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7/19/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Best summer ever should buoy travel consultants, especially those in the luxury sector.

7/19/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio


ABC's The Bachelorette might get your customers pining for Rioja, Spain, the north central wine region where the reality TV series filmed an episode that will appear on July 24.

Rachel Lindsay, a 32-year-old attorney from Dallas, and a host of potential suitors visit the region, famous for its vineyards and medieval villages. The episode broadcasts 8-10 p.m, ET.

Rioja is a one-hour drive from Bilbao, the capital of the Basque region and home of the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, and the foodie capital San Sebasti­an.

Most famous for their wines made with Tempranillo grapes, Rioja's wineries have been producing wine for over 200 years. Rioja has the most acreage under vines of any wine region -- more than 57,000 hectares (approximately 140,850 acres) -- yielding 250 million liters of wine annually.

7/17/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Hyatt Hotels reportedly has signed an agreement with Booking.com to shift online reservations to that site in the event its negotiations with industry giant Expedia do not produce an agreement by a July 31 deadline.

According to an exclusive report published by Skift, Hyatt and Priceline Group’s Booking.com signed the deal in June, a year ahead of the expiration date of the two parties’ previous agreement, but chose not to announce it as to not disrupt its Expedia negotiations.

Earlier this year, Hyatt sent a letter to the property owners in its chain saying if it cannot reach “reasonable, competitive terms” with Expedia by July 31, 2017, it will pull out of the online travel giant (including Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity, and Orbitz) and direct more of its efforts to other distribution channels, including travel agencies.

Hyatt would neither confirm nor deny a Booking.com deal: “Hyatt is in constant dialogue with all our OTA partners around the world, including Booking.com and Expedia, but we will not get in to the details of those discussions. Our focus remains on growing the value proposition for booking directly with Hyatt so we can build strong relationships with our guests, as well as working with third-party distributors in line with our efforts to improve hotel profitability.”

As Travel Market Report reported in June, Hyatt told its property owners that travel agents would be one channel it would seek to push reservations to in the event that it feels forced to pull out of Expedia after July 31.

7/11/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

With its first three excursions 'moving quickly,' the luxury hotelier takes to the skies again.

7/11/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio


WestJet Vacations is offering an early booking bonus of 100 Westjet dollars on some packages to Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii for bookings made through August 31, 2017.

Packages must have a minimum cost of $1,500 per guest, and be for bookings for travel between November 1, 2017, and April 30, 2018. Bookings must include the WestJet Rewards ID of each guest on the booking and guests must be members of WestJet Rewards. Travelers who are not member can join for free at westjet.com/rewards.

7/10/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has locked in its schedule for its annual global conventions through 2020, with two visits to Washington, D.C. interrupted by one year in Fort Lauderdale.

For 2018 the ASTA Global Convention will be held August 21-24 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. The 2019 ASTA Global Convention, will be hosted August 23-26 at the Diplomat Hotel (Hilton Curio Collection) in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The ASTA Convention will return to the Washington Hilton August 25-28, 2020.

This year's global conference is less than two months away, scheduled for August 27-29 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, August 27-29.

7/10/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Australia-based Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (FCTG) this week announced it has agreed to acquire a Mexico-based destination management company and a Thailand-based hotel and resort manager.

FCTG will purchase 100% of the shares of Olympus Tours, strengthening its in-destination offerings in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. This is FCTG's second DMC acquisition. It purchased Asia-based Buffalo Tours in 2014. Services include transfers, excursions and day-trips, arrangements for meetings and incentive groups and land arrangements for cruises and other tour groups.

In a press statement, the company said Olympus represents an opportunity for further expansion into mainland USA and Hawaii and into neighboring markets in the Caribbean and in South and Central America.

FCTG also acquired Bespoke Hospitality Management Asia (BHMA), a Thailand-based regional operator of 14 design and lifestyle leisure hotels and resorts. BHMA also has 19 signed properties under development in Thailand and Vietnam. This marks FCTG's first investment in the hotel management sector.

7/10/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Did you know Expedia is not obligated to return your prepaid $874 if you are bumped by the hotel? ABC News picks up a cautionary tale of why a travel agent really is better than an OTA.

7/7/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

For high-end travelers, travel agents offer the kind of unparalleled personal service that is reshaping the customer experience.

7/7/2017  |  by Richard D'Ambrosio

Air travelers passing through Montreal's Trudeau Airport should experience fewer delays in customs as Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) embark on a series of measures to accelerate border clearance processes there.

The facilities and staff include a new customs screening area for connecting passengers (opened in mid-June), increased staff and 10 new self-service kiosks. The new screening area will be closed during the winter for an expansion scheduled to be completed before summer 2018.

Last summer, Trudeau experienced delays of up to two hours during busy travel days.

In order to use the new connections center, passengers are required to have a boarding pass for their connecting flight when they arrive in Montreal. A new pilot program between Air Canada and the CBSA will allow the carrier's connecting passengers to proceed through customs without collecting their luggage. That program could potentially be expanded to other airlines.

Additionally, a new electronic wait time display system will show estimated wait time to reach CBSA primary inspection lines to incoming international travelers in the arrivals hall. Wait times will be also posted in the public exit area of the international arrivals terminal and on the ADM website for those coming to meet travelers at the airport.