26 September 2012

World Responsible Tourism Day set for November 7th

During the World Travel Market on November 7th this year, the World Responsible Tourism Day will bring attention to the problems of wildlife poaching still affecting endangered animals today.
Pairing with the World Tourism Organisation UNWTO, the WTM World Responsible Tourism Day is the largest and most far reaching initiative undertaken by the international conservation community.

Poaching has been a huge problem for many parts of Africa, South America and Asia, with some animals driven to extinction. This includes the white rhino, African elephants, white and Bengal tigers and many other animals hunted for their pelts or other materials such as claws, teeth or ivory.

For years the international community has attempted to preserve animals and their natural habitats while boosting the tourism industry. It used to be that safaris meant wealthy individuals going to hunt for various wild animals, but now it refers to observing the animals in their home environment.

The best example of the conservation effort begins with the Shamwari Game Reserve. Once a 2,000 hectare area plagued by poaching that reduced wildlife numbers to practically zero and ruined the ecology of the area, now it stands at 25,000 hectares of protected land where all animals once native to the Eastern Cape now thrive and live undisturbed. The success and sustainability of the Shamwari Game Reserve has meant that it has become a blueprint for other conservation projects throughout the world.

Anti-poaching and conservation groups believe that the best way to progress the effectiveness of these conservation projects is through education. The Mantis Group, a collection of boutique hotels and eco-escapes throughout the world, has a strong and committed stance on conservation-led tourism. Along with the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), situated in Mantis’ Stanley and Livingstone Hotel in Victoria Falls, they have launched various projects to educate people about the effects and dangers of poaching. The IAPF also run various courses including; leadership courses, recruitment and deployment of anti-poaching teams, specialist courses in tracking/medicine, instructor courses and a volunteer programme where anyone concerned with the survival and conservation of the global wildlife can help out..

The Voices of Conservation is a separate project set up by Worldwide Experience, the education arm of the Mantis Group, and takes the education into schools. Children are encouraged to learn about breeding programmes and the endangered animals throughout the world.

 If you want to help out with international wildlife conservation, make sure that any safari holidays are properly accredited and are conservation-led tours. The organisations are always looking for volunteers and donations too.

17 September 2012

The Louvre Abu Dhabi Announces New Collection

The as-yet unopened Louvre Abu Dhabi has announced the purchase of a number of acquisitions to form part of the museum’s permanent collection. The actual works are expected to be announced in October.

This represents the most recent assets to be added to the museum, which purchased the rights to be associated with the Louvre name. Tourists will be able to view the new works during the Museum’s Talking Art Series event happening from 3rd October to 26th June next year. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of TCA Abu Dhabi, said “We are pleased to share with the public the vast array of works acquired for Louvre Abu Dhabi, and allow for them to experience and interact with the museum’s content as we shape its collection and prepare for the opening,”.

The collection is hoped to inspire discussions about the works and the museum’s narrative before the official opening in 2015. This is a huge step forward in promoting the new Louvre Abu Dhabi to overseas tourists and history lovers. President-Director of the Louvre Museum, Henri Loyrette said of the series; “The Talking Art Series are an essential step in building awareness of the future museum and its collection, enriched by new, exceptional acquisitions”.

The new acquisitions include a wonderfully preserved pavement and fountain ensemble dating back to the early Ottoman period and a standing Bactrian Princess, thought to be from the end of the third millennium BC. The new acquisitions will be accompanied in the Series by a photography collection, which includes the most ancient known representation of a veiled woman, Ayoucha by Joseph Girault de Prangey.

During April 2013 there is another planned exhibition titled Birth of a Museum. A similar version of the exhibition will be shown at the Louvre Museum in Paris at the same time.

The new museum and it’s programmes are sure to make Abu Dhabi an even more desirable holiday destination, with many tour operators gearing up to incorporate the new Louvre in their excursions. Mosaic Holidays already offer luxury 4 & 5 star trips to the heart of Abu Dhabi, where you can see the Museum slowly coming together before viewing their Talking Art Series. They also offer many other activities to bury yourself in Abu Dhabi's rich culture and history, which you can find details about on their Abu Dhabi holiday page.

10 September 2012

Marriott International to open new Courtyard Hotel in Chile

Courtyard by Marriott, a hotel chain operated by the hospitality company Marriott International, have announced that they are planning on opening the first Courtyard chain of hotels in the South American country of Chile.

This comes after an agreement with Falabella Group, the largest retailer in South America boasting operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

The planned 200 guest-roomed hotel will be placed adjacent to the Marriott Santiago, a 280-room hotel already operating in the area, amongst Chile’s business district with easy access to restaurants and bars in the city as well as the facilities in the Santiago.

The new Courtyard will feature more than 3,000 square feet of meeting space and recreational facilities, which include a swimming pool and fitness centre. The Courtyard chain is primarily targeted to travelling businesspersons, but can cater for families looking for luxury accommodation.

Marriott will open the Courtyard in Santiago with all of the features associated with the chain. This includes a relaxed, refreshing environment for travellers as well as the facilities to stay productive and connected on the move. The hotel will also possess some of the best views of the Andes Mountains.

While this is Courtyard’s first representation in Chile, Marriott International have several other chains in action around the country. The Santiago Marriott Hotel is already running in the business area and a 205-room Ritz-Carlton hotel also open in same city.

Marriott International additionally plans to open a 181-room Renaissance Santiago Hotel in 2013.

The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel will be opened towards the end of 2014 and with more than 900 hotels running in 37 countries, the Courtyard chain is the largest of all Marriott International brands. The company itself owns more than 3,700 properties located in more than 73 countries and territories across the world.

03 September 2012

Quirky Hoilday Ideas - Giethoorn

In the middle of Holland lies a small town called Giethoorn. It’s a small and quiet village that boasts stunning scenery and a peacefulness that you won’t find in many other places. The thing that makes this such a quirky place to visit is the fact that Giethoorn has no roads.

Well, nearly no roads at any rate. There are some basic main roads so tourists and residents can arrive/leave and get supplies but for the most part the town gets around by boat. Based by Molengat lake, Residents have built their houses in the lush banks surrounding several rivers.

The town offers the hire of ‘Whisper boats’, which are electric-powered crafts allowing you to drift your way around the village in peaceful silence. It’s really a relaxing and stunning experience.

Several caveats though, it is still a residential area and while they recognise that tourists are going to come and go there are still areas of the village that are private property and whose residents will not take kindly to you wandering up. It’s not too much to worry about, you’ll simply have to apologise and move back into the public streams and all will be well. Just don’t be surprised to have someone asking you to turn around. You’ll also have to respect the area like you would someone else’s property. Giethoorn’s primary attraction is its quiet and stunning environment. Littering or loud and raucous behaviour will be frowned upon and you could be asked to leave.

That being said, it’s a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, a whole day or even several (the village has a couple of B&B’s to stay at) and for those looking to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist areas can find a lovely and calm getaway on Giethoorn’s gorgeous waterways.