priority at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa,” says General Manager Ron Day. “We continually poll guest feedback on ways in which we can better serve them, and in evaluating, we realized by shifting to a strictly All-Inclusive program, we could offer guests the best opportunity to capitalize on the huge variety of services and activities available at the resort, by wrapping all our distinctive amenities into one convenient, value-driven and effortless package.” Under the new exclusive All-Inclusive Plan, every guest will be entitled to a wide array of food and beverage options, devised by the resort’s award-winning executive chef Michael Dannecker, as well as a selection of distinctive amenities and recreation choices located onsite, such as championship golf, Jamaica’s largest water park, a signature spa, and a private beach. The golf and spa services will be at an extra cost. The Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa’s All-Inclusive program will bundle together everything that your clients are searching for in a Jamaican vacation. The resort’s All-Inclusive Plan will include; all food – including three meals per day, plus snacks; beverages – including all non-premium brand liquor, draft beer, 20 • MARCH 2011

and wine by the glass, non-motorized water sports, Kids Club programs and activities, unlimited access to the fitness center, unlimited access to the Internet Café, tax and service charges. Mr. Day adds “the resort will honor all existing reservations for all three plans – Platinum AI, Gold AI and EP through the remainder of the year. Our conversion to AI only will not affect any guests who have an existing reservation in 2011.” Certain surcharges will remain through 2011. The resort will continue to accept all HHonors program points and rewards.

Perfect Setting in Mobay Nestled between the Jamaican mountains and the Caribbean Sea, a short 15 minute drive from Sangster International Airport (MBJ), and less than 5 minutes from the brand new Montego Bay Convention Center the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa provides year round sunshine and some local Jamaican history and charm for a relaxing vacation experience. Originally an 18th Century sugar plantation, this oceanfront resort offers breathtaking views from the 400 acre property. Guests will appreciate that the views do not include any other resorts in their sightlines and that the main lobby, dining and bars, pool area, beach, and recreation areas are all in close proximity to each other. The close proximity to the airport also means more time spent at the resort instead of long transfers.

Dining The resort offers five dining options, Fresh, Mangoes, Seaside Grill & Bar, Three Palms and Luna di Mare and, four bars Seaside, Mangoes, Bar King Frog, and Cricket Club. CONTINUED ON PAGE

22 • Travel World News


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A luxury hotel nestled on the scenic west coast of the beautiful Caribbean island of St Lucia, provides an intimate and luxurious environment for guests with every possible modern amenity.

Located on one of the Caribbean’s top 10 "Dream Beaches of the World", the sophisticated and stylish Bucuti and Tara Beach Suites offer

The Marina at Marigot Bay provides an exclusive berthing facility and full-service marina for yachts of all sizes, both long stay and short-term visitors.

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Whether you spend time in the sun, the sand or the water, a holiday at Hollywood Beach is the ideal vacation. Soak up the serenity of the unspoiled beauty and unshakeable tranquility of the Island of North Caicos – all “Beautiful by Nature”

enjoy a truly unique Caribbean experience Tranquility and privacy in the Caribbean. Amid untouched nature – surrounded by warm, crystal-clear, turquoise water, one senses that the island is one’s own.

At the Ocean Terrace Inn, St. Kitts enjoy our many pools including our natural fantasy pool which features waterfalls and a jacuzzi set in tropical gardens.

A unique combination of natural and built amenities on the forefront of ecologically sensitive developments not only in the Caribbean, but also in the world. Nature trails, canopy walks, guided nature and agricultural tours and a bird sanctuary.

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A full-service destination management company providing airport transfers, smooth ground transportation, exciting tours and excursions, dynamic teambuilding, exciting special events, unique off-site venues and more.

Do it all or nothing at all. Jamaican hospitality, the taste of good Jamaican food, peace and tranquility, as well as good times, laughs and music.

Booking wiindow: Now until April 30, 2011 Travel window: Now until September 30, 2011




Each of these dining options presents a different taste perfect for every appetite, mood and occasion, and is overseen by the award-winning Executive Chef Michael Dannecker. Under the new All-Inclusive Plan guests will have access to every restaurant with no extra surcharge. Located within the Cinnamon Hill Golf Course Clubhouse, the resort’s signature dining venue, Three Palms Restaurant, overlooks the tropical foliage of one of Jamaica’s premier golf courses and offers both mountain and ocean views. The restaurant serves upscale continental cuisine and local Jamaican gourmet favorites, complemented by an extensive wine list. Guests can enjoy the flavors of northern Italy at Luna di Mare, a contemporary trattoria with a considerable wine list. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Fresh is a casual indoor and outdoor restaurant that offers dishes made-to-order, such as brick-oven pizzas, stir-fry, carving stations and dessert stations. Additional dining options include the oceanfront Sea Side Grill & Bar; Mangoes, complete with a swim-up bar; Bar King Frog, and the resort’s festive latenight club, the Cricket Club. Room service is available but not included in the new plan.

Guest Rooms I have stayed at this resort on numerous occasions over the past fifteen years and your clients would be very impressed with the way the grounds, public areas, and rooms look since it has become a member of the Hilton Hotels family in 2008. While the original footprint of the resort has remained virtually the same, the $50 million in upgrades and renovations in recent years has resulted in the modern décor that makes you feel like you are staying at a completely different resort. Within the resort’s 489 guestrooms and suites, located within two seven floor towers, guests will find thoughtful touches that reflect the unique Jamaican style and relaxed Caribbean atmosphere. Every guestroom has a private balcony or terrace overlooking the ocean or the Jamaican mountains. The chic decor and furniture accent an inviting interior of each filled with conveniences such as coffeemakers, hairdryers, ironing sets, flat screen televisions, pillow-top mattress with luxurious linens, and marble bathrooms.

Kids Fun-filled activities await children at the resort’s Kids Klub, a complete day-care pavilion including play area and air-conditioned recreation center. Open to children ages 4-12 years, the Kids Retreat features activities that are available seasonally. For older children, the resort offers the Teen Zone, a supervised interactive game center featuring video games, air hockey and pinball, along with the latest DVDs. The Teen Zone, for kids ages 10-17, is open daily and excludes adults and anyone under 10.

accommodating up to 800 guests, breakout rooms, including the 1,200-sq.-ft. Trelawny meeting room, as well as a 500-sq.-ft. boardroom. Coupled with seven outdoor function areas totaling 30,000 square feet and including a private beach, picturesque gazebo, the resort’s one-of-a-kind water park, ancient oceanfront aqueducts, and Johnny Cash estate the resort’s unique event facilities serve as the perfect backdrops for any important, memory-driven occasion. “We hosted 250 weddings in 2010, and we expect for that amount to increase in 2011 Our guests can choose from a wide variety of custom-designed wedding packages built for every preference and budget” says Mr. Day.

Sun and fun The outdoor activity board is always filled with numerous activities from morning to early evening for guests of all ages. Your clients will find a wide range of recreational options that embrace the tropical weather and environment. The resort is home to the island’s most complex and largest water theme park, the 13,500-square-foot Sugar Mill Falls Water Park, is popular with both kids and adults and features a 280-foot/30foot elevation thrill slide, three terraced pools, a lazy river, relaxing lagoons, and a swim up bar. Best of all, this $7 million water park serves as a unique attraction without having to leave the resort. Weaving throughout the great Jamaican mountains, with unprecedented ocean views, the Cinnamon Hill Golf Course has been heralded by Golf Magazine as one of the top courses in the world. Designed by Robert von Hagge, the 18-hole, par-72 championship course is in top condition and offers excellent golf play for low to high handicap golfers. Guests looking for less strenuous activities will enjoy the resort’s full-service Soothe Spa that offers a variety of spa and salon services, including beachfront cabana, in-room and couples massages. A complete Water Sports Center is available to arrange snorkeling, windsurfing, ocean kayaking, and Sunfish and Catamaran sailing, while additional nearby water activities include glass-bottom boat tours, SCUBA diving, parasailing and waterskiing. Other onsite recreational facilities include a tennis center, a well equipped fitness center and a volleyball court. Of course if you were escaping the snowy winter, as I was, the resort’s pristine 1,800 foot private white sand beach is ideal for a walk and to enjoy the warm Caribbean sea.

Travel Agents

Destination Weddings, Groups, Meetings

The resort works closely with the Jamaica Tourist Board to coordinate FAM trips for travel agents on an annual basis. The most recent FAM trip took place in September 2010, in which the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa were one of the host hotels, and included over 5,000 travel agents. Travel agents can book the resort directly or through any of their favorite Caribbean wholesalers.

The property offers more than 14,000 square feet of indoor function space, including the 7,800-sq.-ft. Rose Hall Ballroom,

Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, 866- 799-3661,

22 • MARCH 2011 • Travel World News

Experience Jamaica at the Ultimate All-Inclusive Beachfront Resort. Be yourself at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, and enjoy a simplified, convenient, all-inclusive experience. Nestled between lush mountains and shimmering Caribbean waters, this popular destination boasts contemporary guestrooms and suites, each with private balcony or terrace, a beautiful private beach with water sports center, extensive kids program, one-of-a-kind Sugar Mill Falls Water Park, a variety of live entertainment options, and cuisine led by an award-winning chef. To further enhance your tropical getaway, our oceanfront resort also features the onsite, world-class Cinnamon Hill Golf Course and full-service signature Soothe Spa. Convenient to all of the areaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top excursions, the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa is located just 15 minutes from downtown Montego Bay and Sangster International Airport (MBJ). Plan a Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa escape today, and let us provide the ease and pleasure of an all-inclusive vacation.

To learn more, visit For booking inquiries, please e-mail Semone Clarke, at

Montego Bay, Jamaica


Caribbean Marketplace Returns to Jamaica, Caribbean Hotelier of the Year Announced P E T E R G AT T


ver 1,500 delegates were on hand in Jamaica January 16-18 for the annual Caribbean Marketplace. Prime Minister Bruce Golding officially declared open the Caribbean region’s most important gathering of buyers and sellers at the new and expansive Montego Bay Convention Centre. In addition to the nearly 12,000 pre-scheduled meetings Caribbean Marketplace acts as an important catalyst for tourism related issues ranging from regional marketing cooperation and coordination to airlift. In welcoming the participants whom he said were the indispensible partners in the tourism enterprise that means so much to the Caribbean islands. “We value that partnership and we want to make that partnership even stronger. This is a real marketplace and like any marketplace we have buyers and sellers. I want to welcome these buyers especially because without you there would be no market or need for a marketplace”, he said. He said that despite the challenges during the recession period, tourism buyers had not abandoned the region and this is the quality of the measure of the partnership that the Caribbean enjoys. Mr. Golding said that despite the many natural assets of the region, it’s beautiful white sand beaches, year long summer season, hotels, attractions, its people and the role culture played in developing the tourism product; it is the buyers that clinch the deals. “That partnership has been especially vital to us over the last few years as we have sought to navigate our way through the tempestuous recession that we have had to face.”, he said. Jamaica in particular has done remarkably well, Mr. Golding noted. He heaped praises on Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett and his team for the co-operation he has been able to build within the industry and the powerful team that he has led so well. “Despite the global recession, we have improved for each of the last three years showing a 4% growth in stopover arrivals over the last 3 years. We did now allow the recession to slow us down and we want to thank our partners who have worked with us in enabling us to record that achievement”, Mr. Golding said. In his remarks, Minister of Tourism Ed Bartlett recalled that last year was a good year for tourism in Jamaica with 4.7% increase over the previous year which also saw growth increases for the two previous years. ‘That has been achieved because of you our partners… you our buyers, …you our suppliers because you have seen our product, loved our service, extolled our brand and made this destination top of mind in the markets of the world so that we have been able to grow’. He welcomed the thousands in attendance including nine tourism Ministerial colleagues from the region and announced proudly 24 • MARCH 2011

Pictured above from left to right: Peter C. Yesawich, chairman and CEO, Ypartnership; Dodwell; Josef Forstmayr, president of CHTA; and Alec Sanguinetti, director general and CEO, CHTA. that Jamaica’s tourism/advertising which is now on 3D. Also of note the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association celebrates its 50Th Anniversary in 2011. David Dodwell, owner of two widely acclaimed resorts, The Reefs Hotel & Club in Bermuda and Nisbet Plantation Beach Club on Nevis, has been recognized as the 2010 “Caribbean Hotelier of the Year.” Dodwell was honored with the award before an international audience of hospitality and tourism industry leaders at Caribbean Marketplace 2011. The Caribbean Hotelier of the Year Award is co-sponsored by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and Ypartnership. With a prestigious industry career spanning more than four decades, Dodwell joins the ranks of preeminent hotel and resort executives as the 33rd recipient of the Caribbean Hotelier of the Year – the highest professional honor bestowed by CHTA. Presented annually, this esteemed award recognizes an outstanding hotelier in the Caribbean region for demonstrating excellence in all areas of hotel and resort operations, as well as a commitment to the training and development of staff, to the community, and to sound environmental practices. The honor also acknowledges each recipient’s active role in both national and regional issues affecting Caribbean tourism. A native Bermudian and graduate of the prestigious Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, Dodwell is a former Minister of Tourism for Bermuda, and once served as president of the Bermuda Hotel Association where he was also previously honored as Bermuda Hotelier of the Year. He has always been committed to serving his local community – both in Nevis and Bermuda. He is a Member of the Resort Committee of the American Hospitality & Lodging Association, and has served many other leadership roles. Dodwell has been at the helm of The Reefs in Bermuda, which includes 19 luxury two- and • Travel World News

CARIBBEAN three-bedroom beachfront suites, for nearly 40 years and at Nisbet Plantation for more than 20 years. Next year Caribbean Marketplace will return to Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas January 23-25, 2012.

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association,


A newly updated website makes it easier than ever for agents to book their clients into the Grand Case Beach Club. The site provides the latest developments at the oceanfront resort adjacent to Grand Case Village, the culinary capital of the island. It also includes a price-match guarantee in the section “Why Book With Us?” To confirm a room, agents just click the icon “Make a Reservation;” there are in-house benefits for each booking. Agents can also use any of the following GDS codes: Amadeus: IPSFG122; Apollo: IP29999; Sabre: IP11637; or Worldspan: IP8194. The Grand Case Beach Club’s high level of service and hospitality is strongly supported by comments from TripAdvisor, Caribbean Travel & Life Magazine—whose readers named it one of the Caribbean’s best medium-size hotels, and Apple Vacations which gave it the “Golden Apple” award. Expedia has repeatedly placed the resort on its Insiders Select List, which features only about two percent of its total hotel and resort clientele. As part of its ongoing effort to create more memorable guest experiences, Grand Case Beach Club invested over $800,000 in 2009 and close to a million dollars in 2010 in a major renovation program encompassing 26 units . The Grand Case Beach Club’s “Honeymoon Magic” package is ideal for honeymooners and incurable romantics alike. Rates through April 15 begin at $1,055 per couple for three nights and $2,375 for seven. Included are accommodations with private balcony or terrace; continental breakfast daily; one-day car rental (gas and insurance extra; picnic basket for two one day; welcome cocktail; bottle of either red or white wine; Grand Case beach bag; island floral bouquet; and use of all non-motorized water sports equipment. Amenities include two white sand beaches; the Sunset Cafe open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Happy Hour seven days a week; tennis court; swimming pool; fitness and water sports centers; island boutique, and the Boardwalk. Grand Case Beach Club, 800-340-3016, Travel World News •

GENEROUS VACATION PACKAGES OFFERED AT TREASURE BEACH HOTEL BARBADOS A quintessential Caribbean getaway amid colorful gardens and gigantic mahoganies and palms, the boutique Treasure Beach Hotel (TBH) is located on Paynes Bay Beach, reported to be the nicest on Barbados. Guests only need walk a mere 50 feet before their toes touch the Caribbean Sea. They can snorkel or Jet Ski the day away. Treasure Beach is offering a great getaway for an even greater price. When guests stay for 11 nights, the resort will pick up the room tab for an additional three nights, or they can stay five nights and the resort will throw in two more for free. Breakfast is included daily, and dinner is included for all guest paid nights. Rates start at $752 a night and include tax and gratuities. Kathy’s restaurant, nestled among TBH’s tropical gardens with views of the sea, is popular for guests and locals alike. The menu offers international fare featuring mouthwatering new appetizer and entrée selections daily. . Treasure Beach,,

CASA BONITA’S ROOTS REACH OUT TO ECO-LUXURY AND GLORIOUS NATURE Once the weekend retreat of the Schiffino family, Casa Bonita in Barahuco, Barahona, was nudged by nature to open its doors to outside guests and become an eco-lodge. Blessed by the beauty and microclimate of the neighboring Sierra Barahuco Mountains, Rio Barahuco and Riosito River, the property, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, consists of 12 cabanas, a spa and a restaurant. Products from its organic garden are used in the restaurant and the Tanama Spa. Polibio Schiffino, Casa Bonita’s resort’s owner and project manager, has assumed the challenge of putting Barahona on travelers’ radar. Schiffino’s passion comes from his childhood memories of growing up in the area. “My most treasured times are of watching my grandfather work this land and teaching me to love its surroundings,” he said. Schiffino’s vision is to grow Casa Bonita to 36 cabanas and lodges by adding 24 villas with private pools and a jeep in each as an amenity. He also plans to add a nature conscious real-estate project, all to be completed by 2014. One of the biggest challenges he faces is educating international travelers on the region. People think of the Dominican Republic as an all-inclusive beach and sun destination, but overlook its natural riches. The area is privileged to have some of the most pristine beaches, such as Bajia de los Aguilas. Schiffino, conscious of his surroundings, gives back to the community as well as to his neighbors. To support the Haiti cause, Casa Bonita is pledging a percentage of its revenues. “Haiti is in our backyard,” said Schiffino, “and we need to do all we can to help.” To add incentive to reservations, guests will receive a $100 lodge credit for bookings made until March 30, 2011, for travel between through April 30, 2011. Casa Bonita, 800-961-5133,, MARCH 2011•



Helen Kitti Smith

With summer and fall rates starting as low as $185 per night, The Sands at Grace Bay is an affordably luxurious place to stay in Caribbean’s low season. In addition to enjoying three swimming pools and an idyllic location alongside Grace Bay Beach, guests benefit from access to complimentary watersports equipment—including kayaks and windsurfing equipment as well as snorkel gear and Hobie Cats—plus free bicycle rentals for island exploration. The Sands at Grace Bay is further sweetening stays by offering a 4th Night Free promotion valid on all room categories for consecutive stays of four nights or more started and completed between May 1 and December 21, 2011. The offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other resort offer or promotion, and the complimentary fourth night will be applied to the resort bill the end of the stay. The free night is not transferable or redeemable for cash, and is not applicable for groups. Guests can book this offer online using the promo code 4NF, or they can toll-free from the US or contact a travel agent for reservations. The Sands at Grace Bay is on world-renowned Grace Bay Beach— voted the #1 Beach & Sun Destination in the World by Trip Advisor’s ‘Traveler’s Choice’ Awards. The gracious, family-friendly resort offers accommodations ranging from 1,000 to 1,600 square feet, combining comfort-focused amenities and spectacular natural surroundings. The resort is the home of legendary beachside Hemingway’s Restaurant and Bar, where guests enjoy gourmet selections and island specialties seven days a week. Spa treatments by Spa Tropique are also available by appointment. The Sands at Grace Bay, 877-777-2637,



“To teach guests the importance of protecting our environment, we must encourage them to learn more about the dynamic environment in which we live,” said Jacques De Paep, Sandos Hotels & Resorts’ director of sales and marketing. “Our new ‘Magic Planet’ makes this learning process enjoyable for our young guests.” On February 3, Sandos Caracol Eco-Resort & Spa welcomed the Magic Planet to its lobby on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. This educational tool on the environment – an interactive touch-screen module in real-time – was developed by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Sandos’ all-inclusive property is the world’s first resort to feature the Magic Planet. “We hope that we can learn together to make positive contributions to society and make our planet more sustainable for future generations,” de Paep added. The resort, located 45 minutes from Cancun’s International Airport and just 10 minutes from downtown Playa del Carmen, demonstrated its commitment to the environment in 2009 when it established “Eco Club” as a blueprint for reducing the property’s environmental impact. Following strict “green” guidelines, its complete refurbishment in 2010 introduced low-power air conditioning, solar-panel water heating, internal LED lighting, waste-water recycling, and new wood furniture sourced from certified-forest woods throughout the resort’s 62 three-story villas, which house 956 rooms and junior suites. Now, the 2011 installation of the Magic Planet brings the ecological focus full circle as an additional guest amenity, with long-term, positive implications. The Magic Planet is a coalition of Sandos Caracol Eco-Resort & Spa, The Pelopidas Foundation, and The Climate Institute. According to Paulina Segura, an official with the Riviera Maya Destination Marketing Office, “Properties such as Sandos Caracol Eco-Resort & Spa are implementing important, well-managed sustainable programs.” Sandos Caracol Eco-Resort & Spa pays 10 percent agency commission. Agents may earn up to an additional $100 per booking, plus commission, for selling its Royal Elite Ocean View Rooms. Other rates begin at $100.00 pp/pn. Sandos Hotels & Resorts, 866-336-4083, 26 • MARCH 2011

ST. MAARTEN ESTABLISHES FIRST NATIONAL MARINE PARK St. Maarten recently established its first national marine park— the Man of War Shoal Marine Park. The aquatic area is the first step taken toward preserving the area known as the Proselyte Reef, the island’s most important underwater habitat. The Proselyte Reef includes the island’s most important marine habitat consisting of coral reefs and sea grass beds as well as a large population of aquatic mammals, including whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles and fish. The area was selected because of its ecological, economical and cultural value, providing over $50 million annually in economic goods and services. In addition, as diving in marine parks is on the rise globally, the region will help boost tourism. The new Man of War Shoal marine park allows St. Maarten to have an official protected SXM Underwater 2 area enforced in accordance with the Specially Protected Areas of Wildlife (SPAW) Protocol and the federal decree on Maritime Management. Named after the HMS Proselyte—a 32-gun frigate that struck Man of War Shoal on September 4, 1801, artifacts such as large anchors, cannons, barrel hoops, cannon balls and pottery are still present at the site, considered an archaeological treasure. St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, • Travel World News

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


Immersed in the tropical beauty of Cabarete – an ecological paradise renowned for its architecture and decor, which fosters the call to tranquility and rest.

The Carabela Beach Resort & Casino is a 4-star hotel, right on the beautiful white sandy beach of Punta Cana in the Southeast Coast of the Dominican Republic.

A place to re-energize, a romantic place to celebrate or to simply spend time with the people closest to you.

Blau Natura Park Hotel - Punta Cana

Lush tropical gardens, lagoons and bridges along winding paths which lead to the beach. Our Punta Cana luxury hotel is located on the marvellous Playa Bavaro beach.

Small enough to be cozy and romantic, large enough to provide all the comforts you require. Dominating a coral cliff jutting into the sea, with beaches spreading out in either direction and blue ocean everywhere. Hotel Sosua By The Sea beckons with it’s friendly staff and tranquil surroundings.

Puerto Plata Village is a four-star, all-inclusive resort with beautifully decorated rooms and suites. Once outside the spacious and well-appointed rooms, there are numerous on-site attractions designed to excite or relax — Something for everyone

Original architectural design using the area’s natural resources such as stone, coconut trees, wood and cane to create a calming and comfortable environment.

Easter Weekend Getaway Apr 23-30 (8 days 7 nights All Inclusive) CASA MARINA BEACH REEF & RESORT (Puerto Plata) GRAND PARADISE BAVARO (Punta Cana ) BE LIVE HAMACA (Boca Chica) Rates are based pp plus taxes and include roundtrip air from NY and transfer

************************************************* Memorial Weekend Getaway May 27-30 (4 days 3 nights all Inclusive) Air JFK to SDQ return

BE LIVE HAMACA (Boca Chica) BARCELO CAPELLA (Juan Dolio) BE LIVE CANOA (La Romana) Rates are based pp plus taxes and include roundtrip air from NY and transfer

If you love adventure, nature, swimming, jumping into pools of crystal clear water, biking, hiking, rafting, kiteboarding, surfing, extreme sports in general and you care about the environment... This is the place!

The name of our hotel is from the original Taino inhabitant who lived peacefully on Hispaniola. Today Hotel Villa Taina is a gateway to enjoy the purity of nature and the joy of life.

Based in Cabarete, world famous windsurf and kiteboard center on the north coast of the island of Hispaniola. Cabarete’s most dependable adventure outfitter

Other properties and air from other major cities available


Just a year after first offering its new Presidential Suites product in the Dominican Republic’s Puerto Plata in partnership with Spain-based Globalia Corporation, Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club has completed Phase II with four new buildings and 24 twobedroom suites. The one- and two-bedroom suites are ultra-modern with full kitchen, dining area plus living room with pull-down Murphy bed. Property amenities include the Jazz French Fusion Restaurant and Blues Las Vegas style buffet eatery, Bourbon Street Bar before a large swimming pool with waterfall, hot tub, three tennis courts, wireless Internet, private beach and access to all Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort facilities and amenities. LHVC encompasses The Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort including The Tropical, The Crown Suites, The Crown Villas, and the Residences Suites; as well as The Presidential Suites by Lifestyle, Dream Suites by Lifestyle and the upcoming Costa Esmeralda by Lifestyle, Center Court by Lifestyle and The Level by Lifestyle. For LHVC members, guests and their families, many activities are available to them in the north coast, including the Ocean World Adventure Park, a cable ride to the peak of Mount Isabel de Torres, white water rafting, horseback riding, deep sea fishing, boating, snorkeling, monster truck safaris and city tours of Puerto Plata. On the east coast in Punta Cana, members enjoy beautiful beaches that include Cabeza de Toro, Bavaro, Arena Gorda, Macao and Uvero Alto, as well as 12 championship golf courses. Activities include sport fishing, diving, snorkeling, horseback riding, and tours via beach buggy, helicopter and catamaran. Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club,

NEW HONEYMOON SUITES AT BOUTIQUE TRUE BLUE BAY RESORT Perfect for honeymooners or a special romantic escape, a new Honeymoon Suite has been carefully located in one of the most spectacular sites that True Blue Bay Boutique Resort has to offer. Connected by a bridge through the treetops, this idyllic room has an oversized four-poster bed, enticing soft fabrics and furnishings, custom designed décor, a comfy, relaxing and spacious living area and a grand bathroom with whirlpool tub and shower. The “piece de resistance” is the splendid view of the bay and south 28 • MARCH 2011

coast of Grenada where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic. Couples will enjoy the cool breeze sitting on their private veranda gazing at passing yachts and celebrating each fabulous sunset. Those who book before March 30, 2011, can stay seven nights and pay for just five. Or, they can stay 14 nights and pay for only 10 (not applicable to the Honeymoon Package). The Honeymoon Package includes seven nights’ accommodation in the Honeymoon Suite, airport transfers, welcome champagne, tropical flowers and a Grenada treats basket, daily room service full breakfast, and one three-course room service dinner including one bottle of house wine on the couple’s very own veranda. They may customize the package by choosing two of the following activities: a picnic lunch at beautiful La Sagesse beach, a snorkeling trip to the Underwater Sculpture Park with Aquanauts Grenada, a full-day Spice Island Tour including a Plantation Lunch, a champagne sunset sail with light hors d’oeuvres onboard the hotel’s sailing yacht Truph, or a private yoga session for two. More information and package rates are available by emailing the hotel. True Blue Bay Resort,,

GLAMOUR DESTINATION MANAGEMENT COMPANY NAMED VIRTUOSO ON-SITE FOR JAMAICA Jamaica’s premier destination management company, Glamour, has been named by luxury travel network Virtuoso as its on-site for Jamaica. As an on-site, Virtuoso will use Glamour as its primary destination management company and ground handler for travel within Jamaica. “We are very proud and honored to have been appointed as a Virtuoso on-site for Jamaica,” said Rachel Anderson, director with responsibility for business development and expansion at Glamour DMC. Since commencing operations in 1987, Glamour has emerged as a leading DMC in Jamaica with offices in Montego Bay, Jamaica; The Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos. The company has extensive knowledge and experience in meticulously planning meetings and events, executing weddings, creating unique and specially crafted itineraries for its clients, providing access to luxurious villas, boutique luxury resorts off the beaten track or main resort areas. Virtuoso Travel comprises over 300 agencies staffed by more than 6,000 travel specialists worldwide. Like Glamour DMC, Virtuoso specializes in luxury travel with the focus on assisting clients with extraordinary and memorable travel experiences. Virtuoso travel advisors offer guidance and personal consultation to clients across the Americas, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand. “When we launched Glamour over 20 years ago, it was always our commitment to provide only the best in service to our clients. It will be our distinct pleasure to further extend these services to Virtuoso member agencies and their clientele as part of this vibrant new partnership,” Anderson continued. Virtuoso,; Glamour Destination Management Company, • Travel World News



Canodros S.A. has announced that Marco Pino P., who acted as General Manager since 2003, has communicated his decision to undertake new challenges, dedicating more time to his personal projects. Rafael Cuesta, Vice President and now acting also as general power, has been designated to assume the legal representation of the company. He has been the Vice President as well as a member of the Board RAFAEL CUESTA-CANODROS of Directors for over 12 years. Cesar Perez Barriga, the company’s Executive President, stated, “Rafael is eligible to carry out the direction of the company and his vision of it so we are confident that Canodros S.A. and the M/V Galapagos Explorer will sail the seas of success during his management with the valuable experience of our company executives.” He added, “With this opportunity, we renew our firm goal to continue with the ideals of our company offering the highest quality of service with a view of total satisfaction of our partners and guests as we were instructed by our founder Carlos Perez Perasso, whose fundamental philosophy of life emphasized his business in service to others with quality, social consciousness and responsibility.” Canodros S.A.,

Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges has a 16-day/15night program called Ecuador Four Worlds, revealing Ecuador’s historical nooks and cultural and botanical/biological quadrants spanning the Equator. The tour can be enjoyed as a solo traveler, couple, family, or in small, private groups of up to 12 and is offered throughout the year. It includes accommodations, most meals, all ground, air and water transportation between island and mainland locations, plus activities, guides and airport transfers. Pricing is based on group size, date of departure, age of participants and room configuration. Rates average $358 ppdo all-inclusive. There is a 25-percent discount for children under 10 years old. All required in-country air is included. In the Galapagos, the company accommodates guests in three of its five multi-island lodges. In other locations guests enjoy the hospitality of boutique hotels and eco-lodges, their colorful hosts and the area’s most popular activities. The four distinct worlds of Ecuador are explored, including the Andean Highlands with the World Heritage capital city Quito, the Equatorial Monument, historic Cuenca, and the best-preserved Inca complex in the country, Ingapirca.The second quadrant takes in the area’s biodiversity with snorkeling with sea lions, a visit to a private preserve where giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, exploring pirate lore and legend on Floreana, and hiking in the caldera and visiting lava caves on Isabela. The third quadrant includes the Amazon Basin where guests stay at a remote jungle lodge accessed by dugout canoe with hikes to a native village and a canopy tower adventure. Quadrant number four encompasses the Coastal Lowlands and includes tours of historic Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest commercial center, a yacht tour along the Guayas River and shopping at artisan markets. Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges, 888-254-3190,,


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HACIENDA CUSIN AND SISTER HOTEL OFFERING PRIVATE HOUSE VACATIONS House renting has become a new way of vacationing in Ecuador, already long established in Europe and North America. Increased cost of living has caused thousands of North Americans and Europeans to migrate, seasonally or permanently. Houses Casa Imbabura at Hacienda Cusin and Casa Olana and Casa Cotacachi at sister hotel Las Palmeras Inn have two bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, log fireplaces, extensive landscaped gardens, patios with magnificent Andean landscapes, sports facilities, Wifi access, and daily housecleaning. Maximum occupancy is four guests. Rates are presently $900 for a week and $1,800 per month, with taxes additional. Apart from many local activities including fine restaurants, magnificent Spanish-colonial Quito, a Galapagos cruise, an Amazon or cloud forest lodge are a morning away. Hacienda Cusin,;, 30 • MARCH 2011 • Travel World News


B 2 B E X C H A N G E

kayaking trips, rafting, sea kayaking, fly fishing, trekking, horseback riding, mountain biking and other multi-sport adventures. We offer a lodge in the town of Futaleufu, and a camp and ranch in the Futaleufu valley–catering to all comfort levels. The first 5-star Wellness & Spa Resort in Chile

We get you there with over a decade of experience. Praised by our clients, The Wall Street Journal and award winning travel guides Frommer’s, Fodor’s and Moon Handbooks, our unrivaled snowboard and ski tours blend adventure, brilliant cultural interaction, unforgettable meals, and cozy lodging on a quest for powder and soul.

Santiago Convention Bureau (SCB) is a non-profit organization created by private companies related to the business industry. Our mission is to establish Santiago de Chile as the best destination for meetings,congresses, fairs and all kind of events.

From a desire and dream to share the experience of the legendary remote desert with the exploring traveler – we built Terrantai. With adobe, lake rocks and wood aged by time – evoking the legacy of ancestral memories of the warm and welcoming Mother Earth. Its interior spaces were designed with the inspiration of the original Atacama Desert peoples and their ways of living.

Just like the Romantic Travelers of the beginning of the century – our inspiration – to enjoy nature in all its glory.

A unique experience. Fantastic landscapes, ancestral cultures and characters out of a storybook.

An ALL INCLUSIVE complex in Chile. No hidden cost. Two specialty restaurants, a buffet restaurant, a pool snack bar, a family bar lounge, a piano-bar, a TV lounge, three in-outdoor thermal pools, a sauna, 2 tennis courts, horseback riding, nautical sports in the lake, a kids club, games room, an internet café, a hotel historical museum and many other activities such as wine tasting, concerts,excursions and a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities.

A great location just outside the town of Hanga Roa so that every visitor can enjoy the great view the Rapa Nui island has to offer. Beautiful sunsets from any point of the hotel that take place in this mysterious land of Chile.


spectacular Machu Picchu as well as a luxury cruise into the Amazon jungle. Rates for the 10-night journey that departs daily except Thursdays start at $2,526 and include land transfers, accommodation, breakfast daily, English-speaking assistance, lunch at a historic hacienda and a massage in Cuzco, meals in Machu Picchu and a museum in Lima. My Exclusive Journeys, 888-334-6905,,

ANTARCTIC DREAM OFFERS FLY-CRUISE OPTION LINKING CHILE, ARGENTINA Located on the Avenue El Sol a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas and in front of the most important Inca market, Sonesta Hotel Cusco offers guests easy access to exciting nightlife and major tourist attractions like the Palace Koricancha. The 70-room property, which opened January 1, 2010, is a business-class hotel with a business center, meeting space, and fine restaurant. Completely renovated, the decor achieves an atmosphere of warmth, modernity and tranquility that combines with its excellent service. In December 2010, Sonesta’s Posadas del Inca Yucay completed a new floor plan to merge front desk, bar and lobby seating area into a single large space, the creation of well-known interior designer Yolanda Corvetto. Her goal was to create a warm, peaceful space in harmony with the architectural design of the hotel, whose main attraction is the 15th-century colonial monastery. Important pieces of carved wood were added, including a spectacular colonial bronze mirror, now a reception centerpiece. Sonesta Hotels,

TASTES OF SOUTH AMERICA WITH MY EXCLUSIVE JOURNEYS My Exclusive Journeys is offering trips to Argentina, Chile or Peru that will highlight food and wine trends and their rich local heritage. A Few Days of Wine and Tango features six flexible nights in Argentina. Highlights are Buenos Aires and surrounding villages for a tasting, dinner and tango show (plus tango or cooking lesson), the Pampas for a barbeque and fiesta, and elegant Mendoza. Tours may be arranged year round. Rates start at $1,137 and include land transfers; accommodation; breakfast daily; English-speaking assistance; massage, walking tour, tango show and dinner in Buenos Aires; and city and wine tours in Mendoza. The Sounds of Silence, a Soulful Experience, features 10 nights in Chile comprising Santiago, the Queulat National Park in Puyuhuapi, Atacama Desert and Chile’s Central Valley. Tours are available October through April. Rates start at $4,079 and include land transfers, accommodation, breakfast daily, English-speaking assistance, massage in Santiago, all meals in Puyuhuapi and San Pedro de Atacama, tours in Queulat National Park, catamaran excursion and daily explorations, wine tasting or Pomaire potters. Memories of Peru: A Lavish Adventure includes Lima, Cuzco and 32 • MARCH 2011

Antarctic Dream is offering high-season passengers an exciting crossing of legendary Drake Passage to arrive in the South Shetland Islands for a new eight-day expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula, sailing from Ushuaia, Argentina, and returning by plane from King George Island to Punta Arenas, Chile, or vice versa. This means guests will cross the Drake Passage by ship in one direction only— for December 22, 29, and all January departures only; the 11-day expedition from/to Ushuaia applies to all others. Since the remote “White Continent” has no history of man hunting animals, animals are usually unafraid of human beings and may actually be “intrigued” by their presence. With an opportunity to wander among penguins and sea lions, this makes the region a paradise for photographers, as well as enabling views of unusual large southern birds in flight. Icons of the trips are many and thrilling, with sails to Villa Esperanza and Brown Bluff, Paulet Island and Astrolabe, Cuverville and Paradise Bay, Port Lockroy, and Deception Island and Half Moon. Prices for the eight-day/seven-night trip during high season (flights included) range from $9,500 to $15,700 double, and $14,200 to $23,600 single. An early-bird 10-percent discount applies to all new bookings for the 2011–12 season if booked by March 31, 2011, by which time a non-refundable deposit must be paid. Antarctic Dream, 877-AD TRIPS (238-7477),

G T TOURS HAS USEFUL TOOLS FOR MARKETING LATIN AMERICA G T Tours has announced that their Sales Tool and Destination interactive CD and their 2011 series of Central and South American brochures are ready for distribution to travel agencies. For agents familiar with selling Latin America, G T Tours has now available a separate CD that contains all of their full-color brochures. Both marketing CDs are useful tools for showing clients places to visit depending on their interests. G T Tours now have several products—especially to the Galapagos Islands—that offer higher incentive commissions for last-minute bookings (within 45 days from departure) and also for early or advanced tour bookings (between three and six months prior to departure). Cruise details, dates available, rate and commission information is available by email or toll-free contact. G T Tours, 800-666-8687,, • Travel World News


Against the backdrop of the Mayan mountains, the 5-Star resort spans the Placencia Penisula in southern Belize embracing waterfronts on both sides. The sun rises on one side where an infinity pool looks out over a white sand beach. The sun sets on the other, where a tranquil lagoon creates a calming ambience.


On Ambergris Caye in Belize, paradise isn’t imaginary. It’s real – and Ambergris Villas Beachfront Resort Group offers the most exciting, active, and relaxing vacations at their luxury island beachfront resorts, from hotel rooms and suites to fully-equipped vacation rentals in Belize.

Stop imagining, and begin experiencing

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x x x

Escape from the ordinary – experience the extraordinary

Belize’s Premier Hotel with 102 rooms. Two restaurants, 2 pools and Jacuzzi Business Center, Fitness Center Business Class Rooms & Free WiFi

Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina #2 Marine Parade Belize City, BELIZE 1-800-333-3333

Experience the adventure of the rainforest: the early mists, the wealth of birds and wildlife; the ancient trees. Enjoy pristine environment – hike in old growth forest, float along a jungle river, relax to sounds of nature. Explore hidden Maya temples, float through mysterious caverns, and journey to the ancient Maya underworld… Adventurers, researchers, birders, families, and anyone looking to explore all that Belize has to offer will find Pook’s Hill an ideal destination.

Toll Free Reservations: 800.247.5159 Direct: 713.334.2340 Email:

At Mariposa Jungle Lodge Our Goal: To Provide Belize Jungle Holidays with Adventure and Comfort

If you appreciate the treasure of natural beauty and peace, you will love Belize and its friendly people. Join us for an unforgettable holiday experience in our beautiful adopted country.

Casa Maya – A True Jungle Lodge Welcome to Black Rock Lodge BANANA BEACH RESORT The perfect choice for weddings, family vacations, group retreats, reunions, or that long overdue romantic Caribbean getaway. A friendly resort on Mar de Tumbo Beach just south of San Pedro Town on the Ambergris Caye of Belize – has been a haven of fun, adventure, and relaxation for more than 10 years.

Explore our unique eco-lodge nestled in the dense rainforest above the Macal River in the Mayan Mountains of Belize. A passionate commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable operation is evident in every aspect of your stay with us.

Tucked away in a quiet private valley. The cabanas and buildings are thatched with bay leaf palm and the framework material is an exotic hardwood called Milady. Almost of our building materials were harvested in a sustainable way from the local jungle and constructed by local craftsmen, the Manzaneros’, in the same manner their ancestors built for centuries.



Victoria House, Ambergris Caye, Belize has once again been recognized as a Caribbean and Central American tourism-industry leader by the international travel media. This year’s awards and recognition include, for the second time, the 2011 Travelers Choice Award, Top 10 Hotels for Romance in Central & South America–Trip Advisor and finalist for the 2011 Award for Excellence/Most Excellent Beach Resort for Mexico & Central America, Conde Nast Johansens. The tranquil, colonial setting offers guests a wide variety of accommodation styles including thatch-roofed casitas, beachfront villas with private pools and spacious, modern suites. Victoria House is situated in a former cocal plantation and its lush, tropical gardens and lawns are beautifully accentuated by tall, swaying coconut palms. Exquisitely prepared local and internationally inspired dishes are available in the award-winning Palmilla Restaurant and Admiral Nelson’s Beachside Bar. Four freshwater swimming pools including two infinity pools are available exclusively for hotel guests. The tranquil coastal waters and Great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, just a couple of hundred yards offshore, offer endless diversions and activities. Excursions may be arranged onsite at Fantasea Watersports, with convenient departures and arrivals for most activities from a 300-ft pier. Victoria House is the perfect location to celebrate a special event or enjoy a romantic getaway. Barefoot Luxury is the byword at Victoria House, where the goal is to meet and exceed expectations. A member of the Andrew Harper Collection, the Ultimate Resource for the Luxury Traveler, the Signature Travel Network and Recommended By Conde Nast Johansens Luxury Hotels and Spas, Victoria House has received many accolades over the years from guests and reviewers alike, and continues to enjoy one of the highest annual occupancy figures in the region. Victoria House,,

Hidden Valley Inn has been honored as a finalist this year for the Condé Nast Johansens Awards of Excellence, in the category of Most Excellent Lodge for the region of Mexico and Central America, and also Most Excellent Eco Resort for the region of Mexico and Central America. The beautiful and tranquil inn is located high in the Mountain Pine Ridge in the Cayo District of Belize, Central America. This remote lodge offers guests both pine forest and tropical jungle where the flora and fauna are like few places on earth. The Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is the largest and oldest of Belizean parklands, established in 1944. The red earth and sandy terrain, Caribbean pines, granite outcroppings, tumbling waterfalls, huge limestone caves, and rolling open savanna grasslands, bordered by lush tropical rainforest, make the Reserve unique in Central America. At an altitude of over 2,000 feet, its climate is a comfortable average 73 degrees year round. Hidden Valley Inn is a luxury hotel with only 12 cottages, is located on a 7,200-acre private reserve. This intimate eco resort offers quality accommodation, fine food and attentive service in a natural environment unspoiled by man. Hidden Valley Inn is one of the most established and luxurious resorts in the Mountain Pine Ridge. Guests staying at this small luxury hotel enjoy exclusive access to over 90 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails as well as many secluded pools and waterfalls set in tropical rainforest. For those seeking romance, one of the waterfalls may be reserved exclusively for the special day. Situated in the Maya Mountains, this cozy jungle lodge also serves as a convenient base for visiting the various scenic attractions of the area. Canoe trips are a peaceful way to observe the indigenous fauna and flora, horseback riding through the jungle with a local Mayan guide is a unique experience, mystical caves can be explored on foot, by canoe or tube, while ancient Mayan cities and modern-day rural villages provide a glimpse of past and present cultures. Hidden Valley Inn, 866-443-3364,

34 • MARCH 2011 • Travel World News


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Coach Costa Rica can help with hotel reservations, domestic flights, and fishing tours.


MISSION Provide our clientele with unique, innovative, nature oriented and ecologically responsible travel programs that will bring together the best components of Costa Rica. We offer a large variety of travel packages for family vacations, romantic getaways, nature lovers, pure adrenaline as well as tailor made itineraries.

A fabulous place with a natural view of the Arenal Volcano. Thermal springs surround lush gardens. Neidin Spa – a little nest built to awaken the senses with sounds of nature. The balance of body and soul is our goal.

has the highest rating in Costa Rica for sustainable tourism and cultivates its ow n organic shade grow n coffee on its 40 acre organic coffee farm for the use of the hotel guests. Attention to detail is unparalleled in Costa Rica, and its personal care of its guests is legendary.

In addition to all the comforts one can expect – our coaches are fitted with a telephone for emergencies. We also provide baby seats and coolers for passengers to travel in safety and comfort.

White House Hotel, Restaurant & Spa Where you are the Commander in Chief

Located in the hills of San Antonio de Escazú and a magnificent view overlooking 3 volcanoes and the entire San José metropolitan area it is the ideal destination for those seeking luxurious accommodations , personalized service, and fine dining during their stay in Costa Rica.

A small, enchanting, discrete hotel located in the cultural district of San José, Costa Rica. This newly-restored Victorian mansion makes you feel at home. Each room is lovingly named after a species of flower native to Costa Rica.


From May 1 until December 18, 2011, SunBreeze Hotel on Ambergris Caye, Belize, is offering a 7th Night Free Early Bird Special. A perfect vacation spot for couples, families, friends, weddings or individuals just wishing to get away, SunBreeze Hotel is conveniently located within a stroll from the quaint town of San Pedro. The hotel manages to escape the town’s hustle while enjoying easy access to every means of entertainment and water sport activity. The U-shaped hotel of Spanish architectural design with Caribbean touches is surrounded by tropical gardens overlooking the Caribbean Sea and the second largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. Highly professional PADI dive operator Hugh Parkey’s Belize Dive Connection is onsite. The oceanfront property is protected by a seawall and boasts 43 spacious air-conditioned rooms of three categories. It includes a beachfront open-air restaurant and bar, a freshwater water pool surrounded by 10 ft of wooden deck, lounge chairs, a massage studio and wellness center, an art gallery, as well a conference room and Wifi. SunBreeze Hotel,

NATUREAIR EXPANDS ROUTES IN CENTRAL AMERICA The World’s first carbon-neutral airline, Nature Air, has announced a new scheduled route between San Jose, Costa Rica, and Managua, Nicaragua. The afternoon flight will depart from San Jose’s Tobías Bolaños International Airport with a stop in Liberia before continuing on to Managua, giving passengers the option to connect from most of the regional airline’s other destinations in Costa Rica and Panama. Upon its approval, the inaugural flight is set to depart March 2, 2011. It will be the first flight connecting Liberia, the capital of Guanacaste, with Nicaragua. In 2010, there were a record number of arrivals coming into Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport. With an airport expansion underway, the airline hopes to cater to both businessmen and tourists, who prefer to avoid the six-hour journey by land and lengthy waits at the border. Nature Air is working directly with Nicaragua’s Tourism Board 36 • MARCH 2011

INTUR to offer additional services to visitors including ground transportation and vacation packages to the popular cultural and historic centers of Granada and Leon, as well as natural destinations like Masaya, the islands of Ometepe, and the beach and surf town of San Juan del Sur. “Costa Rica has been one of the most popular holiday destinations in recent years, and neighboring countries like Nicaragua have seen a significant amount of visitors traveling over the border to visit nearby tourist destinations,” Nature Air Marketing Director Claire Saylor said. “With increasingly shorter vacations and greater expectations from travelers, Nature Air recognizes the need to offer more flights in Central America,” Saylor added. “With our recent increase in frequency of flights to Bocas Del Toro, Panama, and our newest route addition to Nicaragua, we are allowing people to visit more unique destinations in fewer days.” In addition, the airline added a new daily route between San Jose and the Nicoya Peninsula departing at 4:30 p.m., and a direct flight between Quepos and Arenal, which has promotional deals available. Nature Air, 800-235-9272,

‘JUNGLE LOVE’ PACKAGE FOR COUPLES AT MARIPOSA JUNGLE LODGE IN BELIZE Couples can celebrate their love at the boutique luxury Belize property, Mariposa Jungle Lodge, with a new “Jungle Love” all-inclusive romance escape featuring five days/four nights priced at $1,999 per couple, available through December 20, 2011. Mariposa Jungle Lodge’s all-inclusive romance vacation includes ground transportation, luxury accommodations in a private thatched cabana with king bed and private hammock, complimentary welcome Belizean cocktail, champagne and chocolates in the cabana, all meals including a complimentary Belikin beer, soft drinks, activities and adventure, tax and service charges. The Jungle Love all-inclusive romance vacation features guided day and night jungle walks and hikes to bird-watch; candlelit dinners with jungle view; a visit to an unexcavated Maya archaeological site and a relaxing tube float along the Macal River followed by a river swim. Couples will ignite passion and love with a private gourmet BBQ dinner under the stars on Mariposa’s jungle bird watchtower, then bid the staff “Buenas noches,” after they set out a double sleeping bag. Morning coffee and Belizean fry jacks are delivered to the romantic jungle perch, as they awaken to watch for toucans, green parrots, chachalacas and other avian treasures performing their morning song and dance. Mariposa’s Jungle Love Belize adventure also includes exploring Caracol, visiting the Rio Frio Cave, swimming in the natural pools at the Rio On and Big Rock Falls, enjoying the sunset dance of thousands of butterflies, visiting Actun Tunichil Muknal, ziplining, and navigating a ceremonial cave with a rare Maya calendar. Mariposa Jungle Lodge,, • Travel World News


LATIN AMERICA WITH THE FOLLOWING DESTINATION SPECIALISTS CUSTOM LUXURY INDEPENDENT TOURS TO LATIN AMERICA AND SPAIN • We sell travel experience rather than trips! • We create trips people feel good about! • We contribute to your favorite charity.

The Adventure Travel Marketplace We know adventure travel, and we get the importance of sustainability, based on our decades of involvement on the ground in the international adventure tourism industry. This experience allows us to select the best local tour operators in each destination.

(up to 1% of the paid tour)

Call us at 888-334-6905 toll free or email us at to start your client’s dream trip today!

Destination specialists for over 25 years


The vision of the owners has taken

Excelsior Travel & Tours from one small store front office with two travel agents to three offices with many quality travel agents to serve you.

Dedicated to providing high-quality travel experiences that preserve the fragile lands we visit. We work closely with our customers, so we are able to design unique vacations that match interests and schedules. In addition to customized private tours, we also offer pre-set departures to a wide range of South & Central American destinations.

GSA recognizes it’s responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint, offsetting the difference, and informing our clients as to how they may do the same. As we learn, so do our passengers.

GL TOURS We have designed mini vacation modules to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru that can be combined in almost any way to create a “dream holiday.” Discover the secret treasures of South America, a continent of incredible contrasts, from the Amazon Basin, to glaciers, to the Lake District, the Andes, archaeological sites, primitive villages, pristine beaches and dazzling cities. Travel World News •

designing custom packages to Latin America for travelers for over 20 years. And, we do it better than any other tour company. Book a trip to Central or South America – it’s sure to be something memorable.

A full-service travel agency located in the suburbs of San Jose, Costa Rica. We personally visit all of the hotels, adventure tours, domestic flights and transportation options we offer as part of our customized packages. We are the #1 option for a luxury resort, vacation rental or boutique hotel. MARCH 2011 •


LATIN AMERICA BELIZE’S CHAA CREEK INVITES GEORGE LUCAS AND SETH ROGEN TO 2012 CELEBRATIONS The Lodge at Chaa Creek has invited filmmaker George Lucas to take part in their 2012–Maya Perspectives lecture series and grand celebrations planned for Winter Solstice December 21, 2012. They also invite actor Seth Rogan to join in. “When we recently read Seth Rogen’s comments that Mr. Lucas was worried about the world ending in 2012, we wanted to help allay his fears by giving him real information from the Maya themselves right here in the heartland of the Maya,” Chaa Creek spokesman Larry Waight said. “After all, Mr. Lucas is one of the greatest directors of all time, and we hate to see him wasting his time needlessly worrying about something that calls more for a party than panic,” he said. “And Seth Rogen? He’d obviously be a great addition to any party.” Rogen said he “first thought he (Lucas) was joking… then I realized he was serious and I started thinking, ‘If you’re George Lucas and you actually think the world is gonna end in a year, there’s no way you haven’t built a spaceship for yourself…” “We want to assure Mr. Lucas there’s no reason to build a Millennium Falcon when he could be spending that time making more great movies,” Waight said. “I’m sure that by spending some time down here and taking part in the lecture series, walking around the Maya temples and visiting the ancient cities of Caracol and Tikal, Mr. Lucas would come away feeling much better about the future. The eco-resort is adding special tours, excursions and activities leading up to and throughout 2012. December 15–25 events will feature a Maya cultural village set up especially for the Winter Solstice, with a massive torchlight procession to an onsite Maya temple site December 21. “Seth felt that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg would fly away and leave him to be ‘blown up’ as he put it. I think all three of them should come down here and make a funny film about this huge Maya party. Now that would be a great movie. “And it would be true,” Waight added. The Lodge at Chaa Creek, 877-709-8708,,

COSTA RICA CALLING WITH TWO NEW FRIENDLY PLANET TRAVEL TOURS Now travelers can experience beautiful Costa Rica for $899 on Friendly Planet Travel’s new seven-day Captivating Costa Rica tour, or for $1,149 on its nine-day Costa Rica Pura Vida tour. From jungles, cloud forests and active volcanoes to its rivers and Caribbean and Pacific coasts, guests can sample everything that makes Costa Rica Central America’s jewel. Included in the prices are roundtrip flights from Miami; all transfers on air-conditioned, chauffeur-driven minivans; superior hotel accommodations; daily breakfast; all meals in Tortuguero; comprehensive sightseeing with a naturalist, bilingual guide in Tortuguero; the entrance fee to Tortuguero National Park; and more. 38 • MARCH 2011

Both tours begin in San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica. Those who chose the Captivating Costa Rica tour travel to the Arenal region next, home to the one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Here, visitors may choose an adventurous canopy tour complete with zip lines. Those who opt for the Costa Rica Pura Vida tour will spend two extra days exploring the Caribbean coastal area and Tortuguero before heading to Arenal. Small boats take them through the canals of the Tortuguero National Park where they’ll see rainforest vegetation and wildlife, including capuchin, howler and spider monkeys, crocodiles and more—even green turtles perhaps, one of several endangered varieties who lay their eggs on Tortuguero’s shores. Guests on both tours can then settle into an air-conditioned minivan that transports them to the Monteverde Reserve where over 300 species of birds and mammals and many varieties of orchids can be found. Wonderful views of its Cloud Forest Reserve are to be had on the suspension bridges that span from mountaintop to mountaintop. Lastly, it’s a drive back to San José to see two famous landmarks, the National Theater and Edificio Correos buildings. Guests can also take advantage of the already included airfare and continue on a three-night extension in Manuel Antonio for $349. Here, it’s possible to photograph capuchin monkeys skipping across the tropical beaches and iguanas sunning themselves. More info is available from Jackie Zima-Evans at Gregory FCA. Friendly Planet Travel,,

NAYARA HOTEL CHOSEN ‘MOST ROMANTIC HOTEL IN CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA’ TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, has named Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens in Costa Rica the “Most Romantic Hotel in Central & South America,” and among the “Top 5 Most Romantic Hotels in the World” after tallying nearly 20 million online reviews by actual guests to determine the “2011 Travelers’ Choice Awards.” With nearly 700 hotels recognized across nine categories including Best Bargains, Best Luxury, Best for Romance, Best B&Bs and Inns, Best Relaxation and Spa, Trendiest, Best All-Inclusive, and Best Hotels in the US and the World, Nayara has risen to the top for all of the qualities they consider to be of the utmost importance. Spread across 15 lush acres against the incredible backdrop of Costa Rican rainforest and the imposing active Arenal Volcano, Nayara exudes romance. Its environs are enhanced by 44 oversized ‘casitas’ with large living areas, private outdoor showers and personal Jacuzzis on each outdoor terrace offering a clear view of the volcano. Other touches are a new open-air spa, wine bar and private romantic dinners offered in hidden locations around the property. Nayara is easily reachable within a couple hours’ drive from either San Jose or Liberia. Rates for the retreat start at $199 per night. Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens, 866-311-1197, • Travel World News


Panama’s premier city hotel, Bristol Panama, has announced its new 25-story Hotel Residence Tower expansion project. Slated to open in October, 2011, the addition will feature 63 guestrooms, 40 condominium units and eight suites, as well as a lap pool, restaurant bar lounge and fitness center. Designed by Zurcher Architects, The Residences at Bristol Panama will epitomize five-star living in a vibrant city, complete with first-class amenities indicative of Panama’s ultimate address. Continued in the style of the Bristol Panama hotel, the new residences’ design will feature traditionally luxurious Panamanian décor and timeless, contemporary furnishings. With nine units of guestrooms on each floor, the 25-story Hotel Residence Tower will include 56 Deluxe King and seven Deluxe Double accommodations, 6 one-bedroom and 2 two-bedroom luxury suites, and 40 condominium ranging from 814 to 1,826 square feet and complete with spacious living and dining areas, plus personalized services, housekeeping and valet parking. Bristol Panama,

FIRST GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE TOURISM SUMMIT AT PARADOR RESORT & SPA Highly recognized for environmental responsibility, Parador Resort & Spa hosted the first annual Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism summit this January. Organized by Costa Rica’s Ministry of Tourism and France’s Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, delegates from Switzerland, United States, Panama, Norway, Austria, Colombia, South Africa, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Canada, Bahamas, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Republic of Korea, and Senegal were among those in attendance. The two-day conference addressed global environmental concerns, as well as the creation of a permanent commission to facilitate sharing information, technology and budgets as pertains to sustainable tourism. Broad geographic scope will be created through converting the International Task Force on Sustainable Tourism Development (ITFTravel World News •

STD). It will have far-reaching potential for quickly implementing ideas, projects, methods and policies to benefit the global tourism community. It will be registered as a Type II United Nations Partnership on Sustainable Development and consist of UN agencies, programs, national governments, intergovernmental organizations, social, environmental, and business organizations. To date, international efforts to encourage sustainable consumption and production (SCP)—known as the Marrakech Process—has fostered voluntary task forces in specific areas, including tourism, which led to the creation of a provisional Task Force on Sustainable Tourism Development. Chaired by France, the committee boasts a membership of 18 countries and 25 organizations, and has successfully executed nearly 40 projects between 2006 and 2009. The committee has recommended establishing a partnership for synergy by creating and applying policies, training materials and tools, facilitating coherent programs, addressing the needs of individual members, providing blueprints for the replication of successful projects and initiatives, and preventing unnecessary duplication of work by building communication networks and joint ventures. Parador Resort & Spa,

GOWAY INTRODUCES ITS 2011 LATIN AMERICA TRAVEL PLANNER Goway Travel, specialist wholesaler for long-haul destinations, has announced the launch of its 2011 Latin America Travel Planner. “We have seen unprecedented growth in Latin America; specifically to destinations such as Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica, as well as Antarctica, Argentina and Chile. We have expanded our range of vessels in the Galapagos, plus launched a number of special departures in celebration of the anniversary of Machu Picchu’s discovery 100 years ago,” stated Don Forster, Product and Marketing Manager for Goway’s Latin America. In Costa Rica, Goway has launched a unique voucher system for touring the country. The Tour Open Voucher System (TOV) includes the most popular Costa Rica day excursions, which are assigned a point value, enabling travelers to select from a range of tours and benefit from the savings while customizing their sightseeing itinerary. Not only does the TOV system save travelers up to 10 percent versus paying at the destination, it allows for flexibility of the itinerary and peace of mind that all travel arrangements are confirmed and in place before departure. The new concept allows travelers in Costa Rica to structure their itineraries according to budget, level of accommodation, time frame and travel style. The 44-page Latin America travel planner also features two Holidays of a Lifetime—Goways flagship experiences that carry the company’s “promise of something special.” The 17-day Splendors of South America incorporates Santiago, Rio, the Chilean Lakes district, Buenos Aires and Iguassu Falls. The 20-day Magical Ecuador and Peru is an incredible journey visiting Quito, Lima, the Galapagos and Machu Picchu. Goway Travel, 800-387-8850, 888-469-2955 (Planner),,, MARCH 2011 •



Ten Tips From World’s Top Tour Operator, Austin-Lehman Adventures Know the steps and questions to ask when planning a winning active vacation for the ‘toughest client.’

Research tools are available Through the Internet and social media channels it has never been easier to investigate tour operators in behalf of a client. “Over time you should create a “short list” of operators you feel you can trust. Of course the best endorsement would come from experiencing a tour firsthand, but we all know that is both expensive and time-consuming. One just can’t experience all the great adventures and destinations in the world and still stay home long enough to make a living!” points out Austin. “The next best thing would be to get feedback and evaluations from customers that traveled with a certain operator. Check sites like Trip Advisor and follow the travel blogs, Facebook and other travel information exchange sites.” That said, there will always come a time when an agent has a customer that just wants something no one in the office is familiar with. This is when an agent has to roll up their sleeves, dig in and do some research and due diligence. Austin and his team offer the following steps and tips to help define the most effective process from research to booking. A more detailed description of the step-by-step process can be found on their website. #1 Understand. First determine if a pre-set tour with an operator is the best option vs. an independent do-it-yourself trip. Get a solid understanding from a client as to what sort of op40 • MARCH 2011



t is overwhelming how much active and adventure travel product is on the market. Even the most schooled travel professional can’t possibly be expected to be an expert on it all. But in today’s information-rich environment it has never been easier to qualify the choices to ensure the perfect match between a client and the right tour operator. “A little time and energy spent on the front end helps ensure that you pair up your client with the perfect tour operator and vacation tour. Your clients have come to trust you, and you don’t want to risk letting them down by recommending the wrong vacation or the wrong company to travel with,” says Dan Austin, owner of Austin-Lehman Adventures. The right tour operator will work with you to give you that additional edge. Such a partnership is a reflection of why your customer can and should work with a travel professional such as yourself.” Austin-Lehman Adventures knows what they are talking about. ALA was named the World’s Best Tour Operator by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine for the past two consecutive years (#1 in 2009 and #2 in 2010). In 2011 ALA will host guests on small group departures to 28 countries around the world.

Every traveler's accommodated when suiting up for adventure. tions and opportunities they are looking for. Know that some will know exactly where they want to go and when (perhaps even with what company) and others will basically look to you for guidance and suggestions. #2 Get Organized. Build files, collect brochures, maps, notes from conversations, website links, etc. In dealing with information overload, staying organized will help keep things clear and easily accessible at a later date. #3 Google is Your Friend! Ninety-six percent of all travel research is now done all or partly online. Use “long tail” search terms to hone in on questions such as “Best family adventure vacation to Yellowstone.” Bookmark the better sites visited. #4 Shop for Information on and off-line. Pick up travel magazines and regional travel guides reflecting a client’s (and your own) interests. Talk to friends and coworkers. Attend travel trade shows, sign up for educational “webinars” as often as possible. As an example, see the archived travel agent webinar from Austin-Lehman online. #5 Create a bucket list. From your research, create a short list of options; destinations, activities and possible tour companies. Use logic. Is Mexico maybe too hot in summer? An option there would be fall and winter travel. Keep track of your thinking and why. Then pitch a client three to four options, no more. Based on those suggestions and the client’s feedback try to get a first and second choice. Throughout this process pay attention as to what is most important to the client (everyone’s needs and dreams are different). #6 Who Gets Your Business? Armed with a specific destinaCONTINUED ON PAGE

42 • Travel World News


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ANDES CROSS has operated Alaska vacations, lodges, and wilderness adventure tours for over 30 years. Founded with the goal of sharing Alaska’s wilderness and wildlife with travelers seeking a high quality, authentic Alaskan adventure for their vacation. They continue this tradition as Alaska’s leader in tours and vacation packages featuring wilderness lodges and small groups.

Known for ski mountaineering and AT ski touring in the Andes. Considered by many as one of the most experienced guided ski mountaineering companies in Argentina and Chile. Also offers overseas trips: Skiing in Alaska, Climbing in the Dolomites and Skiing in Antarctica.

Private Heli-Skiing Trips, Steep Weeks in the Cariboo Lodge, Small Group Heli-Skiing in Kootenay, McBride, Valemount, as well as the Monashees and Revelstoke, Christmas Heli-ski Trips for Families, Heli-Assisted Ski Touring and more.

Consider this… As educators, our goal is to promote learning through travel, friendship and cultural exchange. 1 Value 2 Authenticity 3 Purpose beyond profit 4 Serious cycling 5 The bike !

The Ecuador Adventure Difference

Small group size of 8 to 14 people means personalized service from arrival to departure. The English-speaking owner is on board every expedition with 14 friendly and highly-skilled crew members. All-inclusive first-class meals and premium-selected wines. And clients spend their first and last night in a 5-star Manaus hotel and have exclusive access to the airport VIP lounge. Our goal is to make passengers feel at home.

A complete range of products to explore practically every fascinating corner of this wonderfully diverse country and are also a tour and hotel operator in the Galapagos Islands. We are proud to say that our combination of quality, comfort, and value has made us Ecuador’s number one adventure travel operator.

LAKE TAHOE – not a place. the place.

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Not just a lake – The lake with 7 world-class ski resorts.

At Roadtrips it is our distinct pleasure to create custom travel experiences to the World’s most exclusive and desired sporting events. We provide exceptional travel experiences to top sporting events around the globe. We invite you to give us a call and let us work with you to build the Ultimate Sports Travel Experience.

and enlighten yourself physically and mentally. Our instructors are Red Cross certified in CPR and proficient in life-saving techniques. Safety is as important to us as the fun!

Not just mountains – Majestic mountains with jaw-dropping cliffs, serene glades and spectacular views.

Not just snow – 400 inches of snow a year that pile up into epic powder, tight corduroy groomers, raucous terrain parks and endless moguls.




tion and the client’s window of travel date availability, begin emailing and/or calling. Track all interactions. If a company fails to get back to you in a timely manner and/or fails to answer your questions accurately and thoroughly, do you really want to trust your vacation to them? The best will rise to the top. #7 Ask the Tour Operator Some Questions. First question might be, “Do you like working with travel agents and what is your commission structure?” Don’t be surprised that not all operators see the value in working with a travel agent. Next, get into more detail. Ask “How long have you (the tour operator) been in business?” “Is the owner involved in day-to-day operations?” “Do you run your own tours or outsource?” “What are deposit/cancellation/trip insurance/satisfaction guarantee policies?” “Is it a guaranteed departure?” “What happens to a small group trip if nobody else signs up?” “Who takes these trips, what is average group size and guide-to-guest ratio?” (For a full list of questions to ask see #8 Ask About Specific Tours/Itineraries. Ask “How long has the tour operator been running a particular trip?” “What is/isn’t included?” “Where does trip begin and end and how do you get there?” “What’s the best time of year to visit?” “What’s a typical day like and how many miles daily, on average, of biking, hiking, paddling?” “Can you describe the accommodations, amenities and food?” “Why is your trip so special and why are you the best tour operator to travel with?” If you have a real “hands-on” client, consider making the calls with your client present either on a conference call or on a speakerphone by your desk. #9 Digest and Summarize. Digest and quantify everything learned. Narrow it down to the number one option with your reasons. Review final concerns, make some final calls, remove all doubt. Then make the suggestion and confirm it with your client. Get their complete buy-in. #10 Book Em! Make sure both the decision maker and everyone else in the travel party agrees then pick up the phone and confidently book the trip!

ALA hosts valuable webinars In addition to the above, to assist agents and travelers in better understanding their various destinations, itineraries and tours, Austin-Lehman Adventures, like many leading tour operators, also offers interactive webinars during the winter and spring. ALA invites the travel agent community and public to join two upcoming webinars: Cycling Europe with 35-year veteran Ron van Dijk; Thursday, February 17, at 8–9 pm EST (to register, and Adventure Travel with ALA moderated by Dan Austin; Tuesday, March 1, 8–9 pm EST (to register:

Austin-Lehman Adventures, 800-575-1540,, 42 • MARCH 2011

FAR AND AWAY ADVENTURES’ RAFTING HOLIDAYS ARE LEGENDARY EXPERIENCES “Expect everything but black tie,” muses Steve Lentz, explaining how he and his wife Annie Lentz have transformed the river rafting culture to over-five-star level. His company, Far and Away Adventures, makes six-day/five-night rafting journeys on the Middle Fork of Idaho’s Salmon River as meaningful off river as on. (The river part, he says, takes care of itself as guests encounter an estimated 300 rapids ranging from level II to V, with his professional river guides.) River music embellishes daily yoga. There are moveable organic feasts with local microbrews and wines, formally served appetizers around 7 pm followed by four-course, linen-draped, candlelit dinner and later music and naturalist talks around a campfire. Portable outhouses with lights, solar-generated hot water for showers and state-of-art tents with elevated beds, flannel linens, carpets and nightstands ensure sweet dreams. Far and Away Adventures embrace the best practices of Leave No Trace sustainable living, supporting Idaho’s Bounty and Slow Food, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation Seafood Watch Program, and Guests see artifacts of the Shoshone and Nez Perce Indian occupations, journals of early fur trappers and missionaries, and remnants of early miner and homestead settlements. Scheduled six-day/five-night small group departures in 2011 for up to 22 guests are June 6, 15 and 24; July 2, 10, 18 and 26; August 3, 11, 19 and 27; and September 5, 9 and 15. The per-person rate is from $2,590, ages five to 17, $2,300. Private charter trips are a specialty that can be arranged. Far and Away Adventures, 800-232-8588,

SHANNON PRINCESS RIVER BARGE CRUISE COMPANY INTRODUCES NEW WALKING CRUISE The Shannon Princess River Barge Cruise Company is introducing a new Walking Cruise itinerary in Ireland for the 2011 summer season. Cruising is aboard the luxury 10-passenger MV Shannon Princess on the longest river in Ireland and the British Isles—the Shannon. Weeklong cruises include five professionally guided walks held over a seven-day/six-night itinerary on a fully inclusive basis. Walks are chosen to appeal to most levels of walkers and can be booked by individuals or groups. Shannon Princess is an ideal floating venue for walking clubs, families or groups to travel in style and relish a cruise adventure. A professional skipper and crew provide friendly service, excellent food and wines, and share their local knowledge. In addition to gourmet dining, the river barge offers luxury accommodation for up to 10 guests in five twin/double cabins, each with immaculate modern bathroom. The Shannon Princess River Barge Cruise Company has operated luxury cruises on the River Shannon for the past 15 years. It’s featured in “Once in a Lifetime Journeys—The World’s 50 Most Memorable and Extraordinary Journeys” by Chris Santellas. Shannon Princess River Barge Cruise Company, • Travel World News

PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS VIAVENTURE OFFERING NEW JUNGLE EXPEDITIONS IN GUATEMALA AND BELIZE Viaventure is now offering safari style overland travel to unique destinations combining hands-on adventure with the comfort of luxury lodges, gourmet food and exotic bush camps. On most expeditions, guests will travel primarily off-road, allowing access to areas far off the normal tourist track. On the 2N/3D expedition in the Peten area of Guatemala there are many archaeological sites belonging to the ancient Maya civilization. On this expedition, guests will visit such sites as Rio Azul, Uaxactun and Nakum—locations hardly seen by tourists. These sites are all located in the deep jungle and therefore not easy accessible, making it exciting. Travelers may end up cleaning out a jungle track so the vehicle can continue. At night, they’ll sleep in a tent in the jungle. This unusual adventure starts at just $195 per person per day. It includes non-alcoholic drinks, meals, equipment, guide, local guide, vehicle fee and accommodation in a tent. Longer, tailor-made itineraries in Belize and in the Tikal area are also an option, or combining camping with spending nights in luxury lodges. On longer expeditions, guests will traverse jungle tracks, crossing rivers and maneuvering obstacles. No experience is needed; guides will teach the necessary skills and guide travelers throughout. Group sizes are very limited to provide an independent adventure with personalized attention. Viaventure,,

MARCH ADVENTURE OFFERS FROM DOMINICA Dominica is a spectacular green island of rugged mountains, lush rainforests and rushing rivers in the Eastern Caribbean offering unique vacations. Several attractive specials are currently being presented by the island’s hotels. A three-night package at Papillote Wilderness Retreat includes room, three full breakfasts and dinners, transfers, site passes, government tax, service charge and adventure trips. Included are four guided trips to Trafalgar Falls, Sulphur Springs, Middleham Falls/Titou Gorge, Rainforest Aerial Tram (or Crater Lakes) and Papillote Tropical Gardens. Package cost is $766 ppdo in a Standard room and $809 ppdo for a Suite. Papillote Wilderness Retreat offers a full-service restaurant, four natural hot mineral pools, a nature sanctuary and waterfalls and rivers.,, Calibishie Cove is offering a Whales, Falls & Kayaking package with five nights’ accommodations and fresh, local breakfast and dinner prepared daily (bag lunch provided on tour days). The package includes three private tours with a personal guide: a whale watching and more tour (full day), Victoria Falls & Glasse Trail (full day), and a kayaking adventure on a nearby beautiful river, bay, and along a wild island (half day with snorkeling equipment). Rates begin at $1,475 ppdo (low season)/$1,565 (high season) for a Sea View room, inclusive of all taxes and fees. Rates do not include lunches on non-tour days, and airfare is not included. Low season is June 1 through November 30, high season December 1 through May Travel World News •

31. Guests must reference the promotional code ‘Travel World’ to receive the discounted rate. calibishiecove@, Jungle Bay Resort & Spa has on offer a Jungle Spa Adventure Package that includes accommodations in a private Jungle Cottage, all meals and fresh juices (everything on the menu except alcohol), all the adventure activities the resort offers, a daily half-hour Spa treatment, yoga classes, ground transportation including airport transfer, and National park passes. The Jungle Spa Adventure package costs $283 ppdo. The premium cost is $80 dollars per two-tank dive (certified divers only). A threenight minimum stay is required., Discover Dominica Authority, 866-522-4057,

BAOBAB’S ‘GREAT MIGRATION’ KENYA TOUR OFFERS VIEWING THRILLS OF ANNUAL PASSAGE This summer, travelers will see the amazing annual Great Migration across Kenya’s Masai Mara of masses of wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and more on Baobab Expeditions’ Great Migration Tour departing August 6. The 10-day trip will provide sightings of other game as well, bird life and knock-your-socks-off national park panoramas, all for $3,100. Limited to 12 to maximize game viewing, the safari covers the best of Kenya. The first night is spent at the Nairobi Safari Club, followed by a drive the next morning to Amboseli National Park, the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants and views of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Accommodations are at the Ol Tukai Lodge. Next is Aberdares National Park where a volcanic mountain range forms the eastern wall of the Rift Valley and where game and bird watching are abundant. Accommodations are at the Ark Treehouse overlooking a floodlit watering hole where game gathers into the evening. A visit is scheduled to Samburu Nature Reserve, home of the late conservationists Joy and George Adamson, where guests learn about the traditional lifestyle of the Samburu people. Accommodations are at Ashnil Samburu Camp, an exclusive tented camp on the Ewaso River (some tents suitable for disabled). Lake Nakuru National Park is a bird sanctuary with over 450 different species of birds. There are so many flamingoes there that at times the water looks pink. The Samburu Park doubles as a rhino sanctuary. Accommodations are at the Lake Nakuru Lodge. The last two days, at Masai Mara National Reserve, provide the remarkable witnessing of the world-famous Great Migration—an event that has existed for at least two million years. Accommodations are at charming Keekorok Lodge, in the direct path of the migratory ‘greatest show on earth.’ Rates include airport transfers and transport between Parks, accommodation and meals as stated, Park fees, game drives, and a contribution to Baobab’s Carbon Offsetting Program. Baobab Expeditions,, MARCH 2011 •



Down the Irrawaddy in Colonial Splendor For your sophisticated client, there’s magic in Myanmar on a Pandaw river cruise. G A I L P. D U B O V GAIL P. DUBOV


he Mississippi, the Nile, the Amazon, the Irrawaddy—all are great rivers of the world. But one is almost unknown to even the most adventurous of travelers. Yes, the Irrawaddy. The name dances off the tongue, much like the savory spices of its country—Burma—or Myanmar, its official name since 1988. A land of golden pagodas and gentle Buddhist people, Myanmar is bordered by China to the north, by India to the west, and by Laos and Thailand to the east. With a limited infrastructure, the country’s superhighway is the Irrawaddy River, the “Road to Mandalay,” as it was called in Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem. The Tumeric and chili, both main spices used in Burmese cooking,can be found in every market. river flows from the Himalayas south to the Andaman Sea and is as mystical and colorful as the country through which it meanders. Ox and reservations offices in Chicago as well as in Breckenridge, carts are a common form of transportation, men wear long Colorado. Pandaw expanded to the Mekong in 2003 and to skirts called longyis, women paint their faces with a tree bark Borneo in 2008. Today it boasts a total of six ships with the paste, and everyone chews betel nut, flashing burgundy grins addition of the 16-cabin RV Katha Pandaw, which is to set sail at passers-by. It’s a land where kingdoms prospered and the on the Irrawaddy in early January, 2012. Two more ships, British once ruled. Pandaw Cruises, the largest river cruise slated for the Mekong River, are under construction in company in the region, has been a pioneering force in the Pandaw’s shipyard in Ho Chi Minh City along the banks of the country for over sixteen years. Determined to recreate the at- Saigon River. mosphere of travel in Burma in the 1920’s, its ship cruises the Irrawaddy with the grace of a bygone era. Like the Buddhist Cruising the Irrawaddy A colonial teak boat, the Pandaw II was built in the shipyards way, Pandaw has found the perfect balance of opposites—that of Rangoon and is a replica of the original Pandaw. In the of adventure and luxury. Nirvana is not far off. words of Paul Strachan, Pandaw founder, “We produced a ship Pandaw, a Pioneer in Myanmar Tourism of great beauty and we offer a cruise of four-star quality.” With It all began in Burma with Scotsman Paul Strachan. An intre- teak decks, shining brass accents, potted palms, and twentypid traveler, historian, and author, Strachan spotted the old four well-appointed staterooms, the Pandaw II is an elegant paddle steamer Pandaw rusting on the banks of the Irrawaddy ship. Staterooms are 168 square feet and designed for maxiin Mandalay. The ship had been built in the shipyards of mum space. All are twin-bedded rooms with rich wood panelGlasgow in the 1920’s by the Irrawaddy Flotilla Co., at one ing, ample drawer and closet space, a desk or vanity, granite time the largest privately owned fleet in the world. Perhaps it counter in the bathroom, and a window and door that open to was Strachan’s destiny to restore the ship to its past glory. And the outside promenade deck. But most time aboard the ship is restore it he did. The Pandaw, refurbished to its original ele- spent on the shaded observation deck, lounging on comfortgance, began carrying tourists down the river in 1995. Thus, able rattan couches, drinking cold Myanmar beer or cups of tea the beginning of Pandaw Cruises and the unique river expedi- served by the ship’s gracious crew. tion concept it continues today. A Singapore-based company, Pandaw’s “New Golden Land” ten-night cruise begins in its head offices are in Scotland. It recently established sales CONTINUED ON PAGE 46 44 • MARCH 2011 • Travel World News



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Travel should be fun, stress free and enjoyable, not just the travel part but the booking and planning as well. First-hand knowledge of a destination is paramount when deciding on travel plans. We represent only quality-oriented vacations and want to use our first-hand expertise to assist you. We travel to Europe with the sole purpose of visiting vessels and gaining insight on the boats and destinations we represent.

AMERICAN CRUISE LINES invites your clients to experience the magic of our six- to fourteen-night cruises along the unique inland waterways and rivers of the U.S. As your clients explore each charming port of call along their voyage, they’ll be treated to an exceptional cruise adventure aboard the finest ships in their class.

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Culinary vacations where one learns how to cook delicious Catalan dishes with daily hands-on classes in our relaxed yet luxurious private hotel in the small village of El Masroig. Wine tours of some of the Priorat’s best wineries where the wine tastings and the one-on-one wine presentations and winery visits will allow discovery of what makes the Priorat wines so fabulous and reknown.

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Tourism in Myanmar


According to Bangkokbased Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), 2010 marked a record high in foreign visitors to Myanmar. An estimated 300,000 tourists visited the country, a 30% increase from 2009. “We anticipate this pace to continue,” Tom Markwell, Chicago-based VP of Sales and Marketing for Pandaw, assured Travel World News, confident that the 8% U.S. arrivals will in-


Burma’s old imperial capital of Mandalay—at the country’s midsection—and continues for 315 miles to the historic city of Prome (Pyay). Each day is a mix of leisurely cruising past gilded pagodas set against a backdrop of jungle and on-land exploration. The Pandaw II, as do all of the fleet’s ships, has a shallow draft and can saddle right up to the river’s edge. No waiting for tenders or Zodiacs to transport you. After a hearty breakfast, the gangplank is set out, passengers climb the riverbank for the morning land excursion. At times it’s a walk right into a remote village, the river its only gateway to the outside world. Or an air-conditioned bus, a waiting horse and cart, a jeep or trishaw can be the mode of transport to the day’s destination. A daily itinerary can include visiting a pagoda, an ancient monastery, British fortifications, colonial towns or perhaps the U Bien footbridge, the longest teak bridge in the world. As is Pandaw’s tradition, surprises happen. Champagne appears as we drift in gondolas near the U Bien bridge; candles are set adrift, floating downstream as they flicker out of sight on our final night on board; a local wedding in progress becomes an unscheduled stop in the day. A highlight of a trip to Myanmar is a day spent at Pagan, a 26-square-mile plain of 4,000-plus pagodas that date back centuries. The ancient capital city of Burma, Pagan is a World Heritage Site and rivals Cambodia’s Angkor Wat in scope and sheer amazement. We arrive at one of the stepped pagodas at dusk, climbing to a view of thousands of spires rising above the greenery, the distant Irrawaddy shining in the sunset. Returning to the ship at mid-day and sunset, all are appreciative of its air-conditioning and comfort! The doting crew offers wet toilettes for our hands and takes our shoes to clean. All meals are of gourmet standard, a mix of European and Asian dishes, well prepared by the ship’s chef, complimented by baked goods from the resident pastry chef. Meals are served by crew who remember how you take your coffee or which cocktail is your favorite. Watching the sunset on the Irrawaddy, gin and tonic in hand, is one of life's most delightful experiences. Especially since all local liquors are complimentary!

Pandaw II’s flat bottom allows it to pull right up to the river’s edge so passengers can disembark easily. crease. Interestingly, with the release of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung Sung Suu Kyi, in November, a media blitz about Myanmar has turned the eye of the U.S. travel industry towards the country. Recent articles in publications like National Geographic Traveler extolling the beauty of the country and its people can't hurt either. Markwell added, “Group tour operator requests have increased dramatically over the past few months because of all the press Myanmar has received.” The warm, spiritual and compassionate nature of the Burmese people is in sharp contrast to the military government—and many believe that traveling there supports the people with our tourist dollars. “The positive effect tourism can have on the Burmese people is invaluable,” Markwell continued. “It improves the overall quality of daily life in the most direct way possible.” Not only has Pandaw built schools but it operates a hospital ship on the river with support in part from passenger donations. The company also employs locals as staff and crew that puts much needed money in their pockets as well. As Donovan Webster wrote in the latest National Geographic Traveler article on Myanmar, “I lament that Burma has been lost to many in the travel world.” With the help of Pandaw cruises and the growing information available to the travel industry, that may soon change.

Pandaw Cruises, 800-798-4223;; • Travel World News


for all dives. Only those with internationally recognized open-water Dive certification may participate in the dives. Boasting impeccably sunny weather, sprawling beaches, tempting cuisine, a thriving nightlife and over 7,000 years of intriguing history, Malta has mass appeal. Travelers interested in booking the package must contact their travel agent or major tour operator. Agents and operators wishing to book this 10-percent commissionable package or learn more about US travel to Malta can call Air Malta toll-free. Air Malta, 866-357-4155,

Sipadan Island in Sabah is a world-renowned diving destination, with great wall diving and drift dives, and guaranteed colorful fish encounters. However, the popularity of this “untouched piece of art,” as Jacques Cousteau once remarked, has overshadowed other equally fascinating dive sites in the area. As many as 101 diving destinations have been identified by a scout team of avid divers who hope to bring greater attention to Sabah’s other dive site jewels. Tourism Malaysia and Sabah Tourism Board are working together to promote these lesser known, but equally impressive dive sites in Sabah, such as Mantabuan Island, LayangLayang Island, and Mantanani Island. Mantabuan Island is a volcanically formed and mostly submerged island with magnificent coral and unsurpassed visibility. LayangLayang Island is a ring of 13 coral atolls in the midst of the South China Sea. Divers can spot hammerhead sharks, which school in large numbers between March and July. Mantanani Island consists of three small islands that offer unusual typography, plenty of bottom dwellers, an array of schooling fish, and occasional green turtles sightings. For more experienced divers, three Japanese World War II ships lie halfway between Mantanani and the mainland. Tourism Malaysia,,,;




Air Malta and Dive Systems Malta have partnered up to offer a commissionable, air-inclusive seven-day package for US travelers to the Maltese Islands, chosen premier dive destination in Europe and third best globally by Diver Magazine. Package rates begin at $3,025 ppdo (single supplement $23), and include six nights at the four-star Cavalieri Hotel, hotel taxes and service charges, daily breakfast and lunch or dinner daily, roundtrip airfare from JFK or EWR in NYC (including fuel surcharges), two to three dives daily with boat charters, a diving officer/guide and ship’s captain and crew, and hotel/airport transfers. There are no booking windows or travel restrictions, however rates may vary based on availability. Additional US gateway cities are offered and charged extra. Tips and gratuities are not included in the price, and travelers are responsible for daily transfers. They can bring their own diving gear or rent equipment for $120 per person

Maduro Travel presents divers with the opportunity to dive Liveaboards with the Aggressor and Dancer Yachts worldwide. Silver Savings means a $500 discount for every person 55 and over, and Maduro Travel has added a bonus of $25 for a total savings of $525 per person. This includes the destinations of Mexico, Belize, Caymans, Costa Rica, Galapagos, Maldives, Palau, Turks & Caicos, Utila, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Hawaii. The offer is good for travel September 1 through December 31, 2011. A long list of destinations with full detail is available on Maduro Travel’s website. Further information on the specials is available by email or toll-free contact. Customized quotes are also available. Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas, 800-327-6709,,,

Travel World News •

Now divers can dive the best of Nassau and stay at Comfort Suites at Atlantis from only $1,225 ppdo for six days/five nights, with four days of diving in two locations on Nassau. This amazing package includes the best diving in the Bahamas at Stuart Cove’s and six days of Atlantis Waterpark passes at world famous Atlantis Resort, where guests can experience the thrill of gliding down a 10-story waterslide through a Shark Aquarium at Atlantis. For the first time, divers can dive with Stuart Cove’s and play at Atlantis. This special offer includes not only the AquaVenture Waterpark passes but also full charging privileges on the entire Atlantis property. Price includes five nights at Comfort Suites at Atlantis, two days of two-tank AM dives including tanks and weights at Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas, plus two days of two-tank AM dives including tanks and weights at Blue Adventures at Atlantis, four AquaVenture Atlantis Waterpark passes per room. Taxes and gratuities are not included. The offer is subject to availability and blackout dates, and terms and conditions apply. The package has a minimum age requirement. Travel window for this offer is now through August 20, 2011. Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas, 800-879-9832,,

MARCH 2011 •



Diving off Dominica is dramatic and varied. The island is a paradise of unspoiled nature reflected in its pristine waters, and some top underwater photographers make it an annual stop. New species of invertebrate were found in 2001 on a very shallow dive off the shore. Film crews from National Geographic, The BBC Natural History Unit, and film crews from Japan are regular visitors, filming on the reefs and the many marine mammals offshore. Creatures such as frogfish and seahorse, rare in other regions are common here, as are many others. The reefs are granite based, so there are comparatively few spaces for nocturnal and hard-to-find species to hide by day. Currently, the island has attractive specials for divers. The seven-night Nature Island Dive Special (with the seventh night free) at the Fort Young Hotel includes five days of two-tank boat dives; full breakfast complimentary; return airport transfer; SSMR fees; service charge and VAT inclusive; and weights, belts, and complimentary Nitrox for group leader. Total cost for this package is $1,838 for single occupancy and $1,166 double. Booking window ends May 31 for travel now until December 31, 2011., There is a Super Promotion now available at Sunset Bay Club & Seaside Dive Resort. For groups of ten divers, nine pay and the tenth stays for free. With a dive package for seven nights and five doubletank dives, guests pay for six nights and receive the seventh one free of charge. Rates begin at $99 per person per night for a standard Bed & Breakfast package. This offer is available through April 31, 2011., Discover Dominica Authority, 866-522-4057,

ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE WITH AFRICA TOUR’S CUSTOMIZABLE DIVING ADVENTURES Africa Tour offers the ultimate in the niche market of scuba diving adventures in addition to its famous safaris, with excellent tropical reef, shark and wreck diving holidays to be found in South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania. 48 • MARCH 2011

South Africa’s enormously long coastline, affected by the warm Mozambique current that flows down the eastern side, is ideal for spotting great white sharks, whales, whale sharks, dolphins, turtles, manta and eagle rays. Incredibly beautiful coral reefs—the most southerly in the world—are found at Sodwana and Rocktail Bays. Rocktail Bay lies within a proclaimed World Heritage Site, offering almost 25 miles of unspoiled coastline. Here, divers’ buoyancy is strictly controlled to avoid the possibility of reef damage. Only one operator has been granted diving rights, ensuring the area remains exclusive and non-commercialized. Aliwal Shoal, known for shark diving with no cages, has become recognized as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, with many shark varieties present in the waters—bull, dusky, spinner, copper, spotted ragged toothed, tiger, three types of hammerhead, and sometimes Great White. Protea Banks is one of the top sites for the serious adventure seeker. With currents often reaching 4 or 5 knots, only experienced divers are recommended. A long list of shark species is seen here as well, including bronze whalers, white tips, threshers and occasionally the Great White. The underwater environment changes gradually down the coast until, at Cape Town, diving is in chilly but beautiful kelp ‘forests,’ the only place in the world where all three major types of kelp grow together. Just off Cape Town, divers are regularly treated to the brilliance of anemones, nudibranchs and assorted small colorful creatures. The US travel market has over the past three years shown increased confidence in destinations further from home. African Diving Tours and Safaris offers exciting itineraries for scuba divers—adventure eco and shark diving, combined Big 5 Wildlife game parks, Zulu culture, history and much more. Itineraries can be adjusted to suit client requirements and their preferred duration, combined with non-diving tours, or tailor-made to particular interests. Africa Tour,,

2 FREE NIGHTS WITH EVERY 5 PAID AT SUNBREEZE SUITES SunBreeze Suites, situated on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, has on offer the fantastic deal of two free nights with every five paid during March and April, 2011. The fast-growing vacation destination is a perfect balance between modern amenities mixed with the charm of a small island. Overlooking the Caribbean Sea and the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, SunBreeze Suites offers 20 one-bedroom compact suites, each with a fully equipped kitchen, living and dinning room, private bedroom, private bath, and private balconies providing stunning views. Whether traveling alone, honeymooning, or taking a family vacation, guests love their stay at SunBreeze Suites. For scuba diving and snorkeling needs, the property is affiliated with PADI Dive operator Hugh Parkey’s Belize Dive Connection. Wifi is available. SunBreeze Suites, • Travel World News


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SPLASH DIVE CENTER is more than just a regular scuba diving and snorkelling operator. In addition to providing guests with the very highest standards of service, we aim to make our dive trips educational, informative and fun. That is why all our Divemasters and Instructors are registered guides with the Belize Tourism Board.

a PADI 5-Star Resort as well as a PADI National Geographic Dive Center. Visit our website for more insight to our diving philosophy as well as information on learning to dive or improving diving skills.




Come to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands and see why it is constantly ranked the #1 diving in the world!

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Europe’s Oldest Civilization: Malta’s Temple-Builders

M A R K M I C E L I - FA R R U G I A



even thousand years ago, a mystical people appeared in Malta. Within 1400 years, this society started producing there, using Stone Age tools, the earliest and most wondrously constructed, freestanding megalithic architecture in the world. What is astonishing is that their surviving World Heritage sites predate the better known Giza Pyramids and Stonehenge by 1000 and 1500 years respectively!

Who were the first Inhabitants of Malta? Malta is a small archipelago of 121 square miles located at the center of the Mediterranean Sea - 60 miles south of Sicily; 180 miles north of Africa - and lies midway between the Strait of Gibraltar and the Suez Canal. Early pottery remains suggest that Malta was first inhabited from Sicily during the Early Neolithic Period (5000 BCE). Malta can be seen from Sicily on a clear day. These immigrants at first lived in caves, but later domesticated animals, developed agriculture, and lived in huts and villages. They buried their dead in kidney-shaped shaft graves and created, without a potter’s wheel, gracefully shaped and tastefully decorated pottery.

How were these Megaliths quarried? Malta’s geological structure permitted the use of two types of limestone for construction purposes: (1) the hard, grey, uppercoralline limestone; and (2) the soft, pale, globigerina limestone. By exploiting natural fissures and crevices in the rock, the early Maltese builders managed to break off megaliths using primitive tools. These included hand-axes fashioned from imported flint, knives chiselled from imported obsidian, wooden wedges and levers, stone wedges and hammers. The soft globigerina limestone was adopted for the more refined, masonry work.

How were the Megaliths transported? After the megaliths were quarried, they were transported over rollers, using levers, to nearby building sites. At the building site, the rollers were possibly exchanged for stone balls (still found in situ) so that the megaliths could be moved in all directions on the plane. This made it easier to place the large stones in their designated place since rollers only permit loads to be moved backwards or forwards.

How were these Megaliths erected? The height of Maltese temple ruins may reach 20 feet. How did Stone Age people lift slabs weighing up to 20 tonnes to such heights? The early Maltese Temple-Builders would have known 50 • MARCH 2011

Aerial photo of the Mnajdra Temples. that dragging a burden up a ramp was much easier than lifting it. High external walls required long ramps. These ramps would be removed once the structure had been completed.

How were these Structures decorated? Stonework within the temples is finely decorated with lowrelief sculptures of animals or fish, spiral or volute motifs, and many anthropomorphic (human-like) statues. At Tarxien Temples, one stone statue would have reached 9 feet in height when whole. One can best appreciate the sophistication of these builders at the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, a complex underground temple, hewn 3-storeys deep into the rock over three different periods: 3600 - 3300 BCE; 3300 - 3000 BCE; and 3150 - 2500 BCE. The walls of some of the Hypogeum’s chambers have been painted with elaborate, red ochre designs: spirals, blobs (filled circles) or chequer-boards. Other chambers were carefully sculpted to recreate life-size imitations of built interiors of above-ground megalithic buildings. Roofs are therefore carved to simulate corbelled masonry with a series of stone-rings overhanging each other until they span the entire chamber.

What was the Purpose of these Structures? The sheer investment of effort required to cut, transport and construct these ‘Temples’ suggests that they were of central importance to Malta’s prehistoric inhabitants. The objects and furnishings found within them indicate that the temples may have served for one or a combination of three purposes: 1. The above-ground temples most probably served as sanctuaries: rituals were probably performed to worship ancestors and to venerate a corpulent fertility deity which may have represented ‘mother earth’; 2. The unique, easterly • Travel World News

PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS tation of Mnajdra above-ground temple suggests another purpose: this temple may have served as one of the world’s oldest solar calendars. Sunrise lights up the interior of Mnajdra’s southern temple on the first day of each of the four seasons. On the Equinox days, a ray of sun enters the temple and lights up its main axis. On the Solstices, sunlight illuminates the entrance chamber’s megaliths – focusing on the left-hand vertical in Summer and on the right-hand upright in Winter; and... 3. The underground hypogea – Hal Saflieni and the recently excavated Xaghra Circle–also served as burial grounds.

What happened to the Enigmatic Temple-Builders? We cannot as yet explain the reason for the sudden decline of this magnificent Temple-Building Society around 2500 BCE. We can only guess that these master-masons may have been obliged to emigrate due to climatic factors or were decimated by epidemic disease. Although their monuments have survived, the more refined structures carved out of the softer globigerina limestone have, over the years, suffered serious degradation. Their conservation has since been entrusted to Heritage Malta, the government agency responsible for the protection and promotion of Malta’s cultural heritage.

The Legacy of the Temple-Builders These Temple Builders not only left their buildings as a legacy to mankind, they also bequeathed their innate masonry skills to succeeding generations of Maltese. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognizes 8 Maltese properties deserving of World Heritage preservation due to their outstanding value to humanity. These 8 World Heritage sites include 6 above-ground Temples (Ggantija, Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, Skorba, Ta’ Hagrat, & Tarxien), the underground Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, and the majestic Baroque walled-city of Valletta. Not surprisingly, it is claimed that the stoneworking skills reflected in 16-17th century Maltese Baroque architecture are themselves a legacy of Malta’s Temple-Builders of the 3th millennium BCE.

Malta’s Temple-Builders:;;

METROPOLITAN TOURING ANNOUNCES SUMMER 2011 SPECIAL FAMILY DEPARTURES Metropolitan Touring has just released two special, family-orientated departures to the Galápagos Islands featuring great activities for children of all ages, as well as an attractive discount. Unique, intriguing, educational and fun, Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands rank among the world’s greatest natural history destinations, with cruises that allow close-up encounters with captivating creatures both on land and under water. Travel World News •

“We were the first company operating in the Galápagos to introduce educational materials and activities tailor-made for our younger passengers,” explains María Cecilia Alzamora, the company’s Commercial Vice-President of Inbound Tourism. “The two departures we are launching for summer 2011 are sure to be a hit as they combine both time on board our vessels and time on land .” The July 3–8 departure features the Finch Bay Eco Hotel and the 48-guest Yacht Isabela II. Prices start at $2,325 per adult, from $1,495 per child. The July 8–13 program combines the hotel with the 90-guest M/V Santa Cruz, with prices starting at $2,099 per adult, starting at $1,345 per child. The departures feature amazing wildlife encounters; specially-designed excursions, guiding and stargazing by expert naturalist guides; games, competitions, trivia, meals, educational materials and visits to the bridge all adapted for under-18s; and extras like a free family photo and family badges. Metropolitan Touring,

CHABIL MAR RESORT ANNOUNCES NEW FISHING AND BIRDING PACKAGES Nestled at the tip of a peninsula in southern Belize, Chabil Mar is a boutique luxury resort in a pristine area perfectly situated for world-class fishing and unique birding adventurest. A Treasures of the Sea Fishing Package presents the offshore waters of Placencia Village and its lagoon, home to some of the best fishing in the world. The package is flexible according to preferences and desires. It features multiple-day immersion for fishing enthusiasts with full-time captains, each day a new fishing experience. For the family—You Fish/We Pamper (non-fishermen will enjoy staying behind). Besides fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, jungle adventures, and Maya culture are available. Full days or half days, as many as desired. Group rates are available. Treasures of the Sky Birding Package. Home to over 600 species, many unique to Belize, Placencia’s location is ideally suited for the birding enthusiast to access a variety of hotspots endorsed by the Belize Audubon Society. Birders go to four distinct locations in Southern Belize and return each day to their accommodations in a luxury villa at Chabil Mar. Trips include Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Aguacaliente, Shrimp Farms and Lagoon Waders (From December to March guests may substitute Red Bank Village for Lagoon Waders or add Red Bank Village as a fifth viewing location. If Red Bank Village is added, an additional fee applies.) The package includes roundtrip flights between Belize City and Placencia, land transfers between Placencia Airport and Chabil Mar, and seven nights’ Luxury Villa accommodations. Also included are an inland tour, Monkey River Howler Adventure Excursion, all breakfasts, five lunches and five dinners at Chabil Mar, four days’ rental of a golf cart, and complimentary use of kayaks and bicycles, enjoyment of beach, infinity pools or touring Placencia at leisure. The Treasures of the Sky Birding Package is priced from $2,217 ppdo. Chabil Mar Resort, 866-417-2377,, MARCH 2011 •



Travelers with Enchanted Expeditions will enjoy discovering the vast variety of Ecuador—the Andes highlands with its colorful mosaic of cultivated fields, its Indian markets and well-preserved colonial architecture, as well as its famed biodiversity. A paradise that bears one of the highest places in biodiversity of the world with its tropical rainforests and Andean cloud forests, Ecuador is home to over 1,600 species of birds and more than 17,000 recorded plants, many endemic to this small and peaceful country on the Pacific coast of South America. The country’s prehistoric cultural and archeological remains are proof of the abundance of its fertile soils and rich seas that have encouraged settlements on this territory for thousands of years. The Galapagos Islands, its greatest treasure and one of the favorite nominees for The New 7 Wonders of Nature, are a must for people of all ages. Enchanted Expeditions (formerly Angermeyer’s Enchanted Expeditions) will customize a tour according to the vacationer’s main interests and priorities. The company maintains Early Bird Special rates on certain departures aboard its motor yacht Beluga, now completely renovated to offer the highest standards of comfort and service. This first-class yacht is also equipped with the most modern safety systems. Interested travelers should hasten to book in order to claim the last available cabins. The motor yacht Beluga accommodates 16 passengers in eight double cabins (four lower/lower berths, two matrimonial beds and two lower/lower berths that can be joined to create matrimonial options). Cabin 1 has three beds (two lower and one upper bed), each with private bathrooms equipped with hot- and cold-water showers, fully air conditioned, spacious social areas with all the comfort and facilities of a superior first-class motor yacht, and panoramic windows in the salon/dining area. Travelers can enjoy a spacious sun deck or relax in the shade on the top deck while cruising between islands. Enchanted Expeditions, 52 • MARCH 2011

VARIETY CRUISES UNVEILS NEW VARIETY VOYAGER FOR MEDITERRANEAN SAILINGS Variety Cruises is announcing the launch its newest ship, the M/Y Variety Voyager, in May of 2012. The ship will explore the Mediterranean on Variety Cruises’ new Treasures of South Italy and Malta seven-night program. Variety Voyager motor yacht will maintain the intimacy of mega yacht cruising that is the cornerstone of the Variety Cruises concept. The 223-ft vessel will host up to 64 guests in 32 fully equipped staterooms, assuring utmost safety and comfort. The M/Y Variety Voyager will make its maiden voyage on the new Treasures of South Italy and Malta cruise. Exploring the southern coast and islands of Italy and Malta, the cruise will sail May–October 2012 for seven nights. Ports of call begin with Salerno in southern Italy and the island of Capri. In Sicily, the program will visit Lipari, Stromboli, Giardini Naxas, Taormina, Syracuse, Porto Empedocle and Cefalu, with an additional stop in Malta. Her winter voyages will take her to the Indian Ocean where she operate two cruise programs—in November and again in March, The Gulf and the Treasures of Oman from Muscat/Oman to Abu Dhabi/United Arab Emirates, and from December 2012 to March 2013, she will cruise along the Western Coast India, from Mumbai or Trivandrum offering a unique insight of India and a world first on a small ship. With 28 crewmembers, Variety Voyager guarantees outstanding guest service. Highlights include indoor restaurant seating 64 guests with expansive floor-to-ceiling glass windows to showcase ocean views; an outdoor restaurant area seating 50 people; a lounge area at the main deck seating 64 passengers and adjoining reception area and bar; a trendy and spacious outdoor Deck Bar Lounge to feature late-night entertainment from resident DJs and other entertainment; Wellness Zone on the Marina Deck, offering a Balinese Spa with massages, sauna, steam rooms and an exercise area with various fitness equipment; a Marina zone on the aft section of the ship allowing for easy launch of Zodiacs, access to the sea and to watersports equipment; an Internet corner and library, and audiovisual equipment perfect for groups and other entertainment. Variety Cruises, 800-319-7776,

NAVIMAG’S MARE AUSTRALIS ENDS ITS FIRST SEASON On February 28, the small cruise ship Mare Australis will leave Castro, Chiloe Island in Chile, for its last trip to the Laguna San Rafael Glacier. It will be the end of the first season for this new sailing route operated by Navimag. With a total 16 departures and an occupation rate of 95 percent, the challenge has been a definite success. Navimag will announce soon the departures dates for the 2011–2012 season. Navimag Ferries • Travel World News

PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS LATIN TRAILS OFFERING EXTRAORDINARY SPRING PROMOTION IN GALAPAGOS Latin Trails has announced a special package for their Galapagos Journey Fleet star cruise, the Galapagos Journey I, starting this month. This promotion will include a onetime reduced spring price, plane tickets to and from the Ecuadorian mainland to the Islands and the INGALA migration card—an incredible offer. M/C Galapagos Journey I is one of the most luxurious boats cruising the Galapagos Islands—a catamaran offering the speed of a larger cruise ship with the comfort and spaciousness only available on a yacht, a unique alternative within the luxury travel segment. Constructed in 2006 and completely refurbished in the fall of 2010, the powerful catamaran offers fully air-conditioned accommodations in six twin-bed cabins (151 sq ft each) and two suite cabins (193 sq ft), all with private facilities and locker and closet. Besides amenities like guaranteed hot water and ocean-view windows throughout, a unique aspect is that all rooms are above water level meaning windows can be opened to enjoy the fresh sea breeze. The yacht has ample resting areas, a sundeck, library, TV/DVD room, a spacious dining area, lounge bar and even a convenient Jacuzzi for relaxation after a day of exploring. Crew includes a certified naturalist English-speaking guide (available in other languages too) to unlock the mysteries found in every island. The ship navigates with the newest technology surpassing all safety requirements and ensuring protection of the fragile environment. The entire operation is fully Smart Voyager and Rainforest Alliance certified. From snorkeling and kayaking with sea lions, to hiking alongside Galapagos tortoises, to discovering the bird species that led to Darwin’s theory of evolution, to simply relaxing on colorful beaches, Latin Trails delivers the journey of a lifetime. From four-day tours to the 15-day ones, passengers realize a true bargain with Latin Trails covering every aspect of the visit. With tickets and migration cards included in a comfortable price, visiting the Galapagos Islands this spring is indeed irresistible. Prices are available by contacting Latin Trails. Latin Trails,

HEBRIDEAN ISLAND CRUISES MAKES NORTH AMERICAN DEBUT Hebridean Island Cruises has launched its North American presence with offices in Fort Lauderdale, and a new website. Carrying just 50 guests with a passenger-to-crew ratio of nearly one-to-one, Hebridean Island Cruises’ five-star Hebridean Princess (2,100 gross tons) delivers luxury service of highest standards. In 2011, Hebridean Princess cruises to ports along the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, as well as to Ireland, England, Channel Islands, Wales and Northern France. Most depart from Scottish home port Oban; others from Greenock, Invergordon, and Leith in Scotland; Portsmouth and Tilbury (London) in England; and Cardiff in Wales. As the smallest luxury cruise ship afloat, the Hebridean Princess sails to remote villages, islands and inaccessible locations normally visited only by private yachts. Hebridean’s “Footloose” Travel World News •

cruises incorporate a spectacular walking adventure along the Scottish Highlands. Those loving mystery will enjoy the seven-night “Hebridean Surprise” departing October 4 (round trip Oban) where only the Captain knows the full details of the itinerary. All meals (including picnics ashore), beverages and select wines, spirits and champagne are included, as well as privately escorted tours, a distinguished guest speaker program, and all port charges and gratuities (“no tipping” policy). Also included are activities like bicycling ashore, fishing, bridge, speedboat rides and more. Guests savor excellent cuisine of fresh local ingredients, and black-tie gala dinners highlight every cruise. In addition to 30 cabins designed in British country elegance, the ship offers a well-stocked library, a waterfront deck gym, two lounges and a conservatory, as well as its Tiree Lounge with a large Inglenook-style fireplace and large panoramic windows. Allinclusive fares for the four- to 10-night Hebridean Princess cruises start at $1,860 ppdo, subject to availability. Agents can become expert on Hebridean Island Cruises by accessing All Discovery Cruising’s video-based training site. All Discovery Cruising is the marketing trade arm for Hebridean Island Cruises, Swan Hellenic, and Voyages of Discovery. Hebridean Island Cruises, 877-600-2648,; All Discovery Cruising, (training),

FRIENDLY PLANET OFFERS PACKAGES WITH LOUIS CRUISES FROM $1,399 WITH AIR Friendly Planet has partnered with Louis Cruises, Greece’s premier cruise line, to offer a variety of all-inclusive cruise packages for as little as $1,399 pp, including flights, transfers, discounted upgrades to outside cabins, great hotels, lavish meals and more. And on select cruises, travelers get a single cabin for no extra charge. There are five inspired itineraries to choose from to the magical ports of the Mediterranean. The eight-day Athens & Greek Isles, featuring Mykonos, Santorini, Crete plus a Greece extension, is priced from $1,449. Athens & Greek Isles, nine days, including Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, and Crete plus a Greece extension, starts at $1,549. The 12-day Mediterranean and 3 Continents package highlights Greece, Turkey, Israel and Egypt plus a Greece extension and begins at $2,249. Spanish Odyssey is 11 days and features Italy, France, Spain, Morocco and two nights in Rome, starting at $2,349. Mediterranean Highlights—Italy, France, Spain, Tunisia, Malta and two nights in Rome, runs 10 days and is priced from $2,349. Prices are based on double occupancy and do not include additional taxes, fees and September 11 Security Fee. Prices may reflect an early booking discount. Louis cruise ships are registered in Greece. Friendly Planet,, MARCH 2011 •



Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on St. Thomas is offering active duty military members a 50-percent discount on all destination wedding packages for 2011 booked by April 30. The offer is valid on any destination wedding package, excluding food and beverage, and on any length of stay, but subject to availability. Bolongo Bay provides an intimate, beachfront setting for a destination wedding. Lorena guides couples through the planning process from beginning to end to create a day that’s picture-perfect. Packages begin at $1,000 ($500 with discount) for the Barefoot on the Beach Wedding, which includes wedding coordinator services, clergy, wedding ceremony, bottle of champagne, two keepsake flutes and witnesses. Destination weddings at Bolongo Bay can be held on the beach or on the seas on the resort’s own 53’ catamaran. Every wedding package can be fully customized to fulfill each couple’s dream. During the stay at Bolongo Bay, couples and their guests can lounge on the beach, relax in the beachfront pool with swim-up bar or have fun in the sun. All guests receive unlimited access to Bolongo Bay’s complimentary non-motorized water sports equipment including Hobie Cats, Sunfish sailboats, windsurfers, kayaks, snorkel gear, paddle boats and more. From sailing, diving, snorkeling and a “snorkel booze hunt” during the day to dancing at night, there’s always something going on at Bolongo Bay. A list of the “Top 10 Reasons to Choose Bolongo Bay Beach Resort” is posted on their site. Passports are not required for US citizens. Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, 800-524-4746,,

USTOA WINTER–SPRING OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: FROM ALASKA TO HIMALAYAS Hiking Bartolome Island in the Galapagos, exploring remote Himalayan mountain passes by jeep, taking a sunrise canoe trip in Costa Rica, or kayaking the Alaskan fjords—these are some of the experiences members of the United States Tour Operators Association offer adventurous, outdoor-loving travelers. For even the time-strapped, the following four vacations, each under two weeks, are adrenaline-pumping pleasers. Kayaking in Alaska—Lindblad Expeditions’ eight-day/seven-night 54 • MARCH 2011

“Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness” cruise is available through July 15. Includes shipboard accommodation, all meals, activities, and excursions. Price is $5,990 per person and airfare is additional. 800-397-3348, Costa Rican Adventure—In addition to a sunrise rainforest canoe ride in Tortuguera National Park, the Latour nine-day/eight-night package features a visit to Arenal Volcano, and a skywalk or a zipline above the cloud forest. Beginning at $1,915 per person, and including accommodations, eight breakfasts, four lunches, five dinners, activities, and internal flights, the package is available for travel through June 30, 2011, and must be booked by April 15. 800-545-5540, Across the Himalayas—This 10-day/nine-night adventure begins in Lhasa, Tibet and travels across the Himalayas to Kathmandu, Nepal visiting en route Shigatse, New Tingri, Mt. Everest Base Camp and Zhangmu. Included in the price are best available hotels, 19 meals, in-depth privately guided sightseeing excursions, luggage handling and all on-tour transportation. Prices begin at $2,999, can be booked by April 1, 2011 for travel through April 30, 2011. Airfare is additional. 800-221-2216, Galapagos and Andes—Travelers will hike Bartolome Island in the Galapagos and travel the Andes by train, on Collette Vacations’ 11day/10-night “Galapagos Islands” tour. Included are hotel accommodations, 23 meals, and most activities. Prices vary, beginning at $3,999 (May departure) to $5,699 for travel through April 14, 2012. Airfare is additional. Book-by date is flexible. 877-4518687, All prices listed are based on double occupancy. Restrictions and additional security fees, departure and local taxes and fees may apply. Rates may vary by date. USTOA (United States Tour Operators Association),

GOWAY OFFERS SUMMER VACATION IDEAS Goway Travel has departures of their Holidays of a Lifetime small group touring experiences that are geared specifically for those travelers who like to go away during the summer months. There are five tours with departures in July. The 22-day Waltzing Matilda to Australia and New Zealand from $7,649, the 21-day Magic of Africa visiting South Africa, Botswana and Victoria Falls from $9,499, the 18-day Splendours of China including Tibet and a Yangtze River Cruise from $4,929, the 17-day Splendours of South America to Chile, Argentina and Brazil from $7,159 and the 20day Magical Ecuador and Peru which features the Galapagos Islands and a visit to Machu Picchu from $7,999. All prices are perperson twin share and are land only. All Goway’s Holidays of a Lifetime include the services of a professional tour director, first class or deluxe hotels, most meals, tipping (except the tour director), twin share guarantee for single travelers, fun themes (a different one for each departure), a quality comprehensive Travel Companion Book and neck pillow. Goway Travel, 800-387-8850, • Travel World News

PROFITABLE WORLD OF NICHE MARKETS MALAYSIA REVEALS ORGANIC WELLNESS 5-STAR SPA RESORT, THE CHATEAU The world’s first organic wellness destination spa resort will offer ultimate enrichment when it opens April 28 in a 150-million-yearold tropical rainforest in the Berjaya Hills of Malaysia. Modeled after an 18th century medieval ‘Haut Koesnigburg’ castle in Alsace, The Chateau Spa and Wellness Resort boasts 210 elegant rooms and suites. The three-, five-, and seven-night programs include accommodation in The Chateau’s spa rooms with plush organic cotton sheets, daily meals created by their dietician, special treats, and complete daily fitness and wellness programs. La Sante spa offers thermal facilities that include an herbal infused sauna chamber, salt grotto or mud chamber, and a soap brush/aquaveda heated bed with automatic body scrub facilities.Personalized therapies and programs are individualized and range from body pampering, beauty, antistress, body cleansing, fitness, weight loss, and most interestingly a couple retreat. The Chateau also offers fitness activities that include mountain biking, horse riding, trekking, yoga, dance classes, bowling, as well as an 18-hole, award-winning golf course. Tourism Malaysia,,,; The Chateau Spa & Organic Wellness Resort,

RELIGIOUS TOURS TO MEXICO BY MEXITOURS Mexitours beckons visitors to experience Mexico’s fascinating religious heritage. Travelers can visit magnificent holy places and view wondrous ancient relics that attest to the deep, abiding faith of Mexican culture: Church of Chimalistac, Barrio de San Angel, Convento del Carmen, Church of Santa Catarina and San Juan Baustista, Quarter Coyoacan, Basilica of Guadalupe, and Xochimilco. Mexitours is offering different religious programs in Mexico City only or in all Mexico, such as Cacaxtla, Queretaro, San Miguel del Milagro, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, etc. Guests will be enchanted by the Empress of America, the Virgin of Guadalupe—famous not only for the miracles attributed to her, but others science cannot explain. NASA scientists claim the material causing the color is not one of the known elements. We may note also that the image isn’t painted over prime (ground); traces of brushstrokes on the shawl that are unfinished show the plain fabric. Mexitours,

GUESTS GET COMPLIMENTARY MASSAGE WITH 3 NIGHTS AT HALF MOON Jamaica’s Half Moon, A RockResort, has announced the new 1-23 Spa package, giving the luxury of a free massage at the resort’s award-winning Fern Tree, A RockResorts Spa when travelers book three nights or more. The 68,000-sq ft spa melds modern techniques with ancient Caribbean remedies using native herbs, fruits and botanicals. Stella Gray, its dedicated Spa Elder, is versed in the art of holistic remedies and available to guide guests along their path to wellness. Guests will also receive unlimited complimentary use of Half Travel World News •

Moon’s tennis courts and fitness center, volleyball court, croquet lawn, lilos paddle boats and kayaks. Rates for the 1-2-3 Spa package start from $1,465 ppdo for three nights for bookings until April 15, 2011. A minimum three-night stay is required; government tax and service charge are additional. Half Moon, A RockResort, 877-956-ROCK (9625),,

COUPLES CAN MARRY IN MEXICO AT SANDOS HOTELS & RESORTS WITH THREE PACKAGES Sandos Hotels & Resorts is offering three romantic wedding packages at its two all-inclusive complexes on the Riviera Maya, Mexico. The Sandos package, priced at $950, includes the service of a judge or minister for the ceremony; personalized service from the wedding coordinator; all paperwork arrangements including marriage license and certificate (legal documents in Spanish); the decorated wedding site such as private area on the beach (including seating); background music during the ceremony (or couples can bring their own songs and use the hotel’s CD player); the wedding cake; sparkling wine for the toast; wedding dinner at any restaurant (based on availability and number of guests); free room upgrade for the wedding couple (based on availability); fine pastry, fruit basket and sparkling wine in-room on arrival; special guest room decoration; plush bathrobes for the wedding couple; special gifts for the couple including “Just Married” his and her t-shirts and a commemorative wedding photo in a keepsake Mexican-style frame; and a commemorative wedding certificate. To qualify for a free Sandos package, guests must book a minimum of 18 rooms for seven nights each. Couples can upgrade to a Caribbean package at $1,700 that includes all the features of the Sandos package plus: décor for the entrance to the ceremony; the bridal bouquet and groom boutonniere; 10 wedding photographs; champagne breakfast in bed the morning after the wedding; a Swedish massage for the bride and groom, 15percent spa discount; and a 10-percent discount on motorized sports including banana boat rides, jet skiing and parasailing. To qualify for a free Caribbean package, guests must book a minimum of 35 rooms for seven nights each. An ultra-romantic Riviera package, priced at $2,300, includes all features of the Sandos and Caribbean packages plus a set of 20 wedding photographs, natural flowers to decorate and rose petals on the aisle, bridal up-do at the spa’s beauty salon, steaming service for the wedding dress, preferential guestroom location, private VIP check-in, a post-ceremony bottle of sparkling wine and chocolatecovered strawberries, and nightly turn-down service. All packages can be added on to the cost of an all-inclusive hotel stay. Requirements for getting married in Mexico are available from the Mexico Department of Tourism. Sandos Hotels & Resorts, 866-336-4083, (Caracol complex), (Playacar complex),; Mexico Department of Tourism, 800-44-MEXICO (446-3952), MARCH 2011 •


March 2011 Edition