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.


Anguilla lifts shrouds of mystery in Canada
19 DEC 2018: Anguilla is back and promising to make a bang in Canada. After “some time” away, the tiny Caribbean island’s tourist board is vowing to do “much more” in Canada to reflect this country’s growing visitation numbers and status as number two international market after the US. MORE

Rouge route has SVG in the pink
18 DEC 2018: St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) – a relatively undiscovered gem of the Caribbean – is closer than ever for Canadians thanks to increased service from Air Canada Rouge. The carrier launched year-round flights from Toronto to Argyle International Airport on the island of St. Vincent on Oct. 25, but has also introduced a second weekly flight on a seasonal basis on Sunday as of December 16.   MORE

WestJetters gotta wear shades
18 DEC 2018: WestJet chief executive Ed Sims was checking in for a television interview at the Business News Network (BNN) recently and was queried by a staffer: “I thought you guys were out of business?” Not by a long shot. But such is the nature of WestJet’s wobbly year in 2018. MORE

Germany beyond beer and bratwurst
17 DEC 2018: Beer and bratwurst perhaps most readily comes to mind when travellers consider the culinary capacities of Germany, but there is obviously much more to the central European nation and it’s a point the country’s tourist board is eager to serve up. MORE

Israel tourism continues to grow
13 DEC 2018: Despite residing in what is often dubbed a “dangerous neighbourhood,” Israeli tourism continues to grow – especially from Canada, where visitations are “going through the roof.” The interest in the Middle Eastern destination was reflected by a full house of agents at an Israel Government Tourist Office (IGTO) trade event held in Toronto Dec. 6, despite the distraction of the holiday season – both Hanukkah and Christmas – and a correspondingly chaotic location near Yorkdale mall in Toronto. MORE

The other side of animal encounters
07 DEC 2018: Recently my colleague Jen Savedra called out PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – for its hypocritical business practices and lamented how its positions and pronouncements on some issues are uncritically and “blindly” heeded by others. MORE

Canadian numbers on upward trajectory
06 DEC 2018: Canadian visitations to Switzerland increased 10 percent during the summer year over year and there’s no let-up in sight, say Swiss tourism officials. “[Interest] is just going upwards,” Switzerland Tourism EVP Markets Urs Eberhard told a Canadian trade audience in Toronto Dec. 3. “It’s an incredibly consistent market.” MORE

Canadians bored by Brexit, business booming
04 DEC 2018: The European Union’s acceptance of the British government’s draft Brexit plan brings the nation’s divorce from the EU one step closer; however, it’s still business as usual for British tourism and for most Canadians planning to visit the United Kingdom. MORE

Things to love about New York
29 NOV 2018: New York’s division of tourism brought the love to a Canadian trade audience in Toronto on Nov. 28 with the message that it’s iconic “I Love New York” slogan covers “the whole state, not just Times Square.” MORE

VisitBritain gets to the heart of the matter
27 NOV 2018: Perhaps it’s our northern composure, but unlike our American neighbours, Canadians apparently aren’t seeking “bliss,” when travelling to Britain – at least according to VisitBritain’s newly formed “I Travel For” passion points marketing campaign. MORE

Nov. 19-23, 2018
26 NOV 2018: 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

Celebrates Hamilton service to Florida
26 NOV 2018: Swoop, Hamilton International Airport, and a host of Sunshine State partners celebrated the low-cost airline’s launch of service into Florida with a reception and mini trade show in the Steel City Nov. 20. MORE

Brand USA reveals plans for Canada
26 NOV 2018: Brand USA hopes to have a new Canadian regional director in place by the end of February, having recently posted the position internally “with HR” to fill the currently vacant role. The revelation is welcome news to the trade in Canada – pending the nature of the appointment, of course – which has endured a sometimes-tumultuous history with the organization since its establishment in 2009, with many specifically harbouring the belief that this country, which is America’s top tourism provider by virtually every metric, has never been fully respected (including not having had consistent in-market representation), and, moreover, often managed from afar by people who don’t necessarily know the market.   MORE

Orlando and Las Vegas gear up for holiday season
21 NOV 2018: No sooner than the Thanksgiving Day turkeys are consumed, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping satiated, Americans begin having visions of sugar plums and start stirring with preparations for Christmas. Two of the most popular, and colourful, US destinations for the holidays – for Americans and visitors alike – are Orlando and Las Vegas, both of which can be counted on to provide a wonderland (if not winter wonderland) of festive events and trimmings to ensure a merry and bright season. MORE

Tourism is more than an industry
14 NOV 2018: Pat yourself on the back, travel colleagues, for if Jamaica’s minister of tourism is to be believed – and he is – the travel industry is a force for good in the world, and the people in it truly special.   MORE

Belize gets serious about seaweed problem
13 NOV 2018: It carpets water, clogs beaches, rots and stinks. Sargassum – a type of seaweed – is a massive problem in the Caribbean as it shows up in unprecedented quantities and in places it never has before.   MORE

Collette immerses agents in new product line
12 NOV 2018: With “immersion” being the key concept behind its newly redeveloped Explorations line of touring, it only made sense that Collette would endeavour to immerse the trade in some of the experiences that travellers might discover on one of the 20-plus tours in the program. MORE

Playa making plans for Panama Jack
07 NOV 2018: Get set to add Panama Jack to the growing list of Playa Hotels and Resorts properties in Jamaica. While not open yet, Playa executive VP and CMO Kevin Froemming told media at the recent Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) that discussions are under way to determine the best way to introduce the family-friendly brand to the destination “in the not too distant future.” MORE

The more they do not stay the same
06 NOV 2018: When my kids were little they used to ask me what it was like when I was young (back in those long-ago days of the 1960s and ‘70s). Not too different, I’d reply, though when pressed I did acknowledge a few minor variations, like the absence of computers/Internet/social media and cell phones; TVs that broadcast six channels, not 600, and in black and white (without remote controls); music delivered via a.m. radio and vinyl records; cars the size of smalls buses; and (gasp) no Starbucks. Holy Big Bird, Batman! things were pretty different I eventually conceded.   MORE

Jamaica embraces Airbnb
05 NOV 2018: From Half Moon and Rose Hall to Goldeneye, Strawberry Hill, Sandals and Hedonism – not to mention a host of new entries that are currently building solid reputations – Jamaica is known for its iconic hotels and resorts. But there’s a new kid in town, with Airbnb now making a mark in a country and region not typically associated with the sharing economy. MORE

Celebrity Cruises reveals its cutting Edge
25 OCT 2018: With the imminent arrival of the Celebrity Edge and a half billion-dollar fleet modernization program at hand, Celebrity Cruises had plenty to crow about as the Canadian team for the cruise line hosted more than 100 travel counsellors at a special training session at the Bayview Golf and Country Club in Thornhill, Ont., on Oct. 23. MORE

Increased lift inspires more Canadians to visit
24 OCT 2018: Close to 100 travel counsellors turned out in Montreal and Toronto last week for a primer on Panama, courtesy of the country’s tourism board and a handful of local suppliers. Agents were treated to dinner, presentation and mini trade show, along with the chance to win prizes, including a trip to the Central American destination. MORE

Travel Leaders Network regionals on the road
16 OCT 2018: Fall means cool nights, leaves turning colour, turkey and pumpkins, and perhaps a snowflake or two if you live in Alberta. Also, the return of the annual Travel Leaders Network Canadian regional road show and mixer. This year TL Network is expecting a total turnout of around 400 agents from events in Toronto (Oct. 9 and 11), Edmonton (Oct. 23) and Vancouver (Oct. 25). MORE

15 OCT 2018: There’s a buzz going on in Jamaica, but it’s not what you might think. The Caribbean nation is getting more airlift, experiencing massive hotel sector development, investing in infrastructure - both physical and digital and benefitting from an ambitious tourist board agenda designed to propel tourism into being the country’s top economic engine. MORE

Does your travel protest prove a point
12 OCT 2018: The world is clearly going gaga and many a conscientious traveller or girl guide group is registering their disgust by avoiding offending destinations – hello, Donald Trump’s America! – or staying home all together. Far be it from me to question anyone’s travel morals in such matters, or how they spend or don’t spend their moolah, but I do wonder whether the sentiment might cause more harm than good. MORE