Posts tagged with "travel"

Sustainable Vacation Planning: Tips and Tricks

Americans aren’t great at planning vacations. So much so that a large tourism industry group, the U.S. Travel Association, is encouraging workers to begin planning their getaways on Jan. 28, dubbed National Plan for Vacation Day

But planning a sustainable vacation – one with a small environmental footprint that is respectful of a destination’s people and culture – is an even taller task, said Jonathon Day, an associate professor in The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University.

Jonathon Day, chair of the Travel Care Code initiative and author of the book, “An Introduction to Sustainable Tourism and Responsible Travel,” provided these tips for making vacations more socially and environmentally friendly:

Shop local: “Visit local businesses and enjoy authentic experiences from your destination. Visiting farm-to-table restaurants, local arts-and-crafts stores and farmers markets all make a bigger contribution to the communities you visit.”

Be waste wise: “Bring your best habits from home. Plan to recycle and minimize waste, particularly plastic waste when you travel.”

Limit your carbon footprint: “Be a fuel-efficient traveler or purchase carbon offsets for those flights you are taking.”

Kumano Kodo, 360 MAGAZINE

Kumano Kodo Trek

Kyoto-based tour operator Oku Japan has launched a premium, upgraded version of its classic, self-guided Kumano Kodo trek, just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
 
The 5-day trip along the Kumano Kodo offers travelers the opportunity to experience a traditional Japanese pilgrimage walk — a spiritual adventure that explores Grand Shrines, historic villages and the ancient, forested mountains of Japan’s Kii Peninsula — in high-end comfort and style.
 
The new premium itinerary includes a stay at the freshly-refurbished Fujiya Ryokan, which features five Onsen (hot spring-fed) baths and traditional tatami mat rooms with their own private, outdoor baths. Located in the village of Kawayu, Fujiya Ryokan is situated alongside Sennin-buro, a famous open-air river bath that invites visitors to dig their own hot spring Onsen. The high-end upgrade also boasts a night on a private island at Kumano-Bettei Nakanoshima, a modern, boutique retreat with sea-view rooms that include open-air, private baths and a chef-designed culinary menu that celebrates locally-caught seafood.
 
Hike the Yagyu Kaido trail, tracing the footsteps of warriors who walked this route to a historic sword-making village, and take in the scenic seaside on a train ride from Nara to Kii-Tanabe. Follow the pilgrimage trail from Chikatsuyu through small villages and forest trails over the sacred Kii Mountains to the Kumano shrine at Hongu, one of the three ‘Grand Shrines of Kumano’. Later, journey to Yunomine Onsen, one of the oldest natural hot-spring villages in Japan, and on to the port town of Kii-Katsuura with its island-studded bay and lively, early-morning fish market.
 
Guests will enjoy daily luggage transfers, most dinners and breakfasts, round-trip train tickets from Kyoto or Osaka, detailed daily itineraries and walking directions, and local support from Oku’s branch along the Kumano Kodo in Chikatsuyu.
 
5 -days; Priced from $2,3070 per person.
For more information, visit okujapan.com
 

About Oku Japan
Oku Japan is a Kyoto-based tour operator specializing in sustainable guided, self-guided and custom tours exploring remote regions of Japan. The very first travel brand to offer self-guided walking trips along Japan’s ancient pilgrimage routes, Oku continues to honor its passion for Japanese culture by fostering meaningful community partnerships, encouraging cross-cultural connections among locals and travelers, and forging new adventures in Japan’s still-undiscovered territories. For more information, visit www.okujapan.com.

The Headland Hotel, 360 MAGAZINE

New Aqua Club to open at UK five star hotel

The Headland in Cornwall, UK, is to open a new £10 million ($13 million) wellbeing experience called The Aqua Club this spring.

Located in Newquay, on the north coast of one of the UK’s most beautiful counties, The Headland offers five-star hotel and self-catering accommodation in a stunning coastal setting.

Due to open in May 2020, The Aqua Club represents a significant investment in the development of The Headland as a luxury, world-class destination.

It will feature five swimming pools, including a 25-meter training pool, an infinity pool, and a family leisure pool, as well as a sun terrace with impressive ocean views.

A restaurant, called The Deck, will connect the inside and outdoor spaces, and will provide a welcome oasis of Mediterranean-inspired cuisine.

For US visitors, Cornwall has never been easier to include in a UK tour. Managing director of The Headland, Darryl Reburn, says: “We are ten minutes from Cornwall Airport, Newquay, which is served by daily flights from London and Dublin, as well as many other major cities in England and Scotland.”

The Headland is set on a peninsula overlooking the surfer’s paradise, Fistral Beach. With a spa, a five-pool leisure complex, a surf school, and three restaurants, there is plenty to keep vacationers busy.

Constructed at the end of the Victorian era, the hotel is famous as the location for the original The Witches film, and is close to filming locations for the popular Poldark TV series as well as Doc Martin.

It has a rich history, from causing local riots when it was first built, to becoming a military hospital during WWII. There are also tales of hauntings, and stories of visits from celebrities and royal guests.

Cornwall is the UK’s most south-westerly county and is one of the most popular destinations for British holidaymakers. Accessible by air, rail and road, it has one of the most varied and beautiful coastlines to explore, with more than 300 beaches to choose from.

For the active traveller, the South West Coast Path covers more than 250 miles of spectacular scenery, and can be accessed from the doorstep of The Headland.

The region is also famous for its artisan produce and top chefs. TV celebrity chef Rick Stein has a restaurant nearby at Fistral Beach, and The Headland’s own executive chef presides over three restaurants serving award-winning food.

For a quintessentially British experience, guests can start the day with a full English breakfast with sausage, bacon and egg, all sourced locally, before exploring the beach, Newquay town, and its surrounding area.

Guests can also make a reservation to experience The Headland’s impressive three-tier afternoon tea, which includes Cornish scones, jam, and clotted cream.

Darryl Reburn said: “Our afternoon tea at The Terrace has been voted as one of the best in the UK. With the stunning backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, it is a beautiful place to relax, drink tea, and work your way through dainty sandwiches, scones, and a selection of sweet treats.”

Prices for a three-night break at The Headland, including breakfast, start from £420/$546* for a Coastal Room with sea views – based on two people sharing. Use of the hotel’s spa facilities, gym, and Aqua Club are included.

Flights into Newquay operate daily from London with a duration of approximately one hour. An 80 minute flight also operates daily to and from Dublin, Ireland.

The Great Western Railway (GWR) provides a direct route to Cornwall from London Paddington with a journey time of approximately four hours to Bodmin Parkway, and a 25 minute transfer. It is a scenic journey taking in beautiful countryside and the coast.

Hire car or airport/station transfers can be arranged on request.

*Prices based on current exchange rate.

**Photographer: The Headland Hotel

Rideshare Rooftop Ads

Today more than 80 members of the Independent Drivers Guild descended on City Hall to call for the city to reverse its ban on rooftop advertising for for-hire vehicles. The Guild testified at a City Council Transportation Committee hearing in favor of City Council bill Intro 1738, sponsored by Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, which would allow for-hire vehicle drivers to earn much-needed extra pay through rooftop advertising. 

Exterior roof-top advertising opportunities are currently only afforded to medallion owners, but not FHV owner-operators, including drivers for app-based and livery services. Drivers can earn as much as $300 per month and $3600 per year through rooftop advertising without driving extra hours and adding to congestion.  Intro 1738 is the first of a handful of bills in the works to address the demands and concerns raised in IDG’s Drivers’ Bill of Rights, which has the support of more than nine thousand drivers so far. 

“For years, drivers have been struggling to make ends meet. Rooftop advertisements are an easy way for drivers to supplement their income without having to drive longer hours and add to congestion,” said IDG executive director Brendan Sexton. “In the life of an Uber or Lyft driver, an extra $300 per month can mean the difference between being able to afford health insurance or not. It can cover a month’s worth of fuel expenses or after school child care.”

“We are thankful to Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez and Members of the City
Council Transportation Committee for listening to drivers and we urge the Council to support this bill as an important step to provide immediate and much-needed relief to drivers,” added Sexton. “We are also pleased that the Taxi and Limousine Commission today voiced support for rooftop ads with the amendment we have urged which would require that ad revenue goes to drivers, rather than Uber or Lyft, leasing companies, or big fleet owners, as has occurred in the taxi industry.”

The IDG led a years-long campaign to win the nation’s first minimum wage for app-based drivers in New York City at a rate of $27.86 per hour, however app companies violated these rules and city regulators failed to take enforcement action. In response, more than 100 IDG members unveiled the Drivers’ Bill of Rights at City Hall this past fall, calling for the city to address concerns affecting drivers’ livelihoods. A week later, thousands of IDG members temporarily closed down the Brooklyn Bridge and the FDR in protest and in response to the city’s TLC ignoring Uber and Lyft’s violation of the City’s own minimum pay law. Now more than nine thousand drivers have signed on to the Guild’s Drivers’ Bill of Rights. Members of the Transportation Committee responded and have told the Guild they are working on a number of bills addressing the issues raised in the Drivers’ Bill of Rights. Today marks the first hearing addressing one of these issues and what the Guild hopes is the first of several bills to come before the committee to provide relief to struggling drivers.

Here is IDG’s prepared testimony for today’s hearing:

Testimony of Brendan Sexton, Executive Director
Independent Drivers Guild (IDG)
Before the City Council Committee on Transportation
January 22, 2020

Good morning Chairman Rodriguez, members of the Transportation Committee. My name is Brendan Sexton and I am the Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild, otherwise known as IDG. We are here to wholeheartedly support Intro 1738. 

Joining me today on this panel are some drivers who will help me tell our story — the story of how app-based drivers who, despite the reforms passed by this Council and despite what TLC claims, continue to struggle to make a fair and livable wage. (and I’d also like to acknowledge the IDG members drivers who have joined us here today in the audience) As we explained to this Committee back in September, the minimum pay rules are failing to meet their intended goal as Uber and Lyft continue to circumvent the rules and the TLC continues to ignore our pleas for assistance and enforcement. 

More than 100 IDG members came before you that day to seek your help as we rolled out our Drivers Bill of Rights to address these and other concerns affecting drivers’ livelihoods. A week later, thousands of our members temporarily closed down the Brooklyn Bridge and the FDR in protest and in response to TLC ignoring Uber and Lyft’s blatant violation of this City Council’s own minimum pay law. I am pleased to know that the City Council, and especially the Members of this Committee, have heard our pleas and a number of bills addressing the issues raised in our Drivers’ Bill of Rights are in the works. Today marks the first hearing addressing one of these bills and what we hope is the first of several bills to come before this committee to provide immediate and much-needed relief to drivers.

As many members of this Committee know through our discussions over the last few months, we believe Intro 1738 is a very important measure that would provide app-based and livery drivers with an opportunity to supplement their income from driving. This is money that will go directly into the pocket of FHV owner-operators – not base owners, not Uber, not Lyft.

This legislation would require that the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) issue permits to allow for exterior rooftop advertising on any type of for-hire vehicle, provided such advertising complies with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations. Exterior roof-top advertising opportunities are currently only afforded to medallion owners, but not FHV owner-operators.  This bill would provide for parity, equality, andNa significant step in the fight for the fair treatment of these hard-working New Yorkers. 

We were all dumbfounded when, in August of 2019, TLC took away this ability — and only from FHV drivers.  Given the continuing struggles FHV drivers continue to go through, this just added insult to injury. 

Intro 1738 corrects this injustice by affording FHV drivers the opportunity to contract with TLC approved advertising companies for digital rooftop advertising and earn $300 per month/$3600 per year in
supplemental income. As you will hear from the drivers themselves, this additional income can and will make a big difference in the lives of FHV drivers as it can cover any number of expenses, such as health insurance, which is not provided by the app-based companies, a months’ worth of healthy groceries (according to the USDA),  or 100% of a driver’s monthly fuel expenses.

It is also important to note that this opportunity to earn additional income comes without any obligation to spend additional hours on the road and, as a result, will not increase congestion.  It will also allow hardworking drivers to bring home the same income while spending less time on the road and more time with their families.

All that being said, we also want to ensure there are additional driver protections built into this legislation to ensure that it is the drivers who benefit from this opportunity, not the app companies, not leasing companies and fleet owners. ALL drivers must be afforded this opportunity without undue interference from the exploitative nature of app-based or leasing companies. While 80% of our industry’s drivers own their own cars, 20% do lease.  And as you all know, our industry’s drivers have major issues with predatory leasing companies. (and we have been talking with Council Member Moya about his leasing legislation). Therefore, while this legislation as currently drafted will definitely benefit a majority of our drivers, we are less certain, given the leasing industries tendency to take advantage of our drivers, about the rest. 

We would like to see an amendment to Intro 1738 that provides TLC with the regulatory authority to ensure drivers are protected and not further exploited by preventing leasing companies as well as the app companies from either requiring or prohibiting drivers from obtaining rooftop advertising and ensure that any and all revenue derived from such advertising goes directly and fully to the driver at a fair and mutually agreeable rate.

In speaking with some of you on this Committee, another concern has been raised that I would like to address. We have spoken to a major rooftop advertising company (who we understand will be testifying here today) who currently provides exterior rooftop advertising to the taxi industry and it is very clear: the existing benefits to the taxi industry from digital rooftop advertising will not be diminished or diluted by this bill in any way. To the contrary, if advertisers and drivers are able to deploy rooftop advertising on both taxicabs and FHVs, the advertising coverage to advertisers would be expanded within the city, and rooftop advertising becomes more attractive to advertisers and ultimately becomes more sustainable for all vehicle classes.  

For the past few months, our team has engaged numerous council members on this and other pressing issues, and I’d like to thank Chairman Rodriguez for spearheading the effort to introduce this bill.  I’d also like to take a moment to thank those of you who have chosen to stand with IDG, our drivers and working-class New Yorkers by sponsoring and supporting this bill – it’s clear that you all truly understand just how important this income will be for drivers and their families. Your care is also demonstrated by the other issues on the agenda today–with regard to legislation that would create a Black Car and Livery Task force, we applaud any efforts that would assist with the viability of this industry and help our brother and sister black car and livery drivers. We would only recommend that the legislation be amended to provide for driver and/or driver labor organization representation on the task force.

It’s important to note that Intro 1738, which is related to exterior advertising, is very different from the internal panel advertising legislation. The policy question regarding internal panels entails different considerations that have been the subject of litigation, and although IDG supports any effort to provide increased opportunities to supplement FHV driver income, we believe these issues should be separated. The exterior advertising legislation already has broad support within this committee and we want to ensure that the support that we have worked to secure is in no way jeopardized by an unrelated piece of legislation. 

In closing, I want to thank the Committee for all the work you have done and all we have accomplished together over the last few years in providing relief to 80,000 working families – specifically the approval of landmark driver income and transparency legislation in 2018. And while this has provided some needed relief,  the TLC’s resulting regulations and their lack of enforcement has caused some real problems whereby the full intent and goal of this legislation has still yet to be realized. 

More work needs to be done, but Intro 1738 is an important and significant first step and FHV drivers need to know that this committee, that the City Council is listening and doing all they can do
to help. 

360 Magazine,art,crystals,design,exhibition,installation,jewelry,las vegas,MGM Grand Hotel & Casino,Swarovski,tour,travel,Vaughn Lowery,vegas,

Hunger Games: The Exhibition 

In a partnership between The Hunger Games: The Exhibition and Swarovski crystals, fans of the world-renowned, blockbuster film franchise from Lionsgate, The Hunger Games, can now purchase limited-edition jewelry and accessories. These items are exclusively available at The Hunger Games: The Exhibition at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and online at TheHungerGamesExhibition.com.

The jewelry and accessory line is inspired by the illustrative beauty of The Hunger Games characters and includes pins/pendants, necklaces, leather cuffs, bracelets, earrings and other accessories. Adoring fans can fashion themselves in the collection’s brass with rhodium or gold-plated jewelry or add an edgy flare with high-quality leather available on the Mockingjay or Capitol Couture Leather Cuff. The pieces are sure to impress fans whether they are looking for a delicate way to flaunt their rebellion or are ready to make an elegant sparkling statement just as fashionable as a Capitol resident.

“Swarovski is known for making the best crystals and is one of the most recognized fashion brands throughout the world,” said Zoe Tan, head of business development and general manager, Las Vegas for Victory Hill Exhibitions. “We are proud to offer these luxurious pieces, developed from the love and passion we have for the world of The Hunger Games and the glamour and fashion of the Capitol.”

The collection features uniquely designed accessories including a limited-edition Snow’s Rose Water Bottle, embellished with 7,342 hand-placed Swarovski crystals on a stainless-steel bottle. Fans can also write in style with the uniquely designed Capitol Couture and Mockingjay pens, featuring a crystallized clip with an eye-catching crystal on top engraved with the logo in the center of the barrels. All sparkling with Swarovski’s 12 years of intensive research, and Advanced Crystal standard and innovative, lead-free formula.

“We dove into the world of the Capitol and Panem when developing this luxury jewelry line, and we’re thrilled to offer fans more from the world of The Hunger Games,” said Kirsten Taylor-Hall, vice president, Global Live & Location Based Entertainment. “Victory Hill and Swarovski deliver a unique and beautiful line that embodies the essence of Capitol style.”

The highlights of the limited-edition collection are the Fire Burns Brighter Clutch, made with the iconic colors of the Capitol featuring nearly 6,000 hand-placed crystals, and the edgy Girl on Fire Clutch inspired by the Girl on Fire herself, Katniss Everdeen, adorned with more than 4,000 hand-placed crystals. Both clutches are a limited edition with only 10 production pieces.

“We are thrilled to partner with Victory Hill Exhibitions and Lionsgate in delivering exclusive, beautiful products to create a memorable keepsake for fans of The Hunger Games,” said, Andrea Nondorf, managing director, Swarovski Professional North America. “Through our partnership, we aim to surprise and delight consumers with the beauty, quality and craftsmanship of this collection as well as unite our luxury products with the visionary, world-class experience Victory Hill and Lionsgate has created with The Hunger Games: The Exhibition.”

Located at MGM Grand, The Hunger Games: The Exhibition is a top Las Vegas attraction featuring several inspirational galleries including the Hall of Justice, President Snow’s Office, the Tribute Train, District 13, and one of the largest archery training experiences set within a 60-foot wide interactive training center. The Hunger Games: The Exhibition is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visitors can view and purchase the jewelry and accessory line on display in the merchandise store. Commemorative ticket for entry into the exhibit can be purchased at https://thehungergamesexhibition.com/ or at The Hunger Games: The Exhibition onsite box office.

Cityneon Holdings Limited

With its global reach and international partnerships, Cityneon has the capability to serve its clients anywhere in the world. Cityneon has been listed on the Mainboard of the Singapore Stock Exchange since 2005, and was privatized in February 2019 by West Knighton Limited, a company wholly owned by Cityneon’s Executive Chairman & Group Chief Executive Officer Ron Tan together with Hong Kong veteran entrepreneur and investor Johnson Ko Chun Shun. Johnson is a capital markets veteran and has held controlling interests and directorships in many listed companies.  On May 14, 2019, Cityneon welcomed CITIC Capital as a new shareholder who holds 10.61 percent shares in Cityneon. CITIC Capital is part of CITIC Group, one of China’s largest conglomerates, and has more than $25 billion in assets under its management across 100 funds and investment products globally. For more information, please visit www.cityneon.net.


Victory Hill Exhibitions

Victory Hill Exhibitions is a subsidiary of Cityneon Holdings and is an exhibition production company which strives to create interactive exhibits that attract visitors and have educational value. With 25 years of experience and cooperation with pioneers in technology from around the world, Victory Hill creates astounding interactive experiences, and can adapt based on our clients’ needs to satisfy each and every unique need.

Lionsgate

The first major new studio in decades, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) is a global content leader whose films, television series, digital products and linear and over-the-top platforms reach next generation audiences around the world. In addition to its filmed entertainment leadership, Lionsgate content drives a growing presence in interactive and location-based entertainment, video games, esports and other new entertainment technologies.  Lionsgate’s content initiatives are backed by a nearly 17,000-title film and television library and delivered through a global sales and distribution infrastructure.  The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring and ground-breaking content created with special emphasis on the evolving patterns and diverse composition of the Company’s worldwide consumer base.

Swarovski

Swarovski has been the premium brand for fine crystal embellishments since 1895. It is recognized for its innovative excellence and for its collaborations with world-class designers and brands from the fashion, jewelry, accessories, interiors and lighting industries. Available in myriad colors, effects, shapes and sizes, crystals from Swarovski offer designers an unrivaled palette of inspiration born out of a passion for detail and high-precision cutting. These precious ingredients impart a refined glamour to everything they embellish and are produced according to the groundbreaking lead-free* Advanced Crystal standard. The ‘Crystals from Swarovski’ seal, incorporating a sophisticated tracking system with a unique identification number to reinforce authenticity, enables customers to distinguish products embellished with genuine Swarovski crystals. www.swarovski.com/professional

Kaytranada, Sofi Tukker, Young The Giant, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Chappaqua Wrestling, LP Giobbi, Mahalia, Maya Jane Coles, Q-Tip, Coachella Valley, 4XFAR FESTIVAL, LAND ROVER, auto, music, travel, food, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

4XFAR FESTIVAL

Land Rover has presented 4xFAR, a weekend festival featuring live performances from some of the music industry’s most celebrated artists, along with culinary and adventure experiences for people with a passion for exploring the unknown. 
 
The festival featured two-days of music from Grammy award-winning producers and today’s biggest artists, including globally-recognised headline Anderson. Paak & The Free Nationals and Mark Ronson & Q-Tip. 

Also taking to the stage over the weekend were urban beatsmith Kaytranada, Sofi Tukker, Young The Giant, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Chappaqua Wrestling, LP Giobbi, Mahalia, Maya Jane Coles and Tijuana Panthers. 

Created to celebrate the new 2020 Land Rover Defender coming to the USA, 4xFAR was created for people with a passion for exploring the unknown and exploring new adventures. The festival allowed visitors the first opportunity to experience the highly anticipated new 2020 Land Rover Defender on a purpose-built off-road course, alongside the full range of current Land Rover vehicles.

The ticket-only event took place at Empire Grand Oasis in the Coachella Valley in Southern California.

360 MAGAZINE, outdoors, Vaughn Lowery, travel, adventure

Winter Staycations In The Lake District

Sometimes there’s nothing better than going on holiday but making it a staycation. After all, the UK has so much to offer that we often forget about when it comes to booking a holiday. This season, the Lake District in particular has so much to offer; from cosy pubs with roaring fires to traditional Lake District hotels set amongst the fells.

A winter staycation has a certain romance about it, especially in an area as beautiful as the Lake District. With that in mind, here are some top tips on how to enjoy a winter staycation in the heart of the Lake District National Park.

Pack your walking boots

The temperatures may not be high, but get out amongst nature anyway and enjoy the crisp winter weather. The scenery is stunning all year round, and gives you the perfect excuse to switch off and enjoy being outside; just remember to wrap up! 

The Lake District National Park was recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage site status, joining the likes of the Grand Canyon and Machu Picchu; and it’s right on your doorstep! 

Get on the water

While we don’t recommend getting in the water during a winter visit to the Lake District, you can certainly get on the water! There are a number of lake cruises and boat trips you can book on your winter staycation, allowing you to take in the true beauty of the area. 

The Ullswater Steamers in particular are very popular, with a history spanning 160 years of operating on Ullswater. It operates 363 days a year and gives you a chance to experience some breath-taking views across mountains like Helvellyn. 

Check out the local food 

After you’ve spent a day exploring in the cold wintry weather, treat yourself to one of the many local pubs and restaurants that offer a great gastronomical experience. There are many restaurants in the area that have won awards for their food and drink menus, as well as décor and service.

Unwind in the beautiful surroundings of towns like Keswick and Penrith as you sample local cuisine like sticky toffee pudding and Cumberland sausages. From AA Rosette restaurants to cosy village pubs, you’ll find something to suit every budget and every taste!

Soak up the culture

In the winter months, you might find the Lake District much quieter which can be lovely for exploring some of the heritage sites in the area. Just north of Ullswater you will find the Aira Force waterfall, while just outside of Penrith you will find Lowther Castle. Near Keswick, you will discover Castlerigg Stone Circle, one of the country’s earliest stone circles.

There are also a number of Roman forts left behind, dotted in various areas of the Lake District. No matter where you are staying, it’s worth travelling to the likes of Hard Knott or Ravenglass for a fascinating look at the area’s history.

Columbia, 360 MAGAZINE, tours, travel, food

Future of Tourism in Colombia

Thanks to new hotel offerings, direct flights and a global focus on responsible travel,
Colombia is ushering in a new era of tourism.

Colombia has been named the number one trending destination for tourism in 2020 by the United States Tour Operators Association, and the experts at True Colombia Travel and Cannúa say this is only the beginning, as new hotels, flight paths and mindsets are driving change in the country’s tourism industry. 

For the latter half of the last decade, backpackers have dominated the tourism scene in Colombia – typically younger travelers with ample time yet modest budgets. According to Brian Schon, co-founder and director of True Colombia Travel, a locally-owned and led tour operator offering custom cultural, culinary and environmental tours throughout Colombia, the next five years will see incredible changes in the way travelers can experience Colombia, giving way to a different type of visitor. 

“From the type of hotels being built, to the increased accessibility from North America and what’s opening up within the country, it’s really incredible to see Colombia’s tourism growth unfolding in front of our eyes,” Schon says. “The country is only just starting to realize its tourism potential when it comes to being upscale and unique, and it is on track to be a major destination this decade for discerning travelers, looking for more luxury options, quick getaways and responsible practices.” 

Here are several key predictions from Colombia’s travel experts for the next few years: 

Shorter Trips Packed with Punch

As airlines start to offer more direct flights to Colombia from Canada and the United States, more North Americans will take advantage of Colombia as a quick getaway location, opening up whole new realm of unexplored opportunities for northern dwellers looking for an accessible, warm-weather escape.  

“In the past, most visitors came for at least 10 days, with many of them staying 2 weeks, 3 weeks, even a month – in large part because it was so complicated to get here,” says Schon. “Now we are starting to get a ton of requests for week-long trips or even 4-5 days. People are recognizing that they can pop down to Colombia the same way they would to Florida, Puerto Rico or Mexico.” 

While longer trips allow travelers to see more of Colombia and get to know the culture, Schon says there is still a lot of value in a short visit. 

“The beauty of Colombia is you can go from the mountains to the beach within the same day, so there are lots of options to people who are short on time, especially if they stick to a specific geographic region,” says Schon. “In Antioquia, for example, guests can spend five days paragliding, hiking on pre-hispanic trails, exploring local caves, searching for wild hippos, and liberating endangered turtles.” 

“Cutting down on layovers and travel time makes a quick jaunt to Colombia a lot more accessible, and North Americans will continue to discover this.”

More Boutique Luxury Hotels in Rural Areas   

Colombia has seen incredible growth in its hotel sector, moving from a hostel-focused industry to one with luxury offerings in the big city centers of Cartagena, Medellin, Bogota, and Barranquilla. But with the recent opening of the boutique retreat Cannúa – sister company of True Colombia Travel – on Dec. 1, 2019 in Antioquia, hotel development is now starting to extend to rural areas. 

“The magic of Colombia really comes from our rural areas – the Andes mountain towns, the Amazon basins, the unexplored Pacific Coast,” says Santiago Giraldo, General Manager and co-founder of Cannúa. “Typically, non-backpacking travelers base themselves in city centers, as there are lots of luxury offers there, and take day trips to rural regions; now, however, they can start to enjoy that same level of luxury in some of the most beautiful pockets of the country.” 

Giraldo predicts there will be a rush over the next five years to construct these types of rural, high-end retreats, allowing for people to base themselves in remote areas closer to small villages, pre-hispanic treks or rushing waterfalls – especially as there is proof this concept works. 

“We’ve seen this happen before in other countries with strong tourism sectors,” Giraldo says. “People are already latching on to what Cannúa offers, just as people latched onto the eco retreats of Costa Rica and the jungle villas of Thailand and the mountain lodges of Peru – and investors are sure to start taking notice soon, too.”

Responsible Approaches to Unexplored Regions

The past few years saw areas of Colombia open up to travelers and locals alike following the country’s historic peace accord in 2016, including the jungles around Puerto Berrio and the wild Pacific Coast, but some of it went too far: the Caño Cristales, a river known as the “melted rainbow” for its vibrant, multicolored hue, became such a popular, Instagrammable site that access to the area was restricted from visitor traffic in 2017 to give the overloaded ecosystem a break. 

With international travelers concerned with their environmental and cultural impact more than ever before, the next five years of travel in Colombia will see stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry focus on responsible growth. 

“There’s a lot of potential for tourism to make a positive impact in these former ‘no-go zones,’ but it’s important that it’s developed in the right way,” Schon says. “We want to help make sure these communities are directly benefiting from opportunities created by tourism, and the ecosystems of Colombia – the second-most biodiverse country in the world – are protected.” 

In an effort to ensure these newly accessible regions do not become exploited or overcrowded, True Colombia Travels partners with local communities in every region they operate within to build thoughtful experiences focused on small-group, low-impact travel. 

“Our guests want to engage with nature, but they are also highly educated about the impact that travel can have on local communities and on the environment,” says Schon. “Colombian operators, especially those who see the potential for growth in these newly-accessible regions, are going to have to answer to international travelers who are focused on these issues and make responsible travel practices top-of-mind across the industry.”

For more information about True Colombia Travel’s fully-customized cultural, culinary and environmental tours in all corners of the country, visit www.truecolombiatravel.com

About True Colombia Travel 

True Colombia Travel specializes in offering fully customized cultural, culinary and environmental tours throughout the rural and urban regions of Colombia. Owned and operated by locals who are passionate about their community, the TCT team is made up of bilingual artists, nature-lovers and world travelers committed to sharing Colombia’s secrets with visitors as respectfully and responsibly as possible. Welcoming families, groups, solo travelers and adventurers of all ages, True Colombia Travel creates personalized itineraries designed to showcase the people, heritage, culture and natural treasures that makes Colombia one of the most promising destinations in the world. 

Whale watching, San Diego, food, travel, adventure, 360 MAGAZINE

Best of Baja’s Whales, Dolphins & Sea Lions Tour

Five-year Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Award Winner Baja AirVentures offers an active travel program completely unique to the world of adventure travel. No other tour operator combines the best opportunities for marine mammal encounters on both sides of the Baja peninsula in one all-inclusive six-day ground and air-supported package. 
 
The 6-day/5-night Best of Baja’s Whales, Dolphins & Sea Lions Tour departs weekly from Feb.3 through April 11, 2020. The all-inclusive per person rate, including round trip private air carriage from San Diego across the peninsula and back, is $3,695 (exclusive of 13% IVA Mexican tax and 3% Marine Park entrance fee).
 
The package includes private roundtrip air from San Diego with ample opportunity for aerial flightseeing, Pacific whale watching in Scammons Lagoon by motorized panga, two nights at a B&B in the Mexican hamlet of Guerrero Negro and three nights of total seclusion at Baja AirVentures’ Las Animas beachside eco-lodge a scenic hour’s boat ride south of Bahia de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez.
 
“The unique combination of seeing marine mammals on both coasts of the peninsula is something no other whale watching operator in Baja is able to offer in one itinerary,” says Kevin Warren, founder and owner of Baja AirVentures. “In fact, the opportunity to view these magnificent creatures from a bird’s eye perspective is a thrill and rarity in itself.”
 
According to Warren, through conservation efforts, the Grey whale population in the Pacific continues to rebound and grow. Last year saw a new record with over 1,800 breeding adults and babies sited at Ojo de Libre (Scammons Lagoon). This prime location has the largest concentration of the Grey whales on the planet.
 
After departing from San Diego in a private plane for Scammons Lagoon, participants spend the better part of three days scanning and interacting with migrating California Gray whales by boat. This is where guests often get to actually “pet friendly whales” in their natural environment. Two nights are enjoyed at a cozy B&B in the small village of Guerrero Negro. Days Four and Five are spent desert hiking, kayaking, birdwatching and snorkeling with sea lions and dolphins. Boat excursions from Las Animas provide an added opportunity to view several types of whales, including Blue and Fin whales (the two largest species in the world).
 
A recent guest had this to say on Trip Advisor about their intimate encounters with the Grey whales, “The small-plane flights alone, with one pilot and five passengers, were a treat. Once on the water of Scammons Lagoon, we did not merely ‘watch’ wales! Instead, our skiff was at times surrounded by these magnificent creatures. Playful and seemingly curious calves met out-stretched hands, allowing themselves to be stroked and patted, while their enormous mothers swam watchfully close by.”
 
After crossing the peninsula via a scenic 2-hour drive through the Valley of the Cirios (Valle de los Cirios), a large wildlife protection area filled with exotic Cirio cactus, guests arrive in Bahia de Los Angeles (Bay of the Angels) on the Sea of Cortez. A boat transfer follows, past bird-filled deserted islands and bays to Las Animas Wilderness Ecolodge. The only boat-in ecolodge along the entire coast Las Animas is a remote, eco-friendly property that accommodates up to 16 guests in eight romantic and private beach-side yurts equipped with bathroom, solar shower, composting toilets, comfortable queen- and king-sized beds, covered decks and skylight roofs. The yurts are built around the spacious main palapa which offers an expansive deck that serves as a central dining area, game area and communal lounge space.
 
The all-inclusive tour price of $3,695 includes double occupancy B&B and yurt accommodations, roundtrip air from San Diego, naturalist guided outings and lectures, boat transportation, healthy homemade meals, beverages (including beer and margaritas) and such activities as kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, sailing and hiking.
 
For details on the Best of Baja tour call 1-800-221-9283 or visit online:
https://www.bajaairventures.com/bestofbaja/
 
For information on other adventure packages offered year-round by Baja AirVentures please go to: https://www.bajaairventures.com/.

Coachella, travis scott, frank ocean, rage against the machine, 360 MAGAZINE

Coachella 2020

Later this year Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and many (so many) more will play at Coachella and we’re not wasting any time making plans to join them. Passes for Weekend One are SOLD OUT, which means Travel Packages are your ticket to the action. Literally. Limited packages that include GA or VIP passes to the weekend of your choice are on sale right now.

Have questions about Coachella 2020 Travel Packages, On-Site Lodging, Platinum Estates or Shuttle service? The VMT Guest Services team is available 7AM – 3PM PT, 7 days a week at info@valleymusictravel.com and 888-833-1031.