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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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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