Tuesday April 30, 2013
River cruising is having a big year, thanks to ship debuts by the dozens. From the Danube to the Douro, if you haven't played close attention to industry news this past month or two, you've missed quite a bit.
Next year promises to be just as eventful, especially for Avalon Waterways. The line celebrates its tenth anniversary, and will welcome its eight Suite Ship. The latest ship in that category, Avalon Artistry II, arrived in April. The Avalon Expression launches in May. Both showcase Suite Ship design of two full decks of suites, Open-Air Balconies and more. Read More...
Thursday April 25, 2013
I'm sure many of you read the review of Elizabeth Becker's "Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism" in the New York Times over the weekend. The reviewer, Josh Hammer, is my former Bureau Chief at Newsweek, and someone whose foreign reporting I've always admired.
Though I've not read Overbooked, its theme is certainly of interest: the global imprint of the tourism trade. Based on the New York Times and other reviews, Becker's assertions are less than laudatory.
The complexities of a cost-benefit analysis of tourism (especially in developing nations) are legion. They're also dynamic, which makes it difficult to take a snapshot today that's still relevant tomorrow. Those of us engaged with the industry on a daily basis have a different perspective than those seeing the world as tourists. We interact with tour operators, product managers, tourism officials and travel sellers devoted to tourism as a positive force for change and tolerance.
Bruce Poon Tip ranks at the top of that list. Since founding G Adventures more than two decades ago, he's been a leader in harnessing the power of tourism for the common good. His latest initiative is The G Project, a call to action to the entire world. He's looking for ideas to help make communities better places to live, and is backing it with a $25,000 development grant. It's the boldest in a long series of G Adventures projects tapping into the good that tourism can do.
Unfortunately, positive news doesn't sell books. But I encourage everyone to spread the word about The G Project. Entries can be submitted until early June, with the winner announced in September. Then, we'll wait and see what else Bruce and the folks at G Adventures have in store to showcase tourism at its best.
Photo Courtesy G Adventures
Tuesday April 23, 2013
ASTA has just confirmed that former Secretary of State and US Senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton, will speak at its Global Convention. Clinton's address is scheduled for the closing session of the event, which takes place in Miami, FL from September 17-19.
The ASTA convention takes on a new format from prior years, when it was known as THETRADESHOW. I served as a cruise panel moderator one year, and enjoyed the attendant comaraderie and energy. But like many travel industry trade associations, ASTA has reformulated its concept of a successful meeting.
Wednesday April 10, 2013
Hawaii's "Pineapple Isle" of Lanai is in the news these days. One of the hottest topics: all those new enhancements at the Four Seasons Resorts Lanai: Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele. Improvements at the AAA Four Diamond properties include refurbished lobbies, a new fine art collection showcasing Hawaiian artists and a new partnership with acclaimed chef "Nobu" Matsuhisa.
The new ocean-view Nobu Lanai has opened on Manele Bay's lower lobby, adjacent to its signature One Forty. Guests can also enjoy lunchtime selections at Nobu by the Pool, a sushi counter offering delicacies such as spicy tuna rolls and sashimi.
Additional enhancements at Manele Bay include The Lounge, offering an expansive ocean-view setting and hand-crafted cocktails. A new Sports Bar features casual fare. Refurbished pool furnishings, VIP poolside service, complimentary snorkel tours, fishing lessons and Mercedes VIP transport are newly-added as well.
What's more, summer travel promotions at both properties are making them all the more enticing. "Stay Longer" packages offer a complimentary fourth night at Manele Bay or a complimentary third night at The Lodge at Koele.
Getting to Lanai is also more convenient. That's great news for those of us who found the ferry from Lahaina a bit too choppy and, air service too limited. Hawaiian Airlines' new turboprop subsidiary, Ohana by Hawaiian Airlines, will begin daily service to Lanai beginning in July. Island Air also plans to double its interisland turboprop fleet by the end of 2013.
Island Air, of course, is owned by Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison, who also owns a 98 percent interest in Lanai. Ellison's long-term goals for the island include civic improvements plus major solar energy and desalination initiatives. He also plans to construct a third 100-room luxury hotel on Lanai. It will reportedly be similar to the Kona Village Resort and located at the present site of Club Lanai on the island's eastern side.
We'll wait and see about the future developments on Lanai. But for now, the Four Seasons properties offer more than enough reason to visit.
Photos Courtesy Four Seasons Resorts Lanai