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5:00 -- Travel Weekly's discussion on "Crisis and opportunity management" has now concluded. You are invited to tour the Exhibit Hall and participate in chats in the Lounge.

4:56 -- There are four ways to prevent liability in the first place:
1. Get disclaimers -- signed is better than unsigned, but unsigned will work if you can prove notice.
2. Sell insurance; even if it hardly ever covers what goes wrong, it deters claims against you.
3. Fulfill your duty to warn about dangers.
4. Refrain from making special promises.

Of course, this is all easier said than done.


4:52 -- Pestronk: There are four ways to handle frivolous and non-frivolous claims:

1. Explain that agents are not liable for acts of suppliers, and blame the supplier.
2. Request a cogent explanation of the client’s theory of liability (“Why are we liable?”)
3. Make yourself the client’s advocate with the supplier, even if you know it will be fruitless.
4. Make and maintain copies of your emails containing advice and warnings.4:50 -- Why are most claims frivolous? Many clients don’t understand the difference between suppliers and agents (“I contracted with you”). Many clients think that agents hold (or can access) the supplier’s money. Most lawyers think that travel agents will quickly settle all consumer case.

4:45 -- If you say too little, you do not fulfill your duty to warn, if you have one because there is a danger that you knew or should have known about. If you say too much, you make a special promise or warranty (e.g., warranty of safety) So, you need to be careful and tread the middle ground, which is easy in hindsight only!

4:43 -- Pestronk is saying that there are four kinds of liabilities that travel agents face concerning troubled destinations:

1. Failure to warn of a danger known to the agent but not to the client (early H1N1 example)
2. Failure to warn of a danger that a professional agent should have known about but that client wouldn’t know about (later H1N1 example)
3. Failure to make reservations with care (the two Charlestons and the two San Joses)
4. Failure to honor special promises or warranties (it’s safe there)
4:40 -- Mark Pestronk is now discussing legal liabilities in times of crises.

4:30 -- Mancini is now taking questions about how the media exacerbates geo ignorance.

4:27 -- Mancini: Geo ignorance appears to be growing, and when it's a travel agent who is ignorant the results can be disaster.

4:25 -- Discussion of how geo illiteracy afftects travel in stressful times.


4:20 -- Marc Mancini, industry expert and author of a geography book for travel agents, is now discussing the toll of geographic ignorance. 

4:18 -- Freedman: I think from a medical point of view, Mexico did a very good job of dealing with this. But there have been very few reports of this flu in tourist areas, and knowing what we do about this flu, we find that very strange.

4:15 -- Should a tour leader get Tamiflu for all clients on a tour?

Freedman: People should see an expert. The individuals would have to make their own decisions, but the clients should talk to a travel clinic.

4:11 -- Weissmann: What should a travel agent do to advise clients?

Freedman: They should advise that they seek an expert opinion. it turns out in this case that Tamiflu is very effective. Make sure yodavidfreedmanu're covering yourself, not hanging out with people who are coughing, etc. I'd feel better telling a client to go ahead and travel, but let them know the consequences. This is not a highly life-threatening illness.

4:10 -- Freedman: with influenza up to 7% of all people who have been certified to have swine flu never ran a fever.

4:07 -- Freedman: I don't like to discourage travel in cases like this. Neither does the WHO. The US didn't want people going to Mexico and then coming back and spreading it throughout the US on return. It has been shown with SARS and with some flues that closing the borders is absolutely ineffective. There is no way these days to shut down a country and absolutely prevent the spread of disease.

4:05 -- Freedman: The H1N1 swine flue took us by surprise; we were expecting the bird flu.

4:03 -- Arnie Weissmann introduces Dr. Freedman, and epidemiologist with the International Society of Tavel Medicine..

4:00 -- Travel Weekly's editor in chief, Arnie Weissmann is leading a panel discussion on "Crisis and opportunity management" with travel legal expert Mark Pestronk, travel health expert Dr. David Freedman and geographical expert Marc Mancini.

3:15 -- Helen Nodland has concluded her presentation on the "The Power of Specialization."

3:03 -- Nodland has begun taking questions from attendees on aspects of specialization.

3:02 -- "The future is specialized consulting."

2:5HelenNodland9 -- Nodland is saying that the consulting model is one of dialogue. Communication is essential to building loyalty. Communicate proactively with your customers or lose them. Consulting is not just transacting. It's not about commissions, which I believe are on borrowed time. So what is your value? Your consulting fees are based on your ability to make sense of all the information your customers get on the internet and other sources, your expert knowledge.

2:55 -- Nodland is comparing mass-market travel to department stores, while specialty agencies are more like boutiques. "They market themselves differently to different customers. Which model offers you the greatest opportunity to thrive, the greatest representation of your values, the greatest likelihood of response from the kinds of customers you're looking for."

2:50 -- Technology is endlessly available to consumers, Nodland said. "You're role is to bring order and decision making to consumers' techno-overload. Be the curator of their choices."

2:45 -- "The commidity market -- big cruise, big hotels, big tours -- has been slashed. The ups and downs of the market mean you have no control. But in a specialized area you have control. You are nimble, flexible, part of the process. Likewise, commission revenues a not in your control. But people will pay for knowledge and wisdom; they no longer pay for transaction. A specialist is paid not on commission but on 'consulting fees'."

2:40 -- Nodland tells attendees that the "aspirational 'Bubble' traveler is gone. But the real luxury traveler is still intact. In the next several years, the middle market will be bargain hunting." 

2:30: Helen Nodland, President of Nodland Travel Enterprises and Director of Worldwide Member Sales & Service for Virtuoso has begun speaking on the subject of the "The Power of Specialization."

1:42 -- Keith Bellows' session has concluded.

1:37 -- Asked if the trip would be appropriate for seniors, Bellows said, "I would guess that on the trip I was on, at least 55% were over the age of 65. Obviously, you're not going to make the climb to Kuelap in a wheelchair, but the Amazon trip was full of older travelers."

1:30 -- "Keep in mind that the wildlife are there, but they don't want to have anything to do with you. You have to work to seeKeithBellows them. The big cats have pretty much been hunted out of existence, but the birds ... there are thousands and they're spectacular."

1:27 -- Three trips are offered. Bellows feels the four-day trip is adequate. "The anaconda are there but they aren't going to bother you; you have to go find them. Certainly there are creatures there that could harm you, but we never felt like we were in danger. The Shining Path still exists there, but you could stay at home and get killed, stay at home and be attacked by terrorists. We all have to put these things in perspective."

1:23 -- Bellows is now describing his visit to the lost city of Kuelap in Peru. Archeologists are actively excavating and studying the site. Completely engulfed by foliage and moss. Not very excavated yet. You get the feeling "I'm seeing something before the rest of the world." There's very few airports. The nearest ariport is 15 hours away and the terrain is treacherous.

1:19 -- Bellows is now taking questions from Arnie Weissmann and attendees about his Amazon presentation.

1:16 -- Bellows is describing Peruvian sustainable tourism. "I'm optimistic that this is a program that will succeed."  

1:11 -- The area is "incredibly wild and incredibly beautiful." Went fishing for piranha. "They tell you piranhas won't hurt you l but if you have even a trace of blood on your skin, you're a dead man." Showing pictures of various wildlife, including manatees.

1:06 -- Bellows is discussing small boat travel on the Amazon, into primitive areas on an 8-day trip. He was there in the rainy season. Saw very few people. Many villagers had moved to higher ground during the rainy season. Underbrush is so dense that you have to train your eyes to see the wildlife, but on thrid or fourth day, you begin seeimg them.

1:02 -- Keith Bellows, Vice President of the National Geographic Society and Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Traveler is now presenting his personal reporter's notebook on his trip from the Amazon to the Andes in a one-on-one discussion with editor in chief Arnie Weissmann. He is giving an inside-the-assignment account of two less-than-touristed spots: the deep Amazon and the lost city of Kuelap.

Schedule for Day 2 of Travel Weekly's Latin America Virtual Conference and Tradeshow (all times are EDT):

As the Auditorium opens at 1 p.m., attendees are invited on a journey with Keith Bellows, Vice President, National Geographic Society, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic Traveler. Bellows will walk conference attendees through his personal reporter’s notebook on his trip from the Amazon to the Andes during a one-on-one discussion with editor in chief Arnie Weissmann.
Bellows recently returned from his assignment in Peru and will be writing an in-depth article for 2010 in National Geographic Traveler. The session will be interactive – those who sign up for it will be able to ask questions to Bellows.
Then, at 2:30 p.m. the auditorium will be a virtual classroom for keynote speaker Helen Nodland as she explores how sales success can be achieved in the diverse destinations of Mexico, Central and South America.
In her discussion with attendees during this interactive session, Nodland, who is President of Nodland Travel Enterprises and Director, Worldwide Member Sales & Service for Virtuoso, will focus on the ‘The Power of Specialization.” The days of the generalist are in the “glorious past,” Nodland warns, but she will spell out the means to achieve “job satisfaction and financial rewards” through developing expertise.
To close out today’s discussions, at 4 p.m., Travel Weekly’s Editor in Chief Arnie Weissmann will host a panel discussion on “Crisis Management.” During this panel discussion, he will talk with legal expert Mark Pestronk, geography expert Marc Mancini and leading Travel Health expert Dr. David Freedman about the role of the travel agent in these situations.
Throughout the day, Travel Weekly’s editors will be hosting chat discussions in the Lounge. At 11:30 a.m. (EDT) retail editor Nadine Godwin will be asking attendees to share the smartest thing they’ve done to drive business to their agency. And at 2:00 p.m., let managing editor Rebecca Tobin – and your peers – know what’s the most effective way to drive cruise sales in a recession And at 3:30 p.m., tell Caribbean editor Gay Nagle Myers what’s pulling travelers bored with rum punch and yellow birds back to the islands.

Here is a minute-by-minute rundown of Tuesday's events:
4:59 -- JC Rivero has concluded his perfect itinerary in Argentina
4:44 -- Juan Carlos Rivero, Managing Director South America, is describing his perfect itinerary in Argentina:
Day One: Pick up at Ezeiza Airport, coming from the US, that’s a long flight, I would do a private transfer to the hotel. In the late afternoon, again a private visit to the neighborhood of, Puerto Madero, Dinner at one of many fine restaurants. A good nights sleep.
Day Two: Walk around Recoleta and Palermo. In the evening, about 9 p.m., you will be picked up for our first tango show, at Viejo Almacen or El Querandi. Return to the hotel.
Day Three: San Telmo and La Boca. Hopefully you can do this on a Sunday. In the evening, enjoy a tango show at Rojo Tango (very hot, a bit expensive). Then if still awake to a milonga for some more wine and tango (can’t beat the combo).
Day Four: Options galore: Travel to the outskirts of Buenos Aires to the pampas to visit a grand estancia and enjoy the Gauchos barbecue lunch, with the flavor of the old Buenos Aires, or maybe a visit to El Tigre & the Delta with its many islands, homes, restaurants. Evening to Palermo, Puerto Madero, or San Telmo for more of the night life.
JCRiveroDay Five: Private transfer to the airport for the flight to San Carlos de Bariloche. Arrival at Bariloche Airport and transfer to the hotel. Afternoon departure for the Circuito Chico (Short Circuit) drive following the southern shore of Nahuel Huapi Lake to Llao Llao Peninsula, continue through forests of the coihue trees to reach the panoramic point for breathtaking views of Nahuel Huapi Lake and Victoria Island. Then drive along Trebol Lake and finally hop onto a chairlift to enjoy the view from Mount
Campanario. Return to the hotel.
Day Six: Full-day excursion to San Martin de los Andes along the Seven Lakes Road. Depart from Bariloche in the morning, taking Highway 237 North and then turning left to follow the north shore of the Nahuel Huapi Lake and Victoria Island. Then drive along Trebol Lake and finally hop onto the chairlift to enjoy the view from Mount Campanario. Return to the hotel.
Day Seven: Day at leisure: rent a car, play golf, day at a spa, or just relax.

4:40 -- Jim Augerinos, Perfect Honeymoons & Holidays, is answering questions from attendees about his Perfect Itinerary in Costa Rica
4:40 -- Day Twelve: Fly Nature Airlines from Puerto Jimenez to San Jose and then fly from San Jose to Islita. Transfer via four-wheel-drive vehicle to Punta Islita in Guanacaste. Overnight at the Hotel Punta Islita.
4:38 -- Day Nine to Eleven: Spend three days at Lapa Rios in a private bungalow with hammock and outdoor shower. Take hikes to secluded waterfalls and in the private nature reserve.
4:36 -- Day Eight: Transfer to the Quepos airstrip and fly Sansa Airlines to Puerto Jimenez. Transfer via four-wheel-drive vehicle to the ecolodge Lapa Rios.
4:34 -- Day Seven: Go river rafting on the Rio Savegre. Overnight at the Arenas del Mar Hotel.
4:33 -- Day Six: Meet a private guide for a hike and tour of Manuel Antonio Park. Overnight at the Arenas del Mar Hotel.
4:30 -- Day Five: Transfer from hotel to La Fortuna airstrip for the 55-minute flight to Quepos on Nature Airlines. Transfer to the Arenas del Mar Hotel.4:29 -- Day Four: Take a hike to see the volcano, followed by a soak in natural hot springs. Included are transportation, the services of a naturalist guide, entrance fees and dinner. Overnight at the Arenal Kiro Hotel.
JimAugerinos4:28 -- Day Three: Private van transfer to Arenal Kioro Hotel. Take the Arenal Sky Tram to ride at a slow pace through the Arenal Volcano National Park. At the top, spend time observing the volcano, Lake Arenal and rain forest before descending by tram, on foot or by Sky Trek, a ride on cables that zigzag down the mountain.
4:27 -- Day Two: A personal guide will walk you through the trails of the waterfall gardens and rain forest, which is home to a variety of butterflies and 24 species of hummingbirds. Wear comfortable walking shoes with thick tread for hiking the trails and a lightweight jacket or raincoat; the park ranges in altitude fro 4,200 feet to 5,200 feet above sea level, and it can get chilly. Overnight at the Peace Lodge.
4:26 -- Day One: Arrive at San Jose Airport and transfer by private driver to the Peace Lodge in La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Accommodations are in a deluxe room with the atmosphere of a rain forest, including a garden bathroom with whirlpool tub and a 7-foot waterfall. Amenities include a gas fireplace, a king-size canopy bed, a satellite TV, a stereo system and a hammock.
4:25 -- Jim Augerinos, Perfect Honeymoons & Holidays, is describing his Perfect Itinerary in Costa Rica.

4:17 -- Day Eight: Private taxi transfer to the airport for the flight home.
4:16 -- Day Seven: Walk north along the ocean to El Mirador and watch the cliff divers performing their art diving head first into the shallow, churning waters of the Pacific. Return to the Plaza and do some shopping. Dinner at Pedro & Lola, outside, with live music. More shopping after dinner, as local artisans and vendors set up tables in the Plaza every Saturday night.
4:15 -- Day Six: Take a taxi to the base of Creston Hill and climb up to the lighthouse, the 2nd highest lighthouse in the world, with a fantastic view. Or, walk south from the hotel to the docks next to the ferry terminal (20 minutes). Catch a panga to Stone Island (20 pesos, roundtrip) and walk the beautiful, quiet, undeveloped beach, framed by coconut palms and the ocean. It’s a step back in time. Eat lunch in one of the thatched beachfront restaurants, probably Lety’s.
Return to the hotel, shower, and then walk 10 minutes to Plaza Machado, the historic and artistic center of Mazatlan. Pick up a brochure and go on the Friday Art Walk (first Friday of every month, November to May) featuring 21 different studios and galleries. Dinner in the Plaza, outdoors at La Tramoya. Check out the music at Puerto Viejo on the way home.
4:12 -- Day Five: Go for an early morning walk on the Malecon (seawall/sidewalk), starting at Valentino’s, and heading south towards Old Mazatlan. Walk as far as is comfortable and then catch a bus back to the hotel. Move to the Posada Freeman Hotel in Old Mazatlan (Oceanfront, $78 per night, breakfast included. Catch the sunset from the Freeman’s cocktail lounge on the 11th floor (360 degree view). Oceanview dinner at Puerto Viejo, the Shrimp Bucket or the Olas Altas Steak House. Go to bed with the window open, listening to the surf.
TomReaney4:11 -- Day Four: Depart at 9 am on a 4-hour Whale Quest Tour. Lunch on the tour. Afternoon of leisure, after riding the zipline at Playa Mazatlan. Dinner at Terraza Playa, overlooking the ocean. Stay for the live music and dancing under the stars.
4:10 -- Day Three: Pick up a box lunch, swimming suit, towel, snorkeling gear and head to Deer Island. Transportation by rented kayak, hobie cat, or the amphibious boat that drives right up on the beach. Return to the hotel and head to the gym. Dinner at Vittore Italian Grill. Check out the wacky action at Sr. Frog’s on the way home.
4:08 -- Day Two: Day Two: Take a walk on the beach (4 miles) for a basic orientation, north to the rocky point past Pueblo Bonito, and south to the rock outcropping that supports Valentino’s Disco. Pick out a beachfront restaurant for lunch, probably Pancho’s, Playa Mazatlan, or Costa de Oro. Return on the beach to the hotel, get a massage, and catch up on some reading. Dinner at Casa Country (food from the country…Mexican style).
4:07 -- Day One: Arrive Mazatlan airport, private taxi to the Inn at Mazatlan (Every 3rd night is free. Oceanview Studio $94 per night or Oceanview Jr. Suite $132 per night, all taxes included). Beachfront dinner at La Costa Marinera (Mexican Seafood).
4:05 -- Live from Mazatlan, Tom Reaney offers "A Week of Relaxation in Mazatlan". He assures us "There's no violence here. It's a very, very safe city.

4:00 -- Panel Discussion: Perfect Itinerary - Interactive! Panelists Juan Carlos Rivero, Managing Director South America, First in Service Tours, New York City; Tom Reaney, President of Mazatlan Connection; and Jim Augerinos, Perfect Honeymoons & Holidays in Vienna, Va., are sharing their favorite itineraries for discovering Latin America.

3:25 -- Patricia Schultz has concluded her keynote.
3:10 -- Patricia Schultz is answering attendees' questions about her "10 Places to Visit in Latin America Before You Die," which she created for this event. For live updates on what speakers and panel members are saying, click on the headline, above.
3:08 -- Tenth of Patricia's 10 places: Lake District, Argentina (Bariloche, Nahuel Huapi Lake and National Park, the famous Llao Llao hotel and golf course)
3:05 -- Ninth of Patricia's 10 places: Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3:02 -- Eighth of Patricia's 10 places: Bahia de Salvador, Brazil (Pelourinho, architecture, market, beaches, African influence in religion, music and churches)
2:59 -- Seventh of Patricia's 10 places: Torres del Paine, Chile
2:55 -- Sixth of Patricia's 10 places: Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru (Cusco, Machu Picchu, Urubamba Valley, Pisac)
2:5PatriciaSchultz7: -- Fifth of Patricia's 10 places: Cartagena, Colombia (colonial architecture, old walls, fortress)
2:50 -- Fourth of Patricia's 10 places: Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica (hot springs)
2:47: -- Third of Patricia's 10 places: Tikal, Guatemala (ruins)
2:45 -- Second of Patricia's 10 places: Belize Barrier Reef, Belize (reef, Ambergris Caye, Caulker Caye)
2:40 -- First on Patricia's list: Oaxaca, Mexico (main square, churches, Indian market, food)
2:30 -- Patricia Schultz, author of "1,000 Places to Visit Before You Die," is now delivering her keynote address in the Auditorium. Patricia has agreed to create a special list of "10 Places to Visit in Latin America Before You Die" especially for this event. After her talk, she will be giving away five signed copies of "1,000 Places to Visit Before You Die."

1:50 -- The session with Mike Going has now ended. Arnie Weissmann announced the names of two attendees who won copies of Patricia Schultz's "1,000 Places to Visit Before You die."
1:45 -- Going: I've talked to a number of agents who are frustrated by media coverage. I ask them what they did locally to contact news media and confront them with inadequate reporting about the facts in this case. unfortunately, none of them had acted on their frustration.
1:40 -- Going: Selling on price alone will be a long-term mistake. Consumers are nervous, but now more than ever they need informed advice from agents. In both the coverage of drug violence or swin flu, the media has not reacted responsibly. The flu advisory was limited to specific areas, and in reporting this as a Mexico problem generally, the media did not act responsibly. They fed doubt instead of feeding facts.
1:35 -- Attendee question: What kinds of discounts can we expect next year?
Going: I expect about 30-50% minimally, which is why this is a wonderful time to take advantage of Mexico as a destination.
1:30 -- Going: We have seen Cancun react faster than the rest of the country, but the whole country is moving very quickly to restore confidence in the destination. We have seen no material change in business since the Acapulco drug violence last week. But this is a little closer to home than previous instances of drug violence in border towns. it's politically appropriate for us to acknowledge that Mexico and the U.S. are engaged in a war on drug pushers. Guest responses on surveys about safety and security have improved year-over-year. Once people are there, they ask "what was all the hubbub about?"
1:25 -- Arnie Weissmann: What kinds of promotions is Mexico coming out with? Going: Mexico is transitioning from information and reactifve crisis mode back to merchandising and marketing. President Calderon and entire country is getting behind this in a big way. You'll see a lot of TV, radio and print ads. Agents will be getting a lot of support from the desitnation in selling Mexico. it will be a broad strategy, a countrywide approach.
1:20 -- Going: If a customer is worried about traveling to Mexico, an agent might try to set them straight. But if a sell isn't appropriate, let them know that if not now, certainly later, because Mexico is a phenomenal value.
1:15 -- Mike Going is saying that strong tourism companies will survive the current climate, but "Will there be a shakeout? My sence would be yes." Destination satisfaction in Mexico is phenomenol. Agents should be getting testimonials from people whou have been in Mexico recently and will totally counter what people are reading in the news.
1:10 --BULLETIN: Eduardo Chaillo, director for the U.S. at the Mexican Tourism Board about Mexico's tourism industry, was called into an emergency meeting with his boss in Mexico. He had to cancel his interview. Travel Weekly Editor in Chief Arnie Weissmann is instead interviewing Funjet Vacations president Mike Going about the impact of drug violence and the H1N1 swine flu virus on Mexico's tourism industry.

12:40 -- Michelle Baran's chat on land tours is now concluded, and rumors about Machu Pichu closing have been put to rest. The auditorium is now hosting open chat.

12:25 PMTravel Weekly's Latin America Virtual Tradeshow is under way. Right now, attendees are chatting in the Lounge, and the Exhibit Hall is open. At 1 pm, Eduardo Chaillo, director for the U.S. at the Mexican Tourism Board, will join Travel Weekly Editor in Chief Arnie Weissmann for a live discussion about Mexico's tourism industry. He will discuss the Tourism Board's plans for an extensive promotional campaign, supported by a $1.3 billion economic stimulus package to help the country recover from what is estimated to be at least a $2 billion loss from the effects of the swine flu outbreak. Some $92 million will be set aside for promoting tourism, the country's third-largest source of revenue. Chaillo will be speaking live from Puerto Vallarta and will be taking questions from the Travel Weekly audience as well.


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