By Judy Newell
Los Cabos’ New Tourist Tax
The Mexican state of Baja California Sur—home to resort cities like Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, and La Paz—has launched its fund for a Sustainable Baja Sur, which began November 9, 2019. Under the fund, foreign visitors staying for more than 24 hours are expected to pay 350 pesos (US$18.50), although giving to the fund is completely optional.
The fund was approved by the state congress back in 2016, but it wasn’t enforced until now. And unlike the “entry tax” charged to tourists in some international markets, visitors won’t be forced or unduly coerced into making a contribution. While the contribution is established by state law, visitors who do not contribute cannot be compelled to do so, ensuring that no visitors can be detained or otherwise have their travel restricted as a result of nonpayment.
The government of Baja California Sur will implement the Fund for a Sustainable Baja California Sur to better provide support for important initiatives needed to strengthen security, health, housing, employment, culture, and infrastructure statewide.
The Baja California Sur government expects to raise at least 490 million pesos (US$25.6 million) annually through the fund, which the government says will be used for infrastructure and social services.
All Norwegian Cruises are 30 percent off!
Plus, 30 percent off can be combined with “Free at Sea.” Choose up to five free offers including free open bar, free specialty dining, and more. Offer ends March 3, 2020.
Air Italy to Suspend Operations
Air Italy has announced plans to suspend operations and liquidate all assets.
From February 11 to 25, all of the airline’s flights will be operated by other carriers at their originally scheduled dates and times while all passengers who have booked flights departing or arriving after February 25, will be protected or fully refunded, the airline said in a statement on its website.
Air Italy is the second largest airline in the country after flag carrier Alitalia. The airline operates 34 routes out of its main hub at Milan Malpensa Airport, including to Los Angeles, Miami, New York-JFK, and San Francisco in the US. It had codeshare agreements with British Airways, Iberia, and Qatar Airways, among others.
Treehouses, Glass Igloos, and Other Out-of-This-World Spots to Lay Your Head
Gone are the days when a hotel meant simply a bed, a desk, and perhaps a minibar. A new wave of accommodations has bumped traditional lodging out of the way by offering unique experiences that are endlessly, irresistibly Instagrammable. Want to cozy up in a glass igloo to watch the northern lights? Or hang on for dear life from the side of a cliff in a transparent capsule? You can do all that these days—for a price, of course.
Africa is dotted with luxurious safari lodges for guests who want to get as close as possible to the continent’s incredible animal life. Some get you closer than others. At Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia, 18 chalets are arranged around two large lagoons, creating the perfect setting for watching elephants as they visit in the late afternoons.
Africa isn’t the only continent to offer such close encounters of the animal kind. The Jungle Bubbles, at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort in Chiang Rai, Thailand, offers resort guests the chance to spend a night in a transparent bubble, witnessing elephants pass by.
If you live in the US, you don’t have to travel far to get close to animal life. At the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY, guests can reserve one of a handful of tiny houses and mingle with some of the 800 farm animals rescued from abuse and mistreatment.
Mfuwe Lodge, from $400 per person; Jungle Bubbles, doubles from $567 plus resort costs; Farm Sanctuary, doubles from $275 per night.
AAA Overhauls Diamond Ratings System
AAA is updating its Diamond ratings to remove the single and double diamond designations, grouping those into an “Approved” category, and leaving in place the three, four, and five diamond labels, which indicate increasing levels of luxury and service. AAA, which bases its ratings on recommendations of travel experts rather than anonymous contributors, has tweaked its criteria to address more guest focused issues, such as sufficient storage space, cleanliness, and amenity quality.
Words of the Wise and Well-traveled
“Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.”—Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Deal of the Week
Canals, Cuisine, & the Colosseum
Visit three iconic Italian cities in one incredible trip. Discover the canals of Venice, immerse yourself in the art of Florence, and travel back to ancient times in Rome. Between sightseeing and museum hopping, treat yourself to crusty pizza, creamy gelato, and other mouthwatering must haves.
With the train tickets included, this multi-city vacation is budget friendly and stress free. This package is designed to be a very affordable option. For an enhanced experience in a more central location, consider choosing an upgraded package.
- Round-trip economy class airfare into Venice, out of Rome
- 2 nights in the Venice area (Mestre) at the Hilton Garden Inn Mestre or the Best Western Plus Bologna (Mestre)
- Standard class rail from Venice Mestre to Florence
- 2 nights in Florence at the Hotel Palazzo Ricasoli
- Standard class rail from Florence to Rome
- 2 nights in Rome at the B&B Hotel Roma Tuscolana
- Breakfast daily.
Prices from US$861 per person. Vacation is round-trip, per person, based on two travelers and includes air, airport taxes, hotels, rail, and daily breakfast. Additional baggage charges may apply. Rates are available for one to nine travelers.
Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for over 40 years, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She custom designs journeys that are tailored to suit your interests, abilities, and budget. Please contact Judy for further information on Travel News topics and around-the-world travel; cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949 300 3682; email firstname.lastname@example.org. Her office is in Rancho Los Labradores, Car. a Dolores Hidalgo. View the latest travel specials on the website www.perfectjourneys.net.
Sources: Travelmarket Report, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Travel Agent Central, Forbes, The New York Times, Travel Market Report, Great Value Vacations