Editor’s Notes: August 2009

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We’ve got some pretty timely features in this month’s issue, with lots of good info for you in a variety of different destination and niche markets. In the latter category, you won’t want to miss our cover story on culinary travel in Asia, where your clients can mix up their interests in cultural travel with the appetizing addition of a culinary adventure in any or all of the countries of China, Thailand and Japan. And while we’re on the subject of “taste,” you won’t want to miss this month’s special section, “Savoring Central America—A Travel Planner,” where our Latin America editor Carla Hunt is bringing you a taste of all seven Central America destinations and a full menu of travel offerings that both you and your clients will truly savor.

The river cruising industry, still another niche product, was rocked by the announcement last month that Peter Deilmann Cruises was pulling the plug on its river cruise operations. But as you’ll see on page 14, the other river cruise companies shrugged off the news, primarily because one of the reasons for the firm’s demise, many industry insiders feel, was Deilmann’s focus on its original German market, which they have been heavily targeting since its 1983 inception. “Deilmann provided a quality river cruising product, primarily serving the German market. Their U.S. market share has been declining for the past few years and we don’t believe this will have a significant impact on the U.S. river cruising market,” says Richard Marnell, senior v.p. of marketing for Viking River Cruises. “We are pleased to see Deilmann will operate all 2009 cruises on the books and have an orderly shutdown,” he adds. Tauck World Discovery was just as positive about the future of river cruising and its continuing popularity in the U.S. market. “We really don’t anticipate any major changes as to how we market or operate our river cruises. We’ve been prudent and measured in how we’ve grown our river cruise business, primarily because we wanted to make sure the guest experience was consistent with our high standards,” explains Tom Armstrong, corporate communications manager for Tauck World Discovery. “That means we may have left some business on the table over the past several years, when demand for our river cruises exceeded our capacity, but our prudent approach has paid a secondary benefit in that we didn’t take on a lot of fixed costs during the boom years.”

Still another potential lemon that’s been turned back into lemonade is Mexico’s recovery from the H1N1 panic that emptied hotel beds in every tourism area of the country, even where there were no cases reported. You can read all about it and all the incredible travel deals the panic left in the marketplace in this month’s “Regresemos a Mexico: Let’s Go Back to Mexico” supplement. Just 40 days after the travel warning to Mexico was lifted, the barrage of bargains Mexico tourism entities created and are still creating, definitely worked to entice travelers back to the country, with Cancun reporting tourism numbers just 10 points below where they were last year. But it’s important to keep reminding clients to go back to Mexico, not only for the incredible incentives and discount offerings—and yeah, that’s important, especially in this economic climate—but also because Mexico is genuinely an incredible travel product offering a huge selection of vacation adventures for just about any interest.

st. vincent & the grenadines specialist program Next month, we’ll be launching Recommend’s St. Vincent & the Grenadines Specialist Program. In it, we’ll explore the history of the islands, learn how each island differentiates itself from the other, highlight the niche markets serviced by St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and review the accommodation options on the islands, among other topics. Don’t miss out on all the benefits of participating in this specialist program, including CEUs and a whole lot more. All the details will be included in next month’s issue, with the launch of the program.

next month September is our annual family travel issue and this year, we’ve got family travel options from just about anywhere you can imagine—China, Israel, the Caribbean, Latin America and Mexico. We’re also going to feature family-friendly Las Vegas, a first-hand view of the Grand Canyon, and family travel fun in Hawaii and Florida. In the meantime, have a great read.