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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


ALL EYES ON ORLANDO
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

THE MICE WILL PLAY
Los Cabos makes moves on meetings and incentives crowd
18 JUL 2018: Los Cabos is known for a lot of things – among them an upscale atmosphere, crazy night life (Cabo Wabo!), impossibly blues skies, amazing beaches and warm Sea of Cortes waters, whale watching, golf and signature rock arch. But tourism types in the Baja California destination would like to add another name to the list: meetings and incentives. MORE

IT'S IN THE HOLE
Everyone is a winner at ACTA tourney
16 JUL 2018: And the winner of the annual ACTA Ontario golf tournament is - well, who really cares? After all, for most attendees, winning isn’t the point. It’s simply a great day to relax, mingle with old friends, make new ones, and with luck maybe even do a little business on the side. MORE

ICE, ICE, BABY
Behind the scenes at Disney's Frozen on Broadway
13 JUL 2018: Full disclosure: Frozen is one of the few Disney movies (or plays) I have never seen. I’m old enough to have enjoyed many of them the first time around (I can still remember going to the theatre to see Mary Poppins as a child) and relived most of the repertoire endlessly through my own kids (I would take Jungle Book over Barney any day of the week). MORE

A CITY WORTH ITS SALT
El Paso for Margaritas and lots more
09 JUL 2018: Canadians are flocking to El Paso, but the city’s tourism marketing manager admits that she’s not yet sure why. It could be that Texas’s sixth largest city is the “cowboy boot capital” of the state, or, given its location on the Mexican border, the “Mexican food capital of the US.” My guess? It’s the area’s status as birthplace of the Margarita and that tours featuring the tequila-based cocktail are as ubiquitous as cacti in the surrounding desert landscape (more on that later). MORE

FRANKLY, YOU WILL GIVE A DAMN
Louisiana Plantation Country promises to surprise
06 JUL 2018: Gone with the Wind fans may not find exactly what they’re expecting when visiting New Orleans Plantation Country, but visitors will get a true taste of the historic US south that gives “both sides of the story,” which is to say black and white, say regional tourism execs. MORE

THE BEAR NECESSITIES
US outdoors web site helps visitors, planners alike
04 JUL 2018: If not being eaten by a bear is one of your criteria for having a successful outdoors holiday, then the US government has a site for you. Recreation.gov is full of useful tips – such as how to avoid or manage bear encounters – and a whole lot more in the name of helping visitors discover and experience unique cultural and outdoor adventures in the US. MORE

WHAT A CROC
Australia revives Crocodile Dundee
26 JUN 2018: With all due respect to the inestimable Paul Hogan, the mid to late 1980s advertising series featuring the Crocodile Dundee star urging North Americans to throw another shrimp on the barbie was, by my reckoning, only Tourism Australia’s second-best marketing campaign. MORE

CARIBBEAN COOL
Heat wave inspires tropical thoughts
22 JUN 2018: Typically, it’s cold, snowy weather that has Canadians dreaming of the Caribbean. But on a far too steamy evening in Toronto this week, thoughts of the region’s cooling trade winds and turquoise waters were just as present as any frigid day in February. Indeed, the cocktail segment of Canlink Travel’s Caribbean evening had to be moved inside to counter a heat alert in the city and accommodate more than 50 travel agents who had come to George Restaurant on Queen Street to meet hoteliers from three of the region’s top luxury resorts. MORE

STAR GAZING
Hollywood tour options with a twist
20 JUN 2018: Millennials and Gen Zer’s can now check out Hollywood celebrity culture on their own age-specific terms with a new tour from StarLine Tours in Los Angeles. In partnership with entertainment brand Young Hollywood, the two-hour tour of celeb hotspots in the US entertainment capital is geared specifically to a younger audience, with a custom 24-passenger bus that features state-of-the-art audio and video, including exclusive celebrity interviews. MORE

LUCKY SEVENS
San Francisco to host the other World Cup
19 JUN 2018: If the World Cup of Soccer has got your motor running but you won’t be getting to Russia for a game, consider a second World Cup option this summer: the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018. Set to kick off (no pun intended) in San Francisco on July 20, the three-day event is closer and more manageable for North Americans than its soccer cousin, but just as much fun. MORE

ALL GOOD IN THE HOOD
Hudson Yards bolsters new look New York
15 JUN 2018: Next year is being forecast to be nothing less than a “monumental year” by New York City tourism officials. And while hyperbole is often part and parcel of tourism promotion in the industry, NYC & Company president and CEO, Fred Dixon, clearly won’t be pulling a Pinocchio as the Big Apple is set to welcome truly massive new developments in the city, not the least of which is Hudson Yards – the largest private real estate development in US history. MORE

GOING NATIVE
Web site puts the pow in powwow
13 JUN 2018: With experiential travel leading the list of current tourism trends, there may be no better time for travellers to tune into opportunities offered by North America’s native peoples.   MORE

NUMBERS DONT ADD UP
US suspends release of arrivals data
11 JUN 2018:  How many visitors are really heading to the United States? Answer: Unknown. The US National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) has suspended data releases on overseas arrivals “pending resolution of underlying technical issues with a significant number of records received from US Customs and Borders Protection.” MORE

LOUD AND PROUD
New York pumped about WorldPride 2019
07 JUN 2018: With less than a year to go until WorldPride 2019, New York City is preparing a “huge programme” of events that will run all year and befit the city’s status as the top LGBTQ destination in the United States and the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. MORE

GOLDEN YEARS
California tourism continues to boom
06 JUN 2018: Despite enduring “some of the biggest challenges in the state’s history” in 2017, California posted a nearly five percent gain in visitations over the year previous and maintained its status as the US’s most visited state.   MORE

SALT SHAKER FOUND IN KISSIMMEE
New Margaritaville Resort nears completion
05 JUN 2018: Jimmy Buffett fans can start planning to look for their lost shakers of salt early next year at one of the newest Margaritaville resorts. Taking shape in Kissimmee, Fla., the 187-room Margaritaville Resort Orlando will open Jan. 15, 2019, though residential units will help soft-launch the complex this fall. MORE

BIG EASY PEASY
300-year-old New Orleans looks to the future
04 JUN 2018: New Orleans may be 300 years old, but the city is determined to put the “new” back in its name. Indeed, when all is said and done, the Big Easy will have a new face that – beyond its acclaimed French Quarter – will be hardly recognizable to visitors. MORE

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH
Cannabis tourism and other Denver highlights
01 JUN 2018: Like most big cities, Denver has countless urban amenities to entice and entertain visitors, from museums and a vibrant arts scene to dining, shopping and seven professional sports teams. Canadian delegates to the recent IPW travel trade show held in the Colorado capital also uniformly raved about the off-the-scales friendly factor of the local inhabitants. MORE

DO YOU WANNA DANCE
Brand USA uses music to inspire visitors
31 MAY 2018: Visitors to the United States may or may not find themselves dancing in the street, but Brand USA believes America’s unique musical stylings can have a pied piper effect to draw them there. The destination marketing organization’s latest initiatives have a distinct cultural flare, as part of a broader philosophy that Brand USA president and CEO Chris Thompson calls “telling our stories.” MORE

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
Is gun violence killing US tourism
30 MAY 2018: While US travel and tourism executives continue to proclaim that America is “open for business,” the country continues to lose market share in the face of visitor skepticism over some of the controversial visitation and immigration policies of the Trump administration, as well as horrifying and routine gun violence in the country. MORE
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