Agents' Choice 2018

Ted Davis

Western Canada Editor

Working as a travel reporter was always regarded as a sort of unattainable goal during journalism school at Ryerson Polytech in Toronto, so being hired as a writer/editor at Baxter Travel Media in the late 90s was definitely a win. Before that, I had worked as editor for a communications industry magazine in Toronto, and as a weekly columnist for a motoring section in the Toronto Star, amongst other editorial jobs.
The position as western Canada editor for Canadian Travel Press/Travel Courier, based in Vancouver, combines opportunities to do both travel news writing and destination feature journalism. My favourite part of the job is that it is never predictable or repetitive, given that the travel industry is always changing and evolving. And the prospect of visiting parts of the world that are appealing for many reasons cannot be discounted as a big motivator.
The world is full of compelling cities, important heritage sites, stunning natural treasures and more – all of which can be experienced through this job. I also enjoy living in one of the world’s most attractive and livable cities.
I count over 50 countries visited as part of my work. Some of my favourite places to date include Tuscany in Italy, Yorkshire and Cornwall in England, the Silk Road city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Camp Leakey orangutan reserve in Kalimantan in Indonesia, Lijiang in Yunnan province in China, Milford Sound and the Southern Alps in New Zealand, Kauai in Hawaii, Kangaroo Island in Australia, Mendoza in Argentina, Cathedral Lakes in British Columbia, and many more.
I particularly love to go to places that feature wildlife – hence the inclusion of Kenya, Borneo, Australia and B.C. in the list. I hope that conservation-oriented travel stories can help sustain animal species that are under siege.
I also like to go places where I can drive a car or ride a motorcycle. For instance, a trip to the South Island of New Zealand was hosted by Tourism New Zealand and gave me the opportunity to ride through amazing landscapes on a BMW. Some of the best trips have been on the roads of Europe, including drives on the twisty lanes of Yorkshire, on the high-speed autobahns of Germany and on the country roads of Italy aboard a Ducati. Another top favourite was driving portions of the Silk Road by Land Rover. A benchmark for crazy was set by riding a motorcycle in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
What’s on my bucket list? Melbourne, Vienna, Kathmandu, the Himalayas, more Italy, more United Kingdom, more Ireland, Uganda/Rwanda for gorillas, India for tigers, the Galapagos Islands and lots more. It is impossible for the bucket to ever really be empty.

Grizzly bear viewers may benefit from hunt demise

BC’s estimated 15,000 grizzlies can now, for the most part, wander the wilderness without fear of being felled by a hunter’s bullet. The law applies across the province with the exception of those areas that have been set aside for First Nations occupants, who retain traditional rights to hunt the bears for food, social and ceremonial purposes… Read >>

More travel from China destined for Canada

Travel-hungry tourists from China are already arriving at Canadian airports in ever-increasing numbers, and the recently announced 2018 China-Canada Year of Tourism is forecast to
drive even more of those arrivals… Read >>

Amazing Thailand reveals its New Shades

As the tourism arrivals leader in the ASEAN region, Thailand has every reason to retain confidence in its well known tourism tag line, “Amazing Thailand.” But as vacation trends and tastes evolve, the country’s tourism authorities have deemed that a new angle on the tried and true favourite will be beneficial and necessary… Read >>

City and Country
From a great city to the goodness of the grape

Far below the equator, near the bottom of the world, Argentina summons travellers with a blend of sleek, urban style shaped by a turbulent history and flavoured by renowned wines and cuisine.
History and style cross paths in Buenos Aires, whose roots reach back to its founding in 1536… Read >>

Under the umbrella
North American ski resorts assemble as one group

The assembly of 12 major ski resort destinations across North America within one umbrella group has recently been finalized, and given the name of Alterra Mountain Company. Alterra Mountain Company was created by KSL Capital Partners (owners of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows) and Henry Crown and Company. They purchased Intrawest Resorts, Mammoth Resorts, and Deer Valley Resort in 2017… Read >>

Setting a course for sustainability
Tourism stakeholders seek to establish framework

A comprehensive, multi-layered agenda is in store for those registered for the upcoming IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism conference in Victoria, scheduled for Jan. 21 to Jan. 24.
Over the course of the conference, attendees can expect a thorough schooling on a variety of sustainability issues, solutions and innovations, with an emphasis on their relevance to the Canadian tourism industry… Read >>

Asean Tourism forum heads for Chiang Mai
Thailand city boasts centuries-old pagodas, temples

The ASEAN Tourism Forum is just around the corner on the calendar, and the city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand is gearing up to host the event. It will take place Jan. 22-26 and will serve to showcase the latest tourism programs and products in the 10 nations that make up the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) membership… Read >>

Vegas grows, Nevada benefits
Steady increase in international visitors

Las Vegas, the primary engine of tourism growth in Nevada, continues to rebound from the recessionary doldrums of past years, said speakers at a recent tourism summit.
“Las Vegas is reinventing itself again,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, the long time president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The recession hit us hard, but we are coming back now.”.. Read >>

Kiwi Pete onboard as Air New Zealand adds seats

The fact that he has finally found a way to fly is a happy revelation to Kiwi Pete, the new spokes-celebrity for the latest Air New Zealand promotional video. The comedic, normally flightless kiwi continues a tradition of demonstrating Air New Zealand aircraft features using movie stars and fictional personalities to grab viewers’ attention. .. Read >>

Waves of change

It’s a far different Waikiki that surfing pioneer Duke Kahanamoku oversees now, and hopefully, he would be pleased. The famous spokesman of the surf, whose statue borders the beach, would see that the last remains of a rustic Waikiki are long gone… Read >>

Tidal Changes
Eco and cultural tourism grows in Taiwan

For many travellers, Taiwan is largely defined by the retail/culinary attractions of the capital city, Taipei, with its busy, cosmopolitan environs. And, while that outlook is entirely valid, it fails to encompass the many other cultural and nature-borne aspects of this island at the top of the South China Sea… Read >>

Hawaii welcomes East and West at global event

Like the Hawaiian voyaging canoe that has circled the earth, the recent Global Tourism Summit in Hawaii brought a similar planetary outlook to the main stage of the Hawaii Convention Center. For the first time, the agenda of the Hawaii tourism conference was expanded to a more international audience than in past years… Read >>

Mainstream travellers motivated to visit Taiwan

A buyer market composed of non-Asian “mainstream” customers continues to slowly grow for Taiwan as a holiday destination, says Super Value Tours in Burnaby, BC. But it is still a work in progress, as English-speaking mainstream travellers in Canada increase their knowledge of Asia and discover the differences between major tourism magnets like China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Southeast Asia. “… Read >>

Mainstream travellers motivated to visit Taiwan

A buyer market composed of non-Asian “mainstream” customers continues to slowly grow for Taiwan as a holiday destination, says Super Value Tours in Burnaby, BC.
But it is still a work in progress, as English-speaking mainstream travellers in Canada increase their knowledge of Asia and discover the differences between major tourism magnets like China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Southeast Asia. “.. Read >>

Climbers reach inspiring heights at HMI
In search of adventure

Would-be mountaineers don’t have to look hard for inspiration when visiting Darjeeling, India.
This city near India’s northern border sits at 2,000-plus metres among the foothills and steeply creased valleys near the Himalayan range… Read >>

Booking sites block business with animal interaction operators

The film “Blood Lions” is no longer being shown at theatres, but the impacts of its world tour in 2016 have spread like a bomb blast. They are driving supplier bans by major booking sites and may even be affecting South Africa’s tourism image… Read >>

Wilderness with luxury in Utah

There is still time to see the sights of Utah under the summer and fall sunshine – while keeping the attractions of winter in mind.
The sprawling Zion Ponderosa Ranch in Kane County offers a very comfortable introduction to the Utah wilderness, with a wide selection of accommodation and activity choices. It covers 4,000 acres and borders the east boundary of Zion National Park… Read >>

Wildfires hurting tourism in the West

It’s been called the second worst fire season for BC on record, and tourism operators are amongst the many being impacted by wildfi res in the province. The wildfire season got off to an early start in 2017, with many blazes well underway throughout July. A long stretch of unusually hot and dry weather into August has yielded no rain, and there are now enough fires, combined with winds, to generate a smoke haze in Vancouver… Read >>

Hong Kong’s Hidden Treasures
Secrets of the city await discovery

Arriving in 1841, British occupiers saw enormous potential in the way that Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon mainland circled Victoria Bay (now Victoria Harbour) to create an ideal, sheltered port – not to mention a commanding market position next door to China, in a stunning geographic location… Read >>