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The Magazine for DestinationTravel Specialists

Scuba Diving Travel


The Time Is Right for This Niche Profit Center


Dominican Republic The Caribbean Destination for Championship Golf


OCTOBER 2009 executive office

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

w e b s i t e publisher

Charles Gatt, Jr. editor

Carol A. Petro

INDUSTRY EVENTS U.S.A. Has Proud Presence at FITUR 2010










For complete and current list please visit:





design production manager

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

Lorry Heverly cruise editor

Michael Iachetta southeast regional correspondent

Joan Gonzalez western regional correspondent

Connie Skoog south america correspondent

Mark Zussman contributing editors

Mona Birch • Ann Charles • Gail P. Dubov Judith Glynn • Barry Goldsmith • Peggy Hageman George Hairston • Al Haut • Marjorie Klein • Peter Lowy Nancy Marcantonio • Anita Mason D.O. Christian Rieger • Knox Robinson • Mary Ellen Schultz Helen Kitti Smith • Robin Swados • Diane Terry Travel World News (ISSN 1044-4602) is published monthly by Travel Industry Network, Inc., 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. The cost of a subscription in the USA is $25, in Canada $40. For subscribers outside USA or Canada, the rate is $80. Please send check or money order in U.S. dollars payable to Travel World News. For change of address, please enclose your mailing label and send to: Circulation Department, Travel World News, 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. Periodicals postage paid at Norwalk, CT, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Travel World News, 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. Address advertising inquiries and/or editorial copy to: Travel World News, 28 Knight Street, Norwalk, CT 06851-4707. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Printed in USA. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission. All advertising in Travel World News is based on data submitted to the Publisher by the advertisers. The Publisher shall not be liable for the accuracy or inaccuracy of any information contained in Travel World News and shall not be liable, including but not limited to consequential or special damages, to any party for any products or services advertised or reported upon herein. The Publisher shall not be responsible for typographical errors. All information contained herein is subject to change without notice by the parties providing such products and services. The Publisher reserves the right to reject any advertising that has been submitted at his sole discretion. Upon providing a refund of any amount paid to the party whose submittal was rejected, the Publisher shall not have any liability to any party for such rejection.

DIVE Scuba Diving Travel – The Time is Right for this Niche Profit Center

16 DIVE/DEMA- page 16

Sunbreeze Hotel & Sunbreeze Suites A Divers Paradise


Sustainable and Spectacular: Caradonna Dive Adventures Presents a Worldwide Variety of Choices in Responsible Dive Tourism


CARIBBEAN Dominican Republic – The Caribbean Destination for Championship Golf


Frans George Richardson Named Commissioner of Tourism for Dutch St. Maarten


Travel Impressions $400 Air Credit With Palace Resorts


LATIN AMERICA South America Direct – Colombia


Free Airfare to Antarctica From Goway Travel


A Green Christmas Experience Planned at the Lodge at Chaa Creek


ASIA-PACIFIC Malaysia Wins Three Awards at 2009 PATA Gold Awards


Hong Kong Tourism Board Appoints William B. Flora as its New Director, USA


Baobab Expeditions Offers Adventurous Journeys into Papua New Guinea


COVER PHOTO CREDIT: Dominican Republic, Punta Cana Resort & Club; Dive, Karen Varndell


‘The Oscars of the Travel Industry’ The Wall Street Journal

World Travel Awards Grand Final London, Grosvenor House Hotel 8th November 2009

Which of North America’s regional winners will be crowned World Leading travel companies? Find out first, experience an amazing event and network with top performing travel companies. For more information and to book tickets please email:


U.S.A. Has Proud Presence at FITUR 2010 Celebrating a 30-year commitment to tourism, the International Tourism Trade Fair gathers industry professionals in Madrid for strategy, action, alliances.


ourism promotion agencies, operators, hotels, travel agencies, consultancies and experts in international tourism management and development will all meet in Madrid for FITUR 2010 from January 20–24 next year. This important travel trade event supplies to participants a platform and exposure to innovation—energizing them and helping them respond to challenging market demands.

U.S.A. Exposure In 2010, the United States will be presented at FITUR in one unified Discover America Pavilion, organized by B-FOR International in cooperation with the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), supported by the Visit USA Committee Spain, and certified by the U.S. Department of Commerce. With the expanding fairgrounds at Feria de Madrid, exhibitors from the Western hemisphere are being moved to a new location in Hall 4, “The Americas,” with the Discover America Pavilion in an excellent, prime location at the central aisle at the front of the hall. The Discover America Pavilion at FITUR 2010 will include major U.S. destinations like Las Vegas and New York, with attractions and entertainment, shopping centers and outlet malls, airlines and ground transportation providers, car rental companies, cruise lines, hotels and resorts, tour operators, and other organizations promoting travel and tourism to and within the United States. B-FOR International, with its vast tradeshow experience, presents an ideal framework to do business at FITUR with this powerful, professional platform. U.S. exhibitors have a wide range of Discover America Pavilion participation choices—from fully equipped turnkey booths, a cost-effective favorite, custom booth within the Pavilion—to workstations and meeting tables. Visit USA Committee Spain members can also take advantage of a 10-percent discount offered. The affordable Meeting Zone option allows exhibitors to meet with clients on the show floor in a designated area in the Discover America Pavilion and enjoy all Pavilion services and amenities. With Spain a major U.S. inbound travel market and FITUR one of the leading international travel and tourism events in the world, USTA chose to include Madrid’s FITUR in its worldwide Discover America Pavilion Program this year. This has enabled U.S. exhibitors, for the first time, to be eligible for participation under the Discover America brand. 4 • OCTOBER 2009

Activity and interest on the FITUR floor.

Trade Meeting Point The FITUR Trade Meeting Point is a new tool that facilitates preparation for the event. Access to the service is restricted to exhibitors and pre-registered trade visitors. Members will get free access to the fair if they sign on before December 1, along with information regarding all the products and services to be presented at the fair. They will be able to plan appointments and receive invitations and calls for the events that are taking place during the fair, in addition to receiving issues of the FITUR News Bulletin. Membership will also grant access to the fairground without queuing as well as entry to a workroom set aside for Meeting Point members.

Schedule From January 20–22, starting at 10 a.m. and continuing to 7 p.m., the show is open exclusively to professionals. On Saturday and Sunday (January 23–24), from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., the show opens to the general public and professionals. In addition to groups from every travel venue, there will be representatives present from the travel media, and from Spanish and foreign official organizations and trade associations. Stimulating incentives, meetings and congresses in addition to education and training sessions are also planned.

FITUR,; B-FOR International,, • Travel World News

INDUSTRY EVENTS LA CUMBRE 2010 WILL TAKE PLACE IN SAN DIEGO Just a few days before the opening of La Cumbre 2009, show organizers had announced the next edition is already being prepared, and will take place in September of next year in San Diego, California, U.S.A. From September 8–10, 2010, the city of San Diego will be host to La Cumbre, The Americas’ Travel Industry Summit. This will be the show’s twenty-first edition, gathering buyers and exhibitors from all over the Americas at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. With more than 1.200 rooms and luxurious suites, this venue will also be the Host Hotel for all the delegates taking place in the event. Brian Said, Director of Travel Trade Development for the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, said: “We are very pleased to be hosting La Cumbre next year, considering it’s such a big and relevant meeting for the Travel Industry of the Americas. We are confident that everything our City has to offer, will make San Diego a relevant and memorable destination for all those companies who year after year take part in this show.” Gastón Isoldi, Director of La Cumbre for Reed Exhibitions, added: “We are very pleased about San Diego inviting us for this twenty-first edition of La Cumbre. San Diego is a very beautiful city that offers a vast array of attractions, theme parks, museums, and all kinds of restaurants. The Hilton San Diego Bayfront, is an excellent recently opened property, overlooking the bay and the Downtown Gaslamp Quarter. The fact that it will be hosting the entire show will definitely increase the networking possibility among attendants.” La Cumbre,; San Diego,

ate the perfect forum for the subject.” ATTA and TIES guided, the two-part Meeting of the Minds “Sustainability” forums will address key challenges and opportunities concerning a variety of topics (e.g., carbon offsets, voluntourism, education, outreach, training, etc.) brought forth by the global adventure travel industry for collective brainstorming, dialogue and debate. Whereas the Meeting of the Minds “think-tank” forums will focus on broad industry matters, the two Collaborative Learning “Sustainable Tourism in Emerging Destinations” forums will provide delegates the chance to share and explore their own real-world case studies to build understanding, to gain practical tools, insights and action plans for organizational implementation. “Participating in the ATTA’s Adventure Travel World Summit is a great opportunity for our two organizations to visibly convey our shared interests in sustainability initiatives,” said TIES Chair Dr. Kelly Bricker. “We’re thrilled to represent TIES global network at the Summit, where sustainability is at the forefront of innovative and interactive discussions. TIES will be able to contribute to and help strengthen the industry-wide efforts to mainstream sustainability through education, collaboration and proactive outreach.” Adventure Travel World Summit registration and program information is available on the Summit website. International Ecotourism Society (TIES),; Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA),

Find Your Client’s Next Great Travel Experience Stay on top of your client’s changing needs and interests by attending the largest series of consumer travel shows. You’ll:

TIES JOINS THE ATTA’S 2009 ADVENTURE TRAVEL WORLD SUMMIT TO CO-LEAD SUSTAINABLE TOURISM TRADE FORUMS Two newly-featured forums scheduled for the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s 2009 Adventure Travel World Summit, both addressing sustainable tourism, will gain heightened conservation expertise and perspectives through the first-time conference collaboration between the ATTA and The International Ecotourism Society (TIES). ATTA and TIES, which for years have together explored common interests in promoting responsible tourism and sustainable practices, are co-developing and will co-lead the Meeting of the Minds and Collaborative Learning interactive forums. The ATTA’s tradeonly Adventure Travel World Summit is set for October 19–22 in Charlevoix, Québec Province, Canada. “Tackling matters such as sustainable tourism requires the best minds,” said ATTA President Shannon Stowell. “The Summit offers a timely and high-quality setting to join minds, debate openly, share resources, bring common visions together, and to ensure these discussions continue long after conference. With the ATTA and TIES collaborating, we’ve got an incredible opportunity to creTravel World News •

• Network with hundreds of suppliers • Evaluate new product offerings from worldwide destinations • Cultivate business partnerships and opportunities • Attend Special agent functions highlight featured destinations

Interested in Exhibiting? Email us at:

Register for your FREE Agent Pass at:

New York, NY • October 10-11, 2009 | Chicago, IL • January 9-10, 2010 Los Angeles, CA • February 13-14, 2010 | Washington D.C. • March 6-7, 2010 Seattle, WA • November, 2010

OCTOBER 2009 •






NOVEMBER 3-5 7-11 9-12 9-12 14-16 14-18 16-19 16-19 19-20 19-22 20-24 21-24

BTC 2009 ICCA Exhibition WTM Discover American Pavilion at WTM 2009 WRTA Expo 2009 NTA Annual Convention IGTM 2009 Pure Life Experiences MITM Americas Discover American Pavilion at CITM 2009 UFTAA Congress Travel Counsellors Conference

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

DECEMBER 1-3 1-3 5-6 8-10

EIBTM 2009 Discover American Pavilion at EIBTM 2009 Adventure in Travel Expo USTOA Annual Conference

Barcelona, Spain Barcelona, Spain Seattle, WA Banff, Alberta, Canada

JANUARY 2010 12-17 Vakantiebeurs 15-17 Monte Carlo Travel Market 20-24 BTL 21-24 MATKA 21-24 Moroccan Travel Market 21-24 Slovakiatour 21-24 Tourism & Leisure Show 27-31 Discover American Pavilion at FITUR 2010 28-30 SATTE 2010

The Netherlands Grimaldi Forum, Monaco Lisbon, Portugal Helsinki, Finland Marrakech, Morocco Bratislava, Slovak Republic Ljubljana, Slovenia Madrid, Spain New Delhi, India

FEBRUARY 4-7 7-14 11-14 18-21 21-23 24-28 26-28

Holiday World Discover American Pavilion at OTM 2010 EMITT Discover American Pavilion at Bit 2010 Jordan Travel Mart IFT 2010 New York Times Travel Show

Czech Republic Mumbai/New Delhi, India Istanbul, Turkey Milan, Italy Dead Sea, Jordan Belgrade, Serbia New York, NY

MARCH 8-9 10-14 10-14 17-20 17-20 25-28 25-28

TTG Polish Travel Mart 2010 ITB Berlin 2010 Discover American Pavilion at ITB Berlin 2010 MITT Discover American Pavilion at Mitt 2010 TUR Discover American Pavilion at TUR 2010

Warsaw, Poland Berlin, Germany Berlin, Germany Moscow, Russia Moscow, Russia Gothenburg, Sweden Gotehnburg, Sweden

MAY 4-6 4-7 25-27

CHTIC 2010 Discover American Pavilion at ATM 2010 Discover American Pavilion at IMEX 2010

San Juan, Puerto Rico Dubai, UAE Frankfurt, Germany


6 • OCTOBER 2009 •


INDUSTRY NEWS PAUL ZAR JOINS TRAVEL IMPRESSIONS Travel Impressions has appointed industry veteran Paul Zar as Vice President of the Caribbean Destination Team, Managed Brands and Airline/Car Relations. Zar comes to Travel Impressions with more than 25 years of extensive travel and tourism knowledge including experience from his most recent position as Senior Vice President, Business Development and Airline Relations at LibGo Travel Inc. Zar is skilled in developing and executing strategic plans, product development, negotiations, relationship management, consumer and retail agency sales and marketing, and tourism development. He will report to John Hanratty, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, and his key responsibilities will include: planning, directing and managing all functions associated with the operation of the Caribbean destination team; developing long-term corporate product strategies to allow consistent and continual growth for Travel Impressions and American Express Vacations; managing major relationships for air PAUL ZAR and car programs on behalf of Travel Impressions; and planning, directing and managing all activities associated with securing managed brands to expand Travel Impressions’ overall business. Prior to his tenure at LibGo, Zar served for 10 years as Managing Director, North America, for the Bermuda Department of Tourism and also worked for 13 years with American Airlines in various capacities including Director of Marketing–Atlantic/Caribbean, Division Manager–Special Sales, and Division Manager –Company Meeting and Convention Sales. Travel Impressions is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Express, and provides leisure vacation packages to 150 destinations and more than 2,000 resorts and hotels worldwide. Travel Impressions, 800-284-0044,

CRUISE INDUSTRY VETERAN RON SANTANGELO TO JOIN AMAWATERWAYS Award-winning river cruise line AMAWATERWAYS has recently appointed Ronald A. Santangelo to the position of Vice President, Business Development. Santangelo’s career in the cruise industry includes thirteen years as President, North America, of Peter Deilmann Cruises. He joins AMAWATERWAYS at a time when the line is experiencing unprecedented growth and record-high passenger satisfaction ratings. With the debut of the new 148-passenger MS Amalyra and MS Amadolce this year, the fleet of “AMA” ships on Europe’s legendary waterways increased to six. AMAWATERWAYS will expand into South East Asia this fall with the launch of its 15-day “Vietnam, Cambodia & the Riches of the Mekong” program featuring a seven-night Mekong river cruise on the new MS La Marguerite. Three additional vessels—MS Amadouro, MS Swiss Pearl and MS Tolstoy—round out the fleet, offering popular destination cruises in Portugal, France RON SANTANGELO and Russia, respectively. Prior to his tenure at Deilmann, Santangelo served as President of Regency Cruises. He also held several positions at Cunard Line, Ltd, including Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing and Sales, during which time he served on the Cunard Line Board of Directors. Santangelo is a past Marketing Committee Chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association and has served on numerous industry advisory boards, including that of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Caucus on Travel. Santangelo holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from St. John’s University and a Masters in Business Administration in Marketing Management from St. John’s University. He will operate from offices in Virginia as well as the AMAWATERWAYS headquarters in Chatsworth, California. AMAWATERWAYS, 800-626-0126,

USTOA GAINS NETC AS NEW MEMBER, TRAVEL CONNECTION RESIGNS National Educational Travel Council (NETC) has joined USTOA as its newest Active Member. NETC serves the student travel market by organizing educational tours for teachers and students through a community of educators, travel experts and international education professionals. Regarding their new affiliation with USTOA, NETC President Desmond Maguire says, “As one of the leading operators of educational tours for high school students, NETC is delighted to be joining the foremost U.S. trade association for tour operators. USTOA’s Traveler Assistance Program provides reassurance to the traveling public and we are proud to be participating in it.” Effective in August, Travel Connection resigned its membership in USTOA and as such will no longer participate in the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program. NETC, 800-771-2323,,; USTOA, 800-go-ustoa (468-7862),,; Travel Connection,, Travel World News •

OCTOBER 2009 •


INDUSTRY NEWS AVALON WATERWAYS JOINS CLIA Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) today announced that award-winning small-ship cruise company Avalon Waterways has joined its membership. Avalon Waterways, with 37 offices worldwide, is based in Littleton, Colorado, and offers river and small-ship cruises in Europe, China, Egypt and the Galápagos. Avalon Waterways’ young fleet consists of eight Avalon ships in Europe that feature state-of-the-art design and technology and house the largest staterooms boasting floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic sliding glass doors. Two ships in the European fleet, the Avalon Affinity and Avalon Creativity debuted this past summer, and two new ships, the Avalon Luminary and Avalon Felicity will debut in 2010, bringing the European Fleet total to 10. The company also operates cruises on vessels sailing in Egypt, China and the Galápagos Islands. Avalon Waterways’ ship amenities include 172-square-foot staterooms, flat-screen televisions, wireless Internet access, modern bathrooms, large closets, hotel-style beds with duvets, Egyptian cotton linens, mini-bar, safe, laundry and ironing services, a fully-equipped fitness room, library, hair salon and gift shop, as well as a club lounge and large Jacuzzi pool on the Sky Deck. Avalon Waterways serves unlimited complimentary local wine, beer or soft drinks with all on-board dinners. The line features regional entertainment, innovative land programs, and a professional English-speaking staff. CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association),; Avalon Waterways,

MARKETING CHALLENGES INTERNATIONAL SELECTED TO LEAD BERLIN’S NORTH AMERICAN MARKETING EFFORTS The Berlin Convention Office (BCO) has appointed New York based Marketing Challenges International (MCIntl) to market the meetings destination Berlin in North America and to help strengthen the German capital’s position as a leading international convention destination. Berlin aims to underscore its long-term commitment to the American association and meetings industry by providing their American clients with extra services as well as a permanent local contact. Furthermore, with the professional support from MCIntl, BCO plans to increase its overall marketing effort in North America. MCIntl is serving as the North American sales and marketing office for the Berlin Convention Office and will process planners’ requests as well as provide information on the meetings destination Berlin. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German capital has become a major player in the global meetings industry. The city’s state-of-theart venues include six convention centers, 161 hotels with meeting space, and more than 100,000 hotel beds in all categories. Berlin can easily accommodate large international conventions. At the same time, the city also offers authentic and unique locations for smaller groups and incentives. The latest International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) statistics have confirmed that association meetings in Berlin attracted more participants in 2008 than any other city in the world. Recognizing the importance of the North American association market, Berlin will particularly reach out to association buyers. MCIntl is a global destination marketing firm that serves as the North American sales and marketing office for leading convention bureaus. The Berlin Convention Office joins a list of high-profile clients from around the world. Planners of international meetings are invited to contact MCIntl to learn more about planning association congresses and meetings in Berlin. MCIntl’s services are free of charge to meeting planners and MCIntl does not receive a commission, allowing them to be an unbiased resource for planners. Marketing Challenges International (MCIntl),,; Berlin Convention Office (BCO),

HAHN AIR IMPLEMENTS ENHANCED SERVICES FOR AGENTS IN NORTH AMERICA With the increasing number of airline partners available for ticketing on the HR-169 document on the North American continent, Hahn Air has expanded its presence in the market providing comprehensive services to its travel agent clients by appointing Airworld Alliance as its local service partner. Airworld Alliance, the Airline Representation division of SITA World Group, representing fourteen online and offline carriers in the U.S.A. and Canada, has taken over the representation of Hahn Air as of September 15. The new services provided include direct support out of six locations in the U.S. and Canada: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Toronto and Vancouver; a 12/6 service line; and a toll-free number for all U.S. and Canadian travel agents. Travel agents can issue the great variety of Hahn Air’s partner airlines using HR-169 e-tickets. Availability can be checked through the Quick Check module on its website.Using the Interline E-Ticketing platform, Hahn Air has implemented agreements with over 200 airlines worldwide, generating extra revenue for its airline partners through global accessibility to all IATA travel agents using any GDS in all key BSPs worldwide and ARC in the U.S. Hahn Air, 877-HR169HR (877-471-6947), 8 • OCTOBER 2009 • Travel World News

INDUSTRY NEWS NEW CEO PAUL HANLEY TO SPEARHEAD US HOTELS EXPANSION US Hotels has named Paul Hanley the company’s new Chief Executive Officer. The appointment marks the launch of a major strategic growth phase for US Hotels’ collection. Hanley will oversee the continued development of US Hotels throughout New England while leading the company’s investment and business implementation strategy for the Americas as a whole. “US Hotels is highly acquisitive, but we are also keen to expand by providing management services where appropriate—adding value through our proven expertise and possibly even providing fully branded solutions to formerly stand-alone properties,” noted Hanley. “It’s an exciting time to be joining US Hotels, and I look forward to elevating the presence of the group throughout the Americas, drawing upon both my own experience and the international hospitality interests of our parent company, the Libra Group.” Hanley brings more than 30 years’ hospitality experience to his new role, almost all of it in management. PAUL HANLEY Immediately prior, Hanley was head of The Paul Hanley Company, a hospitality management consultancy he founded in 2004. He was formerly President and COO of Regent International Hotels. Hanley also held senior management and propertyspecific positions at hotel groups including Radisson Hotels International, Omni Hotels, Ramada Worldwide and Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. US Hotels now intends to expand into a geographically diverse group across the Americas, from the Caribbean to Canada. Among those it owns and operates in New England are The Breakwater Inn & Spa in Kennebunkport, Windham Hill Inn in West Townshend, Vermont, and The White Barn Inn, a Relais & Châteaux property that enjoys the highest possible rankings from independent observers including Mobil Travel Guide and AAA. US Hotels,; Libra Group,

HICKORY TRAVEL SYSTEMS AND ETRAVCO FORM WORLDWIDE TRAVEL AGENT NETWORK Hickory Travel Systems and eTravCo have announced the formation of a worldwide travel agent network that will be a market-leading travel service provider based on Hickory Travel System’s corporate travel services and eTravCo’s leisure travel consortium. We believe that by combining our resources and our buying power we will create a force truly unique in our industry,” said L. William Chiles, Chairman and CEO of Hickory Travel Systems. “We are coming together to create a much stronger value proposition and offer a more comprehensive program to our members and an extensive distribution network for our global suppliers. This truly positions the travel agent as a critical component to the distribution process.” The new venture will build upon eTravCo’s consortium position and commitment to exceptional supplier contracts and Hickory’s position as a leading travel agency super-network. The combined buying power of the two industry leaders creates a one-stop shop for the vendor needs of both leisure and corporate travel agents. The venture is positioned to be the logical choice for corporate agencies, leisure agencies, brick and mortar agencies, online agencies, corporate travel departments, home-based agencies, and agency start-ups. The transaction is subject to the completion of definitive agreements and is anticipated to close later in the quarter. Both companies were created by travel experts, and the executive teams will remain intact to drive the new initiative. Hickory Travel Systems,,; eTravCo,,

120 MISS WORLD’S BRING GLAMOUR TO LONDON’S ANNUAL WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS For the first time ever, this year’s World Travel Awards final will feature ALL 120 Miss World 2008 contestants from the most prestigious of all the international beauty pageants. The world beauties, who will be representing almost every country in the world, will make the presentation of trophies to award winners at the 16th annual gala ceremony to be held November 8 at London’s Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel in Mayfair. The Wall Street Journal described this event as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry.’ Attire will be black tie and national dress. The WTA 2009 final highlights excellence in the worldwide travel and tourism industry and as such, celebrates some of the outstanding achievements of key organizations and individuals. Photo opportunities with Miss World contestants—many of whom have appeared in Bond movies—will be available for award winners. The regional WTA 2009 winners have automatically been put forward as nominees for the WTA finals; 987 companies have made it to the final round of nominations and 92 WTA World category winners will be announced at the event. Winning a World Travel Award has become much sought after, as companies who are presented with one of these awards are coming to regard this considerable achievement as its most influential, helping to reassure travelers and effectively assist sales and marketing performance. Tickets to World Travel Awards are always highly in demand and therefore early booking is urged to secure seats for this major industry presentation. The 2009 Global Winners will be announced at this ceremony, as well as the winners in the Travel Technology sector. World Travel Awards,,, Travel World News •

OCTOBER 2009 •




10 • OCTOBER 2009



hotel should be more than just a place to hang your hat and hang out. It should be a destination in its own right. How to choose a hotel? Of course, my first consideration is value – second is location – and third is “uniqueness, uniqueness, uniqueness.” What makes a hotel unique? Its view. Its history. Its architecture. Let’s tour my favorite hotels from San Francisco’s Palace Hotel – whose 1906 earthquake of 10 seconds shook Enrico Caruso – to St. Petersburg’s Astoria Hotel – where Ten Days That Shook the World was written by the Russian Revolution’s witness, John Reed, in his room in which I have stayed. The illegitimate son of Russia’s last Tsar (Tsar Michael II for one day only) was conceived in a suite in St. Petersburg’s elegant Grand Hotel Europa. The hotel has one of the world’s most beautiful Art Nouveau dining rooms. George Bernard Shaw stayed here during its Soviet years and was treated like royalty – not Romanov royalty. Shaw fans should stay at Moscow’s Metropole Hotel – where Rasputin kept an office. The hotel even has a museum of its illustrious history. This hotel, too, has a beautiful Art Nouveau dining room. The hotel’s facade still displays the Soviet slogan “Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains.” Speaking of chains – international hotel chains – Moscow’s Hilton hotel is one of the seven Stalinist skyscrapers. And now another category: Hotels that were palaces. Rome’s best example is the Hotel D’Ingliterra – a 17th-century palace turned into a hotel in the mid-19th century. Guests have included Franz Liszt, Mark Twain and many British stars filming at Cinecitta. (Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton stayed there while filming Cleopatra.)

Park Hyatt Shanghai Hotel on the left and Grand Hyatt Shanghai Hotel on the right.

Venice is the city with the most palace hotels, including the world’s most luxurious: The Gritti Palace. The Westin Europa Regina (home of the artist Tiepolo). And my favorite, the Danieli (1822). And yes, Mark Twain was a guest. All three hotels have fantastic views on the Grand Canal. My favorite historic hotel in London is Brown’s – founded by Lord Byron’s butler in 1837. The last time I was there, they gave me the Eleanor and Franklin (Roosevelt) honeymoon suite. You can always phone for reservations, since Alexander Graham Bell’s first British phone demonstration was from Brown’s. On the other end was Mark Twain calling in for reservations. A favorite London celebrity hotel is the Lanesborough St. Regis, where Edward Jenner first demonstrated his smallpox vaccine. Luxury hotel guests as guinea pigs with cow-pox injections? Surprise! The Lanesborough was once St. George’s Hospital. Buildings that served another function before they became hotels is a category gaining popularity. Hotels created from recycling old buildings is the ultimate in “Green.” Environmentalists urge recycling

paper. They urge reusing hotel towels. But the ultimate recycling is giving buildings a totally different function, thereby creating new, exciting hotels – that have a history, albeit a different history, from their previous function. My favorite “recycled hotels” are buildings that were once prisons: The Malmaison Oxford. The Liberty Hotel (formerly Boston’s Charles Street Prison) and the Four Seasons Istanbul, formerly the prison used in the movie Midnight Express. New hotels, too, can qualify as architectural landmarks. My favorite two new hotels are on the same block: The Grand Hyatt Shanghai and the Park Hyatt Shanghai. The Grand Hyatt Shanghai was the world’s tallest hotel until August 8, 2008, when the Park Hyatt Shanghai opened and stole that title. The Grand Hyatt Shanghai is the top floors of the stunning Jin Mao Tower, which changed the course of Shanghai’s Postmodern architecture when it opened in 1999. Before that, Shanghai had “Jetson Postmodern” – whose roofs looked as if someone merely plopped a hat on top. The “hat” had nothing to do with the design. The Jin Mao Tower’s roof was the culmination of a design inherent throughout the building. The new Park Hyatt Shanghai is the top floors of the World Financial Center – China’s tallest building. It’s a 21stcentury architectural icon. Like a sculpture, it changes when viewed from different angles. But new hotels have a disadvantage: I can no longer request rooms that Eleanor and Franklin, George Bernard Shaw or Mark Twain slept in. Barry Goldsmith is a professor of architecture and humor. Goldsmith is a television host of travel-related TV series in the USA and UK. And he is a regular on a new syndicated radio show, Let’s Travel Radio. • Travel World News


Italian Connection, an Italy-based tour operator, offers handcrafted walking, cooking and cultural tours for corporate meetings and incentive groups of 10 to 100 people. The tours are based on the owners’ and guides’ personal experiences and connections in the lesser-known areas of their favorite seven regions of Italy. Customized itineraries can include stays in a five-star Palazzo in Siena, Tuscany, a 300-year-old former monastery in the Barolo wine region of Piedmont, or in a hillside hotel in Positano with spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast. Food is a big part of the Italian Connection experience. Groups can learn how to shape provola cheese and make bread in Sicily, truffle hunt in Piedmont or cook with a chef in a local trattoria on the Amalfi Coast. For the more adventurous groups, hiking and rock climbing can be arranged in the Dolomites (Italian Alps). Visitors meet colorful personalities including an authority on Alpine wildflowers, the owner of Italy’s only cashmere goat farm and a village woman who blazes walking trails on an island with no roads. Twenty-nine landonly tours are offered through the year, including the Splendors of Sicily, named by National Geographic Traveler as one of its 2006 “50 Tours of a Lifetime.” Four walking levels range from “stroll” to “fitness” which can burn up to 1,500 calories a day! Private custom tours can also be arranged. Italian Connection, 800-462-7911,

CELTIC TOURS ANNOUNCES NEW IRELAND ‘COUNTRY AND CASTLE’ SELF-DRIVE PROGRAM Celtic Tours World Vacations has announced a special offer on their new “Country and Castle” program. This self-drive program features a one-night stay at Ashford Castle or Adare Manor and two nights at pre-booked first class hotels. Celtic Tours exciting new independent “Country and Castle” programs offers travelers the opportunity to experience the luxury of a traditional Irish Castle/Manor home while enjoying the warmth of the culture at traditional first-class hotels, at their own pace. The $359 per person package includes a one-night stay at Ashford Castle or Adare Manor and two nights at a first-class Travel World News •

hotel. Also included are a self-drive standard car with unlimited mileage for four days (exclusive of CDW, theft protection and damage), a detailed driving map, a “Travelers Guide of Ireland,” admission to Galway Crystal factory tour and a full Irish breakfast daily. A single supplement is available for $238 based on three adults traveling together. Outstanding sale airfares are available from NY, Boston and Chicago. Other cities are also available. The offer is valid from October 14, 2009, until March 8, 2010. Additional night rates, including car and hotel, are available for $89 per person. Additional nights at Ashford Castle/Adare Manor, including car rental, are available at $209 per person. To see the complete range of discounts offered, travel agents should visit Celtic Tours’ website and scroll down to the “Sales and Specials” links. Agents are urged to book as soon as possible, as space is very limited. The maximum commission on the “Country and Castle” special is 10 percent. Celtic Tours World Vacations, 800-833-4373,

EUROPEAN WINTER TOUR IDEAS FROM GOWAY ADVENTURESIncorporated, the exclusive adventure division of 39 year old Goway Travel, has released their European Winter Brochure in partnership with Topdeck Travel. “As summer comes to an end, airfare prices to Europe fall dramatically, making it an extremely affordable vacation, especially for adventurous 18 to 39’s” stated Don Forster, Product Manager for ADVENTURESIncorporated. “There are many great experiences in Europe during winter; Christmas in Paris, Scotland, Brugge and The Baltics; New Years celebrations in Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Paris, Berlin and more. “Prices are lower, the atmosphere and scenes are of a winter wonderland and there are less travelers on the road allowing you to enjoy the major sites without the crowds.” continued Forster. ADVENTURESIncorporated is offering great discounts for a limited time: For those who book six months prior to departure, Goway offers a saving of five percent on travel with three friends, as well as a five-percent saving for past passengers of ADVENTURESIncorporated. Showcased trips include: A nine-day Skiing Adventure at Les Deux Alpes from $1,435. Les Deux Alpes is home to Europe’s largest skiable glacier which means “real” snow and a resort in its own league. An amazing nightlife and modern amenities makes this the perfect European ski getaway; A 24-day Winter Spirit from $2,045. Travelers explore 12 countries (France, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium). The experience includes staying in a combination of hotels, hostels and bungalows. Goway/ADVENTURESIncorporated, 888-469-2949,,, OCTOBER 2009 •



M/V Norwegian Majesty will retain royal status and change her colors when she sails for Louis Cruises from December 4 onward under her new name Louis Majesty. Louis Cruises acquired the cruise liner from Star Cruises in July 2008. M/V Louis Majesty was built in 1992 and underwent a $53.3million lengthening and full refurbishment in 1999, with the result a very stylish and contemporary cruise ship fitting Louis Cruises’ profile. Louis Cruises is celebrating the coming season and its newest fleet addition with reduced rates on its cruise itineraries in the Western Mediterranean. In addition, kids ages 18 or younger sail free (sailing with paid adults) and honeymooners receive an extra savings of $140 per couple at time of booking. Louis Cruises has a host of itineraries for the 2009-10 winter season ranging from two to 16 days with calls at ports from Italy, Spain, Portugal, and France, to Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and the Greek Islands. In December, clients can book six-, eight-, 14- or 16-day cruises onboard the newly introduced Louis Majesty with special savings off brochure rates on the following itineraries (prices include port charges, security, and other service fees): 16-day Canary Islands program, priced from $1,350 per person (down from brochure price of $3,030) departing on December 4 from Genoa and visiting Marseilles, Gibraltar, Madeira, La Palma, Tenerife, La Gomera, El Hierro, Las Palmas, Lanzarote, Casablanca, Malaga, Almeria, Alicante, and Barcelona. Six-day Christmas Cruise, priced from $500 per person (down from brochure price of $1,165). The Christmas Cruise departs Genoa December 20 and calls at Marseilles, Port Mahon (Menorca), Tunis, La Valletta (Malta), and Trapani (Sicily). Eight-day Iberian Coasts “New Years Cruise,” priced from $815 (down from brochure price of $1,565) departs Genoa on December 26 and sails to Marseilles, Gibraltar, Tangier, Casablanca, Malaga, Almeria, Alicante and Barcelona. The Christmas Cruise and New Year’s sailings can be combined for a 14-day voyage. Passengers will enjoy the holiday season enhanced by traditions of the local cultures and the picturesque surroundings as well as onboard celebrations with festive menus and holiday-themed entertainment and décor throughout the vessel. 12 • OCTOBER 2009

From January–March 2010, Louis Cruises offers several other programs to round-out the winter sailing season including: 12-day Canary Islands from $985; eight-day Morocco and Spain from $685; eight-day Tunis, Libya and Malta from $685; eight-day Iberian Coasts from $685, and 12-day Eastern Mediterranean Highlights from $985. Rates listed are ppdo, based on availability; all are commissionable to travel agents. Agents can register online to book the detailed SMART RATES on the company’s Western Mediterranean cruise programs. Louis Cruises,

GUESTS CAN SAVE MONEY RELAXING, GOLFING OR CYCLING AT THE GRANDHOTEL LIENZ New since April, five-star Grandhotel Lienz in East-Tyrol, Austria, is offering special packages to make vacationing with them in Austria attractive this season. The Golfing Made Easy Package introduces players to the game with 15 practical and two theoretical lesson units at the Dolomite Golf Club. The package includes a four-night stay in a double room at Grandhotel Lienz, an extensive daily breakfast buffet, a fivecourse evening menu, golf glove and three golf balls and tees. Cost is $1,392 per person (saving $164 per person). Bookings are taken until October 30, 2009, and a Sunday arrival is required. The Ladies Days Package invites women to enjoy a four-night stay in a Junior Suite and a balanced sports, wellness and vital program. The package includes two and a half hours of wellness treatments, with a St. Barth softness-body peeling, a St. Barth Harmony-Massage, a Masque Largile, rose or verte, and a gem stone facial massage. For those traveling alone that prefer to dine with other women, the hotel is offering a ‘Ladies-Table.’ Calorie-reduced menus can be arranged. Prices start at $926 per person (saving of $172 per person). Bookings are taken until October 18, 2009. The Holiday at the Beautiful Cycling Paradise of Osttirol Package features two guided bicycle tours with the hotel’s Personal Trainer: The Zettersfeld tour, a two-to three-hour, intermediate difficulty tour, and the Dolomite tour, a three-hour, intermediate difficulty tour, over 3,000 feet above sea level. Also included is a three-night stay in a double room at the Grandhotel Lienz, a 50-minute intensive sports massage, and free mountain bike rental. Bookings are being taken until December 18, 2009. At a cost of $670 per person, the package offers savings of $186 per person. The package requires Tuesday arrival. Guests not desiring a ready-made package are offered a 20-percent discount for a stay of two nights or longer through March 2010. The price for one night in a double room, with spa access and half-board pension, begins at approximately $156. The hotel will be closed from November 7 for three weeks. Grandhotel Lienz,, • Travel World News

NORTH AMERICA BEVERLY GARLAND HOLIDAY INN APPOINTS KELLY FOGARTY DOSM Bert Seneca, General Manager of The Beverly Garland Holiday Inn in North Hollywood, and Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Manager of the hotel, have announced the appointment of Kelly Fogarty to the position of Director of Sales and Marketing for the property. Fogarty joins The Beverly Garland from Xona Resort Suites in Scottsdale, Arizona, a Marcus Hotels & Resorts-managed property. KELLY FOGARTY “We are excited to have Kelly join our team,” said Seneca. “Her sales and marketing expertise and familiarity with the Los Angeles market will be a great asset to The Beverly Garland.” Fogarty brings nearly 15 years of extensive hotel sales and marketing experience to The Beverly Garland Holiday Inn. Most recently, while holding the position of Director of Sales and Marketing at Xona Resort Suites, Fogarty was an integral member of the re-launch team, transitioning the hotel from Resort Suites Scottsdale to Xona Resort Suites after a comprehensive renovation. While at Xona, Kelly oversaw the rollout of new property branding for the resort, Asada Desert Grille restaurant and the property’s golf program, as well as all sales and marketing efforts for its meeting and event space. Prior to joining Xona Resort Suites, Fogarty held the position of Director of Sales and Marketing at The Portofino Hotel & Yatch Club in Redondo Beach, California, the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica, Calif., The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood and the Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills. The Beverly Garland, named after the late Hollywood actress Beverly Garland, is situated on seven acres that Beverly’s husband purchased from entertainment icon Gene Autry—minutes from Universal Studios, Universal CityWalk, Hollywood and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Dodgers Stadium and Warner Bros Studios. The Beverly Garland Holiday Inn, 800-BEVERLY (238-3759),; Marcus Corporation,

DOLPHIN BAY RESORT & SPA ON CALIFORNIA COAST OFFERS FALL GETAWAYS Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa, a five-star all-villa oceanfront resort, has announced a $100 Resort Credit offer and a Fourth Night Free special. With the resort credit special, guests receive $100 in credit per night booked in an ocean view or ocean front villa. The credit can be used towards dinner at the award-winning Lido Restaurant led by Executive Chef Evan Treadwell, featuring California Coastal cuisine, or at La Bonne Vie Spa, which boasts serene indoor and outdoor areas and a wide range of wellness treatments. The credit cannot be carried over to the next day, applied to exTravel World News •

isting reservations or combined with other offers. To receive this special, guests need to request it at the time of booking. Guests booking a villa for three nights receive a fourth night free. The Fourth Night Free special applies to all categories of accommodations, rated as some of the most luxurious on the Central Coast. The one- and two-bedroom villas at Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa have private entrances that open into designer interiors, complete with living rooms, dining areas and fully-equipped gourmet kitchens. Private terraces or patios, full laundry facilities, complimentary high-speed wired and wireless Internet access, and full housekeeping services make accommodations complete. Guests are welcome to enjoy any of the resort’s activities and amenities, which include an infinity-edged saline pool, yoga classes, cooking classes, wine tastings, fitness room, DVD and game library, bikes and beach access. The Fourth Night Free special is offered now through December 31, 2009, subject to availability, and may not be applied to an existing reservation or combined with other offers. Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa, 800-516-0112,,

WORLDHOTELS WELCOMES PGA NATIONAL RESORT & SPA IN PALM BEACH GARDENS TO ITS PORTFOLIO WORLDHOTELS has added the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, to its Deluxe Collection of hotels and resorts. Located at 400 Avenue of the Champions, this luxurious property boasts 339 luxury guestrooms and suites, plus 40 spacious Club Cottages. With a full-service luxury spa and five championship golf courses, the property is ideal for leisure and business travelers alike. It is the 19th affiliate hotel/resort in the state of Florida. “Adding high-quality hotel properties in key markets is critical to our organization’s success,” said Tom Griffiths, Vice President, WORLDHOTELS, The Americas. “The PGA National Resort & Spa was very appealing to us for not only its wide variety of outstanding accommodations, but also for the superior amenities, prime Florida location and activities offered to create memorable and rewarding guest experiences. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with this outstanding property.” In addition to five tournament-level golf courses, the exclusive South Florida golf resort hotel boasts a 40,000-square-foot European spa, as well as a Health and Racquet Club. WORLDHOTELS’ guests benefit from an extensive portfolio of partnerships, including frequent flyer programs from 20 of the world’s leading international airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, US Airways, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines. Over 30 sales and reservation offices staffed by 80 employees worldwide work on behalf of all WORLDHOTELS’ properties to create and sell special programs for business and leisure travelers. WORLDHOTELS, PGA National Resort & Spa, 800-223-5652, OCTOBER 2009 •



El Capitan Canyon on California’s central coast has three packages valid until November 25 this year. Canyon to Wine Country Adventure, El Capitan Canyon’s popular fall package, includes a two-night stay in a Creekside King Cabin with a gas fireplace and soaking tub. Guests receive a wine tote with two tasting passes for either the Santa Barbara Winery or the Lafond vineyard tasting room on Santa Ynez hillside; a bottle of Santa Barbara wine; two signature wine glasses; and a keepsake bottle opener. Guests also get a s’mores kit and a bundle of firewood to light up a campfire. The package price is $575 per cabin, double occupancy. With the Fireside Dinner Package, guests enjoy one night in choice of cabins, a Barbecue Kit with ingredients and utensils delivered to the door and a s’mores kit for dessert. Menu options range from marinated seafood and pork chops to simpler fare like chicken and hamburgers with sides. This package is $265 per cabin double occupancy for the Creekside Queen Cabin and dinner for two; rates for other cabins and groups of four are available. For rejuvenation, the Canyon offers the Relax & Renew package with two nights in a Creekside Cabin and two aromatherapy massages at the Creekside Canyon Spa. Guests also receive a bottle of Happy Camper wine and two signature wine glasses. Package cost is $645 per cabin double occupancy. All three packages are offered Sunday through Thursday through November 25, 2009, subject to availability and exclude holidays (taxes and gratuity not included). The Canyon’s amenities include a solar-heated swimming pool and the Canyon Market & Deli. There’s biking through the Canyon on complimentary bikes, hiking and off-site day trips—horseback riding, golfing, ocean kayaking, monarch butterfly park tours, whale watching and tours of downtown Santa Barbara. Heated tents and cabins are furnished with duvets, western-style blankets, linens and plush towels along with fire pits and picnic table. Cabins have full bathrooms and kitchenettes; many have soaking tubs and gas fireplaces. Spacious safari tents feature electric lighting, screened windows and doors with zip-down flaps. Convenient, modern bathroom and shower facilities are located in nearby structures. El Capitan Canyon, 866-352-2729, 14 • OCTOBER 2009

EXPLORE ARIZONA TOURS ADDS NEW TOURS DEPARTING FROM LAS VEGAS TO THE GRAND CANYON After constant requests for tours originating in Las Vegas, Explore Arizona Tours has added new tours to fill the demand. There are several intriguing options from which to choose, like Grand Canyon helicopter tours landing in the Canyon, Grand Canyon bus tours from Las Vegas, and sunset tours. While the most popular destination in Arizona is the Grand Canyon South Rim, the Grand Canyon Skywalk has given a competitive edge to the West Rim. In addition to having a 30-milliondollar creation floating over the Grand Canyon, the West Rim is much closer to Las Vegas than the South Rim. People can fly over the area and be back to their hotel in less than three hours. While the Glass Skywalk is an amazing site,’s most requested tour leaving Las Vegas is the Colorado River Rafting and Helicopter Tour from Vegas. With this tour, vacationers experience the Grand Canyon in the two most impressive ways: from the air and by traveling through it on the Colorado River. Explore Arizona Tours nooks tours online across the state of Arizona. Working with dozens of tour operators, the company has a catalog consisting of over 150 tours, all of which can be reserved online through a quick, secure booking system. Explore Arizona Tours,

BEACH TERRACE INN UNVEILS $8-MILLION LUXURY RENOVATION The Beach Terrace Inn, one of San Diego North County’s most established beachside hotels, hosted in September a grand re-opening to mark the completion of an $8-million luxury renovation. Beach Terrace Inn is the only “on-the-beach” hotel property in Carlsbad, part of the beautiful Southern California beach resort area known as San Diego North County. All 48 rooms at Beach Terrace Inn offer panoramic views of the ocean and are literally a few steps away from the sand. Plantes Hotel Renovation/Apollo Hospitality Group was retained for the consulting, design, construction and purchasing on project. The renovation has transformed the boutique hotel into a stylish, high-end retreat for those seeking a pampered, luxury experience with oceanfront access. The hotel’s new luxury upgrades include a completely reconfigured and enlarged lobby, custom stained-glass windows in lobby doors and windows, new mahogany window casings, Palmwood flooring with beach pebble trim, refurbished rooms and common areas, Italian ceramic tile in entryways of many rooms, custom cast glass panels in all guestrooms (crafted by a local artist), enlarged bathrooms with granite vanities and walk-in showers, 42” LCD flat-screen TVs in all rooms, the finest 310-count bed linens, waffle-weave bathrobes in all rooms, and environmentally-friendly bath/body amenities and housekeeping products. Beach Terrace Inn, 800-433-5415, • Travel World News


Scuba Diving Travel – The Time is Right for this Niche Profit Center


hy Scuba Diving Travel? Scuba diving is an attractive niche opportunity for the travel professional, especially in these economic times. There is evidence that operators focusing on recreational scuba diving may be better able to ride out much of the economic storm, when compared to resorts in the same location, focusing on other activities. Such an assumption stands to reason; research shows that the most active diving customers are affluent adults with an affinity for travel. According to the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA), the most active divers have the money and the time to spend on recreational activities; some 78% travel internationally to dive within the first 12 months after they receive certification. These potential travel customers are “empty nesters,” with the desire to travel even under the current economic circumstances. While the number of “certified” divers is relatively small there are about 2 to 3 million certified divers in the US (more internationally) - these small numbers mask an interesting fact; not all dive travelers are certified divers! Many travelers today participate in short and safe “discover diving” activities as part of their travel package to the Caribbean, Hawaii, Asia, or the South Pacific. Travel professionals with customers who are not “certified” divers can easily contact a professional dive operator in the destination resort and arrange “discover diving” (or a “resort course”). Under the guidance of a diving professional, with just a couple of hours of easy instruction, travelers to these beautiful destinations can enjoy seeing the underwater sights while accompanied by a professional who helps them have a safe and comfortable experience. Although many travelers do eventually become certified divers and enjoy greater freedom in their diving vacation activities, “discover diving” experiences are so attractive and fun that millions (yes, millions) of travelers repeat them, year after year all over the world, never actually participating in a full “certification” program. Such travelers create a higher market potential for the travel professional, expanding the already stable and resilient diving travel market to those that live and work in geographic areas which do not immediately evoke the idea of learning to scuba dive. Travelers can take a complete certification course while on vacation, since it only takes a few days to learn. But for those travelers wishing to learn before going on vacation, travel professionals can easily connect to retail dive centers almost anywhere in the US, and even encourage their customers to learn more and at their convenience through an online div16 • OCTOBER 2009

Research shows that the most active diving customers are affluent adults with an affinity for travel.

ing certification course. Retail dive centers in the US and diving resorts around the world can easily be located using, a website sponsored by DEMA. The retail store locator is easily accessed by typing in the traveler’s US zip code.

What Does it Take for a Travel Agent to Sell Dive Travel? Recreational scuba diving offers many opportunities to satisfy the savvy travel customer and for many travel professionals it is a niche that can help their business. Dive travel is commissionable and often offers incentives much higher than the standard Travel Agent commission. To be successful in dive travel, travel professionals must be able to intelligently discuss diving with their customers and explain how diving can be part, or central to their travel experience. The best first step is to become familiar with diving by trying it yourself! For the first time, DEMA Show, the largest trade-only diving and watersports show in the world, is offering opportunities for travel professionals to learn more about being a diving specialist. Travel professionals will be able to try diving at the show ABSOLUTELY FREE in the warm comfortable Be A Diver Pool, and can even register to win a free diver certification course from their local DEMA Member Retail Store. DEMA Show will be held November 4-7 in Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, and will attract Government Ministries of Tourism from all over the Caribbean and the World. Mark your calendars and visit our website for more details.

DEMA, • Travel World News


available by calling hotel reservation. Flamboyant Hotels welcomes children year-round, and babysitters are available. Flamboyant Hotels & Villas, 866-978-8013,,


Less than 10 minutes from the airport in Grenada, Flamboyant Hotels sits on the most picturesque spot on the island—Grand Anse Beach, consisting of two and a half miles of pure white sand. Second-to-none ocean views with a panoramic backdrop of tiered mountains are visible from each room, apartment and villa. Flamboyand Hotels & Villas has a state of the art on-property scuba dive facility right on the beach. Next to the dive shop is a late-night Owl Bar (open until 3 a.m.), and there is a disco club within walking distance. Other features include a pool, games room, beachside terrace restaurant and gym. Currently, Flamboyant Hotels is offering discounted Grenada air on Air Jamaica out of JFK, and a special sale price of $43 per person per night, including daily Continental breakfast (exclusive of 18-percent taxes). All rooms are spacious; some offer full kitchens or kitchenettes. Booking must be made by November 20, 2009, for stays through December 15, 2009. Those making a reservation need to cite the code JM43. The special price is based on double occupancy, with a minimum of two per room. The offer is subject to change without notice and is not combinable with other offers. Other rules and restrictions are

Travel World News •

World Dive Adventures has observed that—in this economy more than before—resorts, dive shops, and their destination are issuing specials to get divers attention. Years ago to earn a comp spot on a group trip, a minimum of 10 divers was the requirement, and although that has not entirely changed, deals can now be found that have a minimum of three divers to get the fourth free. Under 10 divers, there’s definitely a group available that will earn one going free. Whether a dive shop, dive club or an individual who wants to travel with dive buddies, World Dive Adventures can set up trips that will get divers back in the water. World Dive Adventures has been a dive tour operator for almost 20 years and is still operating strongly with the worldwide resorts and dive shops represented. Trips are customizable—whether it be liveaboards, shore diving only, three boat dives daily, whale shark or humpback whale trips, wrecks, reefs and more. World Dive Adventures’ air department can arrange everything including the airfare if desired. World Dive Adventures is the U.S. reservations office for Africa Tour Inc. based in South Africa and has been compiling scuba and bush safaris throughout Africa since 2002. Africa Tour also promotes Special Interest Tours, which offers clients real-life experiences. The company currently works in the countries of South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Egypt and Ethiopia. The U.S. office provides North American travelers with a toll-free 800 number and local contact in an EST time zone. World Dive Adventures, 800-433-DIVE (3483),,; Africa Tour Inc., 888-433-3483,,




Two Great Diver’s Resorts in the heart of Ambergris Caye, Belize, form a crescent that embraces the waterfront as well as its white sandy area, palm and tropical garden, overlooking the Barrier Reef. SunBreeze Hotel & SunBreeze Suites provide guests the comforts of home, conveniently located to all of the town’s daily activities. Home of Aqua Dives Belize—the Ultimate Dive Center and a Gold Palm PADI Dive Operator, Sunbreeze offers PADI instruction courses, private courses, introductory dives, referrals, local morning and afternoon dives, dives to the famous Blue Hole, Turneffe Elbow and daily snorkeling trips to a variety of sites including the phenomenal Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Sunbreeze has a special offer for DEMA for groups. With nine paid divers, the 10th diver gets room and dives free on any of the available dive packages. This special must be booked by December 31, 2009. Sunbreeze will be represented at DEMA at booth Belize Hotel Association–San Pedro. SunBreeze Hotel & SunBreeze Suites,,

18 • OCTOBER 2009

SHARKS, DOLPHINS, WHALE SHARKS AND MANTAS RAY VISITING ALL WEST APARTMENTS & DIVING In 2009, All West Apartments & Diving guests had plenty to see underwater and above water. For the past few years, the crew of All West and its dive shop Ocean Encounters West have known that dolphin groups are swimming by in the morning hours and come back from the west coast in the early afternoon. But this year even the Ocean Encounters West and All West crew were surprised. More and more big fishes like sharks, whale sharks and now even mantas ray have been seen both above and below water. The dolphins and manta rays even loved the bay of All West and Ocean Encounters West. The manta rays stayed about 10 minutes in the bay right in front of the apartments. Alex Kempkens, a guest from Germany, took a video of it. But those manta rays are thieves! Before leaving the bay, the manta rays stole a fisherman boat; the event is pictured on the All West website. The small apartment complex is located in the small fishing village of “Westpunt,” at the west end of the island. Surrounded by the tropical hills, guests can watch spectacular sunsets and gaze at fantastic star-filled skies. All West Apartments & Diving is offering attractive packages for room, car and diving all year long. One week in a Studio for 2 persons including a car and non-limit diving starts at $542 per person. Diving at All West is possible round the clock, thanks to the dive shop on-site. The main dive shop Ocean Encounters West has the one-stop diving concept, which will take divers to all of Curaçao, from the Mushroom Forest and Watamula, to the Superior Producer, Tugboat, and the island of Klein Curaçao. Courses are offered from Discover Scuba Diver to Dive Instructor, Emergency First Response to Technical Diving, boat and shore diving every day. All West Apartments & Diving, Ocean Encounters West,, • Travel World News


Kona Village, just over five hours by air from the West Coast, has a new five-night Dive Package that includes roundtrip airport transfers from Kona International Airport to Kona Village, three two-tank dives per person, use of a dive propulsion vehicle DPV with Turtle during one dive, unlimited shore dives (unescorted), and all gear including wet suits. The Kona Village dive boat pulls up right on the beach at Kona Village. No shipping of gear—Kona Village’s gear is ScubaPro and updated annually. Dive instructor Jimi Kilbride’s extensive experience includes that of expedition diver for the Cousteau Society. Kona Village’s comprehensive dive package begins at $350 per night per person in one of the resort’s private thatched-roof bungalows. These bungalows belie modern amenities within, but no televisions, telephones or radios disrupt the magical setting. The package is priced at $3,500 for two, plus tax and gratuities, for five nights, six days, of diving in one of the best places in the world—the Kohala Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. Rates also include flower lei greeting, daily breakfast, lunch and dinner served oceanfront, a twice-weekly aha‘aina (lu’au) dinner and show, in-room 100-percent Kona coffee and refrigerated beverages. The children’s program is offered daily (except portions of May and September) so little ones can create their own memories while mom or dad explore pristine reefs and underwater lava arches with Hale DayKona Village’s seasoned dive team. Pricing and inclusions are subject to change without notice, and the package is subject to availability. Certain restrictions may apply. “This dive package is ideal for divers who are experienced and have dived around the world,” shares Kona Village General Manager Ulrich Krauer, adding “The package is also well-suited to novice beginners still discovering the mesmerizing world beneath the ocean’s surface.” Kona Village, 800-367-5290, Travel World News •

HOTEL FLAMINGO COZUMEL OFFERS DEMA 2009 SPECIAL Hotel Flamingo has outlined a 2009 DEMA special offer where six divers pay, the seventh stays and dives for free, or nine divers pay, and the tenth and eleventh divers stay and dive for free. This offer is for seven nights’ accommodations, six days of two-tank boat dives, daily breakfast and is based on double occupancy. Travel may take place beginning November 28 and December 19, 2009, and January 2 through December 15, 2010. Bookings must be made by December 4, 2009. A deposit of $250 must be received by December 4, 2009, with final payment due 30 days prior to arrival. Ten-percent commission is paid to dive shops. Hotel Flamingo is a 22-room boutique hotel with tastefully decorated accommodations enhanced by a high level of guest services. The Hotel Flamingo’s Aqua Restaurant and Bar offers complimentary breakfast with all stays, and serves lunch along with cocktails throughout the day and into the evening. Live jazz is also available on Thursday and Friday nights. Scuba Diving, horseback riding, snorkeling, sailing, parasailing, fishing and tours of Mayan ruins are also available for booking through Hotel Flamingo’s English-speaking staff. Hotel Flamingo, 800-806-1601,,




Sustainable and Spectacular: Caradonna Dive Adventures Presents a Worldwide Variety of Choices in Responsible Dive Tourism

20 • OCTOBER 2009 • Travel World News



ow celebrating nearly 25 years in dive travel, Caradonna Dive Adventures, Inc., is the largest dive travel specialist in North America, offering packages to over 50 destinations worldwide. Agents looking for dive vacations close to home or in remote corners of the globe can easily find what they want with packages sourced by a knowledgeable sales staff (also divers!), who keep abreast of developments and deals in dive travel. Caradonna will arrange competitive airfares, hotel and dive packages, live-aboard Chance meetins with creatures like these delightful divers. dive cruises, land activities and tours, rental cars and more. or sheltered shallow water) and open water skills. Divers are Whether it’s a leisurely week of daily diving from the com- then ready to explore the marine world and hone skills with fort of an oceanfront dive resort or five-dives-a-day on a live- additional experience and advanced and/or specialty courses aboard dive yacht far from civilization, or even a learn-to-dive to expand their underwater horizons. Whether certified at home and ready to book a first dive trip vacation, Caradonna Dive Adventures supplies a wide range—learn-to-dive, advanced diving, shore diving, boat or preferring to spend a week getting certified abroad, diving, live-aboard diving, reef diving, drift diving, wall div- Caradonna sources turnkey dive vacations by working with ing, wreck diving, night diving—in addition to such special- reputable dive operators to assure client satisfaction and ties as underwater photography, technical diving, shark div- safety. ing, cage diving, pass diving, muck diving, cavern/cave Protecting the Environment diving, fish census dives, and clean-up dives. An environmentally conscious company, Caradonna emFrom the colorful Caribbean to exotic destinations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, outstanding dive destinations phasizes sustainable dive tourism and social responsibility. comprise their lineup: (in the Caribbean) Aruba, the Owned by highly-regarded TUI Travel, PLC, one of the Bahamas, Bermuda, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Curacao, world’s largest travel companies, Caradonna Dive Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Puerto Rico, Adventures shares its philosophy and mission statement to Saba/St. Eustatius, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & provide travel experiences enjoyable and beneficial for both the Grenadines, Tobago, Turks & Caicos, and Virgin Islands the traveler and host countries and communities. (U.S. & British). In Central America, packages are offered to Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama; and in Mexico Assurance there’s Baja, Cancun/Riviera Maya, and Cozumel. In the Caradonna Dive Adventures is the only USTOA-bonded Pacific, Caradonna offers Australia, Fiji, Galapagos, Hawaii, dive travel company in North America, ensuring security and Micronesia (Palau, Truk, Yap), Solomon Islands, Tahiti and value for their clients’ travel investments. With current ecoTonga. Exotic destinations include Indonesia, Malaysia, nomic stresses, it comforts agents to know that what their Papua New Guinea, Philippines, the Red Sea, Thailand, and clients have saved and spent on their trips-of-a-lifetime is Vanuatu. guaranteed up to $1-million—even considering the fiscal strength and reputation of Caradonna. Caradonna Dive Adventures has just launched the world’s Ease of Learning Not a singles’ sport anymore, diving can be enjoyed and first DIVE booking engine on its website, where one can seshared by the entire family. Dive certification courses are of- lect not only airfare and hotel but also customized diving—24 fered for anyone 10 and older. And thanks to today’s technol- hours a day, seven days a week. ogy, dive certification courses can even be accessed online Caradonna Dive Adventures, 800-328-2288, and completed with two weekend sessions of confined (pool

The Republic of

COLORS For those occasions when there's a better show outside, you can always pause the movie inside. Discover shades of blue only Mother Nature could create while you seek pleasure through the wonder of the undiscovered, the adventure of the unfamiliar, the freshness of the unspoiled and the stimulation of the exotic. Come to the Dominican Republic and find your true colors.

Visit us at


Dominican Republic — The Caribbean Destination for Championship Golf Top-of-the-line course designs and luxury accommodations. D . O. C H R I S T I A N R I E G E R

22 • OCTOBER 2009



mazing designs and distracting beauty are the hallmark of Dominican Republic golf courses. Thirty are spread over the country with most in the east and south coasts. Many have received top ratings in world and regional rankings from golf publications. This is the result of the Dominican Republic becoming the destination for links created by top designers. In Golfweek magazine’s ranking of the top 50 courses in the Caribbean and Mexico, it rated the Jack Nicklaus-designed Punta Espada course at Cap Cana number one. The Nick Faldo Legacy course at Roco Ki is number 20. Not bad for a three-year old course and a spanking new one. Golf Magazine compared the La Cana course at the Punta Cana Resort and Club to Pebble Beach and declared it the “number one course in the Caribbean.” Pete Dye’s Teeth of the Dog at Casa de Campo ranks eighth in the 50 Greatest Courses of the Last 50 Years in the September issue of Golf Magazine. The resort itself ranks number 32 among the Top 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America in the October issue of Golf Digest Magazine. Casa de Campo is located in La Romana, about 10 minutes away from its international airport. (The Dominican Republic has seven international airports, so there is always one near your destination.) This 7,000 acre resort incorporates a tennis facility; a shooting club with 300 positions on 240 acres; polo ponies, English and Western saddle horses, trails and a jumping ring: a marina with shops, movie theaters in English and restaurants: and, of course, its famous golf courses by Pete Dye. The first was Teeth of the Dog, built along the shoreline of the Caribbean Sea in 1969. The terrain was so densely packed with vegetation he originally viewed the property from the water. It took two years to build with 200 laborers using oxen to clear the land and bring in top soil. During its construction, he heard the men refer to the very jagged, lime stone, shore line as “teeth of the dog.” So he adopted that as the course’s name. This 7478 yard, par 72 course has seven holes next to

18th hole at Cap Cana’s Punta Espada golf course.

Caribbean. He said God designed those, he designed the other 11. The most famous is the par 4, 15th hole, named Teeth of the Dog as well, for which the player from the black tee has to make it over an ocean-filled, rocky gap in the shoreline to a sea-side green. The conservative player will hit the ball to the left front of the green. Seemingly less insidious, yet in the end, more intimidating, is the combination of the 13th and 14th. The 13th is the second shortest in the course at an innocent 201 yards, par 3. About 60% of the fairway is rough. Very rough. It is made up of shaved grass, and what could pass for weeds, at about seven inches high. This is easy enough to get past. It is the sloping, raised green that can get you. It is completely encircled by a broad bunker. I was with two players that got their balls into the sand. One managed to play the hole in five strokes. The other had the misfortune of getting out of the trap too strong and the ball rolled over and into the sand on the other side. This continued for four attempts before he moved to the next fairway. • Travel World News


La Estancia on the Rio Chavon About a twenty minute car ride away from Casa de Campo is La Estancia Golf Resort with its 7, 382 yard, par 72 course by the imaginative P. B. Dye, who takes advantage, as he is want to do, of the scenic location along the cliffs of the Chavon River. On the river banks below were filmed parts of Rambo, King Kong and most of Apocalypse Now. So you know the place has plenty of tropical beauty. A first cut of rough borders most of the fairways from which the ball generally can be easily played. Beyond that are mostly limestone rocks from which it can be a challenge to find a ball, much less play it. Is this cruel? Nope. After all, a fairway has to have limits. The star here is the fifth hole with a mere 96 yards at a par 3. From the tees there is about a 60 foot drop to the large green. It looks farther than it is because of the drop and the distance of the river hundreds of feet below and the scenery miles beyond. The first trick here is to clear the pot bunker. The other is to play it believing in the yardage, not the optical illusion brought about by the surroundings. The 18th is not humble either. It’s a par 4 at 416 yards. This has a slight dogleg to the left with water most of the way on the same side. It’s a perfect place to lose a ball before getting to the small bunker guarding the front left of the green with several mounds on the right protecting the two tiered green. At $90.00 for winter season play, it is a raving bargain. You Travel World News •


The 14th is a somewhat long, 497 yards, par 5. It is made for the strong player to come off the tee with a strong drive playing it slightly to the left to avoid a bunker that traverses virtually the entire fairway then circling in back of a pond between it and the green. After getting beaten by the 13th, the temptation here is to hit over the water hazzard and on to the green. Playing it safe to the left is a better bet and can come out easily with par. Course fee is $170.00 for the winter season starting on November 1st — for players staying at Casa de Campo. Dye Fore is set back from the ocean along 100 foot cliffs of the Rio Chavon, the Dominican Republic’s equivalent of the Grand Canyon. This 7, 770 yard, par 72 course has seven holes along the cliffs with two challenging par three holes. Its views are captivating: the Caribbean, the mountains in the distance, the river below. Course fee is $170.00 for this winter. This December, guests will be treated to the resort’s new Elite Rooms and Suites. These are designed by Dominican native, Patricia Reid, with elegant fabrics, mahogany furniture and expanded bathrooms. They will have 42 inch LCD televisions and Blu-Ray disc players. Room rates through December 20th range from $178.00 for a standard room to $345.00 for a suite, and include a fourseater golf cart to get around.

Looking through the living room of a villa to the ocean at Tortuga Bay: interiors designed by Oscar de la Renta.

will not find a better deal in the DR than this with a course like this. For people on a cruise, Princess, Costa and Royal Caribbean all dock nearby during the winter season and passengers can book rounds through them that include round trip transportation.

Cliffs and the Blue Surf Below Farther to the east is Roco Ki, which means “honor the land” in the language of the pre-Columbian Taino people. It is on the shores Macao Beach in Higuey, known for its spectacular sugar white beaches alternating with high cliffs. It is here where Nick Faldo designed one of the golfer’s dreams of the Dominican Republic. It covers 180.5 acres and is a 7,152 yard, par 72 course. About his work of golf art, Faldo says, “It sits right alongside the ocean, and . . . building on the shoreline required some smart engineering, and the plans actually changed quite a bit during construction. We discovered that one part of the property was bottomless swampland—you could pour fill into it forever and you would still have pure swamp—so we changed the routing and worked our way toward the headland rather than right down to the beach . . . . “In the end, everything worked out, because the layout is more varied. It feels like a botanical garden, with diverse native flora and mangrove trees and magnificent colors. The course moves through several different environments on the way to the headland, finishing by the breaking waves. Along the way, we built bunkers that look as if they had been blown through by a gale. “The fifteenth is cut through a spidery web of mangrove roots and branches—I took to calling it my Harry Potter hole. Seventeen is our version of Pebble Beach’s seventh. It’s only about a hundred yards long, perched on the end of a rock forCONTINUED ON PAGE








mation. A tee area on eighteen sits atop a cave carved out by waves. From there you look up the fairway to the hotel (a year away from completion)—it’s all very dramatic. “It was a thrill for us to build. I expect it will be a thrill to play, as well.” For the winter season beginning December 1st, the course fee is $275, which drops down to $200.00 April 1st.

Puntacana Resort and Club The Puntacana Resort and Club opens its new private club course, Corales, this December. Designed by Tom Fazio, it incorporates two features that Frank R. Rainieri, founder and president of the resort had planned for years. He says, “I wanted to have the club house on the beach. It is not traditional, but these are new times. And I wanted the long shot at the 18th which is 265 feet over the water. It’s a tough one,” he says, “but it has seven tees to accommodate players of all talents” The first course to be opened at Puntacana Resort and Club was the P. B. Dye-designed la Cana. At the 12th hole a player is apt to ask himself, “Why am I here?” It has a treacherous, green called the “Water Green” which is 146 yards from the tournament tees. The non tournament tees are on the right side of the water. There is no fairway. The little piece of grass at the entrance of the green on the right side is only a path. On that hole, there are tees, water and a green. No fairway that you would call a fairway. And the green is encircled with a bunker to give it that artful, if not confounding look. Dye would seem to believe the best kind of challenge is a pretty one. Another challenging hole is mostly bunker. Course fees are $125.00 for the winter season starting December 1st. Adjacent to La Cana course is Tortuga Bay, Puntacana’s resort within a resort, a private enclave of 15 beachfront and beach view villas designed by Oscar de la Renta, one of the resort’s owners. The units offer luxury, privacy, security and five star service. This boutique hotel has one, two, three, and four bedroom units in three and four bedroom villas to accommodate couples, friends traveling together, and families of varied sizes. Rooms are airy and spacious with large bathrooms containing separate showers and bathtubs with Jacuzzis. Some of the villas have roof top Jacuzzis and privacy sunbathing for that full bodied tan. These overlook the front yard, the coconut palms and the beach to the sea beyond. Muy romatic. Through December 22, rack rates for Tortuga Bay start at $580.00 for the second floor junior suites to $2680.00 for a four bedroom, ocean-front villa. Breakfast is included, so are airport transfers and personal assistance through customs and immigration.

Jack Nicklaus Courses Cap Cana is the only resort complex in the world that will 24 • OCTOBER 2009

Casa de Campo, La Romana, Dominican Republic. Reception area, rooms, villas and Teeth of the Dog golf course in the background next to the Caribbean.

have three Jack Nicklaus courses. The first is Punta Espada, managed by Troon Golf, and it is already listed among the worlds finest, with Golf Week ranking it as the best golf course in the Caribbean and Mexico. Eight holes play along the Caribbean sea in this 7,000 yard plus, par 72, championship course. Golfers have expansive views of the Caribbean from anyplace on the course which hosted the inaugural PGA Tour’s Champions Tour in April 2008. The second tee has an elevated tee box with another broad vista of the course and the ocean. This par 5 breaks along an inlet to a green on a peninsula. The 17th is a wonder of nature. The coral next to the tee box is vented and salt spray shots up from these holes. Real scenic. Bring your camera. Course fee is $375.00 for the winter season starting on November 1st. Opening next year is Las Iguanas, the second Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course at Cap Cana. It will feature unique bunkering and green complexes. The 5 star luxury hotel, Sanctuary Cap Cana, has 176 suites, spa area, table service restaurants, bars, shopping center, beach club, 750 meters of private beaches is the place to stay. For those who have a yacht and don’t need a room, there is a marina with several hundred slips. Through December 22nd room rates range from $203.00 for junior suites to $1463.00 for two bedroom suites with a small island.

Casa de Campo,,; Punta Cana Resort & Club, www.puntacana.coml; La Estancia Golf Resort,; Sancuary Cap Cana, • Travel World News

CARIBBEAN LIFESTYLE HOLIDAYS VACATION CLUB APPOINTS MANNY SLOMOVITS EXECUTIVE CHEF Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club, located in Puerto Plata on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, has announced the appointment of Manny Slomovits as Executive Chef. A New York native and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Slomovits has over 18 years of international culinary experience in the U.S. and abroad, including MANNY SLOMOVITS five-star restaurants and resorts in New York, Florida and the Bahamas. He has served as head chef and luxury private villa chef for private estates and on private yachts sailing in the Caribbean, Canada, the Mediterranean, Africa, Turkey and Egypt and was a gold medal winner for Taste of the Bahamas 2007. The Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club Resort encompasses four distinct products: The Tropical, The Crown Suites, The Crown Villas and The Residence Suites. All guests have access to five swimming pools, nightly entertainment, spa, beach, tennis and other activities. Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club VIP Members have access to a “members only” restaurant, bar, swimming pool, exclusive beach area, as well as golf carts, limousine transfers and helicopter tours. Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club, 809-970-7777,

PUNTACANA RESORT & CLUB WINS CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER 2009 WORLD SAVERS AWARD FOR EDUCATION PROGRAMS Condé Nast Traveler has named PUNTACANA Resort & Club as a winner of the magazine’s third annual World Savers Awards, honoring travel companies from around the world for their leadership in social responsibility. PUNTACANA Resort & Club, located in the Dominican Republic, is the recipient of the 2009 award in the Education Programs category for its contributions to education in the community, including the development of local public and private schools to accommodate the resorts’ employees and their children.The PUNTACANA International School, built in 2000 to provide quality, bilingual education to students of the growing, vibrant Punta Cana community, has more than 400 students enrolled. Founded in 2004, the Ann and Ted Kheel Polytechnic School is the only public high school within 50 miles of the Punta Cana International Airport; it provides a high-quality secondary education, with an emphasis on technical skills, to 300 students annually from nearby towns. The school is dedicated to Theodore W. Kheel, co-founder of Grupo PUNTACANA, and his late wife, Mrs. Ann S. Kheel, who served on numerous educational commissions and was instrumental in the civil rights movement in the United States. PUNTACANA Resort & Club, Travel World News •




Effective December 4, the Holiday Inn San Juan will officially become the new Verdanza Hotel, a member of the Summit Hotels & Resorts collection of Preferred Hotel Group. It will be the only independent full-service hotel in Puerto Rico’s San Juan metropolitan area. Verdanza has been conceived as an independent hotel that reflects the personality of its location and aims to be the hotel of choice for travelers who want to feel the San Juan ‘vibe.’ “The Verdanza guest will be one who wants to sense the pulse of San Juan, experience a feeling of belonging,” said Ricky Newman, general manager. The property has 222 rooms with 20 suites, three restaurants, a pastry shop, and more than 15,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space. It features an expansive pool area with Jacuzzi, spray park, and massage gazebo; complimentary WIFI in public areas; and a rooftop fitness center with professional training equipment and panoramic views of Isla Verde, among other facilities and services. In harmony with the aesthetic of the rebranded Verdanza Hotel, new décor and furnishings in organic colors and simple lines will create a casual urban-inspired atmosphere in public areas and guestrooms. The mid-century modern construction first opened in 1962 as The Racquet Club and later became known as the CaribInn Hotel until its closure in the late 1990s. Flagship Services Corporation bought the property and invested over $16 million to renovate it. In 2004, Flagship Services Corporation redefined the concept of the affordable hotel in Puerto Rico with the opening of Holiday Inn San Juan in Isla Verde. Verdanza Hotel, Holiday Inn San Juan,

NEW TROPICAL THERAPY GIRLS GETAWAY PACKAGE AT JOLLY BEACH RESORT & SPA Jolly Beach Resort & Spa’s new Tropical Therapy Girls Getaway delivers Antigua’s finest white-sand beach, rejuvenating spa treatments, all-inclusive value and time to relax and have fun with friends. The Tropical Therapy Girls Getaway also includes a room upgrade from a Standard to a Superior Room and is available as 26 • OCTOBER 2009

an add-on to any minimum three-night stay for just $180 per person now through December 20, 2010. The special stay begins with an hour-long private yoga session on the resort’s beach. A 90-minute spa session includes the Sweet Sensation Body Scrub, Tropical Treasure Body Wrap and Spice Oil Body Massage using ingredients including coconut, nutmeg and aloe. Then it’s time to hit the beach for a Hobie Cat sailing lesson and spend some time out on the Caribbean Sea. All-inclusive Standard Room rates start at $267 per room ppdo for booking now through November 30, 2009 and travel through December 20, 2009. Rates include accommodations, all government taxes and service charges, all meals, snacks and afternoon tea, house brand beverages, non-motorized watersports, activities, Jolly Kidz and Teenz Clubs, Think Jolly Family Program, use of the gym and entertainment. Guests need to specify booking code JOLLYGG when booking the package. Jolly Beach Resort & Spa,

BOLONGO BAY BEACH RESORT HAS SPECIAL ‘TRAVEL AGENT APPRECIATION’ RATE Agents can vacation at Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas with nightly EP rates starting from $99 per room, per night and All-Inclusive rates starting from $327 per room, per night for travel through October. Bolongo’s EP vacation includes accommodations in an ocean view room; a “discover scuba diving” in-pool lesson; and complimentary use of non-motorized watersports equipment. Travel agents booking the EP option will pay $99 per room per night, based on double occupancy, plus 15-percent tax and service charges and $5 per day energy surcharge. The All-Inclusive Plan features all of the amenities of the EP plan plus all meals; a wide array of premium beverages; hotel taxes and gratuities. Nightly All-Inclusive rates for travel agents are $327 per room, based on double occupancy, plus $5 per day energy surcharge. The Travel Agent Appreciation rates are valid on reservations made for travel through October 31, 2009, based on space availability. Blackout dates apply. To take advantage of these rates, agents much present a valid IATAN or ARC number at the time of booking by contact with Bolongo’s on-island reservations department by phone or email. Bolongo offers a year-round 12-percent travel agent commission on all direct bookings as a way of rewarding the loyal travel agent community with an “instant thank you” for booking their clients’ vacations at the resort. This rate is applicable to all bookings, including the resort’s value-added honeymoon romance packages as well as all direct bookings made through the resort’s on-island reservations department, phone or email. Bolongo is home of the St. Thomas Diving Club, a five-star PADI training facility. Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, 800-524-4746,, • Travel World News

CARIBBEAN GRENADA BOARD OF TOURISM APPOINTS RAELENE LAZARUS NEW HEAD OF MARKETING The Grenada Board of Tourism has appointed Raelene Lazarus as the new Head of Marketing. With her appointment, the Board reiterates the important role that tourism plays in generating revenue that contributes to and impacts upon, all aspects of Grenadian life. The effective marketing of Grenada is therefore of the utmost importance to busiRAELENE LAZARUS nesses in the tourism sector and to the economy as a whole. Lazarus holds a Masters’ Degree in Marketing, and has experience in marketing management, having worked with Digicel and the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Grenada. She comes to the position at a very difficult and challenging period; however, the Board has expressed confidence that by applying her knowledge and skills, Lazarus will contribute positively to its ongoing marketing program. As Head of Marketing, Lazarus will be responsible for, among other things, spearheading the Board’s efforts in executing more innovative marketing strategies, particularly with respect to emarketing and tactical promotions. Grenada Board of Tourism,,

U.S. markets. Richardson began his political pursuits in 2003 when he was elected to the Island Council in the St. Maarten government. Prior to his involvement in the political arena, he served as airport operations duty manager at St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport. Richardson has remained a loyal native of the island where he went to school and developed his career. Considered by many as a trendsetter among St. Maarten’s young entrepreneurs, Richardson is a renowned businessman and elected public official. He has an extensive history of successful leadership in various capacities, including the car rental industry, cinema (he established the first multi-screen movie theatre in St. Maarten), real estate and construction. Richardson is a member of the Frans Richardson Educational Foundation, the Soualiga Son Foundation, as well as various sporting organizations throughout the island. Additionally, he is a Member of the Permanent Committee on Constitutional Affairs (PCCA) for St. Maarten. St. Maarten,


FRANS GEORGE RICHARDSON NAMED COMMISSIONER OF TOURISM FOR DUTCH ST. MAARTEN Frans George Richardson has been appointed the Commissioner of Tourism & Economic Affairs, Aviation and Sports for St. Maarten. Prior to this position, Richardson served for three years as a Senator representing St. Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles Parliament. “Tourism is St. Maarten’s most important industry and the pillar of our FRANS GEORGE RICHARDSON economy,” Richardson commented, “but it’s also what we do best with 37 immaculate beaches and the most restaurants found on any Caribbean island.” “Despite the challenges of our current economic climate,” Richardson said, “I am extremely excited to take the helm and steer our tourism development in a positive direction by incorporating our unique cultural elements into the tropical appeal that has made St. Maarten a longtime favorite among travelers.” He expressed optimism for a positive turnaround as the country is strategically positioned with convenient airlift from most major Travel World News •



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

Providenciales • Turks & Caicos

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



Young Island Resort in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is rolling out a trio of limited-time offers: Guests who book the resort’s seven-night “Lover’s” or “Sailaway” packages will receive an upgrade to an all-inclusive stay plus an additional night for free. Those who opt for either of these packages in the Luxury or Duvernette cottage categories will also enjoy complimentary roundtrip airfare between St. Vincent and Barbados. The savings are available for stays completed no later than October 31. Of special note is the floating “Coconut Bar,” jutting ten yards into the ocean in six feet of tranquil Caribbean Sea, an idyllic spot to enjoy refreshing drinks. Watersports enthusiasts can snorkel in tranquil waters right off shore, embark on a sailing trip to neighboring Grenadine islands, or book a dive excursion to explore St. Vincent’s diverse underwater world. With rates starting at $3,280 per couple, Young Island Resort’s Lover’s package includes seven nights’ accommodations. For those looking to bridge land and sea, the Sailaway package features a five-night stay on the island and two nights aboard one of Young Island Resort’s two 44-foot yachts, including a sailing trip to the nearby Grenadine islands of Bequia and Mustique. Rates for the Sailaway package start at $4,205 per couple, plus $567 for a child 7–16. Both packages include airport and ferry transfers; three meals per day; $70 foot massage voucher per couple; non-motorized watersports; day or night tennis; basic laundry; and tax and service charge. Young Island Resort’s all-inclusive upgrade includes alcoholic beverages, excluding bottle wine or champagne. The complimentary roundtrip airfare offer can only be booked for a maximum two people on Grenadine Airways. Ralph Locke Islands, 800-223-1108, St. Vincent and The Grenadines.

COUPLES SAY “I DO’ AGAIN WITH ‘RENEWAL OF VOWS’ PACKAGE AT MANGO BAY The Renewal of Vows package at the boutique-style all-inclusive Mango Bay, Barbados, offers couples the chance to rekindle years of marriage in a tropical paradise. Mango Bay’s Renewal of Vows package features the personal28 • OCTOBER 2009

ized services of a wedding coordinator; a clergyman to perform the ceremony; decoration of a wedding arch at a location on-property; a boutonnière for the groom and wedding bouquet for the bride; one bottle of champagne; and a one-tier, 12” light sponge cake with icing. The Renewal of Vows package is priced at $750, which is added on to the cost of an all-inclusive hotel stay at Mango Bay. If they desire, couples can add 24 photographs with album ($450), 24 photographs with album plus 40 digital photographs ($650), one hour of live steel band music ($300), additional champagne ($100 per bottle), video ($750), more bouquets ($50), a hair garland ($30), buttonholes ($25), and hairdressing services (starting at $75). Prices are subject to change. A Mango Bay all-inclusive vacation features hotel accommodations, all meals, afternoon tea, all local and brand name drinks including wine with dinner, watersports (waterskiing, hobiecat sailing, kayaking and snorkeling) and nightly entertainment. Spa treatments can be arranged on-property for an additional fee at Elements Spa. Rates start at $385 in Standard accommodations now through December 14, 2009. Rates quoted are ppdo. Prices are available in other room categories including Standard One-Bedroom Apartment, Superior, Deluxe, Oceanfront, and Penthouse Suite. Mango Bay Barbados,,

RENDEZVOUS WILL REOPEN THIS MONTH AFTER $15-MILLION RENOVATION The Barnard family, owners and operators of SunSwept Resorts, have announced the refurbishment and expansion of Rendezvous, The Boutique Hotel for Couples in St. Lucia. The hotel will reopen October 18, having undergone a $15-million renovation and upgrade. Upgrades include a fully redesigned Terrace Restaurant, with a redone buffet area and a new beach deck for expanded water’s edge dining. The Reception and Porte-Cochere areas are being remodeled; Oceanfront rooms will be fitted with new windows and French doors to allow never-ending views of the seashore, a new Gym is outfitted with new state-of-the art equipment and classes, and a new full service spa will offer a selection of treatments and therapies similar to sister property’s The Oasis Spa at The Body Holiday LeSport. A new free-form natural pool with a sweeping river is being added, with little islands for sunbathing and wading pool enclaves, finished with smooth stones. A new perk will be water-waiter service. The new Wedding Concierge Parlour will offer bridal guests an expanded atmosphere to finalize their plans, and a full-service Beauty Salon will prepare everyone for the big day. The new Library will offer loaner and exchange books to catch up on some good beach reading. Rendezvous, 800-544-2883, • Travel World News

The Royal Suites

by Palladium

THE ROYAL SUITES BY PALLADIUM A new concept in luxury and exclusivity, these adults-only resorts are located within the grounds of the Grand Palladium Resort complexes and offer guests the best of both worlds: the privacy and pampering of a smaller sized, VIP resort and total access to the wide variety of facilities and services at the neighboring five star Grand Palladium Resorts. Let yourself by spoiled by our attentive butlers and staff, relax and get away from it all on the beach while sipping a Caribbean cocktail, dine on lobster and gourmet cuisine at the exclusive restaurant - the choices are endless! The Royal Suites by Palladium. Your Private Oasis.

MEXICO Mayan Riviera The Royal Suites Yucatán Riviera Nayarit The Royal Suites Punta de Mita Call Center: +34 971 31 28 01

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Punta Cana The Royal Suites Turquesa Coming soon: Montego Bay / Jamaica


Daily spa treatments for mom and dad, kids and teens up to 16 years of age stay and eat free, and spacious accommodations in the new lush Jungle Suites are included in the Jungle Family Package at the ultra-luxury all-inclusive Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort Riviera Maya through December 24, 2009. Families will enjoy accommodations in the 1,184-square-foot Master Suites, surrounded by lush Riviera Maya jungle vegetation. Parents receive an $80 credit per adult, per day, that can be used at the spa on any of the specialty treatments or signature Water Journey, which features dry saunas, cold plunge pools, vitality pools, whirlpools, herbal steam rooms with color-therapy, clay and ice rooms, and experience showers; the boutique, or at the in-house travel agency that can arrange local excursions. Daily dining at on-site gourmet restaurants; a 24-hour personal butler concierge service; access to the state-of-the art fitness facility with personal trainer; kids club activities; a 24-hour in-suite service; roundtrip airport transfers, and all taxes and gratuities are also included in the nightly rate of $390 ppdo. Grand Velas All Suites & SPA Resort Riviera Maya, 866-314-9347,

MAYAKOBA RESORT ANNOUNCES FIRST JIM MCLEAN GOLF ACADEMY IN MEXICO Mayakoba Resort in Mexico’s picturesque Riviera Maya has plans to unveil a state-of-the-art Jim McLean Golf Academy on October 15. The Mayakoba location will be the first and only Jim McLean Golf Academy in Mexico. The new golf academy will join El Camaleon, the spectacular Greg Norman-designed golf course and host of the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic (Mexico’s only PGA Tour event) to establish Mayakoba as the destination of choice for golf travelers in Mexico. El Camaleon, which opened in 2006, is owned by Obrascon Huarte Lain, S.A. (OHL) and operated by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. “Sharing a relentless pursuit of excellence, the new Jim McLean 30 • OCTOBER 2009

Golf Academy at El Camaleon will elevate Mayakoba’s golf experience to even higher ground. The addition of this award-winning golf academy reflects OHL’s unwavering commitment to offering Mayakoba owners and guests the finest destination resort experience,” says Juan Aguilar, Director of Mayakoba. “We are pleased to be opening our golf academy at the premier resort destination in the Riviera Maya,” said Jim McLean. “Mayakoba already offers a truly world-class golf course that hosts the only PGA Tour event in Mexico. With the facilities, technology and quality instructors available to us, we believe our golf academy at Mayakoba will become recognized as the finest golf instruction facility in Mexico, offering all types of teaching programs to both resort guests and visitors.” The academy will complement Mayakoba’s El Camaleón, a 7,067-yard par-72 golf course that winds its way through three distinct landscapes. The course utilizes Mayakoba’s beautiful canal system, enabling golfers to step out of their rooms and into a boat, which will ferry them to the first tee—located on a cenote, the naturally occurring freshwater caves unique to the Yucatan Peninsula. The new academy will be the second international location for McLean. In 2008, he opened a school at Golf Santander in Madrid, Spain. McLean also plans to expand his presence in the U.S., opening a new golf school at Red Ledges near Salt Lake City, Utah, in spring 2010. McLean’s flagship school is located at the world-famous Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami. He also has golf schools in California, Arizona, Michigan and Texas. Mayakoba Resort,; Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, 800-441-1414,

FAMILY FUN SPECIAL IN TROPICAL PARADISE CEIBA DEL MAR With the new Aquatics Adventure Experience from Ceiba del Mar Beach & Spa Resort, guests receive passes to visit the popular parks Xel-Ha Eco Park or Xcaret, to explore the natural wonder and beauty of Mexico’s landscape while also learning Mayan history and culture. Families who book a four-day/three-night stay from now through December 22, 2009, will also enjoy these special touches: two children (under 12) stay and eat free, sharing the room with their parents; complimentary wireless Internet access in rooms; in-suite organic bath amenities; complimentary use of The Spa Humid areas, sauna, indoor-heated Jacuzzi, steam room and gym; yoga, Pilates and Aquafit classes; complimentary use of land and water toys, such as snorkel equipment, kayaks and bicycles; afternoon tea time and a welcome champagne cocktail. The Aquatics Adventure Experience package starts at $1,186 per couple (per three nights’ stay), plus taxes (12 percent) and a service charge (five percent) based on double occupancy. Packages and specials are not available for group reservations. Ceiba Del Mar Beach & Spa Resort, • Travel World News


Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya is offering a “Holiday in Mexico” package for guests staying seven nights or more. The “Holiday in Mexico” package includes daily American breakfast, round-trip SUV airport transfers, one private dinner for two in Ambar, one private Yoga session with resort Yoga master, one private Kinesis session with spa trainer, complimentary daily Internet access, and late check out until three o’clock in the afternoon. The rates for this package are from $354 per room per night plus tax and service charge, subject to availability and valid through December 16, 2009. Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya is a luxury hideaway that sprawls over 36 secluded acres. The resort features protected mangrove reserves and crystal-clear water from naturally formed lagoons and streams, highlighted by a spectacular cenote, a deep, freshwater reservoir sacred to the ancient Mayan that serves as the complex’s centerpiece. It is ideally situated just 10 minutes north of Playa del Carmen in bustling Riviera Maya, with its dining, entertainment, specialty shops and boutiques, and 30 minutes from Cancún International Airport. Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya, 866-585-8575,,

TRAVEL IMPRESSIONS $400 AIR CREDIT WITH PALACE RESORTS Travel Impressions is celebrating “Palace Resorts Month” with air credits up to $400 per room, $300 golf and spa credits and a special 25th Anniversary Palace Passport. Clients booking a land/air package to any Palace Resorts property in Mexico (with the exception of Le Blanc Spa Resort) can earn up to a $400 air credit per room, per stay, based on double occupancy. Travelers booking between three and four nights will receive a $100 air credit per room, per stay, based on double occupancy and $50 per room, per stay, based on single occupancy. Reservations of five and six nights earn a $200 air credit per room, per stay, based on double occupancy and $100 per room, per stay, based on single occupancy. Bookings that are a minimum of seven nights receive a $400 air credit per room, per stay, based on douTravel World News •

ble occupancy and $200 per room, per stay, based on single occupancy. The offer is valid on air-inclusive vacation packages booked by December 15, 2009 for travel now through December 31, 2009. Travelers receive a $300 golf and spa credit for use at Palace Resorts properties in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, Mexico. Reservations must be a minimum of three nights and booked by December 19 for travel through December 23, 2009. Vacationers booking a minimum of three nights at any Palace Resorts property will receive a 25th Anniversary Palace Passport featuring spa and golf credits, “buy one, get one free” swimming with the dolphins experience and other tour discounts. Reservations and travel must be complete by December 23, 2009. Travel Impressions and Palace Resorts have enhanced commission programs for travel agents booking Palace Resorts vacations for their clients including the opportunity to earn up to $1,500 for 10 bookings (minimum of seven nights each). Agents will receive $1,250 through the Palace Resorts Enhanced Bonus Commission program and $250 in the form of American Express® Gift Cheque from Travel Impressions when the 10 bookings are made. Redemption forms are available in the Quest for Agents section of Travel Impressions’ website. Travel Impressions, 800-284-0044,

A TRANSATLANTIC JOURNEY OF PEACE FROM COZUMEL TO THE WORLD The Island of Cozumel, free of any military conflict since the ancient Maya, was recently declared the Island of Peace by the International Committee for the Banner of Peace, a non-governmental organization affiliated with the UN. Thus honored, the island is leading “The Child, the Sea and Cozumel for Peace,” a symbolic expedition through the Atlantic Ocean delivering a message of universal peace and acceptance to the world. Trimaran Zamna embarked in August on a four-and-a-half month trip that will stop in 15 ports, with Miami Beach the first that welcomed the ship and its crew in the U.S. in August. Miami Beach and Cozumel established a Sister City relationship in 1992 to strengthen their bond through artistic, cultural, educational and business exchanges. At the ceremony held in Miami Beach Marina, Matti HerreraBower, Miami Beach City Mayor, Ambassador Juan Miguel Gutierrez Tinoco, General Consul of Mexico in Miami, and Teresa Villarreal Director of the Mexico Tourism Board in Miami as well as a group of local children were on hand to greet the arrival of a Mayan boy chosen as ambassador of Cozumel throughout the journey, along with Captain Vital Alsar and the ship’s crew. In September the ship continued its journey to New York before heading to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Tunisia and Egypt on its way to the final destination in Piaro, Greece. The ship, a wooden masterpiece of 110 feet long and three masts, was built by a team of 40 Mexican ship makers of the city of Alvarado in the state of Veracruz. Mexico Tourism Board (MTB), OCTOBER 2009•



all taxes and gratuities. Prices are based on dates and availability, and guests must be 13 or older. For those who can’t make the jazz event, the fourth night free offer is available through December 24, 2009. Royal Hideaway Playacar, 800-999-9182,; Riviera Maya Jazz Festival,


The seventh annual Riviera Maya Jazz Festival returns to Mamita’s Beach November 25–28, and travelers are offered a fourth night free at award-winning Royal Hideaway Playacar during the event. The festival features four nights of complimentary musical acts by performers who include Al Jarreau, Sergio Mendes, and—on opening night, Royal Hideaway Playacar’s Managing Director Jean Agarrista with his ensemble, The Royal Band. Concierges can arrange for transportation to and from the musical festivities each night. Festival-goers enjoy accommodations at all-inclusive Royal Hideaway Playacar, and gourmet meals at six á la carte restaurants. The hotel features a piano lounge, high tea with live music each afternoon, a full-service spa, and high-level service that’s earned the AAA Five-Diamond Award. The Royal Band, which opens the festival Wednesday night, November 25, was started by Agarrista and Rose Elena Valdez in 2005. In 2009, while preparing to record their first album, the band added a tenor sax, trombone and trumpet to the mix, creating a unique Latin sound that resembles the smooth jazz of the 1980s. Agarrista has also been known to perform impromptu at the resort, so guests may see him, or hear the jazzy sounds of his saxophone, during their stay. “The Riviera Maya Jazz Festival is a fantastic showcase of music under the stars on one of Mexico’s most beautiful beaches,” said Agarrista. “I’m thrilled to be part of the festival’s opening night with The Royal Band, and always enjoy playing at the hotel—especially when we have such a large number of jazz fans in town!” Royal Hideaway Playacar vacations start from $300 ppdo, including unlimited meals and snacks, with six á la carte specialty restaurants and 24-hour room service, unlimited drinks featuring premium alcoholic beverages, a selection of house wines, juices and soft drinks, daily resort activities, evening entertainment, DVD library, non-motorized water sports, and 32 • OCTOBER 2009

Sandos Hotels & Resorts with two resort complexes on the Riviera Maya, Mexico, has added a Senses package to the spa menu designed to awaken and rejuvenate the body and mind through aromatic and nourishing treatments. The Senses package, priced at $217 per person, is added on to the cost of an all-inclusive stay and includes one hydrating or balancing facial, an aromatherapy massage and one deluxe chocolate or deluxe coffee body wrap. Travelers need to add the package at the time of booking. Sandos is enticing travelers to book an all-inclusive getaway by October 31, 2009, with the Early Bird Super Sale featuring 20 percent off nightly rates at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa and the Select Club section and 15 percent off nightly rates at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa and the Riviera Hotel section for travel December 24, 2009, through April 30, 2010. For added value, the first child (age two–12) stays free when sharing accommodations with two paying adults. When booking by phone or online, guests should use the reservation code “EBBSale.” All-inclusive rates start at $70 at Caracol Eco Resort & Spa and $97 at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa. Rates quoted include the Early Bird discount and are based on ppdo; they vary based on travel dates, room category and availability. The offer may not be combined with any other promotion. The Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa is welcoming travelers to the revitalized eco property with the launch of complimentary Eco Tours that take guests on an interwoven path throughout the property to discover the nature areas within the resort. Guides will elucidate the details of the Mayan jungle including treasures such as 16 natural cenotes; unique, indigenous animals and exotic and diverse fauna. The resort has hired an on-site veterinarian who works fulltime to care for the animals that live in secluded areas at the property. Sandos Caracol Eco-Resort & Spa aims to be an Eco-Versity in which guests will view, learn and engage in ecological techniques and practices. Transformations are projected to be complete in 2010. Sandos Hotels & Resorts, 866-887-5601, • Travel World News


South America Direct — Colombia There’s a gorgeous Caribbean here, mainland variety and islands variety — and there is also a big swathe of the Amazon, there is a fascinating coffee region, and the cities are lively and cosmopolitan and, yes, believe it or not, even safe. MARK ZUSSMAN


34 • SEPTEMBER 2009


n the map — and in all our minds — Colombia is a South American country. A good idea, therefore, to remind ourselves every now and again that Colombia is also a Caribbean country. The distance (and the traveling time) between Miami International and Cartagena, Colombia’s leading Caribbean destination, is roughly the same — maybe a little bit more, maybe a little bit less — as between the same MIA and either Aruba, Curaçao, Barbados, Martinique, St. Kitts & Nevis, or even the U.S. Virgin Islands. Cartagena – the view from the battlements out to Bocagrande and El Laguito. Avianca, Colombia’s flagcarrier, makes the two hour and 36 minute hop from MIA to Cartagena on a daily basis all the downtown Bodeguita dock. Tired of seeing the word year round. (Departure time is 2:10 in the afternoon.) Paradise all over the place? If so, no one can blame you. But Cartagena is also available non-stop from the U.S. on Spirit the Isla de Barú and, even more so, the keys and islets in the Airlines (that’s out of Ft. Lauderdale — and cheap; Spirit also Rosario Islands group and in the Archipelago of San makes non-stop runs from FLL to Colombia’s political capi- Bernardo merit the tag as much as any other spot on the tal, Bogotá, and to Colombia’s unofficial industrial and trade planet does. On the Rosario Islands, there are give or take ten hotels, capital, Medellín). Cartagena can also be reached on American, Continental, Delta, and JetBlue with a brief stop some of them quite luxurious, in addition to a lot of impresin Bogotá or on Panama’s Copa Airlines with a brief stop in sive-looking private homes on dots of land just barely large enough to contain them. But, for people in Cartagena only for Panama. So why Cartagena or any of the other destinations on a few days, the Rosarios are also the perfect place for day-tripColombia’s more than 1,000 miles of Caribbean beachfront? ping — for scuba-diving, for snorkeling, for kayaking, for First there’s the question of beaches. Cartagena itself is a city. lying in a hammock and drinking rum cocktails, for a visit to A big one. Population in excess of a million. On the quality of the impressive sea aquarium. Múcura Island, still farther out, Cartagena’s own beaches, estimates and feelings differ. On in the San Bernardo group, is home to the rústico-luxurious the whole, though, visitors tend to be underwhelmed, and no Punta Faro Resort, and there you are only a couple of minutes way am I going to butt heads with consensus opinion on this away from one of the world’s real oddities, namely, Santa Cruz del Islote, which, with something like 1,000 fishermen one. Get just outside of Cartagena, though, and things start to and their families on about two and a half acres of dry land, is change, and they change all the faster if you head for one or said to be the most densely populated island anywhere in the more of the roughly 50 islands with their many ecological re- world. Unlike many another Caribbean destination, Cartagena’s serves and their marine and submarine parks at distances, by boat, of anywhere from ten minutes to a couple of hours from CONTINUED ON PAGE 36 • Travel World News

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





golf, and a well-equipped fitness center and spa, somewhat to the north of the old city. (The Las Americas is particularly strong in the area of kid-, teenager-, and family-friendliness.) Among the impressive boutique and design hotels: the Agua, the Casa Quero, the Casa Pestagua, the LM. There are plenty more in all categories.

Santa Marta and Tayrona Park

Cartagena – the old city.

boosters likes to think of its beaches, though, merely as a bonus. The city’s real appeal is in its beautifully preserved colonial architecture, in its massive fortifications (as walled cities go, this one holds its own against Ávila in Spain and Carcassonne in the south of France), in its cuisine, its music, its nightlife, and its various other cultural manifestations. One thing for sure: whereas at many another Caribbean destination the natives may appear to exist only to wait on the foreign tourists, as waiters in restaurants, as chambermaids, as cab drivers, as sellers of straw hats on the beach, Cartagena is a Colombian place — for Colombians. The people alongside you at the Gold Museum or at the next table at dinner may just possibly be from Cleveland or Phoenix or Seattle. Just as likely, though, they are from Bogotá or Medellín or Calí. Admittedly, many U.S. travelers, and maybe even a majority of U.S. travelers, prefer the more familiar Caribbean arrangements. There are others, though, who will prefer what Cartagena has to offer, which is the feeling of being in a real “foreign” country, however close it may be to home in travel time. Unlike many another South American holiday, Cartagena can easily be arranged by travel agents without the intermediary of a tour operator, if agents so prefer. The Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa, in a former Carmelite monastery inside the walled part of the city, is a perennial romantic luxury favorite. Book clients into the Charleston; the Charleston will take care of the details. Or do equally well at the Sofitel Santa Clara, also in a former convent, with its 119 knock-out accommodations, including 17 suites, one of them justifiably designated “imperial.” Other high-end Cartagena hotels worth checking out: the impeccable Hilton with its three adult swimming pools plus one for kids on the beach at El Laguito; the 250-room beachside Las Americas Global Resort, also with three swimming pools plus two tennis courts, miniature 36 • SEPTEMBER 2009

You can forget about non-stop flights from Miami or Fort Lauderdale to the city of Santa Marta, about 100 miles up the coast from Cartagena and past the metropolis of Barranquilla (Gabriel García Márquez-ville) in the direction of the border with Venezuela. Such flights do not exist. Not that that makes Santa Marta so particularly hard to get to. Just as many U.S. visitors will reach Cartagena easily enough via Bogotá, so U.S. visitors can find their way, via the same transfer point, to Santa Marta — and total time in the air will be all of ten minutes greater. But Santa Marta is a different kettle of fish. Santa Marta is said to be the oldest settlement anywhere on the South American land mass (the foundation year was 1525), and it is also, for as much as the average North American visitor is likely to care, the place where South American Liberator Simon Bolivar drew his last breath. Well, people do like tourist attractions, and the hacienda on which Bolivar drew that last breath, as well as the bed-of-the-lastbreath and the last carriage in which Bolivar ever rode, are open to visits from, and viewing by, the public. There is one overwhelming reason to go to Santa Marta, though, and that is that Santa Marta is the gateway to Colombia’s Tayrona National Park. This place is spectacular. We won’t waste time with pretty word pictures. If you have any doubts, call the place up on Google Earth and click on a handful of the pictures. What makes Tayrona spectacular is the ruggedness of the mountains that climb up into the sky from right behind the beaches. It is claimed in fact that the coastal mountain range to which these elevations belong is among the highest of its kind anywhere in the world. Ruggedness may be the problem, however. If Cartagena is for people who want to luxuriate in style, Tayrona is for seriously outdoorsy types, and it would likely have remained a destination exclusively for the backpacking subcategory of outdoorsy types except for one property that travel agents can sell successfully to properly qualified clients, and that is the not cheap Ecohabs Resort on a lushly green cliffside inside the park itself. From a distance, this thing looks like an Indian village. From up close . . . well, no, it’s just too tastefully, understatedly plush. The Ecohabs are run under a government concession by Colombia’s huge travel agency Aviatur, and they’re the ones through whom you make reservations. Spend a few days in chichi Cartagena, then rent a car and drive up to Santa Marta and the Tayrona Park? Could be • Travel World News


done. No hardship. Only thing is that most Cartagena people really aren’t Santa Marta and Tayrona people. Cartagena . . . what is it? Something roughly analogous to our own St. Augustine — but with a lot more real luxury accommodation? Tayrona is wilderness. People who want some Tayrona but want to pair it with something more conventional might do well to consider the 185-suite Zuana Beach Resort between the Santa Marta city center and the airport. For the GHL Comfort Hotel Costa Azul option, see the sidebar.

San Andres Island San Andrés and Providencia are two small Colombian Caribbean islands that, as the crow flies, are an awful lot closer to Nicaragua than they are to the Colombian mainland. Again, you’re not going to get there non-stop from Miami or Houston or anywhere else in the U.S. You have to pass through either Bogotá or Cartagena or another Colombian city or maybe one of the Central American hubs. But can you take the word paradise one more time? These are Caribbean paradises. Excellent beaches and waters, excellent accommodations, excellent food, extremely interesting people including an awful lot of English-speaking Rastafarians. But how will you ever get clients to opt for this beautiful destination, given the accessibility and the familiarity of the competition? One, you’re looking for people whose attachment to the Caribbean is such that, even after they think they know it all, they’re open to discovering yet more. Two, you’re looking for people who are open to something that’s recognizable — yet at the same time different. Check out the Decameron AllInclusive Hotels and Resorts’ six distinct island properties (for a total of 728 rooms) and take special note of their “Stay at One, Play at Six” policy. Whichever property you check in at, you’ve got access to the facilities at all of the other five, and that means 13 restaurants, 14 swimming pools, 18 bars — and, yes, it’s really all-inclusive, including both domestic and import liquors and even cigarettes. There’s one more Decameron property on tiny Providencia. Suspicious that the Decameron may skew too young for your clients? For the GHL Hotel Sunrise option, see the sidebar.

On the Amazon Colombia is a Caribbean nation. Colombia, as it happens, also belongs to the Amazon family of nations, along with Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia — even Venezuela and the Guianas. Travelers who want to see and contemplate the Amazon in all its ocean-like vastness (at a point at which the breadth of the river approaches the ten mile mark) do well, no question about it, to head for the Brazilian metropolis of Manaus. Colombia and the other countries up in the headwaters provide a different kind of experience, and that is an experience of something more densely overgrown, something that may answer more to the expectations of people looking Travel World News •

The sophisticated Boston Piano Bar at the GHL’s Sheraton Bogotá.

for jungle in the way that they know it from movies or from picture books. Colombia’s Amazon gateway city is called Leticia. It’s a place where you are apt to stumble, unwittingly, into Brazil halfway down any number of residential blocks and, if you’re going to be run over, it’s probably not going to be by a four-wheel vehicle but by a motorbike or a motorcycle. Leticia and Tabatinga, Brazil are on the left bank of the river (that’s the left side as you look, or move, in the direction of the river’s faraway mouth). The river island part of tiny Santa Rosa, Peru is a short distance off on the other side of the channel. This, admittedly, is a fairly strange place for people accustomed to shopping malls and Interstates and drive-time radio to find themselves. But it is accessible — and not merely to backpackers. Aviatur, the same big Colombian travel agency that enjoys a concession in Tayrona Park on the Caribbean coast, runs an extremely civilized facility in the Amacayacu National Park, a short distance outside of Leticia, as well. The roofs of the cottages are of thatch, primitive-looking, but inside . . . well, you could say fit for a prince. There are big comfortable beds, inviting hammocks. Each cottage also has a balcony and an expansive river view, and in the dining room there are white tablecloths. Activities include a boat excursion to an island inhabited primarily by squirrel monkeys. There are dolphins, both pink and gray, to be seen in the lakes. There are platforms and a suspension bridge for observation of the forest canopy. There are trails and footpaths along the jungle floor. In the same neighborhood, Aviatur further operates a twofloor river boat they call the Casa Navegante — in English, let’s call it The Houseboat. The Casa Navegante would be considered, in my view, quite luxurious even if it were based on the Rhine or the Danube. Out here in the upper reaches of CONTINUED ON PAGE






the Amazon, it’s kind of over the top. Recommended passenger complement is two or three adults or two adults and max two children, and it’s not as expensive as a person might think. Prices for the whole boat range from about $435/night to about $480/night, depending on season. Itineraries are subject to negotiation. The crew of three includes an engineer, a cook and a security guy. The Decameron All-Inclusive Hotels and Resorts (see the account of San Andrés Island, above) operate the Decameron Decalodge Ticuna, with 28 quite splendid rooms, inside Leticia itself. One part of the lure: what Decameron boasts of as an ideal of mix of “Brazilian samba, Peruvian cuisine and Colombian joie de vivre.” Trips out to various points on the river and in the jungle are available at an extra charge. Alternatively, try out — or sell to your clients — the Decameron’s jungle lodge about an hour and a half outside of town in the Amacayacu National Park itself.

Coffee and cities and volcanoes Lacking any single must-see attraction on the order of Machu Picchu in Peru, the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, Iguazu Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina, Buenos Aires (not, Lord knows, for the obelisk but just because it’s Buenos Aires), and Rio (because it’s Rio), Colombia has managed to keep itself pretty far off the path of the South American Grand Tour. Colombia, therefore, is one more of those places that tend to get labeled by its fans as a “Best Kept Secret” — in this case, either South America’s BKS or the Caribbean’s BKS. Aside from Cartagena, with its tens of thousands of cruise ship visitors, in addition to the folks who fly down for an extended weekend, Colombia, though, has numerous appealing destinations that North Americans would do well to know better. And not just the Amazon. Bogotá, Medellín, and Calí are all sophisticated, cosmopolitan, world-class cities. And why not a tour of the region that produces much of the world’s finest coffee crop? An AngloColombia company called Diversitours does adventuresome (and underline that adventuresome) three-, seven-, and 14day excursions that include coffee-tasting and education in the coffee-making process as well (depending on length of program) as horseback-riding, river-rafting, paragliding, rock-climbing, rappelling, caving, and more. Diversitours also offers three- and seven-day tours to Colombia’s rugged Volcanoes Region, either in the soft-adventure or the hard-adventure category, and 14-day excursions that combine both the Coffee Region and the Volcanoes Region. For other less physically exhausting tours to, and within, Colombian destinations (the cities, the coffee region, the Amazon, and more), contact Colombian Journeys, MantarayaTravel, or the Gray Line affiliate Panamericana de Viajes, all in Bogotá. 38 • SEPTEMBER 2009


GHL HOTELES: IN SOUTH AMERICA, THEY ARE VERY NEARLY EVERYWHERE If you’ve been traveling lately in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile or Panamá, you may have stayed in a GHL hotel and not even known it. The GHL people (GHL standing for nothing sexier than Grupo de Hoteles Limitada) are bricks-and-mortar people. In Colombia, where the company is justifiably well-known and well-regarded, GHL operates 11 properties under its own label, though in fact somewhat more expansively than with mere initials as the GHL Hotel Windsor House, the GHL Hotel Hamilton, the GHL Hotel Capital, all in Bogotá, the GHL Sunrise on San Andrés Island, and the GHL Hotel Club El Puente Girardot, with doors open only since July, in Ricaurte in the Cauca Valley; in addition, half a dozen mid-price GHL Comfort Hotels are spread out around Bogotá, Cali, Santa Marta, Nariño. Both in Colombia and elsewhere in the region, GHL hotels are also operated, however, as Sheratons, as Four Points by Sheratons, as Howard Johnson Hotels, as Sonestas. This is why it is that you may already have lodged at a GHL hotel without even knowing it. Such is the company’s dynamism, moreover, that the building boom seems merely to be gathering up a full head of steam. GHL’s Cartagena Sheraton, with 265 first-class rooms and big floor-to-ceiling ocean views, is due to open in the upscale El Laguito neighborhood in the first quarter of 2011. GHL’s Sonesta Cartagena, with 114 first-class rooms, is due to open a year sooner, in the first quarter of 2010. These will be GHL’s first venture into the hot and steamy Cartagena sweepstakes. The 126-room Sonesta Hotel Barranquilla is due in February 2010; the 126-room Sonesta Hotel Bogotá, with enough glass on its façade to be equally at home in Tokyo or on Times Square, is due in August 2010. Does GHL have such a thing as a flagship property in Colombia? Flagship may not be the best of labels, given that GHL is serving a variety of different upscale publics in slightly different formats — and, in the capital, Bogotá, in a variety of different neighborhoods. Someone looking for the best of the best could not go far wrong, however, with GHL’s all new Sheraton Bogotá with its 247 accommodations ranging upward, needless to say, to a presidential suite, its outsize pool and spa, its two extremely distinguished restaurants, its Boston piano bar. The GHL Sunrise on San Andrés Island is a gorgeous-looking structure with 134 large, comfortable rooms and dazzling of views out over the Caribbean. This is a place that’s great for families, for couples, even for singles. But, says, Juan Rodríguez Medina, GHL’s Marketing and Sales Director, “We get charter flights from Canada. Americans, unfortunately, haven’t really found their way to San Andrés Island yet.” GHL Hoteles, • Travel World News


Park entrance, Machalilla National Park entrance, meals not specified in the program and personal expenses. Transfers are available in Quito on request. There is a 10-percent service tax and 12 percent actually VAT. Advantage Travel,,


Advantage Travel is looking to strengthen business and social responsibility issues and considers community tourism its challenge to incorporate into packages that involve projects like those in Secoya, Oyacachi, Manglares Churute and Huaorani Lodge. In addition, it is refreshing its traditional Ecuador tourist offer, incorporating new interests such as culture, ancestral heritage, and family trips. Currently, a special package on offer is “All Ecuador,” Andean Highlands plus Amazon Rainforest plus Pacific Coast, for a low rate of $1,350. This includes four nights in Quito (breakfast included) at a Superior tourist hotel, a Quito city tour, a full day with lunch plus Indian market at Otavalo, four days/three nights aboard the Manatee Amazon Explorer (Friday–Monday, all-inclusive service), and four days/three nights all-inclusive service in the Mantaraya Lodge. The rates in this program do not include: air ticket Quito–Coca–Quito, air ticket Quito–Manta–Quito, Yasuni National

Travel World News •

“Tough economic times determine new and exciting ways to entice people to travel. Free airfare to one of the most remote points on the globe, we think, is such a great offer,” states Don Forster, Product Manager for ADVENTURESIncorporated, Goway’s exclusive adventure division. “Antarctica is the last undiscovered continent and the popularity of this region has proven very successful for us. More and more people are heading down south to add this stunningly beautiful continent to their list of places visited. Offering some of the most pristine natural sites in the world plus the chance to be adventurous by camping on the ice, kayaking by huge rookeries of Penguins or simply enjoying the four daily landings an 18 hours of daylight, now is the time to travel to Antarctica with these amazing savings,” Forster continues. ADVENTURESIncorporated is offering free economy air transportation from virtually every North American international gateway to anyone who purchases a berth on one of the voyages listed: December 19, 2009: Explorers’ Route via the Falklands (Malvinas) and South Georgia aboard Lyubov Orlova; December 28, 2009: Explorers’ Route via the Falklands (Malvinas) and South Georgia aboard Clipper Adventurer; January 6, 2010: Classic Antarctica aboard Lyubov Orlova; January 24, 2010: Classic Antarctica aboard Clipper Adventurer; February 11, 2010: Classic Antarctica aboard Clipper Adventurer; and February 20, 2010: Classic Antarctica aboard Lyubov Orlova. More information is available be email or on the website. Goway/ADVENTURESIncorporated, 800-469-2946,,,





Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn will partner Alexandra Cousteau’s Expedition: Blue Planet when they film in Belize during October. Turtle Inn will act as the base for the Blue Legacy team during the filming of the eighth and final program in their five-continent, 100-day expedition that chronicles the interconnectivity of global water issues to document how they impact lives. The focus of the Belize expedition is how global warming and water quality impacts coral reefs and the communities that rely on them. Alexandra Cousteau is a globally recognized advocate on water quality and policy. She continues the work of her father Philippe and legendary grandfather Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau. CNN International, National Geographic, and Discovery are using Alexandra’s videos to spread the word on these critical water stories. Turtle Inn and Expedition Blue planet will be working with local NGOs to help highlight the spectacular beauty and diversity of the Belize Barrier Reef as well as the vulnerability and uncertain future it faces due to global warming. Turtle Inn, Blancaneaux Resorts,,,; Blue Legacy International,,

The construction of two new Penthouse Suites at La Mansion Inn, in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, are perfectly situated to capture not only postcard views of the Pacific, but also span rainforest that blankets the hills that slope inland toward the mountains. Spacious balconies with outdoor dining furniture face the ocean, allowing the tinted floor-to-ceiling windows within to provide views of the expansive tropical canopy. Its intimate size lends La Mansion Inn to natural exclusivity. It is suggested that bookings for the two new Penthouse Suites (numbers 3 and 4) be made in advance to ensure availability. Special celebratory rates are available now for early guests to experience the latest addition. Special Low Season Rates range start from $300 per night, including breakfast, lunch, and all drinks until seven in the evening. The intimate boutique hotel is ideal for any honeymoon, special occasion or simply to treat oneself to the unique environmental pleasures of Costa Rica. Nearby Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the world’s most natural zoos. La Mansion Inn,,

NATUREAIR SHARES TOP HONORS IN NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S GEOTOURISM CHALLENGE 2009 Natureair has been awarded a top prize in the second Geotourism Challenge, sponsored by the National Geographic Society and Ashoka’s Changemakers. The “carbon neutral” airline in Costa Rica was awarded the top spot along with a voluntourism program in rural Cambodia supporting local education, and a free community-mapping Web site in Spain. Each winner gets a $5,000 prize. Nature Air, the 100-percent carbon-neutral airline in Costa Rica, offsets 100 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions to encourage reforestation of tropical forests in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. To date, Nature Air has compensated for nearly 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide through the protection of more than 500 acres. In addition, Nature Air recently helped develop Costa Rica’s first alternative fueling station through its wholly owned fueling company, Aerotica. Nature Air fuels all ground equipment and vehicles with bio-diesel (a mix of recycled vegetable and cooking oils) collected from employees and rest Winners of the award practice and advance the growing trend of geotourism: tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents. Entries for “Geotourism Challenge 2009: Power of Place” almost doubled over the first Geotourism Challenge in 2008. Ashoka’s Changemakers, geotourismchallenge,; National Geographic,,

40 • SEPTEMBER 2009 • Travel World News


Luxury finishes, modern services and first-class building describe the new Residence Inn by Marriott hotel, located inside the new Avenida Escazú development project, east of the CIMA Hospital San José, that opened in June of this year. The Residence Inn is made up of 109 rooms under the “extendedstay” concept, with 53 studio suite rooms, 46 one-bedroom suites, and 10 two-bedroom suites. They include spacious work areas, and are equipped with LCD TVs, full kitchen, complimentary wireless Internet access, and telephone service. “Among the complimentary services the hotel offers, they include daily hot breakfasts, gym, outdoor pool, personalized grocery shopping, on-site laundry service for guests, high-speed Internet, a restaurant and a business center with computers and fax service,” notes Laura Miranda, Marketing Manager for Marriott Costa Rica. NEW RAINFOREST SPA With a concept based on indigenous elements from the Central Pacific Coast rainforest in Costa Rica, the new Sibö Rainforest Spa & Retreat at Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort offers a unique Costa Rica Spa experience using products made from the curative secrets of the tropics. “Our sole purpose is to increase your wellness and offer the best Costa Rica Spa experience in a beauty regime filled with care treatments carefully selected according to guest’s needs,” asserts Diana de Rojas, General Manager of Los Sueños Marriott Ocean and Golf Resort. Sibö Rainforest Spa & Retreat offers a full-service salon with manicure, pedicure, make-up and hair treatment services. Guests also have access to Relaxation Lounges, Fitness Center, complete with cardiovascular and weights equipment, locker room service, sauna, steam room and a Jacuzzi. Vacation deals are outlined on the website. Marriott Hotels,

A GREEN CHRISTMAS EXPERIENCE PLANNED AT THE LODGE AT CHAA CREEK The Lodge at Chaa Creek, an exclusive eco resort in Belize Central America, is offering a green opportunity to start a new family vacation tradition. Their unique Christmas holiday experiTravel World News •

ence will transport guests to Chaa Creek’s 365-acre nature conservancy reserve along the banks of the Macal River in the verdant foothills of Belize’s Maya Mountains. At Chaa Creek, the Christmas season presents the opportunity for family and friends to get together to share the values of sustainable living while exploring Maya ceremonial temple sites and caves, and rainforest activities. Christmas day will feature a guided walk on the wild side through nature. For family travelers, the children’s Nature Quest Treasure Hunt will provide fun-filled educational adventure for kids while mom and dad can enjoy rejuvenating spa time. A special treat will be decorating a Christmas Bird Tree with seeds, fruits and a joyous spirit that recognizes nature and her inhabitants as truly special gifts throughout every season. Guests can choose from a menu of exciting options to suit individual tastes. The All-Inclusive Christmas Package includes four nights’ accommodations with all meals, round-trip airport transfers, choice of two full-day tours, unlimited on-site activities, two spa treatments, Christmas surprise gift package, and all Belizean taxes and service charges. This holiday vacation celebrated The Lodge at Chaa Creek will be a chance to experience Maya culture, rainforest adventures and Caribbean hospitality while celebrating the dawn of a new era. The Lodge at Chaa Creek, 877-709-8708,,


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Malaysia has once again made headlines by winning the muchcoveted Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Grand Award in the Heritage category and two prestigious PATA Gold Awards in the Marketing Media and Education &Training categories. The Grand Award winner in the Heritage category, Temple Tree, Langkawi, is a concept hotel that promotes a truly Malaysian holiday experience. It houses several restored and unique antique homes that represent Malaysia’s various cultures including Malay, Chinese, Indian, Eurasian and Arab. Profits from the resort also help to fund LASSie (Langkawi Animal Shelter and Sanctuary Foundation) which rehabilitates and cares for neglected and abused cats and dogs. The ‘Malaysia: Truly Asia—Truly More With Every Visit. It Must Be Malaysia’ campaign clinched the Gold Award in the Marketing Media – Travel Advertisement Print Media category. The winning campaign, an evolution from the original ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ concept, aimed to target repeat travelers to Malaysia, offering more experience and value with every visit. This year’s PATA Gold Awards program has attracted a total of 236 entries from 120 organizations worldwide. The presentation of the PATA Gold Awards 2009 were held during the PATA Travel Mart 2009 in Hangzhou, China, on September 25. The PATA Gold Awards recognizes exceptional achievement in a variety of endeavors, bringing acclaim to the best that Asia Pacific’s travel industry has to offer. This year, the awards recognized the achievements of 24 separate organizations and individuals. Entries were judged by travel industry experts. PATA,; Tourism Malaysia,

ASIA TRANSPACIFIC JOURNEYS GOES TO INDIAN RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL The Kumbh Mela festival in northern India is the largest gathering of people on Earth—millions of Hindu believers and ascetic holy men will converge on the Ganges River at Haridwar this spring. Asia Transpacific Journeys, a Boulder-based tour company, plans to escort travelers on the spiritual and anthropological 42 • OCTOBER 2009

tour de force. “India can seem like a book with seven seals, even to sophisticated travelers,” notes Marilyn Downing Staff, CEO of Asia Transpacific Journeys, specialists in travel to Asia and Pacific Rim destinations for 22 years. “By delving straight into India’s most sacred gathering, we are able to bridge the cultural abyss. We emphasize respect, appreciation and interaction, and that leads to understanding.” The Kumbh Mela festival is the centerpiece of a 15-day, five-staraccommodation journey called “Treasures of India” that explores India’s famous icons and UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as remote villages and lesser-known temples. Travelers will be immersed in authentic experiences like joining locals in the dining room at a private estate, visiting with local farmers in their village and staying at restored maharajah’s palaces. Tours are led by an expert on Indian culture. The tour is set for March 11–25, 2010, and is priced at $8,995 ppdo, all-inclusive (except for international and domestic air); single supplement is $2,600. Two recently published books feature Asia Transpacific Journeys itineraries: Patricia Shultz’s 1000 Places To See Before You Die and Chris Santella’s Once in a Lifetime Trips: The World’s 50 Most Extraordinary and Memorable Travel Experiences. National Geographic Traveler magazine included one of their itineraries in its May edition this year. Asia Transpacific Journeys,

THAI AIRWAYS INTRODUCES SPECIAL TOUR PACKAGE FOR MUSLIM TRAVELERS Thai Airways has expanded their Royal Orchid Holiday program to include a very special package for Muslim travelers. The “ROH Package: Historic Legendary Mosque in Bangkok” was designed to create new opportunities for tourism between Thailand and the Muslim world in addition to promoting historical and cultural tourism. “The Historic Legendary Mosque in Bangkok package was initiated to create ‘reason to travel’ for Muslim passengers and to cover broader target market segments by inviting Muslims to visit ancient Muslim mosques and old Muslim communities in Thailand,” states Mr. Philip Vira Bunnag, THAI’s Director of South Asia & Middle East Region Department. This program is the first of its kind by Thai Airways that aims to support government policy in promoting relationships and trade between Thailand and Muslim countries. This package is also ideal for travelers who are interested in Thailand’s rich history and culture. Travelers interested in booking the package should contact their travel agent or Aberdeen Tours; flight reservations on Thai Airways can be made through the travel agent or Thai Airways. THAI is the fastest service to Southeast Asia, with direct, non-stop service from Los Angeles to Bangkok. Thai Airways (THAI), 800-426-5204; Aberdeen Tours, 877-484-2811 • Travel World News

ASIA-PACIFIC DUNCAN WEBB IS NEW CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER AT AMARI Peter Henley, President and CEO of Amari Hotels and Resorts, has announced the promotion of Duncan Webb to Chief Marketing Officer of the group. Mr. Webb has worked for Amari for nearly 20 years and previously held the position of Vice President of Sales & Marketing. In his new role, he will focus on marketing, PR and brand management for Amari. Mr. Henley commented, DUNCAN WEBB “Amari is planning to rebrand in the fourth quarter of 2009. Duncan will take on a critical role in communicating the new brand culture to both the trade and the consumer.” Amari Hotels and Resorts is one of Thailand’s leading and most dynamic hotel groups, operating eleven first class properties in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Koh Chang, Samui, Phuket and Krabi. Amari Hotels and Resorts,

AMANRESORTS IN SRI LANKA CELEBRATES RETURN TO TRANQUILITY The tropical island of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, has a long reputation for natural beauty, historical monuments and exotic allure. To truly capture that unique combination, Amanresorts has created a four-night Fort & Beach Journey that offers the best of the rich and varied dimensions of Sri Lanka’s colorful southern coast. On this sojourn, guests can combine the discovery of 400year-old Galle Fort—a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the home to Amangalla—with the seclusion of a golden beach at Amanwella. The trading port of Galle was the gateway to the Orient in the 19th century, with throngs of passengers disembarking from steamers daily and wending their way through narrow streets and exotic bazaars to what was formerly the Oriental Hotel in Galle Fort which, in its new incarnation as Amangalla, has been restored

to capture the genteel ambience of the bygone era. A two-hour drive to the east, the beachfront retreat of Amanwella—set amid a mature coconut grove near the village of Tangalle with suites featuring individual plunge pools and terraces—is ideal for unwinding, with an option of day trips to visit historic rock temples or spot wildlife in Sri Lanka’s national parks. Rates, which include daily breakfast and a transfer between resorts, start at $1,300 (exclusive of tax and service charge), based on single or double occupancy for four nights’ accommodation. Amanresorts, 800-477-9180,,

SHANGRI-LA HOTELS AND RESORTS OPENS ITS 28TH HOTEL IN CHINA Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has opened Shangri-La Hotel, Ningbo, its 28th in mainland China and third property in the Zhejiang province after Shangri-La Hotel, Hangzhou and ShangriLa Hotel, Wenzhou. To celebrate, an introductory rate of approximately $120 per night is available for single or double occupancy in a Deluxe room, including daily breakfast, until December 31, 2009 (subject to 15-percent surcharge). One of China’s oldest cities, the trading and shipping hub of Ningbo has become a major exporter of consumer and electrical products, textiles, food and industrial tools. The city is a two-hour flight from Hong Kong or a two-hour drive from Shanghai via the Hangzhou Bay Bridge. The 563-room Shangri-La Hotel, Ningbo is in the heart of the central business district at the confluence of the Fenghua, Yuyao and Yong Rivers. It’s a 20-minute drive from the airport and within walking distance of Ningbo’s largest shopping area, Tianyi Square, and major tourist attractions. Shangri-La Hotel, Ningbo’s dining options includes the hotel’s signature Chinese restaurant, Shang Palace, and Yi Café—with open kitchens and views of the city’s three rivers. The Lobster Bar and Grill offers nightly live jazz performances and cocktails. Shangri-La Hotel, Ningbo;,

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ASIA-PACIFIC U CHIANG MAI APPOINTS SUCHADA SAENGARUN AS NEW GENERAL MANAGER John Westoby, Chief Operation Officer of U Hotels & Resorts, has announced that Suchada Saengarun has been appointed new General Manager of U Chiang Mai, replacing Surapan Somthai, who has taken a new role as Pre-Opening General Manager for new Bangkok projects, based at U Hotels & Resorts’ corporate office in Bangkok. Ms. Suchada Saengarun, a Bachelor SUCHADA SAENGARUN of Art–Tourism Industry Management from Mahidol University International College, began her career as duty manager at Novotel Siam Bangkok in 2000. After that she decided to explore a career outside Thailand, taking a position as Room Division Manager at Villa Santi Hotel & Resort in Laos and later at The Grand Luang Prabang Hotel in the same position. In 2003, she returned to Thailand to join Accor Asia Group as Human Resources Coordinator and was promoted to be Junior Graduates and Mobility Coordinator Asia in 2005. Prior to joining U Chiang Mai, she was Group Administration and Development Manager at the corporate office of Ibis Erawan Thailand, assisting with the opening of the Ibis hotels in Thailand. U Hotels & Resorts,

HONG KONG TOURISM BOARD APPOINTS WILLIAM B. FLORA AS ITS NEW DIRECTOR, USA The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has appointed Mr. William B. Flora its Director for HKTB offices in the U.S. In his new role, Mr. Flora will formulate and manage the HKTB’s marketing and communication strategies in the U.S.A., contributing to the Board’s overall global planning. Acting as HKTB’s interface and key spokesman in the market, Mr. Flora will lead the HKTB U.S.A. team in buildWILLIAM B. FLORA ing stronger partnerships with the media, travel trade and related parties in the country. Mr. Flora joins the HKTB following a distinguished 30-year career in advertising and marketing. He has held senior positions in large advertising agencies and corporations that include Foote, Cone & Belding (FCB), and TBWA CHIAT\DAY. Before joining the HKTB, Mr. Flora was Senior Vice President/ Group Management Supervisor of Dailey & Associates, managing the account of Princess Cruises & Cunard Line. On welcoming Mr. Flora, HKTB Executive Director Anthony Lau said: “We are glad to welcome William to our team. I am sure his 44 • OCTOBER 2009

extensive knowledge and expertise in marketing will help us maintain a stronger brand presence of Hong Kong in the USA. In particular, his previous experience in the cruise sector will definitely be an asset to us, as we work with cruise lines and operators to develop new fly/cruise itineraries for the US consumers. “With William now on board, we will further our effort in promoting multi-destination itineraries in the US, given the trend for combo travel,” Mr. Lau continued. “Leveraging on our position as the gateway to Mainland China, we will continue our collaboration with trade partners to develop and promote multi-destination itineraries anchoring on Hong Kong.” Hong Kong Tourism Board,

COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT RESORTS IN PHUKET APPOINT STEPHAN STOSS CLUSTER GENERAL MANAGER TO DRIVE BRAND FORWARD Marriott has appointed hotelier Stephan Stoss as its Cluster General Manager in Phuket, responsible for its three Courtyard By Marriott Hotels and the soon-to-open Marriott Hotel and Spa at Kamala Cove. He takes up the newly-formed position to oversee operations, finance, marketing and sales at Courtyard By Marriott Phuket at Kamala Beach, Courtyard By STEPHAN STOSS Marriott Phuket at Patong Beach and Courtyard By Marriott Phuket at Surin Beach. In a 12-year career with the hospitality giant, Mr. Stoss has held senior postings in Russia, Hungary, China and most recently as General Manager of the Renaissance Makati City Hotel, Manila, in the Philippines. He said he was excited about the challenge that lay ahead to establish the newly-fashioned holiday destination hotels in Phuket through emphasis on a family leisure experience that would stress creating space and entertainment for children though its Kid’s World facilities and current Kid’s Rock campaign. “There are over 800 Courtyard properties around the world, mainly in city locations. Thailand is the first country to launch the resort concept catering not only to adults, but we have made sure to provide first-class facilities for children through our Kid’s Rock scheme and dedicated kid’s facilities, overseen by qualified supervisors. The German-born hotelier believes the Courtyard By Marriott concept will appeal to established long-haul as well as regional markets with direct flight access to Phuket. Previous to joining Marriott, Stephan Stoss worked with Hilton for eight years in Germany, the UK and the Middle East. He is married with two children. Courtyard By Marriott Resorts, Marriott International; • Travel World News


The Beatles in India at the Rishikesh ashram where they meditated in 1968. From left, Ringo Star, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon, with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi behind them.

Free-spirited travelers can ‘relive’ part of the sixties and discover wondrous India as The Beatles did on their life-changing 1968 visit there, on “The Beatles In India Tour.” Emmy-award winning film producer and director, Paul Saltzman, who stayed with and exclusively photographed The Beatles during their visit to India, will lead the 18-day tour. “The Beatles wrote 48 songs in 7 weeks on that trip—their single most creative period in their illustrious career,” said Saltzman. Organized by Bestway Tours & Safaris, the fully escorted tour will visit Rishikesh and other spiritual and special Indian sites where The Beatles came together, and will meet Indian musicians who know and performed with members of the group.The tour will start February 11, 2010, in the southern city of Trivandrum and end in New Delhi February 28. There is an optional four-day, mediumgrade Himalayas trek to conclude the trip. North American travelers can fly from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, New York, and many other gateways, with estimated US/CanadaIndia roundtrip airfare of $1,600. The tour costs $7,890 ppdo, excluding airfare to/from India, and includes inter-India airfare, five-star hotel accommodations, and breakfast and dinner on 17 days. An optional four-day trek costs $595, and the single supplement is $2,950. Bestway Tours & Safaris, 800-663-0844,,

REMOTE LANDS JOINS VIRTUOSO TRAVEL NETWORK Remote Lands, an ultra-luxury private tour operator focused exclusively on Asia, has announce it has joined the Virtuoso® travel network. As a Preferred Supplier, Remote Lands will be offering its white-glove services to Virtuoso’s distinguished travel advisors and their high-net-worth clients. Remote Lands’ Asian holidays will now be available to more than 300 preeminent travel agencies across 22 countries and their clients located worldwide. Travel World News •

“We are thrilled to have been invited to join the ne plus ultra of travel organizations,” said Catherine Heald, co-founder and CEO of Remote Lands. “Virtuoso’s members are the world’s foremost travel advisors. We expect to greatly enhance our distribution with this new B2B approach and take Remote Lands to the next stage of development.” “We are pleased to welcome Remote Lands to our collection of elite travel providers,” said Albert Herrera, Virtuoso’s Vice President of Hotels, Destinations and Tours. “Their thoughtfully crafted, exclusive Asian adventures are exactly the type of high caliber and bespoke experiences that we are proud to present to our discerning clientele.” Virtuoso® is a by-invitation-only luxury travel network whose member agencies generate over $5.1 billion annually in travel sales. Remote Lands, Inc. creates bespoke holidays exclusively in Asia, optionally by private jet or yacht. Virtuoso,; Remote Lands,

CHINA YANGTZE RIVER SPECIAL WITH SUNSHINE TRAVEL USA A Yangtze River cruise offered by Sunshine Travel USA will enable passengers to explore China from an entirely different perspective. From the six-star luxury Yangzi Explorer Cruise Ship to the most popular five-star Victoria Cruise lines, Sunshine Travel helps find a cruise for every taste. Even with a low budget, guests can enjoy one of the five-star cruise ship packages. Sunshine Travel recently signed a deal with five-star New Century Cruise Company in China and offers the exceptional five-day cruise tour package for a starting price of only $430 (low season), commissionable to travel agents. This cruise sets sail every Friday from Chongqing to Yichang and every Monday from Yichang to Chongqing. In general, the cruise from Chongqing to Yichang (downstream cruise) is four days/three nights and Yichang to Chongqing (upstream) five days/four nights. Victoria cruise line also offers route from Chongqing to Shanghai (seven days/six nights) and Shanghai to Chongqing (nine days/eight nights). Generally, prices include standard cabin on board (deluxe cabin for New Century Cruise Line) based on double occupancy, all meals on board and all guided short excursions mentioned in the itinerary. Transfers to/from the dock (can be arranged) and gratuities are not included. This year, Sunshine has begun offering new golf and culinary tours. There is also a Yangtze River hiking package designed for hiking and trekking enthusiasts. Sunshine Travel is an official tour operator from China, and has operated in the China travel industry for the past 30 years. They have solid relationship will all major Yangtze River cruise suppliers, and can book any cruise of choice, or combine it with other China tour packagers. All tours are fully customizable. Sunshine Travel USA, 800-850-2958,, cruise.html, OCTOBER 2009 •



IslandsEscapes by Goway has a new marketing campaign in conjunction with Cook Islands Tourism and Air New Zealand to encourage more North American Travelers to visit this gem in the South Pacific. The “Cash in on the Cooks” campaign offers travelers a $200 rebate per couple on any Cook Islands vacation booked with IslandsEscapes through November 24, 2009, and completed by February 28, 2010. Starting from just $1,239 per person (before rebate) for departure from Los Angeles with Air New Zealand, packages include 12 nights’ accommodation, transfers and airport welcome. A range of accommodations are available and some offer various benefits, including free accommodation, free breakfast, free car rental or food and beverage resort credits. Goway will reward all travel agents making a Cook Islands booking with $50 per couple ($25 per person) loaded to a Goway Incentive Card. All air/land inclusive vacations to the Cook Islands within the 100-day period (deposit must be received by November 24, 2009) are eligible. A minimum of five nights accommodations in the Cooks must be booked combined with Air New Zealand flights. The Agent Incentive is in conjunction with the “Cash in on the Cooks” campaign. IslandsEscapes offers custom-designed vacations to this unspoiled gem of the South Pacific, including extensions to the stunning island Aitutaki. For honeymoons, IslandsEscapes’ unique bridal registry allows couples to upgrade or enhance elements of their honeymoon. Goway/IslandsEscapes, 800-667-6601,,,

SWAIN TOURS’ ‘EAT YOUR WAY THROUGH MELBOURNE’ INSPIRED BY TRAVEL CHANNEL Now guests can taste their way through the best of Melbourne and surrounds by booking a Swain Tours culinary exploration so they may enjoy just some of what the “No Reservations” crew had the pleasure to experience. Priced from $3,199 (land only) for 11 days/10 nights, the tours 46 • OCTOBER 2009

takes foodies on a taste-filled journey through Melbourne, Apollo Bay, Port Fairy, and Dunkeld. The itinerary includes five nights in Melbourne at Crown Towers (with Crystal Club Access); Colonial Tramcar dinner; private “Behind the Scenes”—Melbourne’s Markets tour; private chef-led journey through Mornington Peninsula; Yarra Valley Wineries tour; seven-day car rental; one night Apollo Bay at Captain’s at the Bay; two nights in Port Fairy at Oscars Waterfront Boutique Hotel; two nights in Dunkeld, at The Royal Mail Hotel; and 10 breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners (including a 10-course tasting menu). Travel dates are available until March 31, 2010. The tour must be booked by March 1 and completed by March 31, 2010. Blackout dates and/or surcharges may apply for travel during holiday and local event periods. Full details are available on the website. Guests should call for airfare pricing. Swain Tours, 800-227-9246,,

THE BRANDO ECO-RESORT SLATED TO OPEN IN 2011 ON BRANDO’S PRIVATE ISLAND Located on the French Polynesian atoll of Tetiaroa and a product of the late Marlon Brando’s vision, construction on The Brando has officially begun with the official authorization from the Tahitian government after several years of studying the impact of construction on the environment. Slated for a late 2011 debut, The Brando will have 47 deluxe bungalow villas (each with private plunge pools), and offer a spa, fitness center, community pool, as well as activities that include scuba diving and archaeological tours of royal Tahitian sites. Construction of The Brando began with the building of a platform on the coral reef to provide logistical access to the island without causing environmental damage. Additionally, the old airstrip is being refurbished and extended to meet the government’s safety standards. The exclusive resort will be the only hotel on Tetiaroa, the former playground of Tahitian Kings in French Polynesia’s idyllic islands. Purchased by Brando in 1965, Tetiaroa is a 13-island chain circled by a coral reef offering a tranquil and pure paradise 35 miles from the island of Tahiti. The project is being overseen by Tahiti Beachcomber SA, whose CEO, Richard Bailey, owner of several luxury resorts in French Polynesia, was a good friend of Brando and had been working with him for many years to fulfill their joint vision to develop an environmentally sustainable resort. Brando had many ideas for how to create an eco-friendly resort, and Bailey is working with the Brando estate to implement these visions. The hotel will operate with a “sea water air conditioning” system (SWAC), which draws on an inexhaustible supply of completely renewable clean energy and has zero impact on the environment. Bailey plans to use a deep-sea pipe to pump cold water from the depths of the ocean, which will then be used to chill the air in the hotel—the same system he developed that’s in place now at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa. The Brando, • Travel World News

ASIA-PACIFIC BAOBAB EXPEDITIONS OFFERS ADVENTUROUS JOURNEYS INTO PAPUA NEW GUINEA Baobab Expeditions offers visitors to Papua New Guinea a chance to follow in the footsteps of the great explorers including British television presenter and adventurer Bruce Parry to discover the culture of Bainings and the Tolais tribes, snorkel in the waters of the Duke of York Islands, and camp in the shadows of the active Tavurvur Volcano. In 2010, these ten-day journeys are scheduled for April 2–11, July 7–16, September 10–19, and November 5–14. Pricing begins at $4,895 per person sharing a room and includes accommodations, meals, guides, drinking water, and camping equipment. Optional three-day diving extensions are priced at $1,430 per person and accommodations may also be upgraded. Papua New Guinea, with untold numbers of exotic birdlife and more than a thousand cultural groups and 800 languages, is an island nation simmering with colorful and exciting music, dance, architecture, costumes, art, and ancient rituals. The trip begins in Port Moresby with a morning flight to Rabaul and opportunities to shop at local markets, soak up the sun, and explore the island’s history. The next three days are spent in several Baining communities, where guests can see the traditional fire dance ceremonies, visit customary homes, trek into jungles with lush vegetation, and witness village singing and dancing. The next stop is Kokopo Beach on the Duke of York Islands, with opportunities for snorkeling and swimming. The coastal villages are home to the Tolais tribe, whose brightly-hued costumes and lively music overload the senses. The journey winds down with a hike to active, always rumbling Tavurvur Volcano, where guests then camp for the evening. With the last day spent in Rabaul shopping and exploring, guests then depart for the flight home via Port Moresby. Baobab Expeditions has been ranked by National Geographic Adventure Magazine as one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth 2009,” with a client satisfaction rating of 100 percent. Baobab Expeditions,; Kathleen Cook-Hunter (214-282-9108) is U.S. representative

FRENCH POLYNESIA-BASED PACIFIC BEACHCOMBER ACQUIRES PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES Paul Gauguin Cruises has announced the company has been acquired by Pacific Beachcomber, the leader in French Polynesia luxury destination resorts. Paul Gauguin Cruises operates the awardwinning luxury cruise ship m/s Paul Gauguin, with itineraries among the islands of Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific. Richard Bailey, President of Pacific Beachcomber, said, “We are honored to carry on Paul Gauguin Cruises’ excellent record as the leading cruise operator in French Polynesia. This legacy, combined with our 25 years of luxury resort hotel experience in the Tahitian Travel World News •

islands, will ensure that all our guests enjoy a seamless island vacation experience of the highest caliber.” For 2010, Paul Gauguin offers 38 itineraries ranging from seven to 15 nights, highlighting such destinations as Tahiti, the Society Islands, Tuamotus, the Cook Islands, Marquesas, Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand. With a recent multi-million dollar enhancement, the intimate, Polynesian-themed m/s Paul Gauguin has world-class appointments that include private balconies in nearly 70 percent of suites and staterooms and an expanded al fresco dining experience. Guests reserving and depositing by December 18, 2009, will receive up to 50 percent off Standard Cruise Fares for JanuaryMarch departures and up to 45 percent off Standard Cruise Fares for April-December departures, as well as Free Roundtrip Airfare between Los Angeles and Papeete for 2010 departures of 10 or more nights, or for 2010 departures of seven to nine nights Twofor-One Roundtrip Airfare between Los Angeles and Papeete, an additional savings of up to $2,500 or $1,250, respectively, based on two persons sharing a stateroom. Early Booking Savings are capacity-controlled and subject to availability. The m/s Paul Gauguin Society benefits of five-percent additional savings and exclusive recognition are extended to guests who have previously sailed on Paul Gauguin Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea, The Yachts of Seabourn, Crystal Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club or Windstar Cruises. Paul Gauguin Cruises, 800-848-6172,

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October 2009 Edition  

The October 2009 edition of Travel World News