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Renew Your U.S. Passport Online in August

The U.S. Department of State is permitting an initial test of online passport renewal for 25,000 individuals. The pilot program is part of a Biden administration effort to make travel and passport acquisition easier to accomplish. (more…)
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Ireland’s Puck Fair- No Kidding, the Goat is King

King Puck Statue (Photo Wikimedia contributor User:Itub) For three days each year in August, more than 20,000 people converge on Killorglin in Kerry in Southwest Ireland for the coronation of a goat. But not just any goat. (more…)
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New Mississippi Riverboat Passes Sea Trials

The newest riverboat for the Mississippi River passed sea trials late last week and is on its way to New Orleans for an on-time start to its inaugural season on the Mighty Mississippi. American Cruise Lines announced that it has accepted delivery of the American Symphony from Chesapeake Shipbuilding as...
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Volcano erupts near Reykjavik and Keflavik International Airport

According to the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, a small volcanic eruption occurred in southwest Iceland, approximately 20 miles from Reykjavik and 10 miles from Keflavik International Airport. A YouTube livestream of the eruption showed lava pouring from a fissure reported by the Iceland Monitor. According to the Icelandic Ministry...
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DOT’s proposed rule potentially requires travel advisors to make refunds

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed new rules and asked for comments from the public regarding the refunding of airline tickets when flights are canceled or "significantly changed." However, the definition of "ticket agents" is potentially troubling to the travel agency community. The request for comment contains language which...
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Representatives back Cash Refunds for Flight Cancellations Act

    Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) along with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.). have introduced a bill requiring airlines to give consumers  cash refunds for significantly delayed or canceled flights. Reps. Steve Cohen (Tenn.), Jesús García (Ill.) and Jamie Raskin (Md.) intend to introduce a companion...
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CroisiEurope Opens Sale on All 2023 Cruise Itineraries, Reports Promising Numbers

CroisiEurope Cruises announced its entire 2023 river, ocean, and canal program, and the sailings are now available to book online. When clients are booked by August 31, 2022, they can enjoy a 15 percent early booking discount, which drops to 10 percent until October 15; a 5 percent discount applies...
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Promoting Winter Travel to Europe Could Help Manage Demand, Says Avanti Destinations

As Europe clocks one of the busiest summers it’s seen in years, clients looking to avoid crowds, travel delays, and baggage hassles on their vacation might want to reconsider the season. Independent travel retailer Avanti Destinations believes their “Go365” campaign will aid travel advisors in warming clients to the idea...
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Good bartenders are almost a breed apart.  Alternating between multiple clients, these professionals have developed a skill set useful to travel consultants.  The most accomplished bartenders deftly manage their many clients while effectively multitasking their way through the evening. Let’s look at the characteristics the most proficient resourcefully exhibit. Read the rest of this entry »

Angela Hughes grew up in the travel business, starting in her parents’ agency as a teenager delivering tickets. But she was almost ready to throw in the towel a couple of years ago when her family vacation was ruined by constant phone calls from clients.

Fast forward to today. Hughes is in Menorca, Spain, vacationing with her daughter. With a team of three assistants that share her back-office CRM and team platform, she will take a call or two from her high-end clients a couple of times a week. But, even with $3 million in personal sales so far this year, she will not allow her work to prevent her from having some all-important family time.

“When you own an agency with ICs and a big book of clients you’re never fully off,” Hughes says. “But making modifications to work smarter can make all the difference.”

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Tourism Cares 2022: Beyond the Virtual

When Tourism Cares was formed in 2005, it was called Tourism Cares for Tomorrow. Now 17 years later, we find ourselves in that tomorrow. The environmental protection issues the organization was founded to address are no longer concerns for some distant future. They are extremely pressing issues that are right on top of us.

The vision Tourism Cares was founded on looks even better in hindsight than it looked at its inception. It was a mobilization based on the realization of people in the travel industry that environmental degradation, if allowed to go too far, would destroy their businesses.

It was the travel industry stepping up and taking responsibility to protect the environmental and cultural resources it depended on to operate its businesses. In the face of decades of inertia and failure in the public sector to take meaningful action to confront the problems of environmental destruction, it was an industry saying, “If not us, who? And if not now, when?”

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Travel trade insurance company Trawick International provided a useful snapshot of each major cruise line’s pre-trip health and safety requirements in a TRO webinar last week.  The webinar provided information current as of last week, though fast-moving protocols may potentially change tomorrow. The webinar will be posted on TRO’s Webinar Page on Monday afternoon, August 8th. Read the rest of this entry »

CroisiEurope Offers Savings For 2023

CroisiEurope Cruises announced its worldwide program of 2023 river, canal and ocean itineraries, which are now available for booking. The 2023 cruise catalog features 170 itineraries on 55 ships, sailing on 45 waterways in 40 countries.

To celebrate, CroisiEurope is offering an early booking discount of 15 percent on most 2023 itineraries when booked by August 31, 10 percent if booked between September 1 and October 15, 2022 and 5 percent for bookings made between October 16 and November 30, 2022.

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Going With The Flow

This marketing practice has many analogies or anecdotes to explain its logic. Going with the flow; swimming with the tide; sailing with the wind to your back; picking the low-hanging fruit. I am sure you have a few analogies of your own to remind you that it doesn’t make sense to spit into the wind or pull on Superman’s Cape.

As logical as these reminders are, you don’t have to travel far to see people banging their heads against a wall in an attempt to get things done. It is still true, that in many instances, less is more.

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3 Ways To Keep Clients Coming Back

Isn’t it amazing how one little thing that happens at the wrong time can torpedo what was once a very solid relationship?  There are three businesses in town that I will need to think long and hard before I choose to support them once again.  No business is immune. It can strike anyone at any time. Each of the businesses failed at three very basic tasks, and none of them made a move to make it better. And it lost them my business. As I thought about it, I realized that this can (and likely does) happen to travel professionals across the nation. So here’s a cautionary tale for you to consider. Read the rest of this entry »

Two Great Ways of Experiencing Southeast Asia

A couple came to me a few weeks ago wanting to explore Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam in January 2023. One of them was an experienced cruiser who favored ocean-going vessels; the other especially wanted to see the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat. They were open to any mode of travel, so long as it was extremely comfortable. Both were ardent walkers and foodies; they had 2-3 weeks set aside to travel.

They realized they might have to make some adjustments since Angkor Wat is not close to any sea lanes, and they knew that they didn’t want to take any overnight excursions that would rack up costs and time away from home. After considering the options, I proposed two vacations to consider:

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When it comes to river and coastal sailing in the United States, American Cruise Lines has been at the top of the game since 1991. Not only have they provided sophisticated cruising for travelers since then, but they have also continued to update their fleet with new ships ready to provide unique scenery on the Mississippi and the Columbia and Snake Rivers. And they’ve done it again, with anticipation for the first voyage of the American Symphony approaching in August.

As part of the modernization of their fleet, American Symphony has taken elements of the ships that cruise the European rivers and brought them to the shores of the United States… particularly the shores of the mighty Mississippi River. The ship carries 175 passengers. Similar to her sibling ship, American Melody, the interior has been updated in design and comfort.

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I had to admit to myself that I was a bit nervous about interviewing Laurie McAndish King. As the accomplished writer of An Elephant Ate My Arm: More True Stories from a Curious Traveler, published last year, she’s seen a rise in popularity. This book has won first place in the Paris Book Festival, with individual stories in the collection winning multiple other awards. Her writing voice is clearly her own, a daunting task most writers struggle with on a daily basis. So, yeah, I was clearly nervous that my questions wouldn’t grab her attention. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

From the starting conversation about our video backgrounds, there was a curiosity radiating from the image on the computer. Three minutes in, she’d asked more questions than me. When it naturally came around to a starting point, I launched in with the biggest question first: did you start this collection of stories during the primary part of the pandemic?

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American Cruise Lines vessel

The newest riverboat for the Mississippi River passed sea trials late last week and is on its way to New Orleans for an on-time start to its inaugural season on the Mighty Mississippi. American Cruise Lines announced that it has accepted delivery of the American Symphony from Chesapeake Shipbuilding as scheduled. American Symphony is the 5th riverboat in the Line’s ground-breaking new series and the 15thsmall ship built by Chesapeake for American. The 175-passenger new boat will immediately join the company’s expanding Mississippi River fleet. American Symphony’s first cruise is set to depart on August 27th from New Orleans, and American Cruise Lines plans to christen the riverboat during its inaugural cruise on August 30th in Natchez, Mississippi.

American Symphony is part of our ongoing commitment to leading the U.S. River Cruise market by introducing innovative small ships every year,” said Charles B. Robertson, President & CEO of American Cruise Lines. “Smaller is better on the rivers. We look forward to American Symphony’s first season on the Mississippi, as well as the introduction of sister ship American Serenade early next year.” Read the rest of this entry »

Dr. Carol Dimopoulos has a unique background that bridges the educational tourism sector and academia. In her industry role she serves as CEO and founder of Learning Journeys, a company focused on global transformational journeys which encourages participants to immerse in their interests and passions. The organization focuses on incorporating education into the global travel platform as well as creating social exchanges which initiate economic opportunities for developing societies. Through her global exposure, she discovered what drives human empowerment at a core level. She is a well-respected assistant professor of entrepreneurship, speaker, published researcher and scholar on the subjects of DEI, social entrepreneurship, and responsible tourism. She also holds an MBA in strategic management from Sage Graduate School and a doctorate from The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in Global Education and Leadership and earned a SUNY Fellowship in DEI-teaching and learning certification.

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With almost perfect temperatures the whole year, the Canary Islands are a popular getaway for travelers. Particularly Tenerife, the most populous island in the chain. Picturesque sand beaches stretch along the coasts surrounding cloud-covered mountains, and small villages once lost to volcanic explosions have been born anew. A flourishing culture with art, delectable food, and tasty wine… the Tenerife life is rest and relaxation immersed in naturally stunning views with a healthy helping of adventurous views and perfect beaches.

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CroisiEurope Cruise Ship

CroisiEurope Cruises announced its entire 2023 river, ocean, and canal program, and the sailings are now available to book online. When clients are booked by August 31, 2022, they can enjoy a 15 percent early booking discount, which drops to 10 percent until October 15; a 5 percent discount applies for select 2023 CroisiEurope cruises booked between October 16 and November 30, 2022. Read the rest of this entry »