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Archive for May, 2007

Room With A View

By Linda Tancs

There simply is something majestic about Hotel Suisse Majestic in Montreux, where everyone gets the room with a view.  Open the glass doors beside the bed and admire the lake or mountain view from the cozy balcony with table and chairs for two.  It’s hard to resist a bottle of wine and some emmental as you gaze at the Alps or Lake Geneva, or both.  If you have the good fortune of getting there when the Jazz Festival aligns with Bastille Day, you have the unmitigated pleasure of enjoying great music during the day and fireworks over the distant French Alps at night.  Que magnifique!

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Regional Culture

By Linda Tancs

Europe celebrates itself each year with the designation of a Capital of Culture.  In 2007, the designation goes not to a city but to a region–Luxembourg and Greater Region, to be exact.  Of course, Luxembourg had its close-up in 1995, so it’s only fitting that it share the glory this time around with some of its neighbors.  Those neighbors include Belgium, Lorraine in France and Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland in Germany.  Don’t leave your appetite at home–you’ll find more Michelin-rated restaurants in Luxembourg per capita than anywhere else.

A Taxing Situation

By Linda Tancs

 In a bid to address the airlines’ contribution to global warming (ahem–assessed at 1.6% of all global greenhouse gas emissions by one group), Tony Blair’s successor-in-waiting (Gordon Brown) proposed a passenger air tax that doubles the existing tax on long-haul passenger flights.  As we’ve seen in the past, taxes come and taxes go.  On this side of the pond, the FAA recently proposed eliminating certain taxes such as the domestic segment tax, the Alaska/Hawaii tax and the frequent flyer tax.  International arrival and departure taxes would be somewhat reduced as well.

London for Less

By Linda Tancs

In this week’s edition of the podcast Travelrific, the topic is:  what can you do for free (or nearly free) in London, England?  With the dollar sinking against the pound, travelers need some serious cost-cutting ideas.  Listen in for some fun and family-friendly ideas that won’t break the bank. Visit www.travelrificradio.com.

What’s a Junket?

By Linda Tancs

Sadly, the term “junket” is often pejoratively used to suggest a trip sponsored by a third party seeking special favors from the traveler.  Celebrities have also been known to use the term when describing the obligatory press cycle they must endure to promote their latest endeavor.  In travel terms, is a “junket” any less than an “excursion”?  Better than a “jaunt”?  Some self-proclaimed junkets have a long and venerable history, like the Kentucky Derby Junket.  Reminds me of that quote from George Bernard Shaw: “Words are only postage stamps delivering the object for you to unwrap.”  Maybe there’s room for junkets in the travel lexicon after all.

National Tourism Week

 By Linda Tancs

This week is National Tourism Week.  Sponsored by the Travel Industry Association, the event is intended to promote travel to and within the U.S.  Some communities use National Tourism Week as a kick-off for a series of events highlighting local points of interest such as historic homes and revolutionary-war era battlegrounds.

 With the dollar at an all-time low against many major currencies, it might not be too difficult these days to promote travel within the U.S.  More problematic is the promotion of travel to the U.S.  In fact, a recent poll of Chinese citizens indicated that a desire to travel to the U.S. (if money were no object, no less) drew very low results.  And among Europeans, Australia is apparently the top tourist destination.  To be sure, after 9/11, overseas travel to the U.S. dropped.  Are tightened airport security regulations to blame?  What is the perception of an overseas tourist towards the U.S. these days?  According to the Department of Commerce, international visitation did rebound somewhat in January 2007.   Will this trend continue?  Let’s hope so, considering that travel and tourism can account for over $1 trillion in economic activity in the U.S. each year.

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