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September, 2016

 

Greece – The Tourism Revenue is Falling Below 2016 Forecasts

World Travel

Greece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although tourist arrivals to Greece this year are showing an upward trend — very close to the original target of 25 million (along with an extra 2.5 million arrivals from cruise travel) — revenue seems to be falling below forecasts.

Citing recent data of the Bank of Greece, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) on Monday stressed that during the first seven months of 2016 travel receipts in Greece were down by some five percent or some 346 million euros less compared to the same period last year.

“It is obvious that this year’s tourism revenue will be at levels significantly lower than expected”, SETE said in an announcement.

In July alone, travel receipts dropped by some three percent or some 100 million euros, compared to the same month in 2015. “This is a development that will likely affect the annual results”, SETE said.

The confederation highlighted the factors that are influencing the course of Greek tourism and its competitiveness and include a some 10 percent increase of costs for tourists, successive hikes in value-added tax (VAT) rates, the abolition of the reduced VAT rates on the islands and charges to all sub-sectors of tourism with new fees and taxes.

SETE added that Greece hardly had any benefit from the geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean and lost the opportunity to capitalize on the fact that — despite the refugee / migration issue — it remains the safest tourism destination in relation to the surrounding area.

“In order to maintain and strengthen the key contribution of the sector to the national economy, the state should give priority to an effective solution to the refugee/migration issue, invest in a targeted promotion of Greek tourism and assure the sector that it understands the need to restore tax rates to competitive levels”, SETE said.

According to data of the SETE Institute (InSETE), those directly employed in the hotels and restaurants, represent some 10 percent of all workers in Greece, placing tourism in the third largest employment category, behind the trade and primary sectors.

SETE called for tax rates to return to competitive levels, for efficient development tools, for the investment law to be launched immediately and for a viable solution for the problem of non-performing loans.

“These factors are considered as catalysts for the final effort to recover the sector’s lost revenue by the end of the year and for the further development of Greek tourism in the years to come”, SETE concluded.

[Source: Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE)-Media Relations}
[Photo credits-featured image: Santorini-By Harvey Barrison [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons ]
[Intext photos: inserted by openeyesopinion.com (credits embedded]

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Air Canada Announces New International Flights To Mumbai, Berlin, Algiers, Marseille, Taipei And Nagoya

World Travel

Flight Bites

Air Canada

Air Canada Circles the World adding Six New Destinations to its Expanding International Network

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New non-stop routes starting for summer 2017 include:

  • Toronto to Mumbai and Berlin; 
  • Montreal to Algiers and Marseille;
  • Vancouver to Taipei and Nagoya.

MONTREAL, – Air Canada today announced the addition of six new destinations to its international network, including year-round Boeing 787-9 service between Toronto and Mumbai and between Vancouver and Taipei. The new services will launch for summer 2017, with the MontrealAlgiers and the VancouverTaipei routes subject to government approvals.

“Air Canada is pleased to offer customers these new non-stop routes to exciting destinations around the world. While extending our global reach, they also represent a further deepening of our already substantial international network,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.

TorontoMumbai is our third route between Canada and India starting with the launch of TorontoDelhi service last fall, and Nagoya will be our fourth airport in Japan. With these new services, we will now operate 21 routes between Canada and Asia, including the Middle East. Berlin and Marseille will bring the number of European routes we serve to 44 next summer, including four cities in France. Algiers will be our second destination in Africa, which makes Air Canada one of only a small number of global carriers flying to all six inhabited continents,” said Mr. Smith.

Air Canada will be the only carrier to offer non-stop service between Canada and Mumbai and the only Canadian carrier to operate non-stop service to Taipei. These routes will operate year-round with Air Canada’s state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The aircraft feature 30 International Business Class lie-flat seat suites, 21 Premium Economy and 247 Economy Class seats, with upgraded in-flight entertainment at every seat throughout the aircraft.

The new seasonal routes to Berlin and Nagoya will be the only non-stop services between these cities and Canada. The service to Algiers will be the only non-stop flight by a Canadian carrier between Montreal and the North African city and the Marseille service will be the only non-stop flight operated by a network carrier between Marseille and North America. All will be operated with an Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300ER, featuring Premium Rouge and Economy cabins.

All flights are available for sale immediately with special introductory pricing, except for VancouverTaipei and MontrealAlgiers which will be available for sale in the near future pending government approvals. All new routes are timed to optimize connectivity at Air Canada’s Canadian hubs to and from major destinations in Canada and North America. All flights provide for Aeroplan accumulation and redemption and, for eligible customers, priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounge access, priority boarding and other benefits.

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Route

Start Date

Aircraft Type

Frequency

Toronto-Mumbai

July 1, 2017

Boeing 787-9 (mainline)

Three-weekly

Vancouver-Taipei

June 8, 2017*

Boeing 787-9 (mainline)

Daily

Montreal-Marseille

June 9, 2017

Boeing 767-300ER (Rouge)

Three-weekly

Vancouver-Nagoya

June 1, 2017

Boeing 767-300ER (Rouge)

Three-weekly**

Toronto-Berlin

June 1, 2017

Boeing 767-300ER (Rouge)

Four-weekly

Montreal-Algiers

June 26, 2017*

Boeing 767-300ER (Rouge)

Four-weekly

*Subject to government approvals.

 

** Increases to four weekly in August and September

 

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline serving more than 200 airports on six continents. Canada’s flag carrier is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2015 served more than 41 million customers. Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 64 airports in Canada, 54 in the United States and 87 in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network serving 1,330 airports in 192 countries. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax.

For more information, please visit: www.aircanada.com.

[Source: Air Canada corporate communications-media relations]
[photo credits-featured image: Golden Temple India-By Vinish K Saini (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
[Intext photos: inserted by openeyesopinion.com (credits embedded)]
[Video: Air Canada 787 Dreamliner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWFTdhN219U

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‘World Travel Awards’ – ‘Middle East Gala Ceremony 2016’ – Will Be Held At The St. Regis Dubai

World Travel

Dubai

Middle East Gala Ceremony 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Travel Awards will host its much anticipated Middle East Gala Ceremony 2016 at The St. Regis Dubai on September 29th. The event is the latest stop on the Grand Tour 2016, with previous hosts including Diamonds La Gemma dell’Est in Tanzania, Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Jamaica, Swissôtel Lima, and Italy’s Forte Village Resort.

The St. Regis Dubai will become the latest destination to join this illustrious group.

Situated in the newly built Al Habtoor City, the hotel extends the legacy of the Astor family to Dubai, mixing the city’s contemporary architecture with the original design of St. Regis in New York.

World Travel Awards President Graham Cooke said: “The Middle East Gala Ceremony is always a highlight of the Grand Tour for the World Travel Awards and I am excited to be bringing the event to Dubai in 2016.

“We will welcome industry leaders from across the region to the stunning The St. Regis Dubai as the hotel celebrates its first year of operations and I am sure it will be a night to remember.”

Shereen Mitwalli

The event will be hosted by United Arab Emirates’ star Shereen Mitwalli and will welcome performances from leading Middle Eastern entertainers. ( http://shereenmitwalli.com )

World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.

Today, the World Travel Awards brand is recognized globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

Each year World Travel Awards covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognize and celebrate individual and collective successes within each key geographical region.

World Travel Awards Gala Ceremonies are widely regarded as the best networking opportunities in the travel industry, attended by government and industry leaders, luminaries, and international print and broadcast media.

See a full list of nominees for the Middle East Gala Ceremony 2016 here, while there is more information on World Travel Awards here.

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About World Travel Awards

World Travel Awards celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year and is acknowledged across the globe as the ultimate travel accolade.

Attended by senior executives from major travel companies, operators, destinations, WTA events are universally respected as providing established, top level networking opportunities, regionally and globally.

The brand aims to celebrate those organizations who push the boundaries of industry excellence.

[Source: World Travel Awards-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image  Dubai Marina by night – By David Pin (Ddpn, http://www.ddpn.net) (Own work) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
[Intext photos: inserted by openeyesopinion.com (credits embedded)]
[Video: By Zangaramia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C79ldS-ufK4

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Developing And Emerging Countries Need Sustainable Tourism Projects

News Snippet

Sustainable Tourism

UNWTO calls for support to crisis-hit countries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai called for increased cooperation between tourism source markets and destinations that have been affected by crises. Addressing the 20th Summit of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) on 26 September in Berlin, Germany on the topic of ‘Safe, Secure and Seamless Travel’, Rifai said: “real crises are often magnified or distorted by crises of perception. We need to enhance our support to countries affected by crises as they recover and help them increase their resilience”. 

Supporting these countries will benefit the whole tourism sector and the whole of society.

Attending the Summit was Chancellor Angela Merkel, who stressed the opportunities that sustainable tourism provides for developing and emerging countries. “It is important for the tourism sector to emphasize local culture and local products and services, to generate truly genuine development opportunities,” said the Chancellor. Ms. Merkel highlighted the role of tourism in development assistance. “Many refugees come from African countries. We need to give people economic development perspectives in their home countries. Tourism could contribute significantly to this,” she said.

Speaking about the need to build a framework of safe, secure and seamless travel, Mr Rifai said: “Safety and security is one of the global challenges our world is experiencing. No country is immune to security risks. Not one. It is a global responsibility that we must face together, across sectors and borders.” He called for increased cooperation, saying: “Let us respond not with isolation but with unity. We must be vigilant to ensure that cooperation prevails over isolation and that safe and seamless travel can go hand in hand”.

“A condition of tourism’s success is positive cooperation – between visitor and host, between source market and destination, and also between the tourism and security sectors. For this reason I call for the mainstreaming of tourism into national, regional and global safety and security agendas. Effective coordination, information sharing and communication mechanisms between tourism and security will lead to safer and more seamless travel, as well as better crisis management,” he added.

The UNWTO Secretary-General also welcomed the launch of the Transcultural Dialogue in Tourism series, an initiative of BTW and the Centre for Innovation and Sustainability in Tourism (CITS). “By its very nature, a partnership between Germany and one host country, this will be a truly remarkable effort to harness that incredible power of tourism to build bridges of trust and tolerance. This supports the conviction that all people, no matter how diverse their background, can benefit economies and societies. Tourism is a leading sector in providing solutions and opportunities for inclusion, and intercultural dialogue is a way of finding these solutions,” said Mr Rifai.

“The facilitation of intercultural dialogue has always been part of the essence of our sector. In these times, this dialogue is more important than ever,” said Michel Frenzel, President of BTW.

Despite current challenges, Mr Rifai stressed that tourism is proving to be one of the most resilient economic sectors worldwide, creating jobs for millions and contributing to more inclusive growth. He recalled that in 2015, international tourist arrivals reached 1.186 million, 52 million more than in 2014, and that data for the first half of 2016 confirmed this positive trend with a 4% increase in international tourist arrivals.

Mr. Rifai also highlighted the good results of Germany’s tourism sector. Germany welcomed 35 million international tourists last year, 2 million more than in 2014, earning the country 33 billion euros in exports.

[Source: UNWTO-Media Relations]
[photo credits-featured image:  camel caravan in the Moroccan desert. – By Bachmont (originally posted to Flickr as torraera) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons ]

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‘Dubai Shopping Festival’ Is Gearing Up For Tourists During The Winter Holiday Season

World Travel

Dubai

Tourists Travel To Dubai For Winter Shopping Spree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The grand shopping festival will begin a day after Christmas, that is from 26 December 2016, when tourist will be flocking Dubai during the holiday period, and will continue till 28 January 2017.

The most awaited Dubai Shopping Festival, one of the major attractions of Dubai Tourism, is all set to start early this year, to celebrate its 22nd Anniversary in 2017. The fest is one of the most extravagant and a large affair in the Middle East.

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This shopping and entertainment event is considered as the Mecca by all the shopaholics around the Middle East as well as many other countries.

Dubai Shopping Festival was first initiated in 1996 in order to benefit the retail trade in Dubai and was intended to be a retail event. The month long event is usually held during the first quarter of the year, with this year being the exception by starting it early, and attracts more than 3 million people. This is an event where food and glamour, shopping and different cultures come together to create it a grand affair.

The grand shopping festival will begin a day after Christmas, that is from 26 December 2016, when tourist will be flocking Dubai during the holiday period, and will continue till 28 January 2017. This mega show offers an array of events where the shoppers can shop, eat and relax to their heart’s content. DSF is known to bring something different and interesting every year. Dubai shopping festival is celebrated by every single mall and outlet in the city where shoppers can avail attractive discount offers and have an exorbitant shopping experience.

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The festival is so popular among people in and around Dubai, as well as with the tourists, that the outlets get crowded and it becomes hard to have a smooth shopping experience. This extravagant shopping event is one of the highlights of Dubai Tourism, which also holds a place in Guinness World Record, by having celebrity performances and other wonderful events as one of the favorite pastimes of the emirate.

Dubai fireworks is one of the major attractions of the whole DSF. There is an event for almost everyone in Dubai, be it raffle drawing or fashion flash mobs, there are plenty of things that people can enjoy during this fest. During this time the entire city is decorated with lights and several promotional offers are showcased to attract buyers. Every nook and corner of the city is decorated with unimaginable lights and the night view of the city is mesmerizingly breath taking. This festival makes an effort to outdo its decoration of the previous year and the results every year are simply outstanding.

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Whether it is exploring the old bazaars or the big modern malls, there are a lot of ways to save and win big at the fest. People can take part and win in one of the daily raffles where cash and even cars are to be given as prizes. This year there are shows to be held at two different locations in Dubai.

The mega Shopping festival lets you buy your favorite brands at a much affordable price, which you would think twice before spending on, otherwise. This event is perfect to fulfill your shopping checklist while grabbing those expensive products at jaw dropping discounts. The prices are slashed to around 50 to 75 percent in almost every shop and malls. The whole month long affair in itself means that there will be a sale season everywhere.

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During this season, being the peak season as far as tourists are concerned, the restaurants and recreations centers also prepare themselves by slashing their prices in order to attract more visitors. If you are a hard-core foodie, it is recommended that you do not miss this food scene, as the restaurants and cafes in Dubai provide some scrumptious and mouth-watering dishes from around the world. The delicious and authentic traditional Arabic treats are to watch out for during the fest. Famous celebrities as well as artists, from both the cinema and music world, come together during this mega event and transform the face of the entertainment as well as recreational centers of Dubai. This period is perfect to exploit and explore the food, recreation and service scene in Dubai along with going on a shopping spree.

Dubai Tourism gets busy with this pompous affair, where it goes far beyond than just shopping, it is a complete family entertainer, where people can shop, relax and rejuvenate to their heart’s delight. With countless shops and innumerable products to choose from, this event is a perfect holiday that you should plan for. The massive discounts on food, gold, clothes, accessories as well as other services makes this place an ideal choice for a trip during the holiday season.

Apart from the shops and service centers, offering great deals on a variety of product and services, even the airlines and hotel industries provide exciting packages specially designed for this festive season. The large number of activities in the city is enough to pull you in the vibes of excitement. You can also catch on the latest fashion trends with the Dubai Fashion Week that takes place during the Dubai Shopping Festival.

A laid back tourist escape, one of the major attractions of this event is – duty free shopping. You will find everything here!

 

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[Source: Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing/Dubai Shopping Festival-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: Dubai – By Jagermesh (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons ]
[Intext photos: inserted by openeyesopinion.com (credits embedded)]
[Video: courtesy of Dubai DTCM]

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The Philippines Showcased Its Islands At Tourism Conference In China

News Snippet

Philippines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PHILIPPINES SHINES IN 2016 INTERNATIONAL ISLANDS TOURISM CONFERENCE IN ZHOUSHAN CITY, ZHEJIANG PROVINCE

Shanghai1

26 September 2016 — The Philippines was showcased as one of the premiere island tourist destinations in the world in the recently concluded International Islands Tourism Conference (IITCZS) 2016 Zhoushan City, Zhejiang Province, China.

The event drew around 15,000 individual travel enthusiasts, 5000 travel practitioners, 200 professional buyers, and over 200 exhibitors from various Chinese and international private tourism companies.

In its second year, the IITCZS aims to build dialogue, exchange and cooperation among various island destinations of the world and to showcase these destinations in an international tourism platform.
The 2016 theme for the IITCZS is “Interconnecting the Marine Silk Road: Sharing Island Development, New Silk Road, New Blue Sea” which is part of China’s efforts to build bridges of friendships among nations through various projects and programs.

Philippine Consul General to Shanghai Wilfredo R. Cuyugan, Head of the Philippine Delegation, was invited to be one of the round table discussants during the Sister City Tourism Salon, a key Conference event.

Consul General Cuyugan underscored the robust tourism figures of Chinese nationals entering the Philippines, citing 340,000 visa issuances from January to June 2016.

“Truly, it is more fun in the Philippines and for our Chinese guests, it is like coming home as more than half of the Filipino population has Chinese blood running in their veins. It is my hope that this Conference will not only result in a more robust two-way traffic of tourists between our two countries but more importantly to serve as a sign post of friendship that would bring Filipino and Chinese people together to forge better relations between the two countries,” the Consul General said.

Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi and a delegation of councilors from the City of Imus were also present during the conference as Imus has forged a sister-city agreement with Zhoushan in 1997.

Aside from Zhoushan City volunteer tourism students, manning the Philippine tourism booth were Vice Consul André Peter C. Estanislao, Protocol Officer Sanny Darren Bejarin, Cultural Officer Chris Ian San Juan and Tourism Attaché Niel Ballesteros.

Vice Consul Estanislao was interviewed by various Chinese media outlets during the exposition and he invited Chinese citizens to explore the beauty of the Philippines and expressed hope that tourism between the two countries expand even further. He also called on Filipinos to come visit Zhoushan and discover other tourist destinations in China.

Aside from the Philippines, the following destinations were highlighted: Lefkada, Greece, Malaysia, Thailand, Kingdom of Tonga, Hawaii, Seychelles, Reunion Island, City of Greater Geraldton, Australia and Guam. 

Over 30 other districts in China and Asia participated including China travel industry giants CTrip and Ali Travel, and Hainan Airlines, also participated in the event.

Shanghai2

 

 

[Source: Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: ElNido,Palawan,Philippines-By Philippine Fly Boy (Flickr: El NIDO) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
[Intext photos: courtesy of  Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs and  wikimedia commons(credits embedded)]

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Monday’s Quote – 26 September 2016

Monday’s Quote

Start the week thinking

 

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.
Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. 
– Mark Twain          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[photo credits: A portrait of the American writer Mark Twain taken by A. F. Bradley in New York, 1907. – By A.F. Bradley, New York (steamboattimes.com) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

 

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The Top 7 Adventure Destinations For 2017

World Travel

Top Rated Adventure Destinations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Francisco based Stride Travel Announces Top 7 Adventure Destinations for 2017. Popular Travel Destinations Include Cuba, Romania, and Iceland

Now that fall has officially arrived, attention has quickly turned from beach getaways and barbecues to holiday travel planning and hot destinations for the New Year. The team at Stride Travel, the largest search and reviews site for tours & adventure experiences, has provided some insights into the top trending adventure tour destinations for 2017.

According to Stride, the most popular destinations include some classic countries, such as Peru and Thailand, as well as some up and coming spots like Cuba and Romania. Overall, interest remains high in Central/South America, despite concerns around the Zika virus, as well as Southeast Asia and parts of southern Europe.

All of these destinations offer a variety of ‘soft’ adventure activities, like hiking, cycling, rafting, wildlife viewing, mingling with local residents, and sampling eclectic, local foods. Stride believes that adventure travel should be accessible to everyone and features tours from top operators that satisfy all travel styles and budgets.

Top 7 Adventure Tour Destinations for 2017

1. Cuba

There is no country as hot as Cuba right now. Americans are finally discovering what Europeans and Canadians have known for years – that Cuba is blessed with amazing architecture, friendly locals, and beautiful, empty national parks, all within an hour flight from Miami. Imagine a day of exploring the cobblestone streets of Trinidad followed by a meal of the best ropa vieja you’ve ever had. Venture out to one of the many protected open spaces in Cuba, like Topes de Collantes National Park or the Zapata Peninsula, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve featuring thousands of unique bird species. While independent travel to Cuba is now allowed (with some restrictions), a tour is recommended as Cuba’s tourism infrastructure is still developing.

2. Romania

Romania might be famous for being home to Dracula, but there’s nothing scary about this gem of a country, located in southeastern Europe. After exploring the streets of Brasov, a charming medieval town in the heart of Transylvania, head to the Carpathian mountains for your dose of outdoor adventure sports, including hiking and rafting. If you plan on visiting during winter, Romania boasts dozens of ski resorts with reliable snow. Most tours include a few days in the capital of Bucharest and many also include farm to table meals with local residents.

3. Belize

Belize has been a ‘go to’ destination for years among American retirees looking to settle down in a friendly and warm country close to home. But you don’t need to wait for retirement to take advantage of Belize’s world-class snorkeling and scuba diving. A guided tour will ensure you gain access to the top snorkeling and diving spots like the Lighthouse Reef atoll, home to the famous Blue Hole. A tour guide will also provide local insights and historical context when visiting places like the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich and Caracol.

4. Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu remains toward the top of the list of destinations for adventure seekers and history buffs. There are few moments as spectacular as walking through Machu Picchu’s Sun Gate at sunrise. The Inca Trail is the classic trekking route, which requires a guide and is best arranged months ahead of time, as permits sell out fast. Other good options exist like the Salkantay route, which snakes through the Andes and is less crowded than the Inca Trail. A tour operator can also help arrange visits to local indigenous communities scattered throughout the Sacred Valley and is a must-see on any visit to Peru.

5.  Iceland

Iceland has recently emerged as one of the most popular adventure tour destinations in the world. With a prime location just a short hop across the Atlantic from the US East Coast and a few hours flight from Western Europe, Iceland is a nature lover’s paradise. Joining a tour will ensure you hit the major sights, like the Skogafoss waterfall,  ‎Snæfellsnes National Park, and yes, the Blue Lagoon. Winter travel is very popular, with the Northern Lights putting on a magnificent spectacle. Just don’t forget to pack a warm jacket!

6. Thailand

Thailand really has something for everyone – blissful beaches in the south, bustling Bangkok, and Buddhist temples everywhere. You ideally need a two or three week trip to see, and taste, it all! Most tours start in Bangkok, where adventurous foodies can nosh on a seemingly endless array of street eats. Need a break from the busy urban centers? Thailand offers escapes to nature in the mountains around Chiang Mai, where hiking and mountain biking are popular activities. Local secret: schedule a visit to tour Friends of the Asian Elephant in Lampang, where you can see first-hand the amazing work they are doing to rehabilitate injured elephants.

7. Greece

From incredible ancient sites like The Acropolis and Epidaurus to the stunning blue waters off Santorini, an adventure tour to Greece will ensure you don’t miss any of the classics. There’s no place like Greece for sailing – head out to sea and enjoy a view of the famous Greek islands from the water. Some outfitters even encourage you to help skipper the boat. Back on dry land, check out local tavernas where you can taste delicacies such as moussaka and grilled octopus. Greece is also a relatively inexpensive destination compared to other European countries, which keeps it popular with budget travelers and value-seekers alike.

Find and compare detailed tour itineraries from over 400 travel providers, including trusted traveler reviews, for these destinations and hundreds more on http://www.StrideTravel.com.

*Note: Top destinations derived from search and page view data on Stride Travel.

About Stride Travel – San Francisco

Stride enables travelers of all stripes to authentically explore the world at their pace. It is the first meta search site for all professionally-planned, experiential travel – tours, adventure trip packages, small ship and river cruises, and self-guided active vacations. Stride makes it easy to find and compare the most comprehensive variety of trips to every continent from over 400 leading and local travel companies. With trusted user reviews on thousands of itineraries and companies, travelers can pick their perfect trip with confidence. Stride is based in San Francisco, CA with staff and Destination Experts around the globe.

[Source: Stride Travel-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: Delphi, Tholos – By Arian Zwegers (Delphi, Tholos) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
[Intext photos: inserted by openeyesopinion.com (credits embedded)]

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The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Tour British Columbia Canada

World Travel

Canada

Horseback Riding Adventures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranches fit for a Royal Tour – With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge about to head off on their family tour of British Columbia (24 September – 01 October), Canada expert Ranch Rider has put a horsey twist on the royal itinerary, the activities at its handpicked list of BC ranches mirroring those on William and Kate’s schedule.

The Yukon also features on the famous foursome’s regal calendar, and as the tour operator offers add on fly drives to “The Land of the Midnight Sun,” adventurers can expect an action packed 2017 Ranch Rider holiday in the Great White North.

Tony Daly, Managing Director of Ranch Rider comments, “Our Canada collection has been popular with UK travelers over the 2016 ranch season, but this being Princess Charlotte’s royal tour debut, BC could soon be taking the top slot on our 2017 bookings list.

Known as ‘Super, Natural British Columbia,’ the province is blessed with amazing geographical diversity, which means there is an equally amazing variety of places to see and things to do. From cosmopolitan Vancouver, once described as “Manhattan with mountains,” to its rainforest, desert and snow capped peaks.  Our ranch holidays allow guests to discover the beauty of British Columbia, view its abundant wildlife and share its rich tapestry of cultures, the royal tour opening up a whole new world of possibilities for adventurers.”

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William and Kate will be travelling to Bella Bella to explore the Great Bear Rainforest: the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world home to the Kermode Bears (Spirit Bears).

Opt to hit the trail and join a BC Grizzly Bear Tracker Trip. Set off from the Chilcotin Guest Ranch on horseback; a thriving population residing in the South Chilcotin Mountains. Let your camera roll as you watch the bears from atop your mount, their behavior completely undisturbed. Three nights from £1,650pp (two sharing) including accommodation, meals, most ranch activities, transfers and taxes. Excludes gratuities left to discretion and return flight from £899pp. 2017 departures: June to October.

The Royals will also be including Okanagan wine country on their itinerary. A regular pit stop on Ranch Rider’s BC self-drives, the tour operator suggests visiting Mission Hill, the family estate world renowned for its award winning wines, stunning setting and architecture. ‘Terrace,’ its sixty-seat restaurant overlooks Lake Okanagan and was once named as one of the five best winery restaurants in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine. Seven night self drive in British Columbia from £659pp (two sharing) including accommodation and car hire.

Alternatively, book a six night stay at the Siwash Lake Luxury Guest Ranch, in south central British Columbia, and soar across the skies on an optional ‘heli-wine’ tour.  Fly due west over to the mighty Fraser River, then follow it south; steep valley walls, hoodoos, Jack Jones Rapids and golden grasslands viewed from above. Wine tasting at the Fort Berens Winery in Lillooet is included part way through the adventure.

Located at the start of the province’s historic Gold Rush Trail, the town is situated in one of British Columbia’s newest emerging wine regions. A regular haunt for ‘foodies,’ enjoy unlimited riding across the ranch’s 80,000 acres and pack a gourmet lunch in your saddle bag. At the end of the trail expect five star dining complete with a choice of vintage wines. Six nights from £5,140pp (two sharing) including accommodation, meals, most ranch activities, taxes and gratuities. Excludes car hire from £235 and return flight from £899pp. 2017 departures: June to October.

Before departing Canada, William and Kate will return to British Columbia to visit Haida Gwaii. Formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands, the archipelago located off the Northwest coast of British Columbia is one of the richest biological and cultural areas in North America. a canoe trip and visit to ancient Haida villages on the royal itinerary.

You can also combine cultural tours and water based adventures at the Echo Valley Ranch & Spa, the property located in Canada’s Cariboo wilderness. Go white water rafting on the legendary Thompson River and experience the thrilling Jaws of Death rapid and back at the ranch embrace First Nation’s culture with resident Gitxsan artist, Michael Blackstock. Etched into the surrounding trees, Michael’s creative works honor the living spirit of spring water. Book a tree carving tour or a take yourself on solo spiritual journey using the ranch’s self-guided booklet. Six nights from £1,367pp (two sharing) including accommodation, meals, half-day’s riding each day, unlimited fly fishing, nature hikes and much more, taxes and gratuities. Excludes car hire and return flight from £899pp. 2017 departures: May to November.

Add on a self drive in British Columbia or The Yukon from £659pp (two sharing) including accommodation and car hire.

For more information please visit http://www.ranchrider.com/

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[Source: Ranch Rider-Media Relations]
[photo credits-featured image: Fireweed on the Klondike Highway in British Columbia in the vicinity of Summit Lake and Bernard Lake near the Alaska border. – By Wknight94 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
[Intext photos: inserted by openeyesopinion.com ( credits embedded) ]

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Bicycle Tours Now Available In Iran

World Travel

Iran

International Bicycle Tours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Spice Roads Cycle Tours’ just announced their newest tour creating their 30th destination,
The Jewels of Persia by Bicycle,” set in Iran.

Iran is an emerging destination and one of the top go-to places for intrepid adventurers.

With a history that spans thousands of years, Iran boasts fascinating historical sites as well as varied landscapes that provide a perfect setting for cycling through this once restricted country.

“Iran is an exciting destination that has much to offer curious travelers. Exploring the country by bicycle is the perfect way to discover its rich culture and warm people. SpiceRoads is committed to providing our riders with top quality cycling tours and travel experiences, so we’re proud to announce Iran as our 30th destination,” says Daniel Moylan, GM of SpiceRoads Cycle Tours.

SpiceRoads is the first international cycle tour company to offer a program in Iran.

“As visiting sanctions for US citizens have just been lifted in early 2016, now is the time to experience the country before it is changed by mass tourism,” added Moylan.

The Jewels of Persia by Bicycle is a 15 day, moderately challenging cycling tour that takes travelers along a beautiful route through Central Iran, exploring the country’s cultural heartland and visiting key historical sites.

Itinerary Highlights 

  • Beginning the journey in Shiraz, the capital of Iranian poetry
  • Wandering the still-standing ruins of Persepolis, once the richest city on earth
  • Strolling through the famous gardens of Isfahan
  • Discovering Zoroastrian influences in Yazd
  • Camping underneath the desert’s star-filled sky for two nights
  • Gazing in awe at the splendor of Persian mosques
  • Spending two nights in traditional cavansaries – historical traveler inns along the Silk Road

The Route
This 15-day tour begins in Shiraz and ends in the Iranian capital of Tehran. The riding is primarily on paved roads, but incorporates the variety of natural environments the region has to offer, including mountains and hills as well as valley flatlands. There are a few challenging climbs as well as some fast, sweeping descents, and a short section off road.

Go the Distance
The tour was designed for active riders looking for a few challenging rides as well as some climbs. The route is comprised of 9 full days and one half day of cycling for 650 total kilometers. Any portion can be skipped by taking a break in the support vehicle, which follows the tour group and is always close at hand.

While most nights are spent in local hotels, two nights are spent in traditional caravansaries and another two in desert campsites, adding some adventure to the tour.

2017 Departures

  • April 2 – April 16
  • May 7 – May 21
  • September 17 – October 1

Tour Price
The total tour cost is US $3,495 with an additional US $180 for bike hire and US $275 for single supplement. This price includes all accommodation and meals, support vehicle, each guests’ SpiceRoads cycling jersey and water bottle, and visa authorization, but excludes domestic flights and visa fees.

Read the full tour description and itinerary here.

About SpiceRoads
SpiceRoads is a specialist bicycle tour operator based in Bangkok offering a range of two­ wheel tours in 30 destinations worldwide. SpiceRoads tours cater to every level of rider, from casual sightseer to performance road cyclist, and range from half­-day sightseeing excursions to 30-day multi-­country odysseys.

[Source: Spice Roads Cycle Tours/Sally Phipps-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: Towers of silence – Zoroastrians Dakhmeh (graveyard), Yazd, Iran. – By Ggia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
[Intext photos: inserted by openeyesopinion.com (credits embedded)]

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‘Nevada Division Of Tourism’ Wins Top National Tourism Award

World Travel

USA

 

‘Travel Nevada’ Wins Top National Honor from the U.S. Travel Association

 

 

 

 

 

At a recent U.S. Travel Association event in Florida, winners of the 2016 national Mercury Awards were announced. TravelNevada was named Best Public Relations Campaign for its current “Don’t Fence Me In” millennial marketing effort.

The most distinguished award for tourism marketing nationally, Mercury Awards recognize excellence and creative accomplishment in state destination marketing in 12 categories, and are judged by a panel of industry leaders including National Geographic, Google, Facebook and others.

“Millennials are an ideal audience for Nevada based on the state’s visitor experiences and this generation’s travel preferences,” Claudia Vecchio, director of the Nevada Division of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, said. “TravelNevada’s cost-effective public relations and social media programs connect with Millennials and adventure seekers via channels and brand partnerships that best reach these important potential visitors. It’s a great honor to receive this coveted award.”

This honor follows a number of other national awards TravelNevada has received this year, including national Silver and Bronze Anvil Awards from the Public Relations Society of America, and many other distinctions from the Holmes Report (Sabre Award), Content Marketing Institute (Best Content ROI/Measurement Program), American Marketing Association (Ace Awards), Advertising Federation (ADDY Awards), and many others. These programs were executed in partnership with Agency of Record Fahlgren Mortine and Nevada-based partner, The Abbi Agency.

The work included in these programs reflects the integrated marketing strategy set for the by the Nevada Division of Tourism to increase visitor spending and drive visitation to and within Nevada. This program continues to drive year-over-year increases in the marketing return on investment, and has demonstrated TravelNevada’s excellence in innovative marketing per the department’s strategic plan. This plan is executed with oversight and approval from the Nevada Commission on Tourism.

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The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 15 million jobs. U.S. Travel’s mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.
Visit www.ustravel.org for more information.

 The Nevada Division of Tourism (TravelNevada) is part of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. It promotes and markets Nevada as a tourism destination for domestic and international leisure and business travelers through its marketing and advertising programs and by coordinating partnerships between public and private entities. TravelNevada also administers grant programs for local entities to market travel and tourism offerings and publishes Nevada Magazine.

For more information on Travel Nevada please visit http://travelnevada.com/

Plan your trip using free Nevada Travel Guides http://travelnevada.com/travel-guides


[Source: Nevada Division of Tourism-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: Northern Nevada Roads Location: Northern NV BLM District: Carson City District Photographer: Scott Mortimore – By BLM Nevada (Northern Nevada Roads) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
[Intext photos: inserted by openeyesopinion.com (credits embedded)]

 

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Croatia Is Experiencing An Increase In Luxury Minded Travelers From North America

World Travel

Croatia

Small Ship Cruise Company is Meeting Increasing Demand of North American Travelers for Luxury and Comfort

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Katarina Line, Croatia’s leading DMC and premier small ship cruise company, announced that it is expanding its fleet for 2017 with three new deluxe ships to meet demands for lavish, more comfortable cruising from North American travelers.

Providenca

The company, which recently published its 2017 program, has already added seven new ships in the past three years as the popularity of small ship cruising continues to soar and tourism to Croatia reaches record numbers. It is also increasing outreach to North American travel agents with new incentives, trade show support, familiarization trips, and a generous commission structure that provides agents with up to 20% commission.

Like all Katarina Line’s deluxe ships, the new vessels will be fully air conditioned with spacious en-suite cabins, Wi-Fi and other amenities. Cruise itineraries feature unique gastronomical and sightseeing experiences, with visits to many of the popular destinations along the Croatian coast. These include the towns of Split, Bol and Trstenik, the city of Dubrovnik, and the islands of Korčula, Hvar and Bol, as well as the lush island of Mljet, which is a national park.  Katarina Line’s guests explore Croatia’s scenic Mediterranean coastline and striking seaside towns. Along the way, they can go swimming in the sunlit waters and enjoy the local attractions as they cruise from island to island.

The company offers a total of four cruise categories, from the deluxe boats that accommodate up to 42 guests, to the more traditional gullets that accommodate from eight to 14 passengers.  It provides guaranteed departures throughout the spring and summer and can tap into its extensive land programs with both packaged and customized pre- and post-cruise land tours.

“Croatia has 260 days of sunshine and one of the most picturesque coastlines in the Mediterranean, so almost every cruise will enjoy near-perfect weather and gorgeous scenery,” said Daniel Hauptfeld, marketing director for Katarina Line. “With the value of the dollar rising against the Euro, now is the perfect time to visit what has been called ‘the country of a thousand islands.’”

Hauptfeld noted that there has been a 25% increase in American travelers to Croatia in recent years, as well as more Canadian travelers taking advantage of new direct flights to Croatia. The expanded, deluxe cruise offerings are a response to a growing demand from the U.S. and Canadian markets for a more luxurious cruise experience.

Katarina Line has local offices in Croatia, allowing them to quickly and efficiently respond to customers’ needs. Its strong partnerships with quality hotels in Croatia and Slovenia means every pre- and post-cruise land tours booked through Katarina Line boasts the best accommodations for the money.

For more information please visit http://www.katarina-line.com/

[Source: Katarina Line-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: City of Hvar (Croatia). – By No machine-readable author provided. Andres rus assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
[Intext photos: inserted by openeyesopinion.com (credits embedded)]
[Video: posted to Youtube by Katarina Line]

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