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A Wee Dram Before Take-Off

Celebrated Explorer to Lead Tours to the Far Corners of the Earth
Kensington Tours is a different kind of tour operator. It is the creation of explorer and Royal Geographic Society Fellow Jeff Willner, whose passion for travel was incubated during a youth spent in Africa. He’s now a veteran of expeditions to over 70 countries. During his years of travel, Willner realized the vast difference between a typical package tour and a journey of personal discovery — where the deep knowledge and personal attention of a local guide transforms a trip into an experience. While private-guided touring sounds like it would be prohibitively expensive to most, Kensington’s private tours with guide, vehicle and driver are on average 30% lower in cost than group tours offered by other quality travel companies.

Willner says he is now taking his vision to a new level with an Explorer-In-Residence program which will launch tourism to the Congo. The first member explorer is Mikael Strandberg, considered one of the 50 most important explorers on earth by the London-based Royal Geographical Society. Willner and Strandberg recently undertook a scouting mission to The Democratic Republic of Congo to assess its potential and readiness as a destination for intrepid travellers. Congo itineraries – featuring endangered Eastern Lowland Gorillas, Pygmy tribes and the Nyiragongo volcano – will be the first in the Expedition Series. Other trips under development include Antarctica with polar explorers, motorcycle safaris in Kenya, Tanzania and Russia, a deep dive submarine trip into the Cayman Trench and cultural discoveries in Yemen, Oman and North Korea. These itineraries will appeal to intrepid global explorers, but not all of Kensington’s offerings are so exotic or demanding – there’s everything from a four-day tour of Montreal and Quebec City to a seven-day Costa Rica discovery tour.

For Peat’s Sake: Porter Puts The Fun Back In Flying
Many Porter Airlines passengers have a nose for business. Now Porter is betting they have a nose for fine Scotch too. The airline has partnered with Glenfiddich, the world’s most awarded single malt, on a time-limited pre-flight experience for travellers departing from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Until July 23, Porter customers can participate in a guided tasting of the Glenfiddich 12 Year Old, 15 Year Old and 18 Year Old single malts. Experienced “Malt Specialists” will be on-hand to lead travellers through the nuances and subtleties of tasting and understanding the complex but rewarding world of single malts. “We place a great deal of emphasis on each detail making up the overall passenger experience,” says Porter CEO Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines. “Partnering with Glenfiddich is a new way we can make the journey for travellers as enjoyable as the destination itself.” Whisky nosings will be offered to Porter passengers between 4:00 and 8:00 PM on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays through July 23.

Website Features Arizona Summer Bargains
The Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) has launched a website featuring packages created by the state’s many tourism providers. The website is aimed at state residents in a bid to boost tax revenues through domestic tourism, but it is open to Canadians as well, providing a one-stop shop of travel deals available around the state through the end of September. Tourism is big business in the Grand Canyon State – in 2008 visitors spent $18.5 billion in Arizona and the industry employs nearly 200,000 residents. The Travel Deals section of the website is packed with special offers on hotels and lodging, vacation packages, seasonal specials, outdoor adventures, golf and sport trips, dining and more. There are literally hundreds of offers featured on the site, including a one-night stay at the Days Inn Lake Havasu and a two-hour Jet Ski rental for just $100, or an overnight stay with unlimited golf and cart for just $45 per person per night at the Francisco Grande Hotel and Golf Resort.

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