29 DEC 2017: 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.


Canada-China Year of Tourism
The Federal Government has inked this year for tourism partnerships between the two nations. For a list of themed events planned see the Government of Canada website

200th anniversary: St. John’s Regatta
A part of Newfoundland history for two centuries, the annual rowing race is a big crowd pleaser. Usually around 50,000 people hit the shores of Quidi Vidi Lake. Why did they hold the first race in 1818? It was held to mark the 47th anniversary of the coronation of King George III, making The Royal St. John's Regatta the oldest continuing sporting event in North America.  It is widely known as “The Largest Garden Party in the World” because it has been about socializing as much as amateur sport. Concession stands, wheels of fortune, games of chance, and food & drink are just as much part of the Regatta’s history as the races. See stjohnsregatta.org

Winnipeg: 50 years of Boler
Think back to the summer of ’68 when the tiny Boler travel trailer was first introduced to Winnipeg. This summer, expect the largest gathering of molded fiberglass trailers in history arriving to Winnipeg.  The setting: Red River Exhibition Park from Aug 15-19.  See boler.ca

Ontario Parks turns 125
Get ready for the big birthday theme: Healthy Parks Healthy People (#HPHP) and connecting people to nature. Special anniversary events are planned and campgrounds are expected to be very busy. Book early. See ontarioparks.com

United States

300th anniversary of New Orleans
Prepare for Big Easy style celebrations. A flotilla full of tour operators, restaurateurs, and properties are prepping for a festive extravaganza. See 2018nola.com


San Antonio: 300
The biggest celebration San Antonio’s ever seen, the tri-centennial anniversary promises to have everyone pulling out the party streamers. Organizers report over 500 tri-centennial community partners have over 700 events planned. The major event culminates in early May (May 1-6). It’s been designated as Commemorative Week to celebrate key milestones exactly 300 years later.
See sanantonio300.org

New York

150th anniversary of Corning Glass coming to Rochester
GlassBarge, a Corning Glass making studio barge will be floating to various upstate New York cities via the Erie Canal this summer. The concept is to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the glass manufacturer, which settled in Corning after it left Brooklyn New York.  A four-month glassblowing tour by water will begin in Brooklyn, travel north on the Hudson, then transit the length of the Erie Canal, from Albany to Buffalo. The tour will conclude in the Finger Lakes, completing the journey by water in Watkins Glen. A ceremonial last leg of the trip by land will take place in Corning. See cmog.org

70th anniversary: New York City Ballet
The company, which was founded in 1948 by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, quickly became one of the foremost dance companies in the world and is known for its commitment to promoting creative excellence and nurturing a new generation of dancers.

50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination.
Five decades ago the Civil Rights activist and Baptist minister was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. The National Civil Rights Museum has joined forces with several destinations around the country to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the year leading up to April 4, 2018: the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination.  Special events and programmes will be scheduled in cities across America.

Missouri: St. Louis’ Gateway Arch and Grounds Grand Opening
After five years in the making, the grand opening of the $380million City Arch River renovation project is all set. St. Louis’ Gateway Arch and grounds have been completely transformed. Included: biking and running trails; space for outdoor concerts and indoor events; and a new state-of-the-art museum, The Jefferson Memorial Expansion Museum, commemorating America’s westward expansion. To celebrate the re-opening Fair Saint Louis returns to its original home July 4, 6, 7, 2018 at the Gateway Arch Grounds. See archpark.org

Colorado Springs: The Broadmoor Centenary
When you have a cogwheel and the most majestic waterfall in the state what else do you need? Try an overnight stay at the luxurious Broadmoor. Located outside Colorado Springs, the longest running Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond property looks amazing at 100. Situated on 5,000 acres, The Broadmoor includes a trio of luxe wilderness properties (Cloud Camp, Fly Fishing Camp, and The Ranch at Emerald Valley) as well as three attractions, The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Seven Falls and The Broadmoor Soaring Adventures zip line experience. Expect a black tie gala and fireworks for the grand birthday on June 29. See broadmoor.com

Aspen - Snowmass: 50 years
When Snowmass director of skiing Stein Eriksen loaded the first chairlift all eyes were on the mountain on Snowmass-at-Aspen, then America’s largest and most complete winter resort. The dream was inspired to look like a ski village in the Alps. Now 50 years later, the winter of ’68 is being celebrated with vintage pricing at the ski resort on one special day: December 15, when skiers will pay $6.50 for a single-day lift ticket, the same price as opening day. Throughout the season expect 50th anniversary events and activities. See gosnowmass.com


Royal Wedding
All eyes will be set on the wedding of the year as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19

Scotland – The Year of Young People
In Scotland the podium has been raised for the youth. In the Year of Young People expect a celebration of young influencers and talents as their creative energies inspire not only a nation with new ideas, attitudes and ambitions but visitors too. See yoyp2018.scot

Wales – The Year of the Sea
Wales celebrates its epic coastline, fringed with rugged cliffs, wide sandy bays, and the adventures to match. Its coastal sports include coasteering (invented in Wales), wakeboarding and rib ride boat rides, as well as the world renowned 1,400 km trail of the Wales Coast Path. Other pastimes: wildlife spotting of puffins and dolphins, and fairytale explorations at the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno. The fabled setting inspired the stories of Alice in Wonderland. See walesthebrand.com

The End of World War I Centenary
Several tour operators are preparing special themed itineraries to mark the 100th anniversary commemorating the end of World War 1. In France by the Vosges Mountain in Hartmannswillerkopf lies an intact battlefield. It is a chilling spot that now has a new National monument dedicated to the 8,000-12000 soldiers who perished and the other 30,000 soldiers who were injured. See memorial-hwk.eu

100 years since the death of Artist Gustav Klimt
On board Uniworld’s River Countess there are muted shades of turquoise, complemented by soothing cream, taupe and white accents that create a luxurious yet relaxed environment for the time spent travelling through Italy. Plus there is original art from Gustav Klimt. See uniworld.com

The Royal Air Force Centenary
Revered as the world’s first independent air force, 100 years ago two military arms united together to create this aerial warfare force. Expect big air shows to lift off during a host of festivals across the UK. Some of the finest include Bournemouth Air Festival, Farnborough International Air Show, and the Eastbourne International Airshow with possible Spitfires and Lancasters. Details are sketchy at press time. See raf.mod.uk

Staffordshire: 250 years of the modern circus
Home of the original ringmaster, Staffordshire is bringing in the circus acts to celebrate the Father of the Modern Circus. Philip Astley, born in Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire in 1742 used his entrepreneurial skills to create riding performances, acrobats, and clowns that pleased both high society and the rest of us. Across the UK performances, exhibitions and activities will be taking place to mark the anniversary.  See circus250.com 

Isle of Wight: 175th anniversary: Blackgang Chine
No wonder it’s hailed as “the land of imagination.” The UK’s oldest theme park is a spectacular gorge that cuts some 500 feet deep into a cliff face. Founded by Alexander Dabell in 1843, the Victorians travelled from far and wide to experience its breathtaking views. Its very first attraction was the skeleton of a whale, which had been washed up onto the beach and still remains on display. See blackgangchine.com

Switzerland: Basel
The city’s legendary Fasnacht (carnival) has received UNESCO’s world cultural heritage. The one-of-a-kind fete is an event that transports you into a whole different world. Basel is turned upside-down during what locals call the ‘three best days’ in the year, from February 19-21.  See basel.com

Croatia: 150th Anniversary of Hvar Island’s Tourism
Organized tourism arrived to the Queen of the Dalmatian Coast islands in 1868 and ever since vacationers arrive by the boatloads to enjoy this paradise isle. Hvar is one of Croatia's most popular destinations. Besides its culture, history, wine, gastronomy, and beaches, the island also boasts four UNESCO heritages designations. These top UNESCO spots are the Stari Grad Plain, the Za Kri┼żen Easter Procession event, agave lace made by the Benedictine Nuns, and the Mediterranean diet.   Recently it was nominated for the title of Best European Destination 2018, competing against 20 other European destinations.

Czech Republic celebrates 100 years
You’re thinking wait a minute the Czech Republic is new. True since 1993, but this European nation is rolling out the centenary carpet as a tribute to the establishment of the former Czechoslovakia. Expect hundreds of cultural, social and sporting events throughout the year.  In Canada special events are scheduled from the Days of Czech culture in Toronto in May and an exhibition of Czech-Slovak hockey in October at the Hockey Hall of Fame. See czechtourism.com


New Zealand
Celebrate 150 years of beer on the wild West Coast
One of New Zealand’s wildest destinations, the rugged West Coast of the South Island, has traditionally been the haunt of tough mountain men, women and miners. Back in the day, one of the main things that kept the early pioneers happy was beer. Monteith’s Brewing Company has been there from the beginning, refreshing the thirsty throngs who were hardy and adventurous enough to call the West Coast home.   In 2018, Monteith’s celebrates its 150th anniversary of bringing beer to Kiwis. It has quite a few parties planned and will introduce a few new beers, specially brewed to mark the occasion. See monteiths.co.nz

South Korea
PyeongChang: 2018 Winter Olympics
PyeongChang, South Korea, is the Earth's coldest location based on its latitude; so get ready for some hot races as the world’s top athletes compete for gold. PyeongChang, known as a popular ski destination, experiences snowy winters and is located 700 meters above sea level, which contributes to its slogan, "Happy 700." The locals also consider the region an ideal living location, in spite of the cold.

150th anniversary of the end of the Edo Period
Japan’s artistic and cultural developments during the Edo Period (1603-1868) spawned a collection of treasures from Ukiyo’e art, Kabuki theatre and Japanese porcelain. Tokyo (formerly known as Edo) was at the epicenter of these cultural shifts so where better to mark the anniversary than at its heart. Within the Imperial Palace precinct, the Palace Hotel Tokyo arranges themed tours on the rich heritage featuring a selection of experts in various fields. See palacehoteltokyo.com

Marriage of Love
Princess Mako and Kei Komuro, her university classmate will be married November 4 at a ceremony taking place at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Among the invited guests: her 83-year-old grandfather Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. The Imperial Household Agency reports Princess Mako will renounce her status as a member of the Imperial family after marrying a commoner in accordance with the Imperial House Law. See imperialhotel.co.jp

South Africa
Nelson Mandela’s Centenary
This African country has scheduled a range of special initiatives, projects, and events to commemorate the life of the iconic figure whose legacy resonates both in South Africa and globally. Go to the Eastern Cape for a number of sites dedicated to Nelson Mandela and those honoured for their role in the Apartheid Struggle. See modest memorials such as Cradock Four Garden of Remembrance and Vusubuntu Cultural village on the N10 between Bedford and Cradock, Steve Biko's humble grave in King William's Town; and many local museums. Self-guided or guided tours with local experts are available.

The UN has designated July 18 as “Nelson Mandela International Day.” See nelsonmandela.org

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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