Recommend January 2015 - (Page 6)

e ditor's notes Welcome to 2015, which, according to many in the industry, is going to be an amazing year for travel. In fact, during the recent USTOA conference, which took place at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Florida, we learned that 95 percent of active USTOA members are confident that revenues will increase in 2015. Of that majority, 62 percent forecast "optimistic" to "boom year" growth with sales approaching 10 percent or more. Adding to that, more than half of those active USTOA members who responded to the PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP economic study that was conducted prior to the conference, stated that they plan to increase staff in 2015. Best part? The travel agent is an "important piece of the sales chain," said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. Me with Martha Troncoza, So what destinations should you be keeping an eye on in 2015 to conVice President, Air Operations, Viking River Cruises, accepting tinue to be an important part of that sales chain? Well, one of the countries the cruise line's Readers' Choice that respondents of the economic study noted as an "emerging" country Award for Best River Cruise Line. was Cuba, with active members stating that there's a growing demand for travel to Cuba (in fact, many currently offer people-to-people programs). And a funny thing happened while I was writing this editor's notes, U.S.-Cuba relations grabbed the national news outlets' headlines. At press time, it was reported that the U.S. and Cuba are in the process of establishing diplomatic relations, and that will include easing restrictions on travel-look for more Cuba coverage on recommend.com. Other destinations to keep top of mind, according to the USTOA report, were Myanmar-think a river cruise on one of the many ships that sail the Irrawaddy; Croatia; Iceland; India-look for coverage on this destination in the February issue; Sri Lanka; Vietnam; Cambodia; and Panama. Another destination that you most certainly should be keeping a close eye on this year is Egypt. During a roundtable discussion at the USTOA conference, Egypt's Minister of Tourism, H.E. Hisham Zaazou, noted that 2015 is the year U.S. travelers are going to say yes to Egypt. "2015 will witness a start, not a full turnaround, but a start," said Zaazou. "The situation in Egypt is favorable." In fact, the enthusiastic minister pointed out that he is "confident in Egypt. Egypt will be better in the coming period." Kensington Tours is also being optimistic about Egypt, stating in its travel trends for 2015 report that "Egypt is back on the bucket list," and noting that "luckily jetsetters aren't yet back 'en masse,' which means that there are times that travelers can still have the Sphinx, Karnak, Valley of the Kings, and even the Pyramids of Giza to themselves. In its 2015 top travel trends report, Cox & Kings is, in fact, calling Egypt a "come back kid," noting that "stunning and majestic locations such as Egypt... experienced a heavy downturn in [its] vital industry. However, [it is] once again rising back to the top of many travelers 'must see' lists and quickly." Another of Cox & Kings' "come back kids" is Japan, and as Cox & Kings states in its trends release, "visiting now can mean better value and fewer crowds." Our Japan coverage on page 88 focuses on a few destinations within the country that caught our eye-yes, Tokyo is included, but a couple of the other cities we've highlighted might surprise you. And speaking of far-off destinations, Cox & Kings' report also notes that travelers are yearning to reach exotic locales, and "the fact that a locale might be fairly raw or young in its tourism development or infrastructure, offering only primitive accommodations, roads or means of transportation is no longer a deterrent. It is rich fodder for...bragging rights back home that no one else will have." The report points to exotic destinations such as Greenland, Sardinia and even Western Australia. And of course, once travelers reach these destinations, it's not just about checking it off their list; it's about truly getting immersed in the destination-exotic or not-so plan to scratch beyond the surface to offer your clients an experience, not just a vacation. -Paloma Villaverde de Rico ì 2015 Delta Air Lines Caribbean, Mexico & Latin America Guide In this issue, we've included the 2015 Delta Air Lines Caribbean, Mexico & Latin America Guide, which highlights what to see, the best places to stay, and a signature event in the numerous gateways Delta Air Lines serves throughout this part of the world. From tango lessons in Buenos Aires to museumhopping in Mexico City, get to know the destinations Delta Air Lines flies to in the Caribbean, Mexico, and both Central & South America. 6 january 2015 6-7 EDITORS PG.indd 6 E-mail me at paloma@recommend.com let's get social Hang out with us @Recommendmag and facebook.com/recommendmag. And if you want to see what our editors are up to away from the office, follow them @EdWetschler & @AreanWanderlust. 12/19/14 10:54 AM http://www.recommend.com http://www.facebook.com/recommendmag

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend January 2015

Editor’s Notes
Hotel Desk Outrigger Resorts
Tour Talk Journeys by CH
The Unexplored Danube River, Explored
2015 Delta Air Lines Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America Guide
Hip & Traditional Japan
South Africa Shines
Philadelphia
Las Vegas
Irpinia, Italy

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