Win up to 100 per booking with GO ACCESS game from TravelBrands

first_img Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Win up to $100 per booking with GO ACCESS game from TravelBrands MISSISSAUGA — TravelBrands’ GO ACCESS game gives agents the chance to win up to $100 per booking.Bookings must be made on TravelBrands ‘Access’ agent portal website site for hotels, attractions, cars or TravelGenie products to qualify.Agents can win up to $100 in Loyalty Rewards by booking their clients with TravelBrands and playing the GO ACCESS game. The promotion is valid on new bookings only made Aug. 10 – Sept. 9, for travel anytime, to any destination and for any duration.Once a booking is complete, agents can click on travelbrandsagent.com, enter their booking number and play to win. The number of bonus points available to be won ranges between 2x and 20x the Loyalty Points, which can then be redeemed for gift cards and more, valued up to $100 per booking.After each play, TravelBrands will send an e-mail to the agent confirming the prize that was won and the bonus Loyalty Points will automatically be added to their account every week.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & Mexico“The more you book, the more you play, the more you can win! Everyone’s a winner,” says TravelBrands.A $50 payment on file is required to play the game. The promotion is not applicable to group bookings. Online B2B2C bookings are also not eligible. Entries will be accepted up to Sept. 16 at 11:59 p.m. ET. For more information visit travelbrandsagent.com. Share << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img Travelweek Group Tags: TravelBrands Posted bylast_img read more

Visit Florida resignations rock tourism agency in wake of Pitbull scandal

first_imgVisit Florida resignations rock tourism agency in wake of Pitbull scandal << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: Pitbull, VISIT FLORIDA Travelweek Group center_img TALLAHASSEE — A leadership transition plan is in the works at Visit Florida now that three executives including Visit Florida CEO Will Seccombe have resigned in the wake of the Pitbull scandal.Visit Florida board chair Bill Talbert said he will work with Seccombe on a plan that will be presented for approval at the Jan. 10 Board of Directors meeting. Talbert said he’s “confident that the direction put in place by the Board will position Visit Florida for continued success.”Last week Florida Governor Rick Scott called for Seccombe to step down after Visit Florida refused to publicly disclose it paid rapper Pitbull US$1 million to promote the state.Seccombe had led the agency since 2012 after serving as its chief marketing officer for nearly five years. Visit Florida’s Chief Operating Office Vangie Fields and Chief Marketing Officer Paul Phipps have also resigned.Scott has asked Visit Florida to begin publishing its spending, contracts, salaries, audits and other financial information. “The notion that Visit Florida spending would not be transparent to the taxpayers is just ridiculous. We must have major reforms at Visit Florida in the weeks ahead that require new leadership,” Scott said in a letter to Talbert.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongThe letter came one day after Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez, used Twitter to make his contract with Visit Florida public. House Speaker Richard Corcoran had sued to have the contract released. Visit Florida had refused to disclose it, citing trade secrets.Pitbull filmed a video for his song ‘Sexy Beaches’ as part of the contract and agreed to promote the hashtag #LOVEFL on his social media sites and at concerts.The video features images of women frolicking in the surf and sand as well as pictures of iconic Florida hotels such as Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau and the pink Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach. It ends with an image of #LOVEFL written in the sand.Legislative leaders have criticized the agreement, but Scott’s concern was more over the transparency — not the video or hiring Pitbull.“I want to assure you that the tourism industry is stronger than ever, and I’m confident that together we can make Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world,” said Talbert. Share Friday, December 23, 2016 last_img read more

Travel agent rates available at The Crane Barbados

first_img Monday, April 3, 2017 Posted by Tags: Agent Rates, Barbados Share Travelweek Group center_img Travel agent rates available at The Crane Barbados BARBADOS — Here’s a special treat for travel agents: The Crane Luxury Resort in Barbados is offering special agent rates throughout the summer and fall of 2017.Approved travel professionals travelling between April 22 and Dec. 23 can book a Junior Garden Suite for US$185 per night, a One Bedroom Ocean View Suite for $270 per night, or a One Bedroom Ocean View Suite with a Plunge Pool for $330 per night.Prices include breakfast daily and all taxes and service charges. As an added bonus, agents arriving on Saturdays and staying for seven nights will receive one night free.The Crane, situated on one of the ‘Top Ten Beaches in The World’, boasts ultra spacious suites, five swimming pools, a luxury spa, shops and four restaurants. It’s also ideally located just 10 minutes from the airport.For more information email Canlink Travel Representatives at info@canlinktravel.com or call (905) 235-9091. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Everpopular London projects 40 million visitors by 2025

first_img Tweet Travelweek Group Tuesday, September 5, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Ever-popular London projects 40 million visitors by 2025center_img LONDON — Tourism numbers in London are set to rise sharply by 2025, with projections indicating that visitor numbers could top 40 million a year, an increase of 30% on current levels, with tourism spending projected to hit £22 billion a year, up 50%.The Mayor of London and London & Partners, which runs visitlondon.com, has launched a “bold new vision” to bolster the capital’s status as a world-class tourist destination, while keeping an eye on over-tourism.The new Tourism Vision for London is backed by more than 100 industry partners and supported by the Mayor of London.The Tourism Vision states that the growth in visitor numbers is not a given with increasing competition from other destinations fighting to attract new visitors and other challenges such as continued access to talent, the supply of new hotel rooms and aviation capacity that could constrain growth.It recommends greater investment in pre-visit promotion to attract more first time visitors, boosting visitor numbers in off-peak periods and harnessing technology to allow visitors to make more of their visit and see more of the city.London & Partners’ findings coincide with data from Google that reveals the British capital is the most searched for global destination for city and short breaks.According to Google, London leads worldwide searches for city and short breaks ahead of Barcelona, Rome, Paris and Amsterdam, with the number of searches up by 17 per cent year-on-year. London also tops Google’s search rankings for global cities to fly to.More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?The Tourism Vision and this year’s Autumn Season, which shines a spotlight on the best events taking place across the capital in the months ahead, were launched by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.visitlondon.com has created a series of films starring Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and Londoners from across the capital as they explore the remarkable events that make London a must-see destination to visit this autumn. Watch now at visitlondon.com/autumn.“London is the world’s greatest city, so it comes as no surprise that we lead the way when it comes to international tourism,” said Khan. “Visitors to the capital bring huge benefits – the industry boosts London’s economy, as well as supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs and showing the world that London is an open, welcoming and diverse city.“It’s important that all Londoners benefit from a growth in tourism. By inspiring visitors to come to our great city during quieter periods like autumn and to find hidden gems off the beaten track, we can ensure that the projected growth in visitor numbers is sustainable and that the tourism and cultural industries work for everyone.”“London’s Autumn Season will show visitors what it is like to explore the city like a Londoner, whether that’s finding the capital’s secret treasures or visiting its world-leading exhibitions and shows. More than ever it is vital to ensure that the capital extends a warm welcome to all guests of our incredible city.”More news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyCulture, the arts, history and heritage are the number one reasons visitors come to London. As the capital launches The Autumn Season, additional data from Google shows that the city’s West End theatres form a big slice of online searches for culture in London.According to Google the musical Hamilton, which is a jewel in the crown of this year’s Autumn Season, is the most searched for UK musical globally this year.The Autumn Season will give people the chance to experience the city like a Londoner with the help of special guides including: vocalist and broadcaster Jumoké Fashola, author and fashion historian Amber Buchart, London events and culture vloggers Pete and Jens, and Blue Badge Tour Guide, David Mildon.China and India are likely to be the fastest growing markets for tourism in London, with visitor numbers from China growing by more than 100% by 2025 and India rising by 90%.The surge in visitors could be boosted in the short-term by currency fluctuations. Separate research from London & Partners shows that around two thirds of international visitors say they are more likely to visit London given more favourable currency rates.Visit London has published a new guide to some of London’s best ‘bits’, plus some valuable travel tips and quick facts condensed into one page. To view the guide, go to https://upgradedpoints.com/ultimate-travel-guide-to-london. Posted by Tags: Britain, Londonlast_img read more

NCLs January promotions include free onboard spending complimentary amenities more

first_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Norwegian Cruise Line NCL’s January promotions include free onboard spending, complimentary amenities & more MIAMI — Norwegian Cruise Line has announced a Super Splash Sale to kick off the New Year, giving passengers up to US$500 in free onboard spending on select five-day or longer sailings.Now through Jan. 15, the offer is also combinable with Free at Sea, providing up to $3,100 in added value to a client’s cruise.Free at Sea has been extended through Jan. 31 and offers guests who book a new three-day or longer sailing in an oceanview, balcony or minisuite category stateroom with the chance to select two free choices from five onboard amenities. These include free unlimited open bar, a free specialty dining package, $50 towards shore excursions in each port per stateroom, 250 minutes of free Wi-Fi, or the Friends & Family Sail Free offer that allows the third and fourth guests to sail for free on many 2018 sail dates. Inside staterooms, as well as Norwegian’s Studio staterooms for solo travellers, can choose one free offer. Those in a suite of The Haven by Norwegian enjoy all five free amenities.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongOther January offers include Free at Sea Hawaii, which has also been extended through Jan. 31. Guests who book a new cruise aboard Pride of America – the only ship in the world that can sail seven-day inter-island cruises in Hawaii – can select one of five offers. These include a free one-night free-cruise hotel stay with an option to select reduced airfare starting at $399 from select gateways, a free specialty dining package, free pre-paid service charges for the first and second guest in the stateroom, free $50 per port shore excursion credit per stateroom, or Friends & Family Sail Free. Guests who book a suite can enjoy all five offers.Clients who wish to sail to Cuba this year can also take advantage of $50 in free onboard spending money with Norwegian’s Havana Nights promotion, running now through Jan. 31. Those who book a new cruise to Cuba can enjoy an all-inclusive onboard experience with unlimited open bar on Norwegian Sky from Miami or Norwegian Sun from Port Canaveral.center_img Share Travelweek Group Wednesday, January 3, 2018 last_img read more

Rebuilding efforts on SaintMartin are paying off

first_img Share Posted by Thursday, March 1, 2018 Travelweek Group Rebuilding efforts on Saint-Martin are paying offcenter_img TORONTO — Saint-Martin is on its way back after taking a devastating hit from Irma last fall, says Valérie Damaseau, First VP of the Community of Saint-Martin and tourism office President.“Saint Martin has the opportunity to rewrite its future and become a model of sustainable development in the Caribbean,” says Damaseau.“With this in mind, the 10-year destination tourism development strategy was adopted. The ‘Friendly Island’, however, needs tourists and the support of travel professionals to revive its economy. We are counting on you to launch the 2018-2019 season and look forward to seeing you again. We thank you for your confidence and your support.”Travelweek’s sister publication, ProfessionVoyages.com, met with representatives from the Saint-Martin tourist office at a recent Destination France event organized by Atout France. Events took place in cities including Montreal and Toronto.Almost six months after Irma, rebuilding efforts are really taking shape in Saint-Martin, which welcomed 57,000 visitors in 2017. Tourism accounts for 85% of Saint-Martin’s GDP.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upThere is electricity and water, however Internet connectivity is an ongoing project. Vegetation is coming back and hiking trails are accessible.Some 300 rooms are available, as well as dozens of restaurants. The airport is open.More than three dozen white sand beaches with turquoise waters are currently authorized for swimming.Saint-Marin accommodations include: Centr’Hotel, Gulf Hotel, Hevea Hotel, Mercure Hotel Marina & Spa and Nettle Bay Mercure Hotel Marina & Spa.Planned re-openings or openings include: Alamanda Resort (Fall 2018), Belmond La Samanna (Dec. 1, 2018), Esmeralda Resort (Nov. 1, 2018), Grand Case Beach Club (November 2018), La Plantation (March 2018), Le Temps des Cerises (December 2018), Palm Court (July 2018) and Sol E Luna (April 1, 2018). Tags: Saint-Martin << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Transat Distribution hosts top agents on dream vacation in Cancun

first_img MONTREAL – To reward its top sales travel professionals for all their hard work, Transat Distribution hosted a “well-deserved vacation” last month in the heart of Cancun.Award-winning travel professionals spent a “dream week” seeing all that the Cancun area has to offer. Transat’s leadership team treated the group to an appreciation supper at the Excellence Riviera Cancun, took them to an acrobatic show, and set sail with them on a private catamaran in Isla Mujeres. During the Bravo Awards Gala night hosted by Luxury Retreat, agents were greeted at the Hacienda Magica in Puerto Aventuras and attended Cirque du Soleil’s spectacular Joya performance.“Every year it gives us great pleasure to recognize the exceptional contribution of these travel professionals. They are always ready to give their best, offering the maximum of their time and energy, to meet the needs of their customers,” said Nathalie Boyer, General Manager at Transat Distribution Canada. “To acknowledge their work by having them join the BRAVO Excellence Club is, for us, proof of their importance.”Ontario Bravo WinnersQuebec Bravo WinnersWest Bravo WinnersDanielle Durocher, Rita Polegri, Nathalie Boyer, and Kimberley WoodAmr Younes, VP, Revenue Optimization, Luxury Retreats, and Nathalie Boyer, GM, Transat Distribution Canada Tags: Cancun, Transat Monday, May 28, 2018 Travelweek Group Sharecenter_img Posted by Transat Distribution hosts top agents on dream vacation in Cancun << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Cruise Strategies promotes Riviera River Cruises to Canadian market

first_img Share Travelweek Group TORONTO — Cruise Strategies Ltd. has signed a new partnership with David Morris International (DMI) and Riviera River Cruises, a British company with offices in Fairfield, CT as the cruise company enters the Canadian market for the first time.“With the expertise of the DMI and Cruise Strategies teams we can now focus on bringing our product to North America,” said Ben Hitchcock, Riviera Cruises’ Director of Sales and Marketing.The company was established in 1984. In the last five years Riviera Cruises has introduced more than 100,000 people to river cruising in Europe, says Hitchcock.Riviera selected DMI exclusively to represent its cruise division in the North American market and DMI has in turn selected Cruise Strategies, headed up by President and CEO Vanessa Lee, as its Canadian partner.To meet the demands of its current market and to expand into North America, Riviera has added two new ships to its fleet in 2018 –MS Robert Burns and MS Douro Splendour – with two more vessels, MS George Eliot and MS William Wordsworth, on the way for 2019.“It is always a pleasure to work closely with our long-standing colleagues at DMI and to assist in their marketing efforts here in Canada. I am most impressed with the beautiful ships and the high standards onboard the Riviera River Cruises fleet and look forward to showcasing them to our Canadian partners,” says Lee.MS Charles Dickens – Deluxe Balcony SuiteThe cruise line currently has 11 river ships sailing throughout the heart of Europe. Unique eight to 15-day itineraries have been developed for all the major rivers: the Douro, Dutch Waterways, Rhône, Saône, Moselle, Rhine, Main and the Danube.More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksThe fleet of five-star vessels is primarily Swiss built and operated with an English-speaking crew and has been characterized by the Berlitz Guide to River Cruising as “some of the finest river cruise ships to grace Europe’s waterways.”For onboard dining, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the main dining room with flexible dining hours (dinner is served between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.) so guests may come and go as they please, says Lee. Guests may also dine in the more casual Bistro for both lunch and dinner with seating for up to 30 guests. Reservations are requested but there is no additional charge.MS Robert Burns – BistroMore than 80% of the ships’ standard staterooms and superior suites have full or French balconies. Accommodations range from 161 to 312 square feet. Modern marble bathrooms offer Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries, plush bathrobes and slippers. There are also hotel-style beds, crisp cotton linens and pillows, flat screen televisions, hairdryer, safe, telephone, complimentary WiFi and morning room service.More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamRiviera Cruises sailings include guided tours and shore excursions. A custom tour program, ‘Personalize Your Vacation’, can be booked through the cruise director onboard. There are also 12 bikes onboard which are complimentary to all guests. The onboard currency is the euro and port charges are included in the price. Alcoholic beverages are not included; however, there are beverage packages available for pre-purchase that include wine and beer for lunch and dinner and range from US$79 (five-day cruise) to US$159 (eight-day cruise) per person.“The major point of differentiation is the value,” says David Morris. “For instance, a seven-night departure on the MS Emily Bronte in April 2019 is from just US$1,819 per person, commissionable to agents at 15%.”Each voyage also offers a limited number of rooms where there is no single supplement.For more information or to book, contact 1-888-838-8820 or see rivierarivercruises.com.For assistance with groups or for further information agents are asked to contact Cruise Strategies. Vanessa Lee can be reached at vlee@cruisestrategies.com or call (416) 518-0262. Olga Sebestova is at osebestova@cruisestrategies.com or (416) 968-9797 or 1-877-768-9797. << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, June 6, 2018 center_img Posted by Tags: Cruise Strategies Ltd., North America, Riviera River Cruises Cruise Strategies promotes Riviera River Cruises to Canadian marketlast_img read more

WestJet Encore turns 5 celebrates with limitedtime only sale

first_img Travelweek Group Share Friday, June 22, 2018 CALGARY — WestJet Encore, WestJet’s regional airline, is celebrating its fifth anniversary with up to 20% off Econo base fares.By using promo code E52VZ30, clients can save up to 20% off when booking Econo base fares between 20 select destinations in Canada and anywhere WestJet flies, including: Brandon; Nanaimo; Deer Lake; Fredericton; Kamloops; Fort McMurray; Quebec City; Moncton; Comox; Thunder Bay; Grand Prairie; Gander; Sydney; Sudbury; Fort St. John; Prince George; Terrace; London (ON); Penticton; and Yellow Knife.Bookings must be made by June 25, 2018 for travel between Sept. 5 and Dec. 15, 2018. Blackout dates and other restrictions apply.Since its launch in on June 24, 2013, WestJet Encore has operated more than 300,000 flights and has expanded its fleet of Canadian-made Q400 aircraft to 47. It has dropped fares by as much as 50% and increased travel by as much as 90% year-over-year by bringing competition and stimulating travel through lower fares in small and medium-sized communities where populations are not large enough to sustain larger, jet aircraft, says WestJet.More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?According to Charles Duncan, President, WestJet Encore and Executive Vice-President of WestJet, the regional airline has connected nearly 13 million guests from more than 37 cities who may not have had the chance to fly before.“By operating over 250 flights every day our fleet has given life to the markets we serve and we’re extremely proud to see the growth that has occurred,” he said. “The impact of our investments and our efforts has been profound.”The day of the launch, Encore had 10 departures offering nonstop service between Calgary and Nanaimo, B.C.; Calgary and Fort St. John, B.C.; Vancouver and Fort St. John; and Calgary and Saskatoon, Sask. Today, it now operates a fleet of 47 Canadian-made Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft and serves 34 Canadian cities as well as Boston, Myrtle Beach and Nashville. Posted bycenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> WestJet Encore turns 5, celebrates with limited-time only sale Tags: Promotions, WestJet, WestJet Encorelast_img read more

Cancun Punta Cana flights from YQB with Air Canada Rouge this winter

first_img Share Posted by Wednesday, July 17, 2019 Travelweek Group Cancun, Punta Cana flights from YQB with Air Canada Rouge this wintercenter_img MONTREAL — Air Canada has announced new winter flights from Quebec City to Cancun and Punta Cana.Air Canada’s service to Cancun begins Dec. 21, 2019 and runs until April 11, 2020, while Punta Cana flights start Dec. 22, 2019 and continue through April 12, 2020.Flights will be operated on 200-seat all-economy Air Canada Rouge A321s. Passengers will be able to stream TV shows and movies to their personal devices via the onboard GoGo WiFi streaming service.“We are thrilled to offer residents of Quebec City these non-stop connections to the popular winter getaway destinations of Cancun and Punta Cana,” says Lucie Guillemette, Air Canada’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.“We are adding these new international leisure routes to meet anticipated demand from the capital of Quebec and offer Quebec City residents easy access to incredible holiday experiences.”Flight AC1776 will depart Quebec City at 8 a.m. on Saturdays, arriving in Cancun at 1 p.m. The return flight, AC1777, departs Cancun at 2 p.m., arriving in Quebec City at 6:30 p.m.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureTo Punta Cana, flight AC1772 will leave Quebec City at 8:20 a.m. on Sundays, arriving in Punta Cana at 1:50 p.m. On the way back, flight AC1773 will leave Punta Cana at 2:50 p.m., arriving in Quebec City at 6:30 p.m.“The ability to offer nonstop flights from Quebec City to Cancun and Punta Cana is another great milestone in our work to diversify our product offering,” says ACV’s Managing Director Nino Montagnese. “We are proud to be able to turn travellers’ vacation dreams into reality with our well-designed and ready-to-book vacation packages.”Jean-Luc Tremblay recently made the move to ACV, named Area Sales Manager and based in Quebec City.“It’s a first for Air Canada Vacations to have an Area Sales Manager based in Quebec City, and this will help us to provide even better support for our travel partners,” says Dana Gain, ACV’s Senior Director Sales, Groups & Partnerships. Tags: Air Canada, Cancun, Punta Cana, Québec City << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Ticos salvage 22 tie with Panama after Pemberton save

first_imgIt wasn’t pretty, but Costa Rica’s national men’s football team scraped out a 2-2 tie Sunday against Panama, in Group B’s battle to the Central America Cup final on Sept. 13 in Los Angeles, California, in the United States.Panama nearly won the match at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, with a 90th-minute penalty called on La Sele, giving Panama’s Gabriel Gómez a free shot on goal with little time remaining. But Costa Rica’s Alajuelense goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton guessed correctly, diving right and swatting the shot wide of the goal.Panama always is a tough rival for the Ticos, and Pemberton said going into the match that his squad wouldn’t underestimate their southeastern neighbors. However, the Canaleros had beaten La Sele only once in 10 previous Central America Cup matches.Both teams held each other scoreless in the first half, but Panama came on strong in the second, blasting in two goals past a disorganized Costa Rican defense in minutes 50 and 69.Costa Rica waited until the last 10 minutes of the match to mount its comeback, with La Sele newcomer Johan Venegas scoring at minute 81 and World Cup player Celso Borges nailing a penalty shot five minutes later.Costa Rica now leads Group B with four points, followed by Panama with one. Panama will need a high-scoring game on Wednesday, when it takes on the group’s last-place team Nicaragua, whom the Ticos beat 3-0 last week.All seven countries in Central America compete in the cup, which is taking place in the United States for the first time. The top two teams in each group secure an automatic berth to next year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. Group A contains the remaining sides: Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and El Salvador.AFP contributed to this report. Facebook Comments Related posts:Jamaica Part II: Will Costa Rica’s La Sele find its killer instinct? PHOTOS: Costa Ricans go wild celebrating World Cup upset over Uruguay World Cup upsets focus fans on football instead of protests In Costa Rica, one big party following spectacular World Cup winlast_img read more

80 years of illegal tarpon immigration

first_imgThey enter through Panama at the canal and head in both directions.Some go south, settling in Colombia and as far south as Ecuador. Others head north to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and as far as Guatemala. They pass in small groups or alone, but when they reach their Pacific-coast destinations, they group up with others that have made the passage. The coastline of southern Costa Rica is exactly what they need to thrive.We are not talking about people; we are talking about tarpon, an Atlantic species and popular sport fish in the southern United States, the Caribbean, and the west coast of Africa. The Caribbean side of Costa Rica is world famous for its tarpon fishery. Caught in fisherman’s net near Quepos. Via Todd Staley.The first tarpon was spotted in the locks of the Panama Canal in the late 1930’s, 25 years after the canal opened. Soon they were spotted in Panama Bay. Over the years, more and more sightings and captures have been recorded in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.In recent years, the sightings have increased tremendously, but that could be for a variety of reasons. Maybe tarpon are now breeding in the Pacific. Although tarpon in the larvae stage have never been found in the Pacific, the capture of small juveniles suggest that they are breeding there. The chances that these little tarpon passed through the canal and migrated several hundred miles is slim.The expansion of the canal in recent years has allowed for much bigger ships to pass as well as producing an easier passage for species that can survive the 65 km trek through freshwater lakes Gatun and Miraflores. In fact, more than 90 species of fauna and flora have been documented to have passed from one ocean to the other — either transported by ship or freely swimming across.Social media and internet may also play a role in the increase of reported sighting of these silver bullets. Many sightings have been in rural or sparsely populated areas where before the communication to the outside word was limited.In Costa Rica, tarpon captures have been documented in Tamarindo, Golfo Nicoya, Quepos, Sierpe and Golfo Dulce. The majority of these have been in Sierpe and Golfo Dulce, which have an estuary type of environment juvenile tarpon and adults alike use.The Tarpon – Crocodile Bay Resort from Crocodile Bay Sport Fishing on Vimeo.I saw my first tarpon in Golfo Dulce in 1995 when I was casting the Rio Esquinas side of the Gulf for small snapper. A fish of nearly 100 lbs rolled and took a gulp of air right next to my boat, and I thought I had lost my mind. This is a fish I knew well from fishing for them in Florida to running Archie Field’s Rio Colorado Tarpon Lodge here in Costa Rica. But this fish was not supposed to be here.Around 2010, we started hooking eight to 10 a season while fishing for roosterfish when I managed the fishing at Crocodile Bay in Puerto Jimenez. The first one was 37 lbs and was brought to the dock because the captain had no idea what it was. Today, almost all are released. I have seen one as large as 123 lbs. Most captures occur in our Costa Rican summer months with March and April seeming to be peak times for an accidental encounter. Saul Porras lands tarpon near Playa Tamales in Golfo Dulce. Photo via Todd Staley.One angler who seems to encounter tarpon more than most is a local fisherman named Saul Porras. By trade, he is a mate on a sportfishing boat. When he is not fishing for work, he goes fishing for fun. He has caught more than a half dozen tarpon in the Pacific, and all of them were casting off the beach while fishing for snook. The little juvenile fish he caught off the beach at Carate adds weight to the theory that tarpon are breeding in the Pacific.Porras watches for small sardines that school up near the shoreline. When they arrive, pelicans begin to dive on them. A short time later, the predators move in. He has learned by watching how the baitfish reacts to determine what type of fish is feeding on them. Jacks and roosterfish come in full-blown attack mode white water froths in the frenzy. Snook are more polite feeders and sneak in from underneath, causing smaller explosions of water.A few weeks ago, Porras had set up near Tamales in the Golfo Dulce. The sardines started to go crazy and he saw big silver flashes breaking the water as they chased the baitfish. In short order, he was hooked up and a tarpon went immediately airborne. Catching a tarpon on light gear in a boat is an accomplishment, but off the beach even more so. To catch one in the Pacific Ocean is like winning the lottery. That day he hooked five and landed three of them. (He released them all.) He has caught them in at least two other locations also.A study has just been released on 80 years of tarpon migration through the Panama Canal. Bernald Pacheco from INCOPESCA, the entity in charge of Costa Rica fisheries and CIMAR at the University of Costa Rica, contributed to the study, which was led by Gustavo Castellanos with the Leibiz Center for Tropical Marine Research in Germany. The study is available online here.I truly believe there a lot more tarpon in the Pacific than most people and scientists believe. Every year, the number of sightings increases, and anytime you catch three of anything that is not native to an area in one day, they have set up camp.Todd Staley has run fishing sport operations on both coasts of Costa Rica for over 25 years. He recently decided to take some time off to devote full-time to marine conservation and is the communications director at FECOP. Contact him at wetline@hotmail.com. Facebook Comments Related posts:First sail on a fly Fishing for freight trains Costa Rica tuna decree seems to be working Ticos take bronze in first international kayak tournamentlast_img read more

Mexico stays on gun probe despite US report

first_img Comments   Share   U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been accused of knowing about the bungled operation, but the report cleared him and faulted mid-level and senior officials for not briefing him.Fast and Furious allowed low-level “straw” buyers in gun-trafficking networks to leave with loads to track the guns to major traffickers. But some guns wound up at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexican prosecutors say they will continue investigating the botched-gun smuggling probe known as Operation Fast and Furious even after a U.S. Justice Department internal watchdog report concluded that more than a dozen officials should be disciplined.In a Friday statement, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office says it’s looking at the document released this week to see what it could add to its own probe. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Quick workouts for men Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

39th victim dies in Hong Kong maritime tragedy

first_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Police have arrested seven crew members from the two boats, including both captains.The government also said rescuers had called off their search for any more missing people after accounting for everyone aboard both vessels.The tragedy has shocked Hong Kong, where fleets of ferries form the backbone of the city’s transportation network.The smaller boat was owned by utility company Hong Kong Electric Co., which was taking staff and family members to see Chinese National Day fireworks.Hong Kong’s Marine Department is investigating the cause of the collision, while police are carrying out a criminal investigation.The crash was Hong Kong’s worst maritime disaster since 88 people died in a ferry accident during a typhoon in 1971. Large-scale accidents are rare in the semiautonomous enclave off mainland China, which has one of Asia’s most advanced infrastructures and economies, with first-rate public services.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories HONG KONG (AP) – The death toll from Hong Kong’s biggest maritime tragedy in decades has risen to 39 and rescue workers have called off the search for any more missing, authorities said.Hong Kong’s government said late Friday that another person had died following a collision between a commuter ferry and a smaller boat carrying people to see a holiday fireworks display Monday evening.All 39 dead and most of the nearly 100 injured were aboard the smaller boat, the Lamma IV, which was carrying 124 passengers and three crew. It had just departed Lamma Island, off the southwest coast of main Hong Kong island, and was heading for Victoria Harbour when it collided with the Sea Smooth ferry and sank rapidly.center_img Four benefits of having a wireless security system Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Senate staff disputes exCIA officials defense of torture

first_img Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone In last month’s “The Great War of Our Time,” Morell, who retired in 2013, defended the harsh interrogations and denounced the committee’s report as “deeply flawed,” and a disservice to the nation.Morell argued that waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other brutal techniques used on al-Qaida detainees by the CIA produced crucially important intelligence, disputing the Senate report’s conclusion.“I am personally troubled by waterboarding,” Morell wrote of the simulated drowning technique that has long been considered torture. “But here is my moral dilemma…I believe that waterboarding was one of the two most effective of the all the harsh techniques (the other being sleep deprivation).”But the Senate document challenges Morell’s command of the facts. It says that when he was in charge of the CIA’s response to the study, he asserted in a meeting with Feinstein that “I’m not in the weeds” when challenged on specific details. It adds that he told Feinstein he had not read the full, classified report.For example, Morell refers to Abu Zubaydeh, the first detainee who was waterboarded and brutalized, as a “senior al Qaeda figure.” But that characterization is disputed by the CIA’s own experts, who in 2006 published an intelligence assessment explaining that the CIA had “miscast Abu Zubaydah as a ‘senior al-Qa’ida lieutenant.’ “ The Senate document also takes aim at Harlow, who also co-wrote books with former CIA Director George Tenet, who helped create the harsh interrogation regime, and Jose Rodriguez, who helped run it. Harlow helped coordinate a response to the Senate report by former CIA officials.“Both books contain significant inaccurate information on the CIA detention and interrogation program,” the report says. “The Committee Study describes in detail — using the CIA’s own internal records — how the CIA’s representations, repeated in books by Tenet, Rodriguez, and now Morell, are inaccurate.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. In his book, the Senate report argues, Morell conflated various terror plots attributed to al Qaida figures.For example, Morell wrote that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded and otherwise tortured by CIA interrogators, “was also planning to. send a team of Pakistanis to smuggle explosives into New York to target gas stations, railroad tracks, and bridges.”The Senate report’s fact-check responds: “Morell appears to be conflating several separate accounts,” and it lays out various unconnected plots outlined in CIA records, some of which were dismissed by CIA analysts as wildly implausible.Of Morell’s waterboarding contention, the Senate report cites a CIA interrogator who wrote that Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah “held back” despite the use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, adding “I’m ostracized whenever I suggest those two did not tell us everything. How dare I think KSM was holding back,” the interrogator said.In April 2003, the Senate document says, a CIA medical official told the agency inspector general that the waterboarding had “not been very effective on KSM.” He also “questioned how the repeated use of the waterboard was categorically different from ‘beating the bottom of my feet,’ or from torture in general.” Top Stories How the public interprets the CIA’s use of torture is not merely a matter of history: At least one Republican presidential candidate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, recently promised to bring back harsh interrogation techniques if elected.Morell is affiliated with a consulting firm that includes former aides to Hillary Rodham Clinton, and he is often mentioned for possible national security jobs were she elected president in 2016. Former CIA spokesman and co-author Bill Harlow has said that he and Morell stand by every word in the book.In December, the Senate intelligence committee released a 517-page summary of a 6,770-page classified investigation that was scathing in its criticism of the CIA. Based on millions of pages of CIA records, the report concluded that the CIA’s brutal interrogations of al Qaida detainees after 9/11 were harsher than previously thought, and failed to produce the unique, life-saving, otherwise unobtainable intelligence by which they were justified. The report accused the CIA of consistently misrepresenting the program to Congress and to other agencies.The report was the work of Democratic aides to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, then the chairman of the committee. Some of those aides also wrote the critique of Morell’s book.center_img Comments   Share   WASHINGTON (AP) — The former deputy CIA director made a series of factual misstatements while defending the agency’s harsh treatment of detainees in his recent book, Senate intelligence committee staffers assert in a 54-page document filed with citations from CIA records.The detailed critique of the memoir by Michael Morell shows the extent to which critics and backers continue to try to shape public perceptions of the CIA’s post 9/11 detention and interrogation program, even months after the release of a Senate report that sought to render a final judgment on it. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

UN chief condemns appalling child sex abuse allegations

first_imgUNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief condemned “appalling allegations” of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in Central African Republic while meeting Friday with worried countries that included two of the world body’s top funders.The ambassador for the United States, by far the U.N.’s top contributing country, welcomed a new external review into how the allegations were handled. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober A person familiar with Friday’s meeting said key details like who would lead the review and how long it would take still had not been decided. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private, said many more countries than the four member states that attended have concerns.Ban’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told The Associated Press that Ban told the diplomats that “our central concern must be to protect the rights and well-being of victims of these abuses and to ensure that the perpetrators are held to account.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Confidential documents have shown that the U.N.’s top human rights officials did not follow up for more than half a year on allegations collected by their own staffers, while French authorities pressed for more information. France opened a formal judicial inquiry just last month.Ban Ki-moon met Friday with Australia, Japan, Norway and Guatemala, who did not comment shortly afterward. Japan is the U.N.’s second-largest funder, contributing 10 percent of the world body’s regular budget. Australia also falls in the top dozen contributors.The United States, which did not attend, pays 22 percent of the U.N.’s regular budget. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power in a statement Friday said the external review into the child sexual abuse allegations is a chance “to learn what went wrong at every point in this process.” The foreign minister of Canada, another top contributor, issued a statement Thursday expressing outrage over the allegations.Few details have been announced about the external review, which will address both the specific allegations and wider issues related to how the U.N. responds to such sensitive claims. Ban’s spokesman has said a summary of the findings will be made public. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

AP PHOTOS Martial law has antimine protesters back at work

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Top Stories The mining company, Grupo Mexico, last month announced a 60-day suspension of its $1.4 million copper mining project and said it hoped to “find solutions” for moving forward.The company says the project will not pollute the valley because it will use desalinated water from the Pacific for processing and return the water directly to the ocean.Few locals believe the company. They think the mine will pollute crops and destroy their way of life. They feel betrayed by Peru’s president and many vow to keep up the resistance.“Ollanta came to power in 2011 saying he would support agriculture and now he is doing the total opposite,” said Condori.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. In this May 30, 2015 photo, the foot of a day laborer is surrounded by garlic bulbs as she works in a field in the Tambo Valley, Arequipa, Peru. The woman earns 20 US dollars for a 9 hour workday, that includes a 30 minute break to eat. Most living in the fertile coastal valley say they’re more than happy to sacrifice the current crop if it means preventing Mexico’s biggest mining company from going ahead with a copper extraction project they fear will contaminate the Tambo Valley. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober “Here, life is peaceful. He who works, even if he lacks an education, gets ahead. Why would we want a mine?” Domingo Condori said while taking a break from harvesting rice.Farmers like Condori earn about $4,000 an acre on the crop, which has two growing seasons a year.The government suspended civil liberties late last month as President Ollanta Humala sent in 2,000 soldiers to restore order in the valley, whose 47,000 residents are mostly farmers. Under the decree, public gatherings are illegal and security forces can search homes and make arrests without warrants.“Farming is what gives us work, what gives us food to eat,” said a teenager named Luis, who participated in clashes with police and avoided police dragnets by hiding in abandoned houses in the hills or in the sugarcane fields by the ocean.Dozens of young men like Luis, who agreed to talk only if not fully identified, would pummel police with rocks fired from slingshots while supporters stood behind them handing out bottles of vinegar to counteract police tear gas. The confrontations killed two farmers, a mason and a police officer and injured 263 officers and 119 farmers, according to the National Ombudsman’s office. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img How do cataracts affect your vision? COCACHACRA, Peru (AP) — A respite imposed by martial law after nearly two months of violent anti-mining protests has sent farmers in a fertile coastal valley of southern Peru back to their fields.Most say they would be more than happy to sacrifice the current crop if it means preventing Mexico’s biggest mining company from going ahead with a copper extraction project that farmers fear will contaminate the Tambo Valley. Comments   Share   5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

Wolgan Valley named Hotel of the Year by Australian Industry

first_imgWolgan Valley Resort & SpaWolgan Valley Resort & Spa – Wollemi Suite Living Room Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa has been honoured with the prestigious Overall Hotel of the Year Award at the 2010 Australian Hotels Association (AHA) National Awards for Excellence. Also winning the Best Environmental Practice and Best Deluxe Hotel Accommodation, Wolgan Valley received the most hotel awards of the evening; a glowing testament to the world-class design, service standards and unique experiences found at Australia’s first luxury conservation-based resort. Joost Heymeijer, General Manager, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa said: “It is gratifying to be recognised by our hotel industry peers. These awards are both recognition of Emirates’ commitment to Australia, our global promotion of this unique tourism destination; and the Wolgan Valley team’s hard work and dedication to providing world class hospitality to our guests since opening less than a year ago.”A scenic three-hour drive from Sydney, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is nestled between two of Australia’s most prominent national parks and borders the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Occupying just two per cent of a 4,000-acre conservancy reserve, Wolgan Valley combines the expectations of the high-end traveller with a commitment to conservation of threatened and endangered wildlife, ecological and environmental sustainability.Selecting Australia for Emirates’ first hospitality development outside Dubai, the A$125 million project represents a significant investment into the Australian tourism industry, as well as in local communities surrounding the resort. As Emirates’ third largest market globally, the opening of Wolgan Valley in Australia further demonstrates the long-term commitment to the country. The annual AHA National Awards for Excellence recognise the leaders in hospitality and honour the achievements of excellence in a wide range of categories in the accommodation industry. Source = Wolgan Valley Resort & Spalast_img read more

Volcano erupts Iceland tourism

first_imgIceland became an overnight tourism hotspot after Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted on the 14 April 2010, the country’s tourism officials said. Despite creating chaos for the aviation industry, the European country reported the volcanic activity increased tourism from North America by 16 percent in the first 11 months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. Based in New York, Iceland tourism director Einar Gustavsson said the volcano was all the advertising the country needed. “There wasn’t a daily newspaper on Earth that didn’t cover the story,” he said. “Google reported 16,000 stories in a single day, and even a Saturday Night Live skit imagined Bjork singing to Eyjafjallajökull to calm it down.” Mr Gustavsson said as the volcano cooled tourism heated up. “Travel in 2011 from North America is expected to be up 20 percent over 2010, helped in part by Delta, which launches a new service in spring 2011,” he added.“The US carrier becomes the third airline to serve the country, adding seats to those already provided by Icelandair and Iceland Express.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

China a massive opportunity for Aus TTF

first_imgThe Chinese market is a “massive opportunity” for Australian tourism, according to Tourism Transport Forum (TTF) head John Lee after arrivals from the region shot up by 27.4 percent in January 2012 compared to the same month last year.Australian Bureau of Statistic research found that for the entire month international arrivals shot up by 4.8 percent during the first month of this year, a figure driven by visitors from Asia visiting during the Chinese New Year.Hong Kong arrivals also saw a steady growth of 22 percent, Taiwan increased by 19 percent while Indonesian visitors shot up by 13.7 percent.Mr Lee said while Australia has enjoyed an 11 percent increase in Chinese visitation per annum since 2001, the challenge is now arising to keep them coming after competing destinations commence advertising to attract the growing market.“It is critical we continue to build on that momentum and capitalise on the competitive advantage of our proximity to Asia,” Mr Lee said.“However, China’s potential is also recognised by our competitors, who are making substantial investments to attract Chinese tourists.”He explained that annual figures demonstrated that the US had experienced a 36.2 percent increase in arrivals while the UK and Canada also saw increases of 32 percent and 24.4 percent over 2011 compared to 2010.“These figures clearly demonstrate the urgency of increasing the support for Tourism Australia’s activities in China and better leveraging the presence of other Australian departments and agencies in China to promote Australia as a destination for business, leisure, investment and study.”Meanwhile ABS figures also showed that short-term departures from Australia increased by 0.2 percent in January this year when compared to December last year but 7.2 percent higher than January 2011.Popular destinations for Australian travellers included China, India and Thailand with 17.3 percent, 13.7 percent and 13.9 percent increase in Australian arrivals. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more