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June, 2010


Dear readers, The latest Tourism Review Online Magazine is here – this time both in pdf as well as html version. Enjoy the new features and let us know what you (don’t) like. If you are a history lover, open the Heritage part and let us invite you for a stay in unique hotels – palaces, casas, forts. Visit Cornwall, Andalucía or even Hungary and enjoy the world of aristocracy. The Adventure supplement goes also back in time although not so far. This time we present various tours and monuments connected with the Communist era. Slum tourism is the theme of the Ethical part focusing on the question whether the so popular tours are helping in any way to the poverty stricken communities at all. The Professional supplement discusses the latest issues of the youth tourism industry including the role of couchsurfing for hostels. First of all however open the Destination part and enjoy the wildly romantic land of diversity – Alaska. Milada Sovadinova Editor


CONTENTS

CONTENTS

JUNE, 2010

H E R I TAG E

Ethical

SlumS for VoyeurS or reSponSible TraVelerS?

Hotel StayS out of tHe PaSt

Slum tours have become very popular in the past years. What can you expect? Should you be worried to be called a voyeur or rather a responsible tourist?

Have you ever dreamed about staying in a palace? Discover historical hotels and venues in Italy, Portugal or Spain and see how the nobility lived and spent their leisure time.

ETHICAL: Slums for Voyeurs or Responsible Travelers?................... 34

HERITAGE: Hotel Stays out of the Past........... 4 Fortified and Wildly Romantic Historic Cornish Fort. ..................................... 5 Castelletto di Montebenichi: A Dream Come True. .................................................. 7 Palatial Life in Spanish Andalucía............................................................................... 8 Szidónia Manor House: The Castle for Hungarian Aristocracy. .................. 10 Medieval Convent Turned into Luxury Hotel...................................................... 12

Addressing the World of the Poor........................................................................... 35 The Third Face of Mumbai................................................................................................. 37 Teaching Tourism in the Slums................................................................................... 39 Kibera: The Friendliest Slum in the World............................................................. 40

Professional

D e s t i nat i o n AlAskA: The lAnd of diversiTy

Young, Restless and tRaveling

Every summer the cities are full of students enjoying their summer break. Youth tourism has become an important market. However, are the young backpackers likely to bring serious profits?

For some the land of eternal frost, for others beautiful wilderness – Alaska offers it all to those who want to discover this land where only the most courageous adventurers dared to come in the past.

Professional: Young, Restless and Traveling..... 13

Destination: Alaska: The Land of Diversity.... 42

Couchsurfing Killed the Youth Hostel?. ............................................................... 14 Volunteer Travel: High School Grad Helps Orphans in Bali........................... 17 International Student ID Cards: Opening the World of Discounts............. 19 Youth Tourism Industry: No Great Expectations?............................................... 20

Alaska – The Greatland................................................................................................. 43 The Highs and Lows of Alaska’s Tourism. ................................................................ 45 From Seward to Talkeetna: The Best Alaska Has to Offer................................ 47 Tourism Industries Hoping for Stability in Numbers......................................... 49 Russian Remains: Alaska Once Dominated by Another World Power. .......... 51

Adventure

Fairs & Exhibitions

Remnants of the maRxist eRa

T r av e l / T o u r i s m

i n

J u n e

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b y

r e g i o n s

Nostalgic about the previous era? Visit Bucharest, Budapest or even China and follow the route of the Communist monuments, statues and other “unappealing” attractions.

ADVENTURE: Remnants of the Marxist Era.... 23 The Iron Curtain Trail: Experiencing the History of Europe’s Division. .... 24 Budapest: Walking Tours through the City in Transition.............................. 26 Hainan Pushing Green, Blue, and Now…Red Tourism........................................... 28 The Palace of the Parliament: The Legacy of Nicolae Ceausescu.................. 30 Choson – The Last Communist Retreat..................................................................... 32

Fairs & Exhibitions: Travel/Tourism in MAY 2010 by regions................................................. 54 Western Europe. ............................................................................................................... 55 Africa/MIDDLE EAST...................................................................................................... 56 North America.................................................................................................................. 57 Asia & Pacific...................................................................................................................... 58


H E R I TAG E Hotel Stays out of the Past

Have you ever dreamed about staying in a palace? Discover historical hotels and venues in Italy, Portugal or Spain and see how the nobility lived and spent their leisure time.


H e ritag e : Hotel Stay s out of the Pa st

Fortified and Wildly Romantic Historic Cornish Fort

Polhawn Fort, dramatically posed on a cliff overlooking the sandy beaches of Whitsand Bay in Cornwall, offers an exclusive opportunity to unwind, far from prying eyes. With a private beach, large lawn and all-weather tennis court, Polhawn Fort is hired out for exclusive use where you have the entire place to yourselves, and can do pretty much as you like. Situated in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, the Fort provides superb walks into the further reaches of Mount Edgcumbe Country Park Jun e, 2 0 1 0

and along the South Cornwall coastal footpath. The Fort is hidden in a corner on the famous Rame Head Peninsula at the end of a half mile drive, untouched by the ravages of civilisation. From the moment you walk across the working draw-bridge and down the spiral staircases into the grand arched and vaulted Napoleonic Hall, your visit will be quite unforgettable. Constructed in the 1860s as part of the Napoleonic fortifications defending the naval base of Plymouth, for many years the Grade II * listed

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Fort was an extraordinary and fascinating Cornish family home. Polhawn Fort is one of a number of forts known, because they were never used in military action, as Palmerston's Follies. Architecturally designed to be ready for action, this military building includes many fortification features intended to protect occupants under attack. The main entrance to the fort is at roof level across a unique drawbridge that pivots in the middle and operates through a quick release mechanism, which a single soldier could


H e ritag e : Hotel Stay s out of the Pa st

action if under surprise attack from the hillside. The Fort’s construction is massive. The foundations are cut into solid rock, the internal walls are three feet thick, the ceilings have a minimum thickness of six feet, and the outer wall is no less than eight feet thick. Constructed entirely from solid masonry, all structural support throughout is of arched and vaulted brickwork. The ballast roof is covered by a soft concrete, designed to absorb bomb impact; a rounded stonework corbel projecting along the Fort walls prevents attackers scaling the walls with ladders. This imposing structure was designed to hold seven

Wedding in the Fort Today, Polhawn Fort is managed by Kathy Deakin. It is owned by John and Teresa Wicksteed, recently featured in the final episode of “Michael Winner’s Dining Stars” aired on ITV1. The Fort is principally used as a wedding venue (approx 100 weddings a year, 1,500 to date) and is available to hire for a weekend or mid-week without caterers or staff.

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cannons, the seven large arched and vaulted areas on its main floor a casemate for each cannon. The grand arched and vaulted Napoleonic Hall comprises four arched casemates – whose cannons intentionally face the cliffs, beaches and shallow waters of Whitsand Bay to prevent enemy landings. Three further casemates face slightly more out to sea. Originally linked, these are now each a separate bedroom, comprising two Emperor Suites and one Admiral's room (with four-poster bed). All rooms, with the exception of the kitchen, face the sea and offer panoramic sea views. The sitting room and upper bedrooms still feature the original circular cannon front racer rings just inside the embrasures (front windows). Everything about the Fort was designed to minimise the risk of sparks or accidental explosion including door hinges, which were made of brass instead of wrought iron. Before entering the Magazine, which housed the fort’s gunpowder and explosives, soldiers had to enter a wooden floored changing room to remove boots and any metal equipment, and then put on special slippers and smocks.

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The Magazine is a windowless room with an inner lining of brick wall with openings for ventilation, and has the only truly original door in the Fort. Now housing the central heating boiler, the warmth belies the fact that this used to be a cold dark tomb-like place. Pencilled protestations, still clearly visible on the walls, tell us that it doubled as a prison cell for errant soldiers at the beginning of the First World War. The wooden fixings, previously operating as rifle wall brackets set into the Fort’s interior walls, and the ready use cupboard designed to keep cannon ammunition on hand (now a bathroom), demonstrate the Fort’s readiness for action. A genuine 24-pounder "Blomefield" cannon dating from around 1809 is also on view in the Fort grounds beneath the drawbridge. This type of cannon was in service in Nelson’s ships of the line when fighting Napoleon Bonaparte's navy, and it probably spent the first part of its active life at sea before being transferred to land use in forts that were designed for it. By Lisa George http://www.polhawnfort.com


H e ritag e : Hotel Stay s out of the Pa st

Castelletto di Montebenichi: A Dream Come True

It

was a rainy day of November when it started. By chance we reached a tiny hamlet, called Montebenichi, upon a hill in Chianti, not far from Siena, Italy, where we fell in love with a medieval tower in total disrepair, asking for help. At least it was we felt at that time and, of course, we could not hold out. In a matter of days we acquired the tower and in a matter of...... years (!) we were able to complete an accurate and archeological restoration of the old building, then amicably called “Castelletto”, which finally was given back to a new life in 1997. It is a witness of its ancient past when from the XII to the XVI century it played the important role Jun e, 2 0 1 0

of a strategic fortress built for the defense of the territory of Florence against the aggressiveness of Siena. Gregorio Stendardi, a heroic merchant soldier, known as captain Goro under the command of Francesco Ferrucci during the battle of Gavinana in 1530, was born and lived here with his family. While the works of repair were progressing, the idea of making a kind of relais for educated and leaned tourists materialized and the tower became an elegant hotel ready to accommodate guests in love with Tuscany. Furthermore, with only nine rooms and plenty of common spaces the building represented a perfect place to host our collection of antiques. Arnaldo and myself have for years collected antiques mostly of the XV and XVI centuries, along with some pieces of Greek, Roman and Etruscan art and drawings of the XX century. Now the majority of these objects, sculptures, furniture and paintings decorate the rooms of the Castelletto and can be enjoyed by our guests. The Castelletto does not follow the pattern of a “normal” hotel. It looks like a family house where a person may be invited to enjoy the beauty of the Tuscan landscape and to share the elegant atmosphere of the environment. Just for a few people, not a crowd. The garden, with a pool and a well equipped fitness room, overlooks a valley with unspoiled woods, vineyards and olive groves. Silence and quietness are everywhere.

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Staying at the Castelletto is like living in a fairy tale with a sense of peace and tranquility, apart from the rush of everyday life, enjoying, however, the benefits that modern technology can offer. The countryside offers many points of interest such as trails in the woods, bike routes, wineries, monasteries, castles and picturesque hamlets with restaurants that offer the traditional Tuscan cuisine. All around, beyond the hills, at short distances, Tuscany displays all its beauties. With half-day or day trips many cities of art can be reached such as Siena, Arezzo, Montepulciano, Florence, San Gimignano, Cortona, Pienza and many others, including, in Umbria, Perugia and Assisi. Spending a few days at the Castelletto is of benefit to the body and to the soul as well. By Marco Gasparini http://www.castelletto.it


H e ritag e : Hotel Stay s out of the Pa st

Palatial Life in Spanish Andalucía

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I

have been fortunate to have grown up in large houses, and after my parents separated when I was 14 until around 20, when not abroad in school I lived mostly with my father at my grandmother’s house, a house palace in the centre of Seville, the “Casa Palacio de Guardiola”. Life in a palace provides many differences to life in an apartment, and in most cases, the difference is for the worse – at the palace. Most of all, there is the sense of homeliness, which in a palace is challenged simultaneously on many fronts – the cohabitation of a private life with a family office, with employees, business visitors, coming and going. There is also the cohabitation with the service, who live in several parts of the house, and you share the courtyards, the kitchen with them. There is also cohabitation with other members of an extended family, in various generations. Each member ends up in one corner of the house, and has their own bedroom, bathroom and sitting area, so for any particular member, the real part of the house they use has a particular path with some stops, and perhaps most of the house, is not for anyone. Furthermore there is the aspect of your use of the house: a large palace is seldom the property of a single person, and many persons live in it. Property is something that is still mostly of the old. When you have access to property as a young person, many times it comes with ties – be it state taxes, a mortgage, maintenance demands, or pro-indiviso sharing with brothers and sisters. Older people are more likely to have lived in the house for longer, have made up their minds on what yes and what no, and have learned how to impose their rules – and this was truly our case. Large houses have to be lived publicly – with at least people cleaning, maintaining and gardening, or you are bound to become the mad uncle in the attic with the rest of the house falling apart around you. The privacy is confined to your bedroom and


H e ritag e : Hotel Stay s out of the Pa st

bathroom, sometimes a small living room, adjacent to your bedroom, very much like in a hotel. To eat, you are served, and if out of hours you venture into the kitchen, you quickly realize it is definitely not your space – you do not know what’s to be found in the fridge, nor where things are kept, so you get used to pretty quickly adapting your eating habits to the usual meals. The significance of a house is the part of the house that you use, what you use it for, and what demands it makes upon you. Perhaps the worst relation with a large house-palace nowadays is to be the owner. As an owner, the experience of the house cannot be disassociated with the direction it is taking. The large houses are always making demands on their owners – monetary and management – and unless the owner is sufficiently wealthy to be able to provide both without much effort, the demands become tiring, and the relationship of the owner towards the house turns into a challenge. A house too large is an instance of inappropriateness and an expression of waste, day after day. Jun e, 2 0 1 0

Living in a house – palace turned into a hotel provides much of the positive experience without the negative of experiencing the palace as a member of the owning family. First, the costs of a hotel room night are negligible compared with the costs of owning and maintaining a house. Then the rest: no management demands, no efforts, and practically all the benefits: a great location in the centre of town, easy parking within the property, your own private room, gardened courtyards, ample, well decorated living rooms, nice people (they have been selected for niceness and it is their job to be nice), the ease of being served, no need to go shopping nor cooking, nor cleaning… in sum an amplification of the time available for yourself, with substitutes for your functions up to or better than those most people are accustomed to running their own home. (text shortened) By Felipe Guardiola Medina (Casa de Carmona) http://www.casadecarmona.com

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H e ritag e : Hotel Stay s out of the Pa st

Szidónia Manor House: The Castle for Hungarian Aristocracy ed by his only child, a daughter named Juliana and when she died without children, the castle passed to her husband, Miksa Ürmenyi. The Ürmenyi were an ancient and respected Hungarian family. The Szechenyi family had lands nearby and Count István Széchenyi was a regular visitor to the castle. Known to the posterity as the "Greatest Hungarian”, Count Széchenyi was a gifted nationalist great politician who emerged as a major reformer during the 1848-49 war of independence and major figure of the reform age. Miksa Ürményí’s children sold the castle in the late 19th century to Antal Bauer, a famous and prosperous Austrian farmer. Bauer then moved from Waydhofen (Austria) to Shopron where he owned a large brewery in Shopron. His family only used the castle in summer and weekends. Antal Bauer died in 1893 and the castle passed to his son Milhaly, who was named Baron

Szidónia Castle Hotel

Szidónia Castle in West Hungary dates back to the 16th century when it was built as a single storey Nagyerdő or hunting lodge for the Felsőbüki Nagy. The castle was the centre piece of the Felsőbüki Nagy’s 3000 hectare woodland estate, which included 25 houses and 5 farms. Jun e, 2 0 1 0

The castle was rebuilt in about 1750 in the Romantic or Neo-Classical style by the reformer Pál Felsőbüki Nagy. The new building was U-shaped and encircled by 8 hectares of leisure grounds and parkland. After the dead of Pál Felsőbüki Nagy his son Josef inherited the castle. Josef was succeed-

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The romantic castle, hotel Szidónia, in West Hungary, at the Austrian border, only one hour from Vienna (Austria), belongs to the 20 best castle-hotels in Europe and to the leading wellness hotels of the country. The castle is surrounded by a 15 acres large idyllic park with playgrounds, sports facilities, outside pool, its own small zoo, and a strong mystic energy field.


H e ritag e : Hotel Stay s out of the Pa st

Röjtöki by the emperor Franz Josef. In 1910 it was purchased by the German Baron Gusztáv Berg, a friend of the German industrial tycoon Thyssen, who thoroughly renovated and enlarged the castle with the assistance of the architect Mayer. In 1913, Baron Berg’s close friend, the German industrial magnate Thyssen, presented the picturesque stone bridge that can be admired there to this day. By 1926 it belonged to the Vatican’s special envoy Verseghy Nagy who carried out large-scale refurbishing of the property. He added the outdoor bath designed by Hajós Alfréd, the "Dutch Garden", the famous Japanese House" and the house chapel which held a number of pieces of fine art, including two wooden statues now housed in the Museum of Schopron. The castle ballroom still contains furniture once owned by King Ludwig. After Verseghy’s death, his daughter Elisabeth Janssen inherited the castle and entertained many influential people such as the Eszterhazy, Bat-

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thyány, Széechenyi and Pálfy families. Elisabeth Janssen died in 1934 and was buried in the park. Verseghy married a Countess Zichy (from another well-known Hungarian family of Hungary) but, when the Communists invaded, they had to flee the estate with their two children. They settled in a discreet and modest farmhouse until 1956 when, following the Revolution, they relocated to Germany. Szidónia Castle Hotel opened its doors in its current form in December 1999. In 2005, two of the elderly Zichy ladies returned to the castle for a long weekend to experience the Szidónia Castle Hotel wellness experience. It was a delightful gathering–a "fusion" of past, present and future – presided over by the new owner, Ms Martha Derry, whose love for the castle has made this terrific hotel possible http://www.szidonia.hu

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H e ritag e : Hotel Stay s out of the Pa st

Medieval Convent Turned into Luxury Hotel S

is housed was built with an endowment from the estate of Jorge Cabral who was a great nephew of the Explorer. It has been fully renovated and modernized and in 2000 opened as a member of the Pousada Group. Inside, the chapel and sacristy have been turned into a lounge and bar a good example of the harmonious blend of historical architecture and modern construction and comfort. The Pousada hotel has preserved the Monastery’s heritage intact, included amphitheatre architecture layout in the pine woods on the slopes of Esperança´s Mountain, and stunning landscape with views over the Cova da Beira region and Estrela’s Mountain. Guests can use this historic luxury hotel as a base for exploring the many historical monuments is the region, including the castle, the burial vault of the Cabral family, the Jewish Quarter, as well as the natural beauty and folk traditions of Serra da Estrela (Estrela´s Mountain), one of the Europe’s most important natural reserves. Also, various activities can be organized in the surrounding countryside. These include fishing, country walks, horse riding and tours in four wheel drive vehicles.

ituated on the slopes of the Serra da Esperanca in the Beiras region of Portugal is the splendid Pousada de Belmonte, once a 13th century convent. In Portugal Pousadas are historic places made into luxury hotels and the history of Belmonte is truly quite colorful. Belmonte is famous as the birthplace of Pedro Alvares Cabral, the great Portuguese explorer who discovered Brazil in 1500. It is said that he found it by accident. He was on his way to round the Cape of Good Hope in Africa when he was blown off course by a storm and landed in Brazil. The trade with Brazil brought great wealth to Portugal until its independence in 1822. One of the laws was that all trade between Europe and Brazil must first pass through Portugal which enabled the rich traders to build the magnificent houses and palaces which are a feature of the country. Cabral was born in the castle which was his family residence and is buried next to the 13th Century Church of Sao Tiago near the castle walls. The small town of Belmonte has one of the largest Jewish communities in Portugal numbering about 120 families. During the 'Inquisition' many Jews emigrated from Portugal and those who stayed had to pretend that they had converted to Christianity. This repression lasted until the downfall of the dictatorship in 1974 and now they can be open about their religious beliefs. The old Convento de Nossa Senhora da Esperança (Our Lady of Hope), in which the Pousada

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Photos: Belmonte, Flickr http://www.pousadasofportugal.com http://www.conventodebelmonte.pt

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P rofessio n a l Young, Restless and Traveling

Every summer the cities are full of students enjoying their summer break. Youth tourism has become an important market. However, are the young backpackers likely to bring serious profits?


P rof e ssi ona l : Young, R e stl e ss and Trav eling

Couchsurfing Killed the Youth Hostel?

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Couchsurfing.org is fast becoming a hit with young globetrotters looking to share experiences, cultures, and their couch. Since it got off the ground six years ago, the social networking site which makes it possible to stay in a local’s home in just about any country in the world, has attracted almost two million members. This free travel network opens up a world of opportunity for “surfers”, but will it affect the billion dollar backpacker industry? The Couchsurfing Project gained momentum soon after computer programmer Casey Fenton took a trip to Iceland without organising a place to stay. Wanting to experience Iceland like a local, he spammed 1500 students in Reykjavik asking if anyone would let him crash on their couch for the night. The overwhelming number of offers he received led to the creation of couchsurfing.org (“creating a better world, one couch at a time”) in January 2004. In its first month, an average of 37 people signed up each week, but for the past few years around 15,000 people have consistently joined every week. “Couchsurfing started out on the fringe, but it’s started becoming a mainstream phenomenon,” said Dan Hoffer, co-founder and Chairman of the Board for Couchsurfing International. “We never expected it to grow so big so fast. We were really surprised by the growth of the community and by the passion people feel for the whole experience.” At the time of publication, there were 1,821,847 couchsurfing members offering their free hospitality in 238 different countries, and around 2 million positive “surfing” and hosting experiences had been recorded. But because couchsurfing is still in its relatively early days, it is difficult to predict just how big an impact it could have on the backpacker accommodation industry. Tourism Australia’s 2009 International Visitors Survey (IVS) reported that two thirds of all backpackers (defined as those who stay at least one


P rof e ssi ona l : Young, R e stl e ss and Trav eling night in a youth hostel or backpacker accommodation) visiting Australia are under the age of 30. Youth hostels rigorously target their budget dorm accommodation at these young travellers, who often seek the cheapest option. The survey also found that more than half of the backpackers arriving in Australia are from Europe. Interestingly enough, more than two thirds of couchsurfing members are also under 30, and more than half of all couchsurfers are also from Europe (around 30 per cent are from North America). But despite the fact the backpacker industry thrives off the same youth travel market, various observers say the rapid growth of couchsurfing members should not ring alarm bells. “[Couchsurfing] may have over 1.8 million members but the amount of people who use the site as their exclusive mode of travel remains relatively small,” said Vicky Baker, freelance journalist and creator of the Going Local Travel blog. “I don’t think hostels feel under threat and they shouldn’t. Couchsurfing will never take over from hostelling. The hostels that are incorporating new services are more likely to be trying to reach the growing “flashpacker” market,” she said. Far from sustaining injury, youth hostels are thriving with the emergence of the “flashpacker” – backpackers who travel later on in life with more funds to their name. The 2009 IVS found there had been significant growth in older travellers within the backpacker market, particularly in the 40-49 age bracket, who are increasingly more likely to stay in backpacker accommodation instead of standard hotels. “The hostel industry as a whole has made a successful push to change travellers’ perceptions,” said Pete Meyers, Vice President of hostel review website Eurocheapo. “By adding more amenities, increasing the volume of private rooms available in addition to dorms, and providing more services for local sightseeing…hostels are broadening their Jun e, 2 0 1 0

appeal to a larger audience. We’ve seen a steady, constant increase in the volume of hostel reservations flowing through both of our budget travel websites, Eurocheapo and European Hostels,” he said. Australian youth hostels are also faring well. Tourism Australia’s IVS (2000-2008) showed the number of backpackers arriving in Australia went up by 3 per cent each year since 2000, while nights spent by international visitors in backpacker accommodation increased 7 per cent since 2005. “I can’t see [couchsurfing] as a real problem for us now, but in a few years maybe it will be,” said Brett Claxton, Vice Chairperson of the Backpacker Tourism Advisory Panel and Director of Calypso Backpackers in Cairns. He said there was not a particularly strong couchsurfing community in Queensland. Australia currently has 52,016 couchsurfers, with an average of 1500 new members joining every month, but by many it is still considered more of a niche and adventurous way to travel. “I think the more popular it gets, the more people will accept it as a way to travel,” said Claxton. Julie Freeman from the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) Australia reported the number of nights spent by travellers in YHA Australia hostels has been increasing steadily over the past 10 years. YHA also opened four new hostels last year. Not paying a cent for accommodation is an appealing idea for couchsurfers, and is one of the key reasons for couchsurfing’s popularity, but those in the hostel industry argue there will always be a place for hostels in the youth travel accommodation sector. “Couchsurfing is certainly an attractive option to many avid travellers who are looking to stretch their budgets, and will likely continue its impressive growth,” said Meyers. “However staying in a …home rather than a hostel might not appeal to everyone.”

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P rof e ssi ona l : Young, R e stl e ss and Trav eling “There have always been informal kinds of travel accommodation,” said Duncan Simpson, YHA Head of Corporate Affairs and Policy in the UK. “But my hunch is that people will continue to want the more formal offer and its associated security, safety and reliability.” Avid couchsurfers say they wouldn’t do it any other way. Twenty-nine year old Juan Carlos Cantillo has been on various couchsurfing trips, and has hosted many couchsurfers in his home in Costa Rica. He says couchsurfing can’t be compared to a hotel or a hostel because the idea is to exchange cultures, ideas and make friends. “I think the type of people who couchsurf are also a special type of individual who are open and adventurous,” he said. “You get to know the culture and the reality, you aren’t a tourist anymore, but you immerse yourself in the culture and for a period of time you live there…I prefer couchsurfing to a hostel.” In a tourism industry which revolves around guidebooks and heavily-programmed tours, some see couchsurfing as one of the only ways to interact in a meaningful way with the local culture. “Hostel life can be oddly out of touch with [the local culture],” said Baker. “I mean how many locals go bungee jumping and white-water rafting? And yet this often becomes the big ‘experience’ that all backpackers do in a place.” There is little doubt couchsurfing will keep growing in popularity. Together with hostels, they’ll continue to make the travel scene a more interesting and diverse place to explore. By Natalie Muller http://www.reportageonline.com

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P rof e ssi ona l : Young, R e stl e ss and Trav eling

It

Volunteer Travel: High School Grad Helps Orphans in Bali my future will probably have little to do with orphanages or other service work." Bowman said she will remain connected to the orphanage where she worked, perhaps finding ways to help the girls there in the future. "I made many friends – for three months they were my family. I have some vague ideas about what action I can take to help the foundation and other orphanages like it but nothing more than ideas." Bowman said she has plans to share details from her experience abroad with the Wood River Valley community, which made her $2,000 donation to the children of Indonesia possible. She paid for sewing machines at the orphanage where she worked, and paid for rice at a Muslim orphanage she visited. "Originally I had planned to donate the money solely to the Widhya Asih Foundation, where I stayed, but there was a much greater need at this other orphanage. There was an outdoor, dirt-floored kitchen. Twenty-seven girls slept in two rooms together with only two bathrooms, which had no roof." Bowman raised money from the Rotary Club and through the Wood River Middle School's Goal Setting Program. Seventh- and eighth-graders sold buttons to help pay for Bowman's time abroad. Bowman paid for her airfare. "Instead of going directly from one cultural bubble to another, Wood River Valley to university, I recommend that students take a year off from school. There is a world of difference between knowing that people live in poverty, and actually seeing a family of seven supported on $3 a day, or visiting

was once known as the "gap year," a year of independent travel and volunteerism abroad between high school and college. The concept became popular following World War II, when youth travel and cultural exchange were considered useful tools to promote global understanding. Recently, Wood River High School (Idaho) graduate Julia Bowman raised money locally – and spent some of her own – to fund a gap-year journey to the island of Bali in Indonesia. She returned this month after spending three months working at an orphanage for girls. "Since spending time abroad, my ideas for the future have relaxed," she says. "I have seen many ways of living and many different kinds of success. One thing that I have realized is how important it is for Wood River Valley students to take time off from school. " "I have Community School and Wood River High School friends who have gone directly to college and are shocked by all of the terrible things happening in the world. Even though I was involved with Amnesty International in high school, my knowledge of world events was terrible." Bowman plans to attend the University of Denver Business School, where she is enrolled in the Honors Program and the Pioneer Leadership Program. While she is eager to pursue her studies, she said her travels put the notion of "success" into a broader perspective. "I learned that a college degree is not essential for success or happiness. I have also learned that

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P rof e ssi ona l : Young, R e stl e ss and Trav eling their homes and eating their food. There is a difference between reading about a riot and meeting the girl who fled during the night with her family and watched her village burn." Her father, County Commissioner Tom Bowman, said he is proud of his daughter for taking time off and working overseas. "Sometimes parents are too protective of their children," he said. "There is a lot to learn out there outside of school." For details on Bowman's journey, visit her blog, http://jbsadventuresinbali.blogspot.com/. By Tony Evans (Idaho Mountain Express) http://www.mtexpress.com

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press release services


P rof e ssi ona l : Young, R e stl e ss and Trav eling

International Student ID Cards: Opening the World of Discounts

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hen a German tourist lost his wallet in Beijing, the police managed to track down the owner by the only form of identification within: an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), with an emergency help hotline printed on the back. Jun e, 2 0 1 0

As related on BTV's Law Online program, this occurred in Beijing during the Olympics, at a time when ISICs were carried by very few in China. In fact, it took police quite a while to figure out what the card was: an ID card offering discounts on bus, train and air tickets, as well as for stores, hostels and restaurants. International Teacher Identity Cards (ITIC) and International Youth Travel Cards (IYTC) are also part of the series under the International Student Identity Card Association. "ISIC isn't as precious as your passport, so many people like carrying this convenient little card in their wallets as an identification card," said Erica Xue, director of ISIC China's Head Office in Beijing. For Chinese going abroad to study or young people who love overseas travel, getting an ISIC or IYTC seems quite necessary. "Many of the applicants are Chinese who are going abroad to study or travel in the US and Europe," Xue added. Hou Yujia, now working for China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company, is an enthusiastic tourist. "I have quite a few friends studying in Europe who advised me to get an IYTC before I traveled there," she said. "It saved me quite an amount when I was traveling by myself by train, about 20 percent off," she said. Tian Lijuan got one when she returned to Beijing from Sweden during her summer break in 2008. "My first semester was pretty much spent in schools, but I was starting to take trips in Europe,

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and this card saved me quite a lot on accommodation and tourist sites," Tian said. Xue told Lifestyle that they are trying to find more partners that can offer discounts for the card holders in Beijing, especially the areas frequented by expatriates, such as Sanlitun and Nanluoguxiang. By Song Yuanyuan http://www.globaltimes.cn

InterRailing – Backpacker Heaven InterRail is the world-famous flexible rail pass that allows travelers of all age groups, in particular backpackers, young people, students and babyboomers to enjoy travelling by train in Europe. The Global InterRail pass allows for travel in 30 European countries, with adult prices starting from EUR399 for 15 days. Bookings can be made directly at InterRailNet.com or from other rail operators such as SNCF. The InterRail One Country enables travelers to explore a single country in-depth from EUR33. According to the company, the top destinations to explore are Italy, Spain, Benelux, France and Germany. To boost its budget appeal, the company withheld price increases on its youth and adult fares in 2010. Seniors receive a 10% discount for certain products. Discounts on ferries for all travellers are also offered through cross industry partnerships. Euromonitor.com


P rof e ssi ona l : Young, R e stl e ss and Trav eling

Youth Tourism Industry: No Great Expectations?

Y

outh travelers are a group of distinct people. Different cultures have defined them, if at all, in many different ways in terms of age, socioeconomic status and personal rights. For most, youth is a life cycle stage that precedes full incorporation into the adult world.

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Modern industrial societies tend to locate it between the beginning of puberty and completion of high school and/or college, that is, the time span between 13 and 23-25 years of age, that precedes full legal capacity and entry into the workforce. Usually a distinction is made between early youth or

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pre-juvenile status (13-17 years) and true youth (18-23 years). What is relevant for the study of tourism is whether there is anything specific about the touristic behavior of this group in modern industrial countries. There is not much theoretical work or research in this field to answer this question. Educated guesses and opinions usually surround some hard facts. These extend to three main domains: socioeconomic significance, differences with mainstream tourism in terms of cultural exchanges with the guests, and an alternative or complementary road to tourism development. What is known about international youth tourism flows comes mainly from the World Tourism Organization sources. Based on them, an argument can be developed along the following lines: that youth tourism encompasses a distinct group of travelers between 15-24 years of age; that international arrivals in this group have outpaced the arrivals in general by a factor of 50 per cent from 1980 to 1990; that regionally, it is decreasing in Europe (although this continent still makes over two-thirds of all youth arrivals) and increasing fast in North America and in East Asia-Pacific; and that there seems to be a fair potential for growth in this group, as originating countries are affluent societies that will be growing steadily in the future. In order to get a better picture, it should be pointed out that these data are incomplete in as much as they do not include domestic tourism, which is very important in countries such as the United States.


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“The Oscars of the Travel Industry” Wall Street Journal

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Who will be crowned Europe’s Leading travel companies? World Travel Awards Europe Ceremony 2010

To secure your seats for this must-attend event for senior decision makers and global media, please email: booking@worldtravelawards.com

worldtravelawards.com

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P rof e ssi ona l : Young, R e stl e ss and Trav eling

Rixos Premium Belek, Antalya, Turkey 1st October 2010


P rof e ssi ona l : Young, R e stl e ss and Trav eling

There are also some educated guesses about the economic relevance of youth tourism. First, even though there are not many records of expenditure by young tourists, it is suggested that youngsters have limited travel budgets, as witnessed by the success of tour guides to 'travel on a shoestring'. Second, this effect is offset by longer periods of stay in their destinations. Third, youth tourism has its own distribution channels (specialized travel agencies, bucket shops and institutional retailers, such as universities, churches and so on) and accommodation networks (youth hostels, youth campsites, family homes and so on). Fourth, it is more open to unplanned and active behavior than mainstream tourism. It is also said that young tourists are more likely to engage in close encounters with their hosts. In this way, youth tourism would be a key factor in crosscultural exchanges. Youngsters are more likely to respect the values of their hosts (language, customs, rituals) and oft-times they travel specifically

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to participate in their activities (festivals, harvests, archaeological sites). There is also some literature on the educational value of these experiences, and this suggests that international students broaden their minds, attitudes and values as a consequence of being exposed to other cultures. From the Grand Tour to pilgrimages in Kathmandu, travel has influenced many youngsters. On the other hand, not everything is positive in these exchanges and enthusiasm should be toned down. Exchanges are often skin deep, and prone to reinforce stereotypes of hosts and guests. Casual attitudes about clothing, sex or drugs on the part of the hosts may lead to annoying situations, and the guests' ignorance of their hosts' cultural realities may develop into misunderstandings. Eventually, a good previous acquaintance with the host culture, even if it only comes from guides and textbooks, may smooth these rough edges. Finally, these specific features of youth tourism have nourished some expectations that it might be an alternative way to the touristic development of some societies that do not want to be engulfed in the type of growth that mainstream tourism expects. Both in economic terms and in cultural respect, it is said that youth tourism is better. Even though youngsters may not have much to spend, their budgets are impressive in some parts of the planet; they will accept traditional types of accommodation, so that there will be no need for big investments in infrastructure or resorts; and they are glad to consort with the locals and partake in their activities. However, multiplication effects of their tourism dollars are limited; they will not offer the same

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Backpacking destinations Europe is popular because of availability of good public transport, large numbers of hostels, budget accommodation and variety of work exchange programmes Australia and New Zealand are also popular destinations because of the range of working holidays available Most popular destinations: Southeast Asia, Australasia and South America North America is popular for older backpackers Female backpackers are more likely to travel to Western Europe, the Middle East and Central/ Southern Africa while males are more likely to travel to Eastern Europe, North, Central and South America. Least experienced backpackers visit more westernized areas of Europe, while seasoned travelers prefer more ‘challenging’ destinations such as South America, China/Japan and the Indian subcontinent Capetown.gov.za

opportunities for local employment, and they are definitely unable to stop the flow of migrants to the cities. Even though only the host society should have full authority in deciding which type of tourism development strategy it wants to pursue, exaggerated expectations as to the potential of youth tourism might lead to disappointing experiences.

http://www.hotelmule.com


A dve n t u re Remnants of the Marxist Era

Nostalgic about the previous era? Visit Bucharest, Budapest or even China and follow the route of the Communist monuments, statues and other “unappealing� attractions.


A DV EN T U R E : Rem n a nt s of t h e Ma r x ist E r a

The Iron Curtain Trail: Experiencing the History of Europe's Division History of the Trail

For

almost half a century, Europe was divided into East and West by the "Iron Curtain", a border stretching from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea. The Iron Curtain Trail invites people to retrace and experience the former division of the continent on a 6,800 km cycle track along the length of the former border, combining European culture, history and sustainable tourism. Jun e, 2 0 1 0

The Iron Curtain Trail thereby contributes in a lively and very practical way to the creation of a genuine European identity. In 2005, following the initiative of Green member Michael Cramer, the European Parliament recognized the "Iron Curtain Trail" as a model project for sustainable tourism and called upon the Member States for support.

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Not only was Berlin divided, so was all of Germany, for decades. It was therefore necessary to preserve the memory of this along the 1,400 km former border. For that reason the national caucuses of the SPD and the Greens proposed in 2004 to transform the former "death strip” along the German border into a "living space”. According to the proposal it would be developed for "soft” tourism", and be a part of a European Green Belt along the former "Iron Curtain”. The Bundestag voted for this unanimously in December 2004. But not only Berlin, not only Germany, Europe was divided for decades. The Iron Curtain ran from the Barents Sea on the Norwegian-Russian border to the Black Sea. Today it no longer separates us. Today it is a symbol for a common and total European experience in a reunited Europe. And for that reason, the European Parliament voted with a large majority for a proposal by the author to create the Iron Curtain Trail in its report on "New Perspectives and Challenges for a sustainable European Tourism”. It is a component of a European collective memory, with which a European identity can be formed, something frequently called for. Using the Berlin and German experiences as a model, a bicycle and wandering path has been developed, all along the


A DV EN T U R E : Rem n a nt s of t h e Ma r x ist E r a trace of the former Iron Curtain, and this will help us find the traces of the common history of our continent.

The Green Belt It's an irony of history: The former "death strip" between East and West Germany has become a unique biotope thanks to its decade-long isolation during the Cold War. Today, this unique natural memorial of Europe's decision is protected and named

the "Green Belt". It has also become a part of the Iron Curtain Trail. Jointly with the German Association for the Environment and Protection of Nature (BUND), Klaus Buchin was one of the first to discover the valuable natural treasures along the former border trace and able to get them protected. They achieved that the "Green Belt” was discovered as a biotope, secured by the Federal states and unanimously accepted by the Bundestag in 2004. The "Green Belt”, now 6,800 km long, from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea, is now under the protection of Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the Soviet Union and today President of the Green Cross International (GCI). With that, the significance of the "Green Belt” for the protection of the natural environment and its value as a symbol of unification between East and West is now recognized internationally. The "Green Belt” consists of 150 natural parks, 150 flora-and-fauna areas, three biosphere reservations Schaalsee, Elbaue and the Rhoen and the National Park of the Harz Mountains. It starts at the Baltic and goes along the Czech border. It passes countless rivers, streams, and lakes and takes you through the higher parts of the Harz Mountains and through the forests of Thuringia. You pass many monuments and border land museums and also several of the remaining observation towers.

http://www.ironcurtaintrail.eu

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A DV EN T U R E : Rem n a nt s of t h e Ma r x ist E r a

Budapest: Walking Tours through the City in Transition ten in both Russian and Hungarian. There were plenty of monuments symbolizing the so called happy worker, strong, masculine women, reliefs of red stars, hammers and sickles. Almost all of these Communist statues and reliefs were removed from the center of Budapest, except of course for the prefabricated cold-looking blocks of flats that were built in an era when quantity ruled over quality. The majority of the original streets and squares were renamed after the Communist heroes of the satellite countries (e.g. Thälmann Street, Dimitrov square, Lenin Blvd etc) in the name of brotherhood. There are three permanent exhibitions in Budapest concerning the Communist history: • The House of Terror focuses on the brutality of the Communist and Nazi Parties in Hungary • Memento Park has a small photo exhibition of the 1956 revolution and events of 1989 as well as 42 Communist symbols and statues • The National Museum has one room dedicated to the Communist epoch in Hungary

Walking Tours

C

ommunist regimes in the Eastern bloc always had their own buildings, statues, reliefs and other accessories to continually remind citizens of their ideology and the system they were living in.

Unappealing Monuments Communist buildings were usually massive and gray, statues were gigantic and symbols were writJun e, 2 0 1 0

However, none of the exhibitions informs the visitors on the Communism's impact on the present day Hungary. Consequently, in 2008 we established the Free Communist Walking Tours in Budapest, which is not a classical sight-seeing walk but much more. We visit the last surviving Communist Memorials in the city, the emergency exit of the Military's secret nuclear bunker, the venues for the 1956 fight for freedom and a whole lot more.

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The tour is the only tour of its kind on the entire continent and certainly provides more than just a chronology of key events, historical facts and figures. Participants get a clear picture on all aspects of life under the Communist system – education, health, housing, history, everyday life, media, social conditions, human rights, secret agents and many untold stories along with the impact of Communism. The Free Communist Walking Tour covers both the Communist and the post Communist periods.

Legacy of Communism No museum in Hungary helps visitors understand the post-Communist period and the impact of Communism on the present. Let us clarify the reasons behind a growing gap between the “new-rich” and the poor, the high unemployment rate, the differences between centrally planned versus market


A DV EN T U R E : Rem n a nt s of t h e Ma r x ist E r a

economies and how tax dodging had grown into a national sport for many Hungarians. The tour concludes in an old Communist building where our own collection of memorabilia (such as passports, ID card and publications) is presented. Participants are welcome to handle these original Communist relics that would normally only be viewed by tourists behind glass in a museum. Our approach regarding the old system is balanced – not too keen but not too dismissive. This is an independent project without financial support

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from any third parties (there is NO business or governmental involvement on any level.) The added value of our tours is two-fold. All our tour guides are insiders and they work only for tips. Tipping is not compulsory and participants are free to give as much or as little as they feel the tour is worth, and is therefore available for everybody and anybody interested in Hungary's Communist and post-Communist periods. By Agnes Molnar (Free Budapest Walking Tours) http://www.triptobudapest.hu

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A DV EN T U R E : Rem n a nt s of t h e Ma r x ist E r a

Hainan Pushing Green, Blue, and Now…Red Tourism

Will "Red Tourism" take off in the Chinese Hainan? Or is the future "Green" and "Blue"? Last year, the Chinese government announced controversial plans to transform Hainan island – China’s southernmost province – into an internaJun e, 2 0 1 0

tional tourist destination, on par with popular spots like Hawaii, Thailand and Australia. This transformation, which is designed to give the island a fivestar makeover, adding new golf courses, luxury hotels, and world-class service and transportation

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standards, has already had an effect on Hainan, though not everyone agrees the immediate effects have all been positive. The government’s plan to create a tropical paradise in Hainan has brought a flood of speculative money into the market, causing many commentators in China and abroad to worry that a property bubble akin to the one that formed (and popped) in the 1990s – causing years of stagnation in the island’s economy – could be inflating right in front of our eyes. This, added to political tensions caused by Vietnam’s unease at China’s Hainan development plan and resistance by some Hainan residents, has many wondering if the island could actually rival the Balis or Mauis of the world, or whether the plan is doomed to fail. Despite these concerns, new constructions are continuing on Hainan, and tour operators are kicking up their marketing efforts both at home and (on a much smaller scale) abroad. Interestingly enough, rather than only promoting the island’s nascent image as a luxury getaway, we’re seeing a three-tiered “color” marketing structure emerging. From “Green” (rainforests, golf) to “Blue” (beaches, ocean), and now to “Red” (communist) tourism, Hainan’s tour operators hope they have something to offer everyone. Situated in a tropical environment, the island’s blue tourism does best during winter months when tourists flock to Hainan to get a break from cold weather back home. With rich land resources and a rainforest in the center of the island, Hainan is


A DV EN T U R E : Rem n a nt s of t h e Ma r x ist E r a

also trying to lure travelers year-round with what it calls “green tourism.” The daily Xinhua reported that drawing on the high-end vacationers that visit the island’s beach resorts, Hainan’s government is now pumping money into land tourism projects of all kinds, from golf courses to rainforest excursions. But for travelers on a tighter budget who are looking for a less-fancy escape, Hainan is also promoting what is known as “red tourism.” In its most recent efforts to attract tourists, the island is catering to those who want to learn about China’s communist roots. Although it’s not a part of the mainland, the island has strong ties to the Party, providing key generals and strategic military camps during the war. “The historical achievements of Hainan have laid the foundation for Hainan’s economic takeoff,” Chinese Minister of Culture Cai Wu said. As many of the “red culture” hotspots exist in villages and not among the ritzy resorts, the island sees this kind of

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tourism as a key opportunity to more evenly distribute the economic benefits gained from the travel industry. This sort of “commidified communist” tourism is by no means new in China, although it is new to Hainan. In Hainan, much like in inland provinces like Shaanxi and Jiangxi, many “red tourism” sites are located in relatively poor areas. By promoting stripped-down tourism packages to revolutionaryperiod sites – the thinking goes – poorer areas can still benefit (on an albeit smaller scale), and tourists without the means to enjoy a five-star vacation can still take a…red star vacation, getting in touch with China’s “red” 20th-century history – much of which is disappearing amid the country’s present-day gogo capitalist business atmosphere. Photos: Wikipedia, TR archive http://www.jingdaily.com

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A DV EN T U R E : Rem n a nt s of t h e Ma r x ist E r a

The Palace of the Parliament: The Legacy of Nicolae Ceausescu The

Palace of the Parliament (Romanian: Palatul Parlamentului) in Bucharest, Romania is a multi-purpose building containing both chambers of the Romanian Parliament. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Palace is the world's largest civilian administrative building (The Pentagon is the largest overall), most expensive administrative building, and heaviest building. The Palace was designed and nearly completed by the Ceausescu regime as the seat of political and administrative power. The Communist Party leader Nicolae Ceausescu wanted to build in Bucharest the "Victory of Socialism Centre" (the Unirea Boulevard is the former Victory of Socialism Boulevard). Ceausescu named it also the House of the Republic (Casa Republicii), or the People's House (Casa Poporului). When construction started in 1984, the dictator intended it to be the headquarters of his government. Today it serves as the seat of the Romanian Parliament and as an international conference centre. The Palace also contains a massive array of miscellaneous conference halls, salons, etc. used for a wide variety of other purposes. The National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) opened in 2004 inside the west wing of the Palace of the Parliament, and the Museum and Park of Totalitarianism and Socialist Realism, also opened in 2004. There is also the headquarters of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), an organization focused on regional cooperation among governments against cross-border crime.

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A DV EN T U R E : Rem n a nt s of t h e Ma r x ist E r a

Interesting Facts The palace is the world’s second-largest office building in surface (after the Pentagon) and the third largest in volume (after Cape Canaveral in the U.S. and the Great Pyramid in Egypt). The crystal chandelier in the Human Rights Hall (Sala Drepturilor Omului) weighs 2.5 tons. Some of the chandeliers have as many as 7,000 light bulbs. It took 20,000 workers and 700 architects to build. The palace boasts 12 stories, 1,100 rooms, a 328-ftlong lobby and four underground levels, including an enormous nuclear bunker. Interviucucriza.ro

At the time of Nicolae Ceausescu's 1989 overthrow and execution, the building structure and design were complete. Subsequently, many of the furnishings were never installed, and the last three basement levels and a large clock tower (that would have displayed the official Romanian time) were never finished (most evident by the frequent large spaces throughout the palace). During the regime change, the new leaders of Romania referred to the building as the House of Ceausescu, to highlight the excessive luxury in which Ceausescu would have lived, in stark contrast to the squalor and poverty endured by many people living in the surrounding neighborhoods. Parts of the building have yet to be completed. The Palace measures 270 m by 240 m, 86 m high, and 92 m underground. It has 1,100 rooms, 2 underground parking garages and 12 storeys, with four additional underground levels currently avail-

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able and in use, with another four in different stages of completion. Built and furnished exclusively with Romanian materials, the building reflects the work of the country's best artisans. A guided tour takes visitors through a small section of dazzling rooms, huge halls and quarters used by the Senate (when not in session). The interior is a luxurious display of crystal chandeliers, mosaics, oak paneling, marble, gold leaf, stained-glass windows and floors covered in rich carpets. Though many find the Palace to be aesthetically unappealing, the exquisite craftsmanship of the decorations cannot be denied.

Photos: Wikipedia, TR archive http://surprising-romania.blogspot.com

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A DV EN T U R E : Rem n a nt s of t h e Ma r x ist E r a

Choson – The Last Communist Retreat

T

here was once a prominent Choson (“morning-bright”) country in the Far East that had followed a preceding 400 year old Koryŏ (Goryeo: 10th – 14th cent.). At the times of the Mongols, Koryŏ (“Korea”) has become distinct from the rest of Asia – its capital lying in Kaesong (Gaeseong or Songdo: the fortress “city of pines”). Choson (13921897), however, with a new political center at today’s Seoul, had isolated itself, the same as her grand neighbor – the Ming-ruled China, stepping into the footsteps of Confucianism and Chinese culture, while concomitantly developing its own Korean culture. The mystic land of “morning freshness / calm” underwent a series of turbulences in 20th century, experiencing the Chosen colony under Japanese rule and formal independence after WWII – however under the auspices of occupying forces of Soviet Russia and the USA. Both superpowers real-

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ized the strategic value of the peninsula, but their incompatible targets finally led to the establishment of two national states in 1948 and the Korean War in 1950. An armistice ended with the division of the peninsula along the 38th latitude, but not with a peace treaty. Both Koreas, in the west known as “NorthKorea” (Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk: Democratic People’s Republic of Choson) and “South-Korea” (Daehan Minguk: Republic of Greater Han), are still at war. This fact has once more gained attention this year when a 300KG explosive torpedo from a North-Korean submarine had reportedly sunk a South-Korean military vessel on 26th March. Unlike South-Koreans, who only recently had got a slight chance to touch the North’s marginal regions (Kumgansan) opened for an expensive cross-demarcation-line “patriotic-tourism”, tourists from Europe (but not from the USA) have been most welcomed by modern secluded Choson – a historically unseen Korea and the least experienced tourist destination. While the US basis have remained in the South, the Russians have left the North since long, however they fully handed over the stone age communist state to its giant neighbor China. With modified Marxist-Maoist ideas the democratic people’s republic had virtually eradicated Korean culture, including valuable heritage such as Chinese characters. How helpful have they been to read the sinisized Korean language!

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Lucky tourists from the free world should be prepared to get traumatized when entering the world’s last communist hideaway that keeps the most harshly guarded border in the world. But if unbiased, they may get a rare insight to life that beguilingly reminds of a historic period come to a standstill. The Juche (Chuche Tower) in Pyongyang, shows Choson’s new calendar effective since 1997. Like Taiwan (Republic of China) Choson shows the same year “99” in the corresponding Gregorian calendar’s year 2010. It is, however, not based on a political event, but on the date of birth of god-like leader Kim Il-Sung in 1912. To feel in a year 99 and cold-showered with Choson’s official “state-religion” Juche (the total replacement of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism) is like being in a virtual world without modern, westernized life. One may wonder how the younger generation – still hermetically cut off by globalization after the breakdown of Soviet communism – may sense “aliens” with their different appearances. Besides the few Europeans snooping into the sterile country, more and more tourists come from China. The giant neighbor has emerged as a capitalist monster to the north, providing space for unseen human trafficking across the world’s last iron wall. How this iron curtain looks like may be experienced on an excursion from Gaesong to the demarcation border, where heavy doors, electric fences, antitank obstacles and traps may magically be removed for a momentary narrow pathway to Panmunjom – the Joint Military Security Area of both Koreas, where the armistice was signed in 1953. The tragic place lacks of fear when approaching from the northern side, in contrast to an approach from the south. The state propaganda comes to full effect, but leaves an apocalyptic feeling. The border remains intangible, and the privileged tourists become aware of their freedom and their affirma-


A DV EN T U R E : Rem n a nt s of t h e Ma r x ist E r a

tion to escape the jailhouse they have paid for in shortest time. Feelings become dynamic on the way back to Gaesong, the historic royal capital dominated by Mount Chanam topped by a monumental statue of “god-king” Kim Il-Sung. At the foot of Mount Songak the fascinating excavation site of Manwŏldae (“Full-Moon Terrace) Palace seduces into the times of Koryŏ Kingdom. It is a symbolic site as it stands for the political power of a first fully united Korean state on the peninsula. No wonder that the entire environment is embedded in a perfect “feng-shui” landscape, untouched (like everywhere) by dishonorable kitsch from western-style life, yet decorated by the omnipresent north-Korean revolutionary propaganda. Walking tours are therefore recommended to enjoy a refreshing nature – spring blossoms – the summer scent of pine trees – the colored leaves in the fall – silk-pure snow in the winter. And the memory of the historic Kŭmgang fortresses, the 10 km long Taehung wall or 10th century Buddhist temples. Jun e, 2 0 1 0

With some basic knowledge on the peculiarity of Korea’s history, the approach to the capital P'yŏngyang (“flat-earth”) evokes prospects and speculations. Maybe the first impression might be the broad roads seemingly used by nobody, the baton-swinging military-style traffic-policewomen on crossings where most of the day no crossing takes place except some shooing black official cars of the latest Mercedes Benz generation enshrouded in mystic silence. P'yŏngyang on the clean waters of Taedong River has been a settlement site since prehistoric times, a grazing heaven for herdsmen from the cold north of the continent. Surrounded by a picturesque landscape it has served as the capital of Koguryo (Goguryeo: 37 BC – 668 AD), a kingdom extending far into southern Korea and northeastern China. The spotlessly clean metropolis is an amazing, though unreal mixture of utopist architecture, reconstructed historic monuments and pleasant gardenparks, where not a single junky, thief, pissing-dog owner or otherwise disturbing person might be met, but instead groups of traditionally neatly dressed people singing, dancing or even inviting the rarely seen foreigner to join their folk dance. The unusual tranquility may create some nervousness, probably disappearing on one of the state-approved excursions to other parts of the country, where two most outstanding highlights invite: the granite mountains of Kumgang (“diamond’) at the southeastern border and the volcano Mount Paekdu. … time runs out to experience this part of the world. By Dr. Engelbert Altenburger (I-Shou University, ass. prof. at the Faculty of International Business, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, amadeus@isu.edu.tw)

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E thica l

Slums for Voyeurs or Responsible Travelers? Slum tours have become very popular in the past years. What can you expect? Should you be worried to be called a voyeur or rather a responsible tourist?


Ethica l : S lum s for Voy e ur s or R e sp on sibl e Trav el e r s ?

Addressing the World of the Poor

T

raditionally, the slums, barrios, ghettoes, favelas spreading up the hills around or filling the centers of big cities have been no-go zones for tourists – areas offering nothing of interest, where travelers were likely to get mugged or worse. But in the last few years, particularly after the success of the film Slumdog Millionare, many of

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the danger zones of major cities have been transformed into attractions. However, the change has been accompanied by controversy about whether such 'slum tourism' is cultural enrichment or rather voyeurism. Do poor residents feel more like hosts, or like animals in a zoo? Do visitors take away only thrills and photographs,

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or also aspirations to help improve the slum dwellers' lives? Certainly, the concept of visiting objectively unpleasant and even dangerous places is not new. Nineteenth-century Londoners visited madhouses to gawk at the inmates. More recently, tour operators have taken people to war zones. But only recently have tour operators begun taking visitors to see such mundane urban maladies as open sewers, tin-roofed shacks and gang territories. In much of the developing world, slum tourism opens up new worlds to visit. In India and Colombia, more than 40 percent of the people live in poverty; in Kenya, half of the people do. If tourists routinely cruise past the homes of the rich and famous, then why not those of the poor? “I'm not sure, about slum tourism,” says Frenchman Benjamon Sachot, who traveled recently through Bogota, Colombia. “It seems like looking at people in a zoo.” In fact, in La Paz's San Pedro Prison, where bribery and corruption have sometimes allowed foreigners to enter and walk the narrow alleys and sample the cocaine manufactured there, some inmates complained about feeling like animals in a zoo. But operators offering such tours claim that the visits are two-way streets. The visitors learn about another side of the cities they visit and also contribute financially to the neediest communities, they say. That was the experience of Austrian Magdalena Fischer, who toured the Favelas around Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “I thought that if you go to Rio you should see this part, because it's such a big part of the city,” she said. The experience was interesting, and it was done sensitively. “I didn't think it was voyeaurism.


Ethica l : S lum s for Voy e ur s or R e sp on sibl e Trav el e r s ?

They use part of the money to finance a school, and we visited a school. And they told us not to take pictures of people, because it could offend people and because it's not very respectful. I had an excellent guide and it gave me a different view of the city.” Slum tourism has not yet arrived in Bogota, which means that tourists learn little about the nearly half of the city's population that lives in poverty. Bogota's slums climb the city's Eastern Hills and sprawl south almost endlessly, surrounding La Candelaria, the city's hostel district on two sides. But tourists stay in La Candelaria or travel north, to the parks Jun e, 2 0 1 0

and nightclubs in the city's wealthy neighborhoods. Back in their lodgings, many tourists drink or take drugs and watch movies and football on the hostels' big-screen televisions. In the evenings, they go salsa dancing or to a concert. While leading Bogota city bike tours, we've come to realize that many visitors are unaware that Colombia is suffering from a half-century long civil war, much less that the country has the world's second-largest number of internally-displaced people – more than two million desperately poor internal refugees. Tragically, the drug tourism that is common on this continent unintentionally finances the outlaw groups which are driving poor people from their homes and farms. As long as visitors remain happily unaware that Colombia is more than beaches, museums and salsa dancing, they will never try to help solve these problems. Unless the belief that slum residents are all lazy and shiftless criminals changes the social ills are not likely to be addressed. Fabian Frenzel, a researcher at the University of the West of England's Bristol Business School, is an academic who believes that slum visits can be a motor for social change. “...there is evidence that the slum experience has perpetuated social motivation to do good and moreover has prompted political demands for greater social justice,” he wrote in the journal Science Daily. Frenzel plans to study the impacts of the growing slum tourism phenomenon. Good or bad, slum tourism will likely continue expanding as global wealth grows and tourists visit increasingly remote locales. It will be important, therefore, that this industry be managed sensitively and responsibly. By Mike Ceaser (Bogota Bike Tours) http://www.bogotabiketours.com

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Ethica l : S lum s for Voy e ur s or R e sp on sibl e Trav el e r s ?

The Third Face of Mumbai

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newspaper reporter interviewed me recently. One of the questions she asked me was about the poverty in Mumbai, and our tours to Dharavi, Asia's largest slum. "Is this not voyeurism?" she asked me. "The affluent stare at the poor; and you make money off it?" Jun e, 2 0 1 0

The answer to this question is complex, so here is an attempt to look a little deeper at the issue. First of all, there is no avoiding the poor in Mumbai. The slums are all-pervasive. In many parts of the city, there are shanties by the roadside. At Colaba, where many tourists stay, there are many

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homeless people visible. They are dirty and unkempt, living on the pavements. On a recent drive through the Fort Heritage District, a semi-naked man walked past us, his body caked with dirt, his clothing in tatters. At traffic signals, tourists are accosted by beggars with shocking sores and disfigurements. For overseas visitors, the image this creates is of two bewilderingly different Mumbais – one that is rich and glitzy and safe in their five-star cocoon, and the other that lives a hellish life on the streets, begging, cringing, with no self-respect whatsoever. There is no room for an understanding of a third Mumbai – the Mumbai of the hard-working poor. The Mumbai of the aspiring migrant, with his fierce drive for survival, for self-improvement. The Mumbai of small enterprise. The Mumbai of cottage industries. The Mumbai of poor yet strong women, running entire households on the strength of their income from making poppadums (papads). Every morning, these women put food on the table, braid their daughters' hair, and send them to schools. They have hope for the future, you see? This is the Mumbai of dreams, which I want my guests to see. Dharavi is one place where this third Mumbai is visible. In the poppadam units, in the little tailoring shops, in the potters’ village of Kumbharwada, in the little wholesale grain stores, in the children who proudly go to school – everywhere Dharavi displays a spirit that is fierce and energetic. Every time my visitors go into Dharavi, they come back with a first-hand insight into this third Mumbai. Apart from the “people aspect”, there is the educational / business value of going to Dharavi. There are many interesting themes to see and learn from:


Ethica l : S lum s for Voy e ur s or R e sp on sibl e Trav el e r s ? • Market-driven Recycling: Unlike the West where recycling is forced by government mandates and laws, in Dharavi there is a labor-intensive market for recycling which has a sophisticated delivery chain from sourcing, treatment and reselling. You can see how the recycling chain has a fine pricing mechanism that provides incentives to individual households to recycle. • Urban Villages: You can see examples of traditional communities which still have rural ways of life although they live in a big city. Although urban life is usually associated with alienation and a sense of loss, here in Dharavi, the urban villages have strong community ties through the

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land-use pattern, shared festivals and food. This results in the same cohesive living patterns that we see in villages. Behavior is controlled by social norms and therefore there is no breakdown of law and order even in a slum. • Migration Mechanics: According to the latest McKinsey Quarterly, by 2050, 700 million Indians will migrate to cities, with up to 35 mega cities forming newly. This is migration on a scale that has never been witnessed before. How do migrants fit into the new environment? Through speaking with ordinary people, you can try to understand how multiple generations migrate to cities and their lifestyle changes. • An Intelligent Networked Market: All the needs of the various industries in Dharavi are met by other supporting industries within Dharavi. For example, the garments industry in Dharavi supplies bits of waste cloth to the potters village to feed the fire in the kilns, and there is a transporting system to bring the cloth. Orders are placed on cell phones. For the many large scale bakeries in Dharavi, there are flour mills located sensibly nearby. The gold shops in Dharavi are located in a cluster, to encourage increased footfalls in that area. Thus you can see that although there is no planned development as defined by conventional urban planners, the MARKET itself is very sensible and is well organized to meet its own needs. • Co-operative Movements: You can see the papad-making industry which is entirely run as a women's cooperative. Here we see a living example of Gandhi's statement that India's millions can only progress when we encourage cottage industries. Frankly, seeing Dharavi is not even remotely voyeuristic. It is much more than just a place of poverty; it is a shining example of entrepreneurship and

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creativity. Dharavi stands up and demands respect, and guess what – it gets it from every visitor who goes there. One of my American guests summed this up very well, after a 2 hour visit to Dharavi: “To me, this place dispels the myth that poverty is due to laziness – that the poor somehow deserve their lot in life because they are lazy or stupid or otherwise lacking in some important character trait that the successful possess. Dharavi is a resounding rebuttal to that belief.”

Photos: Flickr, Mumbai Magic By Deepa Krishnan Deepa Krishnan owns Mumbai Magic, a company that offers offbeat guided tours for visitors to Mumbai, including tours that partner with local NGOs. She also conducts India familiarization tours for groups from charitable foundations, corporate executives, business associations and MBA schools. For more Dharavi stories, check out the Mumbai Magic blog: http://mumbai-magic.blogspot.com/search/label/Dharavi http://www.mumbaimagic.com


Ethica l : S lum s for Voy e ur s or R e sp on sibl e Trav el e r s ?

Teaching Tourism in the Slums of the tourists’ circuits; places they probably had never seen, like Corcovado, Sugar Loaf. By having knowledge of other attractions in their own city, they are encouraged to find a better life in tourism outside the favela. The Tourism Workshop teaches 32 students that live in favelas (Rocinha has a population of 150,000 people). Besides assisting the students with their financial problems, Rejane Reis had the courage

Your Visit Will Help Your visit will help a local school as well as create work opportunities within the community. The Sustainable Tourism Project of Exotic Tours was the first one inside favelas in Brazil. The aim of the tour is to show another reality of Rio de Janeiro and along with that, give opportunity of work for those who live in the community.

For

the last 18 years, Rejane Reis, the owner of Exotic Tours, has been changing the image that the world has about favelas, showing a side of Rio de Janeiro that few people have experienced. One of the first tours offered by Exotic Tours was through the shantytown of Rocinha, the largest favela in Latin America. While going through the alleys, several children followed Rejane asking for money. Instead of giving the children money, she decided to teach them tourism, enabling them to become part of a profession where they could become more self-sufficient. Jun e, 2 0 1 0

Rejane Reis started a small project, creating a Tourism Workshop in the community, so she was able to take tourists guided by the local people into the shantytown, showing the favela through the eyes of people. This also helped support the poor by giving the young adults an opportunity to work. Once a week the students have basic training, where they learn how to work as guides and also learn information about the place in which they live. The boys and girls are between 14 and 25 years old and are trained by two teachers at the Tourism Workshop. They are taught English, Spanish and a working knowledge of the attractions that are part

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to change the face of kids who have been born into circumstances fraught with social problems. In addition to this commitment, she continues her work as a guide in Rio and is always proud to see her students become professional guides, both in and out of their community. When they enter Rejane’s school they are very shy, and may not even know how to speak. More importantly, they gain confidence in themselves; this is something money can’t buy. By Rejane Reis http://www.favelatourismworkshop.com


Ethica l : S lum s for Voy e ur s or R e sp on sibl e Trav el e r s ?

Kibera: The Friendliest Slum in the World

is also often called in the media 'the friendliest slum in the world'.

History of Kibera The name "Kibera" is derived from a Nubian word meaning "forest" or "jungle." The slum originated in 1918 as a Nubian soldiers' settlement in a forest outside Nairobi, with plots allotted to soldiers as a reward for service in the First World War and earlier wars. The British colonial government of the time allowed the settlement to grow informally, primarily because of the Nubians' status as former servants of the British crown. Essentially, since the early 1970s landlords have rented out their property to a significantly greater number of tenants than the laws permit. Since the slum-dwellers find the offered rates to be comparatively affordable, the number of residents in Kibera has increased accordingly despite its unauthorized nature. Its population is put at anything between between 600,000 and 1.2 million.

Geography

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elcome in Kibera in Nairobi, the largest slum in East-Africa. When I arrived in Kibera for the first time I immediately felt welcome because of the many children calling 'hello, how are you?' to me and trying to give me a hand. Despite all the challenges Kibera represents for its habitants, it also has numerous opportunities Jun e, 2 0 1 0

and hope to offer to them. It is an interesting place to visit for the tourists in Kenya. The guides of Kiberatours, a tour-company specialized in tours in Kibera, are proud to be living in Kibera because of the community-sense, the creativity and the positive attitude of the people and like to show tourists the positive sides of Kibera. To illustrate this Kibera

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Kibera is situated southwest of Nairobi city centre and is framed by a railroad line and the Ngong River. In an area of about 4 square kilometers there are approximately one million people living, one third of Nairobi’s population. However the figure might be even higher – there are no precise figures. People say it is the densest populated area on earth. Kibera has residents coming from all the major ethnic backgrounds with some areas being specifically dominated by one tribe. This multi-ethnic nature coupled with the tribalism of Kenyan politics has led Kibera to be the site of small ethnic conflicts throughout its near 100 year history. A railway line passes through Kibera, thus passengers heading for Kisumu can view the slum.


Ethica l : S lum s for Voy e ur s or R e sp on sibl e Trav el e r s ? This railway has got a lot of history as you will find out during the tour. It's 'the voice' of the people of Kibera in politics. Kibera is heavily polluted by soot, dust, and other wastes. Open sewage routes, in addition to the common use of flying toilets, also contribute to contamination of the slum with human and animal feces.

Tourists in Kibera, Why? Like the reason for tourism in all other parts of the world, tourists are coming to Kibera to see the local customs and habits and to meet the local people. Also local businesses and schools can be very interesting to them, because they are so different

from the businesses and schools at their homecountries. For the people living in Kibera, tourism offers an opportunity to make a living (also like in all other parts of the world). Furthermore, for some people in Kibera tourism also offers an opportunity to promote Kibera. They feel that the image of Kibera in the media is too negative and tourism gives them the opportunity to show tourists the other, more positive sides of Kibera. Like Fredrik Otieno, who is the co-founder and guide of Kiberatours. He also works as a volunteer in the Kibera Youth Club, and likes working in the tourism-business because this way he is able to show his Kibera as a 'city of hope'. He likes the fact that Kibera has a strong and united voice and he likes to tell tourists about his positive experiences in Kibera.

Promoting Kibera Also the mission of the tour operator is to promote Kibera as a city of hope by organizing tours and showing the mostly unseen part of Kenya to tourists staying in the country. The tours show Kibera as it is. The tourists thus visit different places and see the positive sides of Kibera as well as the ways people try to improve their lives and work hoping for a better future. Many of the tour operators also provide new hope by (co-)funding the projects and organizations that they visit during their tours. Since most of them are a community-based nonprofit organizations, all profits go to Kibera-based projects to improve the lives of the people and children of Kibera. To illustrate this, Kiberatours supports different projects including an orphanage, a school and a children’s youth club. Some of the income is saved to support new small businesses by giving micro-credits. Furthermore, the tours provide employment and additional business for several people in Kibera. Kibera Tours started organizing tours within Kibera in 2009. The first tours were developed in cooperation with S4L, a Dutch employment project in Kibera. The enthusiastic reviews of the first tourists inspired the guides to go ahead. The spin-off of the tours is very diverse and more than planned for. Besides the more economical benefits of the tours mentioned above, the tours have also led to more cultural and social contacts between the people from Kenya (Kibera) and European countries. Last Christmas for example there was a charity football match in Kibera between a team from Kibera and a Dutch-Swedish team. By Esther Bloemenkamp (co-founder of Kiberatours) http://www.Kiberatours.com

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D esti n atio n A l a s k a : T h e La n d o f D i v e r s i t y

For some the land of eternal frost, for others beautiful wilderness  – Alaska offers it all to those who want to discover this land where only the most courageous adventurers dared to come in the past.


De sti nation : Al a ska : T he L and of D iv e r sit y

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Alaska – The Greatland

laska is the largest and northernmost state in the United States of America, also called The Last Frontier. Its breathtaking beauty dazzles visitors and its unique combination of urban life, worldly adventures and pristine wilderness are all within easy reach. Alaska is where ordinary people experience the thrill and excitement of the extraordinary. Alaska is where you feel free. Alaska is where your dreams become reality. Whether you are travelling independently, with a family or in an escorted group, Alaska is a destination for everyone. While flying over the tallest mountain in North America – Mt. McKinley – or watching Aurora Borealis dance on the starlit sky may be some of the most sought after activities, the list of adventures is endless and caters to a variety of tastes and ages. Imagine stepping onto the ancient land that was once connected to Eurasia by a land bridge and having a first-hand experience with its native inhabitants. Explore the amazing coexistence of the human and animal worlds. Feel the adrenalin rush through your veins as you view grizzly bears in their natural habitat, kayak next to the largest mammals on the planet, walk on glaciers, dog sled with champion mushers or hike in the world’s northernmost patch of the rainforest. Alaska is the only place where you can experience all of these unique activities. And this, plus much more, can be enjoyed in as little as one week! Think these activities are beyond your reach? Think again! Everyday people just like you are coming to Alaska and seeing, feeling and experiencing all that it has to offer. Not only your visions of Alaska entirely possible, but Alaska is more accessible than you might think. Jun e, 2 0 1 0

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De sti nation : Al a ska : T he L and of D iv e r sit y

press release services

During the peak summer months many major US airlines provide non-stop service to Alaska from over 14 US gateways. International travelers can connect to non-stop charter flights from Frankfurt and Tokyo. Once you are here, getting around Alaska is easy, with just about every mode of transportation. You can get on a breath-taking train ride as you watch the wildlife go about its daily routine. You can take a cruise ship or a ferry as you soak in the mist of the ocean. You can also get around by car, motorhome or bus to enjoy your own sightseeing stops. Touring Alaska by airplane should be included in every itinerary to see Alaska’s vast landscape unfold slowly beneath you as you approach the Jun e, 2 0 1 0

land of rigid peaks, massive glaciers and expansive river valleys. An Alaskan holiday is more than just a place to visit, it is a magical place where you can still connect with nature and perhaps reconnect with yourself. Take a vacation that you will talk about for the rest of your life. By Yuliya Redelina All Alaska Tours has been providing group and independent tours of Alaska for over 20 years. Let our experience be your guide and choose from one of our 60 programs – or we will customize any tour. http://www.alaskatours.com/

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De sti nation : Al a ska : T he L and of D iv e r sit y

The Highs and Lows of Alaska’s Tourism

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ourism is Alaska's second largest private-sector employer, accounting for one in eight private-sector jobs. It is also Alaska's fastest-growing industry. Most of Alaska's visitors are from the United States (87%), with 9% from Canada and about 4% from other countries. The majority of Alaska summer visitors come for pleasure. During the fall/winter season, business and convention travel is the primary trip purpose. Another significant visitor segment includes those who are coming to Alaska to visit family and friends. Despite the current challenges, a visit to Alaska continues to be the fulfillment of a life-long dream for many travelers. The state's beauty, wilderness and wildlife continue to attract visitors. In a time of uncertainty and concern for safety, Alaska has an opportunity to capitalize on the perception that Alaska is a safe place to visit and an exotic alternative to traveling abroad. While infrastructure and transportation challenges exist throughout the state, abundant resources are available for communities and business to develop cultural tourism, ecotourism, wildlife viewing, adventure tourism, and sportfishing. Significant opportunities exist statewide to expand tourism during the winter. Winter visitors are drawn by the Northern Lights, particularly in Fairbanks

40,000 Employed in Tourism Tourism industry employs 40,000 people in Alaska, about 15 percent of the state’s work force, and brings nearly $2 billion into the economy each year. Newsminer.com

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De sti nation : Al a ska : T he L and of D iv e r sit y and the Interior. Aurora viewing is accompanied by dog sled tours, skeet shooting, cross-country and downhill skiing, snow machining, ice-skating, ice fishing and other winter activities. Rural Alaska remains the frontier in tourism, however, rural Alaska often lacks staff and resources necessary to prepare for and attract tourism development. As the volume of visitors grows, maintaining the quality of the “Alaska experience” at prime Alaska attractions is a key issue facing the visitor industry. The state and the industry recognize this concern and, through long-term planning efforts, are working to improve the visitor infrastructure and develop new attractions. The need for adequate tourism marketing funds to keep Alaska competitive in the global travel market continues to be a major concern for the industry. Photos: Alaska Travel Industry Association http://www.alaskachamber.com

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De sti nation : Al a ska : T he L and of D iv e r sit y

From Seward to Talkeetna: The Best Alaska Has to Offer All Roads Are Not Created Equal A 2.5-hour drive along one of the most breathtaking routes in Alaska doesn’t even begin to reveal it all. Designated a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road, the Seward Highway stretches 127 miles from Anchorage to Seward, bordered by the picturesque Turnagain Arm. It’s no mystery why scenic viewpoints are plentiful. Travelers can scan the adjacent cliffs for Dall sheep and eagles and see beluga whales in the inlet, spotted by their telltale white heads poking up through the waves. Upon reaching the end of the road and the southern edge of the Kenai Peninsula, Seward appears, the massive Resurrection Bay at its back. As it all comes into view — the busy boat harbor, the mountains, a patchwork of quaint restaurants, shops and travel companies, cars tugging boats and kayaks  — there is little doubt: recreation happens here. TripAdvisor.com viewers wholeheartedly agree, naming Seward the number one US Destination for 2010.

A Wilderness Retreat One of the most popular options for Seward travelers is a cruise with Kenai Fjords Tours (Kenaifjords.com) and optional overnight (or two) at the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge (Kenaifjordslodge. com). The adventure begins on a wildlife-and-glacier cruise across Resurrection Bay and continues into Kenai Fjords National Park. With camera in hand, witness calving glaciers, orca whales, sea lions, otters, puffins and more. Jun e, 2 0 1 0

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De sti nation : Al a ska : T he L and of D iv e r sit y Northwestern Fjord. As the boat nears the towering wall of ice known as the Northwestern Glacier, the engine of the boat idles, and the thundering cracks of ice can be heard as it breaks away from the glacier and crashes into the sea.

See More of Seward

Waterfalls and dramatic cliffs greet the boat at the dock of the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, located on exclusive Fox Island. As if the ride over wasn’t indulgence enough, a wild Alaska salmon and prime rib lunch awaits guests at the day lodge. Spend the afternoon exploring the rain forest, combing the beach, kayaking along the shores or simply basking in the views. According to lodge staff (and some lucky guests) orcas can sometimes be spotted coming right up on the beach to rub against the rocky shore. Even if guests don’t stay overnight, they don’t have to miss out on the Fox Island experience. Some day cruise options make a stop at the newly remodeled Kenai Fjords day lodge. Return to the mainland via a full-day cruise into the glacier-carved

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Travelers will definitely want to explore more of what Seward has to offer. The Seward Windsong Lodge (Sewardwindsong.com) — winner of the prestigious Studiosus Award in 2009 — is the perfect base camp for exploration. Close to town yet in a secluded setting, the lodge is close to kayaking, fishing, glacier dog sled rides and offers the popular Exit Glacier Hike. Traveling just minutes from the lodge through alders and rock croppings, hikers arrive at the base of the crystal blue Exit Glacier, the crown jewel of the Resurrection River Valley.

Just the Tip of the Iceberg It’s hard to depart Seward, but this coastal town is just one of many must-see destinations Alaska offers. Head back towards Anchorage with a detour through the longest vehicle tunnel in North America. On the other side, Whittier is another coastal community with a lot to offer. Day cruises with Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises (Princewilliamsound.com) explore the largest collection of tidewater glaciers in Alaska and travel through wildlife-rich waters to a salmon hatchery. But don’t stop there. Head 113 miles north of Anchorage to the small town of Talkeetna. Here, on the south side of Denali National Park and Preserve,

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the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge (Talkeetnalodge. com) offers the best view of Mount McKinley and the Alaska Range and is located just minutes from adventure. Guests can fish or hike, take a river float or jet boat trip or choose a flightseeing tour over Denali National Park and Preserve, one of the most dramatic experiences available. By Dee Buchanon (CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation) Alaska Native owned and operated, CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation is the umbrella company for premiumquality tourism products, providing customers with the best that Alaska has to offer in Seward, Whittier, Talkeetna, Denali and beyond. http://www.ciritourism.com


De sti nation : Al a ska : T he L and of D iv e r sit y

Tourism Industries Hoping for Stability in Numbers is confident their visitor numbers will remain stable. "We'd love a blockbuster year; everybody would love a blockbuster year. We're a nonprofit so we depend a lot on our summer revenues to keep the lights on, the heat on, but we make do and we make the changes we have," Farve said. But one of the state's tourism industry leaders is anticipating another tough year. About 883,000 cruise ship visitors are forecast to come to Alaska this summer; down 14 percent from approximately 1 million in 2009. The good news is that some ships will dock in Anchorage on a regular basis – each Monday for nine weeks.

Cruising: Gloomy Forecast

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ruise ships from Vancouver and Seattle have set sail for Alaska and will be here in a couple of weeks. Some tourism businesses are hoping to boost their visitor appeal. The Alaska Native Heritage Center is getting ready for what it hopes will be a busy summer tour-

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ism season. "I know that there's been predictions for fewer tourists this year, but we did better than we thought we would last year, so there's no reason not to stay optimistic," said David Farve with the center. With several new projects this summer, including the carving of four totem poles, the center

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About 883,000 cruise ship visitors are forecast this summer, down 14 percent from approximately 1 million in 2009. Economists say that means a loss of about $150 million in spending. Aggressive pricing in the depths of the recession last year meant cruise passenger visits stayed about the same as 2008. But the rock-bottom deals — under $500 for some trips — also attracted bargain hunters reluctant to open their wallets. Total state visitor spending was off 15 percent, or $270 million. Officials estimate that 140,000 fewer passengers will cross Alaska docks this summer, costing millions in tourist dollars. Businessweek.com


De sti nation : Al a ska : T he L and of D iv e r sit y

"I think for retail and our restaurants and our day attractions, they're going to see a nice little bump on those Mondays, certainly," said Julie Saupe, CEO of the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau. Also this season, there are fewer big deals from tourism businesses than were offered last year. The Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau says the state tourism industry would like to return to normalcy. Rather than further decreases, Saupe says she hopes visitor numbers, and the rates companies can charge for services, will begin to stabilize this year. "This year I think people are a little bit more calm approaching the season. They've got some decent numbers on the books; they're not expecting to fall off the cliff like we did last year," Saupe said. Even though cruise ships drew in large crowds last year with deep discounts, John Binkley with the Alaska Cruise Association says those passengers didn't spend very much on land. "Last year was kind of disappointing on the amount of money that passengers spent when they got off the ships, and hopefully with the turnaround in the economy, some of that will come back and they'll be a little more

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generous, a little more optimistic and spend a little more money here in Anchorage," Binkley said. Binkley runs a riverboat tour company in Fairbanks, and said that he too has had to tighten his belt by cutting 70 of his company's 200 jobs. "Last year we were down about 25 percent, and this year we'll be down probably similarly: 20 to 25 percent additionally on top of that," he said. Businesses big and small across the state are hoping for an improvement in sales over last year. "The phone has definitely been ringing more than last year," said Glen Hemingson, the manager of the Copper Whale Inn in downtown Anchorage. Hemingson says he's tried different things this year like focused marketing in Europe and additional online advertising to hopefully attract visitors. "We're anticipating about 10 to 15 percent higher occupancy than we saw, which is still not where we were in 2007, 2008," he said.

Photos: Alaska Travel Industry Association By Lori Tipton http://www.ktuu.com

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Russian Remains: Alaska Once Dominated by Another World Power

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hen the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, $7.2 million seemed like an enormous price tag for 586,412 square miles of what many considered nothing but frozen wasteland. Today, that amount seems like a bargain as Alaska has proven to be a state rich in gold, oil, timber, minerals and incredible natural beauty. Jun e, 2 0 1 0

Nonetheless, the influence of Russian ownership and early expeditions to Alaska left a strong imprint on the people of contemporary Alaska. Be it spiritual, cultural or architectural, Russia’s impact on Alaska is still evident today. Russia’s interest in Alaska began with Vitus Bering’s expedition in 1741. Bering and his crew reached what is now Kayak Island, but the ship

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wrecked and Bering and much of his crew perished. Those who stayed through the winter and survived the disastrous event brought home luxurious sea otter skins that spurred a rush to Alaska by other Russian explorers. Grigori Shelekhov was one such entrepreneur, who in 1784 founded the first permanent settlement in Alaska on Kodiak Island and sent Alexander Baranov to manage his business interest, the Russian American Company. Kodiak Island was the first place in Alaska that the Russians settled, first in secluded Three Saints Bay and later in the present-day city of Kodiak. A walking tour of the city can include the museum, Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church and the Saint Innocent Veniaminov Research Institute Museum. There is also a yearly event celebrating the canonization of one of the Russian priests, Saint Herman, in an area outside of town called Monk’s Lagoon. “I don’t think people expect us to have so much Russian history,” said Alice Ryser of the Baranov Museum in Kodiak. “Even our Russian visitors are surprised. But you can see (the influence) everywhere. … Even the street names around here are Russian.” Today, Kodiak still looks the part of a Russian settlement. “The building that we’re in is the oldest Russian log structure in North America, and it was a warehouse for Baranov and the Russian American Company,” Ryser continued. “It was built in 1808, and there are other remnants from that time, too, that show how much the Russians were here.”


De sti nation : Al a ska : T he L and of D iv e r sit y

As the Russians became involved with the sea otter skin industry, they inevitably clashed with Alaska Natives who had lived in Alaska for thousands of years. The Natives saw the Russian influx as an intrusion on their lives and livelihoods. That hostility later led to several confrontations between Russian explorers and Alaska Natives. One such battle occurred on the Kenai Peninsula, following the arrival in 1786 of Russian fur traders, who settled the area by 1791. Jun e, 2 0 1 0

There were parts of Russian culture that did take hold with Alaska’s indigenous people: when Russian Orthodox priests arrived along with the settlers, they introduced Alaska Natives to Christianity and Russian churches began to multiply. But cultural tension mounted, and in 1797 a battle for the Kenai erupted between the Dena’ina Athabaskans and the Lebedev Company, the fur trading company based on the Kenai. More than 100 Russians, Dena’ina and other Natives were killed.

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Because the Russians didn’t stay long on the Kenai, it’s easy to write off the importance of this blip in history. But it could have turned out differently had the Dena’ina people not resisted the Russians’ presence. “This is the only place (in Alaska) where the Native presence defeated the Russian presence,” said Ricky Gease executive director of the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center.


De sti nation : Al a ska : T he L and of D iv e r sit y

Today, Kenai Peninsula towns like Ninilchik and Kenai have wonderfully scenic oniondomed churches and an active community of Russian Orthodox believers. Old Town Kenai, the site of the original Russian settlement, is a nice place to learn more. Gease said daily walking tours of the area are available, as are interpretive programs at the nearby cultural center. From the Kenai Peninsula, Russian fur traders eventually moved east. By 1796, they arrived in Yakutat and later settled in Sitka, which became the Russian capital. The Tlingit Indians living in the area knew that submission to the Russians meant allegiance to their czar and slave labor to the fur trade company. The 1802 battle between the Tlingits and the Russians killed nearly all of the Russians and their Aleut slaves. Undaunted by the battle, the Russian American Co.’s Baranov arrived ready to fight in 1804. For six days he fought the Tlingits, this time overpowering them. The Russians named their newly acquired land New Archangel. The island on which Sitka is Jun e, 2 0 1 0

located, Baranof Island, is named for Alexander Baranof. Sitka is one of the best places to learn about Russia’s influence on Alaska. Just take a walk around the city. Sitkan Jane Eidler arranges a fascinating 90-minute historic walking tour of downtown Sitka, which takes in some of Russia’s most notable influences: enjoy lofty views of the surrounding islands and ocean from Castle Hill (where, incidentally, control over Alaska was officially transferred to the United States in 1867); see a recreated Russian blockhouse; visit the old Russian cemetery and the Lutheran cemetery where Russian Princess Maksoutoff is buried; check out Saint Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral; visit the Russian Bishop’s House, which is part of Sitka National Historical Park; you’ll also see many historic houses that bear the stamp of Russian influence. Photos: Alaska Travel Industry Association By Melissa DeVaughn http://www.travelalaska.com

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Fairs & Exhibitions T r av e l / T o u r i s m

i n

J UNE

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b y

r e g i o n s


Fairs & E x hi b ition s : J u n e , 2 0 1 0

Western Europe

 Travel Distribution Summit Europe  Location

Western Europe / United Kingdom / London

Start / End

17 June 2010 / 18 June 2010

Provider

EyeforTravel

Contact

tim@eyefortravel.com

 BEST EN Think Tank: Networking for Sustainable     Tourism  Location

Western Europe / Austria / Vienna

Start / End

27 June 2010 / 30 June 2010

Provider

BEST EN

Contact

liburd@sitkom.sdu.dk

  EUROAL: Latin American and European Fair     of Tourism, Art and Culture  Location

Western Europe / Spain / Torremolinos (Málaga)

Start / End

03 June 2010 / 05 June 2010

Provider

Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones Torremolinos

Contact

sercopal@palacio-congresos.com

  Itinerari Sardegna   Location

Western Europe / Italy / Cagliari

Start / End

04 June 2010 / 06 June 2010

Provider

Fiera Internazionale della Sardegna

Contact

commerciale@fieradellasardegna.it

press release services

  MITM Euromed, Meetings & Incentive Travel Market  Location

Western Europe / Spain / Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava

Start / End

09 June 2010 / 11 June 2010

Provider

G.S.A.R. Marketing

Contact

gsar@gsamark.com

  More events related to Travel/Tourism can be found here   If you are an event provider you may consider to place your event in the above category, please click here   If your event already is in the list you may consider using the enhanced listing. For replacement just click here

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Fairs & E x hi b ition s : J u n e , 2 0 1 0

Africa/MIDDLE EAST  Iran Food & Hospitality  Location

Africa & Middle East / Iran / Tehran

Start / End

30 May 2010 / 02 June 2010

Provider

Fairtrade Messe und Ausstellungs GmbH

Contact

info@fairtrade-messe.de

  Riyadh Travel Fair 2010  Location

Africa & Middle East / Saudi Arabia / Riyadh

Start / End

01 June 2010 / 04 June 2010

Provider

Asas Exhibtions & Conferences Organizing Company

Contact

az@asas.biz

 Karibu Travel & Tourism Fair  Location

Africa & Middle East / Tanzania / Arusha

Start / End

04 June 2010 / 06 June 2010

Provider

Karibu Trade Fair Limited

Contact

info@karibufair.com

  More events related to Travel/Tourism can be found here   If you are an event provider you may consider to place your event in the above category, please click here   If your event already is in the list you may consider using the enhanced listing. For replacement just click here

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Fairs & E x hi b ition s : J u n e , 2 0 1 0

North America

 HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings West Conference     and Exhibition  Location

North America & Caribbean / USA / Long Beach, CA

Start / End

16 June 2010 / 17 June 2010

Provider

HSMAI

Contact

affordablemeetings@jspargo.com

  Destinations Showcase Chicago  Location

North America & Caribbean / USA / Chicago, IL

Start / End

23 June 2010 / 23 June 2010

Provider

Destination Marketing Association International

Contact

blutsko@destinationmarketing.org

  Eco-Aviation Conference 

  Online Marketing in Strategies in Travel USA  Location

North America & Caribbean / USA / Miami, FL

Start / End

02 June 2010 / 03 June 2010

Provider

EyeforTravel

Contact

gina@eyefortravel.com

Location

North America & Caribbean / USA / Washington, D.C.

Start / End

23 June 2010 / 25 June 2010

Provider

Air Transport World, Leeham Company

Contact

webmaster@atwonline.com

  World Heritage and Tourism: Managing for the Global and the Local  Location

North America & Caribbean / Canada / Quebec City

Start / End

03 June 2010 / 04 June 2010

Provider

CTCC

Contact

ctcc@leedsmet.ac.uk

  ATME Travel Marketing Conference  Location

North America & Caribbean / USA / Boston, MA

Start / End

15 June 2010 / 16 June 2010

Provider

ATME

Contact

kzern@atme.org

  More events related to Travel/Tourism can be found here   If you are an event provider you may consider to place your event in the above category, please click here   If your event already is in the list you may consider using the enhanced listing. For replacement just click here

— 57 —


Fairs & E x hi b ition s : J u n e , 2 0 1 0

Asia & Pacific

 ITE - International Travel Expo Hong Kong  Location

Asia & Pacific / Hong Kong / Hong Kong

Start / End

10 June 2010 / 13 June 2010

Provider

TKS Exhibition Services Ltd

Contact

travel@tkshk.com

 ITE MICE - Business & Incentive Travel Expo  Location

Asia & Pacific / Hong Kong / Hong Kong

Start / End

10 June 2010 / 13 June 2010

Provider

TKS Exhibition Services Ltd

Contact

travel@tkshk.com

  Asia Luxury Travel Market 

 KOTFA: Korea World Travel Fair  Location

Asia & Pacific / South Korea / Seoul

Start / End

03 June 2010 / 06 June 2010

Provider

Korea Tourism Association

Contact

kotfa2010@naver.com

 Thailand Travel Mart Plus  Location

Asia & Pacific / Thailand / Bangkok

Start / End

03 June 2010 / 07 June 2010

Provider

Tourism Authority of Thailand

Contact

info@thailandtravelmartplus.com

Location

Asia & Pacific / China / Shanghai

Start / End

14 June 2010 / 17 June 2010

Provider

Reed Exhibitions

Contact

james.samuel@reedexpo.co.uk

  International Summit on Tourism Safety & Security  Location

Asia & Pacific / Malaysia / Kuala Lumpur

Start / End

14 June 2010 / 17 June 2010

Provider Contact

security@egnatia-group.com

 Beijing International Tourism Expo  Location

Asia & Pacific / China / Beijing

Start / End

25 June 2010 / 27 June 2010

Provider

CEMS

Contact

ruth@cems.com.sg

 International Travel Expo Hong Kong  Location

Asia & Pacific / China / Hong Kong

Start / End

10 June 2010 / 13 June 2010

Provider

TKS Exhibition Services Ltd

Contact

travel@tkshk.com

  More events related to Travel/Tourism can be found here   If you are an event provider you may consider to place your event in the above category, please click here   If your event already is in the list you may consider using the enhanced listing. For replacement just click here

— 58 —


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Tourism Review Online Magazine - 06/2010