Most adventurous countries in the world revealed in new ranking

The Dutch, Australians and Swedes have emerged the most adventurous travelers in the world in a new ranking that aims to identify which countries are more likely to sign themselves up for running off a cliff or jumping out of a plane and embodying the spirit of adventure.

For the Global Adventure Ranking, analysts looked at eight popular adventure activities like skydiving, bungee jumping, surfing and rock climbing on Google.

For each country, findings were calculated based on the search volume of keywords associated with these activities in the last 12 months. An average was made per 100,000 citizens in each country.

The results show that the Netherlands ranks highest for total searches of adventurous activities per capita, followed by Australia and Sweden.

The ranking was compiled by ShareaCamper, a peer-to-peer motorhome rental platform based out of Australia, New Zealand and Germany.

The report also breaks down the adrenaline-pumping activities that are most popular around the world.

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For example, per capita, the French are most inclined to hit dirt roads on their BMX bikes.

Hiking is the most popular activity in India, while the Swiss are most interested in the idea of free-falling off a bridge or bungee jumping.

And per capita, Aussies topped the ranking for expressing the most interest in skydiving, surfing and rock climbing.

Rounding out the activities is caravanning.

A second list was also compiled to reflect a ranking of countries by the overall number of searches, which is led by the United States, Germany and France.

Here are the top 10 most adventurous countries in the Global Adventure Ranking:

1. The Netherlands
2. Australia
3. Sweden
4. Germany
5. France
6. Denmark
7. Norway
8. United Kingdom
9. United States
10. Austria

This article appeared on the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper website

Enchanting Europe

With the southern hemisphere countries already saturated in sunshine, Booking.com introduces interesting seven destinations to provide the ultimate retreat during the summer months.

Surrounded by volcanoes and geysers, Iceland’s capital Reykjavík attracts tourists with its scenic Hallgrímskirkja Church said to have been designed to resemble the rocks, mountains and glaciers of Iceland’s landscape, as well as Nautholsvík Beach where bathers can plunge into the geothermal water.

In Italy, Naples is edgy thanks to effusive locals, scooters zooming past and a tangle of tumbledown streets. The birthplace of pizza, it has plenty of attractions to visit from Castel dell’Ovo to the Archaeological Museum.

There’s an extra something to life in the Spanish capital Madrid. Start your day in the leafy Retiro Park on your way to a morning at the Prado then have a late lunch and afternoon siesta, before rising late to join the locals for dinner.

Budapest in Hungary bewitches every visitor. Houdini’s hometown is full of unfading beauty that holds you captive. A gentle soul emanates from within this city built on imperial strength, and people engage in a high-stakes hustle to claim their own piece of happiness.

Standing behind towering city walls, Dubrovnik beach town in Croatia has stunning, panoramic views over the emerald Adriatic Sea. Promoting itself as the world’s design powerhouse, Sweden’s capital Stockholm is a serious contender for Scandinavia’s friendliest citizens. You’ll be welcomed with open arms to this urbane city, where medieval alleys, majestic parks and an awe-inspiring Royal Palace will leave you eager to explore.

Porto in Portugal is home to the sleepy Douro River, where boats have dropped anchor for centuries as travellers tumbled forth into Porto’s lattice of sun-drenched streets. Today, cellars stocked with sweet wine vie for attention among studios, cafes, and baroque buildings strung with colourful washing lines.

Find out more at Booking.com

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Source – TheNation

Indonesia – Youth organization to help promote tourism in East Java

Generasi Pesona Indonesia (Indonesian Charms Generation) or GenPI is an organization of youth volunteers who aim to promote tourism in their respective localities through social media.

Partnering with the Tourism Ministry, GenPI has established five local chapters across Indonesia.

A sixth to be added to the list is that of East Java, which will make an official debut at the Majapahit Travel Fair 2017 this May.

Read also: Digital promotion to boost tourist arrivals

“Tourism is the future of this nation and allows Indonesia to compete globally,” said the winner of the 2016 Raki Jatim beauty pageant, Tita Oxa Anggrea. “There are plenty of ideas and concepts to promote local tourism that can be implemented via social media.”

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T. Tahmadi, a member of the ministry’s team tasked with speeding up the development of ten priority destinations, noted how the internet impacted the tourism industry. “Everything is becoming digital nowadays, from searching for information to booking hotels. One of the things Lombok did to win the 2016 World Halal Tourism Awards was to conduct promotions through social media; thus, I encourage everyone to post photos and videos of their tourist destinations on social media.”

Source – TheJakartaPost

The most attractive holiday destinations

When it comes to vacation destinations, everyone has his or her own preferences, of course. A helping hand can of course be useful, so has the World Economic Forum made a list of the most attractive holiday destinations in the world.

The researchers are looking at issues such as safety, nature, infrastructure, health and value. This has resulted in the following top ten:

1/ Spain
2/ France
3/ Germany
4/ Japan
5/ Great-Britain
6/ United States
7/ Australia
8/ Italy
9/ Canada
10/ Switzerland

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#Indonesia – Ministry wants travel agencies to create ‘New Bali’ package tours

The Ministry of Tourism wants travel agents to come up with 10 new package tours that they will call the “New Balis” in order to entice international tourists to visit not only the Island of the Gods but also other places of Indonesia.

As the ministry enters the second year of its three-year business plan for the promotion of tourism outside Bali, the focus has shifted from branding, which was executed last year, to advertising. In 2018, the government aims to reach the selling stage.

“If branding is catching people’s attention, advertising aims to persuade people to come to Indonesia, while selling includes giving discounts and price cuts,’ said Tourism Minister Arief Yahya.

“Both airlines and travel agents need to be creative. Perhaps they can do joint promotions or hard-selling promotions to attract tourists to come to Indonesia,” he added.

The ministry is also hoping that the promotion of less popular destinations will distribute air traffic more evenly, alleviating congestion at the airports serving Bali and Jakarta. “The air connectivity problem is an urgent matter for us, since most tourists come to Indonesia by airplane,” said Hiramsyah Sambudy Thaib, who heads a team at the Tourism Ministry tasked with accelerating the development of new tourism hot spots.

The ten promoted destinations include Solo, Medan and Lombok, all of which have their own airport operating 24 hours a day. Airports that are currently being upgraded to accommodate large planes are Silangit Airport in North Sumatra and Leo Wattimena Airport in North Maluku.

“This is a huge opportunity for both airlines and travel agents. They can reverse the tour offerings from two days in Bali and one day in Lombok, for example, to one day in Bali and two days in Lombok, so that it won’t all be concentrated in Bali,” he added.

Construction work to extend the runway of Silangit Airport is slated to conclude by September. Meanwhile, Leo Wattimena Airport currently can only accommodate ATR 72 planes. An upgrade will enable the airport to accommodate Boeing 737s to attract tourists to Morotai. The runway extension is targeted for completion by June next year.

To support continued growth in air traffic, the government is in a process of deregulation to make it easier for airlines to add more flights to Indonesia.

Source – TheJakartaPost

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11 essential tips for women traveling solo

Traveling solo is a big step as it puts you outside of your comfort zone. Understandably, many women do not have the courage to travel alone; they tend to go in groups or at least with a close friend.

If you have never done it but are eager to challenge yourself, there are some things you can do to prepare, especially for overseas travel. The most important concern is, of course, safety, but there are also other things that you should add to your list of considerations.

Mentality

The most important element of preparation is mentality. You must have confidence and belief in yourself, and assure yourself that it is safe to visit your destination alone.

Start by reading articles or books about traveling solo and about the destination you want to visit. Try to get used to going out by yourself; see if you can visit restaurants or join a crowd without any company and see how you feel.

Make sure you prepare all the travel essentials to help yourself feel safe on the journey, which will help you enjoy your solo trip later. And, by the way, although you will travel by yourself, most of the time you will likely not be alone and will end up joining others you meet on the way.

Listen to your instincts

The hardest part of mental preparation is making your own decisions. You have to trust yourself and listen to your instincts because that is your best defense system.

Don’t worry about other people’s opinions or be afraid that you’ll offend someone. You only have yourself to rely on throughout the trip, so you must know yourself very well.

One step at a time

Start your solo trip by visiting a close destination, and take it further one step at a time.

It’s not wise to embark on a solo trip to a dangerous or complex country. Our suggestion is to go to a place where you have a colleague or friend. Then, once you have more confidence, you can go a level up for your next destination.

Prepare required documents

Print out copies of your identification, insurance, plane tickets, hotel bookings and emergency contacts and put them in separate places: in your suitcase and other bags. Also store the files on an online drive.

You should carry a copy of your identification with you at all times as well as a hotel address and emergency contact. Keep your passport in your hotel’s safe or, if you’re in a hostel, store it in a cabinet with your own lock.

Emergency contacts

Always have an emergency contact and update him or her whenever you move and tell them what is happening. You may not be aware that danger is near, but a friend listening to your story might be able to sense it.

Take note of the license plates of vehicles that you travel in and share them with your contact.

Extensive research

Wherever you go, always do extensive research beforehand. Learn not only about the location of your accommodation, but also the current situation of surrounding areas as well as your desired tourist sites.

Learn also about local scams and precautions.  

Emergency exits

It is very important to plan an emergency exit strategy. You must take note of your country’s embassy or consulate address as well as their telephone number.

Learn which best hospital is best in your destination and whether it will accept your health insurance or not. Also, find out about the scenario for a medical evacuation, just in case.

Extra cash

You must have a plan for extra cash, just in case you get robbed or lose your suitcase. You can ask a friend to send emergency money if needed via Western Union or MoneyGram and agree on a secret passcode.

Try to divide your cash and keep it in separate places: in your luggage, secret pockets, shoes, etc.

Safety mechanism

Plan your safety mechanisms and always bring along one thing that can be used as a weapon, for example a wooden stick. Always carry with a padlock, extra batteries for your gadgets, conventional clothes to blend in with locals and clothes with hidden pockets to hide your hotel keys and important notes.

It’s advisable to wear a ring that looks like a wedding band and say you’re married and your husband is waiting for you at your hotel if a stranger asks. It is also important to bring simple first aid supplies and medicine with you at all time.

Printed map

It may be old fashioned, but your GPS will be useless if the battery is flat. That’s when you realize that printed maps are important.

Carry less

You may want to look chic, but there’s no point packing your wedges or other unnecessary stuff. Just bring basics like T-shirts, one dress, flip flops and simple make-up.

It might be hard to find someone to help you to carry your luggage, but you can always buy cheap clothes when you arrive instead of carrying heavy bags.

Source – TJP

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Thais go Travel alone

According to research conducted by Booking.com, three in five Thais (62 percent) are planning to travel solo for the first time this year.

According to research conducted by Booking.com, three in five Thais (62 percent) are planning to travel solo for the first time this year.

Whilst travelling for the first time can be a scary prospect, three in four (79 per cent) feel it is worth it to be able to see a new place, and more than half (55 per cent) believe any nerves felt when they travelled somewhere for the first time have usually been unwarranted.

The research reveals that 11 per cent had their first travel experience somewhere outside Thailand and that most are planning to head to far-flung destinations. Among the top international destinations for Thai travelers are Siem Reap in Cambodia, Seoul and Jeju of South Korea, Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, Beijing in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

From cobalt blue seas, adventurous roof-down road trips and delicious cuisine – social media feeds are full of the filtered fantasy of the travel dreams. So it’s no wonder that the research reveals how social media is playing a hugely important role in deciding where to go for a first-time travel experience, especially with 18 to 34 year olds. In fact, about half (49 per cent) of millennials said that they use social media posts to help them remember their first-time travel experiences.

The research reveals how first-time travel ignites the travel bug for Thais with three in five (60 percent) confirming their first-time travel experiences inspired them to try a new or different type of travel experience or accommodation the next time. In fact, almost half are planning to be more adventurous in their next travel plans with three in five (67 per cent) resolving to travel further away from home.

The types of first-time experiences people want to try this year is also broadening beyond the traditional beach holidays or city explorations, with road trips proving to a popular choice (44 per cent), followed by eco tours (39 per cent), spiritual adventures (23 per cent) and volunteering-based trips (21 per cent) selected by wanderlust travelers in their travel plans.

Source – TheNation

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In the wilds of Mongolia: Horses, sand dunes and stargazing

I’m a city girl. I did not grow up camping, have never pitched a tent and know nothing of the Girl Scouts beyond Thin Mints or Samoa cookies. Certainly no one would use the words “rugged” or “outdoorsy” to describe me.

So I definitely had a few reservations when my husband suggested a vacation in the wilds of central Mongolia.

My trepidation only grew as I binged on travel reviews bemoaning makeshift bathrooms and swarming insects.

But I ended up loving every minute in Mongolia, a country steeped in history, stunning scenery and welcoming locals. I stepped outside my comfort zone and into the trip of a lifetime. And here’s why you should too.

GET OFF THE GRID

Mongolia, a country of 3 million people slightly smaller than Alaska, is one of the most sparsely populated places in the world.

You can go hours, even days, without seeing another human while traveling through Mongolia’s countryside. Instead, you’ll find a vibrant blue horizon and empty, rolling grasslands dotted with horses, cows, sheep, goats and yaks.

You’ll be forced to unplug as cell service and Wi-Fi is mostly non-existent outside of the larger cities.

So say goodbye to Facebook rants and traffic jams and say hello to a seemingly endless untouched landscape. Your only roadblock is the occasional cow.

BOOK A GUIDE

As avid travelers accustomed to DIY adventures, we rarely book tours. But my top tip for this wonderland is to find yourself an expert.

There are few road signs and English is not widely used, so a local guide with knowledge of the routes and language is highly recommended.

You will also need a four-wheel drive vehicle to navigate the mostly unpaved terrain.

Our expert, good-humored guide, Munkh Bileg, whom we hired through Nomadic Discovery , tailored our private tour to our interests and time constraints to maximize our Mongolian experience.

We rode camels across sand dunes and horses at sunset. We met herder families and sampled local cuisine, including fermented mare’s milk and dried curds. Most of our days were spent off-roading over mountains and across rivers, simply soaking in Mongolia’s other-worldly landscape.

READ CONTINUE – By Nicole Evatt

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Travel – AirAsia X becomes first Asian low-cost airline to fly to the US

AirAsia X (flight code: D7) has received clearance from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to fly to the US.The airline is the first Asian low-cost carrier to secure approval to operate scheduled passenger flights to the US.

The approval allows AirAsia’s long-haul, low-cost sister airline to operate services to any destination within the US. AirAsia X is currently considering flights to several US states including Hawaii as part of its route expansion plans.

AirAsia X Group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said, “This is a major milestone for AirAsia X. Our expansion up until now has concentrated on Asia, Australasia and the Middle East, and we are excited about our first foray into an entirely new market as we look beyond Asia Pacific.”

“I’m confident travellers will respond well to our award-winning service and the kind of connectivity we can offer with our Fly-Thru product. As part of our expansion plans, we are also looking to resume our very popular London route, and are working towards securing the necessary approvals.”

 A pioneer in travel and technology, AirAsia offers a wide range of innovative products such as mobile app, extensive self-service options, inflight wifi, inflight entertainment, premium coffee, online duty-free shopping, Premium Flex and Fly-Thru.

Fly-Thru allows guests to seamlessly connect to anywhere within AirAsia’s wide network with just one stop at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Asia’s No. 1 low-cost carrier hub – and other convenient transit hubs in Thailand and Indonesia, without having to pass through immigration and with their baggage checked through to the final destination.

AirAsia Group boasts an extensive route network to over 120 destinations in Asia Pacific, including some 60 unique routes within the Asean region, and unmatched flight frequencies.

Source: TheNation

Netherlands – Holiday Fair in danger

The survival of the annual Tourism Fair in Utrecht has seriously entered the danger zone.
Again there last five days fewer visitors came than in previous years.

The travel fair attracted in 2017 for the first time in years less than 110,000 visitors. Last year there were more than 120,000.
In the boom years the number was 190,000 people according to a spokesman.

The exhibition management will see in their own words how to do it differently. A day trip is still an important driver of visitors, but more and more exhibitors who have to pay a lot of money to stand at the fair, questioning the usefulness and necessity of a physical meeting.

It is expected that the Internet is a big part of the needs of tourists to take to travel information and advice. The holiday atmosphere at a trade show decreases in relevancy off, experts say.