In 2009, the comedian Eddie Izzard set the almost unbelievable goal of running all the way around the circumference of England and Scotland, the equivalent of 43 marathons in 50 days, for charity and again in 2016 for 27 days in honor of Nelson Mandela.
He had never run a marathon before that time. I think it may be possible to learn something from Mr. Izzard. Read the rest of this entry »
The Travel Institute and AmaWaterways have launched a new, additional $50 bonus commission for all travel professionals who successfully graduate with their CTA, CTC, or CTIE in 2022 and subsequently book and deposit a new AmaWaterways river cruise within 90 days of their certification date.
“Certification from The Travel Institute has propelled many travel advisors’ forward giving certified advisors the knowledge, know-how, and confidence they need to best advise their clients. We want to recognize those advisors for making this investment in their careers and striving to be their best for our mutual guests by giving them something extra to recognize this achievement,” shared Diane Horan, CTC, director of Strategic Partner Networks with AmaWaterways.
Horan, a longtime advocate of agent education and The Travel Institute, said the new bonus commission applies to any new booking for travel in 2022 or 2023 and is combinable with some additional promotions that may also be available at the time of booking. For advisors who graduated earlier in 2022, the program is retroactive to January 1 allowing 90 days from announcement of the bonus program for early 2022 graduates to complete a new AmaWaterways river cruise client booking.
According to Guida Botelho, CTIE, director of training for The Travel Institute, the AmaWaterways bonus commission in effect decreases the cost of certification by approximately 10%. “We applaud AmaWaterways, the leader in luxury European river cruising, for their efforts to support, recognize and reward travel professionals who go above and beyond to achieve a higher level of professionalism, career success and satisfaction via certification. Together with our graduates, they are creating truly amazing travel experiences,” she said.
To receive their $50 USD, pre-paid digital Visacard,* graduates must first register for the commission and then email AmaWaterways providing their date of certification along with the passenger’s full name and booking number. The card can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted and is redeemable for one year from date of issue; full details for the commission plan are available online at registration. Learn more at The Travel Institute.
Rochelle Zemke and Stephanie Cavelli are two travel professionals who saw a need common to many, if not all, travel advisors and set out to meet it. The challenges they faced will sound familiar to anyone who has decided to build a web application on their own.
TRO: Rochelle and Stephanie, thanks for the opportunity to speak to you about My Fam Trip. I certainly want to get into the capabilities and functionality of your brainchild, but give me a little bit of background on the two of you. Read the rest of this entry »
SATA Azores Airlines has announced exclusive offers for agents for New York (JFK) to the Azores. The Azores is One of Europe’s Most Popular Island Destinations.
Earn 12% commission on this package through May 6!
If you want an unforgettable trip, which you will never forget, the Azores are the place. The Azores islands located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean offer idyllic landscapes. Isolated until the 20th century, the archipelago with the different cultures and nationalities of its settlers, the Azores Islands have a rich cultural diversity, which makes each island a new world waiting to be explored. In the Azores you will find landscapes of unparalleled beauty, monuments carved in stone from volcanoes, museums that will take you back in time, animals unique in all the world, a cuisine stuffed of intense flavors and people who will welcome you with arms wide open. All the necessary ingredients for a perfect trip.
Formerly known as SATA International, Azores Airlines (S4) is a subsidiary of SATA Air Açores that is based in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal. Founded in 1990, the airline operates from a hub at João Paulo II Airport (PDL). Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS) is a focus city. SATA connects over 80 destinations in the North Atlantic, with flights between continents, archipelagos, and islands.
In honor of National Travel Advisor Day, Wednesday, May 4, 2022, and National Travel Advisor Month, independent travel specialist Avanti Destinations is offering a $25 gift card for each FIT land booking of $5,000 or more made between May 1 and May 31, 2022 for travel any time before December 31, 2022 and paid with at least a deposit on land arrangements by the end of the May. Bookings may be made either online at https://book.avantidestinations.com or by calling Avanti’s reservation center.
“Our travel advisor partners are the cornerstone of Avanti’s success,” said Paul Barry, Avanti’s chairman. “We want them to know how much we appreciate their hard work.” This offer applies to each booking over the minimum qualifying value. There is no limit to the number of gift cards a travel advisor can earn.
The Portland, Oregon-based wholesale tour operator creates and sells custom-built independent and group travel 365 days a year in Europe, Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South America exclusively through travel advisors.
For more details on the National Travel Advisor Day offer, log onto the travel advisor portal https://book.avantidestinations.com or call 1-800-422-5053 to speak with an expert travel specialist.
Since 1981, Avanti Destinations has been selling independent travel products and custom-crafted vacations in Europe, Central and South America, Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East. The Portland, Oregon-based wholesale tour operator offers a wide range of FIT components to travel advisors only, including air, rail, rental cars, hotels, sightseeing/attractions, transfers and hard-to-find experiential travel options. Avanti specializes in hand-picked, locally-owned hotels in both large and small cities and in connecting all the pieces of complex, multi-destination itineraries. The company also creates complete packages for custom groups of 15-100 passengers. For more information: https://book.avantidestinations.com.
Consumer advocates often lodge the complaint that advertising is coercive and monopolistic, dictating public perceptions and buying habits. According to this theory, the public buys what they are told to buy, the product most advertised, rather than the product that is the best for their needs. Certainly, companies with the resources to put into advertising have a distinct advantage. Regardless of the actual merits of the argument, the perception it creates makes it more difficult to form a relationship with clients based on trust. Read the rest of this entry »
A newly released report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Kalibri Labs highlights the devastation the Covid-19 pandemic continues to visit on the hospitality industry.
The study predicts hotel business travel revenue will remain 23% down from 2019 in 2022 as the business travel market slowly recovers. Hotels nationwide. Large metropolitan markets such as Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, San Jose, and Washington D.C. will see a drop of 50% or more from 2019 levels.
The report indicates a full recovery will not happen until 2024.
Despite protests from airlines and travel industry associations, the CDC has extended the transportation mask mandate for an additional 15 days, citing the ongoing risk of infection from recent surges of Covid-19 in the United States.
“CDC continues to monitor the spread of the Omicron variant, especially the BA.2 subvariant that now makes up more than 85% of U.S. cases,” said CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund. “Since early April, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of cases in the U.S. In order to assess the potential impact the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, the CDC Order will remain in place at this time. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has decided to extend the security directive and emergency amendment for 15 days, through May 3, 2022.”
The mask mandate was scheduled to end next week after April 18th. The CDC has repeatedly extended the requirement to wear masks over the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the current 15-day extension is the shortest yet mandate extension.
Southwest Airlines Co. has added additional service to its flight schedule beginning in early June, including more options for California travel; new service for Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, and the Caribbean also announced.
“For a gamut of travelers seeking a business opportunity, faraway fun, or family time, these new routes and additional flights put the hospitality and value of Southwest Airlines in front of more of our customers,” said Andrew Watterson, Executive Vice President, and Chief Commercial Officer. “We recently extended our flight schedule to early November, and we’re making available new service sooner for planning early summertime journeys.”
Additional access between the Pacific Northwest and Silicon Valley grows with new Southwest service between San Jose, Calif. and Eugene, Ore., once-daily beginning June 5, and with additional flights on some existing routes.
Recently commemorating three years of serving the Hawaiian Islands, Southwest is increasing the number of flights within the Aloha State to offer interisland service at more times of day to connect people in the islands with business, family, and fun. New, once-daily service nonstop between Kahului (Maui) and Lihue (Kauai) begins June 5, with additional flights, offered on existing inter-island routes.
The carrier’s authorized travel between the U.S. and Cuba is available to more Southwest customers with a tripling of service from South Florida beginning May 4, roundtrip three times daily on the carrier’s Fort Lauderdale—Havana route. That same week, an additional roundtrip on Saturdays begins May 7 on the Tampa, Fla.—Havana route, to complement daily roundtrip service.
Visitors to Las Vegas in 2021 were younger and spent more than in previous years, and devoted more of their time to gambling according to the Las Vegas Visitor Profile study 2021.
A study conducted by GLS Research for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority indicates some positive trends in an uncertain time for Vegas. The amount visitors spent on gambling jumped to 39% despite monetary difficulties among the general public caused by the pandemic.
At the same time, the amount of time tourists spent on gambling per day has shot up as well. An estimated 21% said they spent an average of 5 to 6 hours, while one quarter (26%) said they gambled an average of three to four hours. Both figures are higher compared to numbers recorded from 2016 to 2019.
However, only 75% of 3,917 visitors said they gambled, down from 2019’s 81%. The downtrend is likely due to the travel restrictions imposed due to COVID-19, which hampered international travelers, particularly from Asia, where the biggest gamblers are, from traveling to Las Vegas. Per the data, only 3% are from other countries, while 97% of visitors came from the U.S.
Expenditures on other recreational and leisure activities also increased compared to pre-pandemic figures. For food and drink, for example, the average amount people spent was $462.37 compared to 2019 at $410.74. Money spent on shopping and local transport also climbed to $284.55 and $159.73, respectively.
While all basic expenditures have seen an increase, a notable exception was money spent on shows and entertainment which hit its lowest figure since 2016, with an average of $32.55.
In terms of demographic figures, the study revealed changing trends as well.
- More than one-half or 54% of visitors are 40 years old and older, with an average visitor age of 43.2. An estimated 21% of the visitors are ages 21 to 29;
- The number of visitors identifying as caucasian visiting Las Vegas dropped to 56% from 2019’s 77%. The number of African-American and Black visitors rose to 17% from the 9% recorded in 2019, followed by Hispanic/Latino visitors with 19%, up from 11%.
- One out of four visitors (26%) came from Southern California followed by Arizona with 11%
In our last article, we discussed how many consumers perceive advertising as manipulative and less than authentic. Another common complaint is that advertising imposes itself on the individual in an unwanted manner – it interrupts the flow of information or entertainment to gain mindshare. Thus, a commercial appears at the climax of the television show, or the banner ad covers up what you are trying to read. Indeed, much of the advertising to which we are exposed each day is unsolicited and unwanted. Read the rest of this entry »
In a statement sent to travel agents on Monday, Celebrity Cruises canceled the 2022-2023 Asia season of the Celebrity Solstice with a total of 19 cruises affected.
“We have made the difficult decision to cancel our Asia season due to the ongoing uncertainty around when international operations might fully restart in this region,” the cruise line said in the statement. “We thank our guests for their patience and understanding as the world continues to reopen and we continue to work through unique circumstances.”
Celebrity is offering passengers booked on the cruises the option of applying their current booking to select Asia sailings in the 2023-2024 season or a full refund.
Celebrity is redeploying the Solstice to the Mexican Riviera, replacing the seven-night sailings of the Celebrity Millennium. The Celebrity Millennium will be redeployed to the Caribbean.
When I stroll down the raised walkway to my tented bedroom in a safari camp, I almost bump into an elephant.
She’s as surprised as I am, and we both take a step backward. Then I quietly walk onto the wooden deck and pull up a chair as she continues eating. Soon more elephants jauntily stroll along to join her until 11 are standing in the mud 100 meters away, drawn by freshwater bubbling out of the ground at Deteema Springs, a five-star tented lodge in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Read the rest of this entry »
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is ready for increased travel volume and anticipates average daily passenger throughput will surpass 90% of pre-pandemic levels
“TSA’s collaboration with industry and federal partners has been instrumental throughout this pandemic, and now we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel as demonstrated by the rapid recovery of the travel industry,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We are prepared and ready for a busy spring, and are doing our part to ensure the traveling public is safe and secure by continuing to deploy new technologies within the checkpoint that enhance security, reduce physical contact and improve the traveling experience. We just ask travelers to do their part by being respectful to each other and those who work in the transportation sector – from our officers to airport workers and flight crew.”
Follow these tips for the fastest and most efficient TSA checkpoint experience possible during the 2022 Spring Break travel period, which is expected to reach near pre-pandemic travel volumes:
Tip 1: Continue to wear a face mask. If a mask mandate remains in effect at airports, wear a mask. The TSA will continue to assess the duration of the requirement in consultation with CDC.
Tip 2: Follow the rule that limits liquids. Gels and aerosols are limited to 3.4 ounces or less in carry-on baggage. There is an exception for hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit. The general definition for this rule is that if you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it or pour it, then the carry-on quantity is limited.
Tip 3: Pack food in a clear plastic bag. If you plan to travel with food, it is best practice to pack your food items in a clear plastic bag and place that clear plastic bag into your carry-on bag. When you get to the security checkpoint, remove and place the clear bag containing your food into the bin to reduce the opportunity for cross-contamination between the food and bins.
Tip 4: Leave prohibited items at home. To reduce the likelihood of physical contact with TSA officers at the checkpoint, be familiar with the TSA prohibited items list for carry-on bags. Travelers can check for prohibited items by using the “What Can I Bring?” page on TSA.gov and by downloading the free MyTSA app, which has a helpful “What Can I Bring?” feature.
Tip 5: Do not bring your firearm to a security checkpoint. Airline passengers can fly with firearms only in checked baggage. All firearms must be properly packed and declaredwith your airline at check-in. Contact your airline for additional guidance. Firearms at TSA checkpoints represent an unnecessary risk and an expensive mistake, as you may be subject to a civil penalty.
Tip 6: Give yourself plenty of time. Travel volumes are expected to be higher than they have been and some passengers may be traveling for the first time in quite a while. Extra time may be needed for parking, rental car and airline check-in counters, and at the checkpoint.
Tip 7: Empty your pockets when you get to the checkpoint. Place items inside your carry-on bag instead of into a bin to reduce touchpoints and not leave anything behind.
Tip 8: Listen for guidance from TSA officers. They may be providing information on new technologies that help reduce touchpoints and make for a more streamlined and convenient passenger experience.
Tip 9: Contact TSA with your questions. Tweet your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST or 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
Tip 10: Enroll now in TSA PreCheck®. “Travel with Ease” by enrolling in TSA PreCheck and avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, laptops and light jackets. Most new enrollees receive a Known Traveler Number within five days, and membership lasts for five years.
Uber is planning to create a “superapp” that will include aircraft, trains, and rental vehicles, partnering with airlines, railroads, and rental car companies to provide a seamless experience for customers who want to travel.
The announcement was made by the regional manager for the UK, Jamie Heywood, who said, “Ultimately, we want to make it as easy to move people around the world as today to order a Uber, a one-stop-shop for all your travel needs.”
They also plan to incorporate flights, hotel accommodation, and even Eurostar train tickets by integrating leading partners
The app is expected to be launched in the U.K first, with other markets to follow. There is no set date for when the app will be available to the public.
Travel agents can access guaranteed commission and discounted rates at a growing number of car rental providers while booking in the GDS.
THOR, Inc., a world leading travel services company, has announced the enhancement of its Car Program, in which its member travel advisors can book discounted and commissionable rates through their preferred GDS. THOR has worked with renewed focus to grow its Car Program with an increasing number of providers offering discounted and commissionable rates in over 1,700 cities in nearly 100 countries across the globe. Avis, Budget, Economy, Routes, ACO and AVR provide special rates to THOR member travel advisors when booking rental cars worldwide. In addition, Dav El BostonCoach and Carey International provide special rates on chauffeured car services. These recent additions are just the beginning of a strong pipeline of additional rental car providers to be added to the THOR Car Program throughout 2022 and beyond.
The THOR Car Program offers travel agent members a convenient way to book discounted and commissionable rates through their preferred GDS or over the phone using their affiliation with THOR. In addition to discounts and commission, travel agent members also receive personalized service and dedicated reservation lines when arranging car service, which serves THOR’s commitment to helping its travel agent members be as effective and efficient as possible.
Car Program Benefits
- Guaranteed Commission
- Access to Receive Email/Print Promotions, Contests and Specials
- Access to Supplier Education & Webinars
- Access to Exclusive Supplier Networking Events
“As we grow our supplier partnerships in 2022 our focus is on strategic relationships that benefit all members of the consortia,” said Julia Mighall, Senior Director Hotel & Car, THOR. “We are thrilled to welcome these established providers to the THOR network of suppliers with offers that benefit our member travel agencies and their customers.”
To learn more about the THOR Car Program and the services available to THOR travel agency members, visit
www.thortravelservices.com/Products-and-Solutions/car-program/. If you are not yet a THOR member travel advisor, please visit www.thortravelservices.com/membership/membership-form.html to get started
Consumers have a love/hate relationship with advertising. Some advertising is highly regarded, memorized and repeated, passed along virally. Other ads are the subject of scorn and vilification usually reserved for weapons of mass destruction. It is a worthwhile exercise to examine consumer attitudes toward advertising and to discover exactly what about it people find objectionable. Buried there is a lesson we can take back to our own marketing campaigns to ensure that it will be heard and trusted rather than frowned upon. Read the rest of this entry »
The long-term investment sees Hurtigruten Group take a 24.9% share in the company with headquarters in Quito, Ecuador, and further demonstrates Hurtigruten Group’s global growth ambitions in the adventure travel market.
The strengthened partnership will broaden opportunities to further expand into more unique land-based programs and excursions.
CEO of Hurtigruten Group Daniel Skjeldam said: “This investment signifies our growth journey and we are delighted to invest in Metropolitan Touring, a proud South American company that mirrors our expedition heritage and sustainability values. It is a unique opportunity for us to contribute to a more meaningful partnership, where we can expand quickly, strategically, and deliver on our vision for the future together.”
The strategic partnership broadens Hurtigruten Group’s portfolio of products in iconic, natural destinations, reinforcing its position as a leader in sustainable adventure travel.
Hurtigruten Expeditions, the world’s largest expedition cruise company and part of Hurtigruten Group, is offering year-round expedition cruises, in close cooperation with Metropolitan Touring, visiting the fabled archipelago’s most spectacular sites on board the 90-guest Santa Cruz II.
Tourism Ireland indicates top international tour operators have been discovering Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and some of the destination’s other top visitor attractions, as part of a fact-finding trip to Northern Ireland. The tour operators were invited here by Tourism Ireland, in conjunction with Tourism NI – to participate in the annual Meet the Buyer workshop in ICC Belfast.
Indeed, travel to Ireland has increased dramatically. The number of international passengers arriving in Ireland increased by more than 1,300 percent this year in comparison with February last year. Before the workshop, the tour operators took part in an ‘Iconic NI’ themed tour. The tour operators enjoyed a guided tour of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and visited Hinch Distillery, Titanic Belfast, and SS Nomadic. They also traveled along the Causeway Coastal Route to visit Glenarm Castle, the Giant’s Causeway, and Glenshane Country Farm.
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to bring 140 top international tourism buyers to Northern Ireland for Meet the Buyer 2022. As we restart overseas tourism to Northern Ireland, this event is a really important opportunity for our local tourism partners. The participation of these buyers from around the world is a strong indication that interest in visiting Northern Ireland remains high and that it can, and is, competing with the best destinations in the world.
“Tourism Ireland has an extensive program of promotions underway for 2022. We are taking every opportunity to leverage the many good news stories about Northern Ireland tourism this year – including the opening of the new Game of Thrones Studio Tour, the recent designation of Belfast as a UNESCO City of Music, the 10th anniversary of Titanic Belfast and the fact that The Open will return to Royal Portrush in 2025. We are also highlighting Northern Ireland’s screen tourism success, including the final series of ‘Derry Girls’ and the new ‘Belfast’ film directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh. Our message is that Northern Ireland is open for business again and we cannot wait to welcome back visitors from around the world.”