Caribbean cruise on board Celebrity Summit: How a sceptic was won over by cruising

As I backpacked and flashpacked across 90-odd countries, I paid little attention to cruise ships. I figured they were mainly for retired folk and perhaps young families and honeymooners. Cruising surely wasn't for (fairly) adventurous, youthful(ish) travellers? It looked too easy, too regimented. I didn't fancy being cooped up on a giant vessel, deposited ashore in a port for a few hours, then picked up and ferried to the next place (and so on). Then earlier this year, while hiking in the Spanish countryside, my partner and I got caught in a biblical storm. Sheltering in a golf club bar, we started chatting to two die-hard cruisers from Scotland, and as we compared recent holiday experiences – ours an enriching, but enervating independent Thai island hopping trip; theirs a blissfully relaxing, yet adventure-peppered cruise around the rum-fuelled Caribbean – we suddenly wondered whether cruising wouldn't be so bad after all. Fast forward several months, and, desperate for a chilled-out, hassle-free break, a floating hotel that would dock at a clutch of exotic, sun-kissed Caribbean islands began to sound like one of the best things in the world.

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Liberty International Tourism Group

Liberty International Tourism Group is a worldwide biggest privately owned DMC (Destination Management Company) offering and perfecting its services with a #PersonalTouchWorldwide over 27 years.

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Hospitality Management

T&E Management: Understanding Travel Spend & Cutting Costs

Article | July 24, 2023

Corporate travel and entertainment are almost every company's second-largest controllable expense after payroll and other benefits offered to employees. When it comes to such expenses, manually recording them on paper, saving crumpled receipts, or even creating Excel spreadsheets doesn’t ensure efficiency. Businesses are implementing software that automates travel and expense management to streamline operations, cut costs and reduce the frustration that repetitive tasks bring. They are leveraging expense data to categorize their travel spends based on projects, departments, and cost centers to stay on top of all their travel-related expenses and financial operations. Control & Transparency Matter Global accounting teams put two things above all else: control and transparency. Without these two, they leave room for risk and mishaps and cannot function efficiently. Travel and expense automation allows financial and accounting teams to see where every dollar is spent. Bills and reimbursements are paid diligently and without much scope for error or expense fraud. Accurate, transparent data can then become the foundation of business decisions on spend and expense forecasting. Employees Dislike Mundane Tasks Your employees have important job functions that they need to carry out on a daily basis. A cloud-based tool that they can access at anytime and from anywhere helps them look at travel expense reporting in a different way. They can spend their time doing productive tasks that do not involve mundane paperwork or tallying expenses manually. Managers Expect Budgeting Compliance No manager is a fan of going over a long paper trail of expenses and verifying if every expense complies with company policy. A travel and expense management software highlights employee travel expense that does not comply with business policy. As approvers, managers can access this data from any place, discuss the matter with the employee in question, and get a quick resolution. Controlled Spending Makes C-level Execs Happy Implementing travel and expense management software helps keep the company’s spend under control. Low spends and high profits make every C-level executive happy. To top it off, it also makes them happy to make their employees happy while maintaining travel spend transparency. Features of T&E Management Software That Make a Difference Extracting important expense data from receipts by scanning Option to submit expense reports via commonly used apps and text messages in a single click A comprehensive view of a trip spend in a single, error-free report Option to set up automated expense approval workflows Quicker employee reimbursement turnaround time Instant expense report submission notifications for prompt review Bottom-line Streamline your T&E process, tackle expense reporting challenges for traveling employees, and simplify expense tracking, approvals, and reimbursements using T&E management software. Empower your finance teams with complete visibility of travel spend to create a seamless automated expense management experience.

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Hospitality Management

Africa Travel Do’s & Don’ts Amid COVID-19

Article | June 20, 2023

As COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the globe, tourism-dependent regions are suffering exponentially. The continent of Africa is one glaring example, with South Africa propelled into the global top 10 for coronavirus infections, reportedly now surpassing the United Kingdom in cases. For its part, the tourism and industrial sectors in North Africa will likely be hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the African Development Bank’s 2020 edition North Africa Economic Outlook report. Even as Africa contends with pandemic concerns, there are still throngs of travelers who are keen to visit the region in the near future. Many are doing diligence to discern if, when and how to go about scheduling a trip to this tourism hotspot. To help spotlight some top-line issues, I turned to entrepreneur and philanthropist Jay Cameron, Executive Director of Maximum Impact Travel. As one of the leading global experts on Africa travel and commerce, Cameron’s insights are invaluable as travelers deal with this tumultuous situation, helping ensure they plan smartly in the post-pandemic era. MK: What are the key do’s and don’ts when traveling to Africa amid COVID-19? JC: Surprisingly, some African countries have escaped the devastating impacts COVID-19 has caused globally. While other countries around the world have experienced often overwhelming consequences as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, much of Africa appears to have been spared. Even so, the statistics do not suggest the citizens of the countries of Africa have not felt its impact. The fact is, many countries in Africa are seeing regular increases in the numbers of those infected by the novel coronavirus, while much of the world is experiencing a decline in infections. Around the world, experts warn outbreaks of COVID-19 in Africa may continue, resulting in a higher rate of deaths due to the limited local health services available. With coronavirus worries come fears of potential famine due to the virus threat, in combination with existing drought conditions and ongoing conflicts. With this in mind, should you intend to travel to the continent now, or post-COVID-19, you should be prepared. Some good preparedness ideas include researching virus statistics in the country you wish to visit that, for one, you can review at AfricaNews.com. It is also advisable to learn if said country has any travel restrictions, which is information that is accessible online via at CDC.gov. Of course, maintaining a healthy lifestyle to boost immunity before and during your visit is also key. MK: Should travelers be ready to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, either before departing or upon arrival? JC: African countries are now opening for foreign travelers, but this does not indicate the belief that they have won the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Most African countries are still battling with COVID-19 outbreaks, as the number of infected cases continues to rise daily in nearly every African country. To this end, stringent efforts are in place to ensure individuals arriving on the continent and entering various countries are free of the virus. With this in mind, you should be prepared to present proof of negative COVID-19 status before entering the country to which you are traveling. This measure is being implemented around the globe and the countries of Africa are no exception. In the same vein, departing any African country will require the same proof of negative COVID-19 status. Both mandates are in place to protect your fellow travelers on the flight as well as the residents of the country to which you are traveling. As things ebb and flow, you can check the status of this mandate online at AfricaTravelInc.com. MK: What would you suggest about localized regulations? JC: Travelers must research the localized regulations and requirements with respect to hotel and resorts, airports, ground transportation, public spaces and such for both their own country and their destination.. It is necessary that you understand departure rules from your country of origin, and even more important that you understand your destination country’s prevailing laws for foreign travelers regarding COVID-19. Some African countries like Tanzania and Zambia, for example, have mandated the use of face masks in public places with punishment for the contravention of such laws. Some hotels and resorts also have taken stringent measures and issued their own strict requirements for travelers arriving from foreign countries. For example, at this time, hotel bars in Rwanda are closed but the hotels themselves remain open. Researching and understanding these laws before traveling enables you to stay safe during your visit and steer clear of legal issues with the local authorities. A helpful resource for staying up-to-date on laws that might affect travel to Africa can be found at Travel.State.gov. MK: What about the airlines, specifically? JC: Investigate the requirements for your airline as each carrier has varied responses to COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, most airlines have adopted measures to keep their passengers and their staff safe. While some airlines like Delta require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding your flight, others provide testing before your flight and attach the result to your ticket. Therefore, to ensure you are able to fly when scheduled, it is your responsibility to know the requirements of your airline before the flight to avoid any issues. A good resource for this is Go2Africa.com. MK: Should tourists be prepared for temperature screenings and COVID-19 tests upon arrival and departure? JC: As pointed out earlier, many African countries are still battling the pandemic, so to keep the residents of their countries safe post-COVID-19, airports have been mandated to request test results or test passengers on-site. Therefore, when traveling, you should be prepared for a coronavirus test upon arrival or departure from any African country. If you refuse to allow this, you will not be able to fly. MK: What about a potential 14-day quarantine upon arrival—is that only for travelers who show signs of COVID-19? JC: Apart from testing, be prepared for a 14-day quarantine if you show signs of the virus or test positive during a test given at the airport. African countries are determined to ensure the pandemic is eliminated completely from their countries. If you show symptoms of the virus upon your arrival in any country in Africa, you will likely be quarantined for 14 days. This can even entail having to stay in the country instead of returning to the U.S. MK: Would you say that travel insurance is an imperative? JC: Make sure your travel insurance company offers COVID-19 coverage and arrange for COVID-19 travel insurance requirements from airlines. You will want to be insured by your travel insurance company for COVID-19 coverage before traveling to any African country. Check with your travel insurance company to ensure COVID-19 is covered under their insurance policy, in the event you need to change your travel plans due to the pandemic. Such coverage policy can protect you by covering expenses related to unexpected changes and/or medical care in the event of illness. MK: With any trip, but especially now, there can be unforeseen circumstances. Any insights on that front? JC: DO NOT travel without extra funds and the ability to extend your trip in the event of a quarantine. With the points mentioned above, there is a great likelihood you will be required to spend more time and money in the country to which you are traveling if your COVID-19 test is positive. As a result, it is advisable to travel only if you are prepared with time and financial contingency plans. However, African countries are not barring U.S. travelers at the same rate as other countries, meaning you can potentially realize your dream safari vacation or other adventure across the continent’s beaches, jungles and deserts. As the world contends with COVID-19 issues, African countries will endeavor to stay open for tourism, business and much more. Preparing for, and abiding by, the region’s travel requirements will make your journey and overall stay in the country more enjoyable and safer for all.

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Hospitality Management

Blockchain Technology in Travel Insurance

Article | July 19, 2023

Most people associate the term "blockchain" with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Dogecoin, or Ethereum. Blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrencies, but it is also a technology in its own right that has many uses. Blockchain is an immutable ledger that tracks transactions and assets, like cash and patents. All parties have access to the same data simultaneously, eliminating intermediaries and making it a cost-effective way to track assets. It could, for example, track a flight delay and automatically refund a customer’s money. A German blockchain start-up Etherisc launched an insurance product, FlightDelay, which uses blockchain to automatically issue policies and execute payouts for flight delays and cancellations on around 80 airlines. Customers can buy policies with cryptocurrency and receive claims in cryptocurrency. Flight delays are where blockchain-based insurance can make a difference in the travel insurance domain. Data on delays and cancellations is readily accessible, and all assist in automatic payments. This way, companies that offer flight insurance can avoid higher claims-processing costs and save on data protection costs because blockchain is secure. U.S. Insurance Regulations Prevent Blockchain-based Travel Insurance In the U.S, there is a need for state-by-state approval for changes in regulations. Blockchain’s appearance in the U.S. insurance industry may take another ten or fifteen years. However, the potential of blockchain-based insurance products is huge. Insurance companies can sell them at much lower costs compared to traditional insurance products. Blockchain Can Change the Travel Insurance Business Interestingly, the U.S. already has an insurance product similar to FlightDelay but none of them have the blockchain component. Called ‘parametric insurance’, an auto payout is done when some parameter is violated. Using blockchain technology to offer this insurance could save money and enable insurers to pass on some of the savings to the customers. Insurance industry experts think blockchain will definitely make a mark in the travel insurance domain and can change the way travel insurance businesses operate at large.

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Hospitality Management

Gain Competitive Edge with 5 Latest Hospitality Management Trends

Article | August 28, 2023

Discover the top hospitality management trends in 2023 to elevate the travel and tourism businesses. Adapt to hospitality marketing trends that are reshaping the hospitality and travel industry. Contents 1. Introduction 2. Importance of Hospitality Technology for Hospitality Industry 3. Five Hospitality Management Trends Shaping the Industry 3.1 Hotel Work Spaces 3.2 Robots in Hotels & Restaurants 3.3 Hyper-Personalization 3.4 Holistic Hospitality 3.5 Digitalized Guest Experiences 4. Today to Tomorrow: Hospitality Management 2.0 5. Final Thoughts 1. Introduction The hospitality industry has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, leading to a need for businesses to gain a competitive edge. While some businesses couldn't withstand the challenges, others adapted swiftly, and innovative concepts emerged to cater to the new normal. In 2023, technology will continue to advance rapidly, and the trends in the hospitality industry will harness its potential in exciting new ways. Despite uncertain household budgets, consumer trends indicate a strong desire for hospitality and tourism. However, to thrive in this landscape, hospitality businesses must stay informed about the latest industry trends to optimize costs, maximize profitability, and ensure continued success in 2023 and beyond. 2. Importance of Hospitality Technology for Hospitality Industry The hospitality industry, characterized by intense competition, prioritizes staying abreast of the latest hospitality management trends. Embracing technology offers many benefits, including streamlined processes, cost reduction, decreased staff workloads, increased revenue potential, and enhanced customer experiences. By leveraging the latest technology, businesses can achieve work accuracy that surpasses what can be accomplished by human staff alone. Technology solutions make tasks more manageable and enable companies to meet the increasingly high expectations of today's customers. Keeping up with the latest hospitality technology trends is crucial, allowing businesses to stay caught up to their competitors. Failure to do so may grant rival companies, a significant competitive advantage, especially if they adopt technology that resonates with customers while others continue with traditional methods. 3. Five Hospitality Management Trends Shaping the Industry 3.1 Hotel Work Spaces The rise of remote work has become a prominent trend in hospitality management and is projected to have a lasting impact. Fueled by the global public health crisis, numerous notable companies, including tech giants like Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon, have announced their intention to adopt a hybrid or flexible approach to remote work. The industry's future presents a significant opportunity for hospitality venues to position themselves as remote working hotspots for locals and travelers. Hotels and F&B establishments can capitalize on this trend by adapting their offerings to cater to the needs and preferences of this emerging segment. Providing ample plug sockets, offering free high-speed WIFI, creating well-equipped meeting rooms, and serving great coffee are essential starting points to attract remote workers and cater to their requirements effectively. By embracing and accommodating remote work trends, hospitality businesses can gain a competitive edge, enhance hotel operations and successfully meet the demands of this evolving market segment. 3.2 Robots in Hotels & Restaurants An intriguing trend that has captured the attention of the hospitality industry is the growing integration of robotics and their application in tasks traditionally carried out by human personnel. A notable example includes the utilization of robots in the role of concierge within hotels, where they can warmly greet guests and provide them with essential customer information. Moreover, certain hotels have begun implementing robots for cleaning, including vacuuming floors and even employing germ-killing capabilities. This practice holds potential for widespread adoption throughout the broader hospitality industry, including restaurants and other establishments. Integrating robotics in these operational aspects presents an exciting opportunity to enhance efficiency, improve customer experiences, and explore innovative avenues for growth and optimization within the industry. 3.3 Hyper-Personalization In today's hospitality landscape, guests have elevated their expectations to be recognized and treated as individuals, driven by the increasing demand for personalized interactions. Recent research indicates that 71% of tourists now anticipate personalized experiences. However, many businesses are still limited to personalizing at a segment level, while customer expectations have advanced well beyond that, reaching the realm of hyper-personalization in 2023. To achieve hyper-personalization, hospitality businesses can adapt trends in tourism industry and leverage technological platforms such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Experience Management (CEM). These platforms utilize big data to create highly tailored one-to-one interactions between guests and hosts at scale. By drawing on data insights into customers' browsing and buying behaviors, hotels, travel providers and restaurants can customize their offers, promotions, and services to align with individual preferences and needs. 3.4 Holistic Hospitality The current preventive medicine and self-care trend is gaining significant traction in various industries. In particular, the wellness sector is experiencing exponential growth, evolving into a thriving trillion-dollar market. Hospitality venues, especially those equipped with spa facilities, can capitalize on this trend and secure a substantial portion of this lucrative market. While traditional beauty and relaxation spa services remain relevant, there is a rapid surge in demand for health diagnostic technology and customized treatment plans. Expert professionals are now offering personal or group sessions to foster vitality, facilitate healing, manage stress, achieve emotional balance, promote mindfulness, and enhance sleep quality. This evolving landscape presents a unique opportunity with trends in tourism and hospitality industry to expand offerings and meet the increasing customer demand for holistic wellness experiences. 3.5 Digitalized Guest Experiences The increasing significance of apps in managing hotel services is reshaping the hospitality industry and revolutionizing the guest experience. The digital and contactless services trend has gained significant momentum, leading to a comprehensive transformation of customer-facing operations. Technology-assisted options, such as mobile check-in, contactless payments, voice control, and biometrics, redefine how guests interact with hotels. Customers, who have grown accustomed to the convenience of unlocking their smartphones and laptops using facial and fingerprint recognition, will soon expect the same level of ease when accessing their hotel rooms. However, implementing these upgrades may pose financial challenges for establishments that provide these advanced services. To remain ahead of the curve and meet evolving customer expectations, hoteliers should invest substantially in adopting and maintaining the necessary technologies. 4. Today to Tomorrow: Hospitality Management 2.0 The future of the hospitality industry holds several key dimensions that hoteliers need to consider. First, shifting from standardization to personalized experiences is critical as travelers seek tailored services. Second, focusing on niche markets and value creation through customization and specialization lead to increased success. Embracing technology as a business accelerator is the third dimension, as it plays a central role in the hotel experience and enable innovative concepts. Fourth, social responsibility is a moral and economic obligation, with sustainability becoming a key focus. Developing responsive and resilient business models is the fifth dimension, essential for managing the risks and regulations associated with the growing tourist flows. While the consensus among respondents in recent survey emphasizes the need for the businesses to adapt to hospitality industry trends 2023 to evolve and adapt to the current environment, some participants expressed more extreme views, suggesting that traditional hotel rooms may become obsolete. These individuals point to the growing impact of the sharing economy and the inclination of today's customers to seek alternatives to conventional hotels. They believe that the adjustments in offerings mentioned earlier may not be sufficient and that the industry must undergo a true reinvention to remain relevant. This perspective highlights the importance of continuous innovation and staying ahead of evolving customer preferences. While personalized experiences, niche markets, technology integration, social responsibility, and resilient business models are key areas of focus, the industry needs to remain agile and open to further transformations. 5. Final Thoughts As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, businesses must embrace key hospitality management trends to gain a competitive edge and ensure future success. The integration of technology, such as robotics in hotels and restaurants, offer opportunities for enhanced efficiency and improved customer experiences. Hyper-personalization is becoming essential, with guests expecting tailored interactions and customized offerings. The growth of the wellness market presents a chance for hospitality venues to capitalize on preventive medicine and self-care trends. Digitalized guest experiences, including mobile check-ins and contactless payments, are reshaping customer-facing operations. Looking ahead, the industry needs to shift from standardization to personalized experiences, focus on niche markets, embrace technology, prioritize social responsibility, and develop responsive business models. While some experts suggest traditional hotel rooms may become obsolete, it is crucial to continually innovate and adapt to changing customer preferences to remain relevant in the dynamic hospitality landscape.

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Spotlight

Liberty International Tourism Group

Liberty International Tourism Group is a worldwide biggest privately owned DMC (Destination Management Company) offering and perfecting its services with a #PersonalTouchWorldwide over 27 years.

Related News

Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Sonesta Announces First Sonesta Es Suites Ground Up Development

PR Newswire | January 24, 2024

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation (Sonesta) today announced plans for the construction of a new Sonesta ES Suites in Port Charlotte, Florida. This new property, expected to open in Spring 2025, marks the first Sonesta ES Suites brand project developed from the ground up. "We are excited that Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be our first purpose-built location for the brand," said Brian Quinn, Sonesta's Chief Development Officer. "The Sonesta ES Suites brand stands out as an attractive choice for franchisees looking for an upscale option to capitalize on the continued dependable performance of extended stay hotels." "Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will benefit business travelers and tourists who are looking for accommodations near the beaches, golf courses, parks and other attractions that Port Charlotte has to offer," said Alan Lane, one of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte's owners. "The addition of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte to our diverse portfolio reflects Commonwealth Hotels' unwavering commitment to providing an unparalleled guest experience through visionary development, ethical practices and a steadfast dedication to superior service," said Jennifer Porter, President of Commonwealth Hotels, the hotel's management company. To be located at 1321 Claburn Circle in Port Charlotte, Florida, the Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be an upscale extended-stay hotel spanning four floors and offering 117 rooms with amenities including breakfast and dining services, an outdoor pool, fitness room, market pantry, guest laundry, onsite parking and more. The location of the new hotel is close to over 20 colleges and universities, two hospitals, more than 70 parks and recreational spaces, more than 12 miles of beaches, 14 golf courses and numerous other attractions. Guests of this location will be able to earn or redeem points in the award winning Sonesta Travel Pass loyalty program.

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Travel Technology, Airlines and Airports

Trip.com Group and LATAM Airlines Group Partner to Enhance Travel Experience Through NDC Technology

PR Newswire | January 22, 2024

Trip.com Group, a leading travel service provider, announced today the signing of a new NDC agreement with LATAM Airlines Group. This agreement between the two companies aims to provide a contemporary and streamlined ticketing experience for global travellers. It also offers unparalleled connectivity to over 144 destinations covered by LATAM Airlines across 22 countries and regions, including Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Africa, and Oceania. The key benefit of this agreement is the adoption of NDC standard technology. This technology gives customers access to a complete and more comprehensive selection of airline offerings and the option to buy additional products, services, and add-ons such as baggage allowance and seats. Moreover, customers can access a broader range of ancillary services and more detailed information by browsing the change and cancellation policy section during checkout, leading to improved Trip.com Group and LATAM Airlines Group's after-sales services. Juan Villanova, Sales Manager of Trip.com for Spain and Latin America, comments: "Trip.com is a cutting-edge online travel company that leads the way in technology. Our commitment is to improve our product offerings to guarantee the highest customer satisfaction. With this tech solution, our passengers will have access to an improved and more competitive selection of flights and products." The agreement will include integrating a shopping engine for ticket sales via some of Trip.com Group's leading brands, offering a cost advantage to both suppliers and customers. Henk Van der Velde, Regional Director for Southern Europe and Latin America for Trip.com Group's flight Department, adds: "We are delighted to collaborate with LATAM Airlines Group in the implementation of an NDC standard, and offer solutions for everyone via a shopping engine, which has yielded excellent results. I look forward to continuing this collaboration and bringing new features that positively impact our customer's travel experience." Andreas Schek, Vice President of Sales and Branding of LATAM Airlines Group, adds: "We are proud of this collaboration with Trip.com Group on the implementation of the NDC standard, as it allows us to explore ways to enhance its efficiency further. This is a significant milestone in the future of distribution that will benefit our global customers."

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Travel Technology, Destination and Tourism

Exodus Adventure Travels Announces New Trips in Partnership with Royal Canadian Geographic Society

PR Newswire | January 23, 2024

Exodus Adventure Travels, the international award-winning leader in adventure travel, today announced its new 2024 RCGS Quests trips, a series of expert-led tours developed in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. These limited edition, small group trips are what travel legends are made of – adventures that are designed to offer travelers unparalleled opportunities to explore some of the planet's most awe-inspiring destinations and led by noted hosts in their respective fields. This year's line-up features such noted hosts as World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims; bestselling author, Robin Esrock; Indigenous education advocate, Charlene Bearhead, and others. "We are honored to partner with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society on these highly anticipated adventures," said Sam Seward, President at Exodus Adventure Travels. "This is our third year operating our RCGS Quests program, with continued demand to explore further and experience more, pushing these trips to new heights and featuring another stellar line-up of hosts to add even more depth to each itinerary." Exodus' 2024 RCGS Quests Series features the following six adventures: RCGS: Highlights of the Amalfi Coast with Scott Forsyth Discover the land of la dolce vita for a wondrous week on the Amalfi Coast led by an expert local guide and hosted by professional photographer and fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Scott Forsyth. Explore one of Europe's most dramatic stretches of coastline and be spellbound by this land's natural beauty and cultural treasures. The Host: Scott Forsyth is an award-winning photographer who specializes in Canadian landscapes. Devoted to exploring Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic Ocean coastlines, Scott is a Fellow of both the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Explorer's Club and is Canadian Geographic's Photographer-In-Residence. Eight-day itinerary priced from $2,240 USD. Departing April 6, 2024 RCGS: Classic Kenya 4WD Safari with Patricia Sims No country, perhaps, is more synonymous with a classic African safari than Kenya. Step into scenes from 'Out of Africa' as you explore Kenya's best safari sites led by an expert local safari guide and hosted by award-winning Canadian filmmaker, Royal Canadian Geographical Society fellow and World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims. The Host: Patricia Sims is the co-founder of the annual World Elephant Day (Aug. 12), a global awareness campaign that brings attention to the critical threats facing elephants. From swimming with wild dolphins and whales in oceans around the world to getting up close and personal with monkeys in the jungles of Borneo and elephants of Thailand, Patricia is also an award-winning filmmaker who always has a passionate eye on conservation. Patricia is a Fellow International of The Explorers Club and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$4,649 Departing August 10, 2024 RCGS: A Week in Jordan with Sarah Legault Explore the wondrous historical and archaeological highlights of Jordan on this week-long adventure. From the incredible history of the Wadi Rum Desert to strolling through ancient Roman cities and floating in the Dead Sea, this Jordanian adventure contains all the highlights of this fascinating country. It is led by an expert local guide and hosted by Vice President of Philanthropy for the RCGS, Sarah Legault. The Host: Sarah Legault has been the head of advancement at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society since 2018 and has worked at charitable organizations throughout her career. Her vast understanding of the Society, Canadian Geographic and all associated programs is extraordinary. As the current Vice President of Philanthropy and Fellow of the RCGS, Sarah's mission-aligned values of environment, people, culture, and geographical literacy support engaging and forward-thinking initiatives which she always is keen to share and discuss. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$2,550 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Rome, Assisi & Magical Umbria – Premium Adventure with Robin Esrock Explore Rome and Assisi's historic landmarks and classical ruins. Walk through Italy's unspoiled countryside staying in a picturesque four-star resort in the hills of Umbria, led by an expert local guide and hosted by bestselling author, TV host, public speaker and Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow Robin Esrock. The Host: Dubbed "King of the Bucket List" by Travel + Leisure, Robin Esrock's success as a global adventurer, travel writer, bestselling author and international TV personality started with a one-year solo round-the-world backpacking adventure to 24 countries. During this year, Robin uploaded weekly reports, photography, videos, reviews, and interviews with every person he met. In doing so, he ushered in a new era of multi-platform, switched-on wired-in travel journalism, leading to adventures beyond his wildest dreams. Robin's stories have been published in noted publications worldwide, including National Geographic Traveler, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Reader's Digest, and more. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$4,050 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Egypt Nile Cruise with Charlene Bearhead Follow in the footsteps of the ancient pharaohs and ride the sands of time back thousands of years on this classic Egypt Nile cruise led by an expert local guide and hosted by Indigenous education advocate, author, Vice President of Learning and Reconciliation at Canadian Geographic, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Charlene Bearhead. With ancient tombs and mysteries around every bend, unrivaled legacy and mind-blowing history await. The Host: Charlene Bearhead is an Indigenous education advocate and author with over 30 years of regional, national and international experience. Previously Charlene served as education days coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, education coordinator for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, education advisor for the Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, a member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Indigenous Education working group, and the first education lead for both the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC. She is also the co-author of the children's book series Siha Tooskin Knows. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$2,380 Departing November 16, 2024 RCGS: Highlights of Vietnam with Lynn Moorman Discover the complex culture and history of Vietnam on this intoxicating exploration of Vietnamese life highlighted by superb landscapes and amazing cuisine. Led by an expert local guide and hosted by Lynn Moorman, a lifelong geographer with a love for exploring remote landscapes and environments. The Host: Lynn Moorman is a prominent geographer and a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University, in Calgary, Canada. Lynn's teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of geography, learning sciences and applied visualization technologies, including virtual and augmented reality. Her work has taken her to the highlands of northern Vietnam, to map agricultural productivity, to the frozen Arctic Ocean where she works with Inuit in Canadian Arctic communities to use near-real time satellite imagery to keep ice travel safe. Lynn is a Fellow, former Board member and current Chair of the Research Committee of the RCGS. 10-day itinerary priced from US$2,170 Departing November 17, 2024

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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Sonesta Announces First Sonesta Es Suites Ground Up Development

PR Newswire | January 24, 2024

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation (Sonesta) today announced plans for the construction of a new Sonesta ES Suites in Port Charlotte, Florida. This new property, expected to open in Spring 2025, marks the first Sonesta ES Suites brand project developed from the ground up. "We are excited that Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be our first purpose-built location for the brand," said Brian Quinn, Sonesta's Chief Development Officer. "The Sonesta ES Suites brand stands out as an attractive choice for franchisees looking for an upscale option to capitalize on the continued dependable performance of extended stay hotels." "Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will benefit business travelers and tourists who are looking for accommodations near the beaches, golf courses, parks and other attractions that Port Charlotte has to offer," said Alan Lane, one of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte's owners. "The addition of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte to our diverse portfolio reflects Commonwealth Hotels' unwavering commitment to providing an unparalleled guest experience through visionary development, ethical practices and a steadfast dedication to superior service," said Jennifer Porter, President of Commonwealth Hotels, the hotel's management company. To be located at 1321 Claburn Circle in Port Charlotte, Florida, the Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be an upscale extended-stay hotel spanning four floors and offering 117 rooms with amenities including breakfast and dining services, an outdoor pool, fitness room, market pantry, guest laundry, onsite parking and more. The location of the new hotel is close to over 20 colleges and universities, two hospitals, more than 70 parks and recreational spaces, more than 12 miles of beaches, 14 golf courses and numerous other attractions. Guests of this location will be able to earn or redeem points in the award winning Sonesta Travel Pass loyalty program.

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Travel Technology, Airlines and Airports

Trip.com Group and LATAM Airlines Group Partner to Enhance Travel Experience Through NDC Technology

PR Newswire | January 22, 2024

Trip.com Group, a leading travel service provider, announced today the signing of a new NDC agreement with LATAM Airlines Group. This agreement between the two companies aims to provide a contemporary and streamlined ticketing experience for global travellers. It also offers unparalleled connectivity to over 144 destinations covered by LATAM Airlines across 22 countries and regions, including Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Africa, and Oceania. The key benefit of this agreement is the adoption of NDC standard technology. This technology gives customers access to a complete and more comprehensive selection of airline offerings and the option to buy additional products, services, and add-ons such as baggage allowance and seats. Moreover, customers can access a broader range of ancillary services and more detailed information by browsing the change and cancellation policy section during checkout, leading to improved Trip.com Group and LATAM Airlines Group's after-sales services. Juan Villanova, Sales Manager of Trip.com for Spain and Latin America, comments: "Trip.com is a cutting-edge online travel company that leads the way in technology. Our commitment is to improve our product offerings to guarantee the highest customer satisfaction. With this tech solution, our passengers will have access to an improved and more competitive selection of flights and products." The agreement will include integrating a shopping engine for ticket sales via some of Trip.com Group's leading brands, offering a cost advantage to both suppliers and customers. Henk Van der Velde, Regional Director for Southern Europe and Latin America for Trip.com Group's flight Department, adds: "We are delighted to collaborate with LATAM Airlines Group in the implementation of an NDC standard, and offer solutions for everyone via a shopping engine, which has yielded excellent results. I look forward to continuing this collaboration and bringing new features that positively impact our customer's travel experience." Andreas Schek, Vice President of Sales and Branding of LATAM Airlines Group, adds: "We are proud of this collaboration with Trip.com Group on the implementation of the NDC standard, as it allows us to explore ways to enhance its efficiency further. This is a significant milestone in the future of distribution that will benefit our global customers."

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Travel Technology, Destination and Tourism

Exodus Adventure Travels Announces New Trips in Partnership with Royal Canadian Geographic Society

PR Newswire | January 23, 2024

Exodus Adventure Travels, the international award-winning leader in adventure travel, today announced its new 2024 RCGS Quests trips, a series of expert-led tours developed in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. These limited edition, small group trips are what travel legends are made of – adventures that are designed to offer travelers unparalleled opportunities to explore some of the planet's most awe-inspiring destinations and led by noted hosts in their respective fields. This year's line-up features such noted hosts as World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims; bestselling author, Robin Esrock; Indigenous education advocate, Charlene Bearhead, and others. "We are honored to partner with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society on these highly anticipated adventures," said Sam Seward, President at Exodus Adventure Travels. "This is our third year operating our RCGS Quests program, with continued demand to explore further and experience more, pushing these trips to new heights and featuring another stellar line-up of hosts to add even more depth to each itinerary." Exodus' 2024 RCGS Quests Series features the following six adventures: RCGS: Highlights of the Amalfi Coast with Scott Forsyth Discover the land of la dolce vita for a wondrous week on the Amalfi Coast led by an expert local guide and hosted by professional photographer and fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Scott Forsyth. Explore one of Europe's most dramatic stretches of coastline and be spellbound by this land's natural beauty and cultural treasures. The Host: Scott Forsyth is an award-winning photographer who specializes in Canadian landscapes. Devoted to exploring Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic Ocean coastlines, Scott is a Fellow of both the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Explorer's Club and is Canadian Geographic's Photographer-In-Residence. Eight-day itinerary priced from $2,240 USD. Departing April 6, 2024 RCGS: Classic Kenya 4WD Safari with Patricia Sims No country, perhaps, is more synonymous with a classic African safari than Kenya. Step into scenes from 'Out of Africa' as you explore Kenya's best safari sites led by an expert local safari guide and hosted by award-winning Canadian filmmaker, Royal Canadian Geographical Society fellow and World Elephant Day co-founder, Patricia Sims. The Host: Patricia Sims is the co-founder of the annual World Elephant Day (Aug. 12), a global awareness campaign that brings attention to the critical threats facing elephants. From swimming with wild dolphins and whales in oceans around the world to getting up close and personal with monkeys in the jungles of Borneo and elephants of Thailand, Patricia is also an award-winning filmmaker who always has a passionate eye on conservation. Patricia is a Fellow International of The Explorers Club and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$4,649 Departing August 10, 2024 RCGS: A Week in Jordan with Sarah Legault Explore the wondrous historical and archaeological highlights of Jordan on this week-long adventure. From the incredible history of the Wadi Rum Desert to strolling through ancient Roman cities and floating in the Dead Sea, this Jordanian adventure contains all the highlights of this fascinating country. It is led by an expert local guide and hosted by Vice President of Philanthropy for the RCGS, Sarah Legault. The Host: Sarah Legault has been the head of advancement at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society since 2018 and has worked at charitable organizations throughout her career. Her vast understanding of the Society, Canadian Geographic and all associated programs is extraordinary. As the current Vice President of Philanthropy and Fellow of the RCGS, Sarah's mission-aligned values of environment, people, culture, and geographical literacy support engaging and forward-thinking initiatives which she always is keen to share and discuss. Seven-day itinerary priced from US$2,550 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Rome, Assisi & Magical Umbria – Premium Adventure with Robin Esrock Explore Rome and Assisi's historic landmarks and classical ruins. Walk through Italy's unspoiled countryside staying in a picturesque four-star resort in the hills of Umbria, led by an expert local guide and hosted by bestselling author, TV host, public speaker and Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow Robin Esrock. The Host: Dubbed "King of the Bucket List" by Travel + Leisure, Robin Esrock's success as a global adventurer, travel writer, bestselling author and international TV personality started with a one-year solo round-the-world backpacking adventure to 24 countries. During this year, Robin uploaded weekly reports, photography, videos, reviews, and interviews with every person he met. In doing so, he ushered in a new era of multi-platform, switched-on wired-in travel journalism, leading to adventures beyond his wildest dreams. Robin's stories have been published in noted publications worldwide, including National Geographic Traveler, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Reader's Digest, and more. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$4,050 Departing October 19, 2024 RCGS: Egypt Nile Cruise with Charlene Bearhead Follow in the footsteps of the ancient pharaohs and ride the sands of time back thousands of years on this classic Egypt Nile cruise led by an expert local guide and hosted by Indigenous education advocate, author, Vice President of Learning and Reconciliation at Canadian Geographic, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Charlene Bearhead. With ancient tombs and mysteries around every bend, unrivaled legacy and mind-blowing history await. The Host: Charlene Bearhead is an Indigenous education advocate and author with over 30 years of regional, national and international experience. Previously Charlene served as education days coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, education coordinator for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, education advisor for the Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, a member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Indigenous Education working group, and the first education lead for both the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC. She is also the co-author of the children's book series Siha Tooskin Knows. Eight-day itinerary priced from US$2,380 Departing November 16, 2024 RCGS: Highlights of Vietnam with Lynn Moorman Discover the complex culture and history of Vietnam on this intoxicating exploration of Vietnamese life highlighted by superb landscapes and amazing cuisine. Led by an expert local guide and hosted by Lynn Moorman, a lifelong geographer with a love for exploring remote landscapes and environments. The Host: Lynn Moorman is a prominent geographer and a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University, in Calgary, Canada. Lynn's teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of geography, learning sciences and applied visualization technologies, including virtual and augmented reality. Her work has taken her to the highlands of northern Vietnam, to map agricultural productivity, to the frozen Arctic Ocean where she works with Inuit in Canadian Arctic communities to use near-real time satellite imagery to keep ice travel safe. Lynn is a Fellow, former Board member and current Chair of the Research Committee of the RCGS. 10-day itinerary priced from US$2,170 Departing November 17, 2024

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