Holland America Cancels Rest of Turkey Calls, Cuba Flights Take Off

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From the latest cruise line to cancel calls in Turkey to the official launch of commercial flights to Cuba, here are the four travel headlines to keep an eye on this morning. 

Holland America Cancels Remaining Turkey Calls in 2016

Holland America has announced that it has canceled all of its calls in Turkey through the end of 2016, a decision that affects six Mediterranean voyages in September and October, USA Today reports. The line was one of the few with calls still scheduled in the country following a series of terrorist attacks and a coup attempt this summer, with Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Windstar Cruises and Oceania Cruises already dropping the country as a destination for this year. Norwegian, Regent and Oceania have also cancelled Turkey port calls next year. 

Holland America had previously canceled a call in Turkey in mid-July, shortly after the coup attempt. At the time the line had said that it would continue to monitor the situation in the country closely. 


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Commercial Cuba Flights Take Off

Another historic milestone for Cuba travel is today, with this morning marking the launch of the first commercial flight from the U.S. to the country in over 50 years. 

While charter service to the island has been available for some time, ABC News reports that the first commercial flight, on JetBlue from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Santa Clara, Cuba, departs this morning. Also on the docket: American Airlines begins its scheduled service September 7, with service eventually set to expand to 10 U.S. airlines serving routes between 13 U.S. cities and 10 cities in Cuba. 

Travel Leaders: “Brexit” Boosts London Travel

For the first time ever, London leads Travel Leaders Group’s Fall Travel Survey in terms of international destinations, a milestone Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko credits to the continued strong dollar against the pound following this summer’s vote for the UK to leave the European Union — the “Brexit,” as the Internet has been calling it. 

Also trending: Maui, Hawaii, has attained its first top ranking for U.S. destinations in the survey, up from #3 last year, followed by Orlando, New York City, Las Vegas, and Alaska cruises. 

The survey was conducted by Travel Leaders Group from July 28 - August 24, 2016, and includes responses from 1,145 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers, and frontline travel agents from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group’s Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units.

Here’s a look at the rest of the data:

Top Domestic Fall Destinations

Rank Destination Percentage 2015 Rank
1 Maui, HI 34.1% 3
2 Orlando, FL 32.4% 2
3 New York City, NY 30.5% 1
4 Las Vegas, NV 28.0% 4
5 Cruise - Alaska 25.5% 5
6 Los Angeles, CA 19.6% 6
7 Honolulu, HI 18.8% 8
8 San Francisco, CA 17.2% 7
9 Chicago, IL 14.2% 9
10 Washington, DC 12.4% 10

Top International Fall Destinations

Rank Destination Percentage 2015 Rank
1 London, England 31.0% 3
2 Cruise - Caribbean 30.1% 1
3 Cancun, Mexico 29.1% 2
4 Rome, Italy 23.2% 5
5 Paris, France 17.7% 6
6 (tie) Cruise - Europe (River) 17.5% 4
6 (tie) Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 17.5% 8
8 Cruise - Europe (Mediterranean) 13.6% 7
9 Montego Bay, Jamaica 10.8% 10
10 Florence and/or Tuscany, Italy 10.0% 9

Overall, 79 percent of agents indicated that bookings are higher or on par with this time last year. Europe also continues to be strong in spite of recent terrorist attacks: 74.8 percent of travel agents said that their bookings to Europe were at the same level or higher than last year. 

Earthquakes in Papua New Guinea, and Japan

Also worth keeping an eye on: two earthquakes have struck Papua New Guinea and Japan

RT.com reports that a 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck 11.1 miles southwest of Kumamoto, Japan, causing a suspension in high-speed rail service that should end shortly. 

The Papua New Guinea quake struck 55 miles outside Rabaul at a strength of 6.8, according to the Express. Reports on damage or injuries are not yet in, but the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has said that a tsunami is not expected. 

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