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These 3 terms increasingly bump into one another in the realms of contemporary travel, part of the search modern vacationers make for authentic experiences. Just in the past few months, the Chic Collection—a book series and web site devoted in the past to portrayals of hip, luxury locations—has come out with a new title blending eco & luxury: eco chic. Stodgy and serious publications like Scientific American have features on "culinary ecotourism," and the places they portray don’t come cheap, including Cavallo Point Lodge in California, a "luxury resort hotel."

Eco-consciousness has, in fact, drifted demonstrating that the being environmentally friendly does not contradict the attempt to have high levels of comfort or cuisine. As the manager of the Monterey Inn in Ottawa, Canada put it in a 2009 Globe & Mail interview: "There seems to be the stigma that if you're trying to get things environmentally friendly, you might be compromising comfort." But that’s rapidly becoming not the case for upscale consumers—the trend, in fact, is away from green practices being stigmatized as stingy. Instead going green can be promoted as the cutting edge of high-end travel.

Both the Relais & Chateaux Association in Paris—arguably the collection of the world’s finest independent boutique hotels & restaurants—and the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. have this year chosen to emphasize the importance of place—terroir as the French would put it—but here applied to the experience of hospitality, cuisine, tours, and travel. The theme of the 35th annual Relais & Chateaux Congress in Biarritz, France was "Sense of Place." The theme of the National Geographic Society’s 2009 Geotourism Challenge was "Power of Place."

A coincidence?

Promoting a sense of place, promoting the power in terroir, necessarily has to promote values of eco-consciousness if it is genuinely pursued by those offering travel experiences. No matter how green its practices, a "Hilton Garden Inn" or "Courtyard by Marriott" would never win the Geotourism Challenge. Likewise, the essence of "luxury" travel these days has to do with experiential travel—finding unique and authentic amongst the miasma of mass travel options. To really do this, you have to be true to the nature that surrounds you.

The importance of expressing the sense and/or power of a place is a value of increasing importance to travel—whether it be a tour operator, a restaurant, or a hotel.

The French have long had a word for this—terroir—that was forever applied to wine, then food, and now general experiences of a place. Terroir is the binder of eco-luxury-culinary. Agricultural sites in the same region share similar soil, weather conditions, and farming techniques, which all contribute to the unique qualities of the crop. It can be very loosely translated as "a sense of place," which is embodied in certain characteristic qualities, the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the manufacture of the product. The concept of terroir is at the base of the French wine Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) system that has been the model for appellation and wine laws across the globe. For winemakers, the core assumption is that the land from which the grapes grow imparts a unique quality that is specific to and expressive of that region, zone, or plot of land (think of the tiny patchwork plots of Burgundy, for example, and contrast them with the grand wine estates of Bordeaux).

Now—especially as “luxury” becomes a hackneyed adjective and consumers may be seeking out value and authentic experiences more than brands—the importance of terroir in applications to all sorts of things—hotels, travel, food products, destinations, as well as wines—will come to the fore. And this implies a sense of eco-consciousness that goes beyond (but still includes) green sensitivity and sustainable practices.The Center for Sustainable Destinations at the National Geographic Society calls this Geotourism, which isn’t a bad term or a bad start. See:  www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/

Check out the Wikipedia entry on terroir


 Trout Point Lodge & Cooking School selected as worldwide finalist in tourism competition by National Geographic

This small wilderness resort is only one of ten in the 2009 Geotourism Challenge: Power of Place for its entry entititled “Re-inventing a geotourism destination in Nova Scotia.” The Lodge must now seek votes to be named the world's top innovator in geotourism.

Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia has received notification of its selection as one of 10 finalists from more than 600 entries in the second annual "Geotourism Challenge" sponsored by the National Geographic Society and Ashoka’s Changemakers. The competition, focusing on "Power of Place — Sustaining the Future of Destinations," reaches out to identify individuals and companies worldwide that have introduced the most innovative practices in geotourism: tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents.

Entries were received from 81 countries and represented tour operators, guide companies, hoteliers, local businesses, conservation organizations, industry leaders and community organizers.

A distinguished panel of judges — Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement; Keith Bellows, editor of National Geographic Traveler magazine; Erika Harms, executive director of Sustainable Development, United Nations Foundation; Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet; Ben Keene, founder of Tribewanted; and Dr. Yang Yuming, vice president of Southwest Forestry University, China — reviewed the entries and selected Trout Point Lodge for revitalizing backwoods area of Acadian Forest through place-based immersion experiences and the Nova Scotia Seafood Cooking School.

"The entries really address community needs, teach, entertain and are accompanied by a lot of passion. I admire the finalists’ enthusiasm and wish them much success," said Nobel Laureate Maathai. In a press release, the National Geographic Society called the finalists "ten of the most innovative, sustainable travel programs around the world."

"We were truly surprised and extremely honoured by the selection," commented Trout Point Managing Director Vaughn Perret. The Lodge's competition entry states: "Trout Point embodies sense of place and creates a destination experience for visitors in a way that supports and promotes the unrecognized natural, social, and cultural riches of the Tobeatic Wilderness Area and the Southern Nova Scotia Biosphere Reserve." Co-owner Charles Leary said: "Our entry and our efforts over the past decade have been to promote the fantastic local resources here—Acadian French culture, the world's best seafood, great people, and amazing natural resources—as a way to define not only Trout Point but also the entire Yarmouth & Acadian Shores area as a geotourism destination. We are very gratified that the judges recognized these values and offerings as truly world class."

he Geotourism Challenge is one of the key programs of National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations. For more information on geotourism and destination stewardship, visit

The Top 5 Overlooked Luxury Vacation Experiences for 2009

  1. Atlantic Provinces of Canada
  2. Bordeaux City, Southwest France
  3. Granada, Andalusia, Spain
  4. San Sebastian, Spain
  5. Bocas del Toro, Panama

Atlantic Provinces of Canada: Weave together a tapestry of pristine, uncrowded coastlines reminiscent of Martha's Vineyard 45 years ago, an increasingly sophisticated assemblage of small luxury hotels in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, and the absolute best summer weather in the world! Our accommodation recommendations: the Kingsbrae Arms in St. Andrews, NB, a Relais & Chateau member; Trout Point Lodge in Nova Scotia: acclaimed worldwide for combining gourmet cuisine with wilderness finesse; and the Inn at Bay Fortune on lovely Prince Edward Island, where you will unwind in a beautiful seaside manor once owned by actress Colleen Duwhurst.
Our number two selection: the City of Bordeaux has reclaimed all of its 18th century glory and elegance. Forget staying amongst the vignobles! Bordeaux offers a refined, urban center surrounded by the finest vineyards and wineries in the world. The city's facelift has revealed architectural treasures, a polite and welcoming populace, beautiful parks, promenades, and plazas, and a pleasant selection of restaurants, wine shops (of course) and cafes. Where to stay? Les Sources de Caudalie, a 49 room luxury hotel with two restaurants and a "vinotherapie"spa amidst the blanlieu of Bordeaux, which are at the same time the historic vineyards of Pessac-Léognan; or to be in the center of it all, the brand-new SAS Grand Hotel, across from the Grand Théatre, with all rooms designed by the world-famous Jacques Garcia.

Conde Nast Johansens: A truly reliable guide to independent travel


Johansens only invites the best for its hotel guide,  so travelers experience only the best.


Condé Nast Johansens is the one of the most comprehensive hotel guides with an illustrated reference to annually inspected, independently owned prestigious accommodation and meetings venues throughout the world.


It is Johansens objective to maintain the trust of hotel guide users by recommending annually inspected hotels and spas. Johansens careful choice of accommodation offers:


Quality,Excellent Service and Value for Money


Conde Nast has a team of over 50 dedicated Regional Inspectors visit thousands of hotels, country houses, inns, spas and resorts throughout 60 countries to select only the very best for recommendation in our Guides. 


The Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence are made annually to those properties worldwide that represent the finest standards and best value for money in luxury and independent accommodation.


For more information about Condé Nast Johansens, or to know more about the prestigious hotel properties and meetings venues published in its hotel guides and website please visit www.johansens.com.

The freedom to be luxe: independent luxury hotel groups

The difference between, say, a Four Seasons or Orient Express hotel and one belonging to a hotel group like Relais & Chateaux or Conde Nast Johansens is simple enough: the former are chain hotels—luxurious or not—while at the latter innkeepers independently own and manage the properties, providing for a distinction in the hospitality and guest experience.

Unlike chains -- which often impose uniformity in terms of service, food, and ambiance as a branding exercise -- the marketing groups seek out individuality, not conformity, and promote it as a virtue. For the traveler, that can mean a much richer and more diverse lodging experience—the spice of life!

Relais & Chateaux ranks as the Grande Dame of independent hotel associations, arguably the finest and most prestigious collection of boutique hotels and gourmet restaurants in the world. At last count, Relais members have more than 350 Michelin stars between them. Established in France in 1954, the Association’s mission is to spread its unique art de vivre across the globe by selecting outstanding properties with a truly unique character.  Furthermore, Relais & Châteaux is also a family of hoteliers and Grands Chefs from all over the world who share a passion for, and a personal commitment to, ensuring their guests are privy to moments of exceptional harmony.  From the vineyards in Napa valley to the beaches in Bali, from the olive trees in Provence to the lodges in South Africa, Relais & Châteaux offers a chance to explore the Route du Bonheur and discover a special place in a variety of destinations.  The Relais & Châteaux signature reflects this ambition: “ALL AROUND THE WORLD, UNIQUE IN THE WORLD.”

The rising star for independent hotel groups in North America—though long a more established marker of high quality accommodations in the United Kingdom—is Conde Nast Johansens, which publishes a glossy, large-format guide each year and of course features a searchable web site. Each Johansens property is inspected not only upon admission, but also each and every year by a team of specialized inspectors. Johansens specializes in eliminating the cookie-cutter type hotels from its roster, and seeks to promote unique properties for the independent traveler. It is also the only group to carry the prestigious Conde Nast name, as the Johansens program was taken over by the London travel publisher's home office several years ago.

Other independent luxury groups include Small Luxury Hotels of the World, based on England, which emphasizes luxurious accommodation without necessarily having the same importance on cuisine and art de vivre as Relais. Rusticae is a grouping for Spain and Portugal, while Chateaux & Hotels (whose president is super chef Alain Ducasse) focuses mainly on France but also has members in Italy and Spain. An up-and-coming group that emphasizes eco-friendliness is Canticum Hotels: Eco-luxury. Many groups, like Relais & Chateaux do not allow their members to joing other groups. Conde Nast Johansens features worldwide properties and includes members of other groups like Relais & Chateaux (by special arrangement) or Preferred Boutique. Finally, a North American specialist for upscale Bed & Breakfasts and well as inns and small luxury hotels is Select Registry, which focuses on Canada as well as the United States. The Mr. & Mrs Smith Guide (see above) now covers individually-selected boutique hotels around the globe.

To summarize:

  • Relais & Chateaux: French aesthetics, the highest standards, and an emphasis on dining and art de vivre
  • Conde Nast Johansens: unique properties attractive to independent travelers
  • Canticum Hotels: eco-friendly and luxe
  • Select Registry: North American inns & B&Bs of character
  • Rusticae: charming hotels of Spain & Portugal
  • Chateaux & Hotels: character properties in Franch, Italy, and Spain
  • Preferred Boutique: upscale independant properties around the world
  • Small Luxury Hotels of the World: the pre-eminent boutique hotel group in the world

Next time you're planning a super pampering getaway, be sure to include the independent luxury hotel groups in your designs.

Eat this: food and games for the truly adventurous.


What’s that, bulrushes on the menu? Uh huh. In an old-is-new-again reversal, ‘wildcrafting’ makes a comeback in Canada.

By Kate Zimmerman

Tramping through Nova Scotia’s Tobeatic Wilderness Area, melodic birdsong as your soundtrack, you’re keeping your eyes peeled. It’s not so much wildlife you’re after, but rich patches of black trumpet mushrooms, Indian cucumber root, ripe blueberries and elderberry flowers. Your mission: hit pay dirt on the foodie scavenger hunt known as “wildcrafting” — that old-fashioned, reborn trend of harvesting plants in the wild.

As you pick, you catch a fragrant whiff of spruce smoke. It reminds you that at some point in your cooking adventure, at the haute-rustic nature retreat called Trout Point Lodge in Nova Scotia, you’ll learn how to cold-smoke your own salmon, swordfish, scallops and tuna in an outdoor wooden smokehouse. Then, perhaps, you’ll whip it into a finnan haddie jambalaya or some other Acadian-cum-Cajun specialty, à la seafood gumbo. Between canoeing excursions on the Tusket River, dips in the wood-fired hot tub and stints in the outdoor cedar sauna, you’ll also learn to make cheese. It’s no wonder Condé Nast’s online Concierge.com named this lodge 2007’s second-best place in the entire world for a cooking vacation. (Trout Point also just snagged the Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award for Nova Scotia.) www.troutpoint.com

Wildcrafting here is by no means confined to Nova Scotia, of course. Anywhere you pluck a few dandelion greens on a roadside for salad, you’re wildcrafting. In bogs and berry patches, on beaches and front lawns, anywhere really, in Canada, it’s spreading like — well, like fiddleheads* on Canada’s east and west coast.

For a sample, try A la Table des Jardins Sauvages in Quebec’s St. Roch de l’Achigan, run by avid wildcrafter Francois Brouillard. There, foraged treats such as game, bulrushes and wild plants — which could include the baby cattails chef Nancy Hinton grinds up to make savoury crepes — morph into weekend gastronomic dinners each fall. In the fall, mushrooms (“shaggy mane” grows like crazy here) star in fungi-focused, seven-course extravaganzas. Who knew the larch boletus, for instance, infuses a chocolate dessert with sweetness and a soupçon of mocha? www.jardinssauvages.com.

Relais & Châteaux Chefs commit themselves to sustainable seafood sourcing!

During their annual conference on December 17 in Biarritz, France, members from Relais & Châteaux – an international association of 475 hotels and gourmet restaurants in 55 countries – committed to a sustainable seafood policy formed of six key principles. Olivier Roellinger, the recently appointed Vice President of the organization, called on his colleagues worldwide to recognize the major role they can play in protecting marine resources, via their role as trend setters through the choice of species they choose to serve to customers. The principles that the members signed includes the commitment to remove Mediterranean bluefin tuna from their menus as of January 1, to stop serving endangered species and to communicate their sustainability choices to their guests and customers.

Learn more about Relais & Châteaux Chefs commitment>

Leaders of the World's Best Hotels Join Five Star Alliance's New Editorial Advisory Board

     Top executives at the world's most prominent hotels have formed even closer partnerships with Five Star Alliance, the leading online travel agency and information site for luxury hotels. The new initiative will help the hundreds of thousands of affluent travelers reached by Five Star Alliance each month find and book the ideal luxury hotel. 

Five Star Alliance (http://www.FiveStarAlliance.com) is the leading online travel agency focused exclusively on luxury hotels. The company's web site includes the world's most comprehensive collection of luxury hotels, along with exclusive information, recommendations and photographs. Clients from around the world can search and book the world's finest hotels through an intuitive, custom booking engine. Five Star Alliance clients receive immediate confirmation and personal service.

The company has formed close partnerships with dozens of luxury hotels around the world, including the Hotel de Crillon in Paris, New York's Carlyle Hotel, the Burj al Arab in Dubai, One Aldwych in London, and The Hay-Adams in Washington, DC.

    More than twenty CEOs, General Managers, and influential leaders of the world's best luxury hotels have joined Five Star Alliance's new Editorial Advisory Board. These prominent executives have formed close relationships with Five Star Alliance, the leading online travel agency focused exclusively on luxury hotels. The Editorial Advisory Board will help Five Star Alliance customers find and book the ideal luxury hotel.

    Editorial Advisory Board members, including Mr. Jonathan Critchard, GM of the Athenaeum Hotel in London, and Mr. James McBride, General Manager of The Carlyle in New York, will deliver exclusive news and offers directly to affluent travelers via the Five Star Alliance web site (http://www.FiveStarAlliance.com), blog, and email newsletters. The hundreds of thousands of luxury travelers reached each month by Five Star Alliance will now have a unique opportunity to hear directly from the leaders of the world's best hotels.

    Ms. Julie A. Skrei of the new billion dollar Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, for example, recently highlighted the "coolest" features of her property on Five Star Alliance's blog: The Informed Traveler. Within one week, Five Star Alliance delivered over $14,000 in reservations to her property.

    Mr. Hans Bruland, GM of The Hay-Adams in Washington, DC, and a founding Editorial Advisory Board member, notes that, "As an independent luxury hotel, Five Star Alliance has given us exposure to a worldwide audience of affluent travelers that we could not have reached on our own."

    For the Hon. Michael J. Winfield, President & CEO of Cambridge Beaches in Bermuda, Five Star Alliance supplements his own promotion of the unique property. "Renowned worldwide as one of the most romantic and welcoming resorts in Bermuda, Cambridge Beaches strives to market itself to the world's most discerning travelers. Through our enhanced Partner listing on Five Star Alliance, we have been able to successfully promote the unique personality of our property, and drive new business that we would not otherwise have found," he said.

    A recent sample of interesting, fun and useful news from the Editorial Advisory Board, such as recipes from top chefs and the advance word on special offers, can be found on The Informed Traveler: http://traveler.FiveStarAlliance.com/index.php/category/editorial-advisory- board

     Founding members of the Five Star Alliance Editorial Advisory Board include executives from the Hotel de Crillon in Paris, The Carlyle in New York, The Whitehall Hotel in Chicago, The Hay-Adams in Washington, DC, The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver, Peter Island Resort in Jamaica, Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments in London, Half Moon Rose Hall in Jamaica, Sungate Port Royal in Turkey, The Regency New York, and Cambridge Beaches in Bermuda. Also represented by top executives are Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the Majestic Hotel Group, Maybourne Hotel Group, Station Casinos, Proximo Restaurants, and Red Carnation Hotels.    


BOOK REVIEW: The Trout Point Lodge Cookbook: Creole Cuisine From New Orleans to Nova Scotia
By Daniel Abel, Charles Leary, and Vaughn Perret
Random House

The three co-authors of the book come from vastly different backgrounds-Leary, for example, has a Ph.D. in modern Chinese history-but all are foodies at heart. As the trio became friends, they began to explore the roots of their passion, specifically in Louisiana, where Abel and Perret grew up. The more they sought the finer elements of Cajun cuisine, the more they found that indigenous delicacies (Creole Cream Cheese, for example) and venerated methodologies like "bayou venturing" for wild edibles had gone out of practice. Urbanization and the unrelaxed pace of modernity had sapped the Big Easy of its culinary traditions.

In an attempt to revive what had been lost, the three men set out to build a sanctuary where they could combine Old World principles with New World products. It started as the Chicory Farm and the Chicory Farm Café, gained extensive recognition, then grew into The Trout Point Lodge after a trip to Acadia, Nova Scotia, near where the Lodge stands today. It serves as a restaurant, cooking school, and vacation resort.

Most good cookbooks have some kind of hook, or gimmick. Here, something deeper is at work: sociological and historical exploration, and renewal, through savory, accessible French-Creole cooking. The lush landscape photography by Wayne Barrett will tempt readers to keep The Trout Point Lodge Cookbook on their coffee tables. But it will inevitably find its way into the kitchen, where it will take chefs better than a country mile from shrimp-and-gumbo (one recipe is titled "Perfect Risotto"), to savor exotic food at its finest. (Courtesy the Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin)

Airlines sign deal for a healthier environment

May 9, 2008 Rival aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing put aside their differences and signed an agreement to work together to cut the impact of air traffic on the environment, according to the Daily Times of Pakistan.

The rare cooperation between the European and American giants was announced of the third aviation and environment summit in Geneva, where leading industry groups made a commitment to work against pollution.

Both the US and Europe are currently looking at developing new generation air traffic management systems that would bring them up to speed with the more advanced technologies onboard planes.

"We need to make the air traffic management system inter-operable in both the US and Europe," said Eric Stefanello, senior vice president of air traffic management at Airbus.

Such a move could result in a reduction of 10-12 percent in carbon emissions from the aviation sector in Europe alone. "Airbus and Boeing are committed to action. The fact that we are sitting here today despite the highly competitive nature of our business demonstrates and underscores the joint commitment to addressing and helping solve the environmental challenges facing our industry," said Scott Carson, president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Both Airbus and Boeing also joined other industry leaders, including the head of international airline body IATA at the summit, to sign a declaration to adopt several strategies against pollution.

The declaration signed by 13 organizations acknowledged that the industry has a responsibility for the environment. The declaration commits the industry to the development and application of new technologies, to fuel efficiency, improvement of air routes, traffic management and airport infrastructure.

The signatories also committed themselves to a reduction of gas emissions.

Review: Vueling makes the grade


MADRID (February 25, 2007)   A last-minute reservation on the new Vueling air for a flight from Madrid to Granada in Spain proved mostly uneventful--a good thing for a new, low-cost airline.
Booking online was easy, and the confirmation e-mail message arrived rapidly as promised. The price, though not ultra cheap, was much less expensive than any competitor, such as SpanAir or Iberia.
Flught leave Madrid from the same ultra-modern terminal--T4--as Iberia, making connections with the flag carrier or other One World airlines easy.
The only hitch: the flight was delayed by about 40 minutes, and the ground personnel had no information about its status.
Boarding was orderly. The planes are brand-new. Legroom is very sllight, but survivable for short flights. Crew members were professional.
Upon landing, baggage appeared within 5 minutes! This is unprecedented, with Iberia flights typically taking 20-40 minutes for baggage delivery, even in small airports.
Time will tell how Vueling "fares," but this initial impression bodes well.


Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia selected for inclusion in EcoChic, new title from Editions Didier Millet

Along with Clayquot Wilderness Resort in B.C., the Lodge counts among only 2 properties in Canada selected for the new collection of eco-friendly & stylish destinations.

Kemptville, Nova Scotia      Trout Point Lodge announces that is among just 2 Canadian hotels selected for inclusion in the forthcoming book EcoChic, part of the Chic Collection published by Editions Didier Millet. The other is the Clayquot Wilderness Resort in British Columbia. Each selected property was chosen for combining style and comfort of international caliber with eco-friendly practices. The books is the 17th in the Chic Collection series, which also has an accompanying web site, www.chiccollection.com.

Book editor and eco-tourism consultant Pascal Languillon stated that Trout Point was chosen because of its “wonderful efforts to preserve the environment” combined with the Lodge's “great beauty.”

Other properties worldwide that will appear in the book include the Four Seasons Golden Triangle in Thailand, the Anatara Resort in the Maldives, Australia's Paperbark Camp, and Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay of Oman.

Trout Point is located adjacent to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area along the Tusket River in the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores tourism region of Nova Scotia. The 8-room Great Lodge is among just a handful of properties to have a 5 Green Key rating from the Hotel Association of Canada's ECOmmodation program. The Lodge and cottages have a 4.5 star rating from Canada Select and are also inspected and recommended by Conde Nast Johansens.

For more information on the Chic Collection, see www.chiccollection.com.


Comprehensive Culinary Travel Survey Provides Insights on Food and Wine Travelers

First-Ever Report by Travel Industry Association, Gourmet and International Culinary Tourism Association Identifies, Defines and Profiles Culinary Tourist Segments

NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2007/PRNewswire-USNewswire/  A first-of-its-kind national survey on the popular culinary travel niche market shows that 27 million travelers, or 17% of American leisure travelers, engaged in culinary or wine- related activities while traveling within the past three years, based on a new report from the Travel Industry Association (TIA), in partnership with Gourmet and the International Culinary Tourism Association and released today at a press conference in New York City.

The future is bright for the culinary traveler market, as the share of U.S. leisure travelers interested in culinary travel in the near future (60%) is significantly larger than those currently engaged. These travelers are younger, more affluent and better educated than non- culinary travelers. They are clearly motivated by unique experiences, reinforcing the benefits of focusing on a destination's individual environmental and cultural elements. The survey was conducted by Edge Research among a representative sample of 2,364 U.S. leisure travelers.

"The study demonstrates that a sizable proportion of the U.S. leisure market does indeed make travel decisions based on a desire for wine and culinary experiences. In fact, it confirms that wine and culinary experiences are a driver of destination choice," said Laura Mandala, Vice President of Research for the Travel Industry Association.

Culinary activities participated in while traveling include cooking classes, dining out for a unique and memorable experience, visiting farmers markets, gourmet food shopping and attending food festivals. Wine activities included participating in winery tours, driving a wine trail, tasting locally made wines and attending wine festivals.

"These travelers are also more likely to take local foods and wines back home with them, providing a secondary opportunity for destinations to spread the word about their unique offerings," said Mandala.

The study also provided in-depth data about what is being called the "serious" culinary traveler, one who intentionally seeks out wine and food experiences while traveling. These serious culinary travelers are significantly different from other types of travelers, which has implications for any travel providers' strategy and marketing. Serious culinary travelers are more likely to shop, visit state and national parks and museums; specifically choose a destination to experience local culture and cuisine and read epicurean magazines, as well as publications such as Newsweek.

"These differences suggest that this segment of the market may be responsive to travel packages that focus on the uniqueness of the destination and local food, wine and environment," said Catherine Makk, Executive Marketing Director for Gourmet. "It also suggests that travel providers and destinations should work together to offer immersion into the local culture, through not only wine and cuisine but also the hotel experience, leisure activities and more."

The fact that serious culinary travelers read highly specialized publications that cater to their interests confirms that magazines remain a viable channel for reaching this travel segment. The study showed a slight majority of culinary travelers who participate in just food-related activities while traveling, with one-in-ten leisure travelers (10%), or 16 million Americans, reporting having done so. Another one-in-ten (9.4%), or 15 million Americans, participate in just wine-related activities. About 4 million leisure travelers participated in both food and wine activities. On average, food travelers spend $1,194 per trip, with over one-third (36% or $425) of their travel budget going towards food-related activities. Those considered to be "deliberate" food travelers (culinary activities were the key reason for trip) tend to spend a significantly higher dollar amount of their overall travel budget on food-related activities ($1,271 average trip cost; $593 or 50% spent on food-related activities).

Wine travelers spend, on average, $973 per trip, with about one-fourth (23% or $219) of their travel budget going towards wine-specific activities. Those considered to be "deliberate" wine travelers spend more of their overall travel budget on wine-related activities ($950 average trip cost; $339 or 36% spent on wine-related activities).

"Culinary Tourism has reached the tipping point as a niche and an industry. Unique food and drink are the perfect attractions, especially for second and tertiary destinations that now must market more proactively in the globally competitive market," said Erik Wolf, President and CEO of the International Culinary Tourism Association. "It's also the perfect tool for economic and community development because visitors fly, buy and try new food and drink and look for it when they return home, helping boost value-added food and drink exports. Every community should be looking for ways to promote its unique food and drink experiences."

For information on purchasing the survey, interested parties should contact Valerie Hutchinson, TIA, 202-218-3630 or hutchinson@tia.org.

TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $703 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.

The new Canticum Hotels Group takes shape


The Canticum Hotels Group of Canticum, S.A. (Costa Rica) has revamped its merbserrship and prestigious image, but with a twist: sustainable luxury.
The hotels group provides marketing and booking services to a select group of small hotels, inns, and villa/vacation rentals including properties in Canada, Spain, Turkey, and Costa Rica.
The new eco-friendly image is backed up by requirements that member hotels demonstrate the use of specific sustainable practices in their day-to-day operations without loosing sight of luxury treatment for guests. The Group makes the point that luxury travel and sustainable travel are not antithetical.
For example, Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia publishes a list of committments to the environment, and has received a high rating from the Hotel Association of Canada's ECOmmodation program. At the same time, the ecolodge has received the highest rating possible from Frommer's guides.
Another example, the Inn at Coyote Mountain has merited inclusion in Travel & Leisure magazine's 2007 book The World's Greatest Hotels, Resorts, & Spas in yet has also received praise from Lonely Planet, Green Places to Stay, and ethicalescape.com for its eco-practices.
The company looks to attract the market of those wealthy and exclusive travellers who also care about the environmental impact of their vacations.
Canticum's web site is www.canticumhotels.com


Elegant Small Hotels tops for small luxury hotel finds
Now in its 21st year, this connoisseurs' favorite presents many of the great boutique hotels of the world especially to enhance your travel enjoyment. These properties' hallmarks include exquisitely appointed guestrooms and suites, inspired architecture, luxurious ambience, amazing amenities and personal service par excellence. The associated web site is www.elegantsmallhotel.com.

This gorgeous guidebook encompasses 246 grand luxe hotels, city center hotels, outstanding resorts, affordable elegance, wonderful country inns and luxurious historic hotels. Each has been hand-selected and the detailed information included gives travel readers a glimpse of the little touches that separate these exceptional properties from merely first class. Many of these properties are also members of prestigious hotel groups such as Canticum Hotels Group or Relais & Chateaux or have received AAA 4-diamond awards.

The amazing cover property for the 21st edition is The Luna Hotel Baglioni , Venice’s oldest Hotel located right behind St. Mark’s Square. A private mooring-berth enables gondolas and motorboats to reach the entrance of the Hotel. In the days of the Templars, the Hotel was known as the Locanda della Luna (“The Moonlight Tavern”) and would offer travellers a comfortable shelter. Now, more than eight centuries later, it is still committed to the same cause: the Luna Hotel Baglioni carries on a tradition made of class, comfort and refined elegance.

Elegant Small Hotels - A Connoisseur's Guide
21st Edition by Pamela Lanier
isbn# 1-58008-809-0
212 pages including color inserts

Yahoo Internet Life Magazine has just reviewed TravelGuideS.com and said that Elegant Small Hotels is THE source for "Luxury Digs and Inn-timate Getaways". This ties in well with the TIA report, which found that 74% of adults surveyed favor romance related travel. Both are great news for our member properties! In other media, TechTV did a special feature segment for business travelers on Elegant Small Hotels and www.TravelGuides.com.

"The book includes the world's finest grand luxe hotels, resorts and country inns."
~ International Travel News

"Every great hotel in this guide is unique."
~ Hideaways International

"Elegant Small Hotels contains all the information you will need to select the right hotel experience … the hotels described in this book are ideal for the discriminating traveler."
~ Grandtimes.com (Internet Magazine)

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