Egypt to be the first African country to issue Panda bonds in China

According to a report by the Belgian Ecofin News Agency on May 23, in cooperation with the African Development Bank, Egypt is preparing to issue the first batch of African Panda bonds (Panda bonds refer to RMB bonds issued by foreign institutions in China – note on this website). For the African Development Bank, this is the first step in its efforts to facilitate resource mobilization in African countries.

According to reports, with the support of the African Development Bank, Egypt is about to become the first country on the African continent to issue panda bonds in the Chinese market, which will be the first case in the African financial sector. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, announced at a press lunch held in Sharm El Sheikh on the sidelines of the African Development Bank’s annual meeting on the 22nd that the bank approved a large amount of financial support last week – 345 million U.S. dollars part of the guarantee to support this initiative.

The deployment is aimed at facilitating Egypt’s access to China’s bond market, allowing the Arab country to fund environmental and social projects, the report said. Through this initiative, Egypt plans to raise the equivalent of $500 million to support green transport, renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable water management, among others.

The bonds were initially scheduled to be issued in 2022, but had to be delayed due to uncertainties in the global financial environment. “We’re just waiting for the right moment,” said Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kushuk.

“The facilitation conditions should improve Egypt’s financial rating, allowing it to attract international investment on favorable terms,” said Mohamed Aziz, general manager of the African Development Bank’s North Africa region.

The success of the operation “will hopefully open the way for other African countries,” said Marie-Lohr Arkin-Olubad, vice president for regional development, business integration and execution at the African Development Bank.

According to reports, Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister Rania Mashat stressed that the agreement strengthens the strategic partnership with the African Development Bank and diversifies Egypt’s funding sources. “This agreement with the African Development Bank adds a new dimension to our strategic partnership focusing on the transition to renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure project financing,” she said.

Travel Notes of Nan’ao Island: Cross-sea Bridge, Holiday Villas, Natural Gate and Food

Spent a surprise and wonderful holiday in Nan’ao Island, Chenghai City, Guangdong, China.

First of all, let me introduce the Nan’ao Sea-Crossing Bridge. This 11.08-kilometer-long bridge connects Chenghai and Nan’ao Island, and is one of the landmark buildings of Nan’ao Island. When I walked on the bridge, I felt the sea breeze blowing on my face, and the seascape and sky in front of me complemented each other. I couldn’t help but sigh what a wonderful moment it was.

After getting off the bridge, we came to Nan’ao Island. With clear sea water and fine sandy beaches, it is a good place for vacation. On the island, I lived in a homestay called “Nan’ao Island Holiday Villa”. The room here is clean and tidy, well-equipped, and there is a private pool, which made me feel unparalleled comfort and relaxation.

In addition to accommodation, Nan’ao Island has many attractions worth visiting. Among them, what impressed me the most was the “Gate of Nature” on the Tropic of Cancer. This arch built on the Tropic of Cancer gave me a wonderful experience of crossing the northern and southern hemispheres. In addition, Nan’ao Island National Forest Park and Ocean Park are also attractions not to be missed.

In Nan’ao Island, I also tasted local delicacies. Nan’ao seaweed is one of the specialties here. I tasted this delicious dish in a restaurant called “Nan’ao Island Seafood Food Stall”. In addition, the seafood here is also very fresh, which made me eat mouthful after mouthful.

Generally speaking, Nan’ao Island is a very suitable place for vacation and relaxation. Here, I feel the beauty of nature and the harmony between man and nature. If you also want a travel experience like this, you might as well come to Nan’ao Island to have a look!


St David’s Day Cardiff celebrates Wales’ National Day

People from all over Wales gathered in Cardiff today, St David’s Day, to march through the city centre to celebrate Wales’ National Day. Colourful flags, Welsh bunting, St David’s and Owen Gryndore flags decorated the sky, songs such as Yma O Hyd and the Welsh national anthem were sung, and people were dressed in historic Welsh dress. The marchers were in high spirits and mostly enjoyed the festivities. Others are busy campaigning for Welsh independence


Venezuela welcomes first European cruise ship dock in 15 years, carrying nearly 500 tourists

A cruise ship docked at a Venezuelan port on the same day, which is the first European cruise ship to call in the country in 15 years, and Venezuelan tourism people welcomed the move.

The “Amadeya” cruise ship flying the flag of the Bahamas docked at Margarita Island in the Caribbean Sea (under the jurisdiction of Venezuela’s Nueva Esparta State) on the 3rd. It carried nearly 500 passengers, mainly from Spain and France. , Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

“Venezuela has been off the radar of cruise ships for many years,” Venezuelan Tourism Minister Ali Padron said in welcoming the historic stop.

According to Leudo Gonzalez, president of the Venezuelan Tourism Council (Conseturismo), the Amadeya’s visit opens up the possibility of Venezuela returning to the list of major cruise lines’ destinations.

Reinaldo Pulido, vice-president of the council, believes that any initiative “as long as it brings in new international tourists is a gain,” adding, “For us it’s wonderful. Yes, it’s a celebration.”

According to previous news from EFE, Venezuelan state-owned port operator Bolivar posted on its Twitter account at the end of last year: “With joy and commitment, the Bolivar team is overseeing the reception of nearly Operations and preparations for the 500 European tourists who will arrive on board the cruise ship ‘Amadeia’ to visit Margarita Island.”

At the time, the country’s Tourism Minister Padron said: “The window paper on years of unilateral coercive measures to prevent cruise ships from Europe from docking has been pierced.”

Venezuela’s battered economy and tourism have recently shown signs of recovery after years of inflation and a plunging currency. The loosening of currency and price controls has boosted imports, widening the choice of products and opening new stores.

New hotel | The second Atlantis hotel in Dubai opens, creating a new royal garden in the sky

On February 10th, Atlantis The Royal in Dubai ushered in the opening. The hotel was designed by the world-renowned architectural firm KPF as the chief architectural design company. With water waves as the element and concept, the shape of the hotel was built into a stacked The boxes, hollowed out in the middle, are only connected by a 95-meter-long bridge, which can be called a brand-new sky royal garden.

The interior design is in charge of GA Group, which is inspired by an ancient nation in the Arabian desert. In the center of the lobby stands an 11.5-meter-high sculpture named “Water Droplets”, which implies rain in the desert and echoes the raindrop lighting on the ceiling. There is also the largest jellyfish tank in the world in the lobby bar area, in which more than 2,000 jellyfish swim.

The hotel has 43 floors and 795 rooms, 102 of which are suites. The room is dominated by gold, and even the toiletries are gold-plated, which is very luxurious in Dubai. Each room is contemporary in style with lighting materials and hand-carved textures, bespoke amenities by Graff and Frette for the hotel, and hand-stitched mattresses by Hypnos. In addition, hotels can offer a variety of connectivity options, including private access to entire floors.

There are a total of 17 restaurants in the hotel, eight of which are headed by Michelin star chefs, including Nobu Matsuhisa, José Andrés, Costas Spiliadis, Ariana Bundy, Mich Turner and Gastón Acurio, etc. In terms of brunch, whether it is enjoying a sumptuous party brunch in Dubai, tasting Mediterranean or Japanese cuisine, or a leisurely family brunch, Royal Atlantis Dubai can combine many interesting experiences into one Brunch with a difference.

In addition, the hotel also provides many entertainment items. The Royal Atlantis, Dubai is home to Dubai’s top bars and beach clubs, bustling from morning to night, dancing on the beach, sipping exquisite drinks by the pool, or listening to top DJs and international artists Performance.

While staying at the hotel, people can explore the world’s largest water park, embarking on a journey of discovery at Atlantis Aquaventure, enjoying 105 record-breaking slides, attractions and more. You can also meet the warm and friendly Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in Atlas Village, and play with playful and lovely South African seals.

In addition, the hotel also has exclusive treatment rooms, outdoor swimming pool, meditation pavilion, personal styling salon, beauty and wellness clinic and fitness center and other facilities, and provides a unique holistic spa and wellness experience.

Etihad Airways will also restart flights to summer travel hotspots Malaga and Mykonos

On July 2, 2023, Etihad Airways will launch a direct passenger flight from Abu Dhabi to Lisbon, further expanding its European route network this summer.

Etihad Airways will operate three flights a week between Abu Dhabi and Lisbon, Portugal, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays during the summer holidays.

Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “Etihad Airways is delighted to launch the first direct flight to Portugal, offering our guests easy access to one of the most popular summer travel destinations in 2023. travel options.

“As one of the oldest cities in Western Europe, the coastal city of Lisbon is an excellent starting point for travelers to explore Portugal, with its breathtaking beaches, historic castles, vibrant nightlife and welcoming locals.

“Our new direct flight will strengthen business and tourism links between the UAE and Portugal, and Etihad Airways would like to thank the Portuguese government for their support in launching this new route.”

Resumption of summer flights to Malaga and Mykonos

This summer, Etihad Airways will not only launch flights to Lisbon, but also resume flights to Malaga on Spain’s Costa del Sol and the popular Greek travel destination Mykonos.

Effective 18 June 2023, Etihad Airways will operate twice weekly flights to Malaga, on Wednesdays and Sundays. Nestled in a wide bay with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, Malaga is one of Spain’s most popular coastal cities for tourists, known for its miles of sandy beaches, unique exotic culture and local cuisine.

Not only that, but travelers can also look forward to Etihad Airways’ upcoming flights to the island of Mykonos, which lies in the deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea. From 16 June 2023, Etihad Airways will operate twice weekly flights to Mykonos, on Mondays and Fridays. With its world-class beaches, restaurants and entertainment, Mykonos is one of Europe’s top summer tourist destinations, where visitors can indulge in ancient Greek history.

With the opening of new routes to Lisbon, Malaga and Mykonos, Etihad Airways will offer passengers nearly 160 weekly flights to 21 European destinations this summer, compared to 2022 An annual increase of 20%.

Travelers can book flights to the three new destinations immediately on

World War III news: Safest places to hide in WW3 scenario

World War III is becoming a worrying future possibility as global tensions escalate across the world stage in countries such as North Korea, the USA and Russia.

Some countries are much safer than others in the event of disaster breaking out – and the safest places in the world have now been revealed.

New research identified where in the world has the lowest risk of crime and natural disasters – as well as health and terrorism risks. 

The research by consumer site Which? looked at 20 countries across the globe – and you may be surprised by the results.

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Which? looked at data from the World Economic Fund, for crime rates, the World Risk Report, for likelihood of major natural disasters, the NHS Fit for Travel website, for health risks and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) assessment of terrorism risk levels.

Of the 20 holiday destinations Which? examined, Iceland came in first place for the safest country.

Its murder rate is an average of two a year, making it one of the most peaceful places in the world.

Second place was more surprising, as it went to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) while Singapore came in third position.

Spain was revealed to be the safest popular European holiday tourist destination. Greece came in 11th place, France in 13th and Italy in 14th.

When it came to natural disasters, Iceland and the UAE again ranked well.

Although first place went to Barbados as having the lowest risk of natural disasters, Iceland came in second place and the UAE in third.

world war III 3 ww3 news russia US north korea safe countries

World War III news: Safest places to hide in WW3 scenario (Image: Getty Images)

world war III 3 ww3 news russia US north korea safe countries

World War III news: Of the 20 holiday destinations Which? examined, Iceland came in first place (Image: Getty Images)

France came in fifth position, Spain in seventh, Italy in 10th and Turkey in 12th.

The Middle East and North Africa both proved to be remarkably safe countries overall – contrary to what many people might think.

Jordan in the Middle East was revealed to have a lower risk of crime than France, Italy, the US and Thailand.

While Morocco has less crime and a lower risk of terrorism than most of Europe and the US.

What’s more, neither Jordan or Morocco have significant health risks or have high risk of natural disasters.

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Morocco has less crime and a lower risk of terrorism than most of Europe and the US (Image: Getty Images)

Safest cities in the world 2018
Wed, March 14, 2018
The safest cities in the world 2018 – but does London make the list?

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Safest cities in the world 2018 Getty Images

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Safest cities in the world 2018

When it came to health, the five western European countries Which? looked at were low risk.

But UAE, Japan and the US were also identified as ranking low for health risks. The NHS doesn’t recommend vaccinations for any of these nations or warn of any specific risks.

As for terrorism, the FCO cautions there is nowhere in the world where it can be ruled out.

However, Iceland again performed well in the category. The island nation and Japan both receive the “can’t be ruled out” warning.

Other countries were given “likely” or “very likely” warnings for terrorism.

Safest Places in the World

Risk of violent crime (from better to worse)

1. Iceland 6.6

2. UAE 6.6

3. Singapore 6.5

4. Spain 6.2 A

5. Australia 6.1

6. Canada 6.1

7. Japan 6.1

8. Morocco 6.1

9. Jordan 5.8

10. Barbados 5.6

Risk of natural disaster (from less likely to more likely)

1. Barbados

2. Iceland

3. UAE

4. Singapore

5. France

6. Canada

7. Spain

8. US

9. Australia

10. Italy

The secret nuclear bunkers built in the UK have been mapped should World War Three break out. 

The UK was prepared for such attacks in previous years, therefore a number of bunkers were created – and still exist. Sadly, the majority of them are now out of use.

The Top 100 Corporate Hotels for Business Travelers Revealed

Sky Pool at ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas

Egencia, Expedia’s business travel division, has announced the winners of its annual awards program, revealing the top 100 preferred hotels around the globe.

The Egencia program honors properties with the goal of recognizing those that are committed to customer service for business and corporate clients.

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The finalists for the fourth annual awards program range from major hotel brands to independent properties and were selected based on satisfaction ratings, pricing, desirable amenities for corporate travelers, customer service and the overall guest experience in 2018.

“A great business traveler experience is just as important to us as providing a great business travel platform here at Egencia, which is why each year we recognize and reward hotels that deliver outstanding customer service, tremendous value for money and popular amenities,” said Andrew Dyer, vice president of global supply at Egencia brand.

“This year’s honorees go above and beyond what is expected of them to put the needs and comfort of business travelers first, offering conveniences such as complimentary breakfast and loyalty points.”

The top 100 hotels recognized by Egencia include properties in 17 countries across five continents. These properties delivered nearly 90,000 with complimentary breakfast and 75,000 room nights eligible for loyalty points to more than 145,000 Egencia business travelers in 2018.

Top hotels in major U.S. business hubs include the following:

California, Los Angeles

Dream Hollywood

California, San Francisco

Galleria Park Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel

Grand Hyatt San Francisco Union Square

Hotel Nikko San Francisco

Hotel Spero

Hotel Zelos San Francisco

Omni San Francisco Hotel

Stanford Court San Francisco

The Marker San Francisco, a Joie de Vivre Hotel

California, San Jose

Hotel Valencia Santana Row

California, West Hollywood

Montrose West Hollywood

The Jeremy Hotel West Hollywood

Florida, Miami Beach

Loews Miami Beach Hotel South Beach

Illinois, Chicago

Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop – Theatre District

Fairmont Chicago at Millennium Park

Freehand Chicago

Loews Chicago Hotel

Omni Chicago Suites – Magnificent Mile

Virgin Hotels Chicago

Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront

Massachusetts, Boston

Boston Omni Parker House Hotel

YOTEL Boston

Minnesota, Minneapolis

Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown

Missouri, St. Louis

The Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta St. Louis

Nevada, Las Vegas

ARIA Resort & Casino


Caesars Palace – Resort & Casino

The LINQ Hotel & Casino

New York, New York

Bentley Hotel

Grand Hyatt New York

Hotel Sofitel New York

Hyatt Centric Times Square New York

Park South Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Hotel

PUBLIC, an Ian Schrager hotel

Shelburne Hotel & Suites by Affinia

The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City

Ohio, Cincinnati

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati

Ohio, Columbus

Hyatt Regency Columbus

Oregon, Portland

Hotel Lucia

The Benson, a Coast Hotel

Rhode Island, Providence

Omni Providence Hotel

Texas, Austin

Archer Hotel Austin

Omni Austin Hotel

Washington, Seattle

Motif Seattle

Hotel Theodore

Thompson Seattle

Walt Disney World is the Place to Eat in 2019


Breakfast from the Grand Floridian Cafe

Eat at Disney

When it comes to dining, there’s no better food than theme park food. And while many of us still think about burgers, hot dogs and the occasional giant pretzel, there’s so much more, especially at the Walt Disney World Resort. Epcot is hosting quite a few festivals this year, new restaurants are popping up at Disney Springs, and some restaurants are even getting a whole new concept for guests to enjoy.

5 Fun Destinations From American Airlines Vacations


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More Fun in 2019

Whether you’re a travel agent or a traveler, you stand to gain from knowing about American Airlines Vacations (AAV). AAV not only puts agents front and center with its online booking site and exclusive benefits but saves travelers in a variety of ways, including through hotel deals, bonus miles rewards and more.

Google Assistant Will Now Alert You if Your Flight is Delayed

Boarding pass on smartphone

Thanks, Google.

Just in time for the busy holiday travel period, Google Assistant will begin notifying passengers if there’s a strong likelihood that their flight will be delayed.

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Google recently announced that its AI-powered virtual assistant will proactively send alerts to users’ phones so they can plan for an impending flight delay before arriving at the airport.

“Over the next few weeks the Assistant will begin proactively notifying you on your phone if we predict a flight delay and tell you the reason if we know it,” Richard Holden, Vice President, Product Management, Travel, wrote in a blog post on Monday.

Google has been sharing flight delay predictions with users since the early part of this year, informing passengers when it’s 85 percent confident that their flight will eventually be delayed based on analysis of historic flight status data combined with machine learning.

Users can always ask Google Assistant “Hey Google, is my flight on time?” to get up-to-date information on their flight but proactive alerts will make it even easier to stay in the know.

The latest enhancement to Google Assistant is just another example of how the tech giant is impacting the travel industry. Google recently made searching for hotel rooms easier and is also helping travel agents sell Disney.

Celebrate 45 Years of Fun with Funjet Vacations

Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Suite

WHY IT RATES: Travelers can save big and receive resort perks when booking a vacation this month.—Codie Liermann, Associate Editor

Funjet Vacations is celebrating its 45th anniversary with its biggest sale of the year. Vacationers can save up to $200 with promo code ALLONSALE9 to top destinations like Mexico, the Caribbean, Las Vegas and New York City.

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Plus, select resorts are offering additional values like resort credits, room upgrades and more, and travel agents can earn up to $50 in Agent Bonus Cash on qualifying bookings. Packages must be booked by January 24, 2019, for travel through May 31, 2019.

Top deals include the following:

—Cancun: Reflect Krystal Grand Cancun—room upgrades and kids rates from $20.19 and up to 40 percent savings

—Riviera Maya: El Dorado Seaside Suites, a Spa Resort by Karisma—save up to 55 percent + reduced room upgrade from Luxury Jacuzzi Jr Suite to Beachfront Jacuzzi Suite

—Punta Cana: Chic Punta Cana—up to 64 percent savings, plus $600 resort credit for Diamond Club categories

—Las Vegas: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas—save 25 percent plus receive $100 food & beverage credit

—New York: Riu New York Times Square—up to 30 percent off room & buffet breakfast and room and buffet breakfast & dinner

“For 45 years, Funjet has been an industry leader in leisure vacations to Mexico and the Caribbean as well as popular domestic destinations,” said Ron Jacobs, Funjet Vacations President. “We’re excited to celebrate with big savings and extra values on our top resorts.”

For more information and restrictions, visit

SOURCE: Funjet Vacations press release.

Aqua-Aston Hospitality Talks LGBTQ Marketing

Aqua-Aston Hospitality plays an active role in supporting the LGBTQ community. (Photo by Paul Heney)

Aqua-Aston Hospitality (AAH) has a variety of hotel properties and condominiums in warm vacation destinations: Oahu, Kauai, Maui, the Big Island, Orlando, and Costa Rica.

The company has also played an active role in supporting the LGBTQ community by including messaging of inclusiveness and acceptance of diversity into all of its marketing materials, brand messaging, special packages and exclusive deals.


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Additionally, AAH is approved by the Travel Advocacy Group (TAG), which recognizes hotels with LGBT-friendly policies and services and is a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), supporting community events including Gay Pride Festival, the Rainbow Film Festival, Equality Hawaii, GLAAD and the Hawaii Conference on LGBT Tourism & Hospitality.

We recently spoke with Ed Skapinok, senior vice president of sales, marketing and revenue at Aqua-Aston Hospitality about the company’s inclusive culture and outlook. Skapinok has more than 30 years in hospitality with expertise spanning global operators and independent properties. Prior to joining AAH early last year, he spent six years as vice president of sales and marketing at Hostmark Hospitality Group in Schaumburg, Ill., overseeing a portfolio of 50 full- and select-service hotels, resorts, restaurants, and spas. He currently serves as chairman on the sales advisory board for prominent hotel industry organization, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International.

TP: Your brand has some great messages of inclusivity on its website. How important is the LGBTQ traveler to Aqua-Aston Hospitality, and why?

ES: Our Corporate Social Responsibility promise upholds our commitment to doing good for the Hawaii community by advocating for our host culture and values of tolerance, equality, and diversity. Aqua-Aston Hospitality offers hotels for all types of travelers and preferences. As a long-time supporter of the LGBTQ community, we market to the community with the same drive and fervor as we would for any other community that our guests are a part of.

TP: Do you do any specific marketing to queer travelers? Where and how? Have you put together any special package deals aimed toward this market?

ES: The messaging of inclusiveness and acceptance of diversity is reiterated in all our marketing materials, brand messaging, special packages and exclusive discounts, branded content and call-to-action initiatives. To further promote our hotels as an LGBTQ-friendly brand, Aqua-Aston offers packages that specifically celebrate the community. Examples of current and past packages include “Out and Proud” and “Free to Be” in celebration of marriage equality, which was legalized in Hawaii in 2014.

We focus on pushing out messaging and ads that reflect overall inclusivity and avoid explicitly gay markers or signals. Our strategy remains consistent with promotional materials in both mainstream and gay media.

TP: How does Aqua-Aston train guest-facing employees to understand the needs of LGBTQ guests?

ES: Internally, Aqua-Aston Hospitality ensures that a culture of inclusivity remains a staple of the company’s foundation and is upheld across the entire organization, including regular internal LGBTQ sensitivity trainings. Implementing these types of employee trainings, combined with a proactive presence within the LGBTQ community, has positioned Aqua-Aston as a best-in-class employer.

TP: With same-sex marriage being legal in all 50 states, there’s been an expectation of an uptick for weddings and honeymoons in Hawaii for this traveler segment. What have you seen at your properties there?

ES: After Hawaii legalized marriage equality in 2014, the state saw an incredible 408% rise in the number of same-sex marriages. Most recently in 2017, it was reported that approximately 7.8% of all marriages in Hawaii were same-sex. Aqua-Aston properties remain sought-after destinations for weddings, honeymoons and anniversary celebrations, offering unique packages including the “Rainbow Romance” honeymoon package, that cater to same-sex couples.

TP: What mistakes do you think other hotel chains or tourism companies make when marketing to LGBTQ travelers?

ES: The hotel brands and tourism companies that do not make a concerted, dedicated effort to cater to the LGBTQ community of travelers and promote acceptance of all to these destinations, are at a disadvantage. The Millennial generation of travelers — who continue to influence key travel trends — have grown up with LGBTQ equality, tolerance and acceptance of diversity, and expect these values to translate over into the travel and hospitality industries.

TP: Have any of your properties worked with any local LGBTQ organizations in any interesting ways?

ES: In addition to traditional marketing advertisements and unique hotel stay packages celebrating the LGBTQ community, new marriages, unions and honeymoons, Aqua-Aston Hospitality plays an active role in supporting local and international associations and events. We support community events including Gay Pride Festival, the Rainbow Film Festival, Equality Hawaii, GLAAD and the Hawaii Conference on LGBTQ Tourism & Hospitality, among others. We even hosted Hawaii’s first LGBTQ Tourism & Hospitality Symposium in 2015.

Avoya Travel Wins Gold at 2019 Travvy Awards

Avoya Travel Mastermind Academy onboard MSC Seaside

Avoya Travel took home two gold Travvy statues at travAlliancemedia’s annual awards ceremony, which took place on January 23, 2019, at Gotham Hall in New York City.

The host agency took home honors for Best Host Agency as well as Best Host Agency Website,, during the fifth annual Travvy Awards.

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Once again, Avoya led the way in the host agency category, taking home top honors for the 5th year in a row. Nexion took second, with silver awards in both categories and Ciao Bambino was also nominated in each.

Avoya had another banner year in 2018, and the host agency expects a winning 2019 for its agents, who predict they will top last year’s sales during this year’s Wave selling season which is ongoing through March, and this can be attributed to its ongoing focus on agent training and education.

“With the help of Avoya’s Mastermind Program, I have better focus and the ability to handle more business during Wave and all of 2019,” said RaShonda Gibson of Abundant Journeys, LLC.

Avoya also saw triple-digit growth and early success with its New-to-Travel Agents last year, and the host agency hosted its first Avoya Travel Institute, a new educational opportunity that educated advisors on relationship building with top partners in 2018.

The host agency was also recently recognized as Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2018 Online Partner of the Year, which continues to show that the network is deserving of its numerous honors.

National Plan for Vacation Day is the Perfect Time to Enlist the Help of a Travel Agent

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Tuesday is National Plan for Vacation Day.

Launched by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off initiative in 2017, the last Tuesday in January is a day to encourage Americans to begin planning for their next vacation at the start of the year before their time off is expired or all used up on days spent running errands, helping a friend move or sitting in a waiting room.

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The idea of planning a vacation, whether traveling solo, as a couple or with family, can be incredibly exciting. However, it can also be daunting when it comes to settling on the right destinations, flights and hotels or resorts without blowing up your budget.

Fortunately, talented travel agents are standing by to assist you in crafting the perfect trip.

Your first thought is probably that the convenience of working with an experienced agent is going to cost you extra but that’s a common misconception as agents have access to the best travel deals and also boast the booking expertise to stretch your budget further.

“I often win many clients and their deposits once they realize I work for them and they pay no additional fees to use my services. Most consumers already think we charge fees or they pay more to use our services and I want to assure them that not all travel agencies are created the same,” Mark Hennigan, co-owner and founder of Hampstead, Maryland-based Dreamers Travel, told TravelPulse.

If saving money isn’t your top priority, perhaps you could benefit from preserving time and stress. A good travel agent can do that too as you won’t be left to scroll travel websites for hours in hopes of landing on the right booking.

What’s more, your travel agent doesn’t disappear after your trip has been booked. They’ll continue to be an invaluable resource for you before, during and after your vacation and will be ready to assist you in the event that something goes wrong.

“The East Coast is in for some wintry weather today and tomorrow and I have spent the first two hours of my morning making flight adjustments for our clients heading to Punta Cana. It is my job as a Travel Professional to be proactive,” added Hennigan “I reach out to these folks with an alternate plan and shift their dates and you would have thought I bought them a new house. They were so surprised that I even thought of them not to mention offer them alternative options so they could still take their trip and not have to cancel.”

With a travel agent, there’s also no need to be nervous about reading the fine print on that too-good-to-be-true deal or worry if you’re being scammed.

Travel agents are also travelers themselves so they often have firsthand experience in your destination, on your cruise or at your resort. They also have clients who’ve experienced it and provided them with feedback. That’s information you can trust compared to a review you might read online.

Working with an agent can also potentially open the door to exclusive access or VIP experiences. Agents are well-connected and often have access to special perks and benefits that they can pass on to you. If not, they’re still able to ensure a personalized travel experience by taking into account your passions and goals to build a custom itinerary of excursions, activities and experiences just for you.

“I email every hotel or resort prior to clients arrival,” added Hennigan. “I let that resort know these guests are on a honeymoon, anniversary, birthday, etc. and there are often times the management will greet them on my behalf.”

“The client emails me from the resort (or when they get home) and says ‘Mr. Anderson’ spoke very highly of you and thank you for the warm welcome or the fruit plate, etc. I am not sure Trivago or Expedia offer that type of service.”

So, what are you waiting for? Talk to a travel agent today. Reach out to your local travel agency or visit to find a verified advisor ready to assist you in planning your next vacation.

UK cottages: A weekend trip to Somerset is the the perfect tonic for city-dwellers | Activity Holidays | Travel |

somerset uk holidays countryside weekend breaks sykes cottages

UK cottages: A weekend trip to Somerset is the the perfect tonic for city-dwellers (Image: Getty Images/Sykes Cottages)

Standing on the porch, I look to my left. Over the top of a row of small brick cottages rises a rolling hill of green from which a large cloud of steam is billowing. I hear the unmistakeable clickety-clack of a steam train rumbling past and a loud whistle – and I cannot help but grin to myself at how idyllic this place is. It’s as though I’ve stepped into an Enid Blyton novel and my three friends, a dog and I are about to head off on a great adventure.

I’ve found myself in the tiny village of Samford Brett near Taunton in Somerset for the weekend. I’m staying in a house called Elmfield – booked through Sykes Cottages – and the best way to describe it is this: picture how an American would imagine an English cottage based on the films they’ve seen, and you’ve pretty much got Elmfield.

It’s a perfectly proportioned brick house with a bright red door, a white trellis-covered porch and two chimneys. Greenery creeps up the front and there’s a little gate in front of the house leading to a quiet road.

The interior of the cottage is no less charming. It features two large, comfortable living rooms with two fires. I’m spending the weekend with 11 friends my own age, but such a set up would be ideal for families with children looking to branch out into their own space (the games room in the garden stable is also great for this, coming complete with darts and table tennis).

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There are books and board games galore, too, for those looking for some downtime. We set to work getting the fire going as soon as we arrive, and it makes for a very cosy scene indeed.

There are plenty of bedrooms to choose from – five in total – and Maggie, the owner, offers beforehand to make two of them up into twins or doubles. The majority of the rooms come with their own sink, which is particularly handy come teeth-cleaning time.

The mini toiletries lend a hotel-vibe to the place and a plethora of towels are to-hand, an (often underestimated) bonus.

It’s the kitchen which is the highlight of Elmfield, however. The vast, traditional room has a large table in the middle big enough to seat 12 and there’s every piece of cooking equipment you could need, often twice over.

In fact, there are so many plates, glasses and cutlery that you can bung everything from breakfast into the dishwasher and still have enough left out for lunch.

We spend many a happy moment bustling round the kitchen, whipping up lasagnes and fry-ups over the course of the weekend, eventually sitting down to feast en masse at the table and making in-roads on numerous bottles of wine.

somerset uk holidays countryside weekend breaks sykes cottages

UK cottages: Elmfield It’s a perfectly proportioned brick house with a bright red door (Image: Sykes Cottages)

Fortunately, despite our fuzzy heads in the morning, a countryside walk provides the perfect tonic. On our first day in Somerset, we drive to East Quantoxhead to enjoy an invigorating, clifftop walk. The circular path takes in vast, beautiful fields and even a stately home.

The wind is up when we arrive at the cliffs overlooking the sea and we are veritably pummelled by the bracing breeze as we stare out across the grey, blue water to the coastline of Wales.

Somerset has an intriguing geological coastline and makes for some very dramatic coastal shots – as well as some comedic ones as we women of the group battle to keep hair from flying into our faces. Berries bloom along the hedgerows – a clear sign summer is behind us – and we inhale the fresh, countryside air with enthusiasm.

On our second day, inspired by the suggested walks Maggie has in a folder at Elmfield, we set off for a more local walk from Samford Brett. We don wellies and tramp forth along fields, into the woods and eventually across farmland.

In a painfully urban way we can’t help but express our delight at spotting sheep and horses and we stride forth in the sunshine.

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somerset uk holidays countryside weekend breaks sykes cottages

Somerset boasts beautiful scenery and a bracing walk is the perfect way to clear our fuzzy heads (Image: Getty Images)

somerset uk holidays countryside weekend breaks sykes cottages

Somerset: The vast, traditional kitchen has a large table in the middle big enough to seat 12 (Image: Sykes Cottages)

Britain’s best walks
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Discover some of the best walks across the UK.

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Buxton in the Peak District

At one point we spot a creature rather more incongruous to the traditional English landscape – an emu. If the sight of this large flightless bird isn’t surprising enough, we soon spot a small boy striding across a farm entrance holding two ferrets, slung across his palms like a pair of spare jumpers. Clearly we are a long way from London.

Back at Elmfield, it’s time for us to reluctantly pack up our belongings and pile into our rental car. We’d booked it through and had conveniently managed to pick it up in a location just around the corner from my house.

A seven-seater Vauxhall Zafira, it’s perfect for helping to get such a big group down to the West Country. It is also impressively high tech – apparently traditional keys are a thing of the past – and boasts Bluetooth, built-in sat nav and front seats with an intriguing massage function, all very necessary for a long road-trip to somewhere new.

We were certainly sad to say goodbye to the house and Maggie. We’d loved the little touches around the house, such as the fresh flowers, as well as how amenable she’d been about popping round with dishwasher sachets when there were none left. We’d drawn the line at asking her to bring brown sugar when a fudge sauce craving kicked in near midnight, though.

With a final gulp of fresh countryside air and a wave to the goats in the garden, we set course for home.

Prices start from £819 for a 7 night’s stay at Elmfield bookable via or by calling 01244 617683.  

Prices start from approx. £102 for a seven-seater Vauxhall Zafira (or similar) for a three-day car hire from London, bookable through

2019 Travvy Awards Honors the Best and Brightest in Travel Industry

2019 Travvy Awards, Gotham Hall, New York City

TravAlliancemedia is kicking off the New Year honoring the travel industry’s best and brightest. The fifth annual Travvy Awards took place on January 23, 2019, at Gotham Hall in New York City.

Hosted by travAlliancemedia and sponsored by Allianz as well as ShoreTrips, Hotel Xcaret Mexico, La Coleccion and the Jamaica Tourism Board, receiving an award at the high-caliber ceremony is considered one of the top honors in the travel industry.

Nearly 280 awards were handed out at this year’s ceremony, honoring the top travel companies delivering the highest quality experiences in 139 categories that include destinations, hotels and resorts, cruise lines and tour operators.

“The Travvy’s are the Oscars of the travel industry,” travAlliancemedia President and CEO Mark Murphy said. “This year, a record number of votes were cast to honor the best of the best in travel. Travel agents—the people who actively book and provide insight to millions of travelers every year—are the ones who cast the votes, helping set the Travvy’s apart from every other award.”

What sets the Travvys apart from other industry awards is that the winners are selected by working travel agents who have direct knowledge about each and every category, company and organization nominated. This year, more than 130,000 votes were cast.

Murphy also noted that the Travvys are unique for another reason.

“The Travvys are also the only award that’s been featured on tv every year since inception, immediately making consumers aware of many of the winners,” he said.

RANGE a cappella was once again the featured entertainment after their performance brought down the house at last year’s awards.

From Best Destination to Best Cruise Line, Best Tour Operator and more, you can find a complete list of this year’s winners below:


Centrav (Gold); Sky Bird Travel & Tours (Silver)


Best Car Rentals – Overall: Enterprise Rent-A-Car (Gold); Auto Europe (Silver)

Best Car Rentals – Domestic: Enterprise Rent-A-Car (Gold); Avis (Silver)

Best Car Rentals – International: Auto Europe (Gold); Enterprise Rent-A-Car (Silver)

Best Car Rentals – Luxury/Exotic Fleet: Enterprise Rent-A-Car (Gold); Auto Europe (Silver)

Best Chauffeured Services – Overall: Carey International, Inc. (Gold); Empire Limousine (Silver)

Best Chauffeured Services – Domestic: Carey International, Inc. (Gold); Empire Limousine (Silver)

Best Chauffeured Services – International: Carey International, Inc. (Gold); Blacklane (Silver)

Best Car Rental Website: Enterprise Rent-A-Car (Gold); Auto Europe (Silver)


Best All-Inclusive – Overall: UNICO 20 87 Hotel Riviera Maya (Gold); The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun and Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya (TIED for Silver)

Best Hotel Chain – All-Inclusive: Hyatt Ziva & Hyatt Zilara (Gold); Karisma Hotels & Resorts and All Inclusive Collection Hard Rock Hotels (TIED for Silver)

Best All-Inclusive Adult/Couples Resort – Caribbean/Bahamas: Sandals Montego Bay (Gold); Sanctuary Cap Cana (Silver)

Best All-Inclusive Adult/Couples Resort – Mexico: Le Blanc Spa Resort, Cancun (Gold); Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun (Silver)

Best Hotel Chain – Mid-Market: Hyatt Hotels & Resorts (Gold); Hilton Hotels (Silver)

Best Individual Hotel – Overall: Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui (Gold); Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort (Silver)

Best Spa & Wellness Hotel/Resort – Caribbean/Bahamas: Sanctuary Cap Cana (Gold); Moon Palace Jamaica (Silver)

Best Spa & Wellness Hotel/Resort – Europe: Villa Eden Hotel & Spa Merano, Italy (Gold); Hard Rock Hotel Davos (Silver)

Best Spa & Wellness Hotel/Resort – Mexico: Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos (Gold); Hyatt Zilara Cancun (Silver)

Best Spa & Wellness Resort – Domestic: Canyon Ranch Tucson (Gold); Nobu Hotel Miami Beach (Silver)

Best All-Inclusive Family Resort – Caribbean/Bahamas: Beaches Negril Resort & Spa (Gold); Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana (Silver)

Best All-Inclusive Family Resort – Mexico: Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa (Gold); Hotel Xcaret Mexico (Silver)

Best Family Hotel/Resort – Caribbean/Bahamas: Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana (Gold); Beaches Negril Resort & Spa (Silver)

Best Family Hotel/Resort – Central & South America: Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica (Gold); Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica (Silver)

Best Family Hotel/Resort – Europe: Barceló Castillo Beach Resort Fuerteventura, Spain (Gold); Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife, Spain (Silver)

Best Family Hotel/Resort – Mexico: Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa (Gold); Generations Riviera Maya by Karisma (Silver)

Best Family Hotel/Resort – U.S./Canada: Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach (Gold); The Diplomat Beach Resort (Silver)

Best All-Inclusive Luxury Resort – Caribbean/Bahamas: Sandals Royal Barbados (Gold); Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort, Spa & Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado and RIU Palace Jamaica (TIED for Silver)

Best All-Inclusive Luxury Resort – Mexico: Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya (Gold); UNICO 20 87 Hotel Riviera Maya (Silver)

Best All-Inclusive Resort – Spa & Wellness: El Dorado Maroma, by Karisma (Gold); UNICO 20 87 Hotel Riviera Maya (Silver)

Best Luxury Hotel/Resort – Caribbean/Bahamas: Sanctuary Cap Cana (Gold); Azul Beach Resort Negril (Silver)

Best Luxury Hotel/Resort – Central & South America: Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Gold); Ponta dos Ganchos Exclusive Resort (Silver)

Best Luxury Hotel/Resort – Mexico: UNICO 20 87 Hotel Riviera Maya (Gold); Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya (Silver)

Best Luxury Hotel/Resort – U.S./Canada: Four Seasons New York City (Gold); Nobu Hotel Miami Beach (Silver)

Best Boutique Hotel – Overall: Jade Mountain, St. Lucia (Gold); Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel (Silver)

Best Boutique Hotel – Mexico: Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya (Gold); Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel (Silver)

Best Hotel Chain – Boutique: Kimpton Hotels (Gold); TRYP by Wyndham (Silver)


Best Destination – Overall: Australia (Gold); Barbados (Silver)

Best City Destination – U.S./Canada: New York City (Gold); Las Vegas (Silver)

Best Cruise Destination – Caribbean/Bahamas: Aruba (Gold); Cayman Islands (Silver)

Best Culinary Destination – Caribbean/Bahamas: Jamaica (Gold); Aruba (Silver)

Best Culinary Destination – Mexico: Cancun/Riviera Maya (Gold); Los Cabos (Silver)

Best European Destination: Greece (Gold); England and Croatia (TIED for Silver)

Best Luxury Destination – Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific: The Islands of Tahiti (Gold); New Zealand (Silver)

Best Luxury Destination – Mexico: Cancun/Riviera Maya (Gold); Los Cabos (Silver)

Best Wine Destination – Europe: Italy (Gold); France (Silver)


Best Cruise Line – Overall: Royal Caribbean International (Gold); Princess Cruises (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – Alaska: Princess Cruises (Gold); Holland America Line (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – Asia: Azamara Club Cruises (Gold); Princess Cruises (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific: Paul Gauguin Cruises (Gold); Princess Cruises (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – Caribbean/Bahamas: Royal Caribbean International (Gold); Norwegian Cruise Line (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – Central & South America: Holland America Line (Gold); Princess Cruises (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – Europe: Viking Ocean Cruises (Gold); Azamara Club Cruises (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – Hawaii: Norwegian Cruise Line (Gold); Princess Cruises (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – U.S./Canada: Royal Caribbean International (Gold); Princess Cruises (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – Contemporary: Royal Caribbean International (Gold); Norwegian Cruise Line (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – Expedition/Adventure: Seabourn (Gold); Hurtigruten (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – Family: Royal Caribbean International (Gold); Carnival Cruise Line (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – Luxury: Crystal Cruises (Gold); Regent Seven Seas Cruises (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – Premium: Princess Cruises (Gold); Holland America Line (Silver)

Best Cruise Line Website: Royal Caribbean International (Gold); Princess Cruises (Silver)

Cruise Entertainment: Royal Caribbean International (Gold); Norwegian Cruise Line (Silver)

Special Needs: Holland America Line (Gold); Carnival Cruise Line (Silver)

Best River Cruise Line – Overall: AmaWaterways (Gold); Viking River Cruises (Silver)

Best River Cruise Line – Africa/Egypt: AmaWaterways (Gold); Viking River Cruises (Silver)

Best River Cruise Line – Asia: AmaWaterways (Gold); Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours (Silver)

Best River Cruise Line – Europe: AmaWaterways (Gold); Viking River Cruises (Silver)

Best River Cruise Line – U.S.: American Queen Steamboat Company (Gold); American Cruise Lines (Silver)


Best Cruise Ship – Overall: Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas (Gold); Crystal Serenity and Carnival Vista (TIED for Silver)

Best Cruise Ship – Contemporary: Norwegian Bliss (Gold); Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas (Silver)

Best Cruise Ship – Large: Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas (Gold); Norwegian Bliss (Silver)

Best Cruise Ship – Luxury: Cunard Queen Mary 2 (Gold); Crystal Symphony (Silver)

Best Cruise Ship – Mid-Size: Holland America Line Nieuw Amsterdam (Gold); Viking Sun (Silver)

Best Cruise Ship – Premium: Holland America Line Nieuw Amsterdam (Gold); Seabourn Ovation (Silver)

Best Cruise Ship – River Cruise: Amawaterways- AmaLea (2018) (Gold); Viking Longship (Silver)


Best Escorted Tour Operator – Overall: Trafalgar (Gold); Abercrombie & Kent and G Adventures (TIED for Silver)

Best Escorted Tour Operator – Adventure/Expedition: G Adventures (Gold); International Expeditions (Silver)

Best Escorted Tour Operator – Africa: Abercrombie & Kent (Gold); Micato Safaris (Silver)

Best Escorted Tour Operator – Asia: Trafalgar (Gold); Kensington Tours (Silver)

Best Escorted Tour Operator – Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific: Trafalgar (Gold); G Adventures (Silver)

Best Escorted Tour Operator – Europe: Globus (Gold); CIE Tours International (Silver)

Best Escorted Tour Operator – Family: Globus (Gold); Collette (Silver)

Best Escorted Tour Operator – Luxury: Abercrombie & Kent (Gold); Kensington Tours (Silver)

Best Escorted Tour Operator – Mexico, South & Central America: G Adventures (Gold); Trafalgar (Silver)

Best Escorted Tour Operator – U.S./Canada: Globus (Gold); Trafalgar (Silver)

Best Escorted Tour Operator – Premium: Trafalgar (Gold); Insight Vacations (Silver)

Best Shore Excursions: ShoreTrips (Gold); Shore Excursions Group (Silver)

Best Tour Guides: Trafalgar (Gold); Abercrombie & Kent (Silver)

Best Tour Reservation Team: Trafalgar (Gold); ShoreTrips (Silver)

Best Tour Operator Website: ShoreTrips (Gold); Shore Excursions Group (Silver)


Best Vacation Packager – Overall: Funjet Vacations (Gold); Travel Impressions (Silver)

Best Vacation Packager – Africa: African Travel, Inc. (Gold); Travel Impressions (Silver)

Best Vacation Packager – Asia: Travel Impressions (Gold); International (Silver)

Best Vacation Packager – Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific: Goway Travel (Gold); Travel Impressions (Silver)

Best Vacation Packager – Caribbean: Funjet Vacations (Gold); Apple Vacations (Silver)

Best Vacation Packager – Europe: Travel Impressions (Gold); Europe Express (Silver)

Best Vacation Packager – Family: Funjet Vacations (Gold); Delta Vacations (Silver)

Best Vacation Packager – Hawaii: Blue Sky Tours (Gold); Funjet Vacations and Travel Impressions (TIED for Silver)

Best Vacation Packager – Luxury: Villas of Distinction (Gold); Travel Impressions (Silver)

Best Vacation Packager – Mexico: Funjet Vacations (Gold); Apple Vacations (Silver)

Best Vacation Packager – Premium: Delta Vacations (Gold); Travel Impressions (Silver)

Best Vacation Packager – U.S./Canada: Funjet Vacations (Gold); Travel Impressions (Silver)


Best LGBTQ Destination – Domestic: San Francisco (Gold); Fort Lauderdale (Silver)

Best Cruise Line – LGBTQ: Royal Caribbean International (Gold); Holland America Line (Silver)

Best Escorted Tour Operator – LGBTQ: Brendan Vacations (Gold); OUT Adventures (Silver)

Best Vacation Packager – LGBTQ: Brendan Vacations (Gold); Olivia Travel (Silver)


Best Wedding Destination – Caribbean/Bahamas: Jamaica (Gold); Aruba (Silver)

Best Honeymoon Destination – Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific: The Islands of Tahiti (Gold); Fiji (Silver)

Best Honeymoon Destination – Caribbean/Bahamas: Jamaica (Gold); Barbados (Silver)

Best Honeymoon Destination – Mexico: Cancun/Riviera Maya (Gold); Riviera Nayarit (Silver)

Best Honeymoon Destination – U.S./Canada: Miami Beach (Gold); Vancouver, British Columbia (Silver)

Best All-Inclusive Resort – Destination Weddings: Sandals Grande Antigua (Gold); Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya and Moon Palace Cancun (TIED for Silver)

Best All-Inclusive Resort – Honeymoons: Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun (Gold); Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall (Silver)

Best Destination Wedding Hotel/Resort – Europe: Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife (Gold); Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa (Silver)

Best Destination Wedding Hotel/Resort – Hawaii: Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui (Gold); Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach (Silver)

Best Destination Wedding Hotel/Resort – Mexico: Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun (Gold); Grand Fiesta Americana Los Cabos All Inclusive Resort & Spa (Silver)

Best Honeymoon Hotel/Resort – Europe: Hotel de Paris, Monte Carlo, Monaco (Gold); Hotel Botanico & The Oriental Spa Garden Tenerife, Spain (Silver)

Best Honeymoon Hotel/Resort – Hawaii: Grand Wailea – A Waldorf Astoria Resort (Gold); Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui (Silver)

Best Honeymoon Hotel/Resort – Mexico: El Dorado Maroma, by Karisma (Gold); Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos (Silver)


Best Theme Park – Overall: Universal Orlando (Gold); Disneyland (Silver)

Best Water Park – International: Atlantis, Paradise Island (Gold); Experiencias Xcaret (Silver)


Best Travel Insurance Provider – Overall: Allianz Global Assistance (Gold); AIG Travel (Silver)


Best Tourism Board – Overall: Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (Gold); Tourism Australia (Silver)

Best Tourism Board – Africa: South African Tourism (Gold); Ministry of Tourism of Morocco (Silver)

Best Tourism Board – Caribbean/Bahamas: Jamaica Tourist Board (Gold); Aruba Tourism Authority (Silver)

Best Tourism Board – Europe: Switzerland Tourism (Gold); Croatian National Tourist Board (Silver)

Best Tourism Board – U.S./Canada: Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (Gold); Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority (Silver)


Best Host Agency: Avoya Travel (Gold); Nexion Travel Group (Silver)

Best Host Agency Website: (Gold); (Silver)

Best Retail Travel Agency: World Travel Holdings (Gold); International Voyager (Silver)

Best Travel Agency Consortium Cooperative or Franchise Group: CruiseOne/Dream Vacations (Gold); Cruise Planners (Silver)

Best Travel Agent Reservations System: VAX VacationAccess (Gold); Expedia Travel Agent Affiliate Program (Silver)

Best Travel Planning Technology: Cruises Inc., CruiseOne and Dream Vacations (Gold); VAX VacationAccess and Cruise Planners (TIED for Silver)

Best Travel Technology Provider: Cruises Inc., CruiseOne and Dream Vacations (Gold); VAX VacationAccess (Silver)


Best Rail Travel Company: Rail Europe (Gold); Amtrak Vacations (Silver)

Best Rail Experience Worldwide: Rocky Mountaineer (Gold); Amtrak Vacations (Silver)

Best Rail Experience North America: Rocky Mountaineer (Gold); Amtrak Vacations (Silver)


Villas of Distinction (Gold); Hosted Villas (Silver)

To congratulate the winners and find out additional details about the event along with real-time photos, follow TravelPulse on social media and use the hashtag #Travvys2019.

Carnival Cruise passengers scream and cry after incident causes ship to heavily tilt

Carnival Cruise: Passenger’s “screamed and cried” as a ship tilted at sea (Image: David Crews)

Carnival Cruise passengers were left panicking after the ship began to heavily tilt during its journey, according to a report.

The ship tilted because of a technical error with the fin stabiliser which helps it to stay stable when traversing waves.

During the incident, guests experienced objects such as dining plates and bottles falling off tables and smashing when they hit the floor.

Many people onboard were said to be terrified about what was happening to the ship.

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Passenger David Crews told News 6: “Plates and silverware started sliding off the tables. Then the tables themselves started to slide. Glasses and plates started to fall and shatter.

“At this point, it was pure chaos. Screams. Cries. Panic.”

Another passenger told the news website: “The starboard side literally felt like it lifted.”

A letter explaining what happened was later given to passengers, explaining the technical issue was “not a safety feature” and guests were always safe.

According to the news outlet, a number of passengers chose to fly home on the Tuesday after docking at Dominican Republic after the incident, instead of sailing until Friday.

Carnival Cruise: Plates and glasses smashed on the ground during the incident (Image: David Crews)

Carnival Cruise: A fin stabiliser problem caused the tilting onboard (Image: David Crews)

Carnival Cruise said in a statement: “On Sunday evening, Carnival Sunshine experienced a technical issue which caused the ship to list.

“There was never any issue with the safe operation of the ship and our officers quickly intervened to correct the situation.

“Following the incident, evening events resumed for our guests. Carnival Sunshine proceeded on its Caribbean cruise as scheduled.

“We are very sorry for the disruption this caused. The ship remains fully operational and will sail as scheduled.

“We remain confident of the safety of the ship as we are committed to the safety of our guests and crew.”

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Carnival Cruise: The cruise line later apologised to passengers (Image: Getty)

Another incident on a Carnival Cruise ship last year saw a couple find a hidden video camera in their bedroom on board a ship.

In October 2017, Chris and Dana White found the camera hidden behind their TV and was pointed at their bed during their three-day trip.

They claimed it was found switched on before it was dismantled by a crew member.

A Carnival Cruise Line spokesperson later told “After review by the ship’s technicians, it was determined that device was not connected to an electrical source and not capable of recording.

“Our security team turned the device over to the FBI for further inspection.”