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Travel News


Polar Bears

By Judy Newell


Mexico Travel News

Mexican Tourism Rises for Sixth-Straight Year

New data from the Bank of Mexico revealed the country’s international arrivals rose for the sixth consecutive year. Tourism revenue also climbed for the fifth straight year.

Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism Enrique de la Madrid announced international tourism to the country has reached historical levels, hosting over 39 million tourists, an increase of 60 percent over the last five years. The economic impact of tourism also increased 8.6 percent to US$21.3 million.

Solmar Debuts Two New Luxury Properties

Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas Resort Golf & Spa has made its debut. The property is the newest resort within the Solmar Hotels & Resorts collection of all-suite properties in Los Cabos. Located on the tip of the Baja peninsula, the new resort represents the first building phase of Rancho San Lucas, an 834-acre private resort community that combines resort-style accommodations with residential lifestyle amenities. The resort’s first phase opened with 89 oceanfront suites in two buildings. The resort is offering opening rates of US$429 per night.


International News

Dubai Opens World’s Tallest Hotel

The world’s tallest hotel has officially opened its doors in Dubai, scaling the clouds and towering above the city below. The Gevora Hotel is a new offering in the UAE hotspot’s financial district—topping out at an incredible 356 meters high (1,168 feet).

Travelers with a head for heights will already know that Gevora’s tower just barely trounces another Dubai sleeping spot—the JW Marriott Marquis, which is just a meter shorter and was formerly the world’s tallest hotel.

The luxurious Gevora is decked out in gold and includes a health club, sauna, pool, and five glitzy restaurants. The Art Deco-style design accommodates 528 rooms.

Eurostar Launching London to Amsterdam

Eurostar, the cross-channel high-speed rail service linking the UK with mainland Europe, announced its new direct route from London to Amsterdam will launch on Apr 4. The launch marks a historic milestone in the expansion of international high-speed rail travel, revolutionizing the connection between these important destinations.

For the first time, passengers will be able to travel from St Pancras in the heart of London direct to the Netherlands in just three hours.

After extensive preparations, a comprehensive testing program, and the building of Eurostar terminals in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Eurostar’s new route to the Netherlands will start on April 4 with one-way fares from £35. The new service will be launched with two trains a day departing at 08:31 and 17:31 respectively.

During the initial period, passengers will travel directly from London to Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The return journey will connect through Brussels, where passport controls and security screening will be carried out. Passengers traveling on the London–Brussels section will see their journey time cut to one hour and 48 minutes.


Vegan Menu debuts at London hotel

Room service featuring vegan food is available to guests of St Giles Hotel’s branch in London, reported to be a first in the UK. The hotel is partnering with BOL Foods in response to strong consumer demand.

Cruise News

Jeff Foxworthy Headlining Country Music Cruise

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy will be headlining a seven-day country music cruise that will depart from Fort Lauderdale, Jan 27, 2019, and journey to Key West, St Thomas, and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas before returning to Fort Lauderdale on Feb 3.

The superstar-studded party on the sea is set to sail aboard Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam. The Country Music Cruise has sold out each of its first five years, and 2019 is nearly 70 percent sold out.

The sixth-anniversary Country Music Cruise will host The Oak Ridge Boys, Patty Loveless, Ronnie Milsap, Ricky Skaggs, Joe Diffie, The Bellamy Brothers, Shenandoah, Jimmy Fortune, Johnny Lee, David Ball, TG Sheppard, Jeannie Seely, Wade Hayes, Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys, and Elvis tribute artists hitting the seven stages on board. Television and radio show host Lorianne Crook returns to emcee the cruise and a very special Grand Ole Opry at Sea performance event.

Country Music Cruise guests have opportunities to meet and mingle with the stars aboard. In addition to more than 50 live performances, cruisers can mix with their favorite artists at theme nights, panel discussions, cooking demonstrations, jam sessions, meet-and-greets, autograph sessions, and more.

Words of the Wise and Well-Traveled

“Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences.” —Mikhail Gorbachev

Deal of the Week

Polar Bears + Belugas of Churchill

The peak of summer on the shores of Hudson Bay is the only time to see both the polar bears and beluga whales. Alexander+Roberts’s complete tour begins and ends in Winnipeg with a luxury boutique hotel and sightseeing. It includes roundtrip charter flights to Churchill, where the unhurried four-night stay gives you more time to explore.

With expert naturalists, you’ll venture out by land and water for multiple up-close encounters with polar bears and beluga whales.

Step aboard the Coast Guard certified Sam Hearne to see polar bears in their summer habitat. The next day, Zodiacs takes you back out where you’ll find yourself surrounded by pods of Beluga Whales. A third excursion aboard the Arctic Crawler takes you into the tundra to see more of the region’s wildlife—including Arctic fox, moose, caribou, and eagles. You will also have your choice of guided snorkeling or kayaking for an up-close experience with the Belugas.

Seven days, from US$6,199 per person, with never more than 16 guests per group. Two dates in 2018, Aug 16, and 20, and two dates in Aug 2019. Save US$600 per couple or US$300 for solo occupancy when you pay in full at time of booking.


Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for over 40 years, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She designs journeys that are tailored to suit your interests, abilities, and budget. Please contact Judy for further information on Travel News topics and around-the-world travel; cell phone 415-111-8765; Vonage 949-300-3682; email Her office is in Rancho Los Labradores, Car. a Dolores Hidalgo. View the latest travel specials on the website


Sources: Travel Pulse, Solmar Hotels & Resorts, CNN, Plant Based News (UK), Cruise Fever, Alexander+Roberts


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