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Travel News

By Judy Newell

Dromoland castle

Mexico Travel News

Southwest Airlines launches service to Mexico

Southwest Airlines launched initial service to Mexico bringing new flight options from the United States’ largest carrier in terms of domestic passengers boarded. The nonstop routes previously served by wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways now operate daily between Orange County/Santa Ana and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico, and between Cancun and both Atlanta and Baltimore/Washington. Saturday-only service on Southwest between Milwaukee and Cancun began August 16, 2014.

The company plans to fully convert all international and domestic service currently flown by AirTran to Southwest by the end of this year. The carriers’ flight schedules are published through March 6, 2015.

AirTran Airways continues to operate daily service between Mexico City and Orange County/Santa Ana until the route converts to Southwest Airlines service on November 2, 2014.

Private wine collection debuts this fall

Private-label wines will be released this fall by Capella Pedregal resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The resort’s “Unique Collection” is the product of a two-year project with local wineries including a red-blend that mixes Shiraz, Grenache, and Tempranillo.

International News

Can you guess the world’s most visited country?

Planning a vacation to Paris or Nice? You’re not alone. According to the Daily Mail, France was the most visited country in the world in 2013, hosting a record-breaking 84.7 million tourists.

The United States came in a distant second, with just 69.8 million travelers coming to the nation.

Surprisingly, all of the top 10 countries were from just three continents—Europe, Asia, and North America.

The statistics, which came from the World Tourism Organization, showed the top 10 most visited countries in 2013 and their reported number of tourists as follows:

•France, 84.7 million

•US, 69.8 million

•Spain, 60.7 million

•China, 55.7 million

•Italy, 47.7 million

•Turkey, 37.8 million

•Germany, 31.5 million

•United Kingdom, 31.2 million

•Russia, 28.4 million

•Thailand, 26.5 million

Ready for the hotel industry’s first robotic butler?

Aloft Hotels has announced an unusual hire: A robotic butler, or a Botlr, for short.

ALO, as the cyber associate is known, is reporting for training at the Aloft Cupertino in California. For now, you can only get this specialized robotic service at the Aloft Hotel across from the Apple corporate campus in Cupertino.

Created by robotics company Savioke, ALO will help Aloft’s human employees with such tasks as delivering amenities to guest rooms and moving linens and towels from the laundry room to guest rooms and to the fitness center.

ALO will dress in a collared uniform and have a nametag. When a guest needs something, a human employee will place the item in the Botlr and enter the room number. Botlr will rush to the room, even taking the elevator, and call the room phone. The guest will open the door and Botlr will open its container so the item can be retrieved.

It does not accept cash as tips. Instead, it asks for tweets. It also has a screen that asks the guest to give it a rating. If it gets a high rating, it will do a small dance.

Cruise News

Venice reinstates ban on cruise ships

Italian officials have again ordered a halt to large cruise ship traffic in Saint Mark’s basin and the Giudecca Canal in Venice. The plan bans large cruise ships from sailing past St. Mark’s Square in Venice, but also approves a study of alternate routes to protect the city’s tourism industry.

The inter-ministerial ruling was a “unanimous decision” to save Venice’s fragile buildings and environment, according to the region’s governor, Luca Zaia, who posted the news on Twitter.

According to regulations passed in 2013, no cruise ships over 96,000 tons will be permitted to sail in the Venetian lagoon, and the number of cruise ships weighing 40,000 tons or more must be reduced by 20 percent of the current volume.

Italian news agency, ANSA, has reported that 650 cruise ships pass through the city annually.

Read all about it!

Viking Cruises has launched an online book club for cruise-loving bookworms to share reviews and recommendations. The forum focuses on top holiday reads and best-sellers and offers reading recommendations from celebrities and authors. The first book selection is Jeffrey Archer’s Only Time Will Tell, part of a seven-book saga, The Clifton Chronicles. To join the book club, visit Viking Cruises’ website.

Deal of the Week

A Killarney Adventure

Travel to Ireland from September to December 2014 and discover the enchanting west coast with five-star accommodations in Killarney and Clare. Package includes round-trip airfare from the US, luxury accommodations, car rental for duration of stay, tours and sightseeing, full Irish breakfast daily, a two-night stay at the famous Dromoland Castle, entrance to Muckross House and Gardens, a bike rental to explore the Killarney National Park, a welcome glass of Guinness or an Irish coffee and much more! Six nights with air from US$1,742 per person.


Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys, which specializes designing tours, cruises and independent travel for discerning travelers. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any of the Travel News topics; cell phone at 415-111-8765, email, or view the latest travel specials on the website where you can book your hotels, tours, and cruises online.

Sources: Travel Industry Wire,, Smarter Travel, Travel Pulse, Cruise Critic, Viking Cruises, Spectre Tours


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