By KarryOn @karryontravel08 Feb 2017Skill up on all you need to know with bite sized travel news designed specifically to help you, the Travel Agent, be your best today and tomorrow. 1. No more junk food! Vanuatu province tosses out the M&Ms Travellers visiting parts of Vanuatu may struggle to satisfy their sweet tooth as local leaders institute a ban on western junk food. Hotels mini bars and anywhere currently selling western treats in the northern Torba province will be stripped of their candy bars, cookies and lollies in a bid to encourage healthy eating among locals. That means no more post-room service treats like M&Ms from the hotel mini-bar. Read on 2. Barack Obama & Richard Branson’s kitesurfing holiday is #travelgoals Barack Obama is literally washing his hands of his former POTUS responsibilities in pristine water during an island escape with everyone’s dream holiday buddy, Sir Richard Branson. In case you missed it, since passing his leadership duties on to Donald Trump, Barack and the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, have been letting off eight years of much deserved steam in Branson’s very own British Virgin Islands. Images released over social media show the much-adored couple looking worlds away from their presidential life with backwards caps, casual shorts and there was even a picture of Michelle adorably sporting pigtails. Read on 3. Las Vegas opens world’s first pop-up virtual reality bar How do you like your cocktail? Virtual or real? Caesars Palace in Las Vegas have opened what they are claiming is the worlds first pop up VR bar. Well almost. The drinks are real, but the rest of it played out in another world. Read on 4. Rail Plus unveils new logo Rail Plus is commemorating its integration into Rail Europe’s global network with the release of a revamped corporate logo, which retains the brand’s iconic stylised train but features Rail Europe colours. At the same time, it offers a new feature – the tagline ‘A Rail Europe company’. Rail Plus Commercial Director Ingrid Kocijan said the introduction of the new brand marks another important step in the integration of Rail Plus and Rail Europe in Australia. “Our new brand acknowledges our place within Rail Europe’s network, but it also highlights the fact that Rail Plus continues to offer an unrivalled range of products that stretch well beyond Europe to every corner of the world,” she said. 5. Tourism Authority of Thailand continues its sponsorship of Miss World Australia Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Sydney Office continues its “Women’s Journey Thailand” campaign for the second consecutive year to attract female travellers to Thailand during month of August to mark the occasion of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 85th birthday. As part of the campaign, TAT will invite Miss World Australia 2017 and the Miss World Australia runners up, as Australian representatives to attend the Opening Ceremony of “Women’s Journey Thailand” in Bangkok, before embarking on a wide range of activities throughout Thailand, of appeal to both groups and individual travellers. Ms.Rujiras Chatchalermkit, TAT Sydney Director said: “This campaign was very successful last year in encouraging female travellers – whether travelling alone or with group of friends – with a fantastic range of special offers, discounts, and privileges during August.” 6. Contours Travel campaigns to help victims of Chilean forest fires Contours Travel has revealed that it is coordinating a campaign to assist communities impacted by the recent forest fires in Chile, which have burnt 580,000 hectares of land, claiming the homes of hundreds of Chileans. The collected funds will go to Desafio Chile, a non-profit organisation that is handing out emergency kits, as well as rebuilding the fire station, two schools and 1000 homes that the fire consumed in Santa Olga, the most affected town of the disaster. The campaign concludes on 17 February 2017. Click here for more information and to donate. 7. The Moorings puts Puerto Rico on the sailing map The Moorings has launched a new destination for 2017 – the unique Spanish Caribbean destination of Puerto Rico. According to the company, cruisers will have an ‘unmatched charter vacation experience’ in the destination on a seven-day itinerary sampling the Spanish Virgin Islands and their protected anchorages, well-preserved reefs, flourishing marine life populations, and uncrowded white sand beaches;such as those found on Isla Palominos, island of Culebra, Playa Tamarindo and Vieques. Among the recommended ‘must do’ activities in Puerto Rico are visiting The Rio Camuy Caves made up of 220 caves; kayaking the mangroves in La Parguera; zip lining in Mucaro; and diving in Las Cuevas of Desecheo. 8. Visit California expands its local ‘Dream Team’ Visit California, the official tourism marketing organisation for California, will enter its 12th year of representation in the Australia and New Zealand market with a new structure and additions to the marketing team of its representative agency, Gate 7. Represented by Gate 7 since 2007, Visit California this week announced the appointment of Melanie Mayer as its dedicated trade manager, replacing Phil Haines who departed the team at the end of 2016. Mayer brings eight years of travel trade experience to the role from US and Australian marketing roles at tourism organisations including Santa Monica Travel and Tourism, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and San Francisco Travel. Mayer’s appointment completes Visit California’s Down Under ‘Dream Team’ which also includes Managing Director Jo Palmer, Account Director Kristy Meudell, Public Relations Manager Abbie Wheeler and Content Manager Kat Wanoa. 9. TravelManagers have a ‘Hoot’ of a time in West Hollywood This group from TravelManagers had the time of their lives exploring West Hollywood during a recent famil organised by Hoot Holidays and Visit West Hollywood. The seven-night exclusive educational saw the group take in the city’s three main districts: the world-famous Sunset Strip, eclectic Santa Monica Blvd., and The West Hollywood Design District. Agent Lisa Metzl said although she knows Los Angeles well, the famil gave her the opportunity to explore West Hollywood, an area she says she hasn’t really explored before. Click here for more images. What are your thoughts on today’s travel news? 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