Posts tagged with "2022"

Camera created by Allison Christensen at 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

SATW – Bill Muster Photo Awards

The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) has awarded Blaine Harrington III top honors as the 2022 Photographer of the Year in the prestigious SATW Bill Muster Photo Awards. Eric Lindberg and Eric Stoen also scored high marks as the Silver and Bronze Photographers of the Year respectively.

Named for the late Bill Muster, a renowned photographer, and SATW member, the SATW Muster Photo Awards recognize excellence in travel photography featuring nature, people, and cultures. These awards are presented each year at SATW’s annual convention which took place in Milwaukee this year. The images are taken between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2021, and entrants must be SATW members.

“This award has become one of the most highly sought after in travel journalism,” said SATW President Larry Bleiberg, ”which is a testament to the extraordinarily high standard of excellence that the contestants, year in and year out, bring to their work. SATW’s Board of Directors values the Muster family’s passion for capturing the world’s monuments and people, its natural landscapes and culture, through the lens of a camera, and for their support of SATW’s photographers.”

After serving in WWII, Bill Muster graduated from the University of Illinois and devoted his life to capturing images for newspapers and media companies. He was a venerated member of the SATW community. Since 1981, SATW has presented the Muster Awards and cash prizes for travel photography in a range of categories awarded at the annual convention. After Bill Muster died in 1989, his children Nori and Bill Jr., have generously continued their father’s legacy with an annual gift that funds the cash prizes awarded for individual photos as well as portfolios.

The Winners of the 2022 SATW Bill Muster Photo Awards Are:

Photographer of the Year: Gold – Blaine Harrington III; Silver – Eric Lindberg; Bronze – Eric Stoen

Single Subject: Gold: – Gary Crall; Silver – Ellen Clark; Bronze – Art Meripol

Action/Adventure: Gold – Mark Downey; Silver – Bob Holmes; Bronze – Marlene Goldman

Animal: Gold – Paul Rubio; Silver – Greg Vaughn; Bronze – Karen Leperi; HM – Michael Snell

Culture: Gold – Lina Stock; Silver – Donnie Sexton; Bronze – Jim Ferri; HM – Stuart Dee

Natural Scenic: Gold – Greg Vaughn; Silver – Stuart Dee; Bronze – Mark Downey

People General: Gold – Dino Vournas; Silver – Sandra Foyt; Bronze – Marlene Goldman

People Portrait: Gold – Bob Holmes; Silver – Mark Downey; Bronze – Karen Leperi

Founded in 1955, SATW and its members have adapted continually to meet an-ever changing media landscape. Today, SATW remains the nationߣs premier professional travel media organization comprising 1,000 of the travel industryߣs most experienced journalists, photographers, editors, broadcast/video/film producers, bloggers, website owners, media relations experts, and hospitality industry representatives from the United States, Canada and beyond. All members must meet and maintain the industry’s highest standards of productivity, ethics, and conduct, and support SATW’s mission of  “Inspiring Travel through Responsible Journalism.”  360 Magazine is excited to see people getting recognition for their work, especially for photography. 

SATW is a vibrant resource in and to the travel industry for bringing travel media and destinations together. Importantly it has become a community where professionals can network, learn through professional development, share peer-to-peer best practices and experiences, and build relationships. At its annual convention, SATW also presents the Phoenix Awards, given to destinations for cultural and natural preservation, and the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards, the industry’s highest honors in travel journalism.

SATW also champions the ongoing struggle for racial equality with formal statements of diversity, equity, and inclusion publicly welcoming all races, religions, ethnicities, physical abilities, and the LBGTQ community. This initiative is supported by an active Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Committee, which presents programs on diversity and seeks to ensure the membership is inclusive and welcoming to all professionals.

Africa illustration by Heather Skovlund from 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

Africa’s Newest Hotel Openings

Go2Africa is pleased to share the new openings and private experiences travelers can look forward to in 2022. With an entire team of African-born and raised specialists, including seven named Conde Nast Traveler’s Top Travel Specialists in 2021, travelers are in excellent hands. Whether it is your first trip to Africa or you are planning to get further off the beaten path, travelers can start planning now with confidence that every detail from A to Z will be taken care of, including Covid-19 protocols, with 24/7 on-safari support. 360 Magazine is very excited about this opportunity as more restrictions have been lifted. 

Africa is filled with once-in-a-lifetime bucket-list experiences. Unique opportunities await from hot-air balloon flights over the vast herds of the Great Migration to trekking into the secret emerald world of the rainforests, to encountering gorillas and family-friendly whale-watching and world-class scuba diving. Go2Africa’s team of experts has been committed to building first-hand knowledge since 1998. 100% of the revenue stays in Africa to support local communities and conservation projects to protect these unique places for future generations.

“One of our core values at Go2Africa is resilience, and I’m proud to say we’ve dug deep over the past 18 months to come back stronger than ever,” shares Maija de Rijk-Uys, Managing Director of Go2Africa. She adds “Each week there are new domestic or regional flights being added within Africa, and the announcement of international routes reopening from the USA to both Kenya and South Africa has helped increase our US client base from 65% to 76%. We’re now seeing bookings from US clients at pre-COVID levels, and these clients are helping to keep safari lodges operating, aid in vital conservation and sustainability initiatives whilst traveling with a purpose.”

New Hotel Openings for 2022

South Africa: The Homestead, Nambiti Private Game Reserve Opening Early 2022

South Africa: Leopard Sands River Lodge, Gate to Kruger National Park Opening Early 2022

Kenya: Sanctuary Tambarare Opening June 2022

Namibia: Wolwedans Star Bed Experience Launching June 2022

Serengeti, Tanzania: Ubuntu Migration Camp Re-Opening June 2022 

Mozambique: Banyan Tree Hotel & Resorts’ Ilha Caldeira opening Q2 of 2022 

Private Experiences

With a focus on the outdoors, exclusive safari homes, personal chefs, and private guides make Africa a desirable and safe destination for 2022. Go2Africa organizes exclusive and one-of-a-kind tailored trips that allow travelers a personalized and private experience, so you can avoid the crowds and enjoy the scenery and wildlife. Below is a sample of the most unique and new private offerings available for 2022.

Travel Bubbles at African Bush Camp

African Bush Camps have recently launched exclusive-use/private guided safaris for their camps across Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe known as ‘Travel Bubbles’. The ability to exclusively use any of their 16 bush camps and receive a personal experience allows guests to explore safely and avoid other travelers. It’s a safari home-away-from-home, – a true authentic novelty.

Mwiba, Offers New Helicopter Trips Launching June – August 2022

Ultra-private Mwiba Lodge is nestled discreetly among gigantic boulders overlooking a rocky gorge of the Arugusinyai River in a private 130,000-acre reserve in the southern Serengeti. This fertile landscape has over 30 freshwater springs passing through it, making it a favorite locale for elephants, kudu, and lions. The incredible new scenic helicopter experience is a private flight over the reserve for up to three hours over remote locations offering spectacular birds-eye wildlife views. The Mwiba concession has a number of natural springs that attract an abundance of plains game and predators alike, especially during the calving season of the annual Wildebeest Migration from about January to March. 

A Remote Workcation Experience in Seychelles

Trade-in your home office for an exotic island escape where you can enjoy a blend of vacation and work on a daily basis. This new program is perfect for professionals who are interested in a nomadic lifestyle and allows them to work in Seychelles for up to one year. Seychelles offers travelers an amazing experience where safety is the top priority. 

Escape to The Galapagos of Africa: São Tomé and Príncipe 

As the second smallest economy in Africa, São Tomé and Príncipe cover two islands and several mostly uninhabited islets in the Gulf of Guinea. It is a true escape from the modern world. This is a perfect destination for eco-tourists looking to explore ‘Lost Worlds’ with fantastic beaches, jungle exploration, snorkeling, fishing, and bird watching.

Costa Rica illustration created by Allison Chritstensen from 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

MARRIAGE RETREATS IN COSTA RICA

Revitalize your relationship in romantic Costa Rica. “Popular Getting the Love You Want” marriage workshop expands to Central America. 360 Magazine is pleased to hear about this amazing retreat as many people need a break from the world as this pandemic has caused many changes.
Costa Rica is a popular honeymoon destination and now thanks to The Marriage Restoration Project’s, “Getting the Love You Want” couples retreats, it’s now the destination helping couples save and revitalize their marriages.
Starting in October 2021 and throughout 2022, these successful marriage retreats will be held at the Autograph Collection’s El Mangroove beach resort in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
Based on Imago Therapy, which focuses on transforming conflict into healing and growth by examining the early childhood experiences of each person, during the five-day retreat couples will:

  • Be deeply heard by their spouse through a process that feels truly safe
  • Discover and shed personal triggers that undermine the connection
  • Comfortably talk about any issue in the relationship and remain connected
  • Satisfy needs for physical and emotional connection
  • Learn how to ask for what you want
  • Remove negativity, retaliation, reactivity, anger, and blame through the Imago dialogue process
  • Establish new rituals for re-romanticizing
  • Shift the negative energy in 5 minutes or less!

Twenty years ago Rabbi Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin’s own marriage was hanging on by a thread and Imago Therapy helped revitalize their relationship. Wanting to help other couples save their marriages too, they went on to study and specialize in Imago Therapy, founding TheMarriageRestorationProject.com; authoring books, and offering this unique workshop that is based on the work of the co-founder of Imago Therapy, Dr. Harville Hendrix.
Costa Rica retreats launch October 13-17, 2021 with certified Imago Therapist, Jill Wolf, LCSW leading the program. Each day couples will work on their relationship while having downtime to reconnect over beach walks, spa services, and local excursions.
Currently, there are four additional dates in early 2022, each led by dynamic, results-oriented Imago Therapists from The Marriage Restoration Project team.

For more information visit Rabbi Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin.

Credit Cards illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

CardRatings Analyst Predicts Credit Card Landscape

The credit card analyst for CardRatings.com, a leading credit card review and comparison site, is releasing predictions for the next six months of the calendar year. Brooklyn Lowery researched how the pandemic affected the credit card industry in general and explains what consumers should expect in the coming months. She finds both positive and negative trends in her new analysis of “Mid-year update: Credit card trends to watch for in 2021.”

Travel rewards bonuses are booming: “Have vaccine, will travel.” We knew travel would return and, with it, mega travel rewards credit card bonuses. CardRatings is seeing highest-ever offers for perennial travel rewards favorites. Credit card companies seem to be competing for cardholders, so if consumers are considering travel rewards cards, now is the ideal time to apply. Bonuses are significant but may be for a limited time, even if they aren’t advertised as such.

“With most of the country returning to normal, Americans hit the roads and skies in record numbers over the July 4th weekend, and banks want to capitalize on that travel fever. We don’t predict a slowdown any time soon in travel nor in big travel rewards bonuses. As soon as one card announces its offer, a competing card announces its own. Expect this domino effect to remain at least through the end of the year.”

COVID perks remain: As Lowery predicted at the end of 2020, several credit card features and benefits designed to provide value during the pandemic are continuing as COVID restrictions lift. Her analysis finds a number of popular travel rewards cards are keeping everyday-geared benefits and features that were introduced during the economic shutdown.

“The credit card industry understandably held its breath during the height of the pandemic, waiting to see how the economy would fare and what existing customers would demand for cards in their wallets,” says Lowery. “Banks rolled out new features and benefits and customers responded positively, so banks are assessing what to keep long-term.”

Consumer credit card approvals slow and credit limits low: Anecdotal evidence suggests banks are continuing to exercise caution with card approvals and credit limits. As the economy has largely reopened, risk aversion has ebbed slightly, but it’s still common for consumers to wait for approvals or receive low credit limits. At this point, lending may continue loosening at a steady rate; that could depend on what happens with COVID variants and possible new restrictions going forward.

Small business credit cards bounce back: After 18 months of hardship, small business owners are receiving positive news – small business credit card approvals are bouncing back and businesses are having an easier time getting approved. Banks are marketing this card type again after largely stopping at the height of the pandemic.

Interest rates low – for now: Most credit card interest rates are shaped by the U.S. prime rate, and the Federal Reserve isn’t predicting a rate hike until 2023, so major changes in credit card interest rates seem unlikely for now. That said, issuers can increase interest rates apart from that federal rate and traditionally have done so as they introduce new features or benefits. Lowery believes the historically low interest rates will stick around for the next six months but predicts they’ll creep a bit higher in 2022 as banks continue rolling out new features and benefits to attract new cardholders. That means now is the time to pay down credit card balances.

“Peeking ahead to early 2022, I think we’ll see balance transfer offers make a comeback following the holiday season. Of course, everything here is dependent on COVID remaining under control and the economy remaining fully open. If any of that changes, all bets are off.”

Star Trek illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Star Trek: Mission Chicago

ReedPop and ViacomCBS Consumer Products Unite to Produce 

STAR TREK: MISSION CHICAGO in Spring 2022

ReedPop to Beam into the Windy City for Star Trek: Mission Chicago on April 8 -10, 2022

ReedPop, the world’s leading producer of pop culture events, announced today that they are joining forces with ViacomCBS Consumer Products as the official convention partner for the Star Trek franchise. The partnership will kick off in 2022 with an all-new event that will serve as the ultimate destination for fans of the iconic franchise – Star Trek: Mission Chicago. Produced in partnership with ViacomCBS Consumer Products, Star Trek: Mission Chicago is a three-day immersive experience that will take place at Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center from April 8 – 10, 2022. 

Star Trek: Mission Chicago will feature celebrity guests, interactive exhibits, exclusive merchandise, photo opportunities, costume exhibits, autograph sessions, gameplay and other special surprises all set within the ever evolving and expansive Star TrekUniverse. Mission Chicago will give fans the opportunity to boldly explore the past, present and future of the franchise, while embracing the ideals of a diverse and inclusive future that remains at the center of Gene Roddenberry’s beloved creation. 

Following the inaugural event in Chicago, future Star Trek: Missions will travel to a new city each year, offering thousands of fans around the country the opportunity to convene with fellow Star Trek lovers and celebrate the iconic franchise.

“The Star Trek franchise has one of the most passionate and spirited fan bases out there, and we at ReedPop are excited to welcome them and ViacomCBS Consumer Products into our family,” said Lance Fensterman, Global President of ReedPop. “Together we plan to give the fans an incredible experience to remember, and I speak for all of us at ReedPop when I say that we can’t wait to experience the energy that Star Trek fans will bring to Chicago next April.”

Veronica Hart, executive vice president, global franchise management, ViacomCBS Consumer Products added, “As the Star Trek franchise continues to grow and evolve, so too is our convention business evolving. We are excited to partner with ReedPop as our official Star Trek convention partner to take this next step in creating an event that will introduce the Trek experience to loyal and new fans alike each year.”

For more information and updates on Star Trek: Mission Chicago, please visit Star Trek Mission’s website and follow the event on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Passport illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Airlines Urged to Issue Refunds

Consumer Reports & PIRG Urge Airlines to Provide Full Refunds for Flights Canceled During Pandemic as Voucher Expiration Dates Approach

Groups Call for Airlines to Extend Voucher Expiration Dates Through At Least End Of 2022

With the one-year anniversary of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown approaching, Consumer Reports and U.S. PIRG sent a letter to ten domestic airlines today calling on them to provide full refunds to consumers whose flights were canceled or affected by the pandemic.  At the very least, the consumer groups are urging airlines to extend the expiration dates for vouchers they issued for canceled flights to the end of 2022 or longer.

“Millions of Americans who booked flights in good faith in 2020 were prevented from flying because of government lockdowns and safety concerns brought on by a once-in-a-century global pandemic,” said William J. McGee, Aviation Adviser to Consumer Reports.  “The airline industry has received very generous support from taxpayers while stiff-arming its customers and treating their hard-earned dollars as interest-free loans.  It’s time to provide consumers with the long-overdue refunds they rightfully deserve.”

The consumer groups’ letter notes that complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation about airline refunds have jumped dramatically over the past year.  In 2019, consumers submitted a total of 1,574 complaints about refunds to the DOT.  Last year, that number increased 57-fold to 89,518 refund complaints.

Consumer Reports has been contacted by numerous customers frustrated that they couldn’t get a refund during lockdowns and who are concerned that they might not be able to travel before vouchers expire. An analysis by TripAction, a travel management company for businesses, found that 55 percent of vouchers for unused tickets will expire in 2021, and 45 percent will expire in 2022.

Many passengers were prevented from flying because of government restrictions, public health notices, or serious medical conditions that made flying during the pandemic unsafe. Far too many of the trips they booked will never happen, due to the cancellation (not postponement) of conferences, conventions, weddings, graduations, and family reunions.

While passengers on flights canceled by airlines are entitled to a full refund under federal law, a congressional analysis found that some carriers offered vouchers as the default option, requiring passengers to take extra steps to get a cash refund. Many airlines waited until the last minute to cancel scheduled flights, prompting concerned passengers to cancel their tickets and forfeit their legal right to a refund.

“It’s insulting and unfair that airlines haven’t offered refunds to all customers affected by the pandemic,” said Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog Director for U.S. PIRG. “Consumers certainly couldn’t have foreseen a once-in-a-lifetime global crisis. Our research has shown that travelers whose plans got canceled have to wade through refund policies likely written by a team of lawyers. They’re faced with figuring out the difference between a flight credit or a trip credit or a travel voucher and similar offers the airlines make to avoid giving people easy-to-understand cash in their pocket.”

A Consumer Reports review of airline voucher policies found nine different policies among ten different airlines.  Many of these policies are hard to find on airline websites, and the airlines’ descriptions of their policies can be quite confusing and at times contradictory, based on conflicting rules for various dates of booking, travel, and cancellation. The consumer groups’ letter was sent to the CEOs of the following scheduled airlines: Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines.