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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

A TASTE OF IRELAND
09 NOV 2016: If you scoot down to the annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on until November 13 at the Exhibition Place, chances are you will see the beloved mascot, Turbo the Goat. But Turbo the Goat isn’t any old goat. The award-winning four legged farm animal was also one of the special guests at a recent full Irish breakfast get together hosted by Tourism Ireland, which this year has partnered with the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair for the second year. MORE

A COCOA DIP INTO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
07 NOV 2016: In a post Halloween haze a couple of days after the annual trick or treating tradition, there I am munching on - more chocolate.  It’s not any chocolate though. It’s designer ware of gourmet chocolate that has given new meaning to a sun spot we often associate with all-inclusives and too much rum. MORE

Flock To Florida This Winter
28 OCT 2016: If scares of the Zika virus and hurricanes are enough to turn off clients from visiting one of Canada’s favourite winter sun spots, have them do a rethink. MORE

THE BEST KEPT SECRET
Colima
25 OCT 2016: “The two big things Mexico is big on we have,” boasts Mexico’s new tourism minister of a state more commonly associated with big cargo ships.  Cesar Castaneda who began his new role in February and once was the director of the Mexican Tourism Board in Toronto and Montreal, is referring to salt and limes. MORE

ULTIMATE ITALY
14 SEP 2016: Inside the storied lobby of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence my travelling concierge Daniele is busy dialling a local phone number I’m dictating. He then passes his phone and suddenly I hear an old friend I haven’t seen in a decade say, “Ciao Ilona.” MORE

LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL
New Orleans Part 2
24 AUG 2016:  New Orleans is a city one could easily get swept up in whether it’s watching the budding buskers in the French Quarter, or indulging in the icing sugar-coated beignets at Cafe du Monde, or sinking your teeth into the hefty cold cut-rich muffaletta sandwiches at Central Grocery. That’s not even considering the countless tours one could take. MORE

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. MORE

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 . MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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.   MORE

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.   MORE

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 MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE
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