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Ilona Kauremszky

As a frequent traveller, Ilona has filed numerous articles on the travel industry for leading consumer and trade publications and rubbed shoulders with the famous and not so famous, pulled G-forces in race cars and tested her acrophobia in more ways than she cares to remember. A former editor of a meetings magazine, you'll often spot her covering one of your events.

As a weekly Q+A travel columnist of a major newspaper, Ilona provides readers with travel tips and advice. Ilona also co-produces mycompass.ca and its digital TV channel, mycompasstv.

RECENT ARTICLES


LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL
New Orleans makes a great host

08 AUG 2016: “Just hop onto the St. Charles streetcar - it’ll take you right where you wanna go,” grins my hotel porter pointing to the legendary people mover buzzing by me in this city dubbed The Big Easy.


THE BEACH IS JUST THE BEGINNING

11 JUL 2016: There was a lot of excitement in the air last week when Colin Skerritt – the new director of tourism at the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority in Canada - welcomed a coterie of travel professionals, destination officials and local travel media to the Gardiner Museum. Guests heard that the selection process wasn’t an arduous one, judging by Skerritt’s distinguished travel tourism background and his Antiguan roots .


CRUISE QUESTIONS FOR CARNIVAL

10 JUN 2016: Carnival Corporation launched its tenth and newest brand, Fathom Cruises, geared, as reported on its website, for social impact travel. “Fathom offers consumers authentic, meaningful travel experiences to enrich the life of the traveller and work alongside locals as they tackle community needs,” says the world’s largest cruise company. In between sessions at FitCuba 2016, I connected with Giora Israel, the senior vice-president of Global Port and Destination Development for Carnival Corporation.


A BLEND OF OLD AND NEW
Sussing out the goods at FITCuba

07 JUN 2016: At this year’s FITCuba Tourism Fair, in Havana, Cuba’s annual travel trade show, attendees heard about the huge repeat visitor arrival numbers. Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism Mintur, reported that among guest arrivals 44 percent are repeat visitors, with 96 percent citing a general satisfaction of the products and 94 percent saying they would recommend Cuba as a travel destination.


CANADA IS HONOURED GUEST COUNTRY AT FITCUBA 2016

06 JUN 2016: FitCuba2016, Cuba’s international tourism fair, was the largest one ever, and Canada was front and centre as this year’s special guest country. Since 1998 Canada has been Cuba’s number one international visitor market; and, for over 70 years Canada and Cuba have had non-stop diplomatic relations.


STAY AWHILE
Hospitality and service in India

18 APR 2016: No matter where or how you travel in the world’s largest democracy, expect the unexpected. From the maddening traffic brought screeching to a halt by a lazy lone standing sacred cow that has decided to rest in the middle of the road, to a funeral procession of mourners filling the jammed streets in Old Delhi, India will shake your senses.


NINE DAYS IN INDIA

13 APR 2016: In years gone by a trip to far-flung India was no easy feat. This vast subcontinent was a place that beckoned travellers on a quest for the exotic or spiritual enlightenment or for those keen on adventure and wanderlust. Having just returned, I’m here to dispel any apprehensions one might have regarding a visit to one of the world’s most fascinating countries.


A TASTE OF MYRTLE BEACH

24 FEB 2016: Has the tanking loonie affected your clients’ travel plans south of the border this winter? Reps from Myrtle Beach, that favourite drive destination known for golf and beach holidays were in town last week to dish on ways that could help travel agents assist in their US bookings.


FROM THE BAHAMAS WITH LOVE

22 FEB 2016:  The Bahamas plays Cupid in a new contest aimed at couples who are preparing to take a walk down the aisle.  The Caribbean’s leading wedding destination which also served as the steamy location in this season’s episode six of The Bachelor TV reality show is now actively in search of 16 eligible Canadian couples to tie the knot there.


EUROPE YOUR WAY
Transat Unveils New Europe Offerings

25 JAN 2016: Transat Tours Canada unveiled its new Europe brochure in Toronto last week. Commercial director Nicole Bursey, who delivered the presentation to tourism partners and trade media was eager to announce sales from Transat’s Europe products have been stronger than ever. “One of our best Europe seasons in all of Transat’s history was 2015 and that’s a pretty hard thing to do,” she said and explained the success is evident on product sales generating double digit increases.


VACATION.COM
2016 Forecasts and Market Updates

22 JAN 2015: Despite the plunging loonie, turbulent world events and health travel advisories, Vacation.com anticipates a good year for agents in the company’s latest membership survey findings released earlier this week.


WORLD EVENTS AND ANNIVERSARIES IN 2016

31 DEC 2015: It’s that time of year…again. As we celebrate the arrival of the New Year, destinations worldwide are eagerly prepping for some blockbuster events and milestone anniversaries. For those clients who seek one-off celebrations and travel the globe in search of special historic events, here’s your go-to list.


CARIBBEAN WEEK IS HOT

27 NOV 2015: Can the Caribbean get any hotter? The top executive from the region’s tourism development agency, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Hugh Riley released the region’s latest tourism statistics at the annual press conference held during this week’s Caribbean Week.


TREADING LIGHTLY WITH TREADRIGHT

08 OCT 2015: “We all have a role to play in preserving our environment,” the CEO of one of the largest worldwide tour operators and upcoming recipient of this year’s World Tourism Award, said at a recent press luncheon as he outlined the non-profit arm’s latest developments.

 


PASSPORT TO INCREDIBLE INDIA

18 SEP 2015: The big takeaway from India’s recent tradeshow: Incredible India is open for exploration; and, to boot it’s a beacon for active travel that can be added to clients’ standard itineraries.

 


LUXE ON ST. KITTS
One tiny Caribbean destination wants you to take big notice

31 AUG 2015:  A group of country and tourism officials from St. Kitts and Nevis accompanied the new tourism minister to meet with local media in Toronto recently to showcase some of their latest tourism initiatives. The theme: Luxury


SUN DESTINATIONS AT INCENTIVEWORKS

26 AUG 2015: Think sun destinations, you picture the three Ss (sun, sand, sea) and happy leisure clients getting their dose of Vitamin D come winter. But at the recent IncentiveWorks 2015, pegged as Canada’s largest tradeshow for meetings and incentive travel professionals, long aisles of booths from those popular sun destinations were busy talking business travel, incentive travel, and meetings and conventions.


A TALE OF TWO PROVINCES

15 JUN 2015: This year at FITCuba, now in its 35th edition, the annual tourism trade show was themed around the sea. Cuba’s ministry of tourism (MINTUR) alongside the major national travel companies showcased its latest catch, a full net of new nautical tourism products that were appropriately staged in what insiders declare as the country’s best dive site: Jardines del Rey.


FITCuba 2015

05 JUN 2015: Rumblings were definitely going on at FITCuba this year. The elephant in the room a.k.a. the turista Americano was finally exposed by none other than Cuban Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero Cruz.


THE COUNTDOWN HAS BEGUN

29 MAY 2015: The next Calgary Stampede, the legendary 10-day cowboy bonanza better known as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” is just over a month away.


CAPITAL PLANS
A night out with Austin

04 MAY 20115:  A friendly Austin invasion sidled up to the Pravda Vodka Bar in Toronto's east end the other night. Unusual, perhaps, but then again if you’re a Texan city that’s adding vodka making to your repertory, hosting an industry reception at a vodka bar makes sense.


THE PARISIAN WAY
Rendezvous en France celebrates its tenth year

30 APR 2015: It was a night out at the Lido in Paris.  What better display of joie de vivre and je ne regrette rien than having a bevy of bare breasted beauties in nothing but plumes, stilettos and skinny thongs strut like peacocks in the heart of the Champs-Elysées.


SPRING IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE

27 APR 2015:  Off the Place Bellecour in Lyon, footsteps from the Father of French Nouvelle Cuisine Paul Bocuse’s casual brasserie Le Sud, I’m at another foodie bastion – Le Grand Cafe Lyonnais carving into a succulent organic chicken leg bathed in a heavenly butter cream sauce.


NEW YORK STATE OF MIND


20 APR 2015: Think of New York and a dynamo of cosmopolitanism, comes to mind for many with towering skyscrapers, Times Square and the Statue of Liberty. On the other hand a group of New York tourism representatives arrived in Toronto to share a list of the state’s happenings that could fuel many ideas for your clients who want an add-on to their New York City vacation or for those who just feel like embarking on an easy drive destination.


GERMANY REUNIFIED
25 years on

15 APR 2015: Milestone anniversaries, grand festivals, and innovative developments were some of the themes discussed at a recent German National Tourist Office event. Antje Splettstoesser, director of marketing and sales in Canada for the German National Tourist Office hosted a media luncheon to showcase some of upcoming highlights from the various regions. In addition to the representatives who flew in from Germany, special guest German Consul General Walter Stechel was also in attendance.

 

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