News, guidance, and resources for group travel planners

The Holbrook Insider


News Bin - February 23, 2017

Feb 23, 2017 |

News Roundup

| by Christopher Bensley

In case you missed it…

  • New "off the grid" safari lodge opening in Tanzania
  • US Airlines to bring back free meals? And no more TV screens?
  • Lonesome George tortoise returns to the Galápagos
  • Internet use explodes in Cuba, now arriving in homes
  • Top places to visit in Peru 2017 from National Geographic
  • How to photograph an elephant
  • Entertaining tips on how to recover after international flights

New “Off the Grid” Safari Lodge Opening in Tanzania

The Meliá Serengeti Lodge in Tanzania is scheduled to open in June 2017 with 50 rooms and will operate completely “off the grid.” The hotel has been designed with intelligent “cool” ventilation and resources such as photovoltaic panels to generate electricity and accumulators to store the electricity. There is also a bio-gas generation system fed by a wastewater treatment plant. This is Meliá’s first green hotel and is located 45 minutes from Seronera Airport in the Serengeti.


US Airlines to bring back free meals? And no more TV screens?

We reported in our last issue on the continuing decline of services from airlines. We noted United’s new “Basic Economy” fares (no seat assignments and small carry-on). Now it appears that one airline is trying to IMPROVE its service. Delta Air Lines announces that it will be serving fresh meals on select cross-country flights starting March 1 (JFK to LAX) then on April 24 to 10 major transcontinental markets. Could this be a trend? See: Delta Air Lines Is Bringing Back Free Food. In other airline news, with the ubiquitous use of tablets and smartphones, some airlines will soon start phasing out seatback TV screens .

See: the NY Times report.

Lonesome George tortoise returns to Galápagos

It has been almost 5 years since the sole remaining Pinta Island tortoise and Galápagos conservation icon was found dead in his corral at the Tortoise Breeding and Rearing Center on Santa Cruz Island. His loss was felt across the world, as it marked the extinction of the Pinta species of tortoise. In his last years, he was known as the rarest creature in the world. After he died his remains were sent to New York to be preserved by expert taxidermists. This week he flew back to the Galápagos archipelago after almost five years on his whirlwind taxidermy tour, where he was the star of an exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History.


Internet use explodes in Cuba, now arriving in homes

Internet connection has taken off in Cuba over the last two years, with 240 public Wi-Fi spots in parks and on street corners now available across the country. What used to be $6-$8 for an hour of slow internet from hotels has dropped to $1.50 an hour. Cuba’s citizens can be seen sitting at all hours on street corners or park benches, using smartphones. Now home internet has come to Cuba with a limited pilot program. Despite the appetite for internet access, Cuba remains one of the world's least internet-connected societies.


Top places to visit in Peru 2017 from National Geographic

An article this month in National Geographic provides a visually rich and detailed review of the highlights of a trip to Peru. Review this and consider sharing with your members.


How to Photograph an Elephant

Elephants are intelligent, emotional, and social species. Can you capture their personality in photographs? Whether you are on safari in Africa or at a nature sanctuary, understanding elephant behavior will help you capture memorable images. This article will entertain and inspire, and is also good to share with your travelers.


Entertaining tips on how to recover after international flights:



Photo by Harvey Barrison