Iraq tourism - a reality soon

15.11.2010 In: Travel destinations

Are you ready for Iraq tourism? Well, if the folks at World Travel Market and Euromonitor are to be believed, the war-torn country is “poised to be a future tourism hotspot.”

Euromonitor International in its WTM Global Trends Report shows “Iraqi tourism is growing fast with increased airline and hotel capacity following the country’s successful attendance at World Travel Market 2009 – its first visit to a travel and tourism trade event for 10 years.”

“Iraq’s decision to bring a delegation to World Travel Market last year was well timed for the destination’s tourism resurgence. The country offers a diverse mix of history, culture and unique experiences all paving the way for its place as an exciting up and coming destination,” WTM Chairman Fiona Jeffery said. “Iraq is exhibiting at WTM 2010 to seek further investment in its tourism industry giving it a great opportunity to become a future tourism hotspot.”

Euromonitor says Iraq is exhibiting at a major travel and tourism trade event at WTM 2010 as it looks to negotiate even more investment in its tourism infrastructure following the end of the war in 2003.

It was only last year that reports of a delegation of senior Iraqi officials travelled to WTM emerged. Visa issues settled, the Iraqi delegation apparently made it to the event wherein the tourism regeneration process and the positioning of Iraq on the world tourism map again began.

For her part, Euromonitor International Head of Global Travel and Tourism Research Caroline Bremner said: “Iraq’s tourism future looks bright driven by business travel demand. Some 700 tourism accommodation units are expected to spring up in the next four years including big names such as Rotana and Millennium and Copthorne.”

Euromonitor says more than a third of projects planned are already underway including a number of new hotel openings to cater for business and leisure tourism. “Major international airlines including Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines have also taken the decision to begin flying to the destination once more.”

It is also being claimed that Iraq saw visitors to Iraq totalled 1.3 million with religious tourists in 2009, mainly from Iran, accounting for the large part.

Euromonoitor added, however, that business visitors are also increasing with renewed interest from Gulf investors contributing to the 58% rise in business tourism last year.

International travel agencies including Sharaf Travel (UAE) and Terre Entière (France) set up in Iraq early this year, while Safir Hotels and Resorts have also opened a 340-room property in Karbala.

So, what’s the future of Iraq tourism? By Euromonitor’s account, it is looking pretty bright. “By 2014, 700 hotels are expected to be open. Future hotel openings include Rotana, which is to open its first hotel in Erbil before the end of 2010 with additional expansion plans for its Arjaan and Centro brands. Rotana in Baghdad is scheduled for 2012. And, the five-star Divan Erbil Park Hotel and Le Royal Park Hotel will open in Erbil in 2011.”

Have a vacation this winter! 5 wonderful places to enjoy

08.11.2010 In: Travel destinations

Looking to get away this holiday season? Who better to find the deals than agents catering to notoriously cash-strapped students?
Patrick Evans of the student travel agency STA Travel, Danielle Carlson of StudentUniverse and Anne Banas of Smarter Travel offered recommendations for five places around the globe that offer an especially great value for trips from December 1 through January 25.
The first two weeks of December and the first week of January are known as "dead weeks" in the travel industry, and are the "absolute best time to travel in the entire year," Banas said.
So why not follow college students during their winter break to visit awesome destinations at low prices?

1. Costa Rica
With an average temperature of 72 degrees during the winter, travelers will enjoy a...

8 pristine tropical islands you should never miss

01.11.2010 In: Travel destinations

You want to plan that vacation to that glorious tropical island but you've only heard of the tourist traps like Nassau, Bahamas or Montego Bay, Jamaica. You want a place without fifteen-story hotels, screaming crowds, and a thousand souvenir shops. You want a place where you can finally relax and recuperate from the smash and grab daily grind. Well, worry no longer. Below you will find eight of the most peaceful paradises in the world. But don't wait a decade to choose one. By then, they may no longer be some of the best secret travel destinations.

1. Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico: Because this little gem was controlled by the U.S. Navy until 2003, it lacks the crowds, tourist traps, tall buildings, and traffic of commercialized vacation spots. This is truly an unspoiled island with...

Looking for some creepy fun? Try Ghost Tours!

25.10.2010 In: Travel destinations

Top 10 Ghost Tours in the U.S. have been announced.

Based on TripAdvisor's Popularity Index, a measurement of overall traveler satisfaction, these tours offer monstrous amounts of fun for daring travelers seeking a haunting history lesson or just jaw-dropping and spine-tingling thrills.

1. Hair-Raising Harpers: Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Self-proclaimed as "America's oldest ghost tour," this terrific tour has been running for more than 40 years. Brave travelers are invited to journey through Harpers Ferry's historic "Lower Town," to visit Hog Alley and other dwellings where past tragedies have left sauntering spirits. A TripAdvisor traveler said, "It was good, creepy fun!" Tour tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for 8-12 year-olds, and free of charge...

Top 10 places for brewery experience in the USA

18.10.2010 In: Travel destinations

Lager-lovers with a thirst for knowledge and an appetite for ale will be in their element at these entertaining establishments, which offer travelers the opportunity to sample tasty brews, while soaking up the sudsy surroundings.

1. Beechwood Best: Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour, Saint Louis, Missouri

In addition to offering free tours that take in the legendary Budweiser Clydesdale Stable, Beechwood Lager Cellars and historic Brew House, true hop-enthusiasts can also opt for the more exclusive "Beermaster Tour." This behind-the-scenes look at the brewing of Budweiser even offers travelers the opportunity to taste samples directly from a finishing tank. Tour tickets are $25 for over-21 year-olds and $10 for 13-20 year-olds.

2. Revolutionary Pour: Samuel Adams Brewery, Boston,...

An insight on Caribbean - all you can wish for

11.10.2010 In: Travel destinations

In the south east of Gulf Mexico the amazing region of Caribbean is situated. It primarily consists of the Caribbean Sea, stunning islands and the coastal regions. More than seven thousand islands, islets, reefs and cays make up this area. A few of its islands are part of the rouged, towering mountains, whereas the rest are located in the plane terrain areas. The level of rainfall varies with the altitude and the air currents; in other words, its climate is tropical. Throughout the season, warm and moist wind keeps on blowing. The beauty of the marine life here catches your eye since it consists of a variety of fish, turtles and the multi-coloured coral reefs.
The Caribbean is a gorgeous place. Its beauty attracts people from all around the world, who come to spend some time with their...

Indian railways - crosing the country for 150 years

04.10.2010 In: Travel destinations

Indian Railway has a rich heritage of about 150 years that has crossed a number of tracks and boundaries to achieve milestones. Today it has become the lifeline, the backbone of the travel industry as well as the lifeline of the nation. It has witnessed commendable success in the past and is significantly contributing to the economic progress of the country.
Here are some of the interesting facts about Indian Railways that has eventually contributed in making the Indian Rail network one of the largest in Asia:
- First passenger train was started between Mumbai and Thane on April 16, 1853.
- Parsik Tunnel is the first rail tunnel in the country.
- First underground rail system started in Kolkatta.
- In the year 1986 the first computerized reservation system started in New Delhi.

Top 5 cities to visit in Thailand

27.09.2010 In: Travel destinations

With several sights to see and surprises to offer, Thailand could be one of the best locations you should not miss to visit. Culture, beaches, people, and heritage sites are some of the things you can expect when you travel to Thailand.
Bangkok – traveling Thailand wound not be complete without visiting Bangkok. As the nation’s capital with an estimated population of over 10 million (including the neighboring provinces), this city is by far the largest in the country. The city is divided into 50 districts or khet but for tourists and those who are new in the place, 6 divisions would be more useful. These are Ratchadaphisek in the northeast section of the city, Sukhamvit in the southeast, Silom in the south, Thonburi in the west, Rattanakosin in the central north, and Phahanyothin in...

The 7 Wonders of Portugal will definitely sort out your itinerary

20.09.2010 In: Travel destinations

In tourism terms, drawing up a fresh list of the Seven Wonders of the World is a bit like reinventing the wheel.
Three years ago on a hot summer's night in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon - on the 7th day of the 7th month of the 7th year, to be precise - the New 7 Wonders of the modern world were announced amidst much pomp and ceremony. Jay-Lo sizzled and sang, Joaquim Cortés dazzled and danced, and MC Ben Kingsley waxed very lyrical about the importance such an initiative promises for the many future generations due to inherit the earth.
The new list did make interesting, if not surprising, reading as the Great Wall of China, Petra, Statue of Christ the Redeemer, Machu Picchu, Chichen Itza, Colosseum, and the Taj Mahal "officially" replaced Herodotus and his contempories' original...

Carribean region wouldn't be so stunning without the Bermuda islands

13.09.2010 In: Travel destinations

Of all places in and around the Caribbean region, Bermuda is one that caters to both elite and middle-class people. Yes, even your family can spend a short vacation there. While many rich and powerful personalities go to Bermuda for some exclusive leisure time at the beach, there are certain spots here which you and your family can enjoy without spending tons of money.

Bermuda has lots of beaches and they come in different sizes, most of which are made open to the public. For a budget traveler like you, public beaches are the way to go. Here you can mingle with both the tourists and the locals while enjoying Bermuda’s unique culture and way of life. On the other hand, the VIP’s tend to go for the private beaches where they mostly maintain an exclusive residence or a beach vacation...

The best destinations for the fall season

06.09.2010 In: Travel destinations

If you're fortunate enough that you can travel when you want - instead of when your employer or school wants - fall is a great time to get going.
Weather is pretty good in most popular tourist areas, the summer crowds are gone and the snowbirds haven't started their southern migrations yet. In fact, in most areas, the period between Labor Day and the mid-December start of year-end festivities is generally the slowest time of the year in travel - always excluding the short-trip spike around Thanksgiving.
Here are a few suggestions:

Family tourist areas
If you have a hankering to revert to your childhood, fall is a good time to visit any major family venue - Disney World, Disneyland, Six Flags, whatever. Once school starts again, family travel generally dries up until summer, with a...

Your Anguilla vacation - enjoy the tranquility

23.08.2010 In: Travel destinations

Serene and secluded – these are just three words that describe Anguilla and will give you a hint as to why this island in the Caribbean is an idyllic one for a vacation. The island is relatively flat and the white sandy beaches around the coast, no less than 30, are shaded by sea-grape trees. This island is the most northerly of the Leeward Islands that gained its independence in 1980. English is the predominant language, since it was part of the British Empire and the influences of this heritage can be seen all over Anguilla.
The weather is mainly cool and dry with an average temperature of about 27 degrees. There is no system of public transportation on the island, but there are lots of taxis and places where you can rent a car. In keeping with the British tradition, drivers must...

The French Alps - a popular destination and a picturesque place

16.08.2010 In: Travel destinations

A popular area that is ideal for vacations, the French Alps were crafted from glaciers which have corresponding valleys with a mild climate and rich soil. Part of the European chain of mountains that is known as the Alps is renowned for its captivating beauty featuring Alpine lakes. It is one of France’s most popular tourist regions along with Paris and the Côte d'Azur. Also the Alps are the biggest mountain range in Europe that spread through France, Italy and Switzerland with the highest peaks forming a natural barrier with Italy.

There a few towns in the French Alps in which at first glance may seem like an inhospitable and isolated section of France. Actually they are loaded with towns that are linked and popular all year round. The Alps are divided into two provinces, Savoy in...

New World Heritage locations - this time China, Mexico and Pacific

02.08.2010 In: Travel destinations

Six sites located in Brazil, China, Mexico, France's Reunion Island and the South Pacific nation of Kiribati won World Heritage status from a UNESCO panel meeting in Brazil.
Four existing World Heritage sites were also expanded to include nearby natural or cultural treasures in Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Spain, the UN cultural agency said in a statement.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, in a 10-day meeting in Brasilia that will wrap up Tuesday, has already added or extended 17 other sites to its list, bringing the total number of sites around the world with the prestigious stamp to 910.
The latest additions comprised three culturally important sites and three environmentally unique ones.
Sao Francisco Square in the northeastern town of Sao Cristovao was designated a World...

Destin, Florida - have a great vacation!

26.07.2010 In: Travel destinations

Situated along the region known as the Emerald Coast, Destin is the perfect place for a relaxing getaway filled to the brim with sun, sand, and plenty of stunning water. Whether you simply want to kick back on a sugar white beach or get out on the water for an exciting excursion, a vacation to Destin is always miles beyond the ordinary.
The ideal location for a relaxing afternoon or a bustling morning, Henderson Beach State Park has everything you could imagine from a pristine Panhandle beach. With 6,000 feet of soft white sand that reaches out towards the Gulf of Mexico, visitors flock here in droves to swim, sunbathe, and fish under the warm Florida sun. And when you want a little more action during your day at the beach, natural trails await to give visitors a glimpse of the abundant...