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FORT LAUDERDALE – I wasn’t sure about this. I generally trust tourism board folks when they suggest things for me to do in their area. After all, they’re the experts. Still, as a long-time lover of Hawai’i and Polynesian culture, I was a bit skeptical when the folks at Fort Lauderdale’s tourism office hooked me up with dinner, drinks and a show at a place called Mai-Kai Restaurant, a short drive from the city’s famous beaches. Having seen some pretty lame Hawaiian dancing in various parts of the world and having sampled a few too many too-sweet Mai Tai’s that ... 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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CHATHAM-KENT, ONTARIO – A beach town with charm to spare. A vital link to Ontario’s black history. And a positively wondrous hotel in a town that will definitely surprise you. I had stopped in the town of Erieau a couple years ago on a trip along the Lake Erie shoreline (sometimes called Canada’s forgotten coast). It was only a brief drive-by, but I was charmed by the low-key yet vibrant nature of the town and beguiled by the beach and the cute waterfront homes. This time, with the help of the folks at Ontario’s Southwest I managed to squeeze in ... continue reading →

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I’ve been saying for years now that the federal government in Ottawa doesn’t understand tourism and doesn’t give it the support it should. Now I see that MP Elizabeth May and TV comedian/pundit Rick Mercer are saying the same thing. Here’s my Globe and Mail blog from Friday, Feb. 20…. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/travel/travel-news/when-will-the-government-give-tourism-the-respect-it-deserves/article23115880/

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A brilliant, new way to earn free trips faster. A lot faster. The folks at Rocketmiles and Aeroplan are announcing a partnership today that will “help put people on vacation faster.” Rocketmiles is an incredibly smart program where you can earn thousands of points with Aeroplan or other airline reward programs while booking hotels in cities around the world at excellent prices. The Chicago-based company was founded in 2012 and is headed up by American Jay Hoffmann, who used to work with the United Mileage Plus program and at Groupon and other companies. “I’ve seen what works, “ he told ... continue reading →

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