Monthly Archives: August 2022

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Everything Old is New Again

The ancient Romans were known for many achievements—Roman numerals certainly come to mind—but did you know they were responsible for the creation of the tourist industry? They created the original Grand Tour, an itinerary from the lost city of Troy to the Acropolis, from the Colossus of Rhodes to Egypt, where the inaugural Nile cruise took them to the remotest parts of the empire.

Fast forward to the middle of the eighteenth century to the start of World War I, where we witness remarkable changes in leisure travel—the sheer volume of travelers, technology, choices of destinations, and even the opinions of what was considered worth seeing (TRAVEL SNOBBERY).

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Here Comes USTOA 2022

Ah, it’s mid-August! How did that happen? It’s still beautiful summer holiday time, but it’s slipping away by the moment, and attention is turning toward the fall season. That’s typically when the students go back to school and the adults get down to business, nicely refreshed from at least some easing up in summer, if not an actual vacation.

It’s time to bear down on all the things that have to get done in the fall. In earlier times for most people, fall was the time of harvest—time to put up stores for the winter. For people in the travel industry, it’s conference season. And for some, a number in which I include myself, the highlight and the grand finale of the fall conference season is the USTOA Annual Conference and Marketplace, held around the end of November and the beginning of December. This year will be the association’s 50th anniversary, a huge milestone by any measure.

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Posted In: Departures

Most visitors to Mexico head straight to the country’s stunning beaches, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. However, there is an abundance of delights in store for those who venture beyond the beaches to Mexico’s beguiling magic towns. The Mexican tourist board has selected 132 pueblos to be included on a list of so-called ‘magic towns.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Preview

My family of 10, sailing on Adventure of the Seas to Bermuda, has been confused over the testing requirements—like most customers. We were at first relieved to hear that Royal Caribbean no longer requires pre-trip Covid testing. But then we received an email noting that Bermuda does require it, and so we must test before boarding. Then we filled out our Bermuda Travel Authorization forms, which clearly stated at the time that pre-cruise testing was required within four days of departure (and required $40). When my daughter tested for our Saturday cruise on Wednesday, though, we said RCCL still requires testing within 48 hours. So she and the kids tested again. (Today, meanwhile, I see that the Travel Authorization form has been changed; it now says testing is required within two days Applying for a Bermuda Travel Authorization | Government of Bermuda (www.gov.bm).)

I share my story just to underscore what we all know: the steady beat of changes to the Health and Safety policies is a major source of confusion to customers—and, therefore, a good thing for the travel advisor community.

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Posted In: Supplier Profile

KHM Travel Group started as a small, family-owned business in Brunswick, Ohio. Now, 17 years later, they have grown to be a powerhouse in the independent travel agent community with a focus on caring for each agent—and a multi-suite complex to house their growing employee base (70+). With a first-class listing over at Host Agency Reviews and 4,500+ independent agents around the US, they must be doing something right.

KHM knows the position of agents is to provide the traveler with the best travel experience possible, and has made it a goal to provide the tools and training to facilitate this.

“Education has always been the hallmark of who we are. Part of the education process is really getting to know our travel advisors. Every advisor has the unique ability to reach different people and create travel experiences for them,” said President and CEO Rick Zimmerman.

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Posted In: Departures

Top Ten Things to Know About Emerald Azzurra

I was invited by Emerald Cruises to experience the brand new Emerald Azzurra yacht that debuted 3-months ago. I spent a glorious two weeks sailing her from Dubrovnik to Athens, with port stops in Montenegro, Albania, Greece, and Turkey. It was a perfect mix of well-known ports and off-the-beaten-path destinations where the big ships can’t go. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Crossings

Disney Cruise Ship

Disney Cruise Line is dropping its requirement for children over the age of 5 to be fully vaccinated before sailing. The cruise line’s website reads: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Top Headlines

Heathrow Airport

In a move aimed at reducing the ongoing disruptions caused by the surge in post-pandemic travel and staff shortages, London’s Heathrow Airport has extended the cap on the number of daily passengers through late October to 100,000 passengers per day. Originally, the limit on the number of daily passengers was to be lifted on September 11th. The cap was originally imposed in July but it appears the “”summer of air travel chaos” is being extended into Fall. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

An increasing number of travelers today are looking to stay in luxury villa rentals due to the increased personalization, space, and home-away-from-home experience that they provide. As a result, trends are rapidly emerging in the luxury villa rental industry that differs from traditional hotel tendencies. Here’s a look at five trends travel advisors and their clients should know: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Top Headlines

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on screen

In an unusual move, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a flight delay warning for the New York City area airports via a Twitter message late Monday afternoon, only to cancel the warning four hours later.

The FAA announcement blamed “unexpected staff availability”  which the FAA has denied is a factor in recent air traffic problems.

Incoming Success Strategy

Here is some food for thought that is designed to take much, if not all, of the stress out of your sales responsibilities.

I will use two examples to deliver my point. The first involves a house visit while the second involves a telephone.

If you invited me to your home, I would enter looking for directional cues coming from you. You would tell me when it is time to sit and where to sit. You would tell me when it is time for a drink and when we will be eating. You would be in control. I would be on my best behavior and wait for instructions.

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Posted In: Editorial Musings

With mixed emotions, I read story after story about all the cruise lines that are dropping the COVID-19 vaccination requirements as the Centers for Disease Control relaxes their advice concerning the disease.  One half of me says, “fantastic; finally, we can get back to normal!” And the other half says, “we are still very far from normal.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Hairdressers. Stylists.  Barbers. Beauticians. The profession goes by many names, but chances are pretty good that you have one in your circle of acquaintances. As I was once told by a wise woman, only crazy people cut their own hair.  Certainly, my own experience with stylists indicates some important qualities: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Preview

Punta Cana, More Than Resorts

On the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic sits the second-most popular destination in Latin America, Punta Cana. Only 236 miles from Puerto Rico, it brings in more visitors than any city in the Caribbean and receives 64% of all flights arriving in the Dominican Republic. It is a classic white-sand beach and sun vacation for all manner of travelers, from couples to the young, to families—but Punta Cana also has a side for the luxury traveler.

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Posted In: Point-to-Point

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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Posted In: Deck Plans

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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Posted In: The Rosen Report

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 Monday.com 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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Posted In: Top Headlines

Renew Your U.S. Passport Online in August

US Passport

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Outposts

King Puck Statue (Photo Wikimedia contributor User:Itub)

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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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Posted In: Supplier Profile

Modern River Cruising, with American Cruise Lines

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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