THIS WEEK IN TRAVEL (ISSUE NO. 11)


As spring is finally starting to appear, and April showers nurture the first blossoms to sprout, it’s the ideal time to travel. Yes, we are aware we always think it’s an ideal time to travel—but why not with the weather warming up and especially for Canadians who are awaiting on our hopeful, hefty tax returns! Condé Nast gives us the best places to venture to in April, with Tokyo in the top three. And it’s not really a surprise, as many wait for the season to change to chase cherry blossoms with an abundance of sakura flowers bursting in the northern hemisphere, most notably in Japan where Japanese celebrate the season with their ritual hanami festivals—worth the long-haul trip. If that’s not enough, Japan’s striking wisteria season is near covering parks in cascading blooms, making Japan one of the most beautiful places to visit.

Tokyo, Japan. Photo courtesy of Condé Nast. 

Despite recent restrictions including the not so elusive U.S. travel ban, airfares are low while travel demand remains high. According to reports from the International Air Transport Association, the robust economic environment has in part contributed to the much-appreciated low fares. Although, we remain concerned over travel restrictions, carriers’ increase in demand has made this an opportune time to save on airfare. Get saving!

However, an abrupt increase in the cost of flights to Saint Lucia has Britains rethinking their holiday plans. The government has reintroduced an Airport Development Tax raising the Airport Departure Tax for foreign visitors with the intention of raising money to support improvements to the airport and help in developing tourism to the Caribbean Island. With taxes quadrupling in costs, the ever-popular island for British vacationers has become a little less affordable, for now at least.

A new 400-mile hiking trail across the country, Jordan's newest attraction, recently opened at the end of March with the hope of boosting tourism. Stretching from Umm Qais to the Red Sea, the Jordan Trail is broken into several sections easily doable by amateur hikers or a more intensive pathway for the adventurous traveller. The best part, there are less crowds and spectacular views while you make your way to the popular site, Petra. British couple Tony and Di Howard dreamt of the Jordan Trail years back with the idea of building up tourism and benefiting rural villages, but it wasn’t until 2016 that they received funding. The hiking trails pass through 52 settlements where hikers can spend an ample amount of time in local communities sharing stories with the village people.

Jordan Trail. Photo courtesy of Independent 

While we likely all know Rome for the famous St. Peter Basilica, we at least are less versed on the other lesser known, but equally beautiful churches in Rome to visit. The tradition since 1552 has now grown to a full out tour over 6,000 embarking on the circuit of the Seven Pilgrimage Churches of Rome. The “Seven Church Challenge” has become popular during the Holy Week in April for obvious reasons, Easter. No matter your reasons for wanting to explore these seven churches, Condé Nast breaks down these destinations and what to expect.

Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, Rome. Photo courtesy of Condé Nast. 

Disruptive tourists continue to make headlines across the world with tales of vandalism to centuries-old, historical sites. The most recent incident, a women was caught trying to destroy two 18-century Candelabras in Rome's Pantheon, causing authorities to charge into action conjuring up preventative measures in order to set the precedence to visitors of these historical sites. After tourists tried to break into the Colosseum after hours back in January, there are talks of banning tour buses and a possible "no-go zone" around the Colosseum. It’s a privilege that we get to view these sites first hand and feel a little more connected to history, to Earth’s past life. A privilege that we as travellers wouldn’t want taken away. We have spoken about our responsibilities as travellers on a few occasions, but it’s vital we reiterate this message again.

Rome's Pantheon. Photo courtesy of Condé Nast via Getty Images

Holidaymakers in the Grenadines witness two whales being killed, which forced Thomson Cruise to consider cancelling all whale and dolphin tours. Passengers while on a tour were observing the killer whales in amazement when a sad incident occurred; two whales were slaughtered in front of their eyes. Unfortunately the practice of whaling remains legal in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. After such an event and in TUI Discovery Ship’s attempt to preserve animal welfare, they are, as they should be reviewing their future excursions.

A very interesting, and yet perplexing, guide recently was released detailing a country-by-country tourist etiquette guide by Russia for Russian tourists around the world. Although more of a humane guide, it’s slightly unfitting to Russia’s actions of the past. In particular, the guide advises against hate speeches specifically in regards to LGBT groups even though Russia has been recognized for targeting LGBT individuals. The document covers over 52 countries, however interestingly; the United States is not included in the guide.

In other news, the U.K. Prime Minister has officially started the Brexit process and travellers are left wondering what will happen next. While the U.K. won’t leave the European Union until March 2019, here's what Brexit means for travellers. New negotiations mean airfares may increase and you can expect dropped routes within the U.K. There will be a forecasted lack of staffing in the travel and tourism industries due to less immigration, and possibly travel to the U.K. will be cheaper for U.S. citizens. For visitors, there are more positives since the pound decline has made the market more affordable. Although more affordable, the appeal to travel to the U.K. may decrease in the process of Brexit.

While Brexit has commenced by British Prime Minister Theresa May, London and Paris sign tourism agreement in an attempt to focus their efforts on attracting overseas visitors. The relationship between London and Paris will not change even with Brexit. The new partnership will be implemented in 2018 with initiatives to boost trade and investment and offer special rates on the Eurostar train service and accommodations. These two powerful cities will definitely benefit from each other’s joined union.

This generation of Millennials who strive to live a life a little less predictable, or some may say unstable, are inspiring a span of individuals to live every last bit of your life to the fullest. After all, as recent heartbreaking tragedies broadcasted throughout the media can attest, we just don’t know our exact resting day. Although some refer to them as a crazy generation, refusing to settle down the traditional way, we view them as a generation of energizing individuals encouraging us all to not just be satisfied, but happy nearly every day of our lives. So instead of raising a family at home we are raising them globally, travelling with our children and growing as individuals while meeting people from around the world eliminating our prejudices.

Kawachi Fujien Wisteria Gardens, Japan. Photo courtesy of Huffington Post via Getty Images. 

 

Happy Travels!

The Kosan Team