Monday, January 21, 2019
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DOWNING RESIGNS

CEO leaves VSPC despite meteoric growth of tourism
By JEN SAVEDRA
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21 JAN 2019: David Downing, the president and CEO of Visit St.Pete-Clearwater (VSPC) has resigned. Downing has been the subject of recent headlines in the local media accusing him of overspending on everything from meals and alcohol to vacation days. Meanwhile, tourism in the area is booming – by the end of last year the county collected about US $60 million in bed tax dollars, translating to about US $1 billion spent on overnight stays — a 9 percent increase over the previous year.   MORE

WEEKEND WEATHER WOES

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21 JAN 2019: A major winter storm brought some of the coldest temperatures of the season and wreaked havoc on air travel throughout New England in the US and Canada’s east coast on Sunday. More than 2,000 flights were cancelled in and out of the US and other modes of transportation were also affected by the winter storm. MORE

GROUNDED IN GOOSE BAY

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21 JAN 2019: Passengers spent about 16 hours on a plane grounded at an airport in frigid Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL.  United Airlines spokeswoman Natalie Noonan said Flight 179 from Newark, NJ., to Hong Kong was diverted to the Goose Bay Airport Saturday night after a passenger experienced a medical emergency. MORE

THAT'S A WRAP

Florida spreads a little sunshine
By MICHAEL BAGINSKI
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21 JAN 2019: Visit Florida spread a little sunshine on a dreary day in Toronto last week (Jan. 15) with a Union Station “takeover,” complete with wrapped subway train, all designed to get Canadian consumers dreaming about (and booking) a holiday to the Sunshine State. MORE

TRAVEL AND TOURISM FALLOUT

The impact of US government shutdown
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21 JAN 2019: America's busiest airport, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International, is a blur of activity on the best of days. But an extra layer of anxiety gripped the airport Friday, the eve of a three-day holiday weekend. The partial government shutdown, the longest ever has thinned the ranks of federal workers who staff airport security lines. And some travellers had braced for the worst. MORE

SWOOP OFF TO MEXICO

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21 JAN 2019: Swoop celebrated its final of four inaugural flights to Mexico this January.  The initial service to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta were from Hamilton and the flight to Puerto Vallarta was from Abbotsford. Sunday’s flight to Mazatlán was met on arrival with a water arch, spirited mariachi band and travellers who were greeted by the Ministry of Tourism of the province of Sinaloa. MORE

INDECENT ASSAULT

Canadian in custody after in flight incident
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21 JAN 2019: A Canadian man is accused of performing indecent acts on a flight from Hong Kong to Australia. Australian Federal Police arrested the 28-year-old man on arrival in Adelaide on Thursday, saying the man indecently assaulted two female cabin crew members. MORE

FOOD CARTS GET THE GRADE

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21 JAN 2019: New York City's iconic food carts are starting to get health department letter grades, giving on-the-go workers and tourists alike a quick reference for cleanliness and safety. The city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene handed out the first batch of grades Friday to about two dozen of the city's more than 5,000 food carts and trucks. MORE

FIVE UNIQUE WAYS

Nieuw Statendam blends tradition with the future
By WALLACE IMMEN
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21 JAN 2019: As a duo of dueling piano folks blast out the last bouncing bars of Satisfaction, a rock group on the other side of the aisle immediately launches into a high energy set. There’s not a beat lost in the swap between a Billboard at Sea show, and one in the Rolling Stone Rock Room because they’re both part of the Music Walk, one of the best innovations on Holland America Lines’ Nieuw Statendam. MORE

ROUND UP

Jan. 14-18, 2019
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21 JAN 2019: In case you missed it, and even if you didn’t, here’s a quick look at some of last week’s need-to-know travel news: MORE
In case you missed yesterday (or last week)... here is a selection of recent stories:

ANOTHER HUGE TREMENDOUS PLAN

Trump weighs dramatic tightening of embargo on Cuba
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18 JAN 2018: As the Trump administration becomes ever more embroiled in troubles and scandals, it has let it be known that it is weighing what could become the most serious tightening of the US trade embargo on Cuba in more than two decades - a move that could unleash a flurry of lawsuits against foreign companies that have invested on the island. MORE

UP UP AND STAY

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18 JAN 2018: An accumulation of heavy, wet snow caused a rear-engine jet parked at a Lake Tahoe-area airport to do a tail stand before mechanics returned it to its parked position. No one was injured and the Cessna Citation X aircraft was not damaged by the heavy snow that locals dub “Sierra cement.” MORE

NOT HIS KENTUCKY HOME

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18 JAN 2018: No, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family are not promoting Mammoth Cave Canoe and Kayak in central Kentucky. A roadside billboard features a smiling Justin and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau — joined by children, Xavier and Ella-Grace — wearing life jackets and waving from a red canoe.   MORE

TEENAGER KILLED IN FALL FROM CRUISE SHIP

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18 JAN 2019: A 16-year-old boy died after falling from an eighth floor balcony on board Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas. The teenager slipped and fell onto a pier as was trying to get into his room from an adjacent balcony because he did not have his room card. MORE

THE YEAR OF THE PIG

Hong Kong Welcomes A city of charming cultural traditions and exciting festivals
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18 JAN 2019: The Chinese New Year is the highlight of the Hong Kong Cultural calendar. It’s a time of lavish fireworks, a world-famous night street parade, elaborate banquets and glittering illuminations. Symbolizing prosperity and unity, while invoking good fortune for the year ahead, this festival is cherished and celebrated across the city. MORE

JAWS

Divers swim with giant great white shark
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18 JAN 2018: Divers monitoring tiger sharks feeding on a decomposing sperm whale off the coast of Oahu were surprised by a great white shark, a rare sighting in Hawaii waters. He The smaller sharks left when the possibly pregnant great white came to dine on the dead whale Tuesday, said diver Ocean Ramsey. MORE

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

Festival Capital of Florida has plans for 2019
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18 JAN 2019: Home to over 60 art, music and one-of-a-kind pop culture festivals, Daytona Beach is the Festival Capital of Florida. With reliably sunny weather and a flair for everything from culture and cuisine to motorsports and music, the year ahead is a festive one – so check these out. MORE

WATERLOO

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18 JAN 2019: Several readers (and listeners) have told me that some of our Friday music videos stick with them all day(s) - an earworm - a catchy bit of music that continually repeats through their mind long after it is no longer playing. MORE
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