23 December 2008

Naturalist cruise to Galapagos

Galapagos has become a premier tourist destination especially for those who prefer to be closer to nature. The exotic islands in Galapagos – each with its own distinct weather condition are no longer just a heaven for biologists and scientists, everyone now has access to the best of Galapagos.

Because of the accessibility of Galapagos, cruises that focus on this destination are now popular. This type of cruise isn’t just a vacation with beautiful places to visit; it’s a cruise full of information. Every cruise that goes to Galapagos has a team of naturalists aboard who have vast knowledge and experience in the island. Lectures are usually conducted onboard the cruise ship if you want to know more about the island. Guided tours of the islands are of course, part of the package. There you will realize that the islands has not only the Komodo Dragons but a diverse natural setting that could be found only in Galapagos.

Even though it’s a cruise full of information and discoveries, the fun and relaxing part of the cruise is still there. The combination of a relaxing vacation in the water while in close interaction with nature are the reasons why cruises to Galapagos are very appealing.

The competition in cruises in the recent years has also made Galapagos cruise affordable for everyone. The whole family could now enjoy the relaxing experience of cruises while learning a lot of things about the island.

22 December 2008

Green buses in New York

NYC Bus Charters is a company providing transport services in New York. They provide a wide variety of land-based travel services to different destinations in New York. After more than 20 years of service, the company is now a premier provider of this type of service in the state.

The company website is designed to be readable and could be easily understood. Company information, associations and special offers are all laid out in the front page. The number and type of fleet the company has to offer is even outlined in the front page which means, the customer will immediately know if the company does have the services he or she needs.

A great feature about the website is in the information they provide for a specific type of trip. Whether you’re going to amusement parks, casinos, different attractions and company trips within New York, New York Bus Charters would outline their services to a specific type of need. The website also provides travelling tips so that you can be safe and have enough knowledge before, during and after the trip. The company also provides links for their partners if you can’t find the specific service from their website.

Nycbuscharters.com is an easy to understand website that provides the information you need if you want to do business with the company.


18 December 2008

Tourism in Greece affected by recent events

The modern Greece is known for two things: a highly efficient shipping industry and remarkable tourist destinations. These industries have yielded billions of dollars for the country and have become the lifeblood of the people and the government.

Although the shipping industry is doing well even with the danger of Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, the second major source of income of Greece is in peril. Riots and strikes happening around the country have practically crippled the tourism operations in the country. The strikes in Acropolis have stopped the operations of different tourist destinations. The riots on the other hand, have gravely placed the tourists in danger of being caught in violence. As a result, fewer and fewer tourists are opting to visit Greece.

Hotels around the country are now experiencing cancellation of bookings. The city of Thessaloniki has now more than 2,000 reservations on hold because of the violence happening around the country. Clash with the police during riots are common and different countries have now issued travel warnings to its citizens.

The strikes in Greece were caused by low wages but what really placed the country in turmoil were the riots. This was caused by the accidental death of a 15-year old protester named Alexandros Grigoropoulos. After a short commotion with the police last December 6, the 15-year old protester was hit with a gunshot in his heart from the police which caused his immediate death. This was actually a small protest which is slowly escalating because of continuous criticism of the government. But the death of the teen protester fuelled the anger of citizens around the country.

17 December 2008

Coastal or river cruises in Europe

The itineraries of the Western Mediterranean cruises begin usually in Spain or Italy, and travel east or west on the Mediterranean Sea. The ports to be visited are Nice, Malaga and another ports in Italy. This type of cruise is considered to be a classical Mediterranean cruise. Eastern Mediterranean cruises begin in Italy or Athens and explore Turkey and the Greek Islands as well, visiting Santorini, Mykonos and Crete.

The Greek Isles are also cruised by small ships. Small ship can offer a more intimate experience, far away from the crowds that are hosted on huge ships.

The Baltic cruises are also called the Northern European cruises and the starting point is mainly in England, with stops in Norway, Denmark, Finland and Russia.

Central and Eastern European cruises include the most impressive river on the continent: the Danube. The Danube flows through many European capitals such as: Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava and Belgrade. The late communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu wanted to add another city to the list and link Romania’s capital Bucharest and the Danube through a canal, but this plan was never accomplished.

The Danube flows into the Black Sea and forms a unique place in Europe: The Danube Delta. The place has become a part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Other parts of Europe that can be explored during a cruise are: the French Riviera with its glamorous ports and beaches, France’s canals and rivers, Germany’s rivers or the pretty Dutch canals. If your dream holiday is a cruise, than Europe is a good starting point. You can explore the shores around the continent or the cities situated right into its heart. The choice is yours.

16 December 2008

Argentina makes efforts for its tourism

Argentina has been riding the waves of economic advancement since 2000. With a GDP or at least 8.5% a year during this time frame, it is certainly on the road to become a powerhouse economy not only in South America but worldwide.

But this number went down significantly this year. Argentina has only posted 7.0% in GDP this year and most business analysts inside and outside Argentina agree that this might even go further in 2009 because of the global economic problems. Argentina is currently the second biggest economy in South America. Brazil holds the title of having the biggest economy in the South America and 10th in world ranking.

To address this problem, the government has unveiled a stimulus plan that will largely help tourism, import and export. Everyone will practically be benefiting on the 13.2 Billion Pesos in stimulus plan declared by the government. Aside from the stimulus package, tax cuts are being implemented in certain products for exportation which will ease losses for entrepreneurs.

The government is very keen in pushing for its locals to travel. The government has announced that they will be offering interest free loans for individuals and families who are opting to travel in the upcoming months. Payment terms will be generally set for three or six months. Small businesses that are in the travel industry will also be able to avail of this interest-free loan with the same payment terms. Hopefully, this plan will encourage a lot of Argentineans to go out and travel to different parts of their country to boost the economy.

15 December 2008

Expedition cruises to Alaska

Alaska could be considered a hidden secret of the USA. The challenges of the weather and the sheer distance of Alaska to the mainland has always made tourists think twice in going to this beautiful and - often dubbed as mysterious - state.

But learning more about Alaska and its beauty is now easier and more comfortable when you consider going there on a cruise ship. Alaska is near enough for those in the US and the price of the cruise ships are very competitive and might even be lower compared to more popular Carribean destinations.

Going There

The best time to be in a cruise for Alaska is from July to August. Although the season starts in May and ends in August, the best weather conditions in Alaska could be experienced during this two-month period.

When travelling on a cruise to Alaska, you'll most likely visit different ports in major cities in Alaska. From the fish packing port in Ketchikan to Sitka where the area used to house a Russian outpost, the places have always something unique to offer. In between these destinations you'll be visiting glaciers, and could get up close to the wildlife that's only offered in Alaska.

Glaciers vs. Inland

Tour packages in cruises could be divided into two categories - the glacier route or the inland route. The inland will take you to remarkable places in Alaska while the glacier will take you more to the wildlife based on cold conditions of Alaska.

But whatever route you'll be choosing, you will always have something new to see in the cruise. Alaska might not ring any bell of tourism immediately but one just needs to be on a cruise to appreciate this state more.

12 December 2008

Air travel takes a dive

The holiday season is normally all about travel. However, the 2008 holiday season could be a different story. U.S. airlines, according to the Air Transport Association of America, are excepted to have a drop in the number of people who will be flying this season by about 9 percent. Flights are still expected to be full, despite the drop in customers. This is most likely due to the fact that airlines have actually cut 9 percent of the seats per flight in response to the dwindling customer numbers.

To most people, this will not come as a shock. The overall demand for air travel has been on the decline for several months, and they expected that the holiday season would not be much different. In fact, many airlines went to reduced flight schedules after being faced with extremely high jet fuel prices earlier in the year. Group studies have been done, and only 43 million Americans are expected to travel by way of air this holiday season. It's important to note that this is the seventh monthly drop in airline customers when compared to last years numbers.

For those of you who are still looking to travel by way of air, there is good news. With the decline in the number of people flying, there comes a few benefits, like less crowed airports and on time flights. In fact, many U.S. airlines have actually shown improvement in their arrival record from last year. Officials of the airline industry have also stated that they are looking to really focus their attention on efficiency this season.

11 December 2008

Indonesia - heaven on Earth

A new list of nominees has been released by New Seven Wonders of the World website and it places Indonesia in a convenient position. Not one but three of its natural heritage sites were placed on the list as nominees: Komodo Island, Lake Toba and Krakatau Island were nominated and could be part of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Two of the three nominees – Krakatau Island and Lake Toba are popular because of the volcanoes. The former is known for its active volcano while the latter is more popular because the lake surrounds two overlapping volcanoes. Lake Toba is already attracting thousands of tourists every year because of its pristine lake and beautiful flora and fauna. The volcanoes in Lake Toba were even believed to have the most powerful eruption as it had worldwide effect that lasted for at least a year more than 10,000 years ago.

The Komodo Island, as the name suggests, is home to the largest lizard today – the Komodo Dragon. But this beautiful island has more to offer than giant lizards. The flora and fauna, its rare species and the marine mammals will amaze any traveller. This area has been protected since 1965 and became a world heritage site in 1991.

These places in Indonesia are accessible to tourists but Krakatau (also called Krakatoa) Island and Komodo Island needs special permission before it could be visited. Lake Toba on the other hand, is open for all tourists.

Indonesian authorities in charge now aggressively campaigning for additional voting so that any of the three could be part of the final list of nominees.

10 December 2008

Open Sky Agreement for Singapore

Singapore opened up its skies to the world by signing with Romania and Zambia an Open-Skies Agreement (OSA). The countries involved have agreed to open their skies so that the airlines from these countries could go to and through these countries. This agreement is applied to both cargo and passenger airlines.

The agreement of Singapore and Romania has increase the number of European countries that is easily accessible by Singapore. With the inclusion of Romania, 16 European countries now have an OSA agreement with Singapore. This will greatly give different airlines in Singapore more access and easier flight routes to key destinations in Europe.

The agreement with Zambia on the other hand, is a little bit historical for Singapore. Zambia became the first African country to have ties with Singapore in OSA. Their agreement would add flights to and from Singapore which is essential for Zambian tourism. Singapore on the other hand will enjoy relaxed flight routes as Zambia is located at the center of South Africa and will provide easier access to neighboring countries.

The OSA was signed during the International Civil Aviation Organization Air Services Negotiation Conference. This event was held in Dubai for three days from the 24th to the 27th of November. This event aims to be the place for negotiation between countries and different agreements such as OSA will be established.

Singapore now has flights to more than 60 countries around the world and this is only based on Changi Airport, Singapore’s biggest airport.

09 December 2008

Cruises with a touch of luxury

One hearing the word luxury thinks of rich people and extravagant lifestyles that mere mortals can’t afford. Sometimes "luxury" can be subjective but when it comes to cruising, the standards are well-established. Luxury means a high fare (more than $500 per person, daily) and an exotic itinerary with amazing landscapes and elegant ports to visit.
Also, the means of transport are important, in this case the ships. Everything that could be found in a 5-star hotel must be also found in a luxury ship: jacuzzi, gym, restaurants, internet connection, conference room, bars, casinos, swimming pools, saunas, lounges and bedrooms with superb panoramas.

The way a ship looks on the inside adds value and glamour to luxury: decorations of good taste, elegant materials and real works of art signed by famous artists, for an extra touch of luxury. In this sense, some ships are really floating art museums, a delight for the passengers who take great interest in art.

What is also important to define a luxury ship is the privacy it can offer: if the deck is as crowded as a plaza in Milan at the peak of the touristic season, then luxury fades off. The few passengers must have the deck all for themselves for sunbathing, dolphin or whales watching etc.

Some cruise liners manage to offer free access to its passengers all over the ship or free cocktails and drinks all day long and famous wine with the meals.
Also during a luxury cruise the service must have the highest standards, the chef must prepare the most sophisticated meals, the staff should be very courteous and experienced. The cuisine is both international and regional (influenced by the itinerary of the ship).

Now that you have the luxury factors, you will know how to ask for in a dream cruise.

05 December 2008

Going down under in Australia

Australia has always awed travellers from around the world since the Europeans first landed in this massive island. The natural beauty of Australia is very popular as any type of nature-related activity could be experienced in this country. The smallest continent in the world will always have something to offer to its tourists especially in the summer.

Bush walking

This term is first used in Australia and a very popular term in the country early on. If this is your first time in Australia, bushwalking is probably the first adventure that you’ll like the most. This started in 1920 and it was referring to activities that require exploration of different parts of the country. Every summer, there will always be a place that you’ll be visiting that will give you something to enjoy. The vast wilderness of Australia has attracted tourists from around the country and it will continue to do so.

Free Range Driving

This island in the southern hemisphere is connected by more than 22,000 miles of road. If you have an international driver’s license, you can rent a car and enjoy the Australia without too much heat and you can visit more places. Just remember to drive at a maximum of 60kph in large cities and 50kph in smaller cities.

Water Based Activities

Australians are known for their excellence in water based activities. You can experience that first hand by visiting any of the beaches in Australia. This might be the best time to learn surfing or even become a certified diver in a week or two.

04 December 2008

Winter holiday - Antarctica Christmas cruise

One of the best ideas for a Christmas vacation is to take the whole family on a cruise. A cruise will take you away from all the busy shopping and the hectic city that you have to deal with during the Christmas season. A cruise will make you sit back and relax while you and your family enjoy Christmas.

Aside from the cruise itself, the destination of the cruise is also important. A very popular Christmas cruise destination offered by different liners is a cruise to Antarctica. You’ll literally be on the top of the world enjoying the sights and sounds that are only found in this part of the globe.

The unique land of Antarctica will always make anyone amazed of the wonders of nature. Giant glaciers, mountain-like ice formations and even volcanoes could be found in Antarctica. Different research stations and important sites that could be found in Antarctica will also be visited by the cruise liners and will give their tourists a chance to see up close these remarkable destinations.

An added attraction is the wildlife that the family will see in Antarctica. The beautiful penguins that come in different varieties, the giant whales ranging from Minke, Orca and the great Humpback could also be seen in Antarctica. Hundreds of sea birds that fly to and from the Antarctica could also be seen and will entertain everyone.

Besides, everyone will experience the Christmas spirit. The ship will be fully decorated for Christmas and kids would have some fun activities for the season. Everyone will always have something to enjoy in this unique vacation idea.

03 December 2008

Private airline launched in Vietnam

Vietnam has grown considerably over the last years because of its tourism. It is estimated that the number of tourists increase by at least 13% every year and there are no signs of slowing it down. The harsh worldwide economy may have dented tourism a little bit but tourism in Vietnam continues and strives well. The untapped beauty and culture of Vietnam has attracted curious tourists around the world.

But even though tourism in Vietnam has considerably increased, the country used to be served locally by two airlines: the government owned Vietnam Airways and Jetstar Pacific. The latter airline was created through the partnership of Vietnam Airways and Quantas Airlines. Obviously, there is a great opportunity for local travel as the two local airlines cannot handle the increased influx of tourists.

This need was answered last week when Indochina Airlines was launched. This airline company is 100% owned by local businessmen in Vietnam which makes it the first privately owned airline company in Vietnam. The company has reported to have a starting capital of US$ 12 million. Although the company doesn’t own any airplane, it is currently leasing two 174-seater Boeing airplanes.

The company plans to aggressively expand in only three years. For the time being their flights are limited to Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi (four times daily) and Ho Chi Minh to Danang (twice daily). The company is currently under the leadership of Ha Hung Dung, a prominent businessman in Vietnam which happens to be a popular personality in the country as a musician and composer.

02 December 2008

Hard days for tourism in India

The world was shocked when two of India's most popular hotels were placed under hostage by terrorists. Tourists from different nationalities were placed under hostage in their hotels. Mumbai, one of the biggest cities in the world when it comes to total population, became a city of hostages. Commandos and snipers were placed around the hotels and as of this writing, more than a hundred people are dead and even more injured.

In just a few days, Mumbai was transformed into a city of chaos. Any tourist right now is hesitant to go to India for fear of terrorism. The biggest and the most luxurious hotels in Mumbai were captured by terrorist which means any other smaller hotels could be under the command of terrorists in no time.

The government of India is actively doing everything they can to calm the world regarding the situation. The local government of Mumbai has unfortunately admitted their lack of preparation for this type of attack.

The worst is yet to come in Mumbai. There is now great pressure to the government from the international community to resolve this conflict fast. Although Mumbai should be able to address this, the aftermath and the effect of this event to tourism will last for years. The ordeal is not over yet but right now, the city has been tagged as dangerous and calming the effects of the ordeal will take months or even years.