The Most Popular Travel Stories of 2014 (VIDEO)

As we count down to the New Year, Travel Agent is taking a look back at some of the biggest stories that have shaped the travel industry over the course of 2014. 

1. Los Cabos Recovers From Hurricane Odile

Our coverage of Hurricane Odile, the Category 3 storm that directly hit Los Cabos, was the biggest story on our site for 2014. 

By late November the recovery was well underway, as highlighted by Travel Impressions' "Best of the Best" gala event at Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort.

The event was held November 20 through 23.

"I really appreciated the time in Cabo," said Alex Sharpe, president and CEO, Signature Travel Network. "I thought that the city did a great job in rebuilding so quickly and the people of Mexico have always been so warm and welcoming, and now, even more so. As I tweeted out while I was there…Cabo is indeed back!" 

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2. Costa Concordia Towed to Genoa on Final Voyage

In July, the story of the Costa Concordia came to an end when the stricken vessel was towed to to Genoa, Italy, to be broken down for salvage. 

Kept afloat by sponsons pumped full of air, Costa Concordia was returned to the port where she was built and launched nine years ago. The successful removal of Costa Concordia from Giglio, an island off the coast of the Italian mainland, marked one of the biggest maritime salvage efforts ever undertaken.

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3. New Bahia Principe Hotel to Open on Aruba in 2016

In late October Grupo Pinero announced it would build a new property in Aruba. The Palma de Mallorca-based company's new hotel is expected to open its doors in the summer of 2016 under the Luxury Bahia Principe Don Pablo Collection brand.

The Luxury Bahia Principe Baby Beach Don Pablo Collection will have 950 rooms, the majority of which will be Junior Suites (908), and the rest Suites (42). 

The facilities will include the Pueblo Príncipe leisure complex, a theatre, a casino, several speciality restaurants, a gym, a spa, sports courts, and more. The plans also include designing specialised spaces and services for specific segments such as weddings, groups, corporate incentive trips and families.

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4. El Dorado Maroma to Offer Nearly 60 Over-the-Water Suites in 2015

In early November, Travel Agent sat down with representatives of Karisma Hotels & Resorts and learned that its El Dorado Maroma, A Beachfront Resort, by Karisma property in the Riviera Maya, Mexico, would soon be home to 58 new over-the-water suites.

Although the total cost hasn't been determined, Jose Martinez, owner of El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels, told us roughly $7 million has been budgeted for the project. Ground broke on the project a few weeks ago and it is expected to be finished between the first and second quarters of 2015, says Martinez.

He also told Travel Agent the the project has been in the making for five years, the time it took Karisma to obtain the necessary permits for building something as complicated as this.

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5. Quantum of the Seas Heads to China

Quantum of the Seas, the newest ship from Royal Caribbean, made waves this past April when the cruise line announced that it would make Shanghai (Baoshan), China, its home port for spring/summer 2015. 

In May 2015, following the inaugural winter season from the New York area, the ship will reposition to China, where it will join sister ships, Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, in also operating Asian cruises.

The announcement about Quantum of the Seas was dramatic in that it was first time a major new mega-ship has been home ported in China by a North American cruise line. 

Keep visiting for the latest travel industry news, trends and updates.