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8/9/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

One out of three high-net-worth travelers uses a travel agent, says a new report from Skift, a travel-industry publisher.

Ten percent of high-net-worth work exclusively with a travel advisor when planning a trip, and 26% use one almost always or often, the 2017 U.S. High-Income Traveler Survey reports.

Conversely, 28% of respondents said they never use a traditional travel agent, and 36% rarely use one.

Over the past 10 years, more agents have focused on luxury travel. Some describe themselves toay as "travel designers," providing high-touch services including home consultations, and recommending exclusive properties and amenities that online travel agents and others cannot offer.

Skift said it designed and fielded a comprehensive 50-question survey aimed at the top 20% of income earners in the United States. The survey had more than 1,300 responses.

8/9/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Interest in traveling to destinations in the path of the August 21 solar eclipse is skyrocketing, as travelers look to book commercial flights to dozens of American cities and smaller towns.

According to, searches for seats to Casper, WY, are up 1,064%. Searches for flights to Redmond, OR are up 271%, and to Columbia, SC, are up 245%. Searches for flights to Wyoming capital Cheyenne are up 183%, and are up 153% to Boise, ID.

8/2/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Conditions became so suffocating on Air Transat Flight TSC157 from Brussels that a passenger dialed 911 after about four hours.

7/31/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Quebec City was named the top cruise destination in the United States and Canada in Cruise Critic's Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards.

Quebec was also recently named the top city in Canada in Travel + Leisur's 2017 World' Best Awards, winning the top spot for the second year in a row. Quebec City will welcome 133 visits by 34 ships representing 25 lines this year. The Port of Quebec forecasts a nearly 30% increase over the 2016 season, an upsurge that could bring the port to an all-time high of 200,000 visitors.

7/31/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

A strike by baggage handlers at Toronto Pearson International Airport's Terminal 3 seems to be having limited impact on vacationers.

The airline tracking website FlightAware showed that Toronto Pearson had no significant delays this morning, Monday, July 31, 2017. The baggage handlers went on strike on Thursday, July 27 in a contract dispute with private operator, Swissport.

Pearson's airport authority says Swissport, a private firm that operates out of Toronto Pearson Terminal 3, handles bags for Transat, Sunwing, Cathay Pacific, KLM, Lufthansa, Lot Polish, Air France, British Airways, Fly Jamaica, Carribean, Etihad, Philippine, Turkish, Egypt Air, Jet, Cubana, Pakistan, China Eastern, Eva, Saudia, Hainan, Azores, Aer Lingus, TAP, Brussels, Alitalia, Austrian, El Al, WOW, Interjet and Avianca.

United States carriers operating out of Terminal 3 include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Airlines, but these airlines do not contract with Swissport. Pearson's two largest carriers, Air Canada and Westjet, also do not contract with Swissport for baggage handling.

On its website, Sunwing said "special measures have been put in place to avoid disruptions to our flight services and to date our flights have been unaffected by the strike."

7/31/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Over the weekend, WestJet said that some WestJet Rewards member profile data has been disclosed online by an unauthorized third party, though no credit card or banking information was involved.

WestJet said it has "taken immediate steps to secure affected systems and has been working closely with the Calgary Police Service and the RCMP cybercrime unit in its investigation," and informed The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta and the federal Privacy Commissioner.

WestJet is contacting affected customers and encouraging all WestJet Rewards members to update their passwords on a regular basis.

7/31/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Miami-based Brickell Travel Management has doubled the size of its main Miami headquarters office, is planning to  open a second south Florida office and relocated to a larger site in Rio de Janeiro.

7/28/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Travel Leaders Group and ALTOUR, a travel management company, have agreed to a merger that will result in a company with more than $24 billion in annual sales.

In a press statement, the two companies said there "will be no substantive operating changes or name changes to either ALTOUR or Travel Leaders Group's businesses or organizations.  Closing of this combination is expected to occur following regulatory approval in satisfaction of other customary conditional proceedings."

ALTOUR president and CEO Alexandre Chemla will remain in his current role and Ninan Chacko will continue to serve as CEO of Travel Leaders Group. In addition, upon the closing, Chemla will become a shareholder and join the Board of Directors of Travel Leaders Group Holdings. 

United States-based Altour had annual sales of about $2.6 billion in 2016. ALTOUR serves the luxury and mid-markets globally, and owns ALTOUR Air, ALTOUR Tech, ALTOUR Meetings and Incentives and the ALTOUR Global Network.

Travel Leaders Group serves both the vacation and business travel markets, and owns a variety of businesses in both categories, including Travel Leaders owns All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, CruCon Cruise Outlet, and the Nexion host agency network.

The company states it had sales of over $21 billion in 2016.

7/26/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Sunwing Vacations will offer packages with the Royalton Bavaro Resort and Spa, set to open in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, in 2018.

Located on Bavaro Beach, the Royalton offers a number of family-friendly perks such as Kids Stay, Play, and Eat FREE and no single parent supplement fees.  Guests can also choose between a range of luxurious accommodations, including swim-out suites and options to accommodate larger families.

The resort also will have tennis courts, a state-of-the art fitness center and access to the new Royalton Fit program offering a full schedule of complimentary fitness classes.

Culinary options include reservation-free buffets, and a la carte and gourmet dining options from the signature Teppanyaki restaurant, Zen, flavorful Tex Mex classics at Armadillo, and prime rib at Hunter Steakhouse.

Sunwing offers packages to Punta Cana from 24 gateways across Canada; including departures from Mont-Joli, Quebec and Fredericton, New Brunswick, for the first time this winter

7/25/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Oprah Winfrey, Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine set sail from Seattle to Alaska on July 15, 2017, for a week of talks and activities aboard ms Eurodam.

Throughout the week guests took part in morning meditation with yoga instructor Sara Ivanhoe and explored eating well with Impatient Foodie founder Elettra Wiedemann.

Guests journeyed into the worlds of fitness evangelist and motivational coach Angela Davis; best-selling author and founder Glennon Doyle; and singer, songwriter and storyteller India.Arie.

The July 15 cruise was the first of several special cruises with Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine. Four additional Adventure of Your Life cruises will set sail November 29, 2017, March 3, 2018, August 11, 2018, and October 28, 2018.