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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


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

DELICIOUS DESTINATIONS
TV shows tempt travellers
04 JAN 2019: Whether you grew up watching the Galloping Gourmet or Emeril, Julia Child or Martha Stewart, or even Britain’s Two Fat Ladies, cooking shows are certainly nothing new. However, a welcome trend in recent years has been the pairing of travel and the culinary arts into shows that help inspire a hunger for both the food and the destination in which it is prepared. MORE

NORMAN INVASION
D-Day anniversary highlights France in 2019
04 JAN 2019: June 6, 1944 – D-Day – marked the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany as Allied troops, including Canadians, initiated the largest amphibious operation in history, landing 300,000 troops on an 80-km stretch of Normandy coastline from a massive fleet of more than 5,000 ships – all while enduring relentless bombardment from the enemy.   MORE

A FOR EFFORT
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

GAME CHANGER
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

THE FUTURE IS SO BRIGHT
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

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
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

HAVE FAITH
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

TALL TAIL TALES
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

SWISS BLISS
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

CRACKING ON
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

WINGING IT
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

PASSION PLAY
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

LAST WEEK THIS MORNING
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

SWOOPS SUNNY WAYS
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

TALKING TURKEY
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

TWAS THE MONTH BEFORE CHRISTMAS
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

CULTURE CLUB
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
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