Travel & Tourism
Easy Explorations of Madagascar, Guyana & More with IE PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Emily Harley   
Monday, 20 February 2012 14:37

No More Roughing It: International Expeditions Makes Getting Off the Beaten Path Luxuriously Simple

HELENA, Ala., February 15, 2012 – More and more travelers are craving destinations that offer under-the-radar appeal, active excursion options and authentic connections to the local people and environment. In fact, adventure travelers now constitute 26% of the traveling population, according to the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s Adventure Tourism Marketing Report, and are more likely to seek out new destinations before mainstream travelers. Appealing to this increasing demographic of discerning and adventurous explorers, nature travel pioneer International Expeditions is offering travel to remote destinations like Guyana, Madagascar and beyond.

“Many travelers who used to be comfortable with a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach to travel planning have discovered the value in allowing a tour operator like IE to handle all of the logistical details involved with exploring remote destinations,” said Bill Robison, IE’s Director of Program Development. “The backpacker generation of the 1970s still want an authentic sense of discovery, but they now have less time and higher standards — no more bunk beds and hostels!”

For 2012, International Expeditions is expanding their line-up and pioneering upscale travel to spot exotic wildlife, hike through pristine trails and sample tantalizing cuisine in destinations where few tour operators go. Plus, IE takes care of details such as airport transfers, most tips and the entire pre-trip planning process to ensure a seamless adventure. IE’s hallmark is its comprehensive itineraries featuring engaging activities, authentic encounters with the local people and passionate world-class naturalist guides who enhance each experience with their knowledge of the destinations visited.

On IE’s Guyana & Trinidad tour, travelers combine Guyana’s pristine nature with three days at Trinidad’s world famous Asa Wright Nature Center. Guests on this rustic adventure journey deep into the heart of one of Earth’s last untouched tropical rainforests and have the chance to spot more than 800 bird species. Chartered flight to and from remote Kaieteur Falls set this itinerary apart from what travelers can arrange with scheduled flights.

“The scheduled flight to Kaieteur is unreliable and is often just cancelled altogether if enough seats aren’t sold,” said Robison. “Traveling with a seasoned tour operator provides a safety net if unexpected changes occur.”

Island life takes on new meaning as travelers set foot on Madagascar, where lemurs cavort in the shade offered by lush forests and charming Malagasy people welcome guests to Earth’s oldest island. On IE’s new Madagascar safari, guests spend 17 days on naturalist-guided hiking and boating excursions looking for unique endemic wildlife. Accompanying IE guests is Cassiano “Zapa” Zaparolli, a seasoned expedition leader who has guided for such groups as National Wildlife Federation and Smithsonian. Joining Zapa will be a Malagasy expedition leader and local naturalists.

“Frankly, travel to Madagascar can be difficult if you aren’t in the hands of an experienced travel provider,” said Robison. “Flight delays and last-minute changes are part of traveling there, but IE guests travel with an expedition leader and guides who look after them every step of the way. “

International Expeditions can also help travelers harness their inner “backpacker” with a fully customized trek on the Salkantay Trail. A less-touristy alternative to the Inca Trail, Salkantay passes through stunning Andean scenery before ending at Machu Picchu. Although the excitement and surroundings are reminiscent of rugged mountain climbs, the accommodations are anything but rustic. After a day of guided hiking along the trail, IE guests spend their evenings at boutique mountain lodges, where warm showers and cold drinks greet them at day’s end.

Celebrating 32 years of nature travel, International Expeditions specializes in small-group journeys to Earth’s most exhilarating destinations. For more information or a brochure, call IE at 1-800-234-9620, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit


Governor Quinn Announces New Section on State’s Tourism Web Site for LGBT Travelers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Nafia Khan   
Monday, 13 February 2012 14:33

“Pride Illinois” Offers LGBT Travelers Detailed Information on Navigating Illinois’ Destinations and Attractions

CHICAGO – February 11, 2012. One year after signing historic civil union legislation, Governor Pat Quinn today announced the launch of a new section of the state’s official tourism website tailored toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered (LGBT) travelers. “Pride Illinois” features LGBT-friendly and/or owned travel destinations, attractions, accommodations, events and more throughout Illinois.

“Our tourism website helps visitors map out their visits to Illinois by giving them information about the great places and activities Illinois has to offer,” Governor Quinn said. “Tailoring the site to meet the needs of LGBT travelers will help them make the most of their visit while supporting the growing Illinois tourism industry.”

The new “Pride Illinois” section of the Illinois Office of Tourism (IOT) website – – furthers Governor Quinn’s efforts to boost tourism and foster equality in Illinois by highlighting the variety of sites, entertainment and activities for LGBT travelers visiting Illinois. “Pride Illinois” is organized by each of the state’s four travel regions.

“Pride Illinois” offers yet another resource for people traveling throughout the state,” said Illinois Office of Tourism Deputy Director Jan Kostner. “We are excited to offer more detailed information to assist LGBT travelers as they discover Illinois.”

The “Pride Illinois” section provides a listing of TAG Approved® accommodations throughout Illinois.

A TAG Approved® property enforces non-discriminatory policies, treats heterosexual and domestic partners equally in personnel policies, and provides LGBT diversity and sensitivity training for employees. In addition, the property employs staff reflective of the diversity of their community, gives back to its community, and empowers customers and employees to act as watchdogs of its LGBT business practices.

According to the LGBT 2020 Study conducted by OutNow Global, LGBT travelers spent an average of $1,974 on leisure travel over the past twelve months. The study also showed that 78 percent of LGBT consumers prefer to stay at “gay-welcoming” hotels. OutNow Global is an LGBT marketing agency formed to better understand the lives and concerns of the LGBT community.

Illinois is the sixth state in the nation to allow civil unions. In January 2011, Governor Quinn signed historic legislation providing same-sex couples with the same full state legal rights as married couples.

For additional information on “Pride Illinois” and to find attractions, destinations and events statewide, visit



News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Jessica Wheeler   
Friday, 10 February 2012 15:05
WHO:           Allegiant - Quad City International Airport

WHAT:          Get your picture taken at the Florida photo booth and register to win a vacation to Orlando!

WHEN:          February 11th and 12th, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

WHERE:        Iowa / Illinois Regional Auto Show

Moline, Ill. –Allegiant (NASDAQ: ALGT) wants to take you on a President’s Day Getaway Orlando. Allegiant and Quad City International Airport are bringing vacation to the Iowa / Illinois auto show.  The Florida photo booth will feature real sand, tons of Florida fun props and a beachy backdrop where visitors can have their Florida vacation photos taken and register to win a President’s Day getaway to Orlando.

The inaugural Allegiant flight from Quad City International Airport (MLI) to Orlando-Sanford International Airport takes off at 8:20 a.m Friday, February 17th. To celebrate, Allegiant will give one lucky winner and three guests a spot on that inaugural flight, as well as a three night stay compliments of World Center Orlando Marriott and tickets to see Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando.

Media and the public are also invited to the airport the morning of the inaugural flight, February 17, 2012 to celebrate with refreshments, the introduction of and congratulations to the President’s Day Giveaway winners, more prize giveaways and photo / interview opportunities.

To enter, visit the Allegiant / Quad City International display at the Iowa / Illinois Regional Car Show on February 11 and February 12, 2012 between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM local time. One winner will be selected by random drawing and notified on February 12, 2012.

There is a limit of one registration per person, must be 21 years of age or older to win. The winner will receive round trip airfare on the inaugural flight between Quad City International Airport and Orlando-Sanford International Airport, hotel accommodations and Blue Man Group Orlando tickets for four (4).  Additional rules and restrictions apply.


Braley Statement on Southwest Airlines Des Moines Service Announcement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 23 January 2012 13:24

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement in response to Southwest Airlines’ announcement that it would convert AirTran operations at Des Moines International Airport to Southwest Airlines service:

“Southwest Airlines’ announcement is good news for Iowa travelers and the Iowa economy.  Southwest Airlines will bring reduced prices and increased competition to the Des Moines airport.  That means a more competitive business environment for Iowa employers and more money in the pockets of consumers.”

# # #

News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission   
Monday, 23 January 2012 08:32
Recreating Titanic’s final 11-course dinner menu is just one of the special events slated for St. Louis’ Titanic Centennial Weekend, April 13-15, 2012.

ST. LOUIS -- January 19, 2012 -- One hundred years ago this April, a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch scored one of the biggest stories of the 20th century – the sinking of the H.M.S. Titanic.

St. Louis journalist Carlos Hurd was aboard the Carpathia, the vessel that scooped up Titanic’s lifeboat-clinging survivors. Hurd and his wife Katherine were the first to interview the eyewitnesses to the downing of the “unsinkable” ocean liner. He wrote the world-wide headline story on rolls of toilet paper during the voyage that brought those rescued into New York harbor. Today, the legendary ship continues to make headlines in St. Louis where a weekend of special commemorative events will take place to remember this ever-fascinating piece of history.

Cruise into the Gateway City to experience the history, fashion, food and music of the elegant Edwardian era during St. Louis’ Titanic Centennial Weekend, April 13-15, 2012. For more information, click on or or call 314-657-5033. Tickets for all events and accommodations are also available through Metrotix at 314-534-1111 or

On Friday, April 13, the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park serves up an Edwardian Champagne Reception prior to a screening of the classic 1958 Titanic film, “A Night to Remember.” Guests also will view Titanic-related artifacts from the Museum’s collection.

The highlight of the weekend takes place at the Fabulous Fox Theatre on Saturday, April 14. The Fox’s executive chef Stephen Proctor along with the culinary teaching staff at L’Ecole Culiniare will recreate the original First Class menu served to Titanic guests on the actual 100th anniversary of the last dinner on the ship. The historic menu was meticulously researched to authentically recreate the sumptuous eleven-course meal and accompanying wines. The Titanic-sized menu includes oysters a la Russe, poached salmon, filet mignon, chicken Lyonnaise, roasted squab and Waldorf pudding.

Diners will have the opportunity to experience A Taste of History: Last Dinner on the Titanic while seated on the stage at St. Louis’ Fabulous Fox Theatre. The evening is black tie. Dinner guests are encouraged to wear vintage attire (white tie for men). Upon arrival, guests will receive a boarding pass and envelope containing the name and biography of an actual first-class passenger from the Titanic. Guests can be assured that the only ice afloat at the Fox this evening will be found in drinking glasses.

Prior to dinner, a period-style cocktail reception featuring live music popular during 1912 will fill the Fox Theatre’s elaborate Grand Lobby. Between courses, guests will be entertained with incredible stories about the Titanic told by actors portraying passengers and crew who had been aboard the fateful ship including Missouri’s-own “Unsinkable” Molly Brown. Proceeds from the evening benefit the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation, a not-for-profit which fosters and promotes the performing arts in the St. Louis area.

Those who survive the Saturday evening soiree can partake in a special champagne brunch at the Piper Palm House, the oldest standing greenhouse west of the Mississippi River. Located in St. Louis’ Victorian-designed Tower Grove Park, the Palm House’s distinctive architecture, soaring ceiling, stately windows and exotic plants, resemble the Titanic’s Verandah Café. The brunch will be recreated from a Titanic first class breakfast menu. The buffet service meal features, along with other delicacies, smoked salmon, lamb chops, sirloin steak, prepared-to-order omelets, fruits and baked goods.

The three events range in price from $10 to $500, so everyone can “step back in time” and experience the history, fashion, food and music of the elegant Edwardian Era. A special St. Louis Titanic Weekend Travel Package is available at the newly restored Cheshire, a landmark hotel property that embodies the charm and authenticity of a traditional British inn with all the modern conveniences of today. The $389 hotel package includes deluxe accommodation for two nights (Friday and Saturday/double occupancy), an English continental breakfast on Saturday, complimentary high tea on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., and round-trip transportation to the events at the Missouri History Museum, The Fox Theatre and the Piper Palm House.

True Titanic buffs will want to tour historic Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis. St. Louisan Elizabeth McMillan Madill Robert was returning home from a year-long European tour and lodging in Cabin B-3 aboard the Titanic. She, her daughter Georgette Madill, niece Elizabeth Allen and maid Emilie Kreuchen were all rescued from Lifeboat 2. Mrs. Madill Roberts died in 1955 and is buried on the Madill family lot. Also resting at Bellefontaine are Carlos and Katherine Hurd who were traveling on the Carpathia, the White Star Line vessel that rescued Titanic lifeboat passengers. Hurd enlisted his wife to help him gather interviews for the news story of the century. Stop by the Bellefontaine Cemetery office at 4847 West Florissant Avenue for a complimentary map to these gravesites and those of hundreds of notable persons including explorer William Clark, Civil War officers, beer barons, literary personalities and more.  Information also is found at

Follow St. Louis on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest information on what's happening in the Gateway City.;


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