I just returned from Vietnam, a place that consistently receives raves from all who visit. Its breathtaking natural beauty, rich culture and fascinating history make it an appealing destination for both first-time and return visitors, couples, families and singles alike. With its lush countryside, charming colonial cities, ancient waterways, great food and lovely beaches, there’s surely something for every taste. The country is taking note of its growing appeal to sophisticated, affluent visitors with new luxe properties, elite riverboats, high-end spas and top restaurants. Famed documentarian Ken Burn’s upcoming series about Vietnam is bound to cast the country in the spotlight once again.
I have been very amused by personality quizzes that have been popping up in my Facebook newsfeed lately, most of them originating from www.buzzfeed.com “What Gemstone Are You?” and “Which Fictional Villain Are You?” are some of the most recent that friends have shared. I kept my comments to myself when a close friend’s result revealed that she was the wicked witch! Despite the silly titles and fun nature of these tests, sometimes the results are surprisingly accurate.
ASTA has released the findings of two surveys they’ve conducted. They surveyed 8,300 consumers to gauge their perceived value of travel agents. They also reported on the evolution of agent-supplier booking patterns. We felt the results would be of interest to both our agent and supplier readers.
While you read this month’s Destinations by JAX FAX, think of Christopher Ames from US Airways. The director of product development is holed up in Las Vegas scouting hotels, restaurants, and enough local lore to baffle 30 travel agents in the upcoming 2014 US Airways Las Vegas Scavenger Hunt. While he gathers ‘intel’ on this famous gambling hub, JAX FAX looks back on Reno, NV, the second of three scavenger hunts held last October by Ames and his trusty cohorts.
The city of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage site since the 1970s, is one of the jewels in Croatia’s tourism crown. The intact Medieval walled city on the Adriatic Sea, as well as Split, the largest city in the scenic region of Dalmatia, contain fascinating medieval, Renaissance and Baroque historical sites that draw millions of tourists each year. Many arrive on cruise ships in the heat of mid-summer, drawn to the beautiful beaches, breathtaking views and the city’s unique architecture. But, while most of the attention is focused on these seaside villages and towns and islands off the coast of Croatia, there is so much more to see. especially in spring and fall, before and after the busiest part of the travel season, when the crowds thin, streets and hotels empty and there’s room to breathe, to take in the unique beauty, ancient culture and complex modern history of this small country.
With its ancient hilltop castle, picturesque river and cobblestone squares lined with ornate architecture, Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Yet what sets it apart for many visitors is the wonderful music that fills the city’s churches, concert halls and streets.
Your clients already have images of Scandinavia: fjords, Vikings, reindeer, colorful fishing villages, northern lights, maybe a stave church. This much they know, but you can introduce them to Scandinavia in 2014, and to a few things they may not
For decades, Lima, Peru’s great capital by the Pacific, languished, beset by crime, political unrest and triple-digit inflation. The once-proud city became a way station for Americans headed east to Machu Picchu or north to the Amazon. But times have changed. In the past decade, a committed leadership has worked to wipe out gang violence, strengthen U.S. trade agreements and upgrade the city’s infrastructure.
Safer and more welcoming, Lima retains the elegance of its Spanish colonial past. Grand plazas are lined with ornate churches, and stylish European-style cafés where Limeños savor cocktails made from pisco, the heady national drink, and ceviche made from the Pacific’s freshest fish. Only a three-hour drive down the coast, tour the Paracas National Reserve, home of Humboldt penguins, sea lions and blue-footed boobies, and follow the Pisco Trail to Hacienda La Caravedo, the oldest distillery in the Americas and birthplace of premium Pisco Portón.
Costa Rica is generally regarded as the first eco-tourism destination in South America. Its long history of sustainability includes setting aside an impressive 26% of its land mass for protected areas, including nearly 30 national parks.
New upscale options offer visitors the opportunity to combine “green” with luxury, especially in the Papagayo peninsula of the northwest Pacific coast, which is experiencing growth and change.
It’s common to feel like a stranger in a strange land sometimes when traveling. The local language, dress, conduct, and other customs can give you the feeling of not being part of the “in” crowd, like in high school. Fortunately, I did not feel like an outsider at all when I stayed in the beautiful island country of St. Lucia. Instead, I felt like a beloved family member returning home after a long journey abroad.
As soon as I landed at Hewanorra International Airport, an employee warmly greeted me with “Welcome back.” It was my first time in this neck of Caribbean paradise, but this simple greeting set the tone for the rest of my stay.