Posts Tagged With: David Cogswell

There are 14 articles tagged with “David Cogswell” published on this site.


Lilly Ajarova, the CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board, visited New York last week in preparation of Uganda’s rolling out of a rebranding campaign.

The slogan for the country will change from “Uganda, the Pearl of Africa” to “Exploring Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.”

It’s only one word changed, but as Mark Twain said, the difference of one word can be like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

More important than the change of slogan, the tourism department is changing its idea of how to market itself and to whom.

“We’ve been able to define who our audience is,” Lilly Ajarova told me. “We are looking for travelers, not just tourists, people who are more responsible, more mindful, and travel in a responsible way, as opposed to Read the rest of this entry »

It’s a time when senators, mayors and congresspeople are dropping out of public service, CEOs are stepping down at an unprecedented rate and leaders are abdicating their positions in droves—overwhelmed by the extraordinary demands of the times. The person who stepped into the leadership position at Delta Vacations, however, is eager and plucky.

“I can’t think of a better time to be joining than the last couple of months,” she told me. “There’s so much opportunity on the horizon to really create a strong connection with our customers and our travel advisors. Now this is going to be the fun part.”

Kama Winters became president of the wholesale vacation packager on June 21, after Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Behind The Great Resignation?

Ray Snisky, group president of Apple Leisure Group’s vacations division, told travel advisors last week that the airlines were having trouble hiring staff, including pilots and mechanics. Speaking at the Travel Impressions Best of the Best event in Puerto Vallarta, Snisky said the airline staff shortages have been causing cancellations, which throw ALG into frantic efforts to rebook and re-accommodate thousands of clients at the last minute. Read the rest of this entry »

Visiting South Africa via Cinema

While Covid laid waste restaurants, entertainment and tourism businesses, it didn’t hurt Netflix any. Netflix gained 8 million subscribers in 2020. And you don’t need market research to know that people spent a lot more time watching screens in 2020 than in 2019.

Long before the passenger jet industry made global travel easy and accessible, movies were already established as one of the best ways to travel if you couldn’t leave your hometown. Travel scenes have always been a large part of the appeal of movies. And movies are great vehicles for promotion of places where they are set.

Even if the movie does not feature iconic scenes in Paris, New York, Rio or the African bush, it takes you somewhere besides where your physical body is presently seated. We traveled virtually in movies long before anyone used the word “virtual” the way we do now. During 2020 and the Covid pandemic, most people all over the world were restrained from Read the rest of this entry »

First Flight in the Age of Covid

Funny how things change. “Check in” used to mean you had arrived at the airport and were ready to fly. It told the airline you had gotten to the airport on time and hadn’t got stuck in a traffic jam and missed the flight. But now you can check in online the day before your flight. The airline doesn’t know if you have made it to the airport until you have boarded. Or if you check a bag. This time I checked a bag. Later I wished I had gate-checked it.

My flight from Newark to Kansas City was my first in nearly two years. I used to fly about once a month. Since the onset of Covid layoff it’s been a long time of not setting foot in an airport. It was wild to plunge back into the madness. I forgot how mad it is.

I had planned to use Uber to get to the airport, but the app on my phone wasn’t working. It needed an update to even function. And time was fleeting. I updated the app, but then it wouldn’t take my credit card. My account showed an old expiration date, and it wouldn’t let me update the information. “You already have this card on file,” it commanded. “Try another one.” I didn’t want to use another one. But I did. You can’t argue with an app Read the rest of this entry »

Why I Don’t Ride Elephants

When I was in India I took an elephant ride. It’s an attraction that is offered tourists in countries such as India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The elephants were decoratively adorned with colorful weavings. I sat over the shoulders and rocked with the movement as the elephant walked up a hillside toward a temple. It was a thrill to be on the back of such a big, wonderful animal that was generously allowing me to ride on his back. I felt gratitude and friendship for the gentle giant.

I admit, I didn’t give it a lot of thought. It was just a few moments of one day on a 10-day tour. I took the ride, enjoyed it, and then moved on to the next thing on my itinerary. Then one day I met Stephanie Shaw, the corporate liaison for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and I realized what should have been obvious to me in the first place. Of course. Why did I ever think that an elephant would work a day job carrying humans around on his back constantly of his own free will, hour after hour, day after day?

When I learned the story behind the elephant rides, I felt ashamed of myself for being so insensitive to the animal. I was sorry for having participated in it, for helping to perpetuate the practice of selling elephant rides, which requires a kind of captivity and treatment I can hardly bear to imagine.

I assume others who take the rides are like I was. They saw the elephant ride attraction and went on it, not thinking that much about how it came to be that the world’s largest land animal would be submitting itself to serving as a taxi at a tourist attraction Read the rest of this entry »

Longwoods: The Bad News and the Good

Ever true, tried and trusty, Longwoods International continues to monitor the changes in demand for travel with its latest survey, COVID-19 Travel Sentiment Study – Wave 46, published last week. The snapshot, taken a year and a half into a grisly pandemic, indicated that consumers have now settled into a “new normal” in regard to travel.

The study was conducted Sept.15. Longwoods surveyed a national sample randomly drawn from a consumer panel of 1,000 adults, ages 18 and over. The sample was tailored to match Census targets for age, gender, and region to make the survey representative of the US population.

About the best thing you could say about the results is that “it could have been worse.” And it certainly could have been. Just recall how it was before the vaccines came on the scene.

But with the recovery we saw gaining strength at the beginning of summer stalled by a resurgence in Read the rest of this entry »

Cuba: Hope Springs Eternal

There are many ways to look at Cuba. From a strictly-business point of view, it’s a sad story. There’s never been any question that there has been huge pent-up demand by Americans to travel to Cuba. After more than half a century of being prohibited by their own government from traveling to what used to be considered one of the hottest vacation destinations in the world, of course there is demand. It’s 90 miles from Florida, a heavenly tropical Caribbean destination. But for practical purposes it’s blackened off the tourist map.

There’s never been any situation that compares to it. Americans can travel pretty much anywhere. Americans are not dictated to by their government as to where they can travel. They can travel to America’s Cold War nemeses, Russia and China, even to Vietnam. But not Cuba. Read the rest of this entry »

It Matters Who You Travel With

I noticed recently that Expedia is using the slogan, “It matters who you travel with.” I found that to be a curious choice for the mega online travel agency. I agree with the statement wholeheartedly, but applying it to Expedia is a mismatch. It would be appropriate if you applied the slogan to the American Society of Travel Advisors.

ASTA used to use the slogan, “Without a travel agent, you’re on your own.” And it was, ironically, Expedia who taught me the truth of that statement. It was a hard lesson.

It’s surprising to me that after so many years Expedia still has customers. I have to think that the people who still book with Expedia have never had anything go wrong on a trip. Because if you book with Expedia, and something does go wrong, you really are on your own. At least that was the case in my experience. Read the rest of this entry »

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” said Juliet Capulet, according to William Shakespeare. Times change, names change. Peking became Beijing. We got used to it. It doesn’t really matter.

Bombay is now Mumbai. Canton is now Guangzhou. Saigon is Ho Chi Minh City. St. Petersburg became Petrograd, then Leningrad, and now is St. Petersburg again. Constantinople is Istanbul. Natal province in South Africa became KwaZulu-Natal. New Amsterdam became New York. Cross Keys, Pennsylvania, became… Intercourse? I swear. It did. Look it up.

Now travel agents are known as travel advisors. Or travel advisers, depending on what you are reading. The reason for the change in nomenclature was, of course, to break from the past and emphasize that travel retailers don’t just turn over tickets for airlines Read the rest of this entry »

Antarctica and Africa in One Trip

After a year of being locked down, it’s understandable that people may want to double up on their bucket list trips to make up for lost time. But Africa and Antarctica in the same trip? That seems a stretch.

When I first learned that two tour operators, Wilderness Safaris and White Desert, joined forces to offer two trips that combine an African safari with an Antarctic expedition, my reaction was that the combination was incongruous at best. In my mind, they seemed to be two separate worlds, almost like two opposite poles of experience. But, when I looked closer, I found that it makes perfect sense. Read the rest of this entry »

Branson Wins the Space Race, at Least This Round

Richard Branson, still cutting a charismatic figure at 70, flew to space and made it safely back again with his space tourism company Virgin Galactic. It was another milestone for Branson, who first made his fortune in the record business with Virgin Records in the early 1970s.

It’s been a long time since Branson embarked on his space enterprise, founding Virgin Galactic in 2004. In February 2007 I attended a ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., at which 45 Virtuoso travel agents were certified as Accredited Space Agents, after completing Virgin Galactic’s training regimen.

Anything to do with Branson is going to be done with top notch PR, and holding the event at Cape Canaveral was a brilliant stroke. Having dinner under a giant Saturn 5 Rocket created a heady atmosphere for travel agents tasked with introducing space flight to the public.

It gave the event a great boost to connect with the US space program Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Release is Here: Are You Ready?

After a year of being pent up, the Great Release is upon us, and now it seems sudden. Things are opening faster than predicted just a few months ago.

In March 2020, the COVID pandemic submerged us in the exponential growth of new infections and, before we could comprehend what was happening, we were virtually imprisoned, taking shelter to save our lives. We settled in and got used to being confined. Now the release is happening all around us. And it seems to be happening faster than almost anyone expected.

The demand for travel is, unsurprisingly, going through the roof. But to say “it’s complicated” is to vastly understate the circumstances. World travel now is an extremely tangled web. Read the rest of this entry »

Austin Adventures: Places You Can Go Now

As the world moves unsteadily toward eliminating the threat of COVID-19, navigating the world can seem like moving across a map on which all the countries are different colors. The pandemic has been global, but the response to it is highly fragmented. There is no standard international code for how to create a safe environment while COVID continues to be present. Every country is going about it in its own way.

That’s great for the spirit of independence, but it creates a whole lot of annoying complications for travelers who, a couple of years ago, used to cross many international borders with ease. For Dan Austin, president of Austin Adventures, an operator of tour programs on several continents, it has become like an endless series of changing conditions Read the rest of this entry »