My appetite for sailing was whetted in the waters off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, watching occasional four or five-masted schooners sail by, bound from Maine to New York. They looked magical and romantic, with all sails set. Enthusiasm for traveling began on trans-Atlantic voyages aboard the France and the Queen Mary in the 1950s. Though both liners were old then, a five- or six-day transatlantic crossing was never long enough when the moon shimmered on the dark sea at night and the occasional whale was spotted.
It’s not surprising that the Wall Street Journal recently hailed Hong Kong as the world’s top travel destination. Business travelers frequenting this thriving financial hub in close proximity to China, and leisure visitors enjoying the amenities of this cosmopolitan gateway to Asia, have created an enormous influx of international guests. Having just visited this bustling metropolis, it’s not hard to understand Hong Hong’s appeal. A veritable foodie and shopper’s paradise with hopping nightlife, eye popping high rises, great sights and stunning Victoria Harbour where east meets west in the most glamorous ambiance, there’s easily something for everyone.
As this is the March/April issue, I can only hope that by the time this publication reaches your desk, the winter weather has moved out, and that conditions have improved. JAX FAX is located in Connecticut, where many residents are waving white flags of surrender because of all the snow we have received this winter. We have closed our offices twice due to bad road conditions, and several of our clients - even those in the southern states - have done the same. The best interest and safety of employees comes at a price though - with loss of revenue and production, and operating expenses that do not cease due to inclement weather.
As I am sure you have noticed, things have changed here at JAX FAX. The magazine you are reading is the new and improved version, now called Destinations by JAX FAX. With this magazine, you also received our new Getting There by JAX FAX magazine, which is 100% devoted to informing you about opportunities to sell international air and make money doing so. Included in Getting There are articles and interviews with airlines and air consolidators, as well as our patented “listings” of consolidator and charter airfares worldwide. Also included as part of this issue of Getting There is our Annual Guide to Working with Air Consolidators. This guide includes articles educating travel agents about how to work effectively with air consolidators, and also includes profiles of some of the leading consolidators.
Canada has it all -- magnificent craggy mountains, vast plains, stunning seashores and vibrant cities. And it is a lot easier to get to than Europe. For rail fans it offers one more attraction: great train routes that span the continent from Nova Scotia
The VIA Rail system is the perfect way for clients to explore the beauty of our northern neighbor. Most trains operate year-round, offering different experiences in all seasons. Most of the trains include panorama and dome cars for maximum viewing.
Rich in mineral water springs, Poland is a magnificent place for relaxation because of its numerous spa and wellness centers. Many of them are located in very picturesque surroundings, and they all provide high quality service. The treatment on offer is designed to bring relaxation, harmony and inner balance to clients.
There are many underground hot water springs in Poland: they can be found in three-quarters of Poland’s whole area. Poles appreciate the advantages coming from the construction of spa and wellness centers, as many towns are planning to design and build spas around their hot mineral water springs. The first historical mentions of hot water springs name villages in the Karkonosze Mountains, in southwest Poland, called Lower Silesia, such as Cieplice Slaskie (1137) and Ladek Zdrój (1241). In the 17th century, Polish Queen Marysienka, wife of John III Sobieski took baths there, and the radon water baths are said to have brought relief and warmth to the aching bones of the German Emperor, Wilhelm I.
The Black Forest is among Germany’s most iconic regions, and its name alone will conjure up images of cuckoo clocks, quaint villages and the legendary Black Forest cherry cake in your clients’ minds. But there’s a lot more to Baden-Württemberg: urbane and sophisticated Stuttgart with its lavish palaces and magnificent museums, elegant Baden-Baden’s spas, a sports-filled lake district and celebrated wine towns.
It’s not surprising that Turkey scores high on everyone’s list of favorite destinations. Istanbul always dazzles; that’s a given. Its unique combination of mystical ancient city and fashionable, modern metropolis wows honeymooners as well as all lovers of fascinating, exotic locales. Add on a visit to Cappadocia with its fairy chimneys and underground cities plus a jaunt to Bodrum’s seaside with its famed yachts and beaches. You’ll have an itinerary guaranteed to satisfy even your most discerning client’s palate.
Most Americans have heard of the Panama Canal and in fact, it will be on most travel agents’ clients’ bucket lists, however, according to Guillaume de Vaudrey, owner of Cosmopolis Travel, there are a number of other things to do in Panama that should not go unnoticed.
The history of Panama is fascinating, it was a province of Columbia until the beginning of the 20th century and de Vaudrey says, “The culture there is very cosmopolitan. The main influence is Spanish, but also seen there today is a strong diversity of cultures from around the world.”
It was at the time when the Spaniards first arrived in Isthmus that building a route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans was first conceived. And then, the work on the Panama Canal began.
One is a shopper’s paradise, the other one is a myriad of sugar mills and heritage trails, and the third one is a national park with few of the distractions of the other two. Delightfully distinct, the trio that are the US Virgin Islands - St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John - are easy getaways with plenty of flights from the mainland and reliably warm weather all year round. “For repeat visitors, the trio each have their own personality with an abundance of new things to discover,“ said Beverly Nicholson-Doty, commissioner of tourism.“St. Thomas has new water-based adventure experiences, St. Croix Food and Wine Experience will debut a golf tournament allowing gourmands to blend another passion into their visit, and the Westin Resort on St. John will receive a face lift this year due for completion in the fall.”
With no shortage of ritzy resorts, splendid beaches, duty-free shopping, lively bars and Mother Nature Unplugged, Virgin Island Hotel Tourism Association is encouraging agent visits with a travel agent month in September that includes complimentary 3-night stays at participating hotels and resorts. Called the “immersion program,” it also offers discounted and gratis activities and excursions. The complete list is online beginning April 1. www.visitusvi.com