The 2017 Spring Travel Writing Contest is the first-ever contest of its kind organized by Argophilia Travel News. Its purpose is to encourage creativity and discovery and to promote this part of the world to broad audiences, beyond consumers of travel news. [Read more…]
The small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises has been named USA TODAY’s #1 Best Boutique Cruise Line” on top of being named to Condé Nast Traveler’s 2017 Gold List for 5th Year Running. The boutique line also received accolades from influential travel insiders who have experienced a personalized cruise vacation on the line’s iconic sailing and
The boutique line also received accolades from influential travel insiders who spent a vacation on the line’s iconic sailing yacht. The USA Today award came via the news organization’s panel of experts from the world of cruising who partnered with the “10Best” editors to nominate 20 cruise lines. Windstar led the popular vote winning the #1 spot on Dec. 23. On the Condé Nast Traveler award editor Pilar Guzmán had this to say about Windstar:
“This year’s Gold List is a collective love letter to all of those… around the world that set the standard for a life well-lived.”
“A life well lived” seems like the new moniker for the cruise line. Another award via CruiseReport.com spells fair winds for Windstar as the senior editor there says:
“We love small ship cruising and, in our opinion, nobody does it better than Windstar Cruises. The acquisition of three motor yachts (Star Breeze, Star Pride and Star Legend) takes Windstar to a whole new level. Our 9-nights aboard Star Pride reminded us of what we love about Windstar: excellent service, surprisingly good dining, interesting destinations and great value. I love small ships and Windstar’s new Star-class ships may be my new favorites.”
About Windstar Cruises:
Windstar Cruises operates a six-ship fleet of small boutique sailing and all-suite yachts visiting 170 ports throughout Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, sailing year-round in Tahiti and the South Pacific, and adding newlyannounced Asia and Arabia.
Two new tours to the Republic of Yakutia called “Amazing Yakutia” and “Hospitable Yakutia” will show travelers all that is magical about this mysterious and fascinating part of Russia.
Starting with the Festival of Ysyakh and the Yakut New Year, people can book the tours from leading travel operators in the Russia. In the Summer of 2016 th Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Development of Tourism in Yakutia welcomed visitors from these leading tour companies to experience the region like their clients will. The news was reported on the website of the government of the Republic of Sakha.
For those unfamiliar the region was first established on 27 April 1922 as the Yakut ASSR in the composition of the RSFSR and the USSR. Then in 1991, the Yakut ASSR got its present name — the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The region is the largest in the Russian Federation, as well as being the largest administrative area in the world. Yakutia is actually even larger than the second-largest state in the CIS, Kazakhstan, and is even larger than Argentina, but with a fraction of the population of those countries.
A few of the sites and destinations to see in Yakutia are; the Treasury of The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Exhibition, the Museum of History and Culture of The People of The North, Gradoyakutskiy Transfiguration Cathedral, the Archy House centre of Spiritual Culture, the Sacred Kihilekh Mountains, the Mammoth Museum, the Verkhoyanskiy Mountain Range, the Lena River and myriad adventure tourism outdoors destinations.
In news from Princess Cruises, the line is offering 200 travel agents the chance to win a cruise on its newest ship, Majestic Princess, when the ship launches later in 2017.
In order to win, agents must book guests on a 2017 fly-Europe cruise with the cruise line, then enter their details on the online training portal. The prize is a four-night preview sailing departing on March 31 from Trieste to Venice. All flights and gratuities are included in the prize, and the winners will be selected completely at random. The contest runs until January 28 2017, the Chinese New Year.
The 3,560-guest Majestic Princess is currently being built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. Built especially for the Chinese market, the vessel will incorporate a unique blend of international and Asian features. Tony Roberts, vice president Princess Cruises UK and Europe, had this to say about the contest4:
“We’re really excited about this incentive as it offers agents a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience Majestic Princess before she sails to China. We’ve already had 10 lucky travel agents recently win this prize at the 2016 CLIA conference and now 190 more agents can be in with a chance of winning.”
From its modest beginnings in 1965 with a single ship cruising to Mexico, Princess® has grown to become one of the premiere cruise lines in the world. Today, its fleet carries more than a million passengers each year to more worldwide destinations than any other major line.
New for 2017, there will be added ethnocultural routes in Dagestan and Azerbaijan in an international project of the countries of the CIS and China’s “New Silk Road” initiative. In a promising news tourism industry development, Dagestan is planning to open the routes and stays in accordance with the travelogues of the famous French novelist Alexander Dumas.
Currently, Dagestan and Azerbaijan attract a good number of tourists who visit based partly on the 20 of 64 chapters of the travel writings of Alexander Dumas, published in 1859, that was devoted to the region. Ramazan Abdulatipov, Head of the Republic of Dagestan also had this to say about the potential for tourism there:
“These amazing mountains and miles of sandy beaches, ancient Derbent, the villages of Kubachi, Balkhar, Untsukul, Samur Liana forest, dune Sary-Kum are endless. Where I am from, in the mountain Tlyaratinsky district, there are 127 monuments of history and culture. Elswhere, we have development opportunities for diving, paragliding, extreme kinds of sports, and much more.”
As reported, in 2015-2016, tourist flows in Dagestan increased by more than 30% via the developed new tourist routes and improving existing ones. Since then private investors have built more than 15 hotels, tourist bases and guest houses to accommodate visitors.
The mountain ridges of Dagestan are from in between 2000-4000 meters high with endless meadows below in the valleys. For those unfamiliar, the landscape most the mountain ridges of Central Asia and Tibet more than the Caucasus. Dagestan is also the nature reserve of the Caucasus, where people still wear typical indigenous dress, prefer traditional cuisine and, most importantly, live in accordance to ancient adats and Islam traditions.
China has just launched one of the world’s longest train routes, from the far eastern tip of the country to London. The freight train now runs across an 18 day – 12,000 kilometer track across seven countries. its eastern tip all the way to London. The freight train flagged off on Sunday, will travel over 12,000km across seven countries before arriving at its destination 18 days later.
Running through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, en route the UK, the new train route will connect even the important Yiwu region, which is known for producing household goods, garments, handbags suitcases. According to the news China already runs services to 14 other European cities. This latest London connective actually marks the second longest route (after Madrid).
This rail or trade route is actually not a new connect at all, but rather a resurrected part of the old Silk Road, which commenced in 200 BC, through which Chinese silk caravans carried wears to Europe and Africa. Like the trail of old, the trade route represents wealth and prestige for Beijing, as the historic route is reconnected.
According to research from Royal Caribbean, holiday seekers use social media as their inspiration for booking trips. In keeping with the study’s findings, the cruise company is now offering the ultimate internship for a lucky Instagram aficionado. The chosen Instagrammer will depart on a three-week cruise on three separate ships to explore all the cruise world has to offer.
Applications for this temporary adventurer role are now being taken via Instagram for a role the company says is a combination; photographer, documentary maker, and storyteller. The lucky intern will receive free food, drink and flights as well as £3,000 in cash for their services aboard the three vessels, but the candidate will be expected to “immerse themselves in the extraordinary moments, experiences and stories that take place on land and at sea, and share them with the world via Instagram”.
The study by Royal Caribbean showed that almost half (48%) of holidaymakers rely on social media for inspiration when booking their holidays. Also in the polling of some 2,000 people in the UK and Ireland, Royal Caribbean discovered that over one-third of those surveyed would not even consider a trip without first consulting social media.
We’re looking for an #ExtraordinaryExplorer for a 3 week Instagram Intern-ship next summer! The candidate will sail the seas capturing incredible content and uncovering amazing stories. Want to apply? Post an extraordinary travel photo or video on Instagram, tagging @RoyalCaribbeanUK and using #ExtraordinaryExplorer! Applicants must be 21 and over. T&C’s apply: https://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk/extraordinary-intern-ship/
The so-called “Intern-ship of the Seas” will be chosen by a panel of judges based on a number of factors including visual appeal, storytelling ability, originality and inspirational qualities. The panel includes Travel Weekly Editor-in-Chief, Lucy Huxley and Royal Caribbean’s Managing Director UK & Ireland, Ben Bouldin.
Those who think they have what it takes can apply by sharing their “most extraordinary travel photo” on Instagram, tagging @RoyalCaribbeanUK and #ExtraordinaryExplorer.
Applicants must be at least 21 years old and own their own smartphone. They must have extensive knowledge of Instagram, including all of its filters.
“We have also prepared an appeal to the President on the restoration of Yalta in the status all-Russia children’s health resort and ask him to support this idea.”
Mixed news from ridesharing behemoth Uber this week does not bode well for investors in the venture. With a pile of lawsuits, and losses expected to exceed $3 billion for the year, some experts fear no profitability in the near future.
A TechCrunch article by Lora Kolodny (@lorakolodny) frames Uber in the light as a frivolous venture these days, a 360 degree shift from its former famous startup self. The brass tacks of the TC piece boils down to Uber spending $1.55 for every dollar it makes. When The Wall Street Journal reported that privately held Uber lost at least $800 million in the third quarter of 2016, the tech blogosphere’s ears were tweeked. The fact these loses did not include taxes and that Uber recently sold its China business, did not help either. Relatively new companies losing billions, regardless how successful they are, do not usually have fairytale endings.
Though it seems unfathomable that a company with so much marketing and popularity going for it, the reality Uber may be dropped off at the curb by investors soon is poignant. What’s more, Uber’s attitude toward transparency does not help either. MarketWatch tech expert Therese Poletti what may be the company’s core problem though. :
“A company that prefers to characterize itself as a crusader against regulations that can stifle technological innovation than a company looking to operate in the dark while facing big deficits and testing potentially dangerous technology.”
Ongoing legal battles, the company announcing spending hundreds of millions building a fleet of self-driving cars, and more millions launching Teslas in Madrid sounds more like teenage behavior than responsible business to most people. The self-driving cars failing miserably in San Francisco did not prompt Uber to rethink the program. Instead, the San Francisco-based company is spending its $8.3 billion in funding, along with its estimated $5 billion plus in revenue in what appears to be a perpetual self-destruct mode. Driverless cars for a company that empowers human drivers? Uber’s strategies seem like the proverbial dog chasing its own tail. If revenue news were not bad enough, an Uber employee filing a lawsuit accusing the company of misleading employees about their equity compensation.
If revenue news were not bad enough, an Uber employee filing a lawsuit accusing the company of misleading employees about their equity compensation makes Uber’s brand hurt even more. Then there’s India, an expansion Uber does not want to turn out the way China did. Unfortunately the news there will probably also be bad as the company relies on a wing-and-a-prayer in trying to build an army of 1.4 million drivers in a country where only 5% of people own cars. The list of negative news for Uber goes on and on really, but the high hopes of investors is the real rub.
Uber today seems like a business idea transported out of sync in time. A skyrocket success where startups go, Uber has had unprecedented financial backing only to engage in strategies out of touch with reality. Self-driving cars may be an eventuality, but not for a 2017 company dependent on core human workers and on safety. India and China are certainly emerging markets any international company must intersect in, but on-the-ground realities in those markets must be keenly addressed too. Big plans, big dreams, and big PR can lead to massive successes. Look at Facebook, why it’s not even an innovation but it is massively profitable now. In my view Uber has too much going against it now, and this is not because the startup was a bad idea. Competitors are cathing up, players in these new markets are not stupid, and throwing good money after bad is not going to make things better.
Look for Uber to scale way back and grow up, or hit the TechCrunch deadpool like cannonball starting in 2017. Either this, or the company will make some desperate IPO move to follow Google into the stock game. It may well turn out that Gawker’s Sam Biddle’s assessment of Uber last year was spot on.
2016 was such a great year for travel. Memories were made, places were discovered, and stories are shared. Here are 10 of the most popular, the ones that made the headlines, the ones that you loved. These are the stories that show why we all love travel so much. [Read more…]
Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH) released an infographic and detailed data regarding its predictions for the 2017 travel trends. [Read more…]