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Australia/New Zealand/PAC

Canada’s renewed investment in tourism seems to be working. The low Canadian dollar and U.S. politics also might be helping. Figures released today by Destination Canada show that arrivals into Canada last year jumped 11% to our highest level in 14 years. Visits from the U.S. reached 13,899,814; up 10%, while international arrivals jumped a whopping 16 %. In total, Canada attracted 19,979,334 visitors; the second highest amount ever and the highest since 2002. This year could be even better given it’s our 150th birthday, with parties planned coast to coast, and the continuing low dollar. There also are reports ... continue reading →

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We lost Prince and Glenn Frey of The Eagles and Leonard Cohen. And a certain Twitter-loving business guy of mixed intelligence got elected president of the U.S. But there were some great things for me in the year in travel, including a yodelling shop owner, a sex-crazed marsupial and a chance meeting with the son of one of the fabled Marx Brothers. So here are my annual Jimmy Awards for travel, this time with an eye on the off-kilter, weird and just a little bit strange. Best Rum-Punch-Drinking-Monkey: This fellow (of course, it may have been a lady monkey) at ... continue reading →

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I spent a great deal of time in Canada and the U.S. in 2016. I also had visits to several Caribbean Islands, including small spots like Mayreau on a Sea Dream Yacht Club cruise and larger islands such as the Dominican Republic, Anguilla, Barbados and St. Martin. I had week-long visits to both Australia and New Zealand. And I managed time in Portugal, England, Italy, Germany and several other countries on my Viking River cruise. Here are my Jimmy Awards for top travel spots of 2016 outside Canada and the U.S. Best Beach Surprise: Playa Rincon, Dominican Republic. Reached via ... continue reading →

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I wrote yesterday that it was a great day to book a flight. Then came news of more great travel deals this morning. On top of what I mentioned yesterday (see below for details), I got a note this morning to say that SATA/Azores Airlines is offering 25% off all flights from Canada to Portugal as a Boxing Day special. The airlines’ web site says the deal is for any route between Canada and Portugal operated by Azores Airlines and SATA Air Açores but does not include interlines/codeshares with other carriers. The sale runs from now until Jan. 4, 2017, ... continue reading →

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As if mountains and Mounties and our 150th birthday party next year weren’t enough, now the world has another reason to visit Canada. A survey from Booking.com finds that Australia is the only country in the world with a reputation for friendlier and ­­­happier locals than Canada. Respondents in the survey were asked to name the planet’s cheeriest and most relaxed locals. Australia came first with mentions by 35 % of respondents, followed by Canada (33), Italy (29), Spain (25), the U.S. (24), Thailand (20), Japan (20), France (20), New Zealand (20) and Brazil (19). The survey of travellers around ... continue reading →

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