New and increased flights bring more international travelers to Alaska

Russia’s Yakutia Airlines is new to Alaska (Alexander Sizov -

New and increased services to Alaska by several international airlines have been announced, allowing even more international travelers to visit. Russia’s Yakutia Airlines is completely new to the state offering seven summer flights to Anchorage from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Korean Air will operate flights between Japan and Alaska for the first time (four summer flights) joining its current seven summer flights from Korea to Alaska. Japan Airlines will start service from a few new cities (Naha, Kagoshima, Matsuyama, Okayama, and Niigata), offering 21 summer flights. German airline Condor has increased its total number of flights to 73 this summer. According to a new state research study released in April by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, international visitation to Alaska is on the rise, increasing 10 percent to 154,000 visitors during the summer of 2011. Australia recently topped the United Kingdom as the primary origin of international visitors, followed by Europe and Asia. For more information on visiting Alaska, go to

Saving Money on Travel

There is no need for a person to put aside their dreams of travel because of economic uncertainty because of the great travel deals available today.

The best way to save money on travel is to cut out the middleman by firing your travel agent. Instead of going to a travel agency, go online and search for deals yourself. Most people should be able to find really good deals on airline and train tickets, cruises and hotel rooms online.

Today's online travel sites are easy to use and understand. Anybody who can surf the net should be able to find a really good deal quickly. The best suggestion when going online for travel is to visit several different travel sites such as Orbitz and Priceline.

Another good suggestion when searching for travel deals on the web is to visit the sites of airlines, railroads, cruise ship companies and hotel chains directly. In many cases these sites will feature deals that can't be found elsewhere.

Going directly to the source is a really good idea when booking travel at the last minute. Hotel companies and airlines often have last minute bargains available because they loose money whenever a room or seat sits empty.

Perhaps the best advice in planning travel is to start shopping for tickets and hotel rooms as early as possible. Start shopping for the tickets and rooms you need as soon as you start planning your trip. Many hotels and airlines will give people who book early, good deals. Booking early can lock in your price and ensure that you get the room and ticket you want.

The other good piece of advice is to be flexible when planning your trip. If possible try to go in the off season, because that's when you get the best deals. Generally, the cheapest deals are available in the fall or late spring.

When planning a ski trip consider late January or late March which are the off season in the ski industry. For a beach vacation, the fall is often a good time to go if you can find a beach with nice weather. The fall is also the best time to book trips to Europe, Asia and places like New York.

Another great tip is to try and get off the beaten path and head for lesser destinations. Those on a budget can save quite a bit of money by avoiding the really popular travel spots and looking for alternatives.

For example you could take your beach vacation in Costa Rica instead of Mexico. Or head to an Eastern European destination such as Poland or Macedonia instead of Paris or London. In the US you could choose Panama City, Florida, over Miami or Hawaii.

A good way to spot these locations is look at the travel websites, travel magazines and travel sections of newspapers. These often feature articles about bargain destinations and exotic trips that are cheaper than the normal spots.

Finally, look for ways to save money when you get to the destination. An example of this would be to take public transit instead of renting a car or renting a room with a kitchen so you could cook some of your own meals.

Avail Cheap Travel Deals Offered by Travel Sites

There are many travel services companies that offer discount offers on airline tickets to different tourist destinations across the world. In order to cope up with the tough competition among themselves they try to offer lucrative deals to the travelers. Cheap travel deals to many places are offered by these sites. If you are also one of those who are in search of good airline packages or are looking for cheap airline tickets, you have to browse the internet to find out some genuine and trustworthy travel sites.

Many people who are interested in touring to different places of interest in this world look for a cheap travel deal or airline packages to spend a vacation. There can be many travel deals like special discount to the defense personals or to the senior citizens etc. There can also be some airline packages to students or scholars who want to study culture of different countries. If you do not fit into any of these categories, you still do not have to lose hope. There are many additional benefits that the travel sites offer apart from offering cheap airline tickets.

Loyal users of a travel site are given more facilities and they can enjoy more privileges as they can earn some points or miles after every international tour. That is for every tour they can get some miles like 50 or 100 miles and on these miles there would be a certain percentage of discounts. A regular traveler can accumulate these points and get good discounts on his airline tickets to any part of the world. Most travelers use these miles for discount purpose in their future travel.

Different travel sites have different types of deals. You can conduct a search in the internet and find out what types of deals are offered. You can pick to book your airline tickets with the company that caters to your needs the most. You have to be vigilant enough to know from which site you can gain the most. There are some seasons in the year when cheap travel deals are offered. You have to keep your tour flexible to enjoy such benefits. For example summer is considered as the best season to travel to tourist spots by many travelers. Therefore, at this time the prices of airline tickets soar high. You can opt to travel some other time to travel to enjoy discount tickets.

Sometimes there may be special airline packages but booking tickets for a round trip will definitely reduce your expenses. There are many more tips that you can adopt to avail cheap plane tickets packages. In order to know more about the tips to get discount airline tickets you have to regularly follow the travel sites, read the forums, reviews and other travel related information. You can also subscribe to a newsletter with a good travel services company to get the updates and cheap travel deals and plan a fun filled vacation to your favorite destination.

Virgin Australia in bed with Virgin America - Marriage approved

VIRGIN America has received approval from the US Dept of Transportation (DOT) to allow the ‘VA’ code of sister-carrier Virgin Australia on US routes (TD 12 Jun).

The “initial” list of codeshare points Virgin Australia will display its code on Virgin America metal are from Los Angeles to Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Ft Lauderdale, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle and the US capital, Washington DC.

VA/VX had requested expedited approval to begin marketing the services as soon as possible.

Overnight, the DOT said the statement of authorisation to display the VA code was limited to points in the United States.

The agreement is Virgin America’s first codeshare alliance.

New InterContinental resort opens in Vietnam



(VIETNAM) June 2012: One of South East Asia's most anticipated new resorts, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort has opened its doors, heralding a new standard of luxury accommodation in Vietnam.

The Bill Bensley-designed InterContinental Danang is nestled within one of the region's most exquisite locations, cascading through rainforest-covered mountain slopes that act as a natural amphitheatre for the resort's private bay on the Son Tra Peninsula.

All 197 of the resort's rooms, suites and beachfront villas are designed to take full advantage of their location and panoramic South China Sea views.  Large terraces and shuttered windows elevate private living spaces that draw in the surrounding jungle and crystal bay, and add depth to the spacious rooms that start from 70sqm.

Taking six years to design and build, InterContinental Danang is the latest creation of one of Asia's most celebrated resort designers, Bill Bensley.  The design features a rich template of earthy colours and bold features, and marries traditional and contemporary designs with the pristine surrounding landscape.  Everything, down to the in-room dining cutlery, was specifically selected to create an aesthetic that sets InterContinental Danang apart from any other Vietnamese resort.

Also highly anticipated is the arrival of the first three-star Michelin chef in Vietnam, Michel Roux at InterContinental Danang's signature restaurant, La Maison 1888. Founder of renowned UK restaurant The Waterside Inn, Roux will bring some of the world's most celebrated French cuisine to the Son Tra Peninsula.

La Maison 1888 is one of three restaurants and two bars spread throughout the resort.  Guests can swim in the bay or one of the resort's outdoor pools, experience Spa InterContinental and make use of the many entertainment and recreation facilities available.  The resort's youngest guests will also be delighted by InterContinental's signature kid's club, Planet Trekkers.

The extraordinary new resort will be bought to life through the exemplary, yet understated service that has elevated InterContinental to become one of the world's most respected luxury hotel brands.

Now open, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is a half-hour drive from Danang International Airport, and only a few kilometres from the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of The Imperial City of Hue, The Old Town of Hoi An and the My Son ruins.

To celebrate the opening, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is offering special rates on stays between June 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013, from US$220 per night*. The rate includes complimentary daily buffet breakfast for two, high-speed Wi-Fi access, 10% off dining at the resort's Citron Restaurant, Barefoot Café or L_o_n_g Bar, and complimentary shuttle bus service into Danang City and Hoi An Ancient Town.

For more information or to book, phone +84 (0) 511 393 8888, email or visit

*Subject to availability, blackout dates and terms and conditions apply.

NTA's News Stories in Adventure, Agritourism, Culinary & Faith-based Tourism

(Click on the green links below to see the articles!)

 New! Market Focus  
Welcome to Tuesday's newest feature! NTA members represent markets that are Focusdiverse and specialized, and our goal is to help build your business, expand your markets, share ideas and innovations, and develop relationships with each other. Each week we'll connect you to articles about specific industry segments to inform and inspire you. Beneath each article title is a link to the NTA member to contact for more information.

Adventure Tourism
Kentucky Launches Zipline Trail
NTA member to contact: Kentucky Dept. of Travel and Tourism

The Calling Card of Tourism Pays Off in the Mountains
NTA member to contact:  North Carolina Division of Tourism Film and Sports Development 

The New Face of Grand Junction Tourism
NTA member to contact: Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau 

Jordan Conference: How can destinations seize the opportunities afforded by rapidly changing market conditions?
NTA member to contact: Jordan Tourism Board of North America

N.J. Agritourism Helps Farmer's Cover Costs
NTA member to contact: New Jersey Division of Travel & Tourism

Partnerships Needed to Grow Agritourism
NTA member to contact: Washington Tourism Alliance

Culinary Tourism
Exploring Mississippi's Culinary Trails
NTA member to contact: Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division

Positioning Montreal as an international gastronomic destination
NTA member to contact: Tourisme Montreal

Tourism Richmond Reveals Identity of "Richmond Foodie Blogger"
NTA member to contact: Tourism Richmond

Faith-based Tourism
Globus Study Sees Solid Growth in Religious Market
NTA member to contact: Globus

And join our discussions on NTA's Faith-based Tourism Network gives you the opportunity to:
  • Meet and connect with industry colleagues involved in faith tourism.
  • Develop relationships and facilitate business interactions.
  • Exchange articles, strategies, insights, trends and ideas meaningful to the marketplace.
  • Build a coalition of faith tourism leaders, members and delegates.

Rent an Apartment in Paris

More than 100 apartments situated in the best Parisian neighbourhoods for short term leisure rental is a respected player in the business of short-term apartment rental in Paris. Backed by an established apartment management company, through innovation and quality service, Paris travellers benefit from this unique and thoroughly personal service.

Finding suitable, comfortable, well-located accommodations at below-hotel rates whilst visiting Paris for a week or a weekend is a daunting, if not impossible task.
Hotel package deals often compromise on service and quality. Renting via flat swapping or direct from owners is risky and can result in last-minute disappointment. Likewise there is no continuity in experience (cleanliness, quality) from one location to another.

In response, ApartmentParis has created an alternative solution positioned between these two extremes. Even though it is not a hotel, clients are guaranteed hotel standard services such as decoration and furniture suited to the travellers’ needs, wifi access, housekeeping service, fresh sheets and linens.

While each apartment can be adapted to the traveller’s needs, they all come with a basic service: sheets, linens, cable & satellite TV, high bandwith internet and wifi. Prices start at 55 euros ( 75 dollars or 46 £ )per night for a studio apartment in off-season.

ApartmentParis manages more than 100 apartments that can accommodate from two to eight people, perfect for single travellers, couple or families. Business travellers can also benefit from apartments located close to the main Paris train stations.

All flats are located near tourist attractions such as the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées, Montmartre, and in charming neighbourhoods like the Marais, Buttes Chaumont, Canal Saint Martin…

Reservations and apartment availability information are online at

A bilingual (French/English) call centre is available to assist travellers with their plans.

Their positioning between a hotel and person-to-person rental service permits ApartmentParis to address a large niche. Current economic circumstances reinforce the necessity to make travel budgets stretch as comfortably far as possible. The competitive price combined with the quality and flexibility of ApartmentParis’ flats adds an extra dimension of comfort (economic and physical) to your Paris travel plans.

For further information:

Allianz Survey Finds Summer Travel Continues to Rebound

By Theresa Norton Masek

* Social media featuring in more travel plans

More Americans will take a vacation this summer, and more are getting an early start, according to the third annual Allianz Travel Insurance Summer Vacation Confidence Index released by Allianz Global Assistance USA. Fifty-seven percent of Americans are likely to hit the road this season, up 3 points from last year and exceeding the 50 percent of Americans who say they typically take a summer vacation, traveling at least 100 miles from home for a week.

The vacation uptick is the result of those reporting they have already gotten away — 13 percent, up 5 points from last year — paired with the 44 percent of Americans who are confident they’ll take a vacation before summer’s end.

The index also found that America’s “vacation deficit” is shrinking. Measured by taking the proportion of those who think a vacation is important but are not confident that they’ll get one this year, the deficit dropped to 18 percent, down 6 points from last year and 10 from the year before.

“With the rebound of summer vacation travel, we’ve seen an increase in travel insurance sales,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications with Allianz Global Assistance USA. “This is especially true for bigger ticket purchases such as trips to London for the Olympics — the travel highlight this season.”

Social media continues to grow in popularity when planning vacations. Among those confident they will take a summer vacation, 52 percent are using social media for inspiration. Facebook is the favorite site, used by 29 percent; runner-up sites include TripAdvisor (14 percent), Twitter (6 percent), and Pinterest (4 percent).

Young adults age 18-34 are more likely to peruse Facebook, tweet, and pin to plan their travel (73 percent), than those age 35-55 (45 percent) or those 55-plus (24 percent).

Most seasoned travelers have one airport nightmare that they wouldn’t want to relive; however, sometimes hiccups are inevitable. Asked how they would spend time if their flight was delayed for hours, most said they would immediately call their travel agent or get in line to rebook (28 percent), while others would catch up with friends and family via phone, Skype, or email (24 percent), nap (19 percent) or load up on celebrity magazines (9 percent). Young adults said they are more likely to jump on their cells or computers to connect with friends and family (33 percent vs. 24 percent for travelers generally). And women were twice as likely as men to buy magazines (11 percent vs. 6 percent).

While the generational divide on how travelers use social media is unsurprising, the survey also found that there is a strong split between young adults, middle-aged travelers, and older Americans when it comes to attitudes on how to handle a flight delay and other airport mishaps.

Younger Americans are more likely to have committed an airport faux pas — overpacking and arriving late — causing them to miss or almost miss their flights. Among their top confessions: they are more likely to have overpacked and paid extra fees for checking luggage than travelers generally (30 percent vs. 23 percent) and they are more likely not to have left enough time to get to the airport (24 percent vs. 20 percent).

Among travelers generally, 7 percent say they didn’t follow security regulations or had prohibited items in their luggage and missed or nearly missed their flight as a result. Four percent said they have missed or nearly missed their flight because they’ve sat in the airport lounge/bar for too long.

How Travel Sites Offer Cheap Air Tickets and Hotel Deals

Has it intrigued you enough to find why a travel site is able to offer such cheap air tickets; whereas the official sites show panic-inducing prices for the same travel products?

If yes, then you are reading the right article since in this article, we explain the popular methods employed by different travel sites to offer you cheap air fare and attractive hotel deals.

Volume Play

Imagine yourself as a top airline with 50 airplanes and regular flights. Won't you love if a travel agent comes to you and shows the possible customers he can get for you? Would you not consider his request to offer him special rates so that he succeeds in attracting more and more customers and you gain along with him? After all, what fun is there in flying a Boeing with few passengers?

Now, let's see your possible benefits. If you do offer him the special rates, you would get a newer customer base and decrease the amount of advertisement effort, thus in turn making even more savings, generating more revenue and making more profits.

This is what a reputed travel site with its rich consumer base is able to get you. It arranges special fares by the virtue on the traffic volume and pass on the special rates to the end consumers.


What doesn't get done by volume; gets done by owning it. Imagine yourself as a travel site with hotel properties spread across a certain geography. Since you already have access to high traffic and no need to market your site, won't you want to use it for marketing your hotels and get higher occupancy levels?

Ownership too differs in nature. From time-sharing to owning a certain percentage of hotel rooms, travel sites work out different terms with hotel properties and pass these benefits further to the consumers.

All Inclusive Deals

Through all-inclusive deals, travel sites work out special deals with different suppliers and multiply the little discounts each offers to get bigger savings for the end users. This might not be available for the consumers if they searched for each product individually.

The basic idea travel sites go to market with is to help consumers save money and therefore get bigger traffic in turn. While no travel service provider gives up on profits, they nevertheless agree to offer discounts once they see the real picture. Clearly, a travel site with years under its belt benefits more since it has control over a larger audience. Therefore, whenever you want to book cheap air tickets or hotel deals, it is advisable that you do it with a site with few years under its belt since tenure does define the amount of savings a travel site can offer you.

Top Five Attractive Places in New York

1. Empire State Building

The Empire State Building tour is one of the most popular skyscrapers in the world! It is a 102-floor art deco skyscraper, which can be found in the heart of NYC at Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. For more than 40 years, it was the world's tallest skyscraper and now is the 15th tallest in the world. A visit to the Empire State Building observation deck is a must for visitors to NYC. It can be found on the 86th floor and has a breathtaking 360 degrees view of the city. The legendary skyscraper can be seen for miles with its tremendous spire. It's especially wonderful at night when the top of the skyscraper is all lit up.

2. Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty tour is not only one of the most familiar symbols of New York City worldwide - but of the United States. The Statue was the first vision that accepted large number of immigrants that entered New York harbor on ships from all over the world. The monument was a gift to the US from the French Government to celebrate 100 years of American Independence. This monument is located on a 12 acre island (Liberty Island) so it is best viewed by boat. Boat trips to Ellis Island leave Battery Park and pass right by the Statue of Liberty.

3. Ellis Island

Ellis Island is situated south of the tip of Manhattan and is mostly utilized by ferry from Battery Park. Ellis Island is a place that will touch every visitor's heart. It was here more than 20 million people passed through immigration as they entered the US between 1892 and 1924. Move through the Great Hall of this museum, where thousands of immigrants would have waited their fate to see if they were allowed into the US. View collectibles, clothing, and original items left behind by passengers. Listen to their stories; observe the audiovisuals and search for your forefathers.

4. Times Square

You just can't forget this energetic part of the city with its boasting billboards and bright lights! You will find it between Broadway and 7th Avenue from 42nd to 47th Street. Times Square is the iconic symbol of urban New York where there are hundreds of advertisements vying for visitor's attention. It's also home to some of the city's top theaters and cinemas. Times Square is definitely the place to go for New Years Eve when hundreds of thousands congregate on the square to watch the famous 'ball drop' at the countdown.

5. Rockefeller Center

The Rockefeller Center is a complicated of 19 buildings in Midtown Manhattan often referred to as a "City in a City". Some of the top buildings here include the Bank of America building, the GE Building and Radio City Music Hall. On top of the GE Building is where you'll find the 'Top of the Rock' Observation tower. Here visitors can admire panoramic views of the city especially Central Park and the Empire State Building.

New Hilton brand for Australia

Source: Travel Daily

DoubleTree by Hilton to debut down under

Hilton Worldwide has announced the "breakthrough" launch of its DoubleTree by Hilton brand in the Australian market under a deal with Ramtron Australia.

The 164-room DoubleTree by Hilton Karratha in WA's Pilbara region will be the state's second Hilton-branded hotel, joining the Parmelia Hilton Perth, and is slated to open by mid-2014, complementing the group's 15 other properties spread across Australasia.

"The hotel is strategically located to support the ever growing demand from the resources sector," Robert Scullin, vice president of development, Australasia Hilton Worldwide said today.

Global head Rob Palleschi said: "The DoubleTree by Hilton, Karratha shows our commitment to providing comfortable, amenity-rich hotel experiences for business travellers as we create a rewarding and friendly hotel experience for the DoubleTree by Hilton brand globally."

The eight-storey hotel will feature 20 apartments, a fitness centre, outdoor pool and three function rooms.

Hilton Worldwide has more than 300 DoubleTree by Hilton properties in 24 countries.

More information in tomorrow's issue of Travel Daily.

PNG cultural festivals now underway

tourists to gain cultural insight

The 2012 cultural festival season in Papua New Guinea is now in full swing, running from June until November each year, offering intrepid travellers an authentic PNG experience only a few hours flight from home.

Important aspects of Papua New Guinea culture, such as tribal dance and song (known as Sing-Sings), elaborate masks and costumes and traditional rituals take place at these annual events – which still today only draw a small crowd of fascinated tourists.

Peter Vincent, CEO of PNG Tourism Promotion Authority says the festivals provide genuine insight into the PNG traditions as the events are not actually held for tourist entertainment.

"There are important meanings behind each of the events that are taking place in PNG over the next couple of months and these festivals will continue to happen in local communities whether tourists attend or not," he said.

"This is what makes it such a unique experience for overseas travellers – they get to see the real PNG in all its glory."

Festivals such as the National Mask Festival in Rabaul and the Mt Hagen Show are slowly growing in notoriety, but there are smaller festivals like the Kenu and Kundu Festival in Alotau, the eastern tip of Papua New Guinea and the Crocodile Festival in Ambunti that are virtually unknown to tourists – providing that highly sort after – 'last frontier' experience.

While some festivals are not publicised and known only through local word of mouth, there are a growing number of events that Australians can research and attend with organised tours.

Kenu & Kundu Festival 2– 4 November, Alotau, Milne Bay Province
Canoes and the Kundu drums are a significant aspect of the lives of the people of Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. Both the Canoe and the Kundu were widely used in olden times in ceremonies and rituals and were meticulously crafted from special woods under strict customs, to derive the best results and to appease the gods.

Crocodile Festival- 8-9 August 2012, Ambunti District, East Sepik Province
The Sepik River is home to one of the world's largest populations of fresh and saltwater crocodiles. In respect for the strong bond shared between locals and crocodiles, this festival marks the coming of age ceremonies where many village men are given tattoos resembling crocodile skin. This WWF supported festival is intended to increase enthusiasm for conservation while maintaining local traditions.

Hiri Moale Festival- 14-17 September 2012, Port Moresby
The Hiri Moale Festival celebrates and re-creates the epic trading journeys of the Motuans of the Central Province. The voyages started when Edai Siabo of Boera village befriended a sea god and built the first lakatoi, or dugout canoe. Historically, these journeys contributed to the development of PNG's national language, Hiri Motu.

The best way for visitors to get off the beaten path is to celebrate PNG's dance, music, and artistic traditions alongside the locals. These remote festivals celebrate PNG's vibrant artistic heritage:

National Mask Festival – 18-21 July 2012, Kokopo, East New Britain Province
Warwagira Mask Festival- 13-17 July, 2012, Kokopo, East New Britain
Kavieng District Cultural Show- 21-23 July, 2012, Kavieng
Mt Hagen Show-10-12 August 2012, Mt Hagen, Western Highlands Province
Goroka Cultural Show- 14- 16 September, 2012, Goroka, Eastern Highlands

PNG's many maritime themed events also celebrate the importance of wildlife and environment in PNG culture:

Tembin Shark Calling Festival - 20- 23 July, 2012, Tembin Village
Tefa Canoe Festival- 27-28 Spetember, 2012, Boang Island

For further information about PNG and its popular upcoming festivals and recommended tour operators visit

Agritourism - Current Stories in the News

Mesa dairy thrives with agritourism
by Maria Polletta
The Republic |
Article excerpt:
"2009 was the tipping point," he said. "We were burning through equity and on a path to lose everything we'd worked for. I'd seen the writing on the wall and I thought, 'I'm either going to have to scale out and be a 5,000-cow dairy operation, or we're going to have to diversify what we offer.' "
That year, Stechnij and his sister, Alison, retired most of their milking cows and started focusing on agritourism to keep the farm at 3440 S. Hawes Road afloat. Now, nearly 100 percent of the farm's income comes from agritourism, which ranges from hay rides and Thursday-night farmers markets to a gourmet food truck and summer camps.

Agritourism takes root: Farm Tour highlights local produce
Article excerpt:
"It’s all part of Cleveland County’s growing agritourism industry – where visitors explore where their food comes from by going directly to the source: the local farm. The county and surrounding areas received national media attention in the last year with the release of “The Hunger Games.” That publicity has since sparked interest from other media outlets and travel writers wanting to capture everything Cleveland County has to offer its visitors."

Agritourism blossoms along the Red Rooster Route
Article excerpt:
ARLINGTON — It's farm fun time again in north Snohomish County, with a fresh slate of special festivals beginning in June. This year's roster of entertaining agritourism events will be larger than last year, reflecting the increasing popularity of the annual activities, all aimed at attracting city dwellers to the countryside for a rural farm experience and maybe a memorable overnight stay.

Agritourism brings in more money to local businesses
Article excerpt:
Vacationing isn't just about resorts on white-sand beaches anymore. Now more travelers around the world are looking to get back to their roots. A study from the University of Mississippi shows agritourism is a growing trend and many are booking vacations to farms and ranches. Companies on the Central Coast are tapping in and offering more opportunities for visitors to get an agricultural experience. Santa Margarita Ranch has done just that for almost a year now.



Park Hyatt Sydney has re-established itself as Sydney's premier hotel when it was recently named in two prestigious awards after a much anticipated reopening in March 2012. The hotel was listed in the internationally acclaimed Travel + Leisure magazine's IT List: The Best New Hotels 2012 and awarded the title of Best Capital City Hotel in the esteemed 2012 Australian Gourmet Traveller Travel Awards.

Resurfacing after an 11-month transformation, the newly renovated 22-year old harbour front luxury hotel reopened its doors to a dramatic overhaul and recognition. Noted for its high quality of service and luxurious residential interiors, this is the fourth time Park Hyatt Sydney has been awarded a Travel + Leisure award and a first in the Gourmet Traveller Travel Awards.

The hotel has received eight international and Australian awards in 2011 and 2012 including Best Australian Hotel - Luxury Travel Magazine Annual Gold Awards 2012, Gold List – World's Best Hotels 2011 - Conde Nast Traveler USA, Travel + Leisure World's 500 Best Hotels 2011 and Travel + Leisure 2011 World's Best Service 2011.

"Park Hyatt Sydney is honoured to be recognised as a preferred luxury hotel in Australia. This recognition is a reflection of the hotel's continued commitment to service excellence in providing our valued guests with a residential style home that reflect the unique characteristics of our harbour city in one of Sydney's most coveted locations", said General Manager Andrew Mensforth.

Emerging from a dramatic transformation, the newly redesigned Park Hyatt Sydney brings a new level of contemporary luxury to the edge of Sydney Harbour. With an unrivalled harbour front location between the world-famous Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, Park Hyatt Sydney offers guests an intimate, residential-style hotel with architecture and art that reflects the Australian landscape. Three new rooftop suites, including the exclusive Sydney Suite with near 360 degree panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and a private outdoor terrace, cater for the most discerning traveller.

Looking for a job in the Growth Travel Markets? Here's one way to search them...

Would you like to obtain a job working with or in Growth Travel Markets?

If so, how or where do you begin such a job search? There are of course many ways but one is visiting popular job sites and performing a job search search specific to your areas of interest in Growth Travel Markets. Here's an example of what you can do....

1) Go to job search websites such as,,, etc.
2) Perform a keyword search for phrases such as "adventure travel", "sports travel", "religious travel", and the like.

I just performed the above steps for "Adventure Travel" and sample job search results returned included jobs as adventure travel guide, adventure travel consultants, market research (adventure travel/outdoor), travel sales manager, etc.

Plus, always keep in mind that companies that specialize in Growth Markets (i.e. tour operator specializing in family travel) need accountants, sales personnel, marketing managers, etc., to operate on a daily basis. As such, the various types of jobs available in Growth Travel Markets are many and diverse.

United Airlines welcomes Copa Airlines, Avianca and Taca Airlines to the Star Aliiance

United and avianca begin codesharing

United Airlines today welcomes Avianca, TACA and Copa Airlines to the Star Alliance, the world's leading global airline network, offering United customers additional reach into Latin America. 

In conjunction with this announcement, effective today, United is placing its code on Avianca-operated flights to cities in Colombia, and Avianca is placing its code on certain United-operated flights within the U.S. This is in addition to United's relationship with TACA, which dates back to 2006.

United has a longstanding and broad relationship with Copa, including codesharing on Copa flights from its Panama hub and United flights in the U.S. United also serves as Copa's mentor in its entry into the Star Alliance.

"United heartily welcomes Copa, Avianca and TACA into the Star Alliance," said Hershel Kamen, senior vice president Alliances, Regulatory and Policy for United Airlines. "Avianca, TACA and Copa customers now have access to an unprecedented network with more than 21,500 daily Star Alliance member flights worldwide. Meanwhile, current Star Alliance customers will benefit from improved access to Latin America."

Through the Star Alliance, members of United's loyalty program, MileagePlus, and the Avianca and TACA frequent-flier program, LifeMiles, now can earn and redeem mileage anywhere on either airline's route network. MileagePlus is also Copa's loyalty program. Further, United Club members and MileagePlus Premier members with Star Alliance Gold status traveling on a same-day Star Alliance member flight can access Copa, Avianca and TACA lounges at the flight's departure city. Avianca, TACA and Copa Star Alliance Gold members can access United Club lounges worldwide when traveling on a same-day Star Alliance member flight from the airport lounge location. United and Copa jointly operate the lounge at Tocumen International Airport in Panama.

SITA report: Mobile apps transform how airlines do business

Survey shows 93% of airlines choose mobile as top IT investment

The way airlines are doing business is undergoing a fundamental transformation as mobile apps permeate every step of the journey and core aspects of operations. The 14th annual SITA/Airline Business IT Trends Survey shows 93% of airlines have mobile services for passengers as a top investment priority over the next three years, with 58% investing in major programs.

The survey, which represents the views of more than half of the world's top 100 carriers, reports that airlines are focusing IT investment in the key areas of improving passenger service, reducing the cost of business operations and revenue generation. Passenger service is the top priority and mobile services for passengers tops the list with 58% of airlines planning major programs in the next three years. An additional 35% are investing in research and development. In the area of sales and distribution, mobile has taken hold with more than half of airlines already selling tickets via mobile devices and by 2015, 89% of the airlines plan to do so.

But the real transformation is not just in the area of sales, this year's survey shows that airlines are using mobile apps right across the business. By 2015, almost nine out of ten airlines plan to have the following core services available via mobile: flight search, check-in, boarding passes, ticket purchase, flight status notification, ancillary services, with customer complaint handling and missing baggage management following closely

Half of the airlines have already implemented mobile services for flight search and check-in with close to half also providing boarding passes, ticket purchase and flight status notifications.

Launching the 2012 Airline IT Trends Survey, Francesco Violante CEO SITA, said: "This year's survey shows how airlines are committed to mobile across the whole business. Mobile apps are being used to improve the passenger experience, reduce operating costs and generate revenue. This is the second year that mobile services for passengers tops the list of investment programs and it is the adoption of mobile apps across sales, customer services and passenger processing that truly shows that airlines are committed to transformation."

Nine out of ten airlines are investing in social media over the next three years. Some 57% of airlines believe social media can play a significant role in promoting sales with 39% stressing its value in customer service. Four out of ten promote flights via social media already, and almost 90% plan to do so by 2015. Both social media and mobile open the door for a more personalized service, and 78% of airlines in this year's survey already have, or plan to, personalize sales offerings via their direct channels.

Over the last number of years, the SITA/Airline Business annual survey has shown the migration to mobile but the results this year show an absolute commitment from the airlines to a mobile future.

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Taiwan Tourism Bureau appoints PMACG as AU/NZ promotional agency

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau has officially appointed Sydney-based PMA Communications Group (PMACG) as its Australia/New Zealand promotional agency.

Announcing the appointment the Director of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau in Singapore, Arthur C.M.Hsieh who holds responsibility for the Australia/New Zealand region said the company's activity on behalf of the national tourism office would encompass strategy, creative, media, PR and event management on both sides of the Tasman.

Mr Hsieh added that the agency would work very closely with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau's Sydney-based Marketing Representative – Australia/New Zealand, Ms Pearl Lee on a day-to-day basis for the duration of the contract period.

A critical component of the overall agreement, he said, would be addressing visitor arrival targets which the bureau expects to see increase exponentially in the coming 12 months.

"Taiwan is very much a multi-faceted destination offering a host of new and exciting travel opportunities to the Australian and New Zealand markets," Mr Hsieh said.

"Our destination is full of surprises – we literally tick all the boxes with our unique culture, our quality, gourmet food experiences, fantastic shopping, superb spa and hot spring facilities, affordable, very easy to use transport systems and sightseeing.

"Add to that we offer a huge range of soft adventure activities ranging from trekking and mountain climbing to surfing some of the best waves to be found anywhere in northern Asia.

"Accommodation wise, we are geared to suit every type of traveller irrespective of their taste, requirement and budget.

"We really are a new and exciting choice for the Australian and New Zealand markets, both as a long stay destination or equally, as a new, alternative and interesting stopover destination for Europe bound traffic.

"We are delighted to be working closely with PMACG in the coming 12 months."

Day to day management of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau account by PMACG will be headed by Elissa Kent supported by Group Business Director, Matt McCarthy and Senior Communications Adviser, Mike Parker-Brown.

PMACG Managing Director, Paul McCarthy said the Taiwan Tourism Bureau appointment represented a major coup for the company at a time where it was moving to strengthen its stance as a leading communicationsprovider on the international tourism scene.

"This was an open pitch process that PMACG was extremely pleased to win and secure," 
Mr McCarthy said.

"Having the Taiwan Tourism Bureau on board not only represents a coup for our brand, it also reflects our ability, our diversity of skills and our experience in being able to deliver."


Making More Money With Travel & Tourism Sites by Avoiding Two Common Pitfalls

I've been heavily entrenched in the travel & tourism industry for years-formal education, 1000s of books, reports, market research, etc. When I look at people trying to make money online with travel Web sites, I see a few fundamental flaws. Today, I'll point a couple out so that you can avoid these common pitfalls.

Lacking Market Research

Many travel web site owners simply look for some keywords, write some articles (or outsource them) and call it a day. They then wonder why clicks are low, orders are nonexistent and profit is hard to come by.

It is imperative that you know at least the basics of the market you're engaging in. For instance, simply knowing that "people like to visit Italy" isn't enough. There's all that who, what, when, why and how stuff too.

Unfortunately, finding travel patterns, demographics and solid market research without conducting it yourself can be either very difficult or very, very time consuming. Thankfully, there are sources that take the work and cost out of it all for you.

Going Far Too Broad

The next issue that plagues many travel site owners is the one of scope. By having a wiper scope your actually lowering your profit potential.

Let's keep with Italy for a moment. Imagine you put up a Web site about traveling to Italy. What type of content do you fill it with and who is your audience? The answer is "who knows," because people could be coming for all sorts of reasons, such as:

- Honeymoons
- Family vacation
- Thrill seeking
- Historical travel
- Religious travel
- Foodie travel
- and on and on and on

It's possible that 95% of the traffic coming to your travel & tourism site is just being wasted. And the more you try to appeal to everyone, the worse it gets. We could narrow it down to just Rome and still have major site issues due to all the possible travel personalities and desires.

Before rushing out to stake your claim to the billions of dollars in the travel & tourism industry, take some time to get to know the specific market you want to target. If you can't afford to spend hundreds of hours or thousands of dollars in research, look for the sources that do it for you. For instance, honeymoon tourism has billions at stake, but if you just rush out there with a honeymoon travel site without knowing something about the honeymoon market, you'll be missing out.

Tourism Becoming Even More Diversified and Specialized: Adventure Travel Combined with Volunteering

Over the years the travel industry has continued to become more diversified and specialized. The coming years will bring even more diversification and specialization to tourism. This will include more cross-over between different "market segments".

An example of this is the blending of adventure travel with volunteering (voluntourism).  Here's a story recent published on the topic:

Why Blend Adventure Travel with Volunteering

Read full article at

Here are a couple selections from the above article:

Get the best of both worlds
Undoubtedly one of the most attractive things about combining these two types of travel is that you get to have your cake and eat it too. Rather than restricting your experiences to one type, you really get the best of both worlds, embarking on incredible adventures such as jungle treks, and reaping the rewards of helping local communities.

In-depth cultural experiences
Another reason to combine volunteering and adventure travel is that it offers an unparalleled chance to get under the skin of your chosen destination. The adventure side of things allows you to explore lesser-known places and try your hand at a wide range of active pursuits, while volunteering means you can get to know locals and learn far more about their way of life than you could otherwise.


PMA Communications Group has appointed Mike Parker-Brown to manage the company's newly formed PR division.

Announcing the news PMACG Managing Director, Paul McCarthy said Parker-Brown's profile and experience both as a journalist and seasoned PR practitioner provided a solid fit for the company's existing and future client base.

"The development of a dedicated PR division has always been seen as key to PMACGexpanding its business activity and enhancing overall service delivery in all our areas of operation," Mr McCarthy said.

"This is especially the case in the Asia-Pacific region where we are now experiencing solid business gains - having Mike on board and heading up the new division is intended to play a major role in growing our business even further."

Sydney-based Parker-Brown is no stranger to the regional tourism industry where he has managed handled PR for several large organisations in recent years.

These include airlines, wholesale tour operators (both domestic and overseas-based), travel agency groups, hotels, cruise lines, industry associations, recruitment companies and national tourist offices.

Countries represented on a local basis include Indonesia, Hong Kong during the 1997 handover period, Oman and most recently Fiji where he had responsibility for Tourism Fiji's global PR activity for close on four years.

His experience also includes a stint as a senior media adviser with the Australian Trade Commission where he managed for several key portfolios including the Federal Government's Olympic business strategy and the Export Market Development Grant scheme.



PMACG (PMA Communications Group) is a full-service, integrated communications group of companies based in Sydney,Australia. With both local and international clients, its collective power and diversity of skills makes it a powerful presence in more than 10 countries around the world.

Heightened opulence as guests of the luxurious Tower Club at lebua (Bangkok) now enjoy exclusive Acca Kappa products in suite

Heightened opulence as guests of the luxurious Tower Club at lebua (Bangkok) now enjoy exclusive Acca Kappa products in suite

Sophisticated Tower Club at lebua, Bangkok offers guests a deluxe haven high above the hustle and bustle of buzzy Bangkok, where you can enjoy five-star facilities, exceptional Thai hospitality and high-end dining and entertainment at the superb restaurants and bars of The Dome, Tower club at lebua – glamorously positioned high above the glittering city.

Adding to the air of indulgence, guests of the exclusive and spacious Tower Club suites - spread across the top nine levels of Tower Club at lebua will now enjoy pampering themselves with acclaimed Acca Kappa products – a well-known favourite of celebrities and royal families worldwide.

Tower Club guests will love the White Moss Collection – found nowhere else in Bangkok – which includes body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, soap and shower gel - which will entice the senses with their fresh, fragrant aroma.

But that's not the only way Tower Club guests are spoiled. Complimentary access to the Tower Club Lounge is your ticket to discreet personal service, gourmet canapés and beverages.

Round off your high-end holiday with a Thai cooking class package held by esteemed 'Chef de Cuisine' Prayong Khundongling who has worked in leading hotels in Thailand, India, Russia and the US; or an afternoon of high tea and champagne at the Tower Club Lounge.

Make the most of the panoramic views and deluxe facilities of your suite with an in-room massage before heading to dinner at one of the Dome, Tower Club at lebua's glamorous restaurants including: Sirocco (one of the world's highest alfresco restaurants); Mezzaluna (modern innovative fine dining) and Breeze (gourmet Asian) – as well as two chic bars.

Sky Bar offers an incredible open-air ambience of the stars above and the streets below- topped off by a stunning menu of inventive cocktails – while Distil is the ultimate destination for lovers of fine whiskeys, cognacs, champagne, Iranian caviar (Almas, Beluga Impérial Huso Huso, Ossetra and Sevruga Royal Réserve), fresh oysters, sushi, sashimi and hand-rolled Cuban cigars.

Now is the time to spoil yourself with a number of exceptional indulgent packages, including:

Tower Club Prestige Experience (Now – 26 Dec. 2013): Minimum 3 night stay with complimentary upgrade to a Tower Club Riverview Suite, round trip airport transfers, daily Ocean 52 drink voucher, a set dinner for two persons, late check-out. Rates start from AUS$ 270*++ per night.

Luxury Tower Club Package (Now - 26 Dec. 2013): Minimum 3 night stay with complimentary upgrade to a Tower Club Riverview Suite, round trip airport transfers, Ocean 52 drink, 3-course set dinner at Mezzaluna, Thai Temple or Thai palace tour. Rates start from AUS$295*++ per night.

*Prices as of 19 June 2012, subject to change and availability.

For reservations, please contact Tower Club at lebua on +66 (0) 624 9555 or

Adventure Tourism in the News (Current Stories & Headlines)

Here are some of the stories about Adventure Tourism making the media rounds:

Eco tourism fastest growing, adventure travel most resilient
Speaking at the 2012 International Conference on ‘Seizing Tourism Market Opportunities in Times of Rapid Change’, Ecotourism to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature  special advisor Hector Ceballos-Lascurain defines ecotourism as environmentally responsible travel that promotes conservation, low negative tourism impact while providing social economic benefits to the local people. At 20 to 25 percent growth per year, he said it is the fastest growing tourism segment around the world, with 25 percent of all international tourists qualifying as eco travellers by end of this year.
Volcanoes Safaris celebrates fifteen years as pioneers in great ape tourism
Established in 1997 by Praveen Moman and Yusuf Mulima Mubiru, Volcanoes Safaris celebrates fifteen years as leaders in the safari and adventure travel world this year.  It has been a special journey at the forefront of the revival of adventure tourism in Uganda and Rwanda.

Water working as adventure tourism lure (in Kentucky)
ASHLAND — Officials in several Eastern Kentucky counties are ramping up efforts to create water trails in an effort to attract more adventure tourism.

Incredible Adventure Travel in an unexpected place (Puerto Rico)
Travelers wary of banal island vacations may want to take another look at this unusual spot in the Caribbean.  For those in need of some sun, dodge the trite and typical beach break and head to Puerto Rico for something different: a multifaceted vacation destination that promises action-packed adventure in surprisingly unique surroundings.

Adventure with a dash of comfort

Viva Las Vegas ­ MTA¹s Alysha White pins her way to six-day Las Vegas trip

MTA's Alysha White must be hoping her luck will hold out at least until after she leaves Las Vegas later this year where she will spend six nights as a guest of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and the Nevada Commission on Tourism.

Alysha won the trip when she attended the Sydney leg of a recent Las Vegas/Nevada State industry road show, her entry in a 'pin the location on the map' promotion earning her an opportunity in the prize draw where she then went on to win one of the major prizes.

Alysha's prize includes three nights at one of the eight hotels operated by the world-famous Caesar's Hotel & Casino group plus three nights in either the equally renowned The Venetian or The Palazzo.

Topping things off and giving Alysha the opportunity to see Las Vegas from a completely different perspective (and hopefully away from the gaming tables), her prize also includes a 'Maverick' helicopter tour of the city.

Commenting on the Las Vegas/Nevada State workshop, a very excited Alysha said it was one of the best travel agent functions she has ever attended.

"It was awesome – so much fun and very interactive," she said.

"In order to take full advantage of my Las Vegas prize I am also very excited to explore other regions of Nevada including the beautiful Lake Tahoe, where California and Nevada meet."

Pictured – Alysha White with Las Vegas/Nevada State workshop MC 'Vance Fontaine' aka comedian Patrick Duffy.


Scenic Tsar: the First New Ship Registered in Russia in 25 years

Scenic Tours today announced the successful registration of their small ship Scenic Tsar in Russia as the first 'new build' ship to be registered in Russia for 25 years. The Russian Maritime Authority classifies 'new build' as one that is at least 80 per cent new and Scenic Tsar (originally named ms Grin] has undergone a total reconstruction, the most extensive re-build ever undertaken in Russia, funded by Scenic Tours.

Scenic Tours Managing Director, Glen Moroney said that in order to operate a ship that met "both our world-class standards and the complex Russian regulations, we chose to embark on a total gut and re-build of an existing ship. Scenic Tsar is a new style of ship and will take the experience of river cruising in Russia to a whole new level." He said that due to the complete rebuild "from hull upwards," the Russian authorities ultimately decided to put Scenic Tsar through its stringent 'new build' ship registration process. Moroney added that Scenic Tours' objective is to "deliver the same high level of quality and service over all of our products", with professionally trained and experienced staff providing a standard of excellence.

With only its original steel hull, floors and ceiling remaining, Scenic Tsar now boasts a new deck of cabins, two new bars, a new lounge, a new restaurant, a new wellness area, a new galley with all new equipment, all new cabins (walls, showers, toilets, and all fittings), new air conditioning (main compressor, ducting and in cabin fan coils), new main engines and drive units, new generators, all wiring and electrical fittings, new plates on the steel hull, and all new furniture, curtains and soft furnishings.

Widely renowned for their world-class Scenic 'Space-Ships' which revolutionised river cruising in Europe, Scenic Tours are again setting the benchmark with Scenic Tsar, their first boutique small ship in Russia. Scenic Tsar will cater for a maximum of 112 guests who will experience the Scenic Tours signature of all-inclusive cruising .

93% of cabins have private, full-size balconies, stylish en suites, satellite TV, in-room safe and mini bar, and bottled water replenished daily. In addition to the luxurious new features and amenities, Scenic Tsar also includes complimentary Wi-Fi and an on board doctor. All meals are included and guests will enjoy both continental and Russian cuisine, whilst complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks are included with dinner.

Scenic Tours will be running the exclusive charter of the Scenic Tsar for the next five years with the inaugural taking place last Sunday, June 17 2012 from St. Petersburg to Moscow on the Scenic Tours 15 day Imperial Jewels of Russia River Cruise, including four days each in St. Petersburg and Moscow and visiting Mandrogi, Kizhi Island, Goritsy and two of the 'Golden Ring' cities. Guests will discover Russia's most iconic sites, and experience exclusive Scenic Enrich events, from lunch at an old-world wooden restaurant to a private ballet concert at the Palace of Prince Vladimir. A full list of dates and itineraries are at

Proudly Australian and unashamedly passionate, for 25 years Scenic Tours has been delivering the ultimate in all-inclusive touring experiences to unique and extraordinary places on every continent.

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