For those who want to visit Asia, but are not sure where to start, Taiwan is the perfect place to visit and experience Asian culture. Taiwan will ease you into the East in a very gentle and wonderful way. An island that is located in the heart of Asia, Taiwan is rich with not only modern cities, but ancient Chinese temples, and a bounty of nature, boasting hot springs and stunning mountains.
Only 70 miles west of Shanghai, China’s high-tech metropolis, Suzhou is a world apart, a wonderland of lush classical gardens, age-old canals and winding rivers, and revered cultural institutions. The graceful city that once attracted ancient emperors and court officials, artists and poets, still draws Chinese vacationers as well as savvy Westerners.
Suzhou - pronounced “sue-joe” - is easily reached. Airlines fly regularly from major U.S. and Canadian gateways to Shanghai. Take the high-speed Maglev train into the city and visit mega-tall skyscrapers and elegant 19th-century European buildings along the riverside Bund. Or proceed directly to Suzhou. From Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport or Hongqiao International Airport, bullet trains make the 30-minute trip.
Any agent selling Europe knows that for the last few years, the Flanders area of Belgium has been a hot destination. The vast majority of travelers generally visit either Brussels, the European Union capital, or Bruges...everyone’s choice for Europe’s medieval town “cute” capital.
Bruges is definitely a great place to visit, as it is Europe’s best preserved medieval old town and has a real-life fairytale atmosphere. Not quite 2 square miles, this UNESCO World Heritage city center has something of a Disneyland feel to it. Most tourists visit Bruges between 9am and 4pm, and if you’re having a beer at a hopping café, suddenly by 5 pm, it becomes a quiet, somewhat empty café.
For those travelers looking for something beyond a fairytale experience, what’s the solution? The answer is... a visit to the beautiful city of Ghent!
Expedition cruising is one of the most rapidly growing segments of the industry, with four new builds this year (two from Ponant, one from Scenic and one from Hurtigruten), 11 next year and more than a dozen in the following few years.
Today, younger travelers, active travelers, and those seeking richer experiences than those offered on conventional cruises are choosing adventure on expedition ships. The kind of ships that have no Vegas-style entertainment, no casinos, no Bingo - in short, none of the familiar onboard experiences.
St. Petersburg, Russia’s gorgeous cultural capital, dazzles with its stunning architecture, imperial palaces and spectacular gardens. Built by Peter the Great in grand European style on over 42 islands connected by 342 bridges with picturesque canals, this magnificent city of the czars is known as Venice of The North. It’s even more magical during the “White Nights” from May through July when the sun remains bright after midnight and everyone is a bit giddy basking in the daylight, the majestic Neva River glistening. Adding to the excitement, there’s a festival with stupendous music and dance performances. It’s like a fairy tale.
Many travel agents rely on repeat customers and referrals from satisfied clients, but sometimes we need to market ourselves in order to continue to build our client base. Where can you find new clients? Advertising can be expensive, and many travel agents no longer have brick and mortar facilities, so can’t rely on curb appeal to bring in drive-by business. The answer is in groups. Friend groups, church groups, PTO groups, club groups, and - social media groups.
Today I am in the Bahamas at Ensemble’s Annual Conference. Weighing heavily on my mind was developing a topic for this issue’s Publisher’s Page. I went to listen to one of the keynote speakers, Kindra Hall, who spoke about marketing through storytelling. Storytelling is a method of engaging your clients (or in this case, readers) through the use of creative storytelling. I realized that, at a time when many of our competitors are large, corporately owned companies, our small family owned publishing company has a unique story to tell, and that story sets us apart. And so, I give you, The Story of JAX FAX.
My last travel column was “Dream Castles” - three castles that claim to be the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping’s Beauty Castle - the place where the heroine slept for 100 years, awakening not looking a day older. (And she was awakened by her prince - not her plastic surgeon.) Let’s journey from “Dream Castles” to “Dream Towns” - from Princesses - who have awakened intact after sleeping for 100 years - to towns that are intact after sleeping for hundreds of years and even millennia. These towns frozen in time are not fairytales - but exist all over the world.
No one celebrates the holiday season like New York. Whether it’s the colorful balloons floating through the City during the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the bright lights of the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree or the incomparable excitement of a million revelers coming together to watch the ball drop during the world’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, all eyes are on NYC during the most wonderful time of the year.
Croatia is often called a nautical paradise, with one of the most indented coasts in the Mediterranean, and home to more than 1,000 islands. Sailing along Croatia’s coastline from north to south is the best way to explore it, or a visitor can hit the road instead, and discover some of the more off-the-beaten path sites. Here are just a few of the special places your clients will want to experience for themselves, whatever way they choose to get there.