Wednesday, December 31, 2008

FLORIDA HUDDLE 2009

Roy Lowey will broadcast live from the Florida Huddle trade show in Orlando 01-03 Feb. reporting on the latest news and happenings with-in the travel industry. Florida Huddle is one of the premier travel trade shows where industry professionals meet to discuss new product and innovations for the coming year...Host hotel is the Caribe Royale....I will be posting info and broadcast updates prior to the show.... so tune in each week and check the blog for the latest.

Monday, December 15, 2008

SARASOTA GREEN BUSINESS WELCOMES CAPT CURT'S

Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar, 1200 Old Stickney Point Road, Siesta Key Sarasota — finished first in the Great Chowder Cook-off in Newport, R.I., the seafood restaurant has been featured on the “The Food Network” and the “CBS Morning Show.” The coastal landmark has instituted comprehensive recycling, energy and water conservation measures and is even considering installing a food waste bioreactor that will completely eliminate food waste from their garbage. Captain Curt’s is now part of a Green Business Partnership directory that is available online at the Green Business Web site, www.scgov.net/greenbusiness.
The Green Business Partnership is actively seeking other participants. For more information, or to request a Green Business Partnership packet, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Continental Airlines Completes Installation of Audio/Video

Continental Airlines Completes Installation of Audio/Video on Demand System on Boeing 757-200 Fleet Continental Airlines today announced that an Audio/Video on Demand (AVOD) inflight entertainment system is now available to economy class customers on all its Boeing 757-200 aircraft

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Some airlines slashing fares but only for a limited time

Book early for the holidays...Many Airlines are slashing prices on some flights, hoping to lure some travelers this holiday season and into the New Year. But like all things with airlines, the situation is changing rapidly. For instance, the clock is ticking on JetBlue Airways' four-day online fare sale. So if you want airfares as low as $109 each-way from the Bay Area to New York you've got until Thursday to book it at http://www.jetblue.com/. For $30 more on the same route, fly Virgin America, which trumpeted its holiday fare sale today. And if you favor Southwest Airlines? Every Tuesday the airline announces a fare sale on the click-and-save page of its Web page. Today's site told of fares from $49 to $109 on select routes around the country. Deep discounts for airline fares come as no surprise, particularly since 2008 was an awful year for the industry. But the devastation in the industry - coupled with falling oil prices - means bargains should be bountiful and continue into the New Year, just as demand slumps. "Of course, we have low fares all the time," said Marilee Mcinnis, a spokeswoman for Southwest. "But the economy is on the minds of everyone - and everything felt like we were in a recession and now we know it's official. "There's a lot of trepidation out there," she said. That trepidation was borne out in the airlines' recent statistics. Southwest Airlines today reported its load factor - the percentage of seats filled - for November was 63.2 percent, compared with 69.3 percent for the same period last year. With sagging numbers like that, at Southwest and at all the other airline struggling in a down cycle, an effort is under way to entice a traveler who might otherwise not travel. The carriers hope to trigger impulse buying - because that is one less empty seat at the end of a year . Despite the economic climate, Virgin America's business was relatively strong last week - up to a 96 percent load factor on Sunday.. Nevertheless, tough times demand deals. The Virgin America sale requires travelers to buy tickets on its Web site, http://www.virginamerica.com/, by Dec. 11 and commence traveling on or after Jan. 6. All travel must be complete by March 1. The deals include $59 fares one-way between San Francisco and three destinations - Las Vegas, San Diego and Seattle. In addition to the $109 transcontinental fares at JetBlue, the carrier has one-way fares as low as $79 between Austin and Long Beach or $89 to San Francisco. The JetBlue tickets must be purchased by 11:59 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time Thursday and the travel must take place between Jan. 7 and Feb. 11. Also today, executives of four major U.S. airlines - Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, Northwest Airlines and American airlines - said they were ready to cut more flights, after seeing signs of slumping travel demand. U.S. airlines have been helped by a sudden drop in jet fuel prices, and they already cut capacity this fall to further reduce costs and drive up fares. "October was a bang-up month, almost unexplainably strong," said Southwest Airlines Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Kelly.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Celebritiy Cruise Line's Solstice report by Roy Lowey

What's new....on Celebrity Cruise Lines newest ship Solstice.....the lawn club....dining...hot glass show....on board diversions....Catch it all broadcasting live on WTMY1280AM, Sarasota Florida's SunCoast Talk Radio.....with host Roy Lowey...Nov 12-15....also streams live on the world wide web from WTMY and the Travel Talk Radio Network

Roy Lowey will broadcast live from Celebity's Solstice

Celebrity Cruises' employees and other South Florida residents turned out this morning to welcome Celebrity Solstice as the ship begins its U.S. debut. The sleek, 122,000-ton ship includes the industry’s first half-acre Lawn Club with real grass and Hot Glass Show with live glassblowing demonstrations; 10 varied restaurants; truly unique entertainment expressly designed for the ship's state-of-the-art theater, and a breadth of accommodations, including an entirely new category, AquaClass. Amidst a series of preview cruises for invited travel agents, press and other dignitaries, Celebrity Solstice will be named in formal ceremonies November 14, and will enter service November 23 on a series of seven-night Eastern Caribbean sailings. Roy Lowey will bring it all to you live directy from the Solstice Nov 12-15 on WTMY 1280 AM and http://www.ttrn.com/ ...sooo tune in for all the buzz on this new addition to Celebrity Cruise Line's portfolio of great cruise options.....

Monday, September 29, 2008

TPA Still Admired After All These Years

Condé Nast readers vote TPA Second Best U.S. Airport TAMPA, FL (September 29, 2008) -- The October 2008 Condé Nast Traveler issue has announced its Eleventh Annual Business Travel Awards for airports, airlines and hotels. The prestigious poll awarded Tampa International Airport as the Second Best U.S. Airport – just two-tenths of a point behind the number one, Portland International Airport. TPA was ranked highest of all 10 U.S. airports in the categories of Ease of Connections and Comfort/Design. Other categories included: location/access, customs and baggage, food/shops/amenities and perceived safety/security.
“This world class recognition confirms that Tampa International Airport remains positioned as a vital economic resource for the Tampa Bay community,” stated Louis E. Miller, Executive Director, Tampa International Airport. “We never take prominent awards and recognition for granted.”
The independent firm asked more than 26,500 Condé Nast Traveler readers identified as business travelers to rank U.S. and International airports, hotels and airlines. More than 2,500 surveys were completed, returned and tabulated. The top ten airports with their average score are shown below: Portland 51.6 Tampa 51.4 Washington Reagan 47.1 Milwaukee 42.4 Orlando 39.5 Minneapolis-St. Paul 39.0 Long Beach 38.0 Salt Lake City 37.8 Pittsburgh 37.7 San Diego 37.3

Monday, August 18, 2008

DISNEY SURVIVAL GUIDE

Do you dread waiting in the hour-long queue lines at the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks? Wondering how to keep everyone entertained and still enjoy a stress-free Disney vacation? Then you need The Disney Queue Line Survival Guidebook, the only guidebook with fun activities customized to the queue lines of Disney’s four theme parks.
About the author, Kimberly Button has been writing for national magazines, newspapers and websites for nearly 15 years. She is the former editor for BellaOnline's Budget Travel site. Kimberly not only writes about travel, but she has worked with some of the biggest names in the travel industry, including the Walt Disney World Resort, the Disney Cruise Line, Contiki Holidays and Delta Airlines. Kim currently lives in Orlando, FL and continues to write about travel, health and green living topics. We have even shared a dance or two....The Disney Queue Line Survival Guidebook available at http://www.disneysurvivalguide.com/

Friday, July 18, 2008

FLORIDA WHAT'S HAPPENING CITY BY CITY

DE LEON SPRINGS, August 02 A Day in Florida History. Re-enactment of a Seminole Indian battle, plus storytelling and historical displays. (386) 985-4212
TAMPA, August 02 WaZoo Lowry Park Zoo
Annual beverage festival enefitting the zoo's animals. Features samples from breweries worldwide, a wine garden, enertainment and food.. (813) 935-8552 lowryparkzoo.com
DELRAY BEACH, August 09 Bon Festival 2008 Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. Taiko drum performances, Japanese folk dancing, sreet fair with games, vendor booths and fireworks (561) 495-0233 morikami.org
NEW PORT RICHEY, August 15-17 A Night in the Tropics. Reminiscent of a Caribbean street celebration. This party features a custom cars cruise-in, three stages, island style music and tropical food.

American Airlines’ sale on fall flights to Mexico and Caribbean

Come fall, will you be ready for a beach vacation away from it all? If so, have a look at what American Airlines has going for its sale to a number of destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. Deal: The “Caribbean and Mexico Sale” features low fares to a handful of popular locales bearing cabana-shaded sands aplenty. Destinations include Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Los Cabos and Cozumel, Mexico; other sale options are Turks and Caicos, the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and more. If you’re willing to go for the nonrefundable “economy super saver” ticket and stop once instead of booking a nonstop, you’ll get the best prices. The airline has the cheapest fares that I’m seeing right now from Los Angeles (LAX) to Jamaica. I found a round-trip ticket to Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ), with a stop each way in Miami (MIA), for $310, including taxes, for early September. When: Travel Monday through Thursday, Sept. 2 to Dec. 10, 2008 (excluding Nov. 22-30, 2008). Contact: American Airlines, (800) 433-7300

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hampton Cup Regatta: Ridin’ the Rooster Tail

HAMPTON, VA- The nation’s oldest continuously running hydroplane boat race, the Hampton Cup Regatta, will celebrate its 82nd Anniversary August 8-10, 2008. The competition, taking place on Mill Creek at the entrance of Fort Monroe, will once again return to Hampton, Virginia boasting more than 80 hydroplanes and Jersey Speed Skiffs from the Unites States and Canada! Featuring speeds in excess of 150 miles-per hour, the race will play host to some of the fastest watercraft in the world. At 20 ft. long, these nautical gems can often reach speeds of 150 mph, setting both national and world records. Best of all, the Hampton Cup Regatta is one of the last remaining boat races in the country FREE OF CHARGE! This year, Hampton welcomes 9 classes of the fastest hydroplane’s in North America. Considered the loudest piston-powered racing boats in the world, these hydroplane’s are sure to have on-lookers marveling at their warp-like speed. Other event festivities include food and beverage vendors, souvenir programs, children’s area, a special Bash at the Bridge Friday Night Party, and racing-enthusiast clothing and collectibles. Race contestants will be also on-hand participating in autograph sessions throughout the competition. Lawn chairs are highly encouraged as bleacher seating is limited. Attendees are also encouraged to bring pop-up tents or umbrellas for shade; however coolers, pets, and skateboards are not permitted. Races start at 12:00 Noon and end at 5:00 p.m. daily in Mill Creek, located at the entrance of Fort Monroe from the East Mercury Boulevard bridge in Hampton, Virginia. The bridge opens to the public at 9:30 a.m. and boat checks will take place before the races begin. The Bash at the Bridge begins at 7:00 p.m. on Friday August 8 and will feature live musical entertainment. The bash is free and open to the public (food and beverages can be purchased on-site). For more information on the 82nd annual Hampton Cup Regatta, check out http://www.hamptoncupregatta.org/. or Ryan LaFata Hampton CVB

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

ORLANDO CELEBRATES MAGICAL DINING MONTH

This September, the Orlando CVB will hold the 3rd annual "Orlando Magical Dining Month". From Sept 1-30, 2008, participating restaurants will offer three-course prix-fixe dinners for $19 or $29 (excluding beverage, tax and gratuity), allowing locals and visitors alike to enjoy exceptional values at some of Orlando's most popular restaurants. More information on Orlando Magical Dining Month and participating establishments is available online at orlandomagicaldining.com

Monday, July 7, 2008

Norwegian Sky to Begin Bahamas Operations


Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sky, which previously sailed under the name Pride of Aloha in Hawaii, will begin three and four-day Bahamas cruises from Miami Monday, July 14. The ship recently underwent a two-month wet dock where it was outfitted with a casino and other NCL's enhancements. The last time NCL had a ship operating short three- and four-day Bahamas itineraries from Miami was in 2003. The ship departs Mondays from Miami for the four-day cruise, stopping in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's own private island. Then, on Friday's, the ship will operate the three-day cruise, departing Miami at 5 p.m. with all-day stops in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, before returning to Miami early Monday morning. The itinerary is ideal for families or couples who can't miss work or school. Visit http://www.ncl.com/.

Consumers Seek Affordable Regional Vacations

The latest reports indicate Travelers’ summer vacation plans include vacations closer to home as well as affordable regional destinations. The late June survey found that more than 64 percent of respondents plan to be tourists in their home state or within a three-hour drive of their house. Attractions appealing most to travelers looking to stay closer to home include beaches (29 percent), mountains (20 percent), national parks (15 percent) and lakes (13 percent). More than 60 percent had yet to book their summer vacations. Many travelers plan to save money on summer vacation by traveling to a destination during the off-season or choosing a regional city with more affordable hotel and entertainment options. When asked what travelers are most willing to sacrifice to save money, more than 41 percent are willing to forgo bragging rights on the latest hot spot for a more affordable vacation at a regional destination This is followed by a limited selection of flights, hotels and entertainment available in the off-season (28 percent, and uncomfortable temperatures (12 percent). 68 percent will save money on a beach vacation by traveling during hurricane season, although almost half will opt for trip insurance to protect their investment. People work too hard all year to forgo their annual summer vacation, "But with gas prices flirting with $4 per gallon, travelers are thinking about new destinations to ensure their families enjoy the trip. Regional cities offer affordable accommodations, good public transportation and free attractions. We are seeing an increase in search queries for destinations such as Florida, Atlanta, Richmond, Austin and San Diego, and regional beaches that might have been overlooked for the Caribbean will be packed all summer according to hotel searches." Another way Americans are saving money is by extending business trips for a few extra days of leisure. The survey found that approximately 46 percent use company-paid airfare and accommodations to explore destinations outside the boardroom with friends and family. 50 percent of respondents like to plan a trip around a festival or event to take advantage of affordable concerts, food and activities. So, Floridians let's look in our own back yard, who can offer more than good ole Florida. .....

Wine Lovers' Deal in Tuscany’s Vineyards L'Andana

Alain Ducasse’s luxury inn, L’Andana, introduces the Super Tuscans Package this summer. The Super Tuscans Package offers travelers and œnophiles the opportunity to visit some of Tuscany’s premier wine cellars including Ornellaia, Sassicaia, and Michele Saita and Petra. The Super Tuscans Package includes 3 nights stay in Deluxe room (Upgraded to Junior Suite if available at time of arrival); daily buffet breakfast; two Days visit and wine tasting in the cellars of Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Michele Saita and Petra (if available) with transfer and lunch; and dinner for two at Michelin-starred Trattoria Toscana. The package must be booked 15 days before arrival and requires 3 nights minimum stay. Extra nights are available at € 352.00 ($549). Rates for two people with transfer begin at € 2.502.00 ($3,901); Rates for two people without transfer between vineyards start at € 2.066.00 ($3,222). Reservations can be made by calling +39 0564 944 800 or emailing info@andana.it. For more information on L’Andana visit http://www.andana.it/.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

SKI RESORTS OFFERING SUBSIDIES TO AIRLINES

Colorado ski resorts are offering to pay airlines more to bring out-of-state skiers to town this winter. Nonstop flights to the mountains from cities like New York are so important to many resorts that they guarantee a minimum revenue to airlines who offer the flights. If airlines sell enough seats, the resorts don't have to pay as much in subsidies. But with rising airfares and trimmed flight schedules making it tougher to travel, some resorts are raising their subsidy offers to airlines flying to mountain airports. Steamboat Ski Resort says it agreed to pay airlines up to 2.8 million dollars in subsidies, up 14 percent from last year. It expects actual costs to be 1.5 million to 2.5 million dollars, compared with 1.7 million dollars last season.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

DECK CHAIR MARKERS

Did you ever have your deck chair taken while you wandered away for a bit? Problem solved! While Darrell Bowman and his family where on a cruise last summer, they witnessed more than one scuffle over chaise lounges breaking out on the main deck. Instead of merely relaxing in the sun, vacationers fought about whether another cruiser moved a towel to usurp a prized spot. “There’s high demand to get just the right chair during sun time,” Bowman said. But rather than get riled up, he saw an opportunity. And on the drive home, he couldn’t let the idea go. “People were getting into arguments and I just kept thinking, there’s got to be a better way,” . So in late May Bowman launched Lounge Hats LLC, an Indianapolis-based company that makes fabric covers that fit over chaise lounges to make one thing clear" This seat is taken". For more informaion you can go to Lounge Hats.com

Friday, July 4, 2008

Alaska Airlines goes cashless for onboard purchases

Alaska Airlines has removed at least one frustrating task that confronts all air travelers before boarding: Hunting for cash to buy drinks, food and other extras on a flight. Starting Aug. 5, Alaska Airlines flight attendants will accept only major credit cards for onboard goodies. The flight attendants, who will be packing hand-held charging devices from Toronto-based GuestLogix Inc., will accept no cash. What can you buy on board? For $5 you can get a “Picnic Pack” that includes crackers, cheese and salami or a “premium beverage,” such as beer, wine or vodka. Such drinks are complimentary for first-class passengers. Several other airlines, including Virgin America, Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue, have already switched to plastic for online purchases. Maybe in the future they will offer a little more variety in a deluxe "Picnic Pack" ....

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

’Tween Waters Inn “Half Crazy Summer Sale”

One of my favorite places ’Tween Waters Inn, on beautiful Captiva Island, Fla. is offering guests an opportunity to actually extend their vacation during its “Half Crazy Summer Sale.” From now through August 28, 2008, when you make reservations to stay at ’Tween Waters Inn, you will be eligible to stay additional nights at 50 percent off the guaranteed best rate of every room, a savings of potentially hundreds of dollars a night. The Half Crazy Summer Sale is valid July 6 through August 28. Sale prices are not applicable on holidays, with any other discounts or previously confirmed reservations. These special rates are valid for Sunday-Thursday nights only and can be added to weekend stays either at the front or back of the weekend. So, put some of the savings in your gas tank and get "Half Crazy" at the Tween Waters Inn on Captiva. You might want to consider a pit stop along the way at Doc Ford's on Sanibel to kick it off.....
To make reservations or for additional information, visit http://www.tween-waters.com/ or call 800.223.5865 and mention “Half Crazy.”

USVI WANTS TO KNOW "HOW WAS YOUR STAY"

With a View Toward Improving Travelers’ Experiences The USVI is seeking travel feedback from each and every visitor, whether a vacationer or business traveler. The Departartment of Tourism (DOT) realizes that the real test of a destination is whether visitors remain as excited about their travel experiences when it’s time to leave as they were upon arrival. The Department is surveying visitors to find out systematically what travelers really think. The survey is promoted to visitors on a “travel tips” card, received as they depart the destination and later filled out online. It asks a variety of multiple choice questions including, “What was the primary reason for your visit?”, “How would you rate your overall experience in the U.S. Virgin Islands?” and “How did you book your trip?”“We anticipate that our survey will provide valuable feedback on how our visitors perceive America’s Caribbean and where we can improve our tourism product,” said Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty. “Not only does the survey provide a snapshot of perceptions, but also helps to establish a baseline from which the department can compare visitors’ attitudes and perceptions today with those of future visitors, in order to determine whether real improvements are being made to services, accommodations and activities over time.”Once visitors complete the survey they may enter their contact information for a chance to win a trip back to the U.S. Virgin Islands. To view the survey, visit www.usvitourism.vi/survey.
The photo above was taken at a recent industry reception sponsored by the USVI.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Air Tahiti Nui to Suspend JFK-Tahiti Flights

Air Tahiti Nui will suspend its flights from JFK Airport to Tahiti for its low winter November - April season due to the continuing increase in fuel prices. During the peak summer months, the carrier has achieved solid results on its JFK-Tahiti route with load factors in excess of 70 percent with a schedule of three flights a week. “It’s no secret that the airline industry is taking a hit with the steadily rising costs of jet fuel,” says Nick Panza, Air Tahiti Nui’s vice president Americas. “Unfortunately, like many other carriers, we’ve been forced to make service cuts.” This season’s last non-stop flight from Tahiti to New York will be on October 16; while October 17 will mark the last non-stop Tahiti to New York flight. The final direct flight from Tahiti to New York via Los Angeles will be on October 23, with a return flight from New York to Tahiti via LAX on October 24. Visit http://www.airtahitinui-usa.com/.

Radar – The Airport Bird Dog - Retires

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Radar, the official bird dog at Southwest Florida International Airport, is retiring after a successful, 7-year career. The 9-year-old border collie joined the airport in June 2001, after the first bird dog retired. In 1999, Southwest Florida International Airport became the first commercial airport in the nation to use a dog as part of its Wildlife Management Program. “This program is very important - it keeps our travelers, birds, and aircraft safe by reducing the number of birds on the airfield in an environmentally friendly manner,” said Robert M. Ball, A.A.E., executive director of the Lee County Port Authority.
Radar was napping and not available for comment, however airport personnel speaking on her behalf said they are confident the dog will enjoy her retirement as much as she did her busy career. All the best Radar......

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Québec plein la rue at Summer Festival

On July 3, 4 and 5, 2008, “Québec plein la rue”, a series of 3 original and exciting evenings that have been specially planned to mark the anniversary of the founding of Québec, will bring the biggest international street performance companies here for a North American premiere. Because history will play an important role in “Québec plein la rue”, the event will open on the St. Lawrence River, where the history of Québec began and from where it takes its name. The next site will be Pointe-aux-Lièvres, near the place where Jacques Cartier and his crew spent the winter of 1535-1536. Finally, it will move up to Boulevard René-Lévesque, where Québec City grew into an urban centre. July 3: Thousands of lights on the water “Québec plein la rue” gets off to a scintillating start on July 3 with a spectacular and magical fireworks display launched from the middle of the St. Lawrence River, at Pointe-à-Carcy. This historically symbolic site was chosen because it will allow the greatest number of spectators to see the fireworks from both shores. Specially created for the 400th anniversary of Québec by an international-calibre team of artists and explosives technicians, these fireworks, the biggest ever, will be under the direction of Groupe Concept FD and will call on Québec’s finest fireworks resources. The 30-minute display will be accompanied by original music simulcast on radio CKIA-FM 88.3. A colourful, explosive one-night-only opening show! July 4: Mystery and enchantment at Pointe-aux-Lièvres Starting at 9: 30 p.m. on July 4, French street performance companies, Ilotopie and Salamandre, along with the Dutch troupe, Teatro Pavana, will enchant spectators during a two-hour performance at the Pointe-aux-Lièvres sector of Cartier-Brébeuf park. Expect to be carried away to a bewitching and mysterious world! As soon as they enter the site, spectators enter an unreal world of fantastic creatures performing flamboyant fire-handling exploits and where half-human, half-animal giants invite them down torch-lit paths. At the end of a short walk to the Saint-Charles River, spectators witness the feats of a happy troupe of colourful characters in an astonishing underwater performance. July 5: Gathering on the boulevard On the night of Saturday, July 5, between 11: 30 p.m. and 1: 30 a.m., Boulevard René-Lévesque will be taken by storm as Ilotopie, La Compagnie de la Salamandre and Teatro Pavana, along with Project Bandaloop (United States), Transe Express (France), the Compagnie Les Vernisseurs (France), La Compagnie des Quidams (France) join local troupes of street performers. As these varied troupes take to the street, perform on a temporary stage and launch an assault on the façades and rooftops of the buildings on the north side of the boulevard, in front of the Parliament. their breathtaking shows will demonstrate all the strength and finesse of the street performer’s art. A production of the Québec Summer Festival in collaboration with the Carnaval de Québec M. Christie and the Grands Feux Loto-Québec.
Don't miss it....

Friday, June 20, 2008

TSA's new policelike badges a sore point with real cops

Screeners at the nation's airport checkpoints are going to start wearing police-style badges — but real officers aren't too happy about it. Some sworn officers fear airline passengers will mistake screeners for law-enforcement officials with arrest powers. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is starting to equip its 48,000 screeners with 3-inch-by-2-inch, silver-colored, copper and zinc badges that will be worn on new royal-blue police-style shirts. The attire aims to convey an image of authority to passengers, who have harassed, pushed and in a few instances punched screeners. "Some of our officers aren't respected," TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe said. Actual airport police, who carry guns and have arrest powers, worry that their own authority will be undercut by screeners who look like police. Every major airport has its own police department or is patrolled by local police.
"A lot of cops at airports are not real thrilled about it," said Duane McGray of the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network, an airport police association. "It's another way of saying (to airport police), 'You're not important.' " Network president Paul Mason, chief of the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport police, worries that passengers will mistake badge-wearing screeners for police and expect them to handle crimes. "There are going to be some growing pains on the part of the (screeners) and police," he said. Agencies often give badges to workers who aren't law-enforcement officers. At the TSA, badges are carried by 1,200 inspectors who check that airlines, airports and others comply with security rules. The Environmental Protection Agency gives badges to its 250 workers charged with overseeing cleanups of oil spills and other hazardous releases, EPA spokeswoman Roxanne Smith said. Airport screeners will get badges after finishing a two-day training program covering issues related to badges as well as how to talk to passengers in a calming manner. Unlike police, who often are required to carry their badges while off-duty, screeners will be barred from wearing them when they are not working, TSA Deputy Administrator Gale Rossides said. "We coupled the badges with the communications training to make it clear to our officers that they're there to facilitate our passengers," Rossides said. She said the TSA has no interest in giving screeners law-enforcement power. In April, Baltimore-Washington International Airport screeners became the first to get badges and blue shirts, which replace white shirts adorned with a yellow TSA patch. Screeners at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will get them today.

African nations abolish visas for business travellers

Twenty-five countries spanning half of Africa have agreed to abolish visas for their business travellers and some other professionals in what could potentially be a major relaxation of migration rules. The plans were announced in the small West African country of Benin at the closing ceremony on Wednesday of the 25-nation Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD). The bloc's members stretch from Morocco, Libya and Egypt on the Mediterranean coast to Central African Republic in the south and Somalia and the Comoros islands in the east.
"Visas are abolished for businessmen, researchers, sportspeople and well-known artists.The 15 states of West Africa's ECOWAS bloc, all but one of which are CEN-SAD members, have already started a scheme of a common passport and travel without visas within their zone

Monday, June 16, 2008

Air Berlin Offers More Flights to Germany from Southwest Florida

FORT MYERS, Fla. Easier access to Europe this summer with the help of Air Berlin. Air Berlin, which recently acquired LTU, resumed its twice-weekly nonstop service to Munich (MUC) from Southwest Florida International Airport in May. A third weekly nonstop flight to Düsseldorf (DUS) will be added to Air Berlin’s schedule on June 24. These flights offer passengers more flexibility and the ability to connect to major European travel destinations, including Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Zurich and London. Air Berlin is Germany’s second-largest airline with 127 aircraft flying to more than 100 destinations throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the world. Robert M. Ball, A.A.E., executive director of the Lee County Port Authority said. “Air Berlin’s extensive network allows passengers to travel onward from Düsseldorf or Munich to many German airports and top holiday destinations in Europe.”

Lawrence Hunt pulls the plug on Silverjet's rescue hopes

Silverjet's rescue hopes tarnished Monday June 16, 2008 Silverjet's recent roller coaster ride, which appeared to end happily for the all-business-class carrier earlier last week with an acquisition and relaunch agreement with a Swiss investment firm, took a plunge for the worse Friday as the deal suddenly collapsed. Kingplace, an Irish company managed by Geneva's Heritage Cie, had agreed last Tuesday to "principal terms" to own and operate Silverjet, which shut down at the end of May following the failure of another investment arrangement. However, according to Silverjet administrator Begbies Traynor, "unusually complex negotiations with third parties" meant that Kingplace "is no longer in a position to acquire Silverjet as a going concern. As a consequence, we have today had to make the entire workforce formally redundant in line with our legal obligations as administrator." The number of job cuts numbered between 300 and 400, according to various press reports. It appears to be the end of the line for the carrier, which had been confident of a relaunch. "We continue to negotiate the sale of Silverjet's assets for the benefit of the company's creditors," BT said. Silverjet did not release a statement. The Times reported that the UK CAA was not satisfied that Kingplace could demonstrate its ability to provide more than £25 million ($48.8 million) in funding over the next six months. Silverjet follows Eos Airlines and MAXjet Airways into the history books. Paris Orly-based L'Avion, which operates all-business-class 757-200 flights to Newark, continues to operate.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Southwest not yet reserving seats past October

Southwest not yet offering reservations for the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas travel season NEW YORK (Associated Press) - According to Southwest Airlines, you're free to move around the country _ but not after Oct. 30. While you can make a reservation on most other carriers for travel next spring, Southwest hasn't yet posted a schedule for the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. Another sign of the uncertainty in the airline industry? Not exactly. Most U.S. airlines allow customers to book up to about 330 days in advance. American Airlines will let you book flights through next April. On the Web site of Delta Air Lines Inc., you can make reservations into May 2009. That's important for airlines that offer international trips, which might be planned many months ahead of time. Southwest Airlines Co., which doesn't fly outside the United States, has usually posted shorter schedules _ ones that go out about six months. "We just haven't opened up a new schedule yet that goes beyond" October, said spokeswoman Beth Harbin, adding that a new schedule through Jan. 9 will be posted later this month. Harbin said the lack of a holiday schedule "is not about pricing, it's just about the schedule we want to put out there for the holidays." A factor that could be complicating Southwest's plans: Other carriers, including Continental Airlines Inc., AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, Delta and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines have all announced big cutbacks in flying after the peak summer travel season ends. Those airlines are beset by record high fuel prices, and they're worried about the weakening economy undercutting demand for travel. Low-cost airlines like Dallas-based Southwest _ the only major U.S. carrier to earn a profit in the first quarter _ and New York-based JetBlue Airways Corp. expect to pick up more traffic as the big network carriers cut back on flights. JetBlue said this week it would add daily flights from several East Coast cities to Puerto Rico this fall, about the time American reduces service to the Caribbean. And as United's and Frontier's retreat in Denver, Southwest is adding service from there to San Francisco and other cities. Southwest will soon be operating 95 daily flights in Denver, up from 13 just two years ago. Jerrold Glass, a former US Airways executive and now an aviation consultant at FH Solutions Group in Washington, said the practice of offering reservations nearly a year into the future could trip up airlines if they commit to fares that later prove unprofitable. "Because of everything going on with fuel and the need to recapture that through fares, they're rethinking that policy," he said.

US Airways Adds Checked-Bag and Beverage Fees

US Airways has joined the ranks of air carriers charging for checked bags. The members of the carrier's new policy impacting customers who book economy class tickets for travel on or after July 9. They will be charged $15 each way ($30 roundtrip) for the first checked bag. The new fee applies to customers traveling within the United States, and to/from Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. US Airways' first bag fee is in addition to its previously announced $25 second bag fee ($50 roundtrip), which went into effect May 5. American Airlines and United Airlines also recently announced that they would begin charging customers $15 for a first checked bag. Exceptions to the new baggage fee include: all Dividend Miles Preferred Members (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Chairman's Preferred), confirmed First Class and Envoy Class passengers at the time of check-in, and Star Alliance Silver and Gold Status members. The following customers will also be exempt from paying the fee: military personnel on active duty, unaccompanied minors and passengers checking assistive devices. Agents are advised to disclose to customers at the time of booking that fees may apply when checking bags. In addition, agents should include a disclosure notice on customer itineraries and invoices. To see a summary of airline checked bag fees, as well as a sample disclosure notice, read ASTA's Airline Checked Baggage Policy Chart. US Airways will implement a $2 fee for all non-alcoholic beverages (including sodas, juices, bottled water and coffee) in its domestic coach cabins effective Aug. 1. Alcoholic beverages will also increase to $7 (currently $5). Complimentary beverages will continue to be served in domestic First Class, US Airways Shuttle flights, trans-Atlantic Envoy and trans-Atlantic economy class. Visit http://www.usairways.com/.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

United Airlines announces new checked bag policy

United Airlines has announced two changes to its domestic checked-bag policy. The service fee to check one bag for domestic travel will be $15 each way and the fee to check three or more bags, overweight bags or items that require special handling will increase from $100 to $125 or from $200 to $250, depending on the item. United said the changes apply to customers who purchase a ticket on or after June 13, for travel within the U.S. and to/from Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on or after August 18. The $15 service fee does not apply to customers who are flying in United First or United Business or who have premier status with United or Star Alliance. Details on United's checked bag policy are available at united.com/baggage. United says "With record-breaking fuel prices, we must pursue new revenue opportunities, while continuing to offer competitive fares, by tailoring our products and services around what our customers value most and are willing to pay for. United estimates that the new $15 service fee will apply to one out of three customers, and the potential revenue from baggage handling service fees, including those for checking a first and second bag, will be approximately $275 million a year. The fee to check a second bag is $25 each way and applies to customers who purchase Economy tickets for travel exclusively within the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada, and who do not have premier status in Mileage Plus or Star Alliance. For itineraries that include international flights (except Canada), checking a first and second bag will continue to be free, and the cost to check more than two bags or items that are overweight or require special handling varies by destination. Customers may pay these service fees at an airport Easy Check-In kiosk with a credit card or at the check-in counter with a credit card, check or cash. To ensure smooth operations at the airport, United will have developed the ability later this year for customers to pay for baggage fees via united.com when they check-in online. Visit http://www.united.com/.
Is this a way to generate revenue paid for by those with more bags and saves bucks for those with carry-ons? Please advise Boeing and AirBus we don't need more seats, only larger overhead bins......

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, Lake Como, Bellagio, Italy

Set in the lush Lake Como District, the elegant Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni has attracted the most discerning international travelers since 1872. Today, this prestigious hotel is the only property on Bellagio’s picturesque shores to offer the venerable Five-star Deluxe rating. Upon arrival, guests will be immediately enchanted by the Old World charms of this mansion-hotel, including a sharp attention to detail and discreet, personal service.For three generations, the Grand Hotel has belonged to the Bucher family, a dynasty in fine European hotellerie. The historic main villa offers a variety of spacious rooms and suites with views of the lake or the verdant gardens and park-like grounds of the hotel. The Residence L’Ulivo—with 13 one-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes and terraces—is adjacent to the main hotel building.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tampa International Airport earns 2008 IATA Eagle Award

The International Air Transport Association has selected Tampa International Airport for its prestigious 2008 IATA Eagle Award for airports. The award was announced and presented during a special ceremony on June 2, 2008, at the 64th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
The award is given to leading airports and air navigation service providers for outstanding performance in customer satisfaction, cost efficiency and continuous improvement. Other factors include strong support and nominations from the airport’s airline customers.
Louis E. Miller, Executive Director and CEO, Tampa International Airport said “Receiving the IATA award is a great honor for us. We have a clear understanding of the importance of cost control to the airlines; it is crucial to maintain reasonable rates and charges to all the airlines serving Tampa International. Our main objectives are to balance the cost along with the highest quality of service to all Airport customers,”
For more information please contact Brenda Geoghagan, Tampa International Airport bgeoghagan@tampaairport.com

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Unik Island Resort on Isla Mujeres

Unik Island Resort & Spa, a new luxury boutique brand in Mexico, announced it will open its flagship hotel on November 1, 2008 on Isla Mujeres. Located just off the coast of Cancun, Isla Mujeres is accessed by a 25-minute private yacht transfer, which takes you to the resort that will feature 84 suites and full-service amenities. A total of 84 sleek and modern suites will feature exquisite views and every amenity, including flat screen televisions, CD/DVD players, iPod docking stations, high-speed wireless Internet, 400 count bed linens, laptop-sized safes, fully-stocked mini-bars and much more. Every room, regardless of category, gets twice-daily maid service, lavish bath amenities, candles, bathrobes and slippers, aromatherapy at turndown and an array of other services that keep Unik Island Resort & Spa’s accommodations several steps above the others in the region. Beyond the walls, the natural beauty of Isla Mujeres one of my favorite island hideaways serves as a backdrop for the elegant pool area, built on four different levels and following the lay of the land. Each pool offers guests a different experience, and each flows into the next in a soothing cascade of blue water. Meetings and groups are welcome to the state-of-the-art facilities, which can accommodate up to 210 attendees. Business services are available, as are full-service wedding planners and an assortment of wedding packages. The resort is located eight miles north of Cancun across the Caribbean Sea on Isla Mujeres. Upon arrival at the Cancun International Airport guests are whisked away via hotel-arranged car service to the resort’s Dockside Registration/Reception area, where they are greeted with refreshing beverages and light appetizers before boarding the complimentary, private boat service that will take them directly to the resort’s pier in just 25 minutes.

NO PRETZEL FOR YOU!

Let go of the pretzels and peanuts. In what could be the ultimate cost-cutting move by airlines buffeted by sky-high fuel prices, US Airways Group says it will eliminate free snacks in coach class on all its domestic flights starting June 1.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Online Travel Buyers Like Podcasts and Video

Rich content and social media—including podcasts or live online video and traveler-generated reviews from within and outside of one's social network—can help determine where leisure travel will be purchased online, says PhoCusWright. Nine out of 10 online travel buyers say travel-related podcasts and online video influence their purchases, the research firm says in its new PhoCusWright Consumer Travel Trends Survey Tenth Edition. The new report examines the critical influence of rich media, reviews and Web 2.0 in online travel purchasing. Findings indicate that the vast majority of U.S. online travelers are influenced by anonymous feedback and recommendations from fellow travelers. The most popular are reviews from people they do not know, travel blogs/online diaries and travel review Web sites. Visit http://www.phocuswright.com/.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

JOST VAN DYKE - BVI

The east end of Jost Van Dyke was my home for a number of years, where I lived primarily off the sea. At that time roads or electicity even fresh water did not exist. One cooked over locally made charcole, diving or retreiving fish pots was the way of life. Much of this I learned from Charles who lived with his family on the hill behind my property, he and a few others taught me much about island living. This photo on the left is of my old friend Foxy who owns and runs Foxys Bar one of the original bar/resturants on the island. I have great memories of sitting with his kids when they were young at the back of the bar watching one of Capt. Mike Burke's Windjammer sailing ships anchor off shore...The arrival of passengers many in bright colored shirts shouldering up to the bar asking how much a drink would cost. Foxy's kids amused me by asking "why they ask the price, don't they know if they have no money Foxy give them drink for free" Foxy and I towed the old water tank that sits up behind his place (it may no longer be there these days) behind my small boat from Little Jost....Nice memories.
Here's a little history of this beautiful island. Jost Van Dyke , population 150, is named for a noted Dutch pirate. It is mountainous, has lovely beaches, tropical restaurants and watering holes at Great Harbor and White Bay. Jost measures just four by two rugged miles, the island is rich in history. It's been home to Arawak Indians, Caribs, Dutch, Africans, and English. And John Coakley Lettsome, founder of the London Medical Society, was also born on Little Jost Van Dyke. Jost Van Dyke did not receive public electricity until December 23, 1989, and the entire island did not recieve electricity until the end of 1997. For many years the island residents used generators and many were innovators by using solar panels. Whether you stay for a day, week, or a month, you'll find plenty to do. Trace the old trails that connect the island. Explore the overgrown ruins of sugar mills. In the fall and winter, watch whales and dolphins from a hilltop. Or visit the bubbly pool at the East End, where the foaming sea forms a natural jacuzzi. You could walk across to Little Jost or take a boat to Sandy Cay, the perfect castaway island. It is reported that Christopher Columbus sighted the British Virgin Islands in 1493, on his second expedition to the New World; Overwhelmed by their multitude, he christened the islands 'Las Once Mil Virgines' - in honor of St. Ursula and the 11,000 maidens who sacrificed their lives in 4th century Cologne. The Crest of St. Ursula is a national symbol of the British Virgin Islands. The islands were said to be inhabited by Caribs and Arawaks. The Dutch established the first permanent European community here in 1648. In 1666 British planters took over control of the island group from the original Dutch settlers. The islands attained the status of British Colony, and remained part of the Leeward Islands from 1872 until 1956, when the British Virgin Islands became a separately administered entity. To preserve its close economic ties with the U.S., Virgin Islands the group did not join the 1958-1962 West Indies Federation of British Islands. In 1967, the new Constitution provided for a ministerial system of government headed by a Governor. The island group remains under British Sovereignty today. The BVI’s are constitutionally autonomous of the UK except for external affairs, defense, internal security, terms and conditions of service of public officers and the administration of the courts. These areas are the responsibilities of a UK appointed Governor. The Territory features an internal self-government that has a long history of political stability. There is an Executive Council, with the Governor as Chairman, which includes the Attorney General (ex-officio), the Chief Minister (appointed by the Governor from those elected to the Legislative Council to handle financial matters), and three other ministers appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The British Virgin Islands offer the finest sailing anywhere ... and are home to the world's largest yacht charter fleet. Balmy trade winds provide a most comfortable, tropical environment. Temperatures are rarely below 77 F in winter; or rise above 90 F in summer.

CANEEL BAY - ST JOHN USVI

While we're cruising around the USVI and BVI let me share another favorite with you, St. John, the smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, retains a tranquil, unspoiled beauty uncommon in the Caribbean or anywhere else in the world. Settled in the early 1700s by Danish immigrants attracted to the island's potential as a sugar cane-producing colony, St. John soon blossomed into a thriving society. The ruins of the Annaberg Sugar Plantation and other smaller plantations on the island attest to the island's agricultural history.The extensive sugar cane farming, however, did little to affect the natural beauty of St. John. Its unspoiled forests and stunning beaches attracted the attention of wealthy families such as the Rockefellers, who sought privacy and tranquility on the island. In 1956, Laurance Rockefeller was so moved by the island that he bought and donated broad expanses of land to the National Park Service to keep St. John "a thing of joy forever."Today, two-thirds of St. John is part of the Virgin Islands National Park, featuring fascinating trails, secluded coves, and dazzling white beaches. The Reef Bay Trail takes hikers through dense forests, plantation ruins, and rock outcroppings marked by well-preserved petroglyphs. Trunk Bay, Hawksnest Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Maho Bay are just four of the dozens of beaches. Cruz Bay, the center of activity on St. John, contains colorful shops, lively bars, and fabulous restaurants.
CANEEL BAY RESORT has been an alluring escape for loyal guests since its founding 50 years ago by Laurance Rockefeller. Set on 170 acres in Virgin Islands National Park on the island of St. John USVI. The resort's pristine natural surroundings and low-key luxury are its coveted signatures. One hundred and sixty-six charming guest rooms blend seamlessly into the landscape in close proximity to any of seven white-sand beaches that frame the resort. Four distinct restaurants and a private Wine Room offer an array of dining experiences and cuisine that honors the destination. Other amenities include The "Self Centre", which is dedicated to nurturing the mind, body and spirit in addition to a fitness center, 11 tennis courts and Turtle Town, a dedicated facility just for kids. Try the peach daiquiris and the snorkling trail at Trunk Bay voted one of the worlds best beaches.

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS LITTLE DIX BAY

Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda is another of my favorite spots in the British Virgin Islands just a short flight or boat ride from St Thomas. The legendary Caribbean Resort is designed with both couples and families in mind, Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda is offering an exceptional seasonal rate available from May 1 - December 19, 2008 with savings of up to 30% off regular room rates. Inclusive of full American Breakfast buffet for two, the "Rosewood Escapes" special is priced at $475 per night for accommodations in a Premium Ocean View room, or $525 per night in an Ocean Cottage, based on single or double occupancy. Taxes and gratuities are additional. Set on its own half-mile crescent beach, the five-star resort founded by visionary philanthropist Laurance S. Rockefeller recently introduced "Sense", A Rosewood Spa offering longer spa treatments, a breadth of wellness and relaxation therapies created with local products, herbs and plants, and kids' Move 'n Groove and Yoga classes. Exciting culinary offerings from new Chef Marcel Driessen are featured at the resort's three restaurants and in private beach dinners. For more information or reservations, call 888.767.3966 or the resort directly at 284.495.5555.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

St Thomas - Frenchman's Reef Resort

Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort is one of St. Thomas's premire resort properties...Located at Morning Star Beach, it has been one of my favorite island hang-outs for many years.
This hotel has a smoke-free policy, 15 meeting rooms and 60,000 sq ft of indoor/ outdoor venue space for your wedding or business event. The property has 8 floors, 451 rooms, 28 suites .
Resort View Rooms at the Frenchman's Reef offer lush garden and hillside views of St. Thomas Water View Rooms at the Frenchman's Reef offers sweeping views of the harbor and the Caribbean Garden Rooms at Morning Star overlook the lush greens of the resort's tropical gardens. Beachfront Rooms at Morning Star Resort have views of the Caribbean Sea. Harbour Suites have king-size beds with separate sitting areas or parlors with views of the harbour. Royal Suites feature two-story loft bedrooms jacuzzi and spiral staircase to a king-size bed,
Frenchman's Reef is a complete Caribbean vacation resort setting overlooking Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas, the largest and best equipped hotel facility in the US Virgin Islands.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Crown Jewel of Treasure Island Florida

This week I had an opportunity to visit Ocean Properties recently opened Residence Inn by Marriott located on St Pete Beach at Treasure Island. This is by any standard not your typical Residence Inn, it is the "THE CROWN JEWEL" of Treasure Island.
From the moment you enter the property a wonderful journey created by the Ocean Properties design team Michelle Mauricio and Paula Siegel begins. After a stroll on the beach I was greeted by General Manager Rick Willson and Shannon Cunningham, Director of Sales & Marketing. Also in attendance was St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau David Downing, Director of Public Relations and the new Executive Director, DT Minich who brings with him the expierience and expertise that helped make Lee County CVB one of the best in Florida.
This all new Residence Inn by Marriott offers 105 outstanding luxurious one, two and three bedroom hotel suites along with a great location, but what really counts is the colorful upscale ambiance, super service and of course the extra amenities such as free breakfast, free high speed internet, green energy efficient stainless steel appliances in fully-equipped kitchens, flat screen TV’s in every room and private balconies overlooking what appears to be a never ending beach.
Within walking distance or a short drive, you will find a wide selection of restaurants, attractions and shopping. Tropicana Field, downtown St Petersburg and Raymond James Football stadium only a short distance away.
During our stay we enjoyed a hearty meal at Carino's , dinner at the Middle Grounds Grill is a must and I highly recommend the Veal Osso Bucco, but Shannon's choice of the Petite Filet was looking good.
TTRN also recommends : Crabby Bill's and The Hurricane
During a quick stop in Sarasota we visited with Erin Duggan Public Relations Director Sarasota & Her Islands Convention & Visitors Bureau over lunch at the Bijou Cafe. along with Kerry Morrissey and Christina Sorondo. Then a quick stop at the Lido Beach Resort to say hi to GM Shannon Burdge and Director of Sales, Karen Rangel who presented me with a copy of Stephen King's new novel. Ck out how you can win a trip for two for a 3-night stay at the Lido Beach Resort, along with a copy of the new Stephen King novel, set on the fictional island of Duma Key. The main purpose for the Sarasota stop was to attend a meeting of Longboat Key residents at the Hilton Longboat Key regarding local ballot questions 1 & 2 which would allow an increase of 250 new hotel rooms on the Key. The visit also presented an opportunity to have a pleasant chat with Matt Walsh Editor & CEO of The Observer who was covering the story.
NEWS ITEMS Second - Honeymoon - Ten Hot Spots for Summer A survey by ASTA polled 585 travel agency owners and managers to determine the most popular Second Honeymoon destinations and uncover other emerging travel trends for 2008. Hawaii was the most popular second- honeymoon destination with 24.4 percent share of the total response. Cruising was ranked number two. The third most popular second honeymoon destination, the Caribbean, Jamaica and Cancun, ranked fourth and fifth respectively, Europe, ranked number six, and Italy, ranked number seven, proving that interest in European vacations is still strong despite the current weakness of the US dollar. Mexico claimed the number eight position. Tahiti, and St. Lucia fell into ninth and tenth place respectively. American Airlines has expanded the range of features available on the mobile version of AA.com, providing more tools for travelers using Web-enabled devices. The new enhancements allow customers to book flights, view fare specials, request upgrades, enroll in the AAdvantage program, purchase Admirals Club one-day passes and change their flights for many domestic reservations. These additions complement the features in place when the mobile version of AA.com was launched earlier this year. This includes flight check-in, flight and baggage status checks, destination and weather information and AAdvantage member log-in. Throughout the year, American will add further mobile capabilities for travelers on the go, the airline said. For information: http://www.aa.com/ Hawaii, Rising costs of operations, such as the escalation in fuel prices, has led Hawaiian Airlines to increase its round-trip airfares for flights between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland by $30, effective immediately for travel starting on or after May 1.

Monday, March 10, 2008

On the Hotel Scene:

The Riviera Maya has a number of hotels in various stages of development.
Easily accessible from many cities throughout the U.S., the eighty-one mile stretch known as the Riviera Maya is situated in the Mexican Caribbean inthe state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Beginning eleven miles south of Cancun International Airport in Puerto Morelos, the Riviera Maya extends to Tulum, one of the most important archeological sites in the Mayan World. The region features the tranquility of uncrowded beaches, a vast network of under ground rivers, over 100 cenotes, the action of eco-adventure sports including kayaking, mountain biking, scuba diving, snorkeling, trekking, bird watching and deep sea fishing, proximity to many of Mexico's most significant Mayan archeological sites, the varied activities of the eco-archeological parks, plus golf courses, spas, shopping, gourmet dining and a range of accommodations to suit every lifestyle and budget. The Riviera Maya has been named a Top Destination in Mexico for four consecutive years by Travel Weekly (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007), one of the hottest beach destinations by Orbitz in 2008 and was also featured in the January 2006 issue of Travel and Leisure as "The Next Riviera."
Just Opened:
Must See Attractions:* Selvatica is a company that offers adventure activities and that has been recognized by Travel and Leisure magazine as "one of 35 great adventures in the world." Zip n Snorkel is the company's newest offering,with a small group guided tour through the Riviera Maya, with zip-lining through the jungle and snorkeling in Puerto Morelos along the region's beautiful reef. Visit http://www.selvatica.com.mx/ * Ah Cacao Chocolate Café promotes natural well being through the enjoyment of real chocolate and coffee all from Mexico. Aside from gourmet coffee drinks the recently opened Ah Cacao Chocolate Café offers an all natural menu of brownies, dark chocolate bars, chocolate mousse, dark chocolate cake and more, as well as a gift shop! Ah Cacao Chocolate Café is located on the corner of Playa del Carmen's famous Fifth Avenue and Constituyentes Avenue. For more information please visit http://www.ahcacao.com/. * Xcaret is an eco-archeological park located in Playa del Carmen. In 2008, the following new attractions will be introduced: A Mexican wine place with a wine tasting hall and a store, selling only Mexican wines and Henequen Hacienda, which will have a museum of Mexican art, a room for big events, Yucatan food restaurant, and demonstrations of henequen production (raw fibers from the henequen agave cactus are shredded, pulled, woundtogether made into rope). Visit http://www.xcaret.com/ .* Alltournative is an adventure company that is offering a new half-day for a small group of people called Rio Secreto, or Secret River. Equipped with helmets with flashlights, wetsuits and life jackets, the group descends to the underground river, where they have the opportunity to explore the hidden caverns, stalactites, stalagmites, corals and othernatural treasures, hidden in the underground world. Visit http://www.alltournative.com/ .
For more information on the Riviera Maya call 1-877-7GO MAYA, e-mail mailto:info@rivieramaya.com

Ten amazing adventures under $1,000 (2008 edition)

How much adventure can you get for $1,000? More than you might think. For less than the cost of a single night at the Plaza Hotel in New York, you can climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, trek to remote villages in the Peruvian Andes, or learn to sail a racing yacht. These and seven other trips that cost under a grand are offered in an article by Molly Feltner.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Puerto Rico Tourism Company Promotes Culinary Festival

A Culinary Extravaganza" festival in San Juan from April 4-6. The event will be hosted by the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association (PRHTA) and will celebrate the destination's culinary traditions. The marketing strategy fits well with Puerto Rico's "Explore Beyond the Shore" campaign, which urges clients to venture off beyond the resort and experience Puerto Rico's many excellent restaurants and attractions. Tourism officials expect the event to grow with time, but anticipate about 2,500 people per day at the event in San Juan. With food programs centered around children as well, we recommend pitching this to both couples and families, especially first-time Puerto Rico visitors. Visit http://www.saboreapuertorico.com/