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Black Tie International Travel  1
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Black Tie International: Travel - Bob Nicolaides Destinations January 2013

with Bob Nicolaides

Destinations: January 2013


bob nicholaides

Ten most popular 2013 travel spots in Europe, Asia


Europe: 1. Croatia. Destinations such as Orlando, Las Vegas, Cancun and Rome are as popular as ever with travelers, but for those who want to stay ahead of the pack, a survey by Travel Leaders Group has indicated the “up-and-coming” destinations for 2013. The survey of 1,045 U.S. travel agents is based on current bookings for 2013. These are the top 10 up-and-coming destinations in Europe and Asia.

Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben said survey results indicate 2013 will be a good year for European travel, with booking data showing an increase in the number of Americans planning to visit Europe.

“Rome and London always draw large numbers of travelers—this year each city moved up one spot to numbers four and five, respectively, on our list.” But many of the destinations seeing significant booking increases are off the beaten path, compared with the traditional tourism destinations. By number these are the 5 top destinations and 5 Asian destination that have shown increased bookings for 2013.

Europe: 1.Topping the list in Europe? Croatia. The walled city of Dubrovnik is a Unesco World Heritage Site. 2. Turkey, 3. Czech Republic, 4. Portugal, 5. Iceland.

Asia: 1. Topping the list in Asia? Vietnam, 2. Indonesia, 3. Myanmar/Burma, 4. Cambodia, 5. Malaysia

IHG to manage its first resort in Australia

InterContinental Hotels Group has announced they will assume management of one of Australia’s best-known 5-star resorts, the former Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove, on the Gold Coast.

Hotel owner, Mulpha Sanctuary Cove Pty Ltd, reached a commercial agreement with IHG to manage the resort, which was effective midnight, 5 December 2012. Under the new agreement, IHG will manage the resort’s day-to-day operations in addition to implementing the superior international standards of the InterContinental brand.

InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort will be IHG’s first InterContinental Resort in Australia, and will introduce the InterContinental marque to Queensland. The resort joins a regional network of award-winning InterContinental hotels in the Australasia region, including properties in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Wellington and Fiji.

InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort will be the second IHG property managed for Mulpha, following the acquisition of InterContinental Sydney in 2004. IHG has managed InterContinental Sydney since 1985.


This country does not exist in online tourism world

Blockage of access to a number of websites in Tajikista
 including Facebook is strongly hampering the tourism industry of the country.

Small stakeholders of tourism have been using facebook for marketing, and they are all now out of the market; even google and yahoo email systems are mostly not working in Tajikistan.

This situation for the tourism industry in Tajikistan has become grave due to the ban on social media, because poor small stakeholders who could not afford launching of their websites and their marketing, were totally depending upon facebook and other media tools for marketing and sales.

This ban has thrown them out of the running. According to estimations, around 93% of small stakeholders and above 60% of total tourism stakeholders were using facebook and other social media tools for promotion of their country and marketing.

Social media tools, especially facebook, have been banned in Tajkistan due to many political reasons including Tajik government’s claim that social media networking was behind the failed uprising attempt that took place in May 2012 in the autonomous region of the Tajikistan-Badakhshan province - a core tourism attraction of Tajikistan at the gateway of the Pamir Mountains.

Historically, the region is comprised of parts of what is now northeastern Afghanistan and southeastern Tajikistan. The name is retained in Badakhshan Province which is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, in the far northeast of Afghanistan, and contains the Wakhan Corridor. Much of historic Badakhshan lies within Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province located in the southeastern part of the country.

"There are no tourists in this region since the uprising, and tourist organizations are closing down their offices due to no show situations, as 99% percent of bookings are cancelled,” claimed one of the local guides of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province when contacted by eTurboNews.

There was an international reaction against banning social media in Tajikistan and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and US Embassy in Tajikistan expressed their concern over this censorship, but the Tajikistan government strongly defended its decision of banning social media.

The Tajik Director of Communication Services, Beg Zuhurov, released a statement saying: "I received many calls from citizens of Tajikistan asking me to shut down this facebook as a hot bed of slander. Unknown people there insult the leaders of the state. They are apparently being paid well for that."

The Tajik tourism industry was already struggling in the past. Tajikistan is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east.



Sudan domestic tourism boosted by festival


In Sudan, the Red Sea Tourism and Shopping Festival has started last week. The country's government hopes that this initiative, which has run for several years, will help to boost domestic tourism. There is also hope of attracting much-needed investment from foreign visitors.


The area covered by the festival, the Red Sea State, is rated as the top tourist resort in the country, despite lying almost 900 km to the east of Khartoum, Sudan's capital.

Features such as unspoiled beach, nature reserves and the islands along the coast are expected to attract tourists. Activities on offer here include fishing, underwater photography opportunities and diving among the coral reefs in the Red Sea's warm, clear waters.

The festival is organized each year by the government of the Red Sea State, with its mixture of tourism and retail events intended to bring in tourists interested in experiencing the complex and fascinating history of the area, in particular its thousands year long history.

The state's capital, Port-Sudan, was the location for the festival's launch, where the theme of the event was revealed as pushing the Red Sea's status among the chief hot spots for tourism in the country. The festival will run until mid February 2013.

The beaches in the state were of very good quality and high levels of cleanliness, boasting a rich variety of coral and brightly colored fish, said Awadab. Other wildlife attractions include the always popular marine turtles.

The clear, warm waters of the Red Sea coast by Port-Sudan are ideal for activities such as divin; it is also a popular cruise spot. Awadab also pointed out that interest was by no means limited to the two protected areas of reef, at Dungab and Sanganeeb. There were around four hundred other reefs in the vicinity, he said.

Besides the wildlife and leisure pursuits the area can offer, the festival puts considerable emphasis on the remarkably varied history and culture of the Red Sea region. The fact that the area is inhabited by a wide range of tribes and peoples allows visitors to get an informed view of the cultural heritage of the region, as well as its contemporary relevance.

Port-Sudan itself is situated by the Red Sea's western shores, barely elevated above the sea with an elevation of a mere two feet. As such, it acts as Sudan's most significant sea port, as well as being the center and administrative capital of the Red Sea State. Because of its location, it is sometimes known as the "eastern gate" of Sudan.

India makes travel easier with new visa regime


Except for nationals from seven countries, including China, Pakistan and Bangladesh, India has relaxed tourist visa rules — the two-month cooling off period between two visits has been lifted.


“The government has reviewed the provision relating to two months gap between two visits of a foreign national to India on a tourist visa…it has been decided to lift the restriction of two month gap on re-entry of foreign nationals coming to India except in the case of nationals of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origins and Stateless persons,” the Home Ministry said in a statement.

The move was initiated by the PMO early this year.

A Flight Attendant Tells it Like it is!


A FLIGHT attendant has dished the dirt on the highs and lows of her job, and tells why you should always be nice to your cabin crew.

The candid Q and A session took place on Reddit, with a user who said she was a 22-year-old flight attendant inviting other users to ask her about her job.

Q: Do people really get bumped to first class if there's a conflict with another passenger?

A: With the question of bumping people, yes we move people but generally not for conflict. A month ago on one of my flights economy was full and this gentleman had changed seats several times to accommodate couples, families etc who needed to change seats. He didn't care where he sat and was so gracious. So we moved him to business class. Lesson: be nice!

If you are ill (severely) you will usually be moved to business or first if there aren't many people in those cabins to recuperate and lie down at the discretion of the seniors.

Q: What is the most crazy request you have been asked by a passenger?

A: Crazy? Goodness.

• A bag to spit in. I had to confirm several times the word spit

• A lady with a neck brace "I need soft food I will have rice" (The menu items did not include rice even after explaining she kept ordering things that just didn't exist)

• Hot fried chips

• Nappies

• Ice cream

• My number

If it exists a passenger has asked me for it. They ask for everything.

Q: Do you hook up with passengers or fellow crew members?

A: Yep! I see friends in outstations. I have had some encounters in Hong Kong and I have a few "friends" in Dubai. It's really hard and you get really lonely so you look for any guy to meet you after flights. (A lot of) the crew sleep with each other in outstation. It's a big problem, (some of) the cabin crew are desperate to sleep with pilots and senior crew.

Q: What is the best thing about being a flight attendant?

A: It may be obvious, but the best thing is new destinations, I get a small taste of EVERYTHING. I love it so much, I get to see smell and taste so much. I meet friends all over the world and party like a rockstar everywhere I go because I know I won't be there for long.

Q: What's something a passenger has done that you've really appreciated, or was just really nice?

A: I've had passengers write comment cards about me, they get given to me via emails from my manager, which is so nice... I love them.

Q: When do you plan on settling down? This job doesn't seem like the type where you can keep a stable relationship.

A: I know. I hope it's around 25... I'm 22 now and I love the job so I think two or so more years before I move back home and find love... I will never find a stable relationship in the industry, it's unstable.

Q: How long do you stay in each city?

A: Usually 24-72 hours.

Q: What's your favorite city in the world?

A: I can't name one but I will try to do it region-wise.

1. Hong Kong (The most fun)

2. Vienna (Amazing food, people, scenery)

3. Moscow (Fascinating, so closed for so long)

4. Melbourne, Australia (Diverse, charming filled with character)

I find some redeeming quality in every city I visit.

Q: What are your thoughts on flight etiquette (e.g. when it's okay to put your seat all the way back). Is there a classic faux pas we should know about?

A: Put your seat back if your legs are too long and when not eating. During the meal seats up and if you're short, it's not really necessary. But otherwise seats up for everyone when eating, you can do whatever you want after the food service.

Q: How do you adjust being in the air so often, and with different time zones and all that?

A: 1-When I fly from the US to Singapore, by the end of the trip I want to actually throw up. Air gets so thin, and the airline food is pretty bad even on Singapore Airlines. I literally need a can of sprite next to me once every hour when on long flights, slowly sipping until the soda is done, to keep sane.- 2-You never really adjust. I just did three midnight flights and I can't stay awake in the day, so I have been nocturnal for a week. Some things that I do to keep myself sane is as soon as I get on board I get a bottle of 1.5 liter water and make myself drink it all. Then I brew a big pot of mint tea after the service and make myself drink that throughout the flight too. Keeping hydrated is valuable to my sanity and mood.-3-We have one trip that is four days long and you have 24 hours in each port but the whole flights are night-time only. It is TORTURE. Key points: stay hydrated, stay rested (sleep whenever you are tired) and eat smart (this means no business class cheese boards or first class caviar, stick to fresh food only). For me eating right is the hardest, you're so tired you just want to shove chocolate in your mouth. If I follow the above I am totally fine on board. On flights over 10 hours or so we get rest (sleep) in the crew bunks.

Q: What airline/flight benefits or perks do you get as a result of your job?

A: 90 per cent [off] flights, hotel discounts, event discounts and free tickets to events.


Tourists offered chance to explore former Yugoslavia on Tito's presidential train

It was a train that once carried monarchs and world leaders. And now holidaymakers keen on learning more about the history of former Yugoslavia can take a trip in ex-president Josip Broz Tito's state carriages as part of an escorted tour.

Travel firm Explore Montenegro is offering an 'exclusive' holiday package that includes a day's ride on the 'Blue Train', built in 1959 for communist dictator Tito, who ruled from 1945 to 1980.

According to the operator, the train was hailed by Yugoslavs 'as one of the most luxurious' in the world when it took to the rails.

Now guests will be taken on a 12-hour journey of exploration in Tito's tracks with educational talks, breakfast and a three-course lunch (with wine and plum brandy) cooked on board by local chefs, enjoyed in the ruler’s wood-paneled dining car.

Leaving Belgrade at 7am and arriving in Bar, Montenegro, at 7pm, the train travels through the Serbian plains and forested Montenegrin mountains, passing gorges and lakes.

The excursion is combined with a short stay in Belgrade and a longer stay on the Mediterranean Montenegrin coast

Vueling joins Hoteles Catalonia to create a new brand

The first new Hoteles Vueling by HC brand establishment will be launched in February 2013 in Barcelona. The four-star hotel will have 65 rooms and marks the beginning of a new chain.

After Easy Jet and the Easy Hotels brand, Vueling is turning to launch in the hotel industry. The airline and hotel chain Hoteles Catalonia have partnered to create a new brand of hotels, Hoteles Vueling by HC. The first facility is expected to open in Barcelona in February 2013. 13 million euros have been invested in the design of this four-star hotel with 65 rooms, which will be managed by Hoteles Catalonia.

Marketing of the first institution will be undertaken jointly between Vueling and Hoteles Catalonia, Reservations can be made directly from the websites of either company and Vueling outlets. No flight / hotel packages will be offered to customers as the chain only has one establishment. The two entities have signed an agreement for a period of ten years.

Without announcing specific goals for the next openings, Vueling and Hoteles Catalonia discussed their desire to expand the new brand to the cities of Madrid, Seville and Valencia, where the airline operates. Hoteles Vueling by HC is in search of new infrastructure but also of leases and management contracts.



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