Walk Japan Helps Explore North off the Beaten Track
Walk Japan tour operator provides authentic tours to get acquainted with the country, its people and culture.
The project started in 1992 with Nakasendo Way tour which was highly successful and sold well. This time they have launched a new self-guided tour inspired by the poetic travelogue ‘Narrow Road to the Deep North’ of Matsuo Basho, famous for haiku poetry, who lived in the 17th century. The tour called the Basho Wayfarer lasts for six days and five nights and gives an opportunity to explore the northern region of Japan, Tohoku. Travellers will go from Sendai to Yamader through the forests and villages visiting temples and getting to know the culture and regional cuisine. Accommodation is nearly always by onsen natural hot spring baths. During the tour guests visit Matsushima Bay with its islands full of pines, one of the most picturesque places in Japan, the Hiraizumi temple complex which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour is intended for up to six people and is in operation from mid-May to the beginning of November.
Walk Japan has been selected by National Geographic to be one of 200 Best Adventure Companies on Earth.
The Independent Names Dat Tham Beach, Vietnam, One of the Best in Southeast Asia
Located in Ba Ria–Vung Tau province of Vietnam, Con Dao Islands’ Dat Tham Beach is one of the best 10 eco-friendly beaches according to The Independent, the British newspaper.
Other popular beaches in the country are overcrowded while Dat Tham is still not very cultivated retaining undisturbed nature with the primeval beauty of the virgin white sand and the true blue colour of the water. Probably, its being situated in the protected area – Con Dao National Park – has played an important role. It is not always open to tourists, though, especially in the period of forest fires. It is not so easy to get there either, as one should go through the park office first and only then have a 6-kilometre walk to the beach.
Con Dao archipelago includes 16 small islands which are absolutely wonderful, ConSon being the largest one. They are rather isolated and are not explored by mass tourists yet. Only Con Son has got dive centres, a couple of hotels and some guest houses.
Con Dao is also considered to be among the twenty most mysterious islands on the planet by an American site Travel+Leisure. CNN mentions it as one of twelve paradise islands in Asia.
SkyTeam Presents Their New Airport App for Travellers
SkyTeam have introduced digital airport maps presenting a detailed picture of the surroundings on the phone screen – check-in and departure, baggage collection are provided with interactive maps to facilitate orientation at the air hubs the alliance members use for travellers.
SkyTeam, founded in 2017, joins twenty air carriers around the world. To make travelling around the world easier it keeps on investing in technology to enhance quality of service.
Passing through an airport can often be quite stressful because of hurrying and unfamiliar environment. Now it is enough to switch on your phone and you will be guided through the terminal by interactive maps available for iOS and Android as a free SkyTeam application for 39 main airports of twenty air carriers and seven airports having SkyTeam lounges: Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London Heathrow, Sydney and Vancouver.The most widely used options are:
– Time management – helps understand the position in the airport and explains how to get to the departure gate without a hurry – Fast finds – the interactive service points out the location of lounges and cafes or souvenir shops – Less stress – might be especially useful for transit passengers in navigating in unfamiliar airports – Familiarity – lets passengers avoid making sense of the signs written in an unknown language.
Guests Choose Seven ‘Most Wanted’ Hotels in Hong Kong
After an intense search among 3.400 properties from 91 countries, seven Hong Kong accommodation were named the ‘Most Wanted’ by Hotels.com, five of them are five-star hotels.
To identify the winners, more than 25 million positive comments left by guests on the website Hotels.com have been reviewed. The Hotels.com Loved by Guests Awards are based on real reviews left by guests of resorts or hotels, which are trusted to be more influential than usual ratings. The properties compete during the year to get the title the ‘Most Wanted’ among the world’s accommodation. To win the title the properties have to get 9.4 points or more out of ten.
In Hong Kong, Four Seasons Hotel, The Ritz Carlton, Hotel ICON scored 9.6, Mandarin Oriental, Grand Hyatt, The T Hotel and The Peninsula (all from Hong Kong) got 9.4 out of 10.
People are likely to rely on the opinion of fellow travellers rather than the star ratings, that is why the reviews of the guests are taken into account when choosing the best nominees. You can easily choose accommodation among ‘Top 100’ winners according to your needs across ten categories: Luxury, Business, Boutique, LGBT, Beach, Ski, Family, Spa, New and All Inclusive.
Yasothon Bun Bang Fai Festival to be Held from 11 to 13 May
Bun Bang Fai Festival, another name for which is the rocket festival, takes place in Isan, northeastern region of Thailand, with the biggest celebrations in Yasothon, and lasts 3 days around the middle of May every year before the beginning of the rain season and crop planting.
It is devoted to appeasing the rain gods before the crop season. On the first day rocket teams with self-made bamboo rockets participate in a parade with dancers in colourful costumes singing a prayer to ask the gods to send rain paying respect to the pillar shrine. At the end of the day there is music everywhere, various shows and a beauty contest. On the second day there is the Buddhist merit-making ceremony followed by a big procession of large carts with rockets accompanied by folk dancers parading along the streets. There are various kinds of rockets carrying different gunpowder weight. On the third day the rockets are fired and the people enjoy the fair. During the 3-day festival guests can watch the rehearsal of Bang Fai parades and floats, observe the competitions of rocket shootings and light-and-sound multimedia show.
Non Nuoc Cao Bang Becomes a New Member of UNESCO Global Network of National Geoparks
The second geopark in Vietnam, Non Nuoc Cao Bang, established in 2015, has become a member of the UNESCO Global Network of National Geoparks. It was decided on April 12 at the 204th session of the UNESCO Executive Board in Paris.
The park occupies the territory of about 3,270 square kilometers with the population of 250,000 people representing nine ethnic minority groups. Karst landforms, various rivers, including subterranean ones, lake systems, Ban Gioc waterfall and geological attractions deserve special attention of the visitors.
There are sedimentary rocks that are 500 million years old. The fossils are found that have seen the change of paleoepochs and the evolution of the biosphere. Tourists will find much to admire here from the cultural and historical point of view.It was on this territory where the Vietnamese revolution matured during the national resistance war against the French.
The recognition of Non Nuoc Cao Bang a member of the UNESCO Global Network of National Geoparks will stimulate socio-economic development of the region and will raise the living standards of the population. The title is given to the territories combining geological significance and scientific, archeological, historical, social and cultural values.
Ascott Partners Expanding Presence in Asia
Ascott is actively expanding its presence in Asia, this year only they have added about 3,400 units in ten cities of China, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia.
Ascott Partners, the world’s largest international serviced residence owner-operators, collaborate with leading developers in China, Japan and Thailand. In China they put into operation serviced residences in Zhejiang, Chongqing with 350 units. Last year they started to manage the 190-unit Ascott Riverside Garden Beijing. All in all the company will have property in 33 cities of the country.
In Japan they cooperate with NTT Urban Development Corporation in exploration of serviced residence prospects and in managing two projects in Fukuoka and Yokohama owing property in eight cities.
In Thailand nearly 1,500 apartments in Bangkok will be offered between 2010-2021 within four properties – Somerset Rama 9 Bangkok, Ascott Embassy Sathorn Bangkok, Ascott Thonglor Bangkok and Sukhumvit 8. In this country Ascott owns 21 properties with more than 4,300 units in Bangkok, Pattaya and Sri Racha and will have 17 properties in seven cities of Indonesia in 2019.
The reputation and expertise of Ascott have brought them cooperation with the biggest partners. The company is targeting at 80,000 units this year which will be doubled by 2023.
Travelling Around Phnom Penh Becomes More Convenient with a New Water Ferry
A water ferry started service on April 6 in Phnom Penh following the example of Bangkok in having a public river boat transport.
Three boats can carry fifty passengers to four stops in the city and nearby Takhmao City with the perspective of expansion of the route to fifteen stops. At present a trip by boat with seats and air-conditioning is free of charge, but in the future the passengers will pay the fare. The water taxi complements the existing transport system of the capital consisting of buses and an airport train.
Passengers try the new means of transport willingly and compare it with others. They inquire about the speed of the boat, safety of the vessels, security on water and the schedule. Many are eager to take a trip and travel even without having anywhere in particular to go. Some travel along the whole route and come back. After the trip they share impressions and bring their friends and relatives to try it, too.
Boat rides are quite safe as the vessels meet technical standards. No doubt new city transport will gain popularity and will make travelling around the city more convenient.
Tourism Malaysia and TUI Group Launch Fly & Cruise Programme
The Fly & Cruise Programme developed by Tourism Malaysia and TUI Group starts on December 20 this year and continues until March 2019. It will offer direct flights to Langkawi followed by a cruise and is intended for European tourists.
The programme is expected to increase European tourists’ visits to Malaysia and to promote cruise holidays. Passengers will arrive in Langkawi by three flights every two weeks from Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham, the UK. After spending one night in Langkawi they will board a ship for a 14-day cruise with Penang, Port Klang and Melaka port calls as well as Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. About 7,200 tourists are expected to come during the first year.
Malaysian Tourism authorities welcome TUI Group plan as it will strengthen Malaysia’s economy by positioning it as an international transport hub. TUI Group has got touristic products not only for European travellers, but also for Asian ones who would like to have a European-style holiday in their region.
TUI Group is the world’s largest multinational travel and tourism company with the headquarters in Germany. It has been named the Best Foreign Tour Operator during the Malaysia Tourism Awards 2016/17.
AirAsia Adds New Direct Flights from Penang to Hanoi and Phuket
The number of flights of AirAsia air carrier connecting ASEAN countries has reached ten from Malaysia with the addition of direct routes Penang-Hanoi and Penang-Phuket making ASEAN network more extensive.
These routes will help to develop the tourism sector of the three countries as well as bring them closer to international travellers. The one-way air fare from Penang to Hanoi starts from RM99 and from Penang to Phuket from RM79 as a special offer available from April 4 to April 15 for the flights between July 1 and October 28 this year.
Penang’s geographical position at the crossroads in theregion not to mention its World Heritage Status, original culture, distinctive architecture and universally recognized cuisines helps to increase the passenger flow. Penang’s cosmopolitan society has a lot of celebrations and festivals every year, to mention just a few: the Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Vaisakhi, Songkran, Chrisnmas and becoming more popular Oktoberfest and St. Patrick’s Day. Seven million visitors arrived at the island last year by air.
Penang’s cosmopolitan society has a lot of celebrations and festivals every year, to mention just a few: the Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Vaisakhi, Songkran, Chrisnmas and becoming more popular Oktoberfest and St.Patrick’s Day.
Mon Asian Food Festival to Be Held in Vietnam Late April
The festival sponsored by Vietnamese construction and real estate group HD Mon Holdings will be held in Ha Noi on 20-14 April and Ha Long City on 27-29 April devoted to the celebration of the national tourism year.
In Hanoi the festival will take place at Mon City My Dihn apartment complex, in Halong City it will be at the 30/10 Square, with free entrance.
The visitors will see and taste culinary delicacies, watch food presentations along with art shows every day since 10 in the morning. In Ha Long City the guests are invited to make hot-air balloon trips and participate in a charity run. The Asian cuisine will be presented at about 100 display stalls, 70 of which will be run by home companies and 30 by companies from Cambodia, Japan, Lao, Myanmar, the Republic of Korea and Singapore. Much attention will be paid to food safety: the participating staff has to get a health certificate three months in advance and all the ingredients for cooking will be obtained from the supermarket chain Fivimart. Not to deal with cash during the festival coupons will be used for convenience of both parties.
TAT Presents Little Chiang Mai Designer Pocketbooks in English
In a new guidebook Little Chiang Mai in English the Tourism Authority of Thailand is gathering the city’s restaurants and museums, bookshops, running and bicycle routes in a set of five pocketbooks.
The pocket guides may be useful both for travellers and private collectors. The designer set is intended to show Thailand’s ‘Rose of the North’ from a different angle. The information about culture, cuisine and art is combined in such a way that it shows the cityin a new light. The guidebook is targeted at young travellers who would discover the city along running or cycling routes.
The names of the sections of the set speak about themselves:‘Ride’, ‘Run’, ‘Restaurants’, ‘Gallery&Museum’ and ‘Bookshops’. All five pocketbooks which are of different size are found in one package. The paper on which they are printed also differs and various printing and binding techniques are being used. A map of Chiang Mai’s highlights will be brought together with cycling and running routes and given as a bonus. The books will have something that cannot be found online – special character in each part that characterizes it and is connected with the content. The set costs 1,500 Baht.
More Land to Develop Tourism in Madhya Pradesh State, India
The state of Madhya Pradesh in central India, nicknamed the ‘Heart of India’ has got land bank to develop tourism. The money comes from public and private sources.
Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board has been recently reorganized and acquired over 849 hectares of land from 49 of its districts. The plan is to develop regional projects connected with expansion of tourism. 432 hectares of land will be procured soon. Thus the land bank is quite impressive.
The state is divided into five tourism regions where the potential for private investment has been outlined: Indore, Jabalpur, Bhopal, Gwalior and Rewa.
Madhya Pradesh is rightly considered to be the cultural centre of India as it possesses magnificent carved temples, palaces and forts. It has also got spectacular landscape of mountains, teak and sal forests, rivers and diverse flora and fauna: vultures, langur monkeys, tigers, antelopes and even bisons. It is here where wildlife safaris take place. There are ten national parks and a number of nature reserves. The state is also reputed for the blend of history, mythology and spirituality. Four sites of Madhya Pradesh are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It will become an experience of a lifetime for tourists.
Boracay Closure for Tourists Stops Cebu Pacific Flights from April 26
Boracay will be closed for Cebu Pacific flights from April 26 for the period of six months. This is done to stop the damage to the once pristine nature of the island which is one of the most attractive holiday destinations in the Philippines visited by more than 2 mln visitors every year.
The president of the country has previously expressed serious concern about the water environment pollution and warned that the island would be closed for tourists.
The ecological situation has deteriorated significantly and as experts put it environmental improvement may take from three to six years according to the most pessimistic forecasts.
The government promises financial support to tourism related businesses which will suffer serious loss. Boracay is a small tropical island with white sand beaches in the centre of the Philippine Archipelago. Its coastline abounds in resorts, lodging houses, hotels, restaurants, bars and other amenities. Scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing and other water sports are offered to tourists.
Cebu Pacific has cancelled some flights to and from Caticlan and Kalibo till October at a minimum, but to cater for local population the airline will work at a reduced schedule.
Flights between Cambodia and Indonesia to Open Up Soon
Flights between Cambodia and Indonesia have been announced likely to start in three months which will strengthen tourist as well as diplomatic and trade ties.
The issue had been much talked about, though air carriers doubt whether they would have enough passengers. The necessity of training the personnel, who provide domestic and international routes to join the ranks of tour operators, was mentioned. Making tourism more attractive for Cambodians as well as for Indonesians with the opportunity of their visiting new entertainment sites, creating package tours and perfecting the ones that already exist is the task of local tourism authorities.
Shopping tourism is named as one of possible variants to make travelling to Cambodia more attractive for Indonesians, the number of whom coming to the country reached 50,000 guests in 2017 showing a 2.3 per cent growth in comparison with 2016.6.1 mln foreign tourists are expected to visit Cambodia this year and 7 mln by 2020. This will bring $5.5 billion revenue and will help create about million jobs and develop tourism infrastructure.
Garuda Indonesia Airlines is planning to make a connection of Bali, an island in Indonesian archipelago, with Phnom Penh.
First in Thailand Fully Integrated MICE Experience Offered by Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin
Holiday Inn has opened Vana Nava Hua Hin MICE hotel in two and a half hours’ drive from the capital. The hotel is located on the coast and can receive guests for corporate meetings, social events, seminars, training sessions, exhibitions and weddings.
Four rooms accommodating 50-100 participants, a meeting room for 15 attendees, all equipped with the latest audio-visual technology, and a ballroom large enough to have 900 people are good to perform various functions.
Being in one bundle with Vana Nava Hua Hin Water Jungle, Thailand’s famous water park, True Arena Hua Hin sports centre and the Paradorn International Tennis Academy makes the hotel stand out from the row of other hotels.
Tennis courts, two FIFA football pitches and other sports facilities let the guests engage in different kinds of activities. There is a rooftop bar with glass-floor observation deck housing about 100 people on the 27th floor. All these in combination make Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin a world-class multi-purpose destination.
The hotel held a grandiose opening party not long ago which demonstrated its ability to host a large number of guests and received very favourable coverage in mass media.
Show on Hoang Sa Sovereignty to be the Highlight of Hue Festival
Hue Festival in Vietnam, which is held once in two years in the ancient capital of the country since 2000 and is the most miraculous event in the cultural life, will take place for the 10th time from April 28 to May 2.
It is one of the most looked forward to events as this is the time to celebrate Vietnamese traditions and rich cultural heritage. This year the performances showing sovereignty of Hoang Sa, an island region belonging to Da Nang province, are the highlight of the festival. The 80-minute show ‘The Monarchic Saga of Hue’ will be held in the former Imperial Palace on two dates – 28 and 30 April. Different genres of music including royal court music and unique folk songs, dance and poetry will be blended with modern staging techniques. Impressive light effects and fireworks will add to the effect. It will present the full story of imperial Hue showing its role in protecting Vietnam sovereignty. The show is based on a play which describes the history of Vietnam in the 19th century. Art groups from all over the country and from abroad will gather to participate in this miraculous event.
Mövenpick Resort & Spa Boracay has opened to offer a special kind of family holiday to travellers on an island recognized as ‘Best in the World’ by readers of Condè Nast Traveler magazine.
The resort is conveniently located in half hour from Caticlan airport.
An impressive family programme lets parents travelling with kids get considerable help in child caring. Special equipment is available, such as baby cots and baths, healthy meals for children are given which bring them fun.
New attitude towards family holiday organization, the tastes of all members being taken into account and special atmosphere for strengthening the family being created, are used.
Activities for children at Little Birds Club are both entertaining and educational for them to acquire new skills while having fun. One can choose from indoor and outdoor activities. The first include alphabet and counting games and shell-bracelet making for 2-4 year olds, cupcake baking and hair braiding for 5-8 year olds, kite making and story-telling for up to the age of 12. Children can have fun outdoors making sand castles, walking, swimming and playing local games. For longer family stay they have discounts up to 30 per cent including breakfast.
Good Perspective for Spreading Tourism through Smaller Cities in Thailand
Thailand will disseminate Japan’s experience of spreading tourists through smaller cities of the country according to transport minister of Thailand.
At the seminar ‘Thailand Moving Forward: ASEAN Single Aviation Market Leader’ the expansion of regional connections with secondary airports in Southeast Asia was discussed. The same issue will be given attention to at the ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting later this year as Bangkok considers it very important.
Such cities as Udon Thani and Khon Kaen, Krabi, Ranong, Samui, Mae Sot may become air hubs. These destinations have always been looked upon as good variants but were restrained by the absence of direct air service. To further develop tourism aviation sector should be liberalized as was done in Japan.
The MoU on City Development in its turn is going to help direct tourists into new places by helping private sector work with local governments in the sphere of transport, trash removal and low GDP. Phuket, Songkhla, Rayong and Chonburi, Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok and some other cities are mentioned in the MoU.
Phitsanulok with its Three Colours Rivers where three rivers merge can develop tourism, or it can join Sukhothai Loy famous for Loy Kratong.
ASEAN Tourist Organizations Urge to Facilitate Travelling for Peple with Disabilities
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Japan Accessible Tourism Seminar which took place in Manila focused on creating conditions for unrestricted travelling for persons with disabilities (PWDs) among other issues.
Seminar participants mentioned that services for PWDs are most often disregarded by tourist establishments which do not make facilities for this group of visitors. The lack or absence of ramps, sidewalks, wheelchair lifts and special toilets produces barriers for them. There are no audio and video guides. ASEAN states are beginning to create infrastructure for disabled people to make tourist sites more accessible.
The Philippines proclaim ‘Tourism for All’, having been more attentive to promoting universal accessibility. The representatives of Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam demonstrated technological advances along with infrastructure developments and discussed the points of improvement in this field. The needs of wheelchair users, visually and hearing-impaired travellers should be taken into consideration if we really wish to make tourism accessible for all. Transportation, accommodation and user-friendly architecture have been identified as the areas for improving the service for PWDs.
Tourist authorities should be more aware of PWD problems. Personnel training is also necessary to exclude discrimination of disabled travellers.