Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sweden's Umea, the Cultural Capital of Europe an Region

The downright eclectic city of Umea is the largest among all the cities of northern Sweden. However, that is not the only reason why the whole world of tourism wishes to be in this place these days. The reason is its vibrancy, its multicultural environment and its sheer dedication to art and artists. Being a home to over fifty different languages, it has accomplished a task that only a few other cities can think of - fifty different languages mean people from fifty different ethnic origins! To top that up, Umea has been titled the Capital of Culture 2014 event. It was an event that welcomed some of the best artists from all over the globe and held some of the best works made of fire and ice. The whole city was transformed!

Cultural values of a place are depicted mostly by the sources of information and record that they have about their history. Culture takes root in history. And Umea has a load of museums that cover an array of topics from the European history. There is Museum of the County of Vasterbotten, Swedish Ski Museum, Gammlia Outdoor Museum and the Bildmuseet Museum of Contemporary Art and Visual  Culture - to name a few.

Coming back to Umea; the city has been named as the cultural capital of Europe jointly along with Riga. Apart from being an honor, this means a year long list of cultural events and one example of that is the City of Winter. The whole event was divided into eight different sections. One saw to it that the whole city got filled with demonstrations of moving visual arts, artists secluding themselves from the world within walls of ice and snow while they survived just with the help of the burning flames, the Square Dome being locked down using blocks of ice to create a mythical atmosphere and an eerie feeling about that is going on inside. There were ice pillars with fires on top to light up the place and then on a lot of places, the usual street lights got replaced with real life fires, it has been the best representation of the connection between the two elements the likes of which Europe has not seen before.  The title of the European Cultural Capital has been very well served.

So why did Umea deserve this? Well, it has been 29 years since the European Union has been selecting deserving cities to hold cultural events throughout the year. And looking at the deep rooted love of this small city with the culture (in the form of museums), music and history, the only other city that could deserve the title was Riga - which it did.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Jamaica... Tourism haven!

Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean Sea. It has a total area of 10,990 sq km. The total coastline is 1,022 km with the capital city “Kingston” situated on its southeastern part. Jamaica is one of the islands with a diverse geography. Its topographical features including mountains, bays, waterfalls, rivers, caves, forests, plains and beaches are the major tourist attraction. The island provides the tourists with several options including: climbing Dunns River Falls, spending the day at Bob Marley Museum, shopping for souvenirs at Taj Mahal in Ocho Rios, go hiking in Blue Mountain in Kingston, dancing the night away at Fiction Nightclub or having a few drinks at a local pub.

Choosing your top tourist attractions in Jamaica before you arrive will save you money and time. Read on to know some of the popular attractions in Jamaica:
Tourists interested in hiking have a chance to visit mountains in Jamaica like the Blue Mountain which form a boundary between St. Thomas and Portland parishes. This is where the famous Blue Mountain coffee is grown and where the second largest butterflies in the world “Papilio homeru” are found here.
Jamaica has several museums that one can select from. The museums are mirrors to Jamaica’s culture. One is able to take a full image of this culture after touring museums like b Museum, Hanover Museum, People’s Museum of craft and Technology and Reggae Xplosion museum.
A tour to Jamaica gives you the best chance to explore its beautiful island. Several tour companies are ready to take you around from architectural Sightseeing to water tours. Tourists can choose to visit the White River, Dunns River Falls, or go cycling around the Blue Mountain.
Cultural Events
Jamaica has a well reserved culture that is presented by several events like reggae concerts, local festivals and agricultural shows. Reggae Sum fest, an international Reggae show, is responsible for attracting tens of thousands of patrons to Montego Bay for the weekend. Jamaica also has events that celebrate its independence, music, food, art and lifestyle.
Historical Sites
The island of Jamaica has many historical sites that enable tourists to acquire information about its history up to date. You can choose to spend a day at Port Royal, where pirates once ruled and were known as the richest and wickedest. Most of this historical buildings and landmarks are located in the Jamaican capital city, Kingston.
Jamaica has several beautiful beaches.  Some are public and crowded while others are private and secluded. Among the most famous: Ocho Rios, Negril, and Montego Bay. Seven Mile Beach is also one of the amazing beaches found in Jamaica.
Jamaica is not short of lovely gardens. One such beautiful garden is the Ocho Rios. The garden not only provides a wonderful place to cool off your mind but is also a place to encounter lovely flowers along with other fauna. Ocho Rios is however not the only garden; there are other ones such as Shaw Park Gardens and Castleton Gardens, among others.

Carnival lovers will enjoy what Jamaica has to offer. Although every weekend a soca party is held in Jamaica, but April is the best month for the carnival.

New Zealand tourism: the next big thing

The recent studies have shown the western markets driving up New Zealand’s tourism to 6.1 per cent year after another. The data shows 2.78 million arrivals till financial year end April 2014. New Zealand is on its way to becoming one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. It is already frequented by those who seek to enjoy exceptional holiday experiences at a competitive price.
Germany displayed highest growth by 16.3 per cent, followed by USA by 11 per cent and UK grew by 2.8 per cent. This Data was released from the International Visitor Survey also focused on the overall international visitor spending had also increased by nine per cent till March 2014.
Studies have shown that UK visitors are attracted to New Zealand’s culture and the services offered by a number of new boutique lodges and hotels launched in 2013 and 2014, they are also attracted to the recreational activities such as cycling experiences linked to the newly launched New Zealand Cycle Trail and the continuing impact of the country’s starring role in Sir Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy.
The recent events have made New Zealand one of the most desired places to visit for many British travellers. The favourable weather conditions and a robust tourism infrastructure make it a prime spot for holidaying.
The international growth predicts Tourism in New Zealand ahead on track for targets set by ‘Tourism 2025”, this means an ambitious goal to achieve NZ$41 billion total as a tourism revenue by 2025. They expect to get the returns on huge investments made to enhance tourism.
Many people are just looking for a package that suits their budget and also provides a quality holidaying experience. Recently The industry wide framework which is led by the Tourism Industry Association in association with Tourism New Zealand have announced this spring to focus efforts on the theme of ‘targeting for value’. The services will be a value for money which will encourage people to spend more than an average holiday visitor. New Zealand has decided to invest in certain crucial areas in an effort to increase the number of visitors coming from across the world.
The event was strategically used as a platform to provide NZ$20 million dollar extension for the Memorandum of Understanding with Air New Zealand. The synergy of the deal will also help promote tourism.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Top 10 activity holidays in Europe

Change your daily lifestyle and explore Europe and have exquisite holidays that will inspire you and will give you time out of life to relax your body. If you are looking to improve your fitness, having fun by learning a new skill, then it is the time to check these 10 best holidays in Europe. Let’s have a look:
·         Mountain biking and hiking in Italy:   
 You can get on two wheels and have fun biking Tuscan countryside. The Tuscan landscape is beautiful and challenging enough to motivate and push your body. The holiday is inclusive of mountain biking, guided Nordic walks and personal fitness training. The fitness activities like yoga, gym, swimming in fresh water pools will make you and your body fit. 
·         Road cycling in Mallorca: 
 Cycling is one of the most suitable exercises to make your body fit. The Tramuntana Mountains in Mallorca is good for cycling is will testyour body and keep it  fit and moving. You can also hire the best of cycles, have sports massages and can explore the mountain hills on hybrid bikes. 

·         Tennis and Golfing in Cyprus: 
 Aphrodite Hills is a perfect place for the people looking to play tennis and have fun playing a golf game. It is a vast golf course in Aphrodite Hills inclusive of can enjoy the scenic beauty by looking at the clear blue sea. You can have up to four rounds of golf and two golf sessions followed by a sports recovery massage. Aphrodite Hills Tennis Academy takes care of tennis lovers as well by arranging private lessons.
·         Surf and Yoga in Morocco: It is not a concern if you are a beginner or a regular hang tenner. ParadisPlage Surfing Holidays welcome you to come and have surfing lessons and yoga. Surfing is a great workout; ask people who have been surfing since years. When you are done with your surfing experience, you can go and relax on the private beach and have a fantastic view of North African sands and Atlantic Ocean.
·         Rock climbing in Corscia, France: 
 Even if you are a beginner in rock climbing it doesn’t matter as in Corscia you will get rock climbing courses normally week-long specially designed to take you upto an expert level of rock climbing.  The course is limited to six people to have more grips on everyone participating. 

·         Pack Rafting in Finland: 
 Pack rafts are lightweight boats that can be folded into your backpacks and once you have reached the destination you are good to go. There are several rafting courses offered in Finland by at affordable prices. Come and enjoy the experience of pack rafting.
·         Paddle boarding in Ibiza:  
You can explore the hidden bays and turquoise waters of Ibiza by doing paddle boarding. This is not only fun but also a great way to explore the coastline and region of Ibiza. Daily paddleboard activities inclusive of Zumba, mountain biking and meditation are arranged.

·         Skateboarding &Long boarding in Galicia, Spain:  
Surfing and Skateboarding have a close relationship, being in modern era skateboarding is gaining popularity. Join us and have a unique experience of skateboarding along with yoga, table tennis and other camp activities.

·         Crafts and walking in Serbia: 
If you are looking for a activity to relax yourself rather than getting down a hill on two wheels then Blue Plum Escapes welcomes you for a holiday. You will be staying in a 200-year old hamlet and a place in wine valley of Zupa, Serbia. You will be offered daily breakfast and yoga sessions. You can also study crafting including knitting, weaving, crochet and pottery.
·         Skiing in Finland:  
During winters Finland, offers deep snow, husky safaris, cozy chalets and cross country skiing. The most exciting thing to do here is skiing and going absolutely wild. In Lapland, you can have the best skiing experience that you won’t forget.

Royal Opera House Muscat: a symbol marvellous Islamic architecture and shift in Conservatism.

Royal Opera House Muscat which opened in Oman in 2011 after much controversies, is a shining symbol of modern Islamic Architecture and design. The opening season for this Opera house was pretty impressive and the performance of Plácido Domingo did grab a lot of attention across the entire Gulf. Many of those countries are now in the race to construct their own facility. Kuwait, Baghdad and Dubai are already on their way to conceptualise their own opera house while Doha already has a very popular centre of performing arts which opened in Katara Village in 2010. 
A shift in Conservatism
Now we see a trend here, but more than the trend what we should focus on is the shift in the conservatism that is taking place in these regions. Complete and expensive indulgence in music has been regarded as Haram i.e. sinful. Before this facility in Oman even opened, a fatwa was issued by Grand Mufti, Sheik Ahmed bin hamad al-khalili who saw the place as unaccepted to be visited by Muslims.
There were others who also questioned whether such a cost was justified , wether it could have been used in some other constructive way. At the time when the Opera house opened, the country was in need to inspire better economic conditions so this Royal House was seen as a big indulgence during that time at least.
Perhaps without Qaboos bin said al said, the Omani Sultan, the facility would never have been possible. He overthrew his father during a coup in 1970 and is famous for his liberal policies.  It was because of his efforts that all censorship laws were removed and also granted women the right to vote. He has always been in favor of the cause of women equality and even appointed Christina Scheppelmann, the opera house’s director general. 
Symbol of unique contemporary Islamic architecture.
The perfectly manicured gardens and the Grandiose building of the Royal Opera House is an example of contemporary Islamic architecture. The dazzling marble archways soaring at least 9 m high, quite intimidating and magnificent. The ceiling carved out of Burmese teak looks stunning. The Italian marble and Austrian lights add a lot of luxury to the design as well.
It is not just a lavish facility for the love of music. It has attracted talent worldwide and also received critical acclaim for excellent acoustics of its auditorium. The new and latest innovations also makes it one of the most advanced facilities in the world. The touch screens located behind every seat display translations of all the performances. At the touch of a button the hall transforms into a concert hall characterized by shoebox shaped hall with a ceiling that is flat.
The versatile nature of the Royal Opera House makes it capable enough to host almost any type of musical performance be it a Jazz concert or African Brass Band. The theaters success will be advantageous for Oman’s tourism that is already growing. With more players in the gulf serious about establishing their own facility things are going to get interesting in the Gulf.

Vegas - A city of Casinos

Vegas, one of the most amazing cities to visit at any time of the year, Located in Nevada, Vegas is the destination primarily for gambling, night life and parties and never ending shopping. It’s a place where the maxim, ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ has originated from. It assures its visitors that each one will have a unique and unforgettable  life experience .
Vegas is the city of casinos, it has earned the title as it offers plethora of casinos where people try their luck, some win and some loose but at the end of the day it’s the fun experience that matters the most, the rules pertaining to the game vary from casino to casino.
The city has glamor, it is lavishly decorated which makes Vegas stands out from other casino states of the world.  You will never get enough of Vegas in your entire stay.
Some of the best casinos are listed below,try not to miss them:
Mirage: one of the most expensive and popular hotel and casino ever built in the city; it remains busy throughout the year. You will often find eminent personalities who try their luck in the game. Roulette is the most popular game amongst the people.
Bellagio:the casino where ocean’s eleven was shot has made Bellagio quite popular among those who didn’t know it, the ability to accommodate 3000 people at the same time, Bellagio’s ability to provide the best time to each and every one makes it quite popular among people there. You can play black jack, bingo, slot machine and have a gala time at the same time enjoy the company of the best music and some of the most amazing drinks.
El cortez:This is one of the most popular casinos and hotels for the locals, don’t go on the size of this casino for you might just play the best game of your life here. Over the last few years it has been renovated and has brought many eminent personalities at its door-step .
Palms: Entertainment, party, drinks and gambling all under one ceiling makes palms popular in vegas. A paradise for the game lovers, try your luck at the table games and slots and play all night. Relish the time you will spend there as the place offers value for money. Enjoy the ambience of the most amazing casino in vegas.
Four queens: offering many benefits to its customers, they look to make the stay of their customers memorable. Play slots and table games, get instant cash back and free merchandizes, if you are lucky you might get discounts to stay at their hotel and enjoy your entire stay.
Casino Royale
The names says it all, a casino that has been remodelled in the last few years has made it quite popular among the young generation of the world. The food and drinks are affordable, but what sets it apart are the games it has to offer. You can enjoy the company of smart people, try your luck in poker and get instant cash back.