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October, 2016


Royal Caribbean International Selects South Florida Educator As The Godmother Of Their Newest Ship

World Travel

Cruise News

Royal Caribbean International


Royal Caribbean Names Inspirational Hometown Hero In Education As Godmother Of  ‘Harmony Of The Seas’







The results are in; after a six-week search for an educator who is inspiring South Florida’s next generation to dream big, think differently and challenge the status quo, 23-year-old Brittany Affolter from the Miami-Dade region of Teach For America, has been selected as Godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Harmony of the Seas.

Brittany Affolter, Manager, Teacher Leadership Development, Teach for America Miami-Dade. Finalist in Royal Caribbean's search for a hometown hero in education to honor as Godmother of Harmony of the Seas.

With this honor, Affolter will join the ranks of renowned athletes, celebrities and royalty when she officially breaks a bottle to name the ship on Nov. 10, 2016.  Royal Caribbean received nearly one thousand nominations from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, of which three Finalists were selected and voted on by the public to help choose a South Florida hometown hero in education.

“The Godmothers of our ships are remarkable individuals whose life lessons and achievements are rooted in courage, dedication and determination,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Brittany exemplifies these qualities and so much more. We were exceptionally impressed by the passion she has for empowering our youth to believe in a better world and brighter future. She is wise beyond her years, and we can only imagine the accomplishments that she will continue to achieve.”

“At Royal Caribbean, we view education as a crucial stepping stone for our young people,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are very proud to be in a position to ‘pay it forward’ by celebrating the unsung heroes in our local communities who have dedicated their lives to this goal.  Congratulations to Brittany and the nearly thousand other heroes who were nominated.”

Brittany Affolter pursued a career in education as a way to pay it forward and inspire children in the same way she had been during her early years. She grew up in a challenging home environment where she received little support and guidance, and was able to remove herself from that setting with the help of teachers and mentors.  Instead Affolter found the encouragement and inspiration she sought from caring and devoted teachers who believed in her, helping her realize that college was within grasp and that a quality education was essential for a successful, fulfilling life. Ultimately, these teachers advanced her to where she is today.

Affolter has been working with Teach For America Miami-Dade since 2014, engaging classrooms in Title 1 schools across the county that meet the needs of at-risk and low-income students. In order to reach as many kids in Miami as possible for the greatest impact, she now trains teachers at 14 high-need schools in Miami-Dade, serving more than 500 students. In her spare time, she tutors students, is working to become a mentor for children in foster care, and is completing her masters in educational leadership.

“I am so honored to have been selected as Godmother to Harmony of the Seas and hope that my story can help give a voice to all the hard-working teachers that give so much of themselves to make a meaningful difference,” said Affolter.  “It’s most important for me to help kids understand that no matter what is going on in their lives, they can reach the dreams they have for themselves. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have the support and encouragement of teachers who go above and beyond.”

Royal Caribbean set out to find a hometown hero in education to honor the homecoming of Harmony of the Seas, which will make her U.S. debut in a few short weeks when she arrives into her new homeport of Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on November 5.

The South Florida-based company sought an outstanding candidate that is making a positive impact on the community’s youth and received nearly 1,000 motivating and heartfelt nominations. After narrowing the selection to three standout finalists, and thanks in part to votes from South Florida residents, Affolter rose to the top as the educator most deserving to be named Godmother of the world’s largest cruise ship. Royal Caribbean will award a $25,000 grant to Teach For America Miami-Dade, funding education initiatives that further Affolter’s mission to inspire the local community’s youth.

“Leading a classroom to great results is no small feat,” said Samantha Hoare, executive director of Teach For America Miami-Dade. “We see a lot of invaluable qualities in the future leaders who join our corps, most importantly, a desire to have a real impact in the community and a deep belief in the potential of all kids. We saw the makings of a great teacher, mentor and coach in Brittany, and thrilled that she is being recognized for her commitment to expanding opportunities for Miami-Dade’s children through an excellent education.”

For more information on how Affolter is inspiring the next generation, as well as the role of Royal Caribbean Godmothers, past and present, visit

Harmony of the Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship with a bold and unexpected lineup of thrilling experiences found nowhere else on land or at sea. Harmony combines the distinct seven-neighborhood concept that sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are known for, with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities, including imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, such as VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. From the Ultimate Abyss, a thrilling 10-story tall slide, to unparalleled entertainment including Broadway’s hit musical Grease and high-diving, acrobatic performances in the iconic AquaTheater, world-class dining in venues ranging from Jamie’s Italian Cuisine by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Wonderland, a unique whimsical culinary adventure for the senses; and robot bartenders, there is an adventure for guests of all ages onboard Harmony.

Harmony of the Seas spans 16 guest decks, encompasses 226,963 gross registered tons, carries 5,479 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,747 staterooms.

For more information about Harmony, please visit

For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers should call their travel agent; visit; or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

[Source: Royal Caribbean International-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: Cruiseship Harmony of the Seas in Rotterdam-By kees torn (Harmony of the Seas) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]
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Stop Lugging Your Bags Around Bangkok

George Stewart

Travel Tip


Eliminate the hassle and get your bags delivered to your hotel in Bangkok





AIRPORTELs, a Thai founded company, has disrupted the way holidaymakers enjoy their time by offering a unique luggage delivery service in Bangkok, Thailand, since Feb. 2016. By partnering with hotels, the company offers reliable services, delivers luggage between hotels and airports in the Bangkok metropolis.

The name “AIRPORTELs” brings together two essential elements of modern travel — airports and hotels. By seamlessly connecting these two sites, AIRPORTELs services allow travelers to focus on what really matters to them – be it vacation or business activities.

Bangkok is notorious for its traffic jam, crowded public transportation system and for travelers, lugging bags around greatly reduces the joy of traveling. By using the service, travelers can make the best of their time.

AIRPORTELs understands users worry about their belongings, this is why the company offers up to 100,000 baht insurance on each bag. Furthermore, luggage is delivered by professional logistics personnel who handle each bag with care. AIRPORTELs collects and delivers luggage to and from Suvarnabhumi (BKK) airport with the service launch at other domestic airports being on the cards.

After landing, users can simply drop off their luggage at the airport and pick it up later when they arrive at their hotel, allowing them to start enjoying their holiday immediately upon landing. On the last day of the trip, they can check out from the hotel and also make full use of their last few hours in the bustling city — luggage-free. This is because their belongings will be waiting for them at the airport.

AIRPORTELs believes that removing the burden of luggage, traveling can be more convenient than ever. This is why users have many ways of booking the service, either online at, through the company’s social channels, on the phone or at locations through one of AIRPORTELs counters at the hotel reception.

AIRPORTELs offers simple, transparent and flat pricings. One-way delivery per bag is 350 THB without limit on luggage size, weight and delivery distance.

The company’s airport site is 150 Sq.m and able to handle more than 2,000 bags at one time. The service is also offered in multiple languages including English and Chinese.

Find out more about the service and AIRPORTELs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Weibo or official website Travel will be more convenient than ever!

Please Visit:

[Source: airportels,satellite pr, relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: Khaosan Road-Mr.bloom [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]
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[Video: airportels –]



Croatia Makes Commitment To Monitor Sustainable Tourism

World Travel


Sustainable Tourism










UNWTO Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories welcomes Croatia Observatory

The Croatian Sustainable Tourism Observatory (CROSTO) has become a member of the UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO). This Observatory, hosted by the Institute for Tourism in Zagreb, is responsible for monitoring sustainable tourism in the Adriatic Croatia.

“Sustainable tourism development requires adequate measurement and evidence-based decision-making. We are very pleased to welcome the Croatian Sustainable Tourism Observatory to the UNWTO INSTO Network. We trust it can make a key contribution to support the vision set by Croatia for the future of its tourism sector; a sector that contributes to the three pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

“Through its membership in INSTO, Croatia is also sharing the global strategic commitment to act responsibly and with care towards the space we live in,” mentioned the Ministry of Tourism of Croatia, Gari Cappelli.

Croatia’s commitment to sustainability has been emphasized in its Tourism Development Strategy 2020. The initiative aims at fostering innovation in the framework of sustainable tourism. The efforts of the country in that regard have been recognized by the European Commission through the ETIS Award to the City of Mali Lošinj. The breadth and depth of insights gathered on sustainable tourism practices on the island have been particularly praised in that recognition.

File:Adriatic near Tučepi, Croatia.jpg

Additional information:

About the UNWTO Network of Observatories

About the joint ETIS and Accessible Tourism Awards

Please Visit George’s Travel Tidbits:

[Source: UN World Tourism Organization-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image:  Banje beach, Dubrovnik in Republic of Croatia- By BiHVolim (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]
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Singapore Tourism Board Is Offering Study Awards For Tourism Sector Training

George Stewart

News Snippet


Tourism Training






The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) launched the SkillsFuture Study Awards for the Hotel, Meeting, Incentive, Convention, and Exhibition (MICE), Travel Agent, and Tourist Guide industries.

Successful applicants of the SkillsFuture Study Awards will each receive S$5,000. This Study Award is bond-free and can be used to defray course fees and out-of-pocket training expenses for tourism sector courses including Higher National ITE Certificate (NITEC), diploma and degree programs offered by local tertiary institutions, relevant Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) courses, professional certification, and advanced language courses, depending on the industry focus. Applications for the Study Awards are open from now to March 2017.

“As part of STB’s ongoing journey towards Quality Tourism, it is essential for the tourism sector to raise capabilities and enhance the competitiveness of Singapore’s tourism landscape. These Study Awards will deepen the skills of the tourism workforce, while helping employers to nurture their Singaporean core. It is also another tool in STB’s arsenal of industry assistance that includes funding support for employee upgrading, talent and leadership development for the tourism sector, said Lionel Yeo, Chief Executive, STB.

These awards are supported by industry associations such as the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA), Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers (SACEOS), National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS), Society of Tourist Guides Singapore (STGS), and union partners such as National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). 

Refer to Annex A for press quotes from the respective associations.

Refer to Annex B for background information on the SkillsFuture Study Awards to be rolled out by STB.

Refer to Annex C for more information on STB’s other available funding that supports tourism companies in their employee upgrading, talent and leadership development.

For more information on the eligibility criteria and supported courses, visit the SkillsFuture Study Awards website at

About Singapore Tourism Board

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is a leading economic development agency in tourism, one of Singapore’s key service sectors. Known for partnership, innovation and excellence, STB champions tourism, making it a key economic driver for Singapore. We aim to differentiate and market Singapore as a must-visit destination offering a concentration of user-centric and enriching experiences through the “YourSingapore” brand.

For more information, visit  or 

[Source: Singapore Tourism Board-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: A view of the Singapore skyline at sunset viewed from Gardens by the Bay East.- By Chensiyuan. (Own work.) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]
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The 5th Global Summit On City Tourism Will Be Held In Luxor

World Travel


5th Global Summit on City Tourism










The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt are organizing the 5th Global Summit on City Tourism: “Cities: Local Culture for Global Travellers” on 1-2 November 2016 in Luxor. During the summit, UNWTO will launch the Mayors for Tourism Initiative.

Tourism has become a central component of the economy, social life and geography of many cities in the world and is ideally positioned to seize the opportunities provided by urbanization. Yet many challenges are emerging, including the need to effectively manage the growth of tourism in many cities around the globe.

The 5th Global Summit on City Tourism: “Cities: Local Culture for Global Travellers” will discuss city tourism trends and debate themes such as sustainable development, spatial organization and rejuvenation, innovation in city tourism, cross-cultural behavior, and new business models or the so‑called ‘sharing economy’.

The development of clusters that engage public and private players from all sectors is central to the new paradigm of city tourism development, in which tourism needs to be a tool for social cohesion and cultural preservation, beyond its fundamental contribution to economic activity.

Within the framework of the Conference, UNWTO will officially launch the City Tourism Network, a forum offering participants an opportunity to learn the objectives and main lines of action of the network. The City Tourism Network is composed of key stakeholders from the public and private sectors working towards policies to encourage the sustainable development of City Tourism on local, national and international levels. In particular, the new initiative “Mayors for Tourism” will be presented, aiming to gather mayors and decision-makers from cities around the world to discuss and collaborate on tourism issues.

The Mayors for Tourism Initiative aims to promote the important role of tourism as a driving force for socio-economic development in cities, and prioritize the sector in the urban agenda.

Mayors of world cities have been invited to share best practices in managing the challenges and opportunities that tourism presents to local administrations and to propose formulas to align their tourism‑related policies with those of national governments.

The Summit will be preceded by the 104th Session of the UNWTO Executive Council, taking place in Luxor on 30 October-1 November 2016.

Useful links:

Programme of the Conference


UNWTO Global Report on City Tourism

[Source: UN World Tourism Organization-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: A night view of a hall inside the Luxor temple, Egypt.-Photo: Przemyslaw “Blueshade” Idzkiewicz. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.]
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Malaysia Airlines & Kuoni Announce Luxury Travel Deals From The UK To Thailand And Indonesia

World Travel

Flight Bites

Malaysia Airlines











UK travellers seeking a luxury holiday to Thailand or Indonesia need look no further as Malaysia Airlines is offering up to £1150 off holidays. Travellers will start their exotic getaway via Malaysia Airlines’ twice daily A380 operated flights between London Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur. To seal the deal, book between now and 7 November, via our travel partner Kuoni

Holiday Examples:

7 Night Thailand holiday: from £849pp (B&B)
Saving up to £550 per couple

*   Rocky’s Boutique Resort, Koh Samui (4 star)
*   Price includes, one complimentary Thai Theme night dinner, one 60 minute massage & private transfers

Connecting flights with Malaysia Airlines – based on selected November 2016 departures

10 Night Thailand holiday: from £1199pp (B&B)
Saving up to £530 per couple

*   Rembrandt Hotel, Hau Him (4 star)
*   Price includes private transfers

Connecting flights with Malaysia Airlines – based on selected March 2017 departures

7 Night Indonesia holiday: from £1189pp (Full Board)
Saving up to £1150 per couple

*   Spa Village Resort, Tembok, Bali (5 star)
*   Price includes complimentary daily 50 minute spa treatment per person & private transfers

Connecting flights with Malaysia Airlines – based on selected Jan/Feb/March 2017 departures

Spa Village Resort Tembok, Bali

About Kuoni 

Kuoni Travel UK is part of DER Touristik, one of Europe’s leading travel groups. Kuoni has continued to set the pace in luxury worldwide travel in the UK market for over fifty years and is regularly voted one of the best holiday companies in the country by readers of national newspapers and travel industry titles. The company excels in creating tailor-made holidays and honeymoons to more than 90 destinations around the world. Over the last six years Kuoni has grown its retail network across the UK and can be found in 42 locations on premium high streets and in selected John Lewis department stores. Each store is unique in design and showcases Kuoni’s Personal Travel Experts and personalised customer service.  

Please visit Kuoni:

Please visit Malaysia Airlines:

[Source: Malaysia Airlines/Kuoni-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: Airbus A380-841, Malaysia Airlines AN2208844-By Alex Beltyukov – RuSpotters Team [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL 1.2 (], via Wikimedia Commons]
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Visit The Vidzeme Province Of Beautiful Latvia

World Travel













Rocky coastline, hills, gorges and valleys, lush locales along the banks of the Gauja River – these are just some of the unforgettable features of Vidzeme Province, which covers the central and northern parts of Latvia. Why not get to know Vidzeme by boat, bicycle or during a good concert at the outdoor Sigulda Castle stage or the new, modern Vidzeme Concert Hall in charming Cēsis. Vidzeme is a perfect place for those hungry for the more extreme kinds of recreation – it is a treasure trove for nature lovers, aficionados of art and life!



Vidzeme is the only place in Latvia with rocky beaches, and the highest mountain in Latvia – Gaizins, 311.6 metres above sea level.

At the Gauja River, noted for the beautiful sandstone cliffs along its banks, Latvia’s largest white sandstone outcrop, Sietiņiezis, stands, surrounded by awe-inspiring pine forests. The largest cavern in Latvia, Gūtmaņala, is also located on the Gauja.

To see these and other striking attractions with your own eyes, visit Gauja National Park, which is not just the largest, but also the oldest national park in Latvia.

The number of visitors to the park usually peaks during the so-called golden autumn period. Indeed, this is when the park may be at its loveliest, with leaves coloured in thousands of shades as nature bids farewell to summer.

Gauja National Park

Cities and towns in Vidzeme


Sigulda, also called Switzerland of Vidzeme because of the multiple hills and mountains in and around the town. The only cable car in the Baltic countries is also located here, connecting two sides of the Gauja River gorge. For history buffs – a visit to the Turaida Museum Reserve is recommended. The most popular museum in Latvia, here visitors can learn the legend about the tragic love story of the Rose of Turaida, or climb up the 30-metre-high tower to enjoy a magnificent view of the Gauja River gorge.

The New Castle of Sigulda and the manor center


Cesis (Cēsis) may have clinched the title of culture capital of Vidzeme with the opening of the newconcert hall in the center of town. Local activists each summer put together a top-level contemporary arts festival, and bars and cafes here are so attractive that young people from near and far make the trip to Cesis, even from Riga.

Cesis takes pride in its Medieval castle, and it is a tourist favourite. Guided tours tell the story, special programmes like jousting lessons and/or an alcohol-fueled feast, await one and all.

Cesis castle


Valmiera, located on the steep sandy cliffs of Valmiera, names as one of its feature sights – the 2.7 meter long Sajūtu taka (pathway) which, if strolled barefoot, enlivens all five senses.

Just outside Valmiera – a brewery producing the best beer Valmiermuižas alus – if not the best, then most certainly in the top three; its fame is sure to stretch far beyond Latvia’s borders as foreign tourists here have also given the product rave reviews.

The Vidzeme town of Līgatne and its hiking trails is a good opportunity for you to view wild animals and birds characteristic of Latvia’s fauna. Or check out an architectural landmark from the 19th century –  the Līgatne Paper Mill village and its authentic unspoiled surroundings. The defunct Mill’s territory includes many caverns or grottoes that are still to this day utilised as cellars, like, for example, the one at Lustažs is a “pit stop” to sample and enjoy locally-produced wine and schnapps.

For those travelers who yearn for rest and relaxation seaside, the charming towns of Saulkrasti and Salacgrīva are just for you. Here your friendly fisherman will be glad to offer you various seafood – smoked with methods centuries old. 



Boaters are invited to experience the twists and turns of the Gauja and the rapids of the Amata, while cyclists can take off on one of the designated routes in Gauja National Park, or, how’s about taking in the semi-rugged gulf coast beaches between Salacgrīva and Tūja.

Ever wanted to fly like an eagle? Don’t miss Aerodium  – the vertical wind tunnel. When in Sigulda, visit the Tarzāns Amusement Park or challenge the multiple obstacle courses, or – even crazier –bungee jump from the Sigulda cable car, high above the Gauja.

Winter sports buffs can find resort slopes and tracks in Cesis, Sigulda or Valmiera.

Gauja National Park

Please Visit Discover Latvia:

[Source: Latvia Travel-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: Buildings in the Market Square, Riga, Latvia-Diego Delso [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]
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[Video: Beautiful Latvia: Vidzeme [Emri Studio]]


Where the Heck Is Lingshui?

World Travel











Have you ever heard of Lingshui? If not now is the time to learn more about this beautiful corner of the world. Lingshui is situated in the south east of Hainan Island, China and boasts some of the most unspoilt landscapes on the island. As Lingshui’s beauty and culture appears before your eyes you will leave behind the monotony and stresses of daily life and begin a new adventure exploring this beautiful and mysterious land.

From ancient rainforests to pristine beaches, Lingshui’s natural wonders will entice all who visit. Likewise, for travellers who wish to experience Hainan’s culture, Lingshui’s Ethnic Minorities are proud to showcase their traditional way of life and foodies will be amazed by the sheer variety of delicious local delicacies available.

Now Lingshui is hosting the First International Youth Festival from Oct. 21 to Oct.23 2016. We have invited 1,500 international guests to experience the best of Lingshui. And don’t miss the final night party.  Follow “@lingshui_travel” on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to receive all the latest updates.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”.

Lingshui is a page of that book worth reading. You will not like Lingshui’s beauty, you will love it!

Share Lingshui, share beauty and spread the word! Lingshui has organized a $100,000 prize giveaway to thank our fans for sharing Lingshui with their friends. From 15th October to 31stOctober 2016 our prize giveaway will be open for the whole world to take part in. The Top 30 participants will be the lucky recipients of some amazing prizes and all participants who obtain more than 100 points in the competition will win a special surprise prize!

And fear not, the prizes won’t stop on 31st October! This is just the beginning of our huge prize giveaway.

Later on this year we’ll be holding more competitions with even bigger prizes up for grabs so make sure you check

Everyone knows about Thailand, the Maldives and Bali, so why not spread your wings and be their first of your friends to explore Lingshui!

[Source: PR Rocket/Lingshui Travel-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image:  Xiangshui Bay in Lingshui – By Zhangmoon618 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]
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[Video: Lingshui Travel: ]





Miyajima Island – One Of The Most Scenic Spots In Japan

World Travel



Miyajima Island 









Guest Post by Tony Mariani

Miyajima – Island of the Gods

While Miyajima has a reputation as a tourist destination, it has a deep history with Japan and Shinto culture. It has also played a significant part in the development of religion in Japan with its influence from Kamakura during the Kamakura period as well as being visited by a Buddhist Saint.The island had been worshipped since ancient times as its landscape gives the island a spiritual feel that unites the island, the mountains and sea.

The island was made a sacred shrine in the year 593 by Saeki Kuramoto who founded the Itsukushima Shrine.

Holy Buddhist Monk Kukai (Kobodaishi) visited Miyajima on his return from China (806). Feeling the presence of spirituality, Kukai declared the island a sacred site and built a Hondo (main hall) on Mount Misen and took Gumonji training there. The fire used for the training has been kept alive in the Misen Reikado hall of “The Eternal Fire” (Kiezu-no-hi). The island is famous for the fire festivals held during holy days.

The island is heavily influenced by Kyoto culture brought there by Samurai warrior Taira no Kiyomori who built Itsukushima shrine with the style of architecture of Kyoto aristrocracy. Kiyomori also brought Kyoto culture to Miyajima with skilled artisans and craftsmen.

It was not until the end of the Kamakura period that the island was eventually settled, first with Shinto priests and their acolytes, then lay people.

It was during the civil war (Sengoku) period that a great battle took place. A chief retainer, Sue Harukata rebelled and Daimyo, Ouchi Yoshitaka committed seppuku (hara-kiri) as a result. Mori Motonari, a sworn ally of Yoshitaka, raised his force against Harutaka but Sue’s army was superior to numbers than Mori’s. Mori constructed a castle north of Miyajima to draw Sue’s army there.

20,000 soldiers of Sue’s force landed on Miyajima and took to the castle defenses. The castle defenses held against the assault. Then, on October 1st, Motonari took 3,500 soldiers to the opposite shore, during a storm at night and climbed the ridge behind Sue’s forces and defeated them in a single battle. This is the “Itsukushima Gassen (Battle of Miyajima). Sue was routed with a small number of his soldiers and committed seppuku or ritual suicide. This was in the year of 1555.

After Sue was defeated, Mori Motonari rebuilt the shrines and the big Torii and donated a No stage and contributed to the development of Itsukushima Shrine. Itsukushima Shrine is at the heart of Miyajima.

The Shrine has been active throughout history and like most Shrines in Japan, it is closely aligned with Buddhism. Itsukushima Shrine has been rebuilt and restored throughout its history and survived typhoons, lighting strikes, battles and the Shinbutsu burni policy of the Meiji period (forbidding the fusion of Shinto and Buddhism) of 1868.

Itsukushima Shrine is revered by fishermen, sailors, merchants and listed as a national treasure and important cultural properties.

O-torii Gate – Important Cultural Property

The Torii gate is said to be the gate between the spirit world and the human world. The four pillar style gate was originally built in 1168 and was located 200 meters off shore. During high tide, the gate appears to be floating on the water. During low tide, you can walk to the foot of the great Torii.

The great Torii is not buried but stands on its own weight. It stands on six pillars both the main pillars and small pillars make it secure. The box in the upper part of the Torii contains 7 tons of stones. Custom made wedges are driven into the intersections of where the roof meets the pillars absorbing movements and helping the balance of the structure.

The present great Torii was built in 1875 and is the eighth Torii in Miyajima history. The vermillion color of Itsukushima Shrine and the great Torii is considered to keep evil spirits away.

The plate on the great Torii was painted by Prince Arisugawa Taruhito from the Meiji era. He was a commander during the Boshin war and led the central government army against the forces of Saigō Takamori in the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877. Saigō Takamori is known as the “Last Samurai” and is considered the most influential Samurai in Japanese history.

Tony Mariani profile photo

Written by Tony Mariani – Japan Travel Member

[Photo credits-featured image: A view from the hiking trail on Miyajima island, Hiroshima Japan-By Rog01 from France (Miyajima) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons ]
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American Tourism Professionals Get A Taste Of Slovenian Wines At New York City Business Event

World Travel


Wine Tourism











Ljubljana, 21 OctoberYesterday evening in New York City, the Slovenian Tourist Board, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in the USA, organised a presentation of Slovenia as a tourist destination. At the Taste Slovenia business event, representatives of selected American tourist agencies and tour operators, key tourism and lifestyle media and opinion leaders in the field of tourism got to know Slovenia through the ultimate culinary experience with Ana Roš and through tasting of Slovenian wines.

In cooperation with the Slovenian tourism industry, the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) recognised the USA as one of the overseas markets of key importance for Slovenian tourism. This year, it included it in the global digital campaign, which is one of the most important of the STB’s projects since it re-gained its independence in August 2015. By the conclusion of the campaign in November, it will have raised the profile and reputation of Slovenia as green, active, healthy tourist destination and promoted its attractive tourist products through innovative digital advertising. Yesterday evening’s event in New York was an upgrade of the digital campaign and one of the largest events this year at which the STB promoted Slovenia through top-notch cuisine and wines.

Representatives of selected American tourist agencies and tour operators, key tourism and lifestyle media and opinion leaders in the field of tourism gathered at the evening Taste Slovenia business event in New York City. Thanks to the culinary masterpieces of Ana Roš and wines from various wine-growing regions, they discovered Slovenia as a culinary destination able to satisfy even the most demanding guests. Although the culinary story of Slovenia, which has inevitably been influenced by the location of the country, positioned as it is in the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pannonian Plain and the Karst, has been written by many top-quality master chefs renowned throughout the world, Ana Roš stands out due to her innovations that include local ingredients as well as the traditions of her ancestors. Since she appeared in the Netflix series “The Chef´s Table and was declared the most talented chef of 2015 by the prestigious association of young chefs Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe, guests have to wait several months for culinary pampering at her restaurant Hiša Franko near Kobarid. Also, the popularity and importance of Ana Roš is proven by the fact that the state of Slovenia appointed her as an ambassador of the I Feel Slovenia national brand.

The Taste Slovenia business event took place at the Intercontinental Barclay, considered one of the most sustainable hotels in New York City and among the leading in responsible and sustainability-oriented hospitality. Its director Hervé Houdré, who has been called the greenest hotelier in New York, is also one of the most esteemed hoteliers in the world. The location of the event is a perfect match for the story of Slovenia as green, active, healthy tourist destination and a country that was declared the world’s first Green Country at the recent Global Green Destinations Day conference held in Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital and European Green Capital 2016. In the comprehensive assessment in accordance with the Global Destinations criteria, it scored as many as 96 points from a possible total of 100.

Next year, in Ljubljana, the Intercontinental chain will open its first hotel in Slovenia. Thus, the representatives of the Slovenian tourism industry who participated at the presentation about their country in New York (Ljubljana Tourism, Fabula tours, Lifeclass Hotels & Spa, Slovenian Convention Bureau, Palma TO & DMC, Union Hotels, d. d., Kompas, d. d., Pisanec Tour Design Company, Hotel Cubo, Happy Tours, Roundabout Travel, ABC Rent a car, Luxury Slovenia, LTO Sotočje), wine makers and Steklarna Rogaška had an opportunity, too, to learn about the standards provided by the Intercontinental chain.

“In cooperation with the Slovenian tourism industry, the STB is putting efforts into bringing more U.S. guests to Slovenia as they are considered to be tourists who seek products with higher added value. As Slovenia does not encourage mass tourism, it is a perfect tourist destination for such guests. The advantage of Slovenia as a tourist destination is the ability to provide various experiences within a relatively small territory and a short period of time. Our culinary and wine products are well developed, Slovenia is gaining recognisability and popularity as gastronomy destination even among the most demanding lovers of top delicacies. Slovenia can offer a great variety of health and wellness programmes in natural spa resorts, rich culture, various adventures in nature, innovative niche products, etc. Slovenia is safe and green country, ready to host even the most demanding visitors. It is a fact that American tourists are looking for new destinations, which is a great opportunity for Slovenia said Maja Pak, M.Sc., Director of STB, at the presentation of Slovenia as a tourist destination on the American market.

In 2015, U.S. tourists were ranked 14th according to the number of overnights in Slovenia; their average length of stay was 2.2 days. The number of arrivals and overnights has been increasing since 2006. Thus, 47,169 arrivals of U.S. tourists were recorded in 2006, while the number was 74,334 in 2015. Accordingly, the number of overnights increased from 106,992 in 2006 to 165,198 in 2015. Last year, the highest number of overnights by U.S. tourists was recorded between May and September, predominantly in Ljubljana (43.7%) and in mountain municipalities (36.3%). They stayed mostly in hotels (71.8%).

Please visit:

[Source: Slovenian Tourist Board-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: Izola, the town in Slovenia-By Jarba (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]
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Hurtigruten Is Adding Two New Expedition Ships To The Fleet

World Travel

Cruise News


Hurtigruten christens two new expedition ships









Norwegian exploration travel company Hurtigruten has named the first two new hybrid powered expedition ships Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen after the two most influential Norwegian polar pioneers. The new ships have been designed by Rolls-Royce, in collaboration with the recognized Norwegian yacht designer Espen Øino, and are due to be delivered in 2018 and 2019.

An idyllic village deep inside a Norwegian fjord. On board MS Nordlys.

There are also plans for an additional for two additional vessels.

“It is exactly 105 years since Roald Amundsen became the first person in the world to plant his flag on the South Pole; 128 years since Fridtjof Nansen skied across Greenland; and 120 years since Richard With, Hurtigruten’s founder, first started exploration tourism in the Arctic.

“What could be more natural and appropriate than to name our new ships after these inspiring trailblazers,” said Hurtigruten chief executive Daniel Skjeldam.

With the Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen, Hurtigruten also sets a new standard in interior design and on-board customer experience.

The aura of the period of the great exploration expeditions is to be recreated within the framework of modernity and premium quality and comfort.

The interior will mirror the breath-taking waters and landscapes where the expedition ships sail.

Materials will be predominantly Norwegian and inspired by nature and Scandinavian style with an innovative approach to the use of granite, oak and birch, and wool, amongst other materials.

The ships will have large observation platforms on several decks for guests to get up-close to nature and wildlife.

A majority of cabins will have their own balcony, whilst a small number will be suites.

The vessels will have three restaurants with menus inspired by local flavors and destinations. A special pool deck will include infinity pools, Jacuzzis and bars.

Skjeldam added: “These ground-breaking expedition ships will revolutionize adventure travel at sea. We are combining Hurtigruten’s more than 120-years know-how with cutting-edge technology and design, and a strong commitment to sustainability, to offer the modern-day adventure traveller unprecedented experience.”


Hurtigruten’s unique heritage, combined with highly skilled crews and a diverse fleet consisting of nimble, intimately-scaled expedition ships, enables them to offer you breathtaking nature-based experiences in remote corners of the world.

Please Visit:

2500x1250_Hurtigruten New Ships x 4_Press Release_®Rolls-Royce.jpg

[Source: Hurtigruten-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: The RICHARD WITH (1993), named after the founder of Hurtigruten on the drive between Svolvær and Kabelvåg-By JoachimKohlerBremen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]
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The Ministry of Trinidad And Tobago Is Encouraging ‘Sport Tourism’

World Travel

Trinidad and Tobago


Sport Tourism is an integral part of T&T Tourism Portfolio









Port of Spain, Trinidad – The time is opportune to focus on sport tourism, and it is a niche well worth following”. That is the message being sent out from the Sport Tourism Master Class program that recently concluded at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center. Organized by the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Association (TTHTI) and facilitated by the eminent Professor Daniel Funk of Temple University, the Sport Tourism Master Class took place on October 13 & 14, 2016.

In opening the Master Class program, Mrs. Vidiah Ramkhelawan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism said, “Trinidad and Tobago has several stadium and sporting complexes across the country but what will make us a game player are hosting events that not only deliver sustainable economic, social and promotional benefits but also entwine the sport, heritage and culture of this country”.

The Ministry of Tourism has identified sport tourism as one of its key tourism niches and has drafted a preliminary sport tourism policy to guide development in that area. The Tourism Ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago to finalize this policy in Fiscal 2017. It is to be noted that the Policy will be informed by views of all major stakeholders.

Sport tourism is said to be worth US$600 billion globally, according to research from World Travel Market. This particular niche market accounts for 14% of overall international travel and tourism receipts and this is predicted to grow over the next decade.

Sport tourism is about more than just hosting great events. It offers the potential for something much broader, including opportunities for Trinidad and Tobago to raise its identity as a sport destination, to generate new tourism business, and to achieve widespread international recognition through global media coverage.

The Sport Tourism Master Class saw record attendance with presentations by several key persons in the sport and tourism fields such as:

 Brian Lewis, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee

 Michael Phillips, Chairman of the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago

 Ian Ramdahin, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs

 Dr. Ken Butcher, Ex- CEO of SPORTTT and Executive Manager Academy of Sport and Leisure Studies (ASLS) at the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

 Sherlan Cabralis, Lecturer in Sport Management at the UWI St. Augustine Campus

 Adrian Winter, Personal Advisor to the Minister of Tourism The program provided participants with an opportunity to develop the skill sets necessary for Trinidad and Tobago to excel in the sport tourism arena.

About the Ministry of Tourism

The Ministry of Tourism is responsible for tourism policy development, awareness, catalyzing and facilitating growth of the tourism sector, encouraging investment in the sector, building stakeholder partnerships and monitoring trends in the industry. The Ministry of Tourism facilitates and monitors destination marketing and public relations activities through the administration of funding to the Tourism Development Company (TDC), the marketing and implementation agency of the Ministry of Tourism


[Source: Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Tourism-Media Relations]
[Photo credits-featured image: Anthony Mendenhall, Redhouse, Port of Spain Trinidad-Random 00021 at English Wikipedia [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]
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