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.
Sell Tahiti and win with Anderson
The scenery in Tahiti is so mesmerizing – and the resorts so inviting – that visitors might miss the unique cultural offerings in this South Pacific island nation. Tahitian culture is a key aspect of the islands that Darcie Guardaras of Anderson Vacations is illuminating for travel agents to consider when meeting their clients… Read >>
LGBTQ vacationers make Britain a top choice
The LGBTQ Leisure Travel to Britain has revealed that the country’s historical attractions are, in fact, the top travel motivators overall for LGBTQ visitors, with 76% sightseeing at famous buildings and monuments, and 68% visiting castles, historic houses or historic attractions on their trips… Read >>
More American stories from Brand USA
Writing a new chapter
United Stories is the latest addition to a suite of story-telling platforms by Brand USA that help illustrate and define the characteristics – and characters – of the United States. Prospective visitors to the US are the intended consumers of this content, which is on a schedule of ongoing production… Read >>
Back to school with Travel Best Bets Academy
One of Canada’s top travel agencies has recently launched an online school for those seeking entry to the fast-moving travel retailing industry. The Travel Best Bets Academy is the brainchild of Claire Newell, well known in B.C. as a consumer travel consultant and creator/owner of the Travel Best Bets online travel agency, which employs almost 200 travel consultants… Read >>
Planes, trains and Automobiles in museums around England
On June 6 this year, a few historic relics from the golden age of flight lifted off from an airfield in eastern England to participate in a re-enactment of the D-Day landings. It was 75 years to the day since these same aircraft had taken off in the early morning gloom to start the attacks that would eventually bring WWII to a close… Read >>
A call to action
Hard-working IPW helps fuel U.S. tourism recovery
America continues to struggle with slow-downs in tourism, but the IPW conference and travel trade market is doing its bit to reverse the trend. During the most recent IPW in Anaheim CA, the U.S. Travel Association reported that IPW will generate US$5.5 billion in direct travel spending in the United States over the next three years. That was revised upward from the US$4.7 billion figure that the association has reported over the past few years… Read >>
Tourism excellence on show at ExploreGB
2019 edition featured tour of Devon, Cornwall
It’s not often that the needs of a large international conference and trade show, with delegates numbering nearly 600, can be accommodated in a town of just 75,000 souls in the northern English countryside… Read >>
Sports gambling gets a boost in Las Vegas
With recently liberalized federal laws for sports betting in the US, Las Vegas is gearing up for a new wave of gaming that may recall past glory days, when gambling ruled in the desert vacation mecca. While the changes have been applied across the nation, it is Las Vegas that stands to realize the biggest gains… Read >>
Guests get royal treatment at Sofitel Legend Metropole
Famous guests are a specialty at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel, which has a hundred-plus years of history in Hanoi, Vietnam. During that time, some very notable names have signed the guest registry at the hotel, which was originally named the Grand Hotel Metropole and opened in 1901… Read >>v
Solid prospects offered at annual industry conference
Holiday optimism in B.C.
The hard lessons of overtourism experienced by destinations around the world found their way into the agenda of the recent BC Tourism Industry Conference, as stakeholders sought future directions for their businesses. Information about overtourism trends, plus some solutions, were tabled by Stewart Moore, founder of Earth Check, during the conference in Vancouver in early March… Read >>
Luxury a gold mine for retailers
Travel retailers who specialize in luxury and specialty niche travel products continue to defy trends that indicate agents are in decline, says a report by the worldwide Virtuoso network.
Virtuoso has set a record for growth in the number of travel agents, called travel advisors in the Virtuoso parlance. This population reached 20,000 in 2018, a 14% increase over 2017. And that is up from 9,000 advisors ten years ago, said Betsy Goldberg, the public relations senior manager for Virtuoso… Read >>
SIA makes the case for selling Seattle
The word that Singapore Airlines was launching a new route to North America was officially out as of early November 2018, but the airline has recently started promoting the service to travel retailers. In late February, Singapore Airline executives embarked on a west coast mission to meet travel professionals, armed with the reasons why travel agents and tour operators should consider selling its new Seattle-Singapore service… Read >>
Travel in Nepal without reaching for the sky
Not surprisingly, the effects of altitude on the human body are a common concern in any discussion of a visit to Nepal. This is the country that is defined by the highest mountains on the planet, including Mt. Everest, at the top. As such, images of Nepal often depict climbers in professional gear, wielding ice axes and scaling the peaks of the Himalayas… Read >>
China makes its presence known at ASEAN Tourism Forum
While Canada increasingly feels the economic presence of China in everything from tourism to real estate to high technology, the Chinese juggernaut is much more apparent in Southeast Asia.
With its immediate geographic proximity, China exerts its presence in all matters of commerce in Southeast Asia – a fact made clear at the recent ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Vietnam… Read >>
Accent Inns adds accolades
Count having fun as a primary pillar of commerce for a successful hotel chain in Western Canada. A unique, personable way of doing business with clients has helped push Accent Inns Inc. of Vancouver onto the fast track for bookings and revenue growth… Read >>
Singapore Airlines eases long-haul stresses with new inflight services
Canadian travellers who are flying to Singapore know they have a long trip ahead of them, and that they will have to make a stop somewhere en route. The question they may want to consider is: do you want to make that stop early and get it over with, before crossing oceans to reach your final destination? Or do you want to wait until after the trans-oceanic sector before groggily deplaning and transferring to your connecting flight to Singapore from somewhere in Asia?.. Read >>
Expedia/Sunwing tie up a first for TV campaigns
The Canada connection at Expedia Group has already been well established by company president/CEO Mark Okerstrom, who hails from BC and gives the company leadership an approachable, informal aspect… Read >>
Whale watching operators part of solution to save killer whales
Last summer, the plight of a diminishing species of killer whale in BC waters was highlighted in the media by the spectre of a southern resident killer whale carrying its dead infant for two weeks. The infant was apparently a victim of increasingly difficult conditions in the seas near Vancouver Island, including a shortage of the Chinook salmon that they feed on. The story and images online and in the press caused sympathy and outrage around the world… Read >>
National hotel association pushes for home-sharing regulations, taxation
Home-sharing accommodations, which are typically portrayed as cheap and chummy alternatives to hotels, have other more negative aspects that have been revealed in a new study by the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC)… Read >>
Trade conference confirms Hawaii open for business, addresses global tourism issues
Canadian travel product buyers/managers who attended the Global Tourism Summit in Hawaii recently learned that the event had a double agenda. That is, they not only had the opportunity to meet and network with Hawaii tourism product suppliers, but also to take in a more expansive schedule that addressed world tourism trends and issues… Read >>
World tourism strategies forged at Hawaiʻi conference
Waikiki, Hawaiʻi has once again proven to be an ideal location for the Global Tourism Summit, a professional gathering focused on world tourism trends, strategies and solutions… Read >>
Managed tourism targeted at PATA Mart in Malaysia
Malaysia doesn’t usually come first to mind in discussions of South East Asian beach destinations – North Americans are probably more likely to consider well known hot spots like Bali, Ko Samui, Phuket and Boracay… Read >>
Taking the plunge in the Rocky Mountain State
Canadian skiers and snowboarders who are seeking downhill thrills further afield will likely include Colorado in their considerations. But the choice of ski resorts in the state is so vast and potentially confusing that a basic overview can be helpful… Read >>
Is cannabis tourism a viable business venture?
Like it or not, the legal retailing of cannabis in Canada is soon to get underway. As of Oct. 17, a whole new business sector based on cannabis sales through licensed outlets – with all the much-discussed pros and cons – will start operating across the country… Read >>
Boracay back on line as of October
The complete closure of Boracay island in the Philippines – to restore the island’s overused, damaged environment and infrastructure – will be ending soon. Boracay entered a period of closure to tourism in April of this year, for a period of six months, as specified by the government of Rodrigo Duterte… Read >>
The Okinawa option
Travellers to Asia whose leisure priorities are focused on big cities like Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo can also consider a quiet island stopover in the immediate vicinity. Okinawa is that island, a place that is only now starting to achieve some tourism visibility in North America… Read >>
Tiger tourism’s role in conservation
International Tiger Day has just passed (July 29), once again spotlighting efforts to maintain and even increase the small population of tigers remaining in the world. International Tiger Day has been in operation every year since 2010, when it was created at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit… Read >>
Rural charms of Northern Thailand
For 18 days in early July, the attention of the world was drawn to a tiny, mountainous corner of northern Thailand where 12 boys from a junior soccer club and their coach were trapped deep in a cave complex by rising flood waters… Read >>
Tourism summit leverages aspects of Hawai’i Aloha
Some of the core qualities underlying the Hawai’i tourism success story are applicable across the board to all destinations. These are driving the agenda at the upcoming 2018 Global Tourism Summit in Waikiki in early October… Read >>
First Nations operators set attendance record at RVC 2018
The largest-ever representation of Canadian Indigenous tourism operations to attend the Rendez-vous Canada international travel trade market attended this year’s edition of the event. RVC 2018 in Halifax welcomed 41 Indigenous tourism businesses, each of which held appointments with tourism product buyers from around the world to promote new travel packages, outdoor adventures, cultural activities and accommodation options from coast to coast… Read >>
China outlook serves as RVC centrepiece
The role of the Chinese visitors in Canada’s tourism industry got extra attention at this year’s Rendez-vous Canada 2018, as cooperative tourism promotions by the two countries continue to take effect through the year… Read >>
Vancouver to Munich
Jet lag lessened on Lufthansa A350
With a recently awarded five-star rating for Lufthansa by Skytrax, passengers can expect a top shelf level of service and amenities on board the flight. But, in addition, the A350 offers a benefit that can’t be seen, but will be felt by all those aboard, regardless of their assigned cabin class.
That is, new technology delivers more comfortable pressurization levels within the aircraft… Read >>
Caribbean sun shines on TTAND conference
A meeting schedule that built in extra relax time under the Caribbean sun was an appealing component for attendees at The Travel Agent Next Door annual conference recently.
About 140 agents from TTAND came to the conference at the Majestic Colonial all-inclusive resort on the popular beaches of Punta Cana in mid-April… Read >>
ANA educational stirs interest in the trade
Canadians discovering Okinawa
New tour programs that feature the Japanese island of Okinawa are now coming to market, following the operation of a successful agent fam trip there late last year by ANA (All Nippon Airways)… Read >>
Airlines make changes, no rebooking fees charged
Boracay cleans up, but closes down
Airlines that operate flights to the Philippines are now making changes to frequencies and schedules to account for the unprecedented closing of Boracay, the nation’s most popular resort island. Boracay will be closed to tourists for six months as of April 26, in order to execute a massive environmental rehabilitation and rebuild of its overloaded waste disposal infrastructure… Read >>
Millennials make their mark
A generation once principally associated with smartphones and social media is now raising families and becoming the largest consumer force in North America. The travel habits and preferences of millennials were the subject of the recent Future of U.S. Millennial Travel webinar, which was based on a survey conducted by the Resonance Consultancy of Vancouver and New York… Read >>
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 >>