27 November 2008

Thai political unrest affects tourism

Calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat of Thailand escalated to a point that it had crippled a major source of the country’s income: tourism. Protesters converged in the Thai airport and effectively took over despite police resistance. The numbers are too much to handle for the airport security and support from outside military assistance were too late. The protesters were already at the airport and they would never leave unless the Prime Minister resigns.

Because of the takeover, different countries worldwide issued a travel warning for Thailand. The international Airport in Thailand is currently unstable as the military and protesters continuously clash. The reason for the airport’s takeover is primarily a way to talk directly to the Prime Minister who they were expecting to arrive from a summit. But it was easily diverted.

The current Prime Minister is thought to be an exact replacement of the deposed leader, Thaksin Shinawatra. Mr. Shinawatra was removed from power in 2006 after a coup. Accusation of massive corruption has forced Mr. Shinawatra out of power. However, protesters still think that the former leader still has influence and the current leader might just be a puppet.

The impact was immediately felt as hundreds of flights that go to different countries in different continents were stalled. Tourists from different parts of Thailand literally spent nights in the airport.

Negotiations between the government and protesters still haven’t commenced as the protesters demand resignation and nothing else.

26 November 2008

One person one pay still holds in Canada

Those who declared themselves as “functionally disabled by obesity” should not fear paying more than what they ought to pay – even if their size would take two seats. Obese people should still be charged as one passenger even though he or she occupies two chairs during the flight. This has been imposed as a right and not just a privilege wherein obese passengers have to pay for two persons if the airline will force them to do so. As a right, obese passengers will just have to pay without any fear of penalty from the airline.

The initial decision was imposed by the Canadian Transport Authority. The airlines then opted to go to the higher court for an appeal. But instead of a hearing, the higher court refused to discuss the ruling. By declining the appeal of different Canadian airlines, the rule still holds that every passenger, no matter what their size is, will still have to pay as a single passenger and not based on how many chairs they occupy. The airlines are planning to appeal to the Supreme Court soon regarding the ruling. If the Supreme Court accepts the appeal then a trial will hold but if they will also decline the appeal, then it will place a stop to the dispute forever. WestJet, Air Canada Jazz and Air Canada are the airlines that will lead the appeal in the Supreme Court. No date yet is set for the appeal but the decision is expected to be made by the Supreme Court very soon.

25 November 2008

Fewer travellers expected this holiday season

The holiday season will be the busiest time of the year but the travel industry is expecting a decline of holiday travellers. The current financial problem has taken its toll on some travellers that they opted to cancel travelling this season. The travel industry is expected at least 1% reduction in tourists this year. A small number which translates into millions of lost earnings for the travel industry. This reduction is just on average as there are states that experience significant reduction of tourists. For example, 5% of the regular holiday travellers by air opted to stay close to home for Southern California.
Rental companies are also reporting reduction of travellers for the holiday season. Auto companies are experiencing at least 2% reduction of rentals this year.

Because of the projected reduction of travellers this season, those who opted to travel are in for some good news. To attract customers, airlines, car rental companies and other modes of transportation are significantly reducing their fares. Hotels and resorts around the country are also reducing their rates to attract travellers from different parts of the country. Aside from lowered rates and fees, the price of gasoline is expected to reach only within the $2 per gallon range. This price is at its lowest since the price of gasoline started to increase in 2004.

Although there is a clear reduction of the number of travelers in US for the holiday season, the opportunity for savings and reduced cost for those who are traveling is clearly there. Because of the tough economic times, the travel industry is tightening its belt to attract more travelers.

24 November 2008

Wifi in airplanes becoming a regular feature

The idea of switching on your electronic gadgets while on the plane was almost impossible a decade ago. The fear of interference with radio signals in airlines has made airline companies prevent any type of electronic device from being used while on flight. But times have changed and not only electronic devices are allowed, wireless broadband internet through wifi is now possible. Although adoption is per airline company, the idea of offering wireless broadband internet is becoming a possibility.

In the US, American Airlines started the trend by offering wireless broadband last August. This service is offered in non-stop coast-to-coast flights in their larger planes. Not to be out done in services and features, Delta as also announced that they will be offering wireless broadband internet in 2009. The services will be offered to all passengers from first class to economy. Airlines will offer this service for a fee.

The technology that’s being used by Delta and American Airlines is provided by an Illinois-based company named Aircell LLC. Their services is called “Gogo Inflight Internet.” The company uses transmitter sites distributed in different parts of the country so that users will continue to experience consistent internet connection while on flight. Air Canada is already using the technology and was in fact, the first customer of Aircell LLC.

The idea of mobility is not only limited in Wifi. Malaysia Airlines is launching mobile phone use while in flight. This revolutionary technology may take time before worldwide adoption but the fact that it could be done should get everyone hopes up.

20 November 2008

Washington becomes the tourist destination as inauguration nears

After Obama won the election, Chicago became the “it” tourist destination as people from different parts of the country want to visit the places where the president-elect lives, buys books and occasionally eats. Chicago and its neighbouring cities are revamping their guided tours to accommodate tourists who want to know more about their president.

Now, all eyes are on Washington for the coming inauguration of the president elect. As the first African American president, this is certainly a historic moment and some won’t settle for television coverage – they have to be there to take part in the historic moment. Aside from this historic moment, the change of party has traditionally attracted a large number of crowds. Washington is well aware of the situation and is now preparing for the massive turnout of visitors across the country. The inauguration is basically not just a single event as parties and other festivities around the city will be certainly happening before and after the inauguration.

Because of the expected crowds, hotel rates may go up which is why travel experts are encouraging tourists to book in advance to ensure the rate and availability of rooms. Hotels and online booking agencies are even offering special packages specific to the inauguration. Ritz-Carlton is even offering a package called “Red, White, Blue and Green”. The price? A whopping $99,000.00. Tickets for the inauguration can be sought out from the senators. Each senator is allowed to give out specific number of tickets to the public who would like to attend the inaugural event. Contact your senator as soon as possible to gain tickets to this event.

19 November 2008

Budapest, where the Danube waltzes

Low Cost airline EasyJet launched a new route from Paris Orly to Budapest in November 2008. What can you see in Budapest in November? A colourful Christmas market, apart from many other attractions this city has.

The Christmas Fair in Budapest, Hungary is a special celebration every year, but this year they will be celebrating their 10th anniversary, making the season's events even more special. The fair will be held on Vörösmarty, opening on November 21st and closing December 29th.

The Christmas Fair's festive atmosphere is all due to the unique pavilions and exclusive products being sold. There are nearly 100 craft stands that offer goods, folk art and craft decorations, and special gifts as well. All of the items are also certified by the Association of Hungarian Folk Artists' panel of experts.

For the visitors who wish to taste the traditional delights of the city, they can find it here by the city centre where there are freshly baked bread lángos that are made in a traditional clay oven, stands that sell caramelized pastries made by strudel and horn makers, friendly meat grills, and traditional country food made in clay ovens.

Mulled wine is also a treat to enjoy while at the Christmas Fair, and after having some, visitors can go home with the special mug that they were served it in. Every year this special Christmas Fair Mug is given a new design, making it great to get for a collection.

There is also always entertainment going on, with Hungarian folk music and dancing, classical music, concerts, and even programs for the kids. On the front windows of the Gerbaud House is the Advent Calendar, where 24 contemporary artists display their paintings. Also, everyday a new window is opened with a fanfare accompanying it.

18 November 2008

Winter sun in Cyprus: Ayia Napa

In the eastern end of the Island of Cyprus there is a beautiful white sanded beach called Ayia Napa. Absolutely stunning, this fine white sanded beach is one of the most popular beach of the island. Almost any type of accommodation is available near the beach wherein they could easily be fully booked during summer.

Aside from the beautiful white sand, the facilities that complement the beach is also at par with the world's best. Water activities are very popular in Ayia Napa as most equipments could be rented at the right price.

But what makes Ayia Napa so popular to tourists is the vibrant nightlife. The popularity of the island attracts a good number of visitors every year that entertainment should not be during the day alone. Summertime in Ayia Napa showcases the best nightlife Cyprus could give to its tourists.

Aside from the stunning beach and an enjoyable nightlife, Ayia Napa is also a city of culture. There are a number of museums that could be found inland which features the way of life of the people related to the sea. If you happen to be in the city in September don't miss their annual festival which adds colour to the increasingly popular city of Cyprus. If you can hike a little bit, you can visit the Ayia Napa monastery. A highly revered area in Cyprus, it has stood the test of time and witnessed the transformation of a small fishing village to one of the most popular beaches in Europe.

A holiday in Cyprus is £266 per person, including return flight and 7 nights in a hotel.

17 November 2008

US travel industry to lose on Thanksgiving

There are many interesting news stories in the travel industries of the world cropping up each day, but few are as devastating as the news story regarding the US travel industry and the Thanksgiving holiday. There has long been an unofficial consensus in the travel industry of the United States that a crisis in the industry is only truly a crisis if it gets to Thanksgiving. The fortress of Thanksgiving has long been a calming influence on a travel industry that has gone up and down with different events over the years and travel industry experts tend to hold off on the panic button until they see its results.

Well, Thanksgiving results will not be in for a few days, but what is already known is that the 2008 season is going to bear witness to a decline of some sort. The exact type and numbers of the decline are unknown but at the current moment in time the travel industry is definitely going to lose numbers this Thanksgiving compared to the thanksgiving of last year. The absolute number of passengers going home for Thanksgiving is going to decline and the flights that are available to take them there will decline as well. The last time that particular double whammy happened was in 2001 on the fear of travelling by air that 9/11 brought to the table.

What is going to happen between the end of the Thanksgiving weekend and the end of the year is not known, but pessimism appears to be the watchword of the day. There are few in the travel industry today that still hold high hopes for the near future.

12 November 2008

Chic Chicago opens its arms to tourists

Barack Obama’s victory on the last presidential election has presented a rare opportunity for his city to become a tourist attraction. Chicago, Illinois is making some changes on its image as they are now marketing it as the city of the President of the USA. Right now, people come from different parts of the country to have a glimpse of the house in downtown Chicago. Although it’s heavily guarded by Secret Service, it’s still visible from afar.

Souvenirs of the elected president are now common in the city. Restaurants and book stores that Obama used to visit are now flocked with tourists eager to learn what the president eats or reads. One restaurant has reportedly sold thousands of shirts that says “Obama Eats Here.”

The city offers a wide range of hotel accommodation, the cheapest we have found starts from £34.19 per night but it pays to breathe the same air as the president.

The tourism and the historical agency of Chicago are now revamping their guided tours as this will now include the activities and background of Barack Obama before becoming president. Plans are now being carried out to properly mark the special places that are pivotal to Obama's success for his White House bid. The area where he gave the speech that declares his intention to run for the White House and the speech where he introduced Joe Biden will now have a marker.

There are now unofficial guided tours around the city wherein you will be taken to different areas in the city related to the president such as the school where he taught law and even the barber shop.

11 November 2008

Going into the wild

One of the more interesting trends that the travel world is seeing at the moment is many people deciding that they would like to go into the wild this year for their Christmas vacation. In fact, if you take a look at surveys that have been done both in North America and across Europe, the end result is that people appear to be looking for ways to cut down on their vacation expenses this time around and one way that seems to have occurred to many people is to rough it in the wild for a couple of weeks.

Camping trips are expected to be very popular as families stretch out their money as far as it will go by hopping into the old car and then driving it to a campsite where they will spend part of their vacation. There is nothing written anywhere that says that Christmas can not be as enjoyable in the wilderness as it is in a large city and for that reason many people are seeing camping and hiking in the wilderness as a way to have an enjoyable vacation even though they do not have the extra cash this year to make that dream a reality in one of the cosmopolitan areas of the world.

European backpacking is another activity expected to be popular over the Christmas holidays as many people reclaim their youth by taking a second trek
across Europe with nothing but the bags slung over their shoulders. There is nothing quite like stopping in a handful of European cities to see how the different areas celebrate Christmas for giving you a truly global perspective on how the holiday goes down all over the place.

10 November 2008

Vienna for all

The former imperial residence at Hofburg, Vienna is expected to attract more than 20,000 visitors this year during the exhibition called "Luxury, please".

For a luxury treat you can choose a luxury hotel with prices over 150 EUR.

"Luxury, please" will take place on the 22nd and 23rd November and more than 100 exhibitors from art, jewellery, yachting, aviation, food and automotive industry will do their best to impress their visitors. All major luxury brands from A to V are represented: Aston Martin, Vertu or Versace. The participants must meet the luxury criteria imposed by "Luxury Please", so that only the best brands will be found in Hofburg.

For mere mortals Vienna also has something to offer: beautiful Holiday Markets. The Advent Fairytale in Vienna will begin on November 15th and will end on December 24th. This market enchants visitors with events both inside and outside of the City Hall. Visitors of the market will find great decorations, Viennese specialties, and gifts for all ages, along with the Christmas tree.

The Christkindls Werkstatt is located at the City Hall as well, and this is a very marvelous place where thousands of kids make handicrafted Christmas presents and cookies.
If you want to live the Christmas spirit in Vienna on a budget, hotel prices start from £19.33 including taxes.

05 November 2008

US tourists prefer Canada

Canadian geese are not the only animals you'll find in Canada, but they are definitely some of the most recognizable. The fact of the matter is that Canada has a lot of regions that mirror the weather in other parts of the world and for that reason is one of the world's untapped storages of tourism destinations. The Government of Canada has been saying this for years and now that the credit crunch and economic crisis has really hit the entire world, people are starting to take a much closer look at this country in tourism circles.

To people in the United States, Canada is an especially good place to go to as a tourism destination. After all, the drive up to the border is short for many people that live in northern states and once you're over you can use American Dollars to buy more in Canada than you could in the United States.

Overall, Canada is therefore a great destination for tourists from the US and the Canadian Government has already started to see significant increases in the amount of tourists they get from the United States. People in the US start to go to Canada instead of Europe or other places they might normally take an airplane to in order to enjoy their time off.

Canada is home to many excellent tourism destinations. Cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are great urban areas with lots to offer whereas the prairie provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta offer some of the most breathtaking natural beauty you are going to see in the world. The Atlantic Provinces are classic ocean-based tourism destinations and the northern area of Canada is great for anyone that wants to rough it.

04 November 2008

The only way to go around New York

Go Airlink Shuttle goes the extra mile, providing economical and safe share-ride transfers between Manhattan and La Guardia, Newark and JFK airports. In these airports they also provide customer assistance at the Ground Transportation Desk and at the baggage claim area, Go Airlink Shuttle customers can make free courtesy phones.

The company also provides private transfers for larger groups. So if you are with friends, family or business partners, Airlink Shuttle will take care of the transportation to various places, sightseeing tours, theatre tickets or dining programs. Go Airlink believes that no group is too small or too large so that they offer customized group packages, which usually include: itinerary planning, airport transfers, discount tickets for New York attractions, sightseeing tours with or without guides, meal programs and so much more. The sightseeing tours allows tourists to see all major places: Greenwich Village, SoHo, Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, Empire State Building or Financial District.

Convention attendees have the possibility to reserve and pay online at special rates, thus cutting down time and money. Laguardia Airport Shuttle provided transfer services for conventions such as: American Educational Research Association, re:think, Search Engines Strategies Conference 2008, IP Media Expo and more.

Their fleet comprises 10-seat vans, 20-seat mini-bus and 49-56-seat motor coaches. Customers can book online their Laguardia Airport Shuttle or the transfer to/from any other New York airport.