CLIA Highlights Cruise Destinations in Americas, Caribbean: ‘Cruise Ports in the Caribbean are Welcoming Travelers’

October 21, 2017
St Kitts

St. Kitts is receiving many of the cruise ships which had their Caribbean itineraries impacted by recent hurricanes. Explore 17th and 18th century military architecture and hike into lush rainforests. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

October is Plan a Cruise Month and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is highlighting cruise destinations in the Americas and the Caribbean. While areas in the Caribbean were recently impacted by hurricanes, the industry is reporting that close to 50 destinations are still welcoming cruise travelers. Additionally, there are several other cruise embarkation ports and destinations throughout the Americas.

“First and foremost, our hearts go out to those impacted by the hurricanes; they have been a cherished part of our cruise family for over 40 years,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA.  “Fortunately, the vast majority of ports in the Caribbean are welcoming guests, having sustained minimal or no direct damage from the storms. The Caribbean islands and destinations throughout the Americas rely on tourism and the cruise industry is dedicated to continuing to bring vacationers to these beautiful areas. I’m proud to see how many CLIA Cruise Line Members joined in the relief efforts, providing more than $30 million in financial resources, transporting families and pets as well as a variety of supplies to people in need.”

Highlights of Cruising through the Americas and the Caribbean

Diverse Destinations: From treks down the Mississippi to paddling the Panama Canal, there’s something for every type of traveler in the Americas and Caribbean.

  • Sitka, Alaska: Alaska’s “most exotic” cruise port is full of storied history that includes being home to Tlingit Native Americans and formerly acting as a major pulp mill town. Travelers can visit the totem pole park or walk along Katlian Street on the Sitka Channel waterfront, full of sights of colorful fishing boats and harbor town houses.
  • Montevideo, Uruguay: This South American port city is a hidden gem full of old and new sights to see and architecture to take in, and offers a great spot to relax during a full itinerary with monuments, restaurants, and beaches. Travelers can walk the ultra-modern Plaza Independencia main square or take in afternoon tea in historical Ciudad Vieja.
  • Quebec City, Quebec: This mostly French-speaking Canadian province offers travelers an unexpected taste of Europe with bistro and boutique-lined cobblestone streets. Adventure seekers and nature lovers can indulge in biking tours along famous waterfalls like the Montmorecny Falls, while history lovers can enjoy famed sites like the Basilique Cathedrale.
  • Bonaire, Caribbean: The B in ABC islands, Bonaire is the original leader in ecology and eco-tourism, with bustling sanctuary colonies of flamingos, wild donkeys, and sea horses. Travelers to this island off the coast of Venezuela can participate in windsurfing, kayaking, bird watching, kite boarding, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding or “diver’s paradise” activities like diving and snorkeling.
  • St. Kitts, Caribbean: This West Indies isle, originally discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, offers travelers a peek into preserved history with its 17th and 18th century military architecture. The island also offers lush rainforests, with more than a quarter of its land protected as a National Park.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures: Travelers looking to kayak through glacier water or snorkel along exotic reefs can find a variety of special activities and excursions on a cruise through the Americas or Caribbean.

  • Ride the River: Vacationers yearning to experience U.S. history have a chance of following in the footsteps of Lewis & Clark while viewing classic Americana with a trip down the Columbia/Snake River, complete with trips through Hells Canyon and views of Mount St. Helens and Mount Hood.
  • Photos in Peggy’s Cove: Peggy’s Cove in Halifax is home to smooth boulders that have buoyed waves for 450 million years, in addition to perhaps the most photographed lighthouse in the world—a must-see and must-photograph spot for photo enthusiasts.
  • Roatan Rum: Rum and sweets-loving cruise travelers can take part in authentic culture with Mayan chocolate and rum cake tastings in Roatan.
  • High on the Haleakala: Nature lovers and photo buffs alike should experience the Haleakala Volcano in Maui, which rises 10,023 feet above sea level and offers some of the most beautiful volcanic sights in the world. Thrill seekers can even bike down the sides. To make the trip a once-in-a-lifetime event, travelers can also see the ahinahina plant, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Any vacation takes planning, and cruising is no different. CLIA has outlined tips for how to take the stress out of cruising in any waters, including the Americas or the Caribbean.

CLIA Travel Tips when Cruising the Americas or the Caribbean

  • Strike a Balance: Cruisers can benefit from striking a fine balance between scheduled excursions or entertainment and leaving time to relax. Travelers should be careful not to overbook their schedules on the ship or in port in order to leave room to enjoy the ship’s many amenities or sight see. Whether it b whale watching or a helicopter ride over active volcanoes, book two to three activities or excursions at most per day, with some downtime in between, when possible, to avoid travel fatigue.
  • Ask the Question: Travelers should never hesitate to stop and ask questions when in doubt. Whether questions are directed at a cruise-certified travel agent while booking a cruise, or to the ship’s staff while aboard – there are knowledgeable resources to help provide answers to any question that arises.
  • Rest Assured while Aboard: Travelers that take advantage of booking with cruise-certified travel agents can rest assured while resting up on any cruise, as a professional travel agent can help if things go wrong while cruising.

October is Plan a Cruise Month – a worldwide campaign, created by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) to learn more about cruising and how to plan and take a cruise vacation. CLIA offers insight on the best cruise destinations, special cruise line deals and promotions as well as experts to help navigate the many cruise vacation options available for every travel style and budget. Travelers can find a CLIA-certified cruise specialist at https://www.cruising.org/cruise-vacationer/cruise-travel-guide/clia-agent-finder.

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Miami Beach Welcomes Beach Lovers with Special Travel Offers this Winter Season

October 21, 2017
Fla-SBch-WP-080509 (c) Karen Rubin 028e2

Miami Beach is rolling out the welcome mat this winter with special discounts and deals © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Miami Beach is helping sun seekers find their seasonal beach escape with exclusive travel deals and offers this fall and winter. Discounts of up to 25 percent off are being offered at several area hotels including Dream South Beach, Loews Miami Beach, Mondrian South Beach, Gale South Beach and W South Beach.

“This beach-wide initiative to offer specialty discounts and deals this upcoming season is a testament to how our local Miami Beach hotel community is rolling out the welcome mat and working to help tourists de-stress with that coveted warm weather vacation to escape the cold,” said Peggy Benua, Chair of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority (MBVCA) and General Manager of Dream South Beach. “We are preparing for a very strong season and look forward to welcoming vacationers and making it easier for them to escape to our beautiful city, Miami Beach, that is truly like no other place in the world.”

Beach lovers can select from a variety of Miami Beach hotel discounts (subject to availability and blackout dates) that will be sure to warm them up this season, including:

  • Dream South Beach:Travelers can book the Beach Lovers promotion and receive a 25 percent discount on room rates with a complimentary resort fee that includes luxury lounge chairs, beach towels and in-room Wi-Fi.
  • Loews Miami BeachExperience an enhanced oceanfront escape and book three nights to receive a $75 resort credit per stay and daily buffet breakfast for two.
  • AC Hotel Miami BeachGet away to warm weather and enjoy up to 20 percent off on advance bookings for stays now through December 22.
  • Courtyard Miami Beach/South Beach:Go art deco this winter season at a historical landmark, just minutes from the beautiful beaches and premier shopping on South Beach, with up to 20 percent off advance bookings for stays now through December 22.
  • Mondrian South BeachSoak up the sun in the heart of Miami Beach and experience the iconic Ocean Drive, Espanola Way and Lincoln Road with up to 15% off the best available rate.
  • Gale South BeachLuxury service, hospitality perks and complimentary food and beverage offerings await travelers with up to 15 percent off the best available rate.

Renowned for its culinary offerings, extravagant nightlife, rich culture, luxe shopping and plush hotels, Miami Beach is home to world-class museums, the New World Symphony, Miami City Ballet, Miami Beach Convention Center, international festivals and art exhibitions, boat and auto shows, over 187 boutique and resort hotels and 12 public parks. Boasting seven miles of white sand beaches, Miami Beach is easily accessible from the Port of Miami and Miami International Airport. The City of Miami Beach has been named one of the top cities worldwide for ‘walkability’ and is equally easy to navigate by bike or boat. Known for its year-round sunny skies, the vibrant destination has been ranked by TripAdvisor as a Top Winter Sun Vacation Rental Getaway Destinations, Top Romantic Destinations, Top 25 Beaches in the World and Top 25 Destinations in the U.S.

For more information and updates on additional Miami Beach hotel offers and discounts this winter season, download the Miami Beach Information App at www.miamibeachapi.com/app/.

 

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WalletHub Picks Best Credit Cards for Holiday Travel

October 21, 2017
JF Kennedy International Airport, NY

With the busiest travel season of the year upon us, WalletHub, a personal-finance website, names the best credit cards for travelers © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

With some of the year’s busiest travel dates fast approaching, the personal-finance website WalletHub announced its selections for Winter 2017’s Best Travel Credit Cards, plus key money-saving tips for domestic and international travelers. Applying for the right card now will give people enough time to earn up to $625 in free travel, the company says.

Here’s an overview of WalletHub’s picks, which were selected from more than 1,000 offers due to their particularly attractive travel rewards.

  • Best Initial Bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred – $625 in travel for spending $4,000 in the first three months; $95 annual fee starting year two.
  • Best All-Around Travel Rewards: Barclaycard Arrival Plus – $400 travel statement credit for spending $3,000 in the first three months; 2% back on all purchases when you redeem for travel and a 5% miles rebate; no annual fee in the first year ($89 thereafter).
  • Best Airline Rewards: Frontier Airlines Credit Card – 2 round-trip domestic tickets for spending $500 in the first 90 days; 2 miles per $1 spent on flyfrontier.com and 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else; $69 annual fee.
  • Best Hotel Rewards: Club Carlson Premier Rewards – 50,000 bonus points after first purchase and 35,000 points for spending $2,500 within 90 days of account opening, redeemable for up to 9 free nights; 40,000 bonus points on account anniversary, worth up to 4 free nights; $75 annual fee.

For the rest of the best offers as well as additional money-saving travel tips, visit: https://wallethub.com/best-travel-credit-cards/
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Test Drive New Photo Tech Highlights Special Events Day Before Opening of Annual Photography Expo in NYC

October 21, 2017
PhotoPlus_102116_077e2 (c) Karen Rubin

At PhotoPlus Expo in NYC, learn techniques and technology from top photographers; the day before the official opening, on Wednesday, Oct. 25 this year, photographers are invited to test drive new products and learn from a technology roundtable discussion. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

NEW YORK— Emerald Expositions is hosting a series of special events on Wednesday, October 25, the day before the annual PhotoPlus Conference + Expo officially opens. Wednesday’s events will offer a sneak peek at future innovations, honor the most innovative products from the past year, and educate attendees using an expert panel of industry professionals discussing how new technology may ultimately shape our future as photographers. These special events are free to all registered attendees of PhotoPlus Expo.

“We are very excited to kick-off this year’s PhotoPlus Expo by presenting three special events,” says Lauren Wendle, vice president and publisher, Photo+. “Everything kicks-off with a panel of experts who will share their thoughts about how new technologies enable photographers to reach new levels of creative excellence in the future, followed by our annual Test Drive event, which gives attendees an opportunity to preview new products before public display when the show opens the next day. The evening concludes with The Lucie Technical Awards, which recognizes excellence in photography products and individuals who have made significant contributions in photography this past year.”

Wednesday, October 25 Special Event Schedule

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. (Free to all Attendees)

Eyes of the Machines: How Will Smarter Cameras Help Photographers?

Digital revolutionized photography, but it may have just been a warm-up act. As artificial intelligence and machine learning have brought us more flexibility and creativity, they have already helped consumers around the world take better photos. But what happens when the eyes and experience of imaging pros are matched with the smarter brains of next-generation devices? Join a panel of industry experts as they discuss how future technology could further extend the boundaries and enable artistic expression that will set a new bar in creative excellence.

Moderated by Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, and a 30 year photo industry analyst, panelists will offer their thoughts about how advances in image processing are enhancing traditional elements of photography, in what ways can new capture and distribution technologies create new opportunities for professional photographers, and how new forms of artistic expression may rise as a result of camera evolution.

Technology Panelists include:

  • Dr. Rajiv Laroia, CTO and co-founder, Light
  • Jim Malcolm, general manager, North America, HumanEyes
  • Steve Medina, Director, Product Management, Avegant
  • Allen Murabayashi, photo industry blogger

3:00 – 5:00p.m. (Free to all Attendees)

Test Drive — New Product Preview + Networking Event

Test Drive is an opportunity for early birds to get an up-close-and-personal peak at what’s new and what’s hot in the world of imaging technology before they go on public display at PhotoPlus Expo. Test and compare the latest photography gear, ask questions, and explore the newest software solutions & photographic services from dozens of PhotoPlus exhibitors.

“Our annual Test Drive event gives our attendees and the media a sneak-peak to see the latest products and services in photo and video before PPE opens to the general public,” said Mike Gangel, Group Show Director. “It’s a great opportunity to ask questions in a more intimate setting and get a head start on exploring all the amazing products you will discover on the Expo floor.”

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (Free to all Attendees but RSVP is required)

The Lucie Technical Awards

The third annual Lucie Technical Awards, presented by the Lucie Foundation, honors both large and small companies, as well as those individuals who have advanced the photographic industry over the past year.  Awards will acknowledge advancements in several technologies including cameras, lenses, lighting and accessories, printers, software, and more. Products are nominated by companies and individuals and judged by a panel of photo industry experts. In addition, The Lucie Technical Awards will be presented to individuals who have had the greatest influence and impact in the photographic industry over the past year.

Hossein Farmani, Founder of The Lucie Technical Awards commented, “On the evening of October 25, we will announce the 19 winners of the coveted Lucie Technical Awards from a roster of 101 finalists representing 52 individual companies. These winners are selected by our jury of experts as the most innovative and successful additions to the photographic world’s tool kit. The Lucie Technical Awards are the perfect prelude to PhotoPlus Expo followed by The Lucie Awards, on October 29, at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall.”

The Lucie Technical Awards was established by the Lucie Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization whose three-tiered mission is to honor master photographers, discover and cultivate emerging talent, and promote the appreciation of photography, worldwide.

Registration to attend PhotoPlus Expo will also give attendees free access to the NYVR Expo, the largest trade show dedicated to virtual / augmented reality on the East Coast. NYVR Expo will run from October 27-28 and be collocated with PhotoPlus at the Jacob Javits Center.

For more information and frequent updates, visit photoplusexpo.com, like on Facebook, or follow @PhotoPlusExpo on Twitter.

 

Website:              http://www.photoplusexpo.com

Facebook:           http://www.facebook.com/photoplusexpo

Twitter:                http://www.twitter.com/photoplusexpo

 

PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo

Designed for professionals in the photographic and imaging industries as well as enthusiasts, PhotoPlus Expo — http://www.photoplusexpo.com/ — showcases the latest advances in photography, digital imaging and filmmaking. Held annually at the Javits Convention Center, attendees have the opportunity to explore an inspiring array of photography and imaging products and services – all from the industry’s leading manufacturers. The show also offers seminars and intimate Photo Walks and Master Classes taught by world-renowned experts that focus on cutting-edge innovations and techniques.

 

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Top 10 Best Haunted Houses in America Named Just in Time for Halloween

October 18, 2017

HauntedHouse-com-Americas-top-10

SAN ANTONIO, — It’s that time of year again when haunted house goers and horror fanatics all across the nation have their hearts set on checking out which haunted attractions have been named the ones not to miss this Halloween season. HauntedHouse.com has just announced its top 10 list “America’s Best Haunts” across the country.

HauntedHouse.com hand-picked 10 haunted attractions for 2017 that it considered the most hair-raising, terrifying and downright frightening to all of those who dare to attend. This year’s list of “America’s Best Haunts” was carefully selected by a panel representing more than 100 years combined working in the haunted house and horror industry. Only the scariest, horrifying and the most cutting edge haunted houses made the list.

“We guarantee you, none will disappoint and all will leave you with your heart racing, your palms sweating, and you asking for more. Do you dare to see what our picks for this year are?”

Here is the official list of “America’s Best Haunts” for 2017 from HauntedHouse.com:

  1. House of Torment
    Location (multiple): Austin, TX – Chicago, IL
    Website: www.houseoftorment.com
  2. Headless Horseman
    Location: Ulster Park, NY
    Website: www.headlesshorseman.com
  3. The Asylum Haunted House
    Location: Denver, CO
    Website: www.asylumdenver.com
  4. 13th Floor Haunted House
    Location (multiple): Denver, CO – San Antonio, TX – Phoenix, AZ – Chicago, IL
    Website: www.13thfloorhauntedhouses.com
  5. Fear Farm and Phoenix Haunted Hayride
    Location: Phoenix, AZ
    Website: www.fearfarm.com
  6. Cutting Edge
    Location: Fort Worth, TX
    Website: www.cuttingedgehauntedhouse.com
  7. Bates Motel
    Location: Philadelphia, PA
    Website: www.thebatesmotel.com
  8. Spookyworld NE
    Location: Litchfield, NH
    Website: www.nightmarenewengland.com
  9. Haunted Hotel
    Location: San Diego, CA
    Website: www.hauntedhotel.com
  10. Scarehouse
    Location: Pittsburgh, PA
    Website: www.scarehouse.com

Hauntedhouse.com‘s list of “America’s Best Haunts” was created in 2006 and has become a premier source for information and rankings of the haunted house industry.  The 2017 list was selected by a panel of judges with over 100 years of combined haunted-attractions industry experience.

For complete list of the winners and further information visit: www.AmericasBestHaunts.com.

 

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Oceania Cruises’ Newest Ship MS Sirena Makes Inaugural Call to St. Kitts

October 18, 2017
Oceania Sirena

Oceania Cruises’ MS Sirena alongside the Caribbean Princess on Tuesday at Port Zante, St. Kitts

Basseterre, St. Kitts (October 13, 2017) – Oceania Cruises’ newest cruise ship, the MS Sirena, made its inaugural visit to St. Kitts on Wednesday, October 11, bringing more than 600 visitors to the island, who enjoyed the island’s beaches, tours and many attractions.

Launched in 1999, the Sirena is one of Oceania Cruises R-class ships, together with Regatta, Insignia, and Nautica. Until 2016, the vessel was part of Princess Cruises’ fleet sailing under the name “MS Ocean Princess.”

Oceania Cruises is a Miami-based company operating a fleet of premium cruise ships world-wide. The cruise line bills itself as upper-premium line, positioned squarely between the luxury and the premium segment.

Also in port the same day was the Caribbean Princess with a maximum capacity of 3,140 passengers. Last Sunday, October 8, the Adventure of the Seas visited St. Kitts with a maximum capacity of 3,840 passengers.

An estimated 120 vessels are scheduled to visit St. Kitts from October 7 to December 31, 2017.

Several cruise lines, including Regent Seven Seas, which had itineraries that would have visited some of the more impacted Caribbean islands have modified their itineraries to call at St. Kitts.

Intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and sandy beaches combine to make St. Kitts one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean. Located in the northern Leeward Islands, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking or ziplining through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are water sports, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on the beach.

For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

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AccuWeather Launches New Mosquito Zika Risk Index for US

October 18, 2017

Accuweather-zika

AccuWeather, a major source of weather forecasts and warnings, announced a Mosquito Zika Risk Index on AccuWeather.com and AccuWeather iOS apps. Availability on the AccuWeather app for Android will follow soon.

The first-of-its-kind index gives users a quick and easy way to view the likelihood of mosquito infestations that could lead to greater risk of contracting the Zika virus at a particular location in the contiguous U.S. The Index will help people understand where the greatest concentrations of mosquitos exist (which may carry other pathogens as well) and where and how this is related to possible Zika carrying concentrations.  The Index is not a medical warning or diagnosis and decisions about one’s health and related risks and is not intended to be, those decisions should always be made in concert with medical professionals.  The Index can alert people to relatively unsafe areas; keeping in mind that a Zika carrying mosquito could exist in safer areas as well.

The Mosquito Zika Risk Index level (very low, low, medium, or high) is generated by evaluating the historical habitat for the mosquito species most linked with Zika and the latest scientific research on how weather affects Zika transmission by mosquitos, then combining it with the AccuWeather Day-By-Day 90-Day Forecasts. This innovative index benefits users by providing real-time insights they can use to make informed decisions to keep themselves, and their families, safe.

“Weather is an enormous factor when it comes to our health,” said Steve Smith, President of Digital Media, AccuWeather. “We are glad to lead the way in offering an array of innovative product enhancements that help people derive important and useful information from our weather forecasts.  This new Mosquito Zika Risk index will help people make better decisions to protect their health by giving them the insight they need to avoid risky scenarios, or take necessary precautions when visits to high-risk areas are unavoidable.”

People can access the Mosquito Zika Risk Index from the Personalized Forecasts Menu on the AccuWeather.com homepage. Select the Mosquito forecast and click the button labeled “Check Your Zika Risk” to open the Mosquito Zika Risk Index page.

Risk level information for the user’s location will be presented at the top of the page. If Zika cases suspected to have been transmitted by mosquitos have been reported at this location, the number of cases will be displayed. Users can view details for additional U.S. locations by clicking on the map displayed on the page.

An interactive timeline lets visitors see predicted risk levels over a 90-day period, with color coding to indicate the risk contours on the map. This is particularly helpful at this time of the year, when rapid changes to Zika mosquito risk occur as temperature patterns change during the Fall.  Tapping the dates on the timeline triggers the map to show the index for different timeframes.

Users of the AccuWeather app for iOS can access the Mosquito Zika Risk Index from the menu located in the bottom right corner of the screen. Expanding this menu and selecting “View Map” opens a map page with a gray search box at the top of the screen. Tapping on the search box permits users to choose “Zika Risk from Mosquitos” from a selection of maps. Users can then scroll around the map, zoom in and out by pinching the screen, and tap on an area to see the current Zika risk in that location. Color-coded risk levels, from low to high, displayed on the map make the information quickly and easily accessible and understandable.

The Mosquito Zika Risk Index is AccuWeather’s latest product enhancement designed to save and improve people’s lives by providing contextually relevant information, in this case to reduce the risk of an infectious disease. In addition to ensuring safety with the most accurate weather forecasts and warnings, AccuWeather.com and the company’s iOS and Android apps already include a Pollen Index to help people protect themselves against pollen as an allergen. Having the most accurate forecasts and warnings also gives migraine or joint pain sufferers the information they need to avoid humidity, and people with asthma the information they need to avoid dry conditions.

“This new Mosquito Zika Risk Index takes our efforts to use weather forecasts for improved health one step further,” said Smith. Smith also noted that the index is especially timely during this extraordinary hurricane season, when residents of Texas and Florida are experiencing a greater pooling of standing water due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which may ultimately lead to greater infestations of mosquitoes.

Dr. Joacim Rocklov, Associate Professor in Epidemiology and Global Health at Umea University, Sweden, urges caution about the threat of Zika virus following a major flood event.  “The risk of Zika typically decreases in the first month following a flood event, then increases in the two- to three-month time frame before falling back to normal levels,” he said.

Nearly 2 billion people worldwide rely on AccuWeather to help them plan their lives, protect their businesses, and get more from their day. AccuWeather provides hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute forecasts with Superior Accuracy™ with customized content and engaging video presentations available through smart phones, tablets, free wired and mobile Internet sites via AccuWeather.com, award-winning AccuWeather apps, connected TVs, wearables, smart homes, and connected cars, as well as radio, television, newspapers, and the AccuWeather Network cable channel.

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AccuWeather Gathers Supplies for Remote Village in Puerto Rico in ‘Rays of Hope’ Initiative

October 18, 2017

Accuweather-PR ray of hope

AccuWeather, a major source of weather forecasts and warnings, is responding to the extraordinary 2017 hurricane season with a companywide effort to help people impacted by Hurricane Maria/ The company has made arrangements to adopt Patillas, Puerto Rico, a remote town located in the southern part of the island, as part of a Rays of Hope community service initiative.

Patillas was one of the first towns affected when Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane. Because Patillas has no port access, it has been largely cut off from relief efforts and shipments of supplies, putting its more than 20,000 residents in a desperate situation with a scarcity of clean water, power, cell service, food staples and other essentials.

“AccuWeather is dedicated to saving lives and keeping people out of harm’s way by providing the most accurate weather forecasts and warnings,” said Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather’s Founder, President and Chairman. “We warned the people in the area and around the world about the impending hurricanes and their expected impacts, which we know saved thousands of lives, and we are very proud of that. Still it is heartbreaking to know what the people of Puerto Rico are going through now, and, as a company that understands the effects of severe weather perhaps better than anyone, we wanted to help provide relief.”

As part of its Rays of Hope community service initiative, AccuWeather is collecting life-saving staples and goods in a shipping container. The company, based in State College, Pennsylvania, is asking employees, neighbors, businesses and residents of the surrounding Centre County community to donate needed items. Once filled, the container will be shipped directly to Puerto Rico and delivered to the people of Patillas.

Norberto Soto Figueroa, the Mayor of Patillas has provided AccuWeather with a list of items needed to help the people of his community endure this crisis and begin to rebuild their lives. These supplies will help families stay clean and healthy, and protect them from diseases and other ailments that can occur after the loss of equipment, infrastructure, fresh food and access to safe water.

“The people I am proud to represent in the town of Patillas are so grateful to AccuWeather,” said Mayor Figueroa. “We are suffering, but it is a relief to know that help is on its way and that people understand and care about our catastrophic and heartbreaking situation.”

NEMF New England Motor Freight and TOTE Shipping are partnering with AccuWeather to provide and ship the container of supplies to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The supplies will be trucked across the island to the Patillas community. From there, the goods will be distributed directly to those in need by a team that includes several employees sent by AccuWeather to help.

Local residents are encouraged to participate in this relief effort by purchasing and bringing any of the items on the collection list by October 24. The container will be located in the parking lot of AccuWeather’s Global Weather Center, 385 Science Park Road, State College, through Wednesday, October 25. AccuWeather employees are volunteering to collect and package the items for shipment.  Collection hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday-Friday, and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. on weekends.

Financial contributions, which will be used to supplement needed items on the collection list, can be made to Centre Foundation online at centre-foundation.org. Donors should click on the Fund menu and select Heath and Social Services to access the Rays of Hope Fund.  Checks can be mailed to: Centre Foundation, 1377 Ridge Master Drive, State College, PA 16801. Centre Foundation requests that donors write Rays of Hope Fund on the memo line of their checks.

“This AccuWeather Rays of Hope project showcases the great character and concern of our employees. They care about making a difference not just here at home, but across the U.S. and our territories,” said Elizabeth Soroka, Vice President, Human Resources at AccuWeather. “We are very proud of our staff and their excitement about jumping in to show compassion and help the people of Puerto Rico. It is not surprising that such a talented, entrepreneurial group is taking this initiative to contribute time and resources to help those in need. Ultimately, we hope the great work we are doing inspires more volunteerism.”

Visit AccuWeather.com for a flyer that includes the full item collection list and additional information.

 

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Vermont Ski Resorts Rally Support of Women’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup at Killington, Nov 25-26

October 18, 2017
World Cup Killington 2016

Last November’s races in Killington marked the first World Cup in the eastern US since 1991 at Waterville Valley, NH, and the first in Vermont in nearly 40 years, since Stratton Mountain Resort hosted in 1978. Killington will again host the Women’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup Nov 25-26, 2017. Photo courtesy of Killington Resort

Montpelier, VT – The Women’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup is taking place at Killington Resort, Vermont, Thanksgiving Weekend, November 25-26, 2017, and include women’s giant slalom and slalom races, attracting athletes such as U.S. Ski Team superstars Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin. As with last year’s FIS World Cup which also was held at Killington, the 2017 and 2018 World Cup races at Killington will be broadcasted worldwide to over 60 nations, along with national broadcast coverage across the US. The event is anticipated to bring millions of dollars in economic impact to the state of Vermont.

Vermont ski and snowboard resorts have joined together to support the hosting of the Women’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup at Killington Resort, a move characteristic of the supportive ski community in Vermont. In Spring of 2017 the Vermont Ski Areas Association (VSAA) Board of Directors, comprised of leadership from nine Vermont resorts, agreed to sponsor the Killington Resort based event with a $50,000 sponsorship contribution.

“The Vermont ski industry is a unique one, where competing interests can be put aside to support common goals for the state of Vermont and our ski industry as a whole given the world stage exposure this event generates,” said VSAA President Parker Riehle. “We are proud to show a united front and welcome racers and visitors to the state together.”

Killington hosted an expectation-shattering inaugural World Cup Weekend during November 2016 that drew an estimated 30,000 spectators, and they intend to carry that momentum into future events. The Vermont Ski Areas Association contribution of $50,000 will help bolster those efforts and hopefully inspire and generate matching funds from other organizations to help defray the costs for Killington Resort.

“Given the enormous benefit of global coverage and attention this event brings to Vermont as the top Eastern ski destination in North America, it was a very welcome proposal,” said Riehle.

“As a VSAA Board member and Okemo Mountain Resort employee, I am proud that VSAA will financially support the hard work that Killington has done to bring this great event to Vermont,” said Okemo Vice President Bruce Schmidt. “The entire state will benefit from this international event as visitors from around the globe experience all that Vermont has to offer both at Killington and neighboring resorts.”

“We are incredibly grateful of the support we’re receiving from our neighboring resorts in Vermont,“ said Killington Resort President Mike Solimano. “This event not only draws people to Killington Resort for the race, but it also shows the world that Vermont is a premier ski destination and a welcoming community. The VSAA contribution only strengthens that message.”

Last November’s races in Killington marked the first World Cup in the eastern US since 1991 at Waterville Valley, NH, and the first in Vermont in nearly 40 years, since Stratton Mountain Resort hosted in 1978.

 

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New Direct Flights, Expanded Train Service Ease Travel to Colorado Ski Resorts This Season

October 11, 2017
Winter Park, Colorad

Travelers to Denver will find it easy to tack on a ski holiday in Winter Park with Amtrak’s expanded weekend train service January-March. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

DENVER –Colorado Ski Country USA has announced new direct flights to and from Colorado’s eight regional airports and expanded service on the Winter Park Express this season that will provide skiers and riders from across the country easy and convenient travel options to their favorite Colorado ski resorts by train, plane or car this winter.

Also, the Amtrak Winter Park Express, coming off a highly successful inaugural season, will offer expanded train service for the 2017-18 ski season. The Winter Park Express will depart from Union Station in downtown Denver each Saturday and Sunday from January 5 through March 25, plus three new “First Friday” round-trips, with a reduced fare of $29 each way on some departures. With more than 27 round-trip options and over 500 seats on each train, the Winter Park Express allows visiting skiers and riders to travel to Winter Park Resort without renting or setting foot in a car.

Colorado’s eight regional airports will offer new and expanded flights for the 2017-18 season. Steamboat will feature new nonstop flights from Austin (AUS) and Kansas City (MCI) on ViaAir into Steamboat/Hayden (HDN) airport beginning Dec. 13, 2017. These additional flights will bring Steamboat’s total direct air service to 14 major U.S. airports.

Aspen Snowmass will have new daily nonstop flights through American Airlines from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) starting this winter along with expanded service from both Dallas Ft. Worth (DFW) and Chicago O’ Hare (ORD).

 

Telluride will offer increased access this winter through new American Airlines direct flights into Montrose-Telluride Regional Airport (MTJ) from Charlotte Douglas International (CLT), Saturdays starting Dec. 23, 2017. Delta Airlines will operate new flights this winter from Salt Lake City (SLC) to Montrose-Telluride (MTJ) over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Skiers and riders hoping to make it to ski areas in the southwest part of the state: Telluride, Silverton, Purgatory and Wolf Creek, will have another option from Denver (DEN) on a new Boutique Air flight servicing Alamosa San Luis Valley (ALS) with three daily non-stop flights with a round-trip as low as $100.

Visitors can also access seven resorts within a two-hour drive of Denver (DEN), including Colorado Ski Country USA’s newest member resort, Echo Mountain. Only 35 miles or 50 minutes from downtown Denver, the Idaho Springs ski area offers six trails on 60 acres just a short drive from the Front Range.

For a full list of flights into and out of Denver (DEN) servicing Colorado’s eight regional airports and for direct flights into airports servicing all of Colorado Ski Country USA’s member resorts visit coloradoski.com/traveling.

Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) is the not-for-profit trade association representing Colorado’s 23 ski & snowboard resorts. www.ColoradoSki.com, on Twitter @ColoradoSkiUSA and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ColoradoSkiCountryUSA.

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