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DECember, 2010


Dear readers, The December issue of the Tourism Review Online Magazine is here. If you want to experience something unconventional, what about visiting the “middle of the world” i.e. Quito? Open the Destination part and learn more. Intangible heritage listed by UNESCO is the topic of the Heritage supplement. Read about Indonesian batik, Croatian lace making or Chinese calligraphy. Are you fond of trains? Then perhaps you will appreciate the Transport part focusing this time on a few railway stations with impressive architecture and history. The Professional part on the other hand discusses one of travelers’ favorite activities – duty free shopping. However, before setting out for yet another journey read the Ethical part about the importance of travel etiquette and responsible traveling.

Milada Sovadinova Editor


CONTENTS

TRANSPORT

H E R I TAG E

Railway StationS: impReSSive & FabulouS

IntangIble HerItage: How to Protect InvIsIble treasures

The UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage includes a wide range of unique traditions, dances, songs, handwork. Learn about Croatia’s lace making, Chinese calligraphy, or Azerbaijani Ashiq.

CONTENTS

DECEMBER, 2010

There are thousands and thousands of railway stations. Some of them boast unique architecture or history. Get on the train; we are calling at Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Melbourne and Berlin.

HERITAGE: Intangible Heritage: How to Protect Invisible Treasures.... 4

TRANSPORT: Railway Stations: Impressive & Fabulous.......................33

Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage. ..................................................5 The Eastern Treasure: Chinese Calligraphy.................................................................7 Beautiful Lace from Croatia. .........................................................................................9 Indonesian Batik: Intangible Heritage Wonder.....................................................11 The Art of Azerbaijani Ashiq.........................................................................................13

Victoria Terminus Station–A Jewel in India’s Architectural Crown.............34 Berlin Hauptbahnhof – Flooded with Light.................................................................36 Kuala Lumpur Railway Station – East Meets West...................................................38 Undulating Roof of Southern Cross Station. ........................................................40

Professional

De st i nat ion Ecuador: WondErful divErsity

The end of duTy free ShopS?

Sports tourism might represent a niche market, yet it is dynamically developing. Why is it so popular? How can communities utilize its sports tourism potential?

Ecuador – the land of Amazon, the Andes, lowlands and Galapagos Island. Discover the world of several ethnic groups living in distinctive environments.

Professional: The End of Duty Free Shops?............ 16 Duty Free Paradise Can Be Very Hard to Find..........................................................16 Top Duty Free Spenders? Korean and Chinese Travelers. ....................................18 Hong Kong International: Definitely Not Faking It. ...........................................20 Duty Free Shopping – Great Bargains?........................................................................21

ETHICAL

Ecuador: Country Not Only for Adventurers........................................................43 Galapagos Islands: A Nature Adventure...................................................................45 Tourism Industry – Four Worlds of Ecuador..........................................................47 Quito – Unique World Heritage....................................................................................49 Amazon Rainforest: Remarkable Ecosystem. ..........................................................51 Fairs & Exhibitions

When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do

Traveling broadens the mind, especially when you travel responsibly and learn the basics of the travel etiquette. What to do and what not to do when visiting remote countries and communities?

Destination: Ecuador: Wonderful Diversity......................... 42

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

i n

D e C e m B e r

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B y

r e g i o n s

ETHICAL: When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do......................... 23

Fairs & Exhibitions: Travel/Tourism in december 2010 by regions.................................................. 52

Travel Etiquette: How Do You Travel?......................................................................24 Chinese Etiquette for Travelers.................................................................................26 Brush Up on Travel Etiquette.......................................................................................27 Responsible Travel Etiquette Creates Positive Impacts in Local Communities......................................................................................................29 Volunteering – Who Really Benefits?. .......................................................................31

Western Europe..................................................................................................................53 Asia & Pacific. ......................................................................................................................54


H E R I TAG E

Intangible Heritage: How to Protect Invisible Treasures

The UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage includes a wide range of unique traditions, dances, songs, handwork. Learn about Croatia’s lace making, Chinese calligraphy, or Azerbaijani Ashiq.


H e r itage : Intang ibl e He r itag e : How to P rote c t Inv i sibl e Tre a sure s

Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage The Lists…

The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding is composed of intangible heritage elements that concerned communities and States Parties consider require urgent measures to keep them alive. In 2009, the Committee inscribed 12 elements. In 2010, it inscribed additionally 4 elements. The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is made up of those intangible heritage practices and expressions that help demonstrate the diversity of this heritage and raise awareness about its importance. The Committee incorporated 90 elements in 2008 and inscribed 76 elements in 2009. In 2010, 47 elements have been added to the list.

The

term ‘cultural heritage’ has changed content considerably in recent decades, partially owing to the instruments developed by UNESCO. Cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such

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as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts. While fragile, intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization. An understand-

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ing of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life. The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next. The social and economic value of this transmission of knowledge is relevant for minority groups and for mainstream social groups within a State, and is as important for developing States as for developed ones.


H e r itage : Intang ibl e He r itag e : How to P rote c t Inv i sibl e Tre a sure s

To be kept alive, intangible cultural heritage must be relevant to its community, continuously recreated and transmitted from one generation to another. There is a risk that certain elements of intangible cultural heritage could die out or disappear without help, but safeguarding does not mean fixing or freezing intangible cultural heritage in some pure or primordial form. Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage is about the transferring of knowledge, skills and meaning. Transmission – or communicating heritage from generation to generation – is emphasized in the UNESCO Convention rather than the production of concrete manifestations such as dances, songs, musical instruments or crafts. Therefore, to a large extent, any safeguarding measure refers to strengthening and reinforcing the diverse and varied circumstances, tangible and intangible, that are necessary for the continuous evolution and interpretation of intangible cultural heritage, as well as for its transmission to future generations. Does this mean that intangible heritage should always be safeguarded, or be revitalized at any cost? As any living body, it follows a life cycle and therefore some elements are likely to disappear, after having given birth to new forms of expressions. It might be that certain forms of intangible D e c emb er, 2 0 1 0

cultural heritage, despite their economic value, are no longer considered relevant or meaningful for the community itself. As indicated in the Convention, only intangible cultural heritage that is recognized by the communities as theirs and that provides them with a sense of identity and continuity is to be safeguarded. By ‘recognition’, the Convention means a formal or, more often, informal process by which communities acknowledge that specific practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills and, if appropriate, associated instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces, form part of their cultural heritage. Safeguarding measures must always be developed and applied with the consent and involvement of the community itself. In certain cases, public intervention to safeguard a community’s heritage may be undesirable, since it may distort the value such heritage has for its community. Moreover, safeguarding measures must always respect the customary practices governing access to specific aspects of such heritage, for example, sacred intangible cultural heritage manifestations or those that are considered secret. http://www.unesco.org

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H e r itage : Intang ibl e He r itag e : How to P rote c t Inv i sibl e Tre a sure s

The Eastern Treasure: Chinese Calligraphy

C

hinese calligraphy has always been more than simply a tool for communication, incorporating as it does the element of artistry for which the practice is still valued in an age of ballpoint pens and computers. Indeed, calligraphy is no longer the basic tool of intellectuals and officials but has become the preserve of professional artisans and amateur enthusiasts. Whether they are recording information or simply creating beautiful forms, calligraphers’ brushes are used to ink five different styles of script, known as ‘seal’, ‘official’, ‘cursive’, ‘running’ and ‘regular’. The art may appear on any writing surface – even the rocky walls of cliffs – but it is especially common on letters, scrolls, works of literature and fan coverings.

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Today, in addition to traditional master-apprentice instruction, calligraphy is also taught at school. Many ceremonies that mark national celebrations and religious rituals incorporate the practice and calligraphy has itself proved influential on modern art, architecture and design. In its distinctive Chinese form, calligraphy offers an important channel for the appreciation of traditional culture and for arts education. It is also a source of pride and pleasure for the Chinese people and embodies important aspects of the country’s intellectual and artistic heritage. Chinese calligraphy is an artistic practice that, while fulfilling the practical function of information exchange through writing Chinese characters with brushes, ink, and paper as the main tools and materials, conveys human contemplation of nature, society and life and thus reflects the unique character, spirit, temperament, interest, and philosophy of the Chinese people through special graphic symbols and writing rhythms. Along with the appearance and evolution of Chinese characters, Chinese calligraphy has developed for more than 3,000 years and become a symbol of Chinese culture. Chinese calligraphy has developed along with the appearance and evolution of Chinese characters. The earliest Chinese characters discovered to date are the inscriptions on bones, tortoise shells, and bronze from the Shang Dynasty (14th to 11th century B.C.). It was during late Han Dynasty and the Wei and Jin Dynasties (approximately from late 2nd to 4th century A.D.) that the writing of Chi-

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Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

nese characters as a means of recording information gradually evolved into an art with an aesthetic function. In correspondence with the evolution of the script forms, five styles, namely, the seal-script, official-script, cursive-script, running-script, and regular-script styles, and a number of carrier forms, including personal letter, hand scroll, verticallyhung scroll, central scroll, antithetical couplets, and fan covering, of Chinese calligraphy have been developed. Before the printing technology was invented, calligraphy had performed the functions of recording information and conducting written communication and exchange. The space for calligraphic display has extended from homes, palaces, shops, and temples to the cliff and rocky wall. Calligraphy often appears in important events such as national celebration ceremonies and sacrificial rites as well as the daily activities of common people such as celebrations, burials, and religious activities, and performs different roles therein. In ancient times, calligraphy was a necessary skill for intellectuals and officials, who were the main participants of the inheritance and development of calligraphy. A series of activities around calligraphy, together with the resulting cultural atmosphere, have constituted the important spiritual life space of the Chinese. In its development, calligraphy has developed a complete set of theories and skills. The art has


H e r itage : Intang ibl e He r itag e : How to P rote c t Inv i sibl e Tre a sure s

enjoyed orderly propagation and continuous development through personal instruction and documented records, and presented distinct features in correspondence with the change of time and alteration of tools and materials. Chinese history has produced a large number of prestigious calligraphers, such as Wang Xizhi (303-361 A.D.), Yan Zhenqing (709-785 A.D.), and Su Shi (1037-1101 A.D.). In modern life, the popularization of pens and computer has put an end to the role of brush as the primary writing tool, and has accordingly transformed Chinese calligraphy from a working skill into a special art, and gradually transferred the responsibility for the propagation of the art from the tra-

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ditional intellectuals and officials to professional calligraphers. Contemporarily, the propagation and development of Chinese calligraphy mainly depends on the calligrapher associations, arts colleges and schools, and research institutions at all levels. China Calligraphers Association, a nongovernmental professional organization with over 8,000 members, and Chinese Calligraphy Institute of Chinese National Academy of Arts, a national-level calligraphy research and creation center, are the major organizations for the propagation and safeguarding of Chinese calligraphy; Shen Peng, Ouyang Zhongshi, Zhang Hai, and Wang Yong are some representatives of the propagators of the art. Aside from the traditional method of master-disciple instruction, school education has also become an important mode of Chinese calligraphy propagation. While carrying forward its glorious history, Chinese calligraphy has also absorbed nutrients from other forms of arts. Frequent calligraphy activities have been held at different levels. Chinese calligraphy is still the most popular and the most widely participated art form, and is also a main channel for the appreciation of the traditional culture of China and for esthetic education. Through more than 3,000 years of development, Chinese calligraphy has become a symbol of China's culture, according to Li Shenghong, vice president of the Calligraphy College. As time passes, calligraphy's utilitarian function is decreasing, and its existence as an art style is endangered. "On this basis, calligraphy must be considered as intangible cultural heritage which needs to be protected and passed on," says Li Shenghong. http://www.unesco.org http://www.china.org.cn

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H e r itage : Intang ibl e He r itag e : How to P rote c t Inv i sibl e Tre a sure s

Beautiful Lace from Croatia I

nscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity At least three distinct traditions of lacemaking in Croatia persist today, centred on the towns of Pag on the Adriatic, Lepoglava in northern Croatia and Hvar on the Dalmatian island of the same name. Pag needle-point lace was originally used to make ecclesiastical garments, tablecloths and ornaments for clothing. The process involves embellishing a spider web pattern with geometrical motifs and is transmitted today by older women who offer yearlong courses. Lace-makers of Pag did their teg (work) without any drawings. Each woman used works from her mother and grandmothers as examples, each adding a personal touch, something unique and special. Each lace piece is a symbol of the anonymous, modest and self-sacrificing life of its maker. In 1939 Pag lacemakers participated at the world exhibition in New York. The Pag lacemaking school existed back at the beginning of the century and the person who deserves credit for the preservation of Pag lace-making is Austrian Natalie Bruck-Auffenberg. In 1911, she wrote a book Dalmatia and

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Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

its Folk Art. She searched for the lost Dubrovnik lace all along the Dalmatian coast and, visiting the islands, discovered Pag lace. She bought Pag lace for herself, for exhibitions in Paris and an Austrian museum, and for the Archduchess Maria Josephine, Otto von Habsburg's grandmother. Only a few days after receiving the first lacy blouse from Pag, Maria Josephine arrived in the town. She was the first person to make an order to the old Pag lacemaking school. The orders from Emperor Ferdinand and the Romanian queen, Carmen Sylva, soon followed. The same lace that was prized by emperors is still made today. A new lacemaking school is led by Pag natives Neda Oroz and Urica Orlic. Lepoglava bobbin lace is made by braiding thread wound on spindles, or bobbins; it is often used to make lace ribbons for folk costumes or is sold at village fairs. The skill of making ribbon bobbin lacework from flax fibres that the rural women from Lepoglava made for decorating their garments or for sale, resulted in the making of fine lace with different forms. An International Lace Festival in Lepoglava celebrates the art every year.


H e r itage : Intang ibl e He r itag e : How to P rote c t Inv i sibl e Tre a sure s

Aloe lace is made in Croatia only by Benedictine nuns in the town of Hvar. Thin, white threads are obtained from the core of fresh aloe leaves and woven into a net or other pattern on a cardboard background. The resulting pieces are a symbol of Hvar. Each variety of lace has long been created by rural women as a source of additional income and has left a permanent mark on the culture of its region. The craft both produces an important component of traditional clothes and is itself testimony to a living cultural tradition. D e c emb er, 2 0 1 0

Lace first appeared in Renaissance period on the Mediterranean coast and Western Europe. The difference between the lacemaking in European countries and Croatia lies in its creators. In Europe, lacemaking was in the hands of nuns, bourgeoisie and nobility, while in Croatia it was transferred from them to the hands of rural women in small villages. They have made lace for traditional clothes and furnishings. http://www.unesco.org http://www.croatianhistory.net

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H e r itage : Intang ibl e He r itag e : How to P rote c t Inv i sibl e Tre a sure s

Indonesian Batik: Intangible Heritage Wonder

The

techniques, symbolism and culture surrounding hand-dyed cotton and silk garments known as Indonesian Batik permeate the lives of Indonesians from beginning to end: infants are carried in batik slings decorated with symbols designed to bring the child luck, and the dead are shrouded in funerary batik. Clothes with everyday designs are worn regularly in business and academic settings, while special varieties are incorporated into celebrations of marriage and pregnancy and into puppet theatre and other art forms. The garments even play the central role in certain rituals, such as the ceremonial casting of royal batik into a volcano.

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Batik is also inseparable from Javanese life — annual offerings to the guardians of Java’s main volcanoes and the Goddess of the South Sea still include pieces of batik cloth. In weddings throughout Central Java, the patterns of sidomukti, sidoluhur, sidoasih, sidomulyo, wirasat and truntum are used to bless newly married couples and their parents. The rulers of Yogyakarta and Surakarta Palaces always use prescribed patterns like the parang design. There is also a belief that certain patterns bring bad luck if worn on unsuitable occasions, such as the tambal pattern, which is avoided by a bridal couples as it is feared to bring in patchy luck, like the material’s patchwork pattern, while the kawung pattern should not be used to cover the body of a person who dies on a Saturday. Batik is dyed by proud craftspeople who draw designs on fabric using dots and lines of hot wax, which resists vegetable and other dyes and therefore allows the artisan to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water and repeating if multiple colours are desired. The wide diversity of patterns reflects a variety of influences, ranging from Arabic calligraphy, European bouquets and Chinese phoenixes to Japanese cherry blossoms and Indian or Persian

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Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity


H e r itage : Intang ibl e He r itag e : How to P rote c t Inv i sibl e Tre a sure s

peacocks. Often handed down within families for generations, the craft of batik is intertwined with the cultural identity of the Indonesian people and, through the symbolic meanings of its colours and designs, expresses their creativity and spirituality. Traditional dress includes batik. Batiks are collected and passed down as family heirlooms, each being a work of art with its own story. Batik craftspersons would fast and pray before making batik

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while meditating accompanied by traditional songs. It takes several days to make a hand-stamped batik, and at least 1 month to 1 year to complete a hand-drawn batik. The center of batik artistry is in cities on the island of Java, including Solo, Jogyakarta, Pekalongan or Cirebon. http://www.unesco.org http://www.indonesialogue.com

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H e r itage : Intang ibl e He r itag e : How to P rote c t Inv i sibl e Tre a sure s

The Art of Azerbaijani Ashiq

Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Major Ashiq Stories • The epic of “Köroğlu” is one of those which combine the occasional romance with Robin Hood like chivalry. Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov has created an opera by this name, using the Ashiq stories and masterfully combined some Ashiq music with this major classical work. • Ashiq Kerib, Azeri epic, made famous by Mikhail Lermontov, is another major story of a wandering Ashiq who began his journeys with worldly love and attains wisdom by traveling and learning then achieving sainthood. • Kerem ile Aslı is the story of a Muslim prince Kerem and a Christian girl Aslı who fall in love despite the major opposition by their parents and community. Wikipedia.org

A

shiqs combines poetry, storytelling, dance and vocal and instrumental music into a traditional performance art that stands as a symbol of Azerbaijani culture. Characterized by the accompaniment of the saz, a stringed musical instrument, the classical repertoire includes 200 songs, 150 literary-musical compositions known as dastans, nearly 2,000 poems in different traditional poetic forms and numerous stories. The regional variations may include other musical instruments, but all are united by a common D e c emb er, 2 0 1 0

national language and artistic history. Ashiqs take part in weddings, friendly parties and festive events throughout the Caucasus and appear on concert stages, radio and television, sometimes synthesizing classical melodies with contemporary ones as they continue to recreate their repertoire. Their art is considered an emblem of national identity and the guardian of Azerbaijani language, literature and music. Even as Ashiqs represent the consciousness of a people, they also help to promote cultural exchange and dialogue: Kurds,

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Lezhins, Talishes, Tats and other ethnic groups living in the country often perform the Ashiqs’ art, and their poems and songs have spread across the region. The art of Azerbaijani ashiqs unites musical and poetic art and performing arts. In its best manifestations the ashiq acts as a poet, composer, singer and saz performer, as an actor-narrator, sometimes even as a dancer at the same time. The sources of Ashiq art are in the art of Turkic ozans who created the prominent literary monument – “Book of


H e r itage : Intang ibl e He r itag e : How to P rote c t Inv i sibl e Tre a sure s

Dede Gorgud” 1300 years ago, and also in ecstatic acts of early Sufi dervishes who were called “haqq ashiqi” (lovers of truth) in the Turkic world. Today the total number of Azerbaijani Ashiqs in the world makes up to three thousand people. Ashiqs take part in weddings, friendly parties, in folk festive events. Since 20th century they also

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perform on concert stages, on the radio and television. Starting from the 16th century Azerbaijani ashiqs have been the bearers and guardians of the national language, music and national identity. http://www.unesco.org

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P ro f essiona l The End of Duty Free Shops?

What do we like to do when we travel? Shop! Duty-free stores are an almost unavoidable part of the travel experience today. Still, do you get only bargains in the shops?


P rofe s si ona l : T he End of D ut y Fre e S hop s ?

Duty Free Paradise Can Be Very Hard to Find

Ireland’s Ministry for Finance allowed opening a store behind the passport control line. The prices there were lower because the goods had been relieved of taxes and customs fees since the goods did not cross the customs border of the state where they were sold. The simple and yet brilliant idea gained immense popularity all over the world soon afterwards. Duty free shops can be found in any more or less respectable airport. One may visit such stores only after they have their plane tickets registered. Duty free stores, especially in large airports, sell any kinds of goods: from pens to fur coats. However, duty free shopping may not always be favorable. Alcohol and tobacco products are the two most popular categories of goods sold at duty free stores. Perfumes and cosmetic products come third. These

Duty Free Terminology

M

any travelers love to spend their time in duty free stores as they wait for their flights. Many tourists may often snatch up everything that they can see thinking that they save a lot of money anyway. However, it may not always be so. The world’s first-ever duty free shop opened at Shannon Airport in Ireland in 1947. The store still

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works today. Airport employees noticed that passengers of transit flights, who change planes on the way from Europe to the USA, were spending a lot of time at the airport, although they were not making an official entry to the country. The waiting room of the airport was legally a neutral territory, which did not belong to any country.

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“Duty Free” means that no excise duty is applicable and as such payable to the Government (HM Revenue & Customs) on the relevant items purchased. Items which are classed as “Duty Free” must be exported in tact outside of the European Union (EU) and therefore are only sold to passengers flying to non-EU countries. This ‘duty free’ status applies to all cigarettes and tobacco, plus selected spirits (these are clearly marked in-store). http://www.franciscoppolawinery.com


P rofe s si ona l : T he End of D ut y Fre e S hop s ?

three types of goods have the highest taxes in conventional stores. Therefore, they are a lot cheaper in duty free stores. Purchasing all other goods may not be that favorable though. As for the quality of duty free stores, the international airport of Dubai is obviously the leader at

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this point. The duty free shop there is huge – it is a paradise for shoppers. Dubai’s duty free megamall sells practically everything, even luxury cars. The prices are rather encouraging too: some goods are sold 50 percent cheaper than in the city. Prices on Swiss watches, for example, are mysteriously 20 percent cheaper than in Switzerland’s duty free shops. Other good duty free stores are located at London’s Heathrow and Singapore’s Changi. New collections of designer clothes arrive at Heathrow’s duty free boutiques earlier than they appear at London’s shopping malls. As for Changi, the duty free department store at this airport strikes imagination with its interior designs and amazing Oriental souvenirs. As for European continental airports, the situation there is a lot worse. Duty free prices are mostly identical to the prices of city stores and can be even higher at times. It is recommended to buy there only alcohol, tobacco products and perfumes. There is a very good duty free store at the airport of Zurich, Switzerland: a large department for perfumes and cosmetics, several boutiques and, of course, a number of shops selling renowned watches.

http://english.pravda.ru

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P rofe s si ona l : T he End of D ut y Fre e S hop s ?

Top Duty Free Spenders? Korean and Chinese Travelers A

sia Pacific travelers stretch their travel budgets by shopping at duty free stores, according to a survey commissioned by Visa. The Visa Travel Smart Survey asked 2,226 travelers from across the Asia Pacific region on their travel spending habits and found that Korean and Chinese travelers spent the most on duty free items on their last trip with an average expenditure of US$ 358 and US$ 333 respectively. This was US$ 100 more than the regional average. Brian McGrory, Regional Head, Debit Products, Visa, said: “Duty free shopping can offer great savings on international brands as well as products that are exclusive to duty free shoppers so it is no

Top Duty Free Spenders

Amount (US$) Korea 358 China 333 Hong Kong 224 Malaysia 195 India 180 Thailand 178 Japan 164 Australia 153 Singapore 153 New Zealand 134 Taiwan 125 Regional Average 21 Source: Visa Travel Smart Survey

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P rofe s si ona l : T he End of D ut y Fre e S hop s ?

Visa Travel Smart Survey The survey interviewed departing or arriving visitors/transit passengers (aged 18 years and above, trip length was at least 48 hours) at Singapore Changi Airport. A total of 2,226 respondents were interviewed from Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Fieldwork was conducted from 26 September to 15 November 2008.

surprise that the Chinese and Koreans, renowned brand lovers in the region, are snapping up duty free bargains.” Reinforcing the appeal of duty free savings, 43 percent of all respondents said they shopped at a duty free store during their last overseas trip. Travelers from Japan (73 percent), Korea (71 percent) and China (49 percent) were the region’s most frequent duty free shoppers while Korean and Chinese travelers also made it to the biggest spender list. When it comes to paying for duty free purchases, credit cards were the most popular form of payment

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for Australians and New Zealanders (59 percent respectively), followed by the Koreans (56 percent) who are the region’s biggest spenders. McGrory said: “Payment cards are accepted at duty free shops across the region and are a great way to help travelers overcome the problems of currency exchange during a cash transaction. With duty free shops located at airports and at downtown city centers, they are a great way for travelers to purchase gifts and save some money at the same time.” During their last trip abroad, leisure travelers said they picked up a higher average tab (US$ 219) at duty free shops compared with business travelers (US$ 179). When asked where they made their duty free purchases, leisure travelers said they did most of their duty free shopping at the airport (84 percent) while business travelers preferred downtown duty free shops (67 percent). Younger travelers were the most likely to stretch their travel budget with duty free purchases – 47 percent of 18 to 29 year old travelers said they bought duty free on their last trip while 42 percent of 40 years and above said they made such purchases. http://ehotelier.com http://www.visa.com

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P rofe s si ona l : T he End of D ut y Fre e S hop s ?

Hong Kong International: Definitely Not Faking It

You

may know Hong Kong as the place to buy a fake Rolex for less than a tenner, but at the airport you’ll get the real deal as the hub is a magnet for luxury brands. Go to the East Hall of Hong Kong International airport (HKIA) and you will be in designer heaven. There you can feast your eyes on a combination of brands that some of the world’s best shopping streets would be hard pushed to match. They

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include: Agnes b, Bottega Veneta, Celine, Chanel, Coach, Dunhill, Gucci, Hermes, Loewe, Montblanc and Prada but this list is by no means exhaustive. From conception, the airport has had a wow factor – from its impressive terminal design to the fact that it was built on what is essentially a manmade island – and, although it did have a lot of teething problems when opened in 1998, it is now regularly vying with Singapore Changi for various global awards as the world’s best airport. For shopping, HKIA is among the innovators. It had the first Prada boutique in an airport and the first Ralph Lauren, both of which had turned up their noses at the airport channel in the past because they did not think it was up to the luxury standards they were looking for. The airport has also had a number of firsts in the beauty category: the first Giorgio Armani Cosmetics store – still one of just a handful in airports, the first Kiehls, and the first La Prairie treatment room in Asia. If this all sounds a bit too upmarket, and a bit too pricey, don’t despair; it’s not all Bally and Burberry. The airport offer is fairly broad today. For example the landside SkyMart which links the other road, rail and ferry transport services at the airport has a mix of stores. Among them are Folli Follie jewellery, Giorgio Fedon 1919 for accessories, sports and outdoor retailer Quiksilver, Samsung and one of the airport’s seven Temptation perfume and cosmetics stores. Also, in Terminal 2 which opened in 2007, designer boutiques are much less evident. In the T2’s SkyPlaza, the shopping experience is more

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Hong Kong International Fact File Passengers: 46.2 million in 2009 (48.6 million in 2008) Terminals 2, plus North Satellite Concourse. Main retail areas East Hall in Terminal 1, the landside SkyMart, and SkyPlaza in Terminal 2 Hub airlines Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Hong Kong Express, Hong Kong Airlines

akin to the high street with the likes of Giordano, G2000, 7-Eleven and Circle K to be found, mixed in with some upscale brands like luggage brand Tumi or Calvin Klein. The bottom line when shopping at an airport like HKIA is to first compare prices downtown so that you get the best deal. Hong Kong operates as a low tax economy – one of the reasons it has flourished so well and still continues to do so under ‘special administrative region’ privileges granted by the Chinese government when it took control in 1997 – so retail prices are already low. It is therefore difficult for airport stores to offer a strong price-off incentive to get passengers to buy. Where HKIA wins out is in its ability to offer the luxury brand mentioned above in a compact space, making it a convenient spot to pick up that Prada bag or those Jimmy Choo shoes before jetting home. http://www.taxfreetravel.com


P rofe s si ona l : T he End of D ut y Fre e S hop s ?

Duty Free Shopping – Great Bargains?

Let's

face it – there is not much else to do at most airports than wander around looking at the shops, and occasionally getting the wallet out. Most of us tend to know exactly what we need to get, whether it is some aftershave, perfume, a bottle of whatever or perhaps some cigarettes, but for these more regular items where is the best place to buy them? After all, any traveler on an international flight will generally have three choices when purchasing his or her duty free. There

is the airport of departure, the plane and then the airport of arrival. Logically, some may think that the prices would be similar, not worth comparing, but how wrong they could be. Sometimes the price difference for exactly the same size, brand and product can be quite large, and it is definitely worth doing some homework before you spend your hard earned cash. Don't believe us? Well, let us give you an idea of what you could save on a trip from Hong Kong to Bangkok. We have listed a few regular items with the prices at Hong Kong International Airport, China Airlines inflight Duty Free and the arrival Duty Free at Bangkok International Airport. Please note that the below prices are no longer valid but they still give you an example of what the price differences can be. See the differences? Of course with the cheaper items such as the cigarettes the differences are quite small but still worth thinking about. Take the Mild Seven cigarettes as an example: inflight they are only US$ 12 at HKIA they cost HK$ 120 which is Product Mild Seven (200 x cigarettes) Dunhill Top Leaf (200 x cigarettes) Marlboro (200 x cigarettes) Davidoff Magnum (200 x cigarettes) Black Label Whisky (1 litre) Macallan Whisky 12yo (1 litre) Chivas Regal Royal Salute (75cl)

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roughly US$ 15 and at BIA they are THB 480 which is roughly US$ 16. By purchasing them online you save over US$ 2 per carton of 200. If we then compare the more expensive item such as the Chivas Regal Royal Salute bottle inflight it costs US$ 62, at HKIA HK$ 800 (roughly US$ 103), and at BIA THB 5,320 (roughly US$ 177 !!!). This really is staggering. It must be understood that buying duty free inflight does pose one small risk and that is that the airline may not have the item you want in stock, which would leave you with no other option than buying on arrival. One example of this, is the new Dunhill Limited Edition My Mixture cigarettes which are not available inbound or outbound at Bangkok International Airport nor inflight most airlines we have flown with. Hong Kong International Airport does stock them. Please note that due to much tighter restrictions and laws in Thailand very few cigarettes are available on arrival. We would advise you to buy them on the plane or in the Duty Free shops on departure. Cigarettes are widely available however on departure from Thailand's International airport. Also, in Hong Kong, you are only allowed to take in 60 cigarettes per person over 18 years of age. We have not come across any other country selling just three packets in Duty Free, but such a small

Hong Kong Airport

China Airlines

Bangkok Airport

HK$ 120 (US$ 15) HK$ 200 (US$ 26) HK$ 110 (US$ 14) HK$ 225 (US$ 29) HK$ 198 (US$ 25.5) HK$ 288 (US$ 37) HK$ 800 (US$ 103)

US$ 12 US$ 20 US$ 11 US$ 27 US$ 22 n/a US$ 62

THB 480 (US$ 16) THB 980 (US$ 32.5) THB 480 (US$ 16) n/a THB 850 (US$ 28) THB 1,620 (US$ 54) THB 5,320 (US$ 177)


P rofe s si ona l : T he End of D ut y Fre e S hop s ?

amount is available on arrival in HKIA's Duty Free shops. Cigarettes are simply not allowed to be taken into Singapore, so while they are extremely cheap on departure from Singapore's Duty Free, if you get caught taking any cigarettes in to the city-state you will be fined. It is always worth checking with your airline what products they stock, and their current prices. Plus it is very important to check the Duty Free allow-

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ance of the country you are flying to (and the country you may have to stop in (if you will need to go through customs) if it is not a direct flight). Hong Kong for example has a ridiculous allowance on cigarettes of just three packets, meaning you are forced to buy from the limited selection at HKIA on your arrival. (Table edited acc. to current exchange rates) http://www.asiatraveltips.com

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ETHICAL

When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do

Traveling broadens the mind, especially when you travel responsibly and learn the basics of the travel etiquette. What to do and what not to do when visiting remote countries and communities?


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Travel Etiquette: How Do You Travel?

We

travel to ski, dive, watch birds, visit galleries and museums, to enjoy the scenery or the sunshine, to hang out in someone else’s place. Travel is about choice, leisure, relaxation, escape and freedom. It is also about work, business and pilgrimage. We travel for many different reasons and few places are now beyond the reach of tourists and travellers. In some destinations tourists are so numerous that they determine the character of the place, the

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tourists dominate. A cathedral or museum becomes a tourist place, tourism the dominant use. Sites like the Tower of London, the British Museum and Westminster Abbey, attract visitors in such numbers that they are predominantly attractions – cathedrals are perhaps best experienced during services or concerts when the gawpers and their cameras are excluded. Public spaces too are dominated by tourists crowding Trafalgar Square, climbing on the sculptures.

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Tourism is not a pollution free industry. Travel causes greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to global warming. Hotels need to be encouraged to reduce their water and power consumption and to buy locally to support the local economy. But we as travellers make a difference too; we affect the places we visit and the people who live there. As Tourism Concern has been pointing out for twenty years we take out holidays in their homes. Valene Smith and others have established the host – guest aspiration; an aspiration that locals should be treated as hosts and the tourists as guests. Ambitious perhaps, but without ambition and an effort to change the nature of tourism, and the way we travel as individuals and groups, only deterioration is possible as numbers increase. When we travel we all make choices. How we travel, the choices we make, make a difference to our experience and enjoyment of it, and the people and places we visit. The old adage ‘travel broadens the mind’ is only true if we travel with open minds and engage with people in the destination. We live in a world of diversity. Cultural and natural diversity is our heritage and it is there for us to enjoy. But to enjoy as guests, we need to travel with respect and treat other people, their places and their environment with respect. If you travel with respect you will have a more authentic experience, get closer to the local people and have a better experience. The choices we make when we travel – how, when and where we go, where we stay and what we do, make a difference. As Krippendorf pointed out, when we travel we can build up or destroy human values – it is our choice. When we encounter difference we can turn away or explore it – either way we can do it with respect and do it politely. We need always to be conscious of how we feel as ‘the visited’, tourists cluttering our streets


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and squares, photographing us, peering into the windows of our homes invading and denying our privacy, coaches, engines running, outside our houses, groups of tourists aware only of themselves oblivious to others. People behaving badly because they are away from home; forgetting their manners, acting as though they have bought the restaurant or park when they have only rented it, unaware of the others with whom they share it and of their enjoyment of it, uncaring about the disturbance they cause to others, behaving not as guests but as invaders. Travel etiquette is about good manners, about treating the locals, their values and their environment with respect. As a traveller or holidaymaker you chose to go there, travel in a spirit of enquiry, cultivate the habit of asking questions and listening

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to the answers – not a Western habit, and accept that other people are different, not necessarily wrong. We travel for fulfillment to satisfy our needs for enjoyment and experience but that enjoyment, our indulgence, should not be at the expense of others. We should surely treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. At the heart to Responsible Travel is the aspiration to make “better places for people to live in, better places for people to visit”. As tourists we become travellers when we are able to accept a place and truly experience it, as guests. By Harold Goodwin http://www.icrtourism.org http://www.haroldgoodwin.info

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Chinese Etiquette for Travelers

E T H I C A L : W he n in R ome , D o a s the R oman s D o

behavior rules exist. It is very easy to insult or offend someone in China simply by not knowing proper etiquette.

Greetings If you're in a large Chinese city, it's a safe bet that most people speak some English. You can say "hello" or "how are you" and most urban Chinese will understand. If you aren't sure whether the person speaks English, just try smiling or waving at the person. Chinese don't normally shake hands, so bow from the shoulders in greeting. Shaking hands is acceptable, but if you shake a woman's hand, lightly grasp her fingertips rather than her entire hand. Never kiss a Chinese person in greeting.

Eating

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now what to expect and what is expected of you when traveling to China. Being well-educated on the rules of etiquette and societal norms before you go to an unfamiliar place is always wise. It's an especially great idea when you're traveling somewhere like China, where very strict

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Practices considered rude in the United States are normal and even welcomed in China. Don't be surprised if you see people chewing with their mouths open, slurping noodles or soup or talking with their mouths full. Burping also is a sign that you enjoyed the meal. Try to leave a little food on your plate at the end of the meal, because that signifies that the host has fed you more than enough.

Saying "No" Chinese people will rarely tell you "no." They dislike losing face or making others lose face.

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Because of that, they will likely make an excuse rather than simply refuse something. For example, if you ask a Chinese person out for drinks and he doesn't want to go, he might say he has other plans. It's wise for travelers in China to do the same to avoid the risk of making someone lose face.

In Public The Chinese are quite modest and self-controlled when in public. Outbursts of emotion, whether it's laughter, tears or an argument, are looked down upon. It's considered extremely rude to embarrass or demean someone in public. Public displays of affection are considered undignified. Some actions you might not consider rude, but are considered so in China, are putting your hands in your mouth, nail biting, whistling, pointing with your index finger or showing the soles of your feet. However, the Chinese have no problem with spitting or blowing your nose onto the ground.

Gifts Small gifts often are given as a symbol of courtesy when you go to someone's home or even business. Food is acceptable, as are items from where you live. Never give a Chinese person a clock as a gift, as they are symbols of death and funerals. Scissors and knives also are inappropriate presents because they symbolize cutting off a friendship. Expect a Chinese person to decline your gift several times before eventually accepting. It's considered rude to accept immediately. By Megan Nichols http://www.ehow.com


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Brush Up on Travel Etiquette

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We

live in a wonderfully diverse world and one of the greatest benefits of travel is the opportunity to experience different cultures and lifestyles. No one likes to be stereotyped as a “Tacky Tourist” or an “Ugly American.” Yet, travelers who are polite, patient, and pleasant at home sometimes behave and dress in ways that are inappropriate and offensive in other cultures. 1. While you research where to stay, eat, and sightsee at your destination, include research on customs and cultural sensitivities. 2. Embrace the concept that because something is different, it is not funny or wrong. On a recent trip to Hong Kong, at breakfast, a member of a tour group complained loudly about being tired of the “funny money, funny food, and funny accents.” Sadly, she didn’t consider how rude her comments were to Asian diners, restaurant staff, and fellow travelers. 3. Think before you speak. If tempted to criticize or make jokes, bite your tongue. Humor is frequently misunderstood or misinterpreted. Grandmother said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.” Good advice. 4. Learn a few words in the language of your destination. Even if your pronunciation is not perfect, words like good morning, please, and thank you are appreciated. Get a copy of the Worldwide Multilingual Phrase Book by Eric Dondero, a great small guide to basic words and phases in over 40 languages. 5. Dress appropriately. Tourists are turned away daily at The Vatican because they are clad in shorts and tank tops. Unless you are at a resort or on a cruise ship, shorts mark you as a tourist and restrict admission to many shrines, temples, museums, restaurants and theatres. We are proud to be Americans, but this is not the time or international climate to broadcast our identity with brand name sports-


E T H I C A L : W he n in R ome , D o a s the R oman s D o wear or distinctively U.S. attire. When in doubt, err on the side of a conservative appearance. 6. Actions do speak louder than words. Gestures and non-verbal communication differ from culture to culture. A positive gesture in the U.S. may be offensive in another culture. For instance, making a circle with thumb and index finger to say okay symbolizes something is worthless or obscene in some countries. In many cultures pointing or beckoning with the index finger is insulting. The Internet puts customs of world at your fingertips or read The Simple Guide to Customs & Etiquette, published for many countries worldwide. 7. Hold the cigar. Park the chewing gum. Silence cell phones. Good etiquette at home and abroad. Be a considerate smoker. Choose a smoking location

that doesn’t impact others. In some countries such as Singapore, chewing gum is illegal…so is littering. Violators incur heavy fines. Learn the rules and obey them. 8. Practice good photo etiquette. Travelers snap rolls of film from speeding tour buses, at performances, and of men, women and children on the street. Flash photography and video are restricted at performances and museums. Photography of some private corporate or government locations may violate the law. Photographing people without asking their permission violates personal rights. Ask before you aim that camera. 9. The Golden Rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Golden Rule assumes others want to

be treated just as you do. When it comes to travel etiquette, the Platinum Rule says, “Do unto others as they would like to be treated” Treating others by their standards has dramatic and lasting effects. 10. Be receptive to new experiences. Try exotic foods. Seek classes or exhibits that teach new skills and appreciation. The more you experience your destination, the more you gain from your travel experience. By Lynne Christen Lynne Christen is author of Travel Wisdom – Tips, Tools, and Tactics for All Travelers, available for purchase at www.travel-wisdom.com. http://www.associatedcontent.com

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E T H I C A L : W he n in R ome , D o a s the R oman s D o

T

Responsible Travel Etiquette Creates Positive Impacts in Local Communities

ravel is about discovering new places and meeting new people. It is important to create awareness about the huge impact a traveler can have on a destination. Yes, it is important that the travel industry do its part implementing responsible travel principles, but it is also important to create knowledge among the travelers how to be a good tourist. Travel Etiquette and good behavior can reach long way. Following are some travel advices any traveler should be given before leaving their home countries. Before leaving home any traveler should read as much as possible about the country they are going to visit. Encourage the travelers to ask questions, search the internet and visit bookshops. It is useful to learn a few words of the local language and their customs when greeting and meeting new people. When travelers meet the local people they should be reminded that a traveler is a guest in others peoples home. A traveler should be open-minded and respect the local way of living. Learn and experience. Be extra careful when visiting holy places like churches, temples or sacred grounds. Travelers need to be aware of how they dress according to local customs. Always show respect for elderly people regardless status and work. It is also important to show respect for beggars and think twice before giving anything to children. When

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Gambia: Berefet Cultural Camp

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India, Kerala: Travelers Forest

travelers give to children this encourage them to continue begging. Travelers should also be careful regarding smoking and drinking alcohol. Some places smoking and alcohol is not yet common, other areas they have strict rules about smoking and drinking while in some communities alcohol is major social problem. Responsible photographing includes asking before taking pictures of people and do not interrupt if the situation does not allow. Some places may charge a small fee for taking photos. The traveler should be asked to act polite, not provoke, and also remember that in some places it is not allowed to take pictures of holy places. It is important to be careful with water and energy usage as shortages are common in many places. Simple advices like not let the tap water run while brushing teeth, shower instead of filling the bathtub and not to use more towels than necessary will help saving water. Turn off lamps

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and other electrical equipment when they are not in use. A part of travelling is experiencing new food. Every traveler should be encouraged to try local dishes in the restaurants. Try not to eat all the meals in one place – but spread the spending money and at the same time increase the experience by trying different restaurants. Promote local excursions that contribute in the community. Choose environmentally friendly excursions even if it costs a bit more money. Use local transportation and guides when possible and again ask questions. Shopping is one way of contributing to local economic growth. Travelers need to be conscious about what they are buying and not buy products made of endangered species or plants. Cultural heritage is not a souvenir therefore do not purchase such items or take "trophies" from local places. Bargaining is culture in many places, but it is important not to let it become a sport! Pay a fair price that both parties are happy about. Buy locally produced goods and services and take an interest in where the items are being produced. When travelers are outdoors they need to be careful in the natural surroundings. Leave wildflowers and plants alone and enjoy them in their natural environment. Respect wild animals and keep distance for their own safety and to not disturb them. Don't feed wild animals or cause unnecessary noise. Do not litter outdoors or in the street. If there is no bin – take the trash back home. Ethical Travel Portal urges our travelers to be responsible tourists when they travel by giving them advice and information about the destination they are going to. When visiting a destination, a

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Nepal, Chitwan: Local handicraft

traveler should be advised about the protection and preservation of places, cultures, environments and local communities. Every visit should be of mutual benefit for host and guest. Photos: Ethical Travel Portal By Linda Veråsdal (Founder of Ethical Travel Portal, Linda@ethicaltravelportal.com) http://www.ethicaltravelportal.com


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Volunteering – Who Really Benefits?

© Michael Marquand

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usco, high in the Peruvian Andes, has long been a tourist hub as the gateway to Machu Picchu. Over the last twenty years or so, the whole area has boomed as a tourist destination, thanks to breathtaking mountain scenery, Inca heritage, and perhaps most of all, the chance to observe a way of life that seems to come from another time. Millions of Peruvians still live as subsistence farmers, raising cows, pigs, llamas and potatoes and living in stone or mud houses with no electricity or indoor plumbing. There is a living – but highly endangered – tradition of weaving in Peru’s

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Andean highlands. Villagers typically weave and dye their own clothes, but as synthetic cloth and dyes become cheaper than traditional alternatives, there is a danger of losing this priceless tradition, which produces some of the most beautiful and labor-intensive textiles in the world. More and more travelers are interested in staying in these villages, learning about the way of life of the weavers. Many would also like to help local communities, and this is where issues of etiquette and ethics become complex. Working with indigenous communities is a fine balance between giving, creating ownership and helping. We find the ancient local concept of ayni – ‘today for me, tomorrow for you’ helpful in our approach to communities and try to maintain this principle in our work at all times. The idea is not for a group of well-intentioned tourists to come to a community and construct something, while locals look on contentedly. A couple of decades of this kind of well-intentioned charity have had an unfortunate effect on many communities in the region. Just a couple of months ago I was in a village called Patacancha, where 20 teenagers from the UK were hard at work at peeling bark off eucalypts to build a new market… while three men from the village sat on the hill and watched them! Something that can be hard for first-world travelers to accept is that poor communities do not need our physical labour –they have that in abundance, and are far more skilled at it than most volunteers.

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What they don’t have is money for materials, and that’s what they really need from us. Realistically, buying a weaving at a price which recognizes the time and skill that have gone into it is the best way to help. Making a physical contribution like digging a well helps us (to ease our consciences) more than it helps the locals. Travelers also like to teach classes in schools. This encouraging the idea that foreign culture is somehow superior – more important than the normal school curriculum. A group of teenagers coming into a school room and teaching a class for a day can have benefits in terms of interaction but… it also is outside the normal curriculum and disrupts the flow of classes. Would we consider it good use of time in our child’s school for a random group of tourists to come and teach a class about whatever they please? Again, we need to carefully evaluate if the community service is equal in its distribution of benefit. If you are contemplating a ‘service’ holiday, please consider these issues. And if the best possible thing you can do is enjoy a holiday and make a financial contribution – that’s a win-win, right? Wherever you are in the world, and particularly in remote villages, please also consider the following:

© Michael Marquand


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© Michael Marquand

Don't hand out sweets, loose change or small gifts, this only serves to create a begging mentality where none existed before. Churches are often viewed as tourist attractions; however, their primary purpose is as houses of worship for local residents – visitors should be quiet and respectful. Be flexible in your expectations. You’re in a different world, after all. Sometimes plans change and a chance for more in-depth learning or a unique cultural experience presents itself. Adapt yourself to D e c emb er, 2 0 1 0

the situation rather than trying to change the situation to you. Act as an example for other travellers who are less informed than you! By Katy Shorthouse Besides working for Apus Peru, Katy is also the author of the Cusco and Lake Titicaca sections of the latest edition of the Lonely Planet Guide to Peru. http://www.apus-peru.com http://www.threadsofperu.com

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TRANSPORT Railway Stations: Impressive & Fabulous

There are thousands and thousands of railway stations. Some of them boast unique architecture or history. Get on the train; we are calling at Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Melbourne and Berlin.


T R A NSP ORT: R ai lw ay Stat i on s : Impre ssiv e & Fabu l ou s

Victoria Terminus Station–A Jewel in India’s Architectural Crown

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ombay or Mumbai of today, as charming and as charismatic, is a bustling 20-million overpopulated megacity with its past, present and future mixed into one irrepressibly vibrant whole. As you walk around the Colaba district on its southern tip amidst remnants of colonial structures of the British Raj, it sometimes feels like being in a tropical London. D e c emb er, 2 0 1 0

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) or simply better known as abbreviation’s CST or VT is a historic railway station in Mumbai and one of the busiest in India. Located conveniently in the Fort area, en route Colaba, it is the headquarters of the Central Railways with over 1,000 trains and over 2 million passengers passing through it daily! The VT serves long-haul trains

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terminating in Mumbai as well as two of the Mumbai Suburban Railway lines – the Central and Harbour (locally known as locals after the local trains) instrumental in keeping the city running. VT is one of India’s most impressive railway stations and an architectural landmark. It has been a symbol for Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and a major mercantile port on the Indian sub-continent within the Commonwealth. It looks more like a decorated palace or a cathedral than something as mundane as a transport depot. However, it lacks the serenity of either for the place buzzes with millions of commuters starting and ending their day here. It is definitely worth entering the station even if you do not have the pleasure of taking the train. With entrance along the eastern side of the building, passengers do not actually get a chance to walk through the main building although one gets a pretty good view and a sense of the scale from outside. VT was designed by British architect Frederick W. Stevens who carefully studied several European train stations before starting his project in lieu of Rs. 16.14 lakhs. Stevens earned the commission to construct the station as the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway after a masterpiece water colour sketch by draughtsman Axel Haig. It took ten years (1878-1887) to complete the station and christen it after Empress Victoria who opened it on her Golden Jubilee (1887). The final design resembles St. Pancras station, London. Rumours persist that the design was originally


T R A NSP ORT: R ai lw ay Stat i on s : Impre ssiv e & Fabu l ou s

designated for Flinders Street Station, Melbourne. However, no convincing evidence, other than architectural similarities to the buildings in their respective cities has been produced. In 1996, in response to demands by the local party–Shiv Sena and in keeping with the policy of renaming locations with Indian names, VT was renamed by the State Government after Chatrapati Shivaji, the famed 17th century Maratha king. On 2nd July 2004, the station was nominated as a World Heritage Site by the World Heritage Committee of the UNESCO. VT is an example of 19th century railway architectural marvel for its advanced structure and techniques worked upon by the British architects in collaboration with Indian craftsmen. The building, exhibiting a fusion of influences from Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and traditional Indian forges a unique style. At the entrance standing as guards are the statues of the British lion and the Indian tiger. The remarkable buttresses, turrets, arches and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture adorned with carv-

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ings of bizarre fabled beasts, peacocks, monkeys, lions and snakes amidst trees. Internally, the beautiful wooden carving on the panels, colourful tiles on the platform floors, ornamental iron and brass railings, grills for the ticket offices and balustrades for the grand staircases were the works of Indian students under supervision of John Lockwood Kipling of the Bombay School of Art. The outer surface is bedecked with statuettes. Do not miss the portrait medallions with busts of Raj-era men and Indian leaders in the façade. The stained glass windows decorated with locomotives and elephant images to keep out the sunlight, are a treat to the eyes. The 160ft central dome is the most captivating site of this station with its 4m/13ft figurine of a woman holding a torch denoting ‘Progress’. The dome also has eight decorative ribs and water spouts protruding from its base and shaped liked animals. There are 4 gateways to the main entrance and a fine-looking ornamental garden on one side of the rectangular area. The rest are administrative offices. The station also bears certain other unique distinctions. India's first steam engine puffed out to neighboring Thane (45 kms.) from here. In 2008, the station featured prominently in the Academy Award winning film, Slumdog Millionaire. In November 2008, terrorists armed with AK-47 rifles entered the station to open fire which killed about 50 innocent people. Today, photography of the interior is not permitted due to security reasons and pictures of its incredible architecture are restricted only to travelogues available in the station bookshops. Scores of people who pass the station daily to earn their living – hawkers, urchins, prostitutes or the sari-clad beauties to half- naked fakirs, have no

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time to appreciate the friezes, gargoyles and lofty vaulted ceilings. On the other hand, there are tourists from all over the world who make it a point to visit this epitome of architecture while in Mumbai. Get here just before lunch to watch the famous dabba-wallas stream out into the city transferring some 200,000 cooked lunches, prepared by housewives for their office-bound husbands and kept warm in identical dabbas (metal tiffin boxes), through a unique sorting and multiple-relay distribution system. Guided tours of the station are provided by few tour agencies in Mumbai. If your destination is Mumbai, make sure to allow some time to walk around and check out this station – undoubtedly, one of the jewels in the global architectural crown. By Dr. Ilika Chakravarty Academy of Business Management, Tourism and Research, Bangalore, India 27, Hazeltree Croft, Acocks Green, Birmingham, B27 7XS, U.K. ilika_c@yahoo.com


T R A NSP ORT: R ai lw ay Stat i on s : Impre ssiv e & Fabu l ou s

Berlin Hauptbahnhof – Flooded with Light

The 321 metre-long glass hall of the Stadtbahn line (section through the City) running from east to west is intersected by the 160 metre-long, 40 metrewide station building, running in a north-south direction. The transparent design of the railway station as well as the well thought-out routing system make it easy for travelers to find their way around the station. The numerous glass panes let daylight into all of the station's levels and the steel futuristic-looking forms are the leitmotif of this unique construction. The station hall is framed by two 46 metre-high arched structures that span the Stadtbahn line. The architecture thus emphasizes the station’s character as a crossing. For the Hamburg architects Gerkan, Marg & Partners, the determining factor of the architecture was the importance of the new Berlin Hauptbahnhof – Lehrter Bahnhof as an interface in a Europe that is becoming increasingly integrated.

History

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erlin Hauptbahnhof is the main railway station in Berlin, Germany and the largest crossing station in Europe. It began full operation two days after a ceremonial opening on 26 May 2006 and is now Europe's largest two-level railway station. It is located on the site of the historic Lehrter Bahnhof, and until it opened as a main line station, it was a stop on the Berlin S-Bahn suburban railway temporarily named Berlin Hauptbahnhof–Lehrter Bahnhof. The building in Spreebogen, which is the largest and most modern crossing station in Europe, effecD e c emb er, 2 0 1 0

tively combines striking architecture with the mobility requirements of the 21st century. Every day, some 1100 long-distance, regional and rapid transit trains call at the 14 platforms on two different levels.

Architecture The architecture of the Berlin Hauptbahnhof is filigree and flooded with light. It has been a construction and logistics challenge since the foundation stone was laid in 1998. Short distances and daylight on all levels are key architectural features of the new Berlin Hauptbahnhof.

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Lehrter Bahnhof opened in 1871 as the terminus of the railway linking Berlin with Lehrte, near Hanover, which later became Germany's most important east-west main line. In 1882, with the completion of the Stadtbahn (City Railway, Berlin's four-track central elevated railway line, which carries both local and main line services), just north of the station, a smaller interchange station called Lehrter Stadtbahnhof was opened to provide connections with the new line. This station later became part of the Berlin S-Bahn. In 1884, after the closure of nearby Hamburger Bahnhof, Lehrter Bahnhof became the terminus for trains to and from Hamburg. Following heavy damage during World War II, limited services to the main station were resumed, but then suspended in 1951. In 1957, with the railways to West Berlin under the control of East Germany, Lehrter Bahnhof was demolished, but Lehrter Stadtbahnhof continued as a stop on the


T R A NSP ORT: R ai lw ay Stat i on s : Impre ssiv e & Fabu l ou s

S-Bahn. In 1987, it was extensively renovated to commemorate Berlin's 750th anniversary. After German reunification it was decided to improve Berlin's railway network by constructing a new north-south main line, to supplement the eastwest Stadtbahn. Lehrter Stadtbahnhof was considered to be the logical location for a new central station.

Facilities Hauptbahnhof has all the facilities you would expect of a new, modern station. However, it does

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not have any luggage lockers; instead there is only a left-luggage facility with a luggage-screening policy, which means waiting times should be expected when checking baggage in or out. Hauptbahnhof has been described as a "shopping center with a rail connection", and there is certainly no shortage of retail facilities – there are 80 stores. Most shops are open daily until 10pm. http://berlin.barwick.de http://www.deutschebahn.com http://en.wikipedia.org

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T R A NSP ORT: R ai lw ay Stat i on s : Impre ssiv e & Fabu l ou s

Kuala Lumpur Railway Station – East Meets West

way Administration Building, the National Mosque and Dayabumi Complex. On Aug' 1910, the station started its operations after getting constructed at a cost of RM 23,000. After serving populace for years, the fatigued station got a major facelift in 1986. At that time, the station was extensively refurbished along with the interiors, while its windows were restored with modern counterparts. Its façade was repaired and conserved, whilst new facilities and buildings, like air-conditioned waiting halls, tourism information counters and snack bars, were added. A few of the station's original interior designs and frames are still there in the Heritage Station Hotel. In 1995, when KTM Komuter services were launched to cater the Rawang-Seremban Route and the Sentul-Port Klang Route, the station saw construction of ticket counters and fare gates. Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, originally, had a main terminal building at the front and three plat-

K

uala Lumpur Railway Station, literally Stesen Keretapi Kuala Lumpur in Malay, is a colossal train station located in the garden city of Malaysia. It is one of the historical buildings in the city which still attract historians and tourists to this place. The building with Moorish architecture design was completed in the year 1910 as a hub for Malaya's rail transportation system. It has tall minarets and arches that are still in good condition today. D e c emb er, 2 0 1 0

In 1910, the station was built to replace an older station (Resident Station) on the same site. It remained the KL's railway hub for the Federated Malay States Railway and Malayan Railway, prior to the initiation of Kuala Lumpur Sentral that assumed much of the its role in 2001. KL Railway Station is noteworthy for its architecture, with a concoction of Eastern and Western designs. Located along Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin (earlier called Victory Avenue), it is close to the Rail-

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T R A NSP ORT: R ai lw ay Stat i on s : Impre ssiv e & Fabu l ou s forms serving four railway lines in back. The main structure has influences of Western and Mughal architectural styles. Like Sultan Abdul Samad Building, the structure is dominated by horseshoe and ogee arches, and big chhatris. The station's platforms are roofed by large steel-framed shelters, which were glazed and partially opened initially. The platforms' sides were not adjoined to the main building, rather were surrounded by walls. The platforms and main building are connected to each other through two underground passageways. During 1986 renovation, the design of the extended platform adopted a modernist approach, and comprised large concrete pillars. These pillars got support through a latticed roof and a ticket office at the north end. White walls and arches, which used to decorate the extension, are similar to that of the Dayabumi complex than the original station. Dayabhumi got linked to the new extension by an elevated passageway. http://www.malaysiatravel.org.uk http://www.malaysiavacationguide.com

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T R A NSP ORT: R ai lw ay Stat i on s : Impre ssiv e & Fabu l ou s

Undulating Roof of Southern Cross Station

S

outhern Cross, formerly Spencer Street is a major railway station and transport hub in Melbourne Docklands, Victoria, Australia. It is located on Spencer Street between Collins and La Trobe Streets at the western edge of the central business district. The Etihad Stadium sporting arena is 500 metres south-west of the station. The undulating roof of the Southern Cross Station is the unique feature of the main railway station in the city. In 2002, Melbourne decided to develop the former Spencer Street Station into a modern well-designed transportation hub. Completed in 2006, the facility can now serve 15 million passengers a year. The stunning architecture of the station has even been awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects with the prestigious Lubetkin Prize for the most outstanding new building located outside the European Union. D e c emb er, 2 0 1 0

Southern Cross Station is the most important rail terminal in Victoria and has been redeveloped into a world-class public transport interchange, with fast rail connections to regional Victorian centres and new facilities for rail, taxi and bus passengers. Now more than just a railway station, Southern Cross Station is a combination of railway, shopping centre and bus terminal. Opened as Spencer Street in 1859, five years after Flinders Street; the station was a dead end terminus, running parallel to Spencer Street with a single main platform and a dock platform at the north end. It was not until 1874 that an extra platform was provided. The two stations were not linked until 1879, when a single-track ground-level line was opened. It operated only at night, and only for goods trains. In the 1880s, it was proposed that Spencer Street

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station be removed in order to facilitate the westward expansion of the city, however the plan was subsequently rejected. From 1888 to 1894 the layout of the station was altered, with new country platforms being built on the angle they are today. The current coach terminal location was the site of a number of new platforms built for suburban services. In 1888 work started on the double-track Flinders Street Viaduct linking the station to Flinders Street, the line opening to goods traffic in 1891 and in 1894 to passenger trains. It was at this time that the first through platform was provided at the station, for suburban trains from Essendon and Williamstown. The viaduct to Flinders Street was expanded to four tracks in 1915,[5] and in conjunction with the electrification works on the suburban network today's platforms 11 though 14 were opened between 1918 and 1924, along with the pedestrian subway providing access to them. In October 1960 work on the 'modern' Spencer Street Station commenced, sparked by the construction of the interstate standard gauge railway link to Sydney. A new station building was con-


T R A NSP ORT: R ai lw ay Stat i on s : Impre ssiv e & Fabu l ou s structed, a new 413 metres (1,355 ft) main platform was built, and the subway from the 1918 works was extended to country platforms. Today the station is the terminus of the state's regional railway network operated by V/Line, The Overland rail service to Adelaide, and the Countrylink XPT service to Sydney. It is one of five stations on the City Loop, a mostly underground railway that encircles the CBD. Based upon suburban passenger boardings it is the third busiest railway station in Melbourne, in 2009 the average was 42,900 per day. These figures exclude V/Line passengers that also use the station. Southern Cross Station also has a coach terminal under the shopping complex, from which operates the Skybus Super Shuttle service to Melbourne Airport and Sunbus Shuttle service to Avalon Airport; Greyhound Australia, Firefly Express Coaches, Premier Motor Service interstate coach services; and V/Line coach services to Yarram, Mansfield and other non rail served towns. http://www.onlymelbourne.com.au http://opentravel.com http://en.wikipedia.org

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D estination Ecuador: Wonderful Diversity

Ecuador – the land of Amazon, the Andes, lowlands and Galapagos Island. Discover the world of several ethnic groups living in distinctive environments.


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Ecuador: Country Not Only for Adventurers

E

cuador is a country of spectacular variety and beautiful scenery. From beaches to volcanoes, you can expect to find almost any kind of environment here. This means Ecuador's tourism opportunities are some of the best in the world. It also means that there are a lot of activities to enjoy in this country. Best of all, Ecuador offers the opportunity to enjoy the ruins left behind by the Amerindian cultures that populated this country many years ago. It also gives easy access to one of the greatest rainforests in the world – the Amazon! Besides the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands have much to offer the intrepid adventurer. You will never D e c emb er, 2 0 1 0

run out of things to discover when you visit Ecuador! Popular tourism opportunities in Ecuador include a variety of activities such as horse riding, kayaking, sea-kayaking, swimming, surfing, skiing, jet skiing, para-gliding, sky diving, white water rafting, trekking, hiking, volleyball, scuba diving, snorkeling, mountain climbing and mountain biking. Some of the activities are somewhat extreme while others are gentle and relaxing, so you can choose what will best suit you. Some places offer a variety of activities while others offer virtually none at all, so it is always best to ensure that whatever sort of activ-

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ity you wish to pursue is available at your chosen destination. The Ecuadorian tourism board is quite well established with regards to warning tourists about the risks involved in such activities and ensuring that these things take place in the safest conditions possible. This means visitors should heed these warnings for their own safety. The Galapagos Islands are, in themselves, a massive tourist attraction. Millions of people flock here each year just to enjoy the chance to get close to nature. Scuba diving spots and nature walks are available throughout the islands so remember to bring your cameras! If you enjoy the Galapagos Islands, why not to head for the Machalilla National Park? The park is quite large and even includes the Isla de la Plata. Plant life and animal life are preserved here in all shapes and forms. Another reason why Ecuador's tourism is booming is because of the strong prevalence of Incan ruins in the area. The Ingapirca Inca Ruins are quite large and impressive to see. Also notable are the Inca ruins of Rumicucho, La Tolita and Tomebamba. The Incas were not the only culture to leave their mark here. There are various ruins relating to the ancient Valdivia culture that dot the outskirts of Guayaquil. Also popular amongst tourists is the Otavalo market in Otavalo. The abundance of well-made hand-crafted goods can make it quite challenging to choose what to buy, but you can be sure that


De s ti nati on : E c u ad or : Wond e r f u l D iv e r sit y

you are getting top quality regardless of what you choose. Sheer relaxation can be found at Baños from where visitors can also gain access to the towering Andean mountains. Or you can enjoy excitement at the sea side at Salinas. Perhaps exploring

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the Amazon basin is more to your taste? There are plenty of Jungle tours available. Ecuador has so much to do and see that you should never get bored. http://www.ecuador.com

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De s ti nati on : E c u ad or : Wond e r f u l D iv e r sit y

Galapagos Islands: A Nature Adventure

F

lying 972 km from Guayaquil on Ecuador's mainland coast to Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands, our group of 20 guests boarded the M/Y Eric, one of three motor yachts operated by Ecuadorian cruise operator, Ecoventura (Ecoventura.com). Here was our island-hopping home for the next seven days on a grand ocean adventure of 785 km with 89 hours of sailing time (mainly at night) and four equator crossings.

At the Mercy of Weather & Waves Rules are strict about where, when and how many people go ashore and there are plenty of small islands from which tourists are banned altogether. On our first shore excursion, we anchored in the volcanic caldera of Genovesa Island where only small vessels like the Eric are permitted to take guests ashore. Within this widespread archipelago, there are islands that host a species of rare bird, reptile or marine mammal found nowhere else in the world, so if you hope to see it, inquire in advance if your cruise has a permit to go there. Over breakfast each day, our two wildlife guides described our morning and afternoon excursions – always subject to weather and waves, of course, with a backup Plan B so as not to disappoint. Excursions were identified as wet or dry landings, meaning that you could expect to get your feet wet or not as you clambered in and out of the Zodiac inflatables.

Wildlife Rules the Archipelago

With a wing span of 2.25 m (7 ft), the Waved Albatross breeds mainly on Española Island and mates for life. Photo credit: Ecoventura D e c emb er, 2 0 1 0

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It is virtually impossible to avoid the color-camouflaged wildlife, whether picking your way around lolling sea lions draped across a gangway or carefully treading a designated trail strewn with dozens of Galapagos Marine Iguanas. While walking, keep your eyes not far ahead of your toes to ensure you don't trip over a sleeping sea lion pup or a clutch of sun-warming iguanas or a ground-nesting Bluefooted booby bird with wings spread to shade a


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Zodiac expedition to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), a 152-meter-high-volcanic cone. Photo credit: Alison Gardner

new generation. They all share nature's extraordinary living room here with no fuss or fear. We were treated to close observations of manta rays and sea turtles floating near shore in passionate embrace, to vigorously courting sea lions, and to one female sea lion babysitting ten pups sprinkled across a beach while their mothers feed at sea. Among the marine iguana males, we witnessed wonderful color changes from characteristic black to vivid turquoise and red as mating began. The endemic Galapagos Hawk practices cooperative polyandry with four males mating with a single female, then teaming up to defend the territory and look after the young. Could such rare behavior explain why this sole original island predator has survived for 300,000 years?

The Giant Tortoises Following five days of exploring remote islands uninhabited by humans, we spent a day on Santa Cruz, the second largest island, Santa Cruz, home of the Charles Darwin Research Station, most of the D e c emb er, 2 0 1 0

Islands' human population, and those famous giant tortoises. After days of black volcanic landscapes with only scrub for vegetation, here we encountered a lush tropical environment. Traveling to a private farm in the highlands, we donned gumboots to follow muddy trails through cloud forests and fields dotted with ponds. None of us was prepared for our first glimpse of Galapagos Giant Tortoises, ever-so-slowly progressing across thick grassy fields at the pace of, well, a tortoise, pausing to cool off in a pond en route between the highlands and the lowlands. The height of an average person's hip and built like a Sherman tank, they are the world's largest tortoises, salvaged from extinction despite the best efforts of man to wipe them out in centuries past. With determined captive breeding at the Darwin Station, they are now making a successful comeback in the wild on four islands. Most nature travelers place Ecuador's Galapagos Islands near the top of their vacation life list, an iconic destination rightfully designated as one of the

Ecoventura is a family-owned company based in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with offices in Quito and Miami. In operation since 1990, this Galapagos Islands nature cruise company hosts 4,000+ passengers annually aboard a fleet of three expedition vessels that are identical, first-class 20-passenger motor yachts with 10 double cabins. All vessels have been retrofitted to meet or exceed the highest world environmental standards. For example, in 2008 the M/Y Eric became the first hybrid-energy vessel in the Galapagos. On this “green” vessel, forty solar panels and two wind turbines now provide enough power to replace 18% of the energy previously produced by two diesel generators. For current Ecoventura rates, schedules and itineraries, visit Ecoventura.com. There are also designated family departures with discounts for children age 7 to 17 years.

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The Galapagos Giant Tortoise most symbolizes these islands, even having given them its name. Photo credit: Ecoventura

earliest UNESCO natural world heritage sites. While they will always be among the most fragile ecosystems in the world, the good news is that UNESCO's heritage watchdog committee agreed in August 2010 to remove the Galapagos Islands from a three-year placement on the committee's "sites in danger" list. Ecoventura's President, Santiago Dunn, mirrors the relief of many who value the islands and their wild inhabitants, "We all must renew our commitment to maintaining sustainable tourism operations, keeping the Galapagos the pristine destination it was in 1978 when it was first declared a World Heritage Site." By Alison Gardner Editor/journalist, Alison Gardner, is a global expert on nature-based vacations and cultural/educational travel. Her Travel with a Challenge web magazine, is a recognized source of new and established operators, accommodations and richly-illustrated feature articles covering all types of senior-friendly alternative travel. http://www.travelwithachallenge.com


De s ti nati on : E c u ad or : Wond e r f u l D iv e r sit y

Tourism Industry – Four Worlds of Ecuador E

cuador is promoting itself as a country with four worlds: the Amazon, the Andes, the lowlands and the Galapagos Islands. It is said that travellers can experience four very different environments in one country, and this has helped attract tourists from around the globe. The four, very different, worlds have each benefited from different publicity campaigns and promotions. Even during a short trip, travellers can visit all four regions, experiencing everything from snowy peaks and humid rainforests to white sandy beaches. Visitors interested in culture also find Ecuador a perfect destination as there are some 27 different ethnic groups that co-exist in the country, many of which have little contact with modern civilisation. Ecuador-

Tourist Arrivals in Ecuador (Number of People–’000 people) 2009 USA 240.7 Colombia 202.1 Peru 150.9 Spain 36.8 Germany 23.3 UK 22.9 Chile 22.7 Argentina 20.2 Canada 20.1 Venezuela 19.7 ©2010 Euromonitor I nternational

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Tourist Attractions in Ecuador (Retail Value RSP–US$ mn– Constant 2009 Prices) Forecast

2009 2010 2011 2012

2013 2014

Tourist   Attractions 1 4 7 . 0 1 4 6 . 0 1 5 1 . 5 1 6 1 . 6 1 7 2 . 6 1 8 0 . 6 © 2 0 1 0 Eu ro m o n i to r I nte r n at i o n a l

ians are also willing to share their traditions and cultures with tourists.

Sustainable tourism In a press conference in December 2008 at the Explorers Club in New York, Ecuador announced that all of its future tourism projects will adopt a sustainable tourism approach. Being aware of the environment and its different communities is very important for Ecuador and also very important to travellers. Because of Ecuador’s diversity, nature-based activities and accommodation have proven to be the country’s best tourism product and because of this success, of all the Latin American nations, it has been Ecuador which has taken the initiative to lead eco-tourism and community-tourism developments. Some US$75.7 million will be invested to introduce sustainable tourism practices, develop tourist facilities and improve infrastructure.

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Spondylus Route The Spondylus Route will be one of the key factors in the development and promotion of tourism in the region. The route will not only connect two countries (Ecuador and Peru), uniting customs, regions and cultures, but will also help connect the current communities of several provinces in Ecuador (Esmeraldas, Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas, El Oro and Loja) as well as several in Peru (Lambayeque, Tumbes, Piura, Cajamarca and others). The two main purposes of the Spondylus Route are to clearly indicate the main tourist attractions, joining them to become a homogeneous tourism product, and to enable easier access to the sites. The route is being presented as an alternative to the development of sustainable tourism. (Extract from Euromonitor International’s report “Travel and Tourism in Ecuador”) http://www.euromonitor.com

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De s ti nati on : E c u ad or : Wond e r f u l D iv e r sit y

Quito – Unique World Heritage

Q

uito, officially known as San Francisco de Quito is the capital of Ecuador. It is the first city in the world that was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In 2008, it celebrated 30 years of being part of the list of World Heritage sites. After La Paz in Bolivia, Quito is the second highest capital city in the world at 2,850 meters. Furthermore, Quito is the second most populated city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. The city is also the official headquarters of the Union of South American Nations. Encircled by Andes volcanoes, nestled in the Guayllabamba river basin, Quito is a dreamer’s paradise. Due to its elevated location and mild climate, Quito can be visited any time of the year, making it a perfect tourist destination. The surrounding snow capped volcanoes, especially the Pichincha volcano standing tall at 4,790 meters, add a natural touch to its beauty. The city boasts of 40 churches, 16 convents and monasteries, 12 museums and a rich cultural heritage. Many tourists enjoy exploring the city, by viewing the monuments and churches and getting to know the vibrant life of the local people. Quito is a mix of old colonial architecture with upcoming modern complexes resulting in an old world charm of the city. There are plenty of attractions in the form of trendy shopping malls, high quality restaurants, colonial museums, churches, historical monuments and outdoor markets. As you enjoy your evening walking on the cobbled roads, trying to summarize the breathtaking view, you will D e c emb er, 2 0 1 0

definitely understand why Quito is a World Heritage site.

Historic Centre Nestled deep within the valley of towering Andean volcanoes, at 2,800 m (9,184 feet) above sea level, Quito’s spectacular old town extends over 320 hectares – the largest historic center in the Americas. This important zone in the Ecuadorian capital holds invaluable colonial churches, chapels, monasteries and convents as well as museums, plazas, charming interior patios, republican edifications and an interesting architecture of 20th century. In November 1978, UNESCO declared Quito as the First World Cultural Heritage Site, describing the city as “a harmonic connection between human actions and nature that together create an exceptional and transcendental piece of art in its category”. This acknowledgement has encouraged the authorities to continue working in the preservation and rehabilitation of the elegant public spaces, the historical edifications and the intangible cultural heritage the Historic Center holds. Nowadays, Quito´s heart beats with an impressive cultural life and renovated vigor; so that citizens and visitors can enjoy these unique attractions. The “Jewel in Ecuador’s crown” shines today brighter than ever before!

The Middle of the World Explore the monument that marks the Equatorial Line at zero latitude, where you can straddle both hemispheres at once and visit enlightening museums. Hundreds of years after the indigenous peoples of Ecuador had established Catequilla as the centre

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De s ti nati on : E c u ad or : Wond e r f u l D iv e r sit y of the world, a French expedition arrived to ascertain a geographically-measured centre. In the foothills of the Equinoctial Andes, the famous middle of the world monument marks the equatorial line: the centre of our planet earth: 0˚-0'-0" Latitude. As the day breaks over the town of San Antonio, and the clouds and morning mist are lit and lifted by hazy dawn sunlight, the silhouette of a trapezoidal

monolith topped with a sphere breaks through the backdrop of a mountainous horizon. The 18th century, the beginning of the modern age, the Age of Enlightenment, the century of the geographic study of the Earth... At this time, a group of outstanding French scientists dedicated themselves to the study and measurement of our planet. In 1736 their mission to determine the meridian arc of the Southern hemisphere brought them to Quito, Ecuador. The team of specialists spent almost eight years placing their markers of small pyramids across the Andean countryside. They suffered all sorts of privations, while their markers were destroyed by superstitious Indians or expropriated for building materials. In 1936, the centre of the world ascertained by the measurements made by the French Geodesic expedition was finally marked by a monument. At 0-0'-0" latitude, on the equatorial line, the grandiose quadrangular pyramid of the Equinoctial Monument. Placed with its four monoliths in 1979, the central monolith is decorated with a globe encircled by a silver band representing the equator. The globe is orientated corresponding to the true position of the earth. http://www.quito.com http://www.quito.com.ec

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De s ti nati on : E c u ad or : Wond e r f u l D iv e r sit y

At

Amazon Rainforest: Remarkable Ecosystem

first glance, the rainforest is a vast green wilderness. However, as one observes carefully, this ecosystem is full of surprises for its visitors. Not only is each tree quite different from the others, but also for every tree there are hundreds of other plant and animal species in constant interaction. Tropical rainforests occupy 7% of the Earth’s surface, but they hold 50% of the world’s biodiversity. These forests are found in Central America, Africa and Asia, but the biggest area extends in the South American Amazon. To truly take advantage of the rainforest, one must use all five senses to discover how exotic life forms have evolved to live together in a minimal extent of land. The embracing sounds tell of the various birds and insects that keep this living forest in constant change. One must carefully observe the various animal and plant species and their amazing color and texture adaptations which can be confused with the scenery. The various smells tell of the chemicals that the plants have developed as a defense for herbivores, and many are of medicinal use for humans. In contrast to what one may think, the soil of the rainforest is not fertile. The nutrients that supply this exuberant ecosystem are the product of a constant interaction between the living and dying organ-

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isms on the surface. Decomposition is vital to the dynamics of the forest. Thus, it is important to preserve this ecosystem in its entirety. The temperature in tropical rainforests is quite stable, with a variation between day and night. However, this ecosystem is far from being stable. Rainfall is seasonal and results in major changes for the living organisms. Disturbances also add to the high dynamics of this ecosystem. Many hypotheses have been made to explain the impressive high diversity in tropical rainforests, and each provides an insight for better understanding of this complex ecosystem. The competition for resources has led organisms to adapt to unique niches, thus resulting in a number of specialized and interdependent organisms. The overwhelming complexity of the forest makes one wonder about the ancestral knowledge of the millenarian indigenous inhabitants. These cultures have passed their knowledge from generation to generation as a way to keep the secrets hidden in this magical site. By This is Ecuador Magazine http://www.exploringecuador.com

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

i n

D E C EM B ER

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b y

r e g i o n s


Fai r s & E x hi b ition s : DE C E M B E R , 2 0 1 0

Western Europe

  Brussels Travel Expo  Location

United Kingdom / London

Start / End

07 November 2010 / 07 November 2010

Provider

World Travel Awards

Contact

awards@worldtravelawards.com

  EIBTM 2010  Location

Spain / Barcelona

Start / End

30 November 2010 / 02 December 2010

Provider

Reed Exhibitions

Contact

eibtm.helpline@reedexpo.co.uk

  Seatrade Med Cruise Convention  Location

France / Cannes

Start / End

30 November 2010 / 02 December 2010

Provider

Seatrade Communications Ltd.

Contact

acetin@seatrade-global.com

  International Luxury Travel Market  Location

France / Cannes

Start / End

06 December 2010 / 09 December 2010

Provider

Reed Travel Exhibitions

Contact

info@iltm.net

  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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Asia & Pacific

  India Travel Mart - Lucknow  Location

India / Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Start / End

03 December 2010 / 05 December 2010

Provider

Travel Media Networks

Contact

info@iitmindia.com

  India Travel Mart - Lucknow  Location

India / Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Start / End

10 December 2010 / 12 December 2010

Provider

I Creative Minds

Contact

indiatravelmart@airtelmail.in

  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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Tourism Review Online Magazine - 12/2010