The Best Places to Visit in August
It's the season for boating in the Pacific Northwest; celebrating art and mischief in Edinburgh and the Nevada Desert; and cruising the Arctic. In fact, August is the best time to think about cruising, period. “Now’s the time to nab a last-minute deal on a cruise leaving before the end of the year,” says Mary Jean Tully of Tully Luxury Travel. “Brands like Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises have been known to reduce fares up to 25 percent once August hits, to help push out slower-selling inventory for the months of September through December, with particularly good deals in the weeks before Christmas. Look for trips heading to the Caribbean, Europe, or South America. August is also a smart time for parents to lock in family cruises for next year’s holidays—including spring break and even summer vacation. Once kids go back to school—and get their schedules—ships fill up fast.”
America's Pacific Northwest is pretty damn-near perfect in the summer. From late July through early September, the weather holds steady at 75, sunny, and dry—a godsend after a soggy year—and as a result, outdoor activities abound. We can't resist taking a boat out on Lake Union or Lake Washington in Seattle; going camping and orca-spotting in the San Juan Islands; and lingering over a glass of pinot blanc at the Teahouse in Vancouver's Stanley Park.(Not all outdoor activities have to be rigorous, right?)
See that Adirondack chair? It's made for lounging lakeside in August—the water is the ideal temperature, whether you prefer to dip a toe or dunk a family member. And new to the region:Wild Walk in Tupper Lake is like the High Line of the Adirondacks—and the next best thing to being an Ewok. It’s an elevated network of bridges and platforms that cuts through the treetops and connects to a four-story twig tree house and a kid-size spider’s web.
Black Rock Desert, Nevada
The Nevada desert, in August? Only for a good reason—only for Burning Man. Every year, a temporary city pops up outside Reno on the "playa," where lovers of "community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance" gather for a week-long pageant. They leave covered in dust, and all the better for it.
You know it won’t be there forever, and so does Crystal Cruises, whose Serenity starts sailing the Northwest Passage in August. The ship travels from Anchorage to Arctic fishing villages in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland before docking in New York—a 32-day itinerary and one of the boldest trips conceived for a luxury cruise liner. July and August are the warmest and busiest times to visit the Arctic, and travelers should expect to share their journey with more than a few walrus, seals, whales, and polar bears.
In addition to the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Aug. 5–29, 2016), the National Museum just unveiled a $21-million expansion, adding ten new exhibition halls. You'll be among the first to see the museum's new fashion gallery, with pieces from Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, and Yves Saint Laurent. Get there on Delta’s just-launched nonstop from JFK to Edinburgh—or hop British Airways’ new flight between London and the Highlands.
Brač Island, Croatia
The most popular (read: busiest) months to visit Croatia are July and August—and given how many Game of Thrones fans flock to Dubrovnik these days to look for King's Landing, "busy" is an understatement. Consider, instead, an escape to Brač, a Croatian island that noses into the Adriatic Sea, for the Yoga for Bad People’s retreat (Aug. 20–27). It blends mindfulness with beaching on the Golden Cape.
CATHY HOLLER AND PAT LISTA JOIN TULLY LUXURY TRAVEL’S GROWING EXECUTIVE TEAM
TORONTO, ON, 2016-Sep-15 — /Travel PR News/ — As Tully Luxury Travelprepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary year, it has announced two new appointments to its senior leadership team. Ms. Cathy Holler joins as Vice President, African Dreams, and Mr. Pat Lista joins as Vice President, Product & Contracting. Both bring 30 years of experience in the tourism industry.
Cathy Holler brings her visionary and strategic skills, an entrepreneurial spirit, extensive experience and connections in the luxury travel sector and broad knowledge of Africa. Her most recent positions include Vice President, Business Development and Product Innovation at Travcoa, Vice President, Member Sales & Service – USA & Canada and Vice President, Destination Sales, both at Virtuoso.
“I am incredibly honored and excited to join Mary Jean Tully and the amazing team at Tully Luxury Travel to lead their African Dreams division,” says Holler. “Since I was young, Africa has held a special place in my heart. To now be able to focus all of my expertise, energy and passion to promote travel to Africa is a dream come true!”
Pat Lista brings his extensive background in contract negotiations, sales, marketing, budgets and supplier relationships. A fluid thinker and passionate leader, Pat excels at finding innovative solutions to drive business forward and navigate teams through changing business models.
“I’m excited about this new and important chapter in my career, and happy to be working with a group of individuals whose professionalism is second to none. Everyone is striving towards the same goal: to provide the most exceptional service and travel experiences for our clients. The future is very bright.”
Two previous appointments, Julie Boucher, Vice President, Finance, and Judi Cohen, Director, Experiences, further demonstrate Tully Luxury Travel’s commitment to building a highly experienced and knowledgeable executive team.
“Our 30-year track record of success is the direct result of our very dedicated and diverse team,” says Jason Sarracini, Chief Operating Officer, Tully Luxury Travel. “I look forward to working alongside such accomplished individuals to map out our long-term strategy.”
Tully Luxury Travel will celebrate 30 successful years of operation in 2017.
ABOUT TULLY LUXURY TRAVEL
Tully Luxury Travel is dedicated to sharing the world’s most inspiring, life-enriching travel experiences with our discerning global clientele. Our expertise comes from first-hand knowledge of the destinations that we sell. Established in 1987, we have long-standing relationships with the finest travel and tourism suppliers, and offer world-class customer service through our three brands: Cruise Professionals, African Dreams, and Private Travel Designers.
Liz Azeez | DECK Agency | Liz@deckagency.com
Ms. Cathy Holler
Mr. Pat Lista
Sustainable Travel Going With A Conscience
by Vivian Vassos
A monastic school in Yangon supported by Trafalgar Cares
#GivingTuesday. The buzzwords now in travel are giving back, leaving a smaller footprint, and most often heard, sustainable travel.
Sustainable travel. According to Gavin Tollman, Global CEO of Trafalgar, we can make a difference in the destinations to which we go. The buzzwords now in travel are giving back, leaving a smaller footprint, and, most often heard, Sustainable Travel.
In Myanmar's largest city, Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon), for example, the company's itinerary includes a visit to a school for children run by a monastery. "The only way we can break the cycle of poverty is around education, and not everyone can afford education," notes Tollman.
"It's a basic belief and fundamental to our program, Trafalgar Cares(www.trafalgar.com/can). It is an initiative designed to see how we can be better corporate and global citizens." The core of the program, he adds, includes sustaining local businesses, local artisans, and working in small communities.
And he's not alone in his belief.
"We strongly believe that tourism can be a force for good, the greatest form of wealth distribution the world has ever seen," says big sustainable travel believer Bruce Poon Tip, the Canadian founder of G Adventures (www.gadventures.com). "Tourism is one of the largest industries on earth."
His claim is backed by recent figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council: worth US $7.6 trillion, tourism represents 10 per cent of the global GDP and employs 277 million people (1 in 11 jobs).
"When done correctly," he adds, "it can create employment opportunities and breakdown the barriers of inequality and poverty." (For more on Bruce, click here to watch his inspirational talk at ideacity 2016.)
Merit Travel, says Lori Copeland, director, product development and groups, has a preferred relationship with the aforementioned G-Adventures and Planeterra. And, although, G has historically been very popular with youth travelers, says Copeland, "They are also very much a great fit for active mature travelers, and have programs like "Local Living" that are perfectly suited for this demographic."
Merit has also partnered with WaterAid Canada (formerly WaterCan) in support of their goal to ensure clean water and proper sanitation around the world.
"The organization has attracted many influential Canadians, including their honourary president, Margaret Trudeau. (Read more about Margaret and her initiatives here.) Louise de Grandpré, Sr. VP of Merit Travel, visited a Water Aid Canada project in West Africa two years ago.
"The opportunity to witness first hand the difference WaterAid projects bring to a community is incredibly powerful. Having a source of clean water and proper latrines changes the lives of the entire community; babies have a better chance to survive the first few years, girls can attend school regularly, women no longer spend hours walking to the nearest well and animals are better cared for. Water is the source of life and WaterAid works with local organizations to ensure the success and the continuity of the projects it funds." www.merittravel.com
As an Africa specialist, Mary Jean Tully of Tully Luxury Travel is particularly passionate about the continent. "Supporting tourism," she says, is key, and one of the most compelling reasons to visit South Africa.
"Without tourism, the communities and the wildlife suffer greatly. She's also passionate for personal reasons: she considers herself a conservationist, and is involved in the protection of wildlife, particularly where poaching continues to threaten Elephants, Rhinos and Big Cats.
In addition, Tully was nominated for an Innovation Award at We Are Africa for My Wild Africa (www.mywildafrica.com), her award-winning social media accounts (@maryjeantully), where she tells personal stories about her experiences across Africa. www.tullyluxurytravel.com
"You can bring people into the small towns and the communities, and you can budget what their needs are accordingly," says Tollman, on the advantage of group travel. Like the supplies for this school in Myanmar. The company isn't just supporting existing schools, either. "We are building our second school in Ecuador," Tollman explains.
"Our first was in Kenya." Trafalgar is also working with the Susan B Komen foundation to help raise funds for breast cancer research specially created itineraries benefitting the foundation.
It just may be better to give than to receive. For Tollman, giving is about breaking down the barriers through travel. Yet I felt that I was the one on the receiving end. Having the opportunity to engage with the children was the true gift.
Take advantage of ‘wave season,’ a weeks-long bonanza that means cruise deals for Canadians
Crystal CruisesIf you’re lucky, you might snag a wave season deal on a Crystal Cruises ship to Tahiti.
‘Wave season’ in the cruise travel business may sound a lot like the Super Bowl, but it’s really about saving money on a great vacation. What started as a one-day cruise sale a couple decades ago is now a weeks-long bonanza featuring hundreds of deals, discounts and extras ranging from free WiFi to on-board spa treatments.
Regent CruisesA Regent cruise to the Greek Isles sounds awfully attractive on a February day in Canada.
“Wave season is sort of the Black Friday or Cyber Monday of the cruise space,” said Jason Sarracini, chief operating officer atTully Luxury Travel in Toronto. “It used to be wave day, where cruising companies would put their trips on sale for a day to get a feel for what the year would look like. But with the growth in the cruise market and so much product now available, they can’t do it in a day.”
Princess Cruises, for example, is offering up to a $1,200 USD credit for Europe sailing, while Celebrity is offering packages including all gratuities, ship-board packages and free WiFi, or unlimited beverages. Sarracini said Norwegian Cruise Lines recently purchased a large block of seats on Air Canada planes and was offering great packages including flights as well as free shore excursions and free WiFi.Air Canada Vacations is sporting a myriad of deals, everything from $250 off air fares for cruise passengers to buy-one-get-one free with Royal Caribbean.
“We send our agents on the cruise ships, so they know exactly they’re selling,” said Sarracini. “There are also something like 20 new ships being launched this year and we know what products are out there. We can make sure you get the selections you want at the best price.”
Geraldine Ree, senior vice president franchise and supplier performance with Expedia Canada, said price wars aren’t as common as they used to be in the cruise business, but there are definitely deals to be had.
“I’d say that now it’s more of a value war, but I’m seeing some offers that are very aggressive. Companies are really promoting Europe sailings and offering all sorts of extras or amenities. Oceania has Europe deals where you can get free shore excursions.”
Viking CruisesBudapest is one of the highlights of a Viking River Cruise on the Danube River.
Richard Marnell, senior vice president of marketing at Viking Cruises, said his company offers early booking discounts. “Our buying power also gives us a chance to give people significantly cheaper air fare, including transfers to and from our ships.”
Viking offers dozens of river cruise options, which is a huge growth area.
“Cruises in general are growing about 15 per cent a year, but we’re growing about 30 per cent,” he said.
Of course, what you get out of wave season depends in part on what type of trip you want and where you want to go.
Austria TourismA river cruise to Vienna will get you great access to some of the city’s top sights, including Schloss Schoenbrunn.
“River cruising appeals to an experienced, culturally interested traveller,” Marnell said. “The majority of river cruisers have taken an ocean cruise and been to Europe, so this gives them an opportunity to learn and go deeper. You can dock in the heart of some of the most beautiful cites in Europe and visit small towns that you wouldn’t otherwise see.”
Several cruise lines have cancelled stops in Istanbul due to terrorism issues. Cruise officials say that should mean better deals for trips in the eastern Mediterranean. TheZika virus has also scared some would-be Caribbean and South American visitors, which could also mean discounts.
DEAL OF THE WEEK
Marriott Caribbean and Latin American resorts are offering a “Time is Money” promotion with savings of up to 30 per cent at participating properties, including Cancun, Aruba, Puerto Vallarta and Grand Cayman. Visitors must reserve a minimum two-night stay by Feb. 29, for travel between April 1 and June 30, with booking code 3CL.