Thursday, May 25, 2017

Now Open: Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando Resort's Third Theme Park

The park's first guests gathered today inside the new water theme park to enjoy an authentic, South Pacific dedication ceremony commemorating the opening of Volcano Bay. The ceremony featured special performances by an array of authentic Maori entertainment, ranging from water dancers to "Haka" war dancers. The moment culminated with an eruption from the mighty 200 ft. Krakatau volcano – the park's stunning icon.
Volcano Bay is Universal Orlando's third theme park and the next chapter in the award-winning vacation destination's evolution.  Universal Orlando is part of the NBCUniversal Comcast family, which has invested significantly in the destination's unprecedented growth.  In just seven years, 25 new experiences – entire themed areas, attractions, restaurants, and hotels – have been added across the destination.  Universal Orlando now has 5,600 rooms across its five (soon to be six) on-site hotels.
Volcano Bay was brought to life by Universal Creative – the same team responsible for bringing so many other groundbreaking experiences to life within Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure. Volcano Bay is a next-level water theme park - combining spectacular storytelling and incredibly immersive guest experiences with innovative technology exclusively designed for Universal to give visitors a fun-filled, hassle-free experience with their friends and family. 
"Universal's Volcano Bay sets a new standard on every level – from the attractions to how our guests experience them," said Tom Williams, Chairman & CEO – Universal Parks & Resorts. "Our new water theme park is the perfect complement to the rest of our incredible destination.  It provides our guests with spectacular entertainment experiences and innovative technology that helps them enjoy more of what matters most – connecting with each other and having an amazing time together."
Spanning 25 fully immersive acres and featuring something for everyone – from perfected relaxation to incredible thrills – Volcano Bay is unlike any other water park in world.  It offers an immersive environment filled with unbelievable detail and innovative technology to enhance fun and remove hassles. Volcano Bay features:
  • More than 30 experiences including 18 unique attractions such as a multi-directional wave pool with sandy beaches, a peaceful winding river, twisting multi-rider raft rides, speeding body slides that drop from the top of the volcano into the waters below and more.
  • The TapuTapu wearable – included with guest admission and specifically designed for use within Universal's Volcano Bay. Features of TapuTapu include:
    • Virtual Line Access: TapuTapu allows guests to virtually wait in line for rides while enjoying other areas of the park. Their wearable will simply alert them when it's time for their ride.
    • TapTu Play: Guests can enjoy many TapTu Play experiences throughout the park - like controlling streams of water spurting from whales in Tot Tiki Reef, shooting water cannons at guests snaking down Kopiko Wai Winding River, illuminating images in the volcano's hidden caves and more.
    • TapTu Pay: Guests can make purchases throughout the entire park with their TapuTapu wearable, eliminating the need to carry cash, credit cards or a wallet throughout the park. 
    • TapTu Snap/My Universal Photo Access:  Guests can take advantage of special interactive photo opportunities and selfie-spots throughout the park as well as photo opportunities on Volcano Bay's attractions.  Their wearable will automatically link those photos to their account so that guests can view, share and purchase them at their convenience.
    • Locker Access: After renting their lockers, guests will be able to access them with a touch of their TapuTapu wearable.
  • Beautifully-themed dining locations featuring more than 60 delicious, South Pacific-inspired dishes – ranging from jerk mahi sandwiches to fresh island chicken salad to decadent chocolate pineapple upside down cake. 
For more information about Universal's Volcano Bay, visit

No Travel Ban To The United States: The United States Court of Appeals Declares Ban Would Target Muslims Travelers And Is Not A Security Issue

President Donald Trump suffered another defeat in trying to put a ban in place for certain nations to be able to travel to the United States of America. The travel ban block stands after the 4th Circuit Courts of Appeals of the United States ruled against a ban to restrict or ban travel to the US for citizens of some Muslim majority countries. This was the second time US President Trump was putting such a ban in place.
The court decision was not anonymous and partly was based on issues other than the issue. The majority of the appeals court judges agreed the ban is targeting Muslim travelers and is not necessarily based on a security concern.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (in case citations, 4th Cir.) is a federal court located in Richmond, Virginia, with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts: District of Maryland. Eastern District of North Carolina. Middle District of North Carolina.
It upholds the suspension of a revised version of the executive order that the Trump administration crafted to better hold up to legal scrutiny than an earlier version.
Trump has insisted that the measure is necessary to prevent possible terrorist attacks. But courts in previous rulings blocking its enforcement have cited past statements from Trump and his advisors signaling that it may single out Muslims.

Monday, May 22, 2017

U.S. Virgin Islands, Airbnb Sign First Tax Agreement In The Caribbean #USVITourism

From left: Attorney Tamarah Parson-Smalls, BIR Director Marvin Pickering, Governor Kenneth Mapp, Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty, and Shawn Sullivan and Carlos Muñoz of Airbnb at  press conference on St. Thomas..


The Government of the United States Virgin Islands and Airbnb have confirmed the first tax agreement in the Caribbean, which will allow the platform to collect the Territory's 12.5 percent Hotel Room Occupancy Tax on behalf of hosts and remit the funds to the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The agreement will also create a framework to help promote tourism to the U.S. Virgin Islands, highlighting the cultural and historical heritage of this world-class destination.
Airbnb has been investing in partnerships in the region to support a thriving community of homeowners who are renting their spaces and creating new flows of local economic benefits.
Agreements have been signed with several countries and with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to create policy frameworks for this growing hospitality trend of home sharing. Today's announcement spearheads the company's efforts in the Caribbean to collect and remit lodging taxes on behalf of hosts, allowing hosts to comply and give back to their communities.
The Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Kenneth E. Mapp, supported the agreement and noted that locals will increase their participation in the economic benefits of tourism. "This is good for our Government because it streamlines the collection process and enables more of our residents to participate in the visitor industry. Our hospitality sector will also greatly benefit from the promotional reach of this multibillion-dollar organization," Mapp said.
The agreement with Airbnb is a component of the Mapp-Potter Administration's Five Year Plan to fully restore economic stability to the V.I. Government through economic growth, increased revenue collection and better resource management. It will help improve and diversify the tourism industry and create unique experiences for and by the locals of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas and their visitors.
Airbnb has about 2,000 active listings across the U.S. Virgin Islands and a typical Airbnb host earns US$7,700 a year. "Airbnb represents a supplemental income, which helps families pay their bills and improve their quality of life. As local hosts bring more tourism to the region, visitors get to know the country from an organic and more authentic point of view, spending in local businesses and services, as well as encouraging others to visit the islands as a result of their positive experience," said Shawn Sullivan, Airbnb's Public Policy Manager for the Caribbean and Central America.
Local authorities also pointed to the importance of the growth and diversification of tourism to the island and the improvement of tax collection for both hosts and government.
"This agreement brings to the table a well-resourced partner to help with our efforts to attract people to our islands," observed Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty.
Marvin Pickering, Director of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue, said the additional revenue would be beneficial for the treasury. "This voluntary collection agreement for the hotel room tax provides the bureau with an additional resource to ensure that the tax is collected and remitted in a timely manner. We look forward to pursuing this additional avenue of increasing the tax revenue from Airbnb hosts as they participate in our Territory's tax regime by fulfilling their filing and payment obligations."
About Airbnb:
Founded in 2008, Airbnb's mission is to create a world where people can belong when they travel by being connected to local cultures and having unique travel experiences. Its community marketplace provides access to millions of unique accommodations from apartments and villas to castles and treehouses in more than 65,000 cities and 191 countries.
With Experiences, Airbnb offers unprecedented access to local communities and interests, while Places lets people discover the hidden gems of a city as recommended by the people that live there. Airbnb is people powered and the easiest way to earn a little extra income from extra space in a home or from sharing passions, interests and cities.
About the United States Virgin Islands:
For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to, follow us on Twitter (@USVITourism) and become a fan on Facebook ( When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel - including on-line check-in - making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Travel Insurance By Travelinsurance.Com

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It can cover road trips. Often when we think of travel insurance, we think of long flights to exotic places, however insurance can be valuable in many situation, including the summer rite of passage: the road trip. If any part of your road trip has prepaid, non-refundable components, you should consider travel insurance. In addition, if your health insurance doesn’t cover you or your family while out of network, travel insurance with medical emergency coverage may be a good option. And if you are still confused by the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) option with a car rental, many travel insurance plans offer optional car rental coverage which in many cases is more cost effective than what the car rental companies charge.

It can cover you in the event of pilot strikes. In most cases, airlines will not reimburse you for a flight that is cancelled or severely delayed due to an airline strike. Most travel insurance plans, however, include an unforeseen or unexpected labor strike within their trip cancellation or trip delay benefits. It's important to remember, however, that if you purchase a flight after a potential strike is announced, in most cases travel insurance will no longer cover that strike. 

It can cover you if you have to cancel your trip because of work. While most plans will cover you in the event you or your travel companion are laid off, many will also cover for reasons that go beyond this drastic life event. This could include being relocated, an important work requirement (notarized by your employer), if your organization is involved in a merger or acquisition (that you are directly involved in), or if your office is damaged by a natural disaster.

You can give it as a gift. Worried about your aging parents taking off for a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean? Or your sister planning her off-the-grid honeymoon? Travel Insurance can be a great way to take care of those you love, and ensure they can travel worry-free.

It can be an EASY process... Finding the right travel insurance plan doesn’t have to mean sifting through hundreds of offers. chooses only the best providers, and makes it easy to not only compare plans, but to provide the details you want and need to make the best decisions for you and your travel companions.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Everything You Need To Know About Summer In Long Island, New York #LongIslandSummer

Wine Tastings, Surfing Lessons, Fire Works and More From New York City’s Beachfront Backyard

Long Beach biking
 Memorial Day Weekend is the official kick-off to the summer season and no one knows how to summer better than Long Island. From picturesque seaside villages to lively boardwalk scenes, Long Island is the ultimate East Coast sun, sand and surf destination. This season, summer like a local with these must-try experiences that highlight the region’s pristine beaches, fresh catch and farm-to-table fare, rich history and famed wine country.  
LONG ISLAND WINE COUNTRY: Rated by Wine Enthusiast as one of the ‘Top 10 Wine Regions’ in the world, Long Island has over 60 vineyards for visitors to experience on its iconic East End. From crisp white varietals to versatile rosés, for more than 40 years Long Island has grown award-winning, high quality wines. Those looking for an upscale experience can head to Bedell Cellars or for a more artisan experience check out Sherwood House Vineyards.  There are also single varietal producers like Sparkling Pointe, which produces exclusively sparkling wine. 
CALLING ALL SEAFOOD LOVERS: Enjoy some of the best farm-to-table fare and fresh catch seafood in the United States courtesy of Long Island’s incredible farmlands and bountiful surrounding waters. From raw bars to lobster rolls, West Sayville’s Seafood Festival is serving up an array of locally sourced seafood this August 26th  & 27th.  Held at the Long Island Maritime Museum revelers can enjoy live music and local fare as well as games and entertainment. Blue Island Oyster Company and Claws Seafood Market will have favorites at the ready and land lovers can enjoy a variety of non-fish options as well. 
SURF’S UP! With pop-ups in Long Beach, Atlantic Beach, Nickerson Beach, Rockaway Beach and Jones Beach, the crew at Skudin Surf make riding waves easy to learn. A heritage of lifeguards, swimmers, and surfing champions, this brood knows their way around the water and are dedicated to making your summer dream come true. Starting April 1st, summer camps and lessons are available 7 days a week for children and adults.
OFF TO THE RACES: The final and longest leg of the Triple Crown will take place at Belmont Raceway this June. Dubbed the ‘Run for the Carnations,’ the premiere horse-racing event of the season will have races kicking off on June 8th and the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes on June 10th.  Not-to-be-missed, three-day festival passes are currently available with grandstand access and views of the paddock.

DRINK LOCAL: Long Island is experiencing a craft beer renaissance with small-scale breweries popping up across the region. A few stand out micro-breweries not to miss: With over a dozen beers on tap daily, Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore is a mecca for local brews. Favorites include Blood Orange and Snaggletooth. Greenport Harbor Brewing has two brewing locations to choose from – its original on Carpenter Street in Greenport and a bottling plant/tasting room in Peconic. New this is season is Summer Ale in a can – the perfect summer party accessory. Since 1998, Blue Point in Patchogue has been setting the standard for beer in New York and beyond. It’s legacy, Toasted Lager, is a smooth amber lager that pairs perfectly with fresh seafood and a view of the water.
PRIDE ON THE BEACH: This June 9th-11th, Long Island Pride moves to Long Beach for the annual Pride on the Beach event. The three-day destination weekend will include numerous exciting events, a pride market and fair, a concert on the beach and the 27th Long Island Pride Parade.

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CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE DAY: If you’re looking for the ultimate spot to view fireworks by land or sea this summer, then Long Island is the place to be.  Whether on the beach, in a boat or on a grassy knoll in one of our many parks, Long Island offers a one-of-a-kind red, white and blue experience that your family won’t forget. Visit for a listing of 2017 Independence Day Firework Shows.

HISTORIC BEACONS:  Long Island invites travelers to visit our shining beacons in honor of National Lighthouse Day on Monday, August 7th.  Many are open to the public seasonally; from Montauk Point to Fire Island and beyond, locals and visitors can explore 19 lighthouses across the region.   

ONE BY LAND, TWO BY SEA: General George Washington’s Setauket Spy Ring comes to life with a “Tri-Spy” outdoor adventure. Historian Margo Arceri guides cyclists, walkers and kayakers through actual trails where the British and Patriots once roamed during the Revolutionary War on Long Island. Follow in the footsteps of the famous men and women of the Culper Spy Ring who helped change the tide of the American Revolutionary War and inspired the popular AMC series TURN. September 16th marks the 2nd annual Culper Spy Day, a festival celebrating the historic impact of Long Island’s famed spies.
LONG ISLAND’S PREMIERE VENUE RETURNS: NYCB LIVE’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum recently underwent a $165 million renovation and has reopened to host world-class sports and entertainment that kicked off with an April opening concert from Long Island’s own Billy Joel. The venue’s 2017 event lineup boasts some of the biggest names in the music and entertainment industries. 
Model of renovated Nassau Coliseum
Show us how you summer and tag your favorite summer shots on Instagram with #LongIslandSummer. Visit to start planning your summer line-up today!

Discover Long Island was established under the name Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau & Sports Commission in 1979 as the official tourism promotion agency for the destination’s travel and tourism industry. The organization contributes to the economic development and quality of life on Long Island by promoting the region as a world-class destination for tourism, meetings and conventions, trade shows, sporting events and related activities. For more information, please call 631-951-3900 or visit

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2017’s Best Summer Vacation Spots – WalletHub Study

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With summer approaching, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2017's Best Summer Vacation Spots to supplement its Best Travel Credit Cards and Currency Exchange studies. The best place to celebrate independence day is
Philadelphia for the Wawa Welcome America celebration.

To help travelers plan the perfect summer getaway, WalletHub’s data crunchers compared the 80 largest metro areas across 38 key indicators of budget- and fun-friendliness. The data set ranges from cost of the cheapest flight to number of attractions to average price of a two-person meal.
Top 20 Summer Vacation Spots  
1Las Vegas, NV 11Salt Lake City, UT
2Los Angeles, CA 12Austin, TX
3Orlando, FL 13Oklahoma City, OK
4Chicago, IL 14Phoenix, AZ
5San Diego, CA 15Cincinnati, OH
6Atlanta, GA 16Tampa, FL
7Houston, TX 17St. Louis, MO
8Dallas, TX 18Portland, OR
9Sacramento, CA 19Charlotte, NC
10New York, NY 20Detroit, MI
Best vs. Worst
  • The average flight to a popular summer destination costs $337, lasts 3 hours and 56 minutes, and has 0.4 connections.
  • The Las Vegas metro area is the most attractive destination on the West Coast and the New York metro area on the East Coast.
  • California and Texas are home to the top summer destinations in the U.S., each with at least two metro areas in the top 15. Oppositely, Connecticut and New York are each home to the largest numbers of the most unpopular summer destinations.
  • The Miami metro area has the lowest nightly rate for a three-star hotel room, $25, which is 5.8 times less expensive than in Boston, the metro area with the highest at $145.
  • The Salt Lake City metro area has the most diverse attractions, which is two times more than in Akron, Ohio, the metro area with the least diverse.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, please visit: