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Michael Baginski

Editor at Large, Mike Baginski is well known and well respected within the industry across Canada, the US, in the Caribbean, Mexico and numerous other destinations outside North America.

Mike is a veteran journalist and editor, and his incisive reports, interviews and his individual and distinct take on our industry, as often evinced in his ‘At Large’ columns make him a valued voice at Travel IndustryToday and an invaluable member of the team.

RECENT ARTICLES


WELCOME TO WALTHAM
London’s first Borough of Culture
19 FEB 2019: London oozes culture. So much so that it’s easy for visitors (and, indeed, locals) to get caught up in all the great sport, theatre, food, nightlife, markets and other offerings. To that end, London mayor Sadiq Khan launched the London Borough of Culture (BOC) initiative in 2018, with the borough of Waltham Forest being the first to win the accolade for 2019 (to be followed in 2020 by Brent). MORE

LWTM
Feb. 11-15, 2019
18 FEB 2019: In case you missed it, and even if you didn’t - and just need a reminder, here’s a quick look at some of last week’s need-to-know travel news: MORE

THE SIMPLE LIFE
Where to go in the Grenadines
13 FEB 2019: From roadside mangos and bananas to secluded black and white sand beaches, and dips in local rivers and under waterfalls, St. Vincent and The Grenadines (SVG) is the epitome of simplicity. Coming relatively “late” to tourism compared to other countries in the region, SVG has avoided many of the pitfalls of some of its neighbours – such as over-tourism – says SVG tourism director Glen Beache. MORE

GOING CRAZY
Mexico tourist board gone, trade not amused
13 FEB 2019: Mexico’s decision to close its international tourism offices, including in Canada, is “crazy” and “a massive step backwards” says one of this country’s tour operators, while another is urging the country to reconsider its decision. MORE

WHAT’S TRENDING IN TORONTO
12 FEB 2019: With the Canadian dollar hovering around 75 cents US and many global destinations experiencing political and economic turmoil, the trend towards travelling in one’s own country continues to be popular. MORE

HOT HOTEL OPENINGS
Checking in with the UK
11 FEB 2019: From B&Bs to inns, country lodges and five-star properties in London and elsewhere, there’s no shortage of accommodation options in Great Britain. Here’s a quick look ahead at some of the new and noteworthy openings expected in the coming months. MORE

THAT’S A WRAP
Caribbean Tourism Marketplace
11 FEB 2019: Torrential rain for much of the week didn’t dampen the spirits of delegates at the recent 37th annual Caribbean Tourism Marketplace.  After all, there was awareness that much of Ontario was digging out from a foot of snow while the US mid-west was trapped in a polar vortex that made it colder even than Canada. These are both situations that unfailingly make tourism types smile as they imagine winter-weary consumers rushing to their travel agents to book a seat out. MORE

ROUND UP
Feb. 4-8, 2019
11 FEB 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

EASY AS 1-2-3
Jacksons to highlight island fest
08 FEB 2019:  As it emerges from the lingering effects of devastating hurricane Irma in 2017, St. Maarten has issued a bold coming out statement: the addition of The Jacksons as feature performers at this year’s St. Maarten Heineken Regatta MORE

CRISIS WHAT CRISIS
Caribbean tackles tourism resilience and crisis management
07 FEB 2019: Many destinations in the Caribbean by their very nature get lathered and rinsed repeatedly by seasonal storms and, in worst-case scenarios, hurricanes. And though islands sometimes ultimately come out of the process with a shiny new look after recovery and rebuilding, the legacies of death, destruction and cost are a far cry from simply getting a good shampoo.   MORE

WHAT'S COOKING
Jamaica turns up heat on culinary tourism
06 FEB 2019: Food tourism is estimated to be worth US$150 billion annually, so it’s no surprise that countries like Jamaica want to ensure that they’re getting an ample piece of the pie. To that end, the country’s tourism industry continues to develop its newish gastronomy network, which was designed to frame the country’s rich culinary offerings and help visitors both find and indulge in them. Travel Industry Today recently sat down with Jamaica Gastronomy Network (JGN) chair Nicola Madden-Grieg to find out exactly what’s cooking. MORE

NEW LOOK FOR OLD HOTEL
Historic Fife Arms gets royal treatment
04 FEB 2019: The Fife Arms, a landmark inn in the village of Braemar has re-opened after a much-anticipated renovation. Such was the profile of the event that the opening ceremony was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay (the Scottish titles of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall), who further toured the property. MORE

DOWNUNDER DAY
Australia celebrates in Toronto
As Australians celebrated Australia Day recently, friends and well-wishers got a head start a couple of days earlier at an event in Toronto at the Steam Whistle Brewery. Organized by the Australian Consulate and Tourism Australia, with sponsors including Air Canada and Goway, the event showed off to trade partners and tourism types just some of Australia’s merits, including tasty organic wine, tucker such as meat pies and roast suckling pig, and music, including (taped) tunes from the great Aussie singer-songwriter Paul Kelly. MORE

SCREEN TIME
Britain set to star on TV and films
01 FEB 2019: Britain is once again playing a starring role in several new major movie releases in 2019, as well as leading the way with some of television’s biggest hits. As in the past, with productions such as James Bond, Outlander and Downton Abbey, the film’s backdrops will surely inspire visitors to head to the U.K. to discover their favourite character’s haunts for themselves. MORE

CURTAIN TIME
Whats new in the West End
29 JAN 2019: A trip to London that doesn’t include a West End show is almost unthinkable. From the latest productions to long-running favourites, visitors have dozens of choices each and every night in the British capital – and the world’s co-capital of theatre (with New York). MORE

GOOD SPORTS
Games to watch in 2019
Anfield in Liverpool on a Saturday afternoon is my happy place, though other souls might opt for Old Trafford (Manchester United), the Emirates (Arsenal) or even John Smith’s/Kirklees stadium in Huddersfield (we’re looking at you, Sunwing COO Andrew Dawson!). To sure, taking in a soccer game in the U.K. is a cultural experience extraordinaire.     MORE

MYTHBUSTING
Three things to forget about Britain
28 JAN 2019: Don’t get Gavin Landry going about mushy peas. Just the words make VisitBritain’s executive VP for the Americas turn as green as the notorious British in-delicacy. MORE

WHO LOVES YA BABY
Canadians biased for Britain
28 JAN 2019: Canadians love Britain, by almost any metric. Start with 2017 numbers: 835,000 Canadians visited Britain, which was 1 percent more compared to the year before but 150,000 more than 2010. And in 2018 those figures were expected to break that threshold, setting a new record. MORE

THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH
Saudi entertainment plan takes bull by the horns
25 JAN 2019: Who says Saudi Arabia isn’t a fun place? Certainly not the Saudis themselves, as evidenced by the government’s plans to transform the Kingdom into “a global entertainment destination,” complete with NBA games, celebrity wax figure exhibits, and bull-riding demonstrations.   MORE

POSTCARDS FROM THE PAST
Experiential travel is not a new thing
24 DEC 2019: “If it didn’t happen on Instagram, did it really happen?” may be a tongue-in-cheek joke du jour, but the prevalence of social media paired with the quest for authentic experiences by travellers as little more than sharing content has changed the nature of travel, if not in the way the one might think. MORE

THAT'S A WRAP
Florida spreads a little sunshine
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

HOT STUFF
Trends for 2019
16 JAN 2019: With the holidays now in the rearview mirror, ‘tis the season to look ahead to the year to come. And in time honoured tradition, travel prognosticators are weighing in with their thoughts on what will prove hot in 2019. Here’s a sampling of some of the data-driven forecasts, informed predications and outright guesses of some companies and organizations as to where Canadians will be going as the year unfolds, and some of the trends that may be inspiring them. MORE

KEYS THE BEES KNEES
Florida destination promises to delight
15 JAN 2019: It’s fair to say that Florida’s Keys, which string for 200 kilometres south from Miami over the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and Gulf of Mexico, are not the uppermost destination for Canadians visiting the Sunshine State. MORE

SPACE ODYSSEY
NASA celebrates first moon walk
11 JAN 2019: Where were you on July 20, 1969? The late Neil Armstrong would surely have remembered: he just happened to be taking “one small step” on the moon – at 10:56 p.m. EDT, onto the Sea of Tranquility, to be precise. MORE

HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
Subtle city lacks perception pizzazz
08 JAN 2019: “Houston doesn’t have an image problem,” says Mike Waterman. “It just doesn’t have an image.” It’s a situation the president and CEO of Visit Houston is hoping to remedy. And spend any time with the affable and engaging tourism exec and you get the sense he most certainly will. MORE
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