Travel predictions for 2012 show Americans traveling farther, spending more

January 1, 2012

ADMAS TRAVEL & TOURS

By KRISTI PIHL

More Americans are expected to travel farther from home in 2012 according to a recent survey by Travel Leaders.Of the top 20 travel destinations, 11 are in Europe, Asia and Australia, which is up from 9 in 2011.And more than  91 percent of Travel Leaders surveyed say clients will spend the same or more on travel in 2012 as compared to last year.                            The survey is based on booking data and was conducted from Nov. 21 to Dec. 16 using responses from 640 Travel Leaders owners, managers and travel experts in the nation. Travel Leaders has offices in the Mid-Columbia. About 43 percent of clients are spending about the same per trip as they did in 2011, while 44 percent are spending somewhat more, according to the survey.“Our surveyed travel agents indicate there’s an increase in interest and bookings for small ship cruising, off-the-beaten path travel, and international family travel,” said Roger E. Block, CTC, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group, which includes travel agency locations from coast to coast. “With these luxury-oriented segments on the rise, it’s no wonder the overall optimism our Travel Leaders have heading into 2012 based on bookings to-date for the upcoming year is also very high.”Travel Leaders travel agents nationwide say Croatia is the top “up and coming” international destination in Europe, Vietnam is tops within Asia and Panama narrowly edges out Ecuador and Brazil among destinations in Central and South America.And more travelers are planning ahead, with 64 percent booking travel within the United States eight weeks or more ahead and 90 percent booking international travel 8 weeks or more ahead, according to the survey.

Here is the top 20 list of international destinations based on the survey: 1. CRUISE- Caribbean, same as 2010 2. Cancun, Mexico, same as 2010 3. Playa del Carmen, Mexico, more than 2010 4. CRUISE- Europe (Mediterranean), 3rd in 2010 5. Rome, Italy, same as 2010 6. London, England, same as 2010 7. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, 9th in 2010 8. Paris, France, 11th in 2010 9. Montego Bay, Jamaica, 7th in 2010 10. Negril, Jamaica, 15th in 2010 11. Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, Mexico, 12th in 2010 12. Florence and/or Tuscany, Italy, 14th in 2010 13. CRUISE- Europe (River), tied for 21 in 2010 14. Beijing, China, 16th in 2010 15. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, 13th in 2010 16. (tie) between CRUISE- Mexico, was 10th in 2010, and Sydney, Australia, 19th in 2010 18. Barcelona, Spain, 20th in 2010 19. Amsterdam, The Netherlands, tied for 26 in 2010 20. Hong Kong, China, tied for 23 in 2010 Here is the top 20 list of United States destinations for 2012 according to the survey: 1. Las Vegas, NV, same as 2010 2. Orlando, FL, same as 2010 3. Maui, HI, tied for 4th in 2010 4. Cruise – Alaska, 3rd in 2010 5. New York City, NY, 6th in 2010 6. Honolulu, HI, tied for 4th in 2010 7. Washington, D.C., same as 2010 8. Chicago, IL, tied for 10th in 2010 9. Los Angeles, CA, 12th in 2010 10. Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, tied for 10th in 2010 11. Atlanta, GA, 15th in 2010 12. San Francisco, CA, 9th in 2010 13. Fort Myers, FL, tied for 19th in 2010 14. Cruise – Hawaii, 8th in 2010 15. Fort Lauderdale, FL, 16th in 2010 16. Anaheim/Orange County, CA, tied for 13th in 2010 17. Lihue (Kauai), HI, tied for 22 in 2010 18. Miami/Miami Beach, FL, tied for 13th in 2010 19. tied between Kona (Big Island), HI, tied for 26th in 2010, and Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL, 18th in 2010.

Source: Business beat

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World’s Best Cities

September 10, 2011

By Travel + Leisure Staff

Paris
 Paris, France

Joanna Van Mulder
A new renaissance is under way in Florence, with the city’s historic center making room for contemporary galleries and chic aperitivo bars. And all that work has paid off: this year, Florence rose to the No. 2 ranking among T+L’s World’s Best Cities.

T+L asked readers to vote in its 16th annual World’s Best survey, rating worldwide cities in categories such as attractions, arts and culture, food, shopping, and value. The result is a global guide to the cities not to miss this year.

Despite the challenging economy, travel is up, with more than 270 million travelers hitting the road this year, according to the Airports Council International. More travel means more insights into what makes a city great — whether it’s efficient transportation, affordable dining, or youthful energy — and how cities compare on a global basis. After all, the thrill of a country is most often reflected in its city life. “Cities absolutely dominate over countryside experiences for travelers,” says T+L A-List super agent Priscilla Alexander of Protravel International. “You won’t have someone going to France and not going to Paris.”

No. 10 Paris

Ah, Paris. Every cobbled lane, every street-side café, every patisserie window seems to have been art-directed by some impossibly savvy set designer. Yet for all that elegance and drama, Paris’ greatest pleasures are arguably its simplest ones: the hum of a neighborhood bistro; the tranquility of a churchyard; the crunch of a perfect baguette. After all, you come to Paris to eat. Indulge serious cheese fantasies at Laurent Dubois, a fromagerie with seemingly endless options.

Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

Javier Salas

No. 9 Barcelona

Barcelona has long been famous for its art and architecture, with Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Antoni Gaudí all leaving their marks. But this is the first year that the Catalan city has broken into the World’s Best Cities top 10 list. Though diversions like wandering the Gaudí-designed Parc Güell have a timeless appeal, it’s new hot spots like Tickets, from mad-scientist brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià, that are creating the worldwide buzz. Where to stay? At the new Mandarin Oriental, where the Hong Kong hotel group’s legendary service is paired with Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola’s 98 bright, cream-on-white rooms.

Sydney
Sydney, Australia

Mikkel Vang

No. 8 Sydney

Part outsize beach resort, part culture capital, Sydney, the perennial World’s Best City winner Down Under, exemplifies the art of relaxed cosmopolitanism: urbane but not pretentious; cutting-edge but not stressed-out. New restaurants and boutiques are channeling that Aussie energy in some oft-overlooked neighborhoods such as beachside hangout Manly. And an initiative to liven up the side lanes in the trendy Surry Hills and Darlinghurst neighborhoods has led to a slew of lounge bars opening up; try the lychee-infused tequila at Hunky Dory Social Club.

Siem Reap
Siem Reap, Cambodia

iStock

No. 7 Siem Reap

Siem Reap is best known as the gateway to the Angkor Wat temple complex and other 12th-century Khmer ruins such as Ta Prohm, which remains as archaeologists found it in 1860, with banyan and kapok trees slowly reclaiming its sandstone carvings. But now the city has evolved from a cluster of riverfront villages into a full-fledged destination complete with art galleries, boutique hotels — and a World’s Best Cities designation. Sample the local cuisine at the FCC Angkor, a 31-room Art Deco hotel and restaurant, and drop by McDermott Gallery for black-and-white photographs of Angkor Wat.

Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa

Courtesy of Twelve Apostles Hotel

No. 6 Cape Town

Cape Town is sometimes labeled the least African of African cities — which, depending on who’s doing the labeling, is said with enthusiasm or disparagement. But whatever you think of the must-see destination, post-World Cup, the city radiates a palpable cool, and now it’s surged back onto the World’s Best list with a higher score than in 2009 (the last time it appeared). Split your time between urban pursuits (browsing the trendy Neighbourgoods Market and local artists’ galleries) and excursions to see wildlife, sample wines, and stroll the beaches of the Cape of Good Hope reserve.

Istanbul
Istanbul, Turkey

iStock

No. 5 Istanbul

Straddling the Bosporus — and thus the only major city that occupies both Asia and Europe — Istanbul also spans the ancient and modern worlds. The sounds of construction compete with the call of the muezzin, and the skyline, a glittering ribbon of palaces and mosques, is dotted with rooftop nightclubs. One reason the city skyrocketed back onto the World’s Best Cities list after two absent years? The appeal of Istanbul’s latest culinary trend: resurrecting ancient Ottoman recipes, such as garlicky lamb’s trotter served on toast at Asitane and juicy kubbes — dumplings filled with beef and pignoli — at Cercis Murat Konaği, on the city’s Asian side.

New York
New York

David Nicolas

No. 4 New York

For all New York’s bright-lights-big-city grandeur, one can always find a quiet neighborhood. The trick is balancing the city’s outsize spectacle with intimate experiences. The latest neighborhood to pull it off is the Chelsea arts district, between 10th and 11th avenues, most notable for the just-expanded High Line, a landscaped strip of elevated public space. On nearby blocks you’ll find buildings by Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, and Shigeru Ban, as well as marquee galleries such as Pace and Gagosian. For a picnic lunch, stop into Chelsea Market, a food-court-on-steroids, and savor a piece of the city that’s been voted No. 1 within the U.S. and Canada every year since 2000.

Rome
Rome, Italy

David Cicconi

No. 3 Rome

The Eternal City has ranked in the top 10 cities overall every year for the past decade, all while catapulting itself into the 21st century with a series of starchitect-designed buildings. Emblematic of the bold new look are the Ara Pacis, a travertine-and-glass building by Richard Meier, and Zaha Hadid’s Maxxi (Museum of 21st Century Arts), which debuted in 2010 in the northern Flaminio zone. Even the Colosseum has had a spruce-up, opening its dungeons and third-floor gallery to tours for the first time.

Florence
Florence, Italy

iStock

No. 2 Florence

With a charismatic mayor leading the way, a new generation of tastemakers is injecting a welcome dose of contemporary culture into this much-loved Renaissance city, set amid rolling hills studded with towers and churches. New galleries and aperitivo bars share the compact city center with more than one million works of art — among them Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Factor in high-fashion brands like Gucci and Cavalli, succulent steaks, and the traditional artisan workshops of the Oltrarno, and it’s no wonder that Florence beat out European cities many times its size.

Bangkok
Bangkok, Thailand

Cedric Angeles

No. 1 Bangkok

Frenetic and sultry, this Asian metropolis of 10 million seems like a city on overdrive. High-rises jostle for space; down below, cabs and tuk-tuks inch through the gridlock. But there are moments of calm. At dawn, saffron-robed Buddhist monks collect alms, while women thread the marigold and jasmine garlands that festoon temples and shrines. And when it comes to shopping and food, the city is an endless, and often affordable, bacchanalia. It’s no wonder that Bangkok has nabbed the No. 1 spot overall for two years running — and been listed in the top 10 every year since 2002.


From PARiS’ WIth LOVE: START YOUR LIFE TOGETHER WITH THE PERFECT HONEYMOON

July 8, 2011

By Getachew Teklu

Paris had always been a destination for traders, students and those on religious pilgrimages, but its ‘tourism’ in the proper sense of the term began on a large scale only with the appearance of rail travel, namely from state organisation of France’s rail network from 1848. One of Paris’ first ‘mass’ attractions drawing international interest were, from 1855, the above-mentioned Expositions Universelles that would bring Paris many new monuments, namely the Eiffel Tower from 1889. These, in addition to the Capital’s 2nd Empire embellishments, did much to make the city itself the attraction it is today.

Paris’ museums and monuments are by far its highest-esteemed attractions, and tourist interest has been nothing but a benefit to these; tourism has even motivated both city and State to create new ones. The city’s most prized museum, the Louvre, sees over 8 million visitors a year, being by far the world’s most visited art museum. Paris’ cathedrals are another main attraction: its Notre-Dame cathedral and Basilique du Sacré-Cœur receive 12 million and 8 million visitors respectively. The Eiffel Tower, by far Paris’ most famous monument, averages over 6 million visitors per year and more than 200 millions since its construction. Disneyland Resort Paris is a major tourist attraction not only for visitors to Paris, but to Europe as well, with 12.4 million visitors in 2004.

The Louvre is one of the largest and most famous museums, housing many works of art, including the Mona Lisa (La Joconde) and the Venus de Milo statue. Works by Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin are found in Musée Picasso and Musée Rodin respectively, while the artistic community of Montparnasse is chronicled at the Musée du Montparnasse. Starkly apparent with its service-pipe exterior, the Centre Georges Pompidou, also known as Beaubourg, houses the Musée National d’Art Moderne. Lastly, art and artefacts from the Middle Ages and Impressionist eras are kept in Musée Cluny and Musée d’Orsay respectively, the former with the prized tapestry cycle The Lady and the Unicorn.

Many of Paris’ once-popular local establishments have metamorphised into a parody of French culture, in a form catering to the tastes and expectations of tourist capital. Le Lido, The Moulin Rouge cabaret-dancehall, for example, are a staged dinner theatre spectacle, a dance display that was once but one aspect of the cabaret’s former atmosphere. All of the establishment’s former social or cultural elements, such as its ballrooms and gardens, are gone today. Much of Paris’ hotel, restaurant and night entertainment trades have become heavily dependent on tourism, with results not always positive for Parisian culture.


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