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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


FEEL THE BUZZ
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

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION
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

SHOWING THE LOVE
Cuba vows to never fail Canadians
10 OCT 018: Canadian visits to Cuba may be lagging this year, but the island’s love for this nation is as strong as ever. “Canada continues to be our main market for tourism,” Cuba’s Minister of Tourism, Manuel Marrero, told a trade audience in Toronto last week during his annual visit to this country, adding that it wouldn’t be so without the “valuable contributions” of travel agencies, tour operators and hotel chains. MORE

CALIFORNIA DREAMING
Golden State sales mission calls on Canada
04 OCT 2018: California may be best known in Canada for its great cities (San Francisco, LA/Hollywood and San Diego), long beaches, theme parks and enchanting coastline, but potential visitors shouldn’t forget the amazing ski options, says someone who should know. Freestyle skier and 1998 Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley told guests at Visit California’s recent annual sales and media mission in Toronto that there is something special about California’s Sierra Nevada ski resorts, especially Tahoe and Squaw Valley, where he trained. MORE

A STICKY WICKET
My attempt to get googly with Goway
02 OCT 2018: For years, my friends at Goway have gamely trotted out a collection of cricket players onto the baseball diamond to take on my motely crew of seasoned softball professionals, some of whom have played for over 30 years. G Adventures (or GAP as they were known at the time) and Insight Vacations have had teams in my league as well, but Goway was always the most interesting since many of them had never picked up a ball or bat before – at least of the softball kind. MORE

IT’S A WRAP
Transat completes cross country training
24 SEP 2018: Tis the season for tour operator launches and road shows and Transat is no exception. The tour company wrapped up its cross-Canada product training series last week with events in Toronto, Hamilton and London, following earlier September stops in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax and Montreal. MORE

WINTER IS COMING
And the Swiss could not be happier
19 SEP 2018: Winter is coming, and that’s just fine with Swiss tourism officials, who are eager to promote the central European country’s popular ski and snow season to Canadians who might want a change from their own winter doldrums, or in Swiss marketing parlance, a chance to “upgrade your winter.”   MORE

ONE IN A MILLION
TravelBrands reaches milestone in SickKids support
18 SEP 2018: They came not just for the golf but to help raise money for the worthiest of causes – the SickKids Foundation. “It’s one day that friends and competitors can come together,” said TravelBrands president and CEO Frank DeMarinis of the 5th annual golf tournament and fundraiser, which put the travel company over the top in its five-year mission to raise a million dollars for SickKids, specifically the Toronto hospital’s Labatt Family Heart Centre. MORE

UNIGLOBE CONTINUES DIABETES FIGHT
25th annual golf event supports charity
17 SEP 2018: Uniglobe Travel Eastern Canada celebrated 25 years of raising funds for good causes last week at its annual fall golf tournament. Close to 60 Uniglobe members and friends in the trade turned out to The Carrying Place Golf and Country Club north of Toronto for a spectacular day on the links, but also to support a cause near and dear to the heart of Uniglobe director of marketing and supplier relations Sonia McKeon, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). MORE

ORLANDO GETS ITS SPOOK ON
In the Halloween Vacation Capital
11 SEP 2018: Orlando may be commonly called the “theme park capital of the world,” is located in the “Sunshine State,” and counts “the happiest place on earth” amongst its prime attractions, but the tourism mecca would have visitors add another sobriquet to its lengthy list of nicknames: “Halloween Vacation Capital.” MORE

CULTURE FOR KICKS
Pubs, profanity and pork pies all part of UK soccer experience
30 AUG 2018: With the World Cup of Soccer having dominated TV and the sports pages this summer and British and European season currently kicking off, I can’t help but recall the first professional game I ever attended, an experience that cemented my life-long devotion to “the beautiful game.” MORE

SKAL CELEBRATES
27 AUG 2018: The team from Vox International, including Travel Industry Today, may not have earned any golf accolades at the Skal Toronto’s golf tournament last week, but participation in the 63rd annual gala was reward enough. MORE

SETTING THE STANDARD
Pioneer operators unite to raise trade standards
22 AUG 2018: A new global travel association – headquartered in Canada – wants to raise the stake on standards for the trade that will benefit tour operators, travel agents and consumers. Travel Industry Today sat down with the alliance’s board of directors’ chair Thanushka Nanayakkara, whose day job is CEO of Canadian tour company NARAT Inc., to dig a little deeper. MORE

CZECH, PLEASE
Avoiding pitfalls in Prague
16 AUG 2018: Prague is too pretty for its own good, it seems. Like Venice, Barcelona, and some other European cities that are straining under the burden of too many visitors, the Czech capital is similarly looking for ways to find a balance between a healthy and necessary tourism industry and a liveable city for residents. MORE

TURKISH DELIGHT
Airline scores with Toronto golf event
15 AUG 2018: Oakville, Ontario, is a long way from Antalya, Turkey, but close to 100 participants in the Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup Toronto region qualifier last week had their eye on the latter as they teed off at Glen Abbey Golf Club for a chance to represent Canada at the Cup finale. MORE

LAX LOOKS TO THE FUTURE
Much maligned airport gets massive remake
10 AUG 2018: It’s been called “a cross between a rundown bus terminal and a refugee camp,” and “terrible, outdated, dirty, disgusting and bland.” Fox News voted it the second worst airport in North America and the annual J.D. North America Airport Satisfaction Study ranked it the third most dismal facility on the continent in 2017 based on feedback from more than 34,000 travellers. LAX, you don’t get no respect.   MORE

THE ARTFUL DODGER
I know what I like and I do not like that
02 AUG 2018:  A lifetime of world travelling has afforded me the incredible opportunity to see some of the world’s greatest art. But for every Mona Lisa at the Louvre or The Persistence of Memory at the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla., there has been a Voice of Fire at the National Gallery in Ottawa, the wrapped Reichstag in Berlin, or pretty much anything at the Tate Modern in London. MORE

ALL EYES ON ORLANDO
New attractions, food fest add to summer sizzle
29 JUL 2018: If Florida is Canada’s 11th province, as long-time Visit Florida exec Eileen Forrow once suggested, then Orlando is its capital.  Indeed, Canadians are intimately familiar with the city, not least for its trio of high profile theme park attractions – Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld. In fact, Orlando boasts seven of the world’s top 10 theme parks and is the most visited destination in the US. MORE

THE MICE WILL PLAY
Los Cabos makes moves on meetings and incentives crowd
18 JUL 2018: Los Cabos is known for a lot of things – among them an upscale atmosphere, crazy night life (Cabo Wabo!), impossibly blues skies, amazing beaches and warm Sea of Cortes waters, whale watching, golf and signature rock arch. But tourism types in the Baja California destination would like to add another name to the list: meetings and incentives. MORE

IT'S IN THE HOLE
Everyone is a winner at ACTA tourney
16 JUL 2018: And the winner of the annual ACTA Ontario golf tournament is - well, who really cares? After all, for most attendees, winning isn’t the point. It’s simply a great day to relax, mingle with old friends, make new ones, and with luck maybe even do a little business on the side. MORE

ICE, ICE, BABY
Behind the scenes at Disney's Frozen on Broadway
13 JUL 2018: Full disclosure: Frozen is one of the few Disney movies (or plays) I have never seen. I’m old enough to have enjoyed many of them the first time around (I can still remember going to the theatre to see Mary Poppins as a child) and relived most of the repertoire endlessly through my own kids (I would take Jungle Book over Barney any day of the week). MORE

A CITY WORTH ITS SALT
El Paso for Margaritas and lots more
09 JUL 2018: Canadians are flocking to El Paso, but the city’s tourism marketing manager admits that she’s not yet sure why. It could be that Texas’s sixth largest city is the “cowboy boot capital” of the state, or, given its location on the Mexican border, the “Mexican food capital of the US.” My guess? It’s the area’s status as birthplace of the Margarita and that tours featuring the tequila-based cocktail are as ubiquitous as cacti in the surrounding desert landscape (more on that later). MORE

FRANKLY, YOU WILL GIVE A DAMN
Louisiana Plantation Country promises to surprise
06 JUL 2018: Gone with the Wind fans may not find exactly what they’re expecting when visiting New Orleans Plantation Country, but visitors will get a true taste of the historic US south that gives “both sides of the story,” which is to say black and white, say regional tourism execs. MORE

THE BEAR NECESSITIES
US outdoors web site helps visitors, planners alike
04 JUL 2018: If not being eaten by a bear is one of your criteria for having a successful outdoors holiday, then the US government has a site for you. Recreation.gov is full of useful tips – such as how to avoid or manage bear encounters – and a whole lot more in the name of helping visitors discover and experience unique cultural and outdoor adventures in the US. MORE

WHAT A CROC
Australia revives Crocodile Dundee
26 JUN 2018: With all due respect to the inestimable Paul Hogan, the mid to late 1980s advertising series featuring the Crocodile Dundee star urging North Americans to throw another shrimp on the barbie was, by my reckoning, only Tourism Australia’s second-best marketing campaign. MORE
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