Here we are, wrapping up 2013 with an issue that has Recommend’s editors looking back over the course of the year and pinpointing noteworthy trends and hotel openings, as well as tour operator and destination updates. There’s also a bit of reflection in these articles, as we, the editors, throw in the personal experiences that we have collected while traveling through our respective beats. For example, in Latin America in 2013 & Beyond (page 64), editor Carla Hunt writes how much Quito has changed since she was a delegate when the city first hosted TravelMart LatinAmerica back in 1983, “just five years after UNESCO proclaimed the capital the first city on its World Heritage List.” In Cruising 2013 (page 16), contributing editor Vivian Holley writes that the first time “I was on a cruise ship…I ordered breakfast via room service and they brought the best they had: a cold pastry in plastic wrap…. My, how the galley has gussied up since then.” Editor Ed Wetschler, meanwhile, mentions in his Caribbean Trends piece (page 24) that he can remember when “some Caribbean resorts were still serving instant coffee, and conventional wisdom said that you visited the islands in spite of the food.” He notes that now the Caribbean is, in fact, a destination that must be visited because of its culinary offerings.
For this issue, we also rang up a few of the travel agents who have provided insightful information in some of Recommend’s features throughout 2013 to find out where they are headed in 2014. They’re going everywhere from the Caribbean to Eastern Europe, as Lynn Ciccarelli of Bella Vacations notes. “Africa in January; Tahiti in February; Romania and Germany in the fall; and Saint Lucia, if I get a chance.” Kim Goldstein, who specializes in Disney Destinations is, no surprise, sailing on the Disney Fantasy and visiting Walt Disney World. She’s also headed to Beaches Turks & Caicos, and she’s saving a visit to Sandals for after the other three trips because “I need to recover after three trips with the boys, so I want to have a relaxing, adults-only vacation with my husband.” Cassandra Bookholder, a luxury travel advisor with Camelback Odyssey Travel, A Virtuoso Travel Office, is “heading down to Australia in May (great shoulder season for travel there). France and London are also possibilities since there are so many new hotel offerings.”
recommend readers’ choice awards
A few of the destinations and hotels that the travel agents mention above—Sandals, Saint Lucia, France, Tahiti, Australia, Walt Disney World—are in fact winners in Recommend Readers’ Choice Awards. This is the 17th year our readers have been selecting your preferred destinations, tour operators, resorts and cruise lines in a variety of categories, including Best Family Resort, Best Travel Agent Support, Best Selling Destination, Best River Cruise Line and the list goes on. Turn to page 14 to get the full list.
—Paloma Villaverde de Rico
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anguilla travel agent specialist program
We’ve been packed with education programs the latter part of this year, and this month is no exception with the all-new Anguilla Travel Agent Specialist Program. The program offers information on everything this island offers: from its very elegant accommodations, including some fabulous villas, to restaurant picks, must-sees, festivals and the most important information of all—how to get to Anguilla. Once you look over the course material and take the 20-question exam—available online at edu.recommend.com/anguilla—you’ll be eligible for an array of incentives, including prizes, consumer leads, The Travel Institute and Association of Canadian Travel Agencies credits, and FAM trip opportunities to one of the Caribbean’s most elegant destinations.