THIS WEEK IN TRAVEL (ISSUE NO 18)


As quickly as May came, it has left with a blink of the eye. And it seems just as we were finally embracing spring, summer has swept in with the blazing heat and the promise of sun-kissed tans. June has arrived and with it, high travel season as crowds begin to seek the best places to travel in the summer months. Whether you are looking for more sun and surf, or are looking to break free from the overcrowded beaches, Travel and Leisure has the list for you. Although the heat brings record numbers of visitors flocking to destinations around the world (see: Airbnb's new record booking 1 million guests over Memorial Day weekend), there are still plenty of deals to be scored. Flight search website Opodo has revealed summer fares are cheaper than ever especially for trips to the ten most popular destinations. You may want to read up on these tips for the best flight search websites.

Kaua'i Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Travel and Leisure via Getty Images. 

In just over a week, the lucky few will be heading to Expo 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. Expo 2017 will run from June 10th – September 10th with two million visitors expected to visit the international event. Astana, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, has become a hot destination for travellers. New rules for passport holders have made it easier than ever to visit the country just in time for the entertainment throughout the summer.  

Saving those from FOMO (fear of missing out), this Swiss town banned tourists from taking photos. The town of Bergün/Bravuogn has passed a law that prohibits photography for the purpose of preventing individuals from feeling unhappy. A statement from the town explains further, outlining that envy and negative feelings are often shared by individuals who view beautiful holiday photos on social media according to a recent study. While it is a shock to most of us, it may be refreshing to unplug and see the town without being behind the lens—or at least reserve some data for the next town.  

It may surprise you to learn of Hong Kong’s most visited spot by tourists, Mong Kok’s lively Ladies’ Market. Released by TripAdvisor, the Ladies’ Market was regarded as the top attraction for tourists and locals based on data collected through mobile GPS location check-in. Speaking of tourists, these US cities love tourists. Hint: Key West Florida made the list. Not a surprise to us, United States ranked as fourth for most sociable country (and Canada as third!) in an earlier study this year. As the Kosan team thrives on making connections with locals while travelling, we are happy to hear tourists are well received by the majority of the USA. Read our latest post, Hidden Gems: Memorial Day Edition, where we share three of our favourite spots of the moment.

Wright Peak, Adirondacks, New York. Photo from the KOSAN archives.

We recently highlighted Venice’s fight against climate change a couple weeks back in This Week in Travel, and now environmentalists are rejoicing in the drop in numbers of cruise ships cruising into Venice this year. Venice port authorities grieve the decrease in ships, which has been significant in driving local population’s income and the unchartered areas in the Adriatic. On-going disputes over cruise ships access through the Guidecca Canal has sparked pressure for a solution. Concerns are raised about the damage caused by engine pollution from ships travelling through the canal. Although Venice is far from being taken off the cruise map, measures need to be taken in order to preserve the city’s future and prevent Venice becoming an endangered heritage site.   

St. Mark's Square, Venice, Italy. Photo courtesy of Telegraph. 

Elsewhere in Italy, after decades of restorations, Rome's largest catacombs are on the verge of opening to the public. Representing the roots of both Rome and of Christianity, the tombs’ frescoes have been concealed for centuries hiding some of the most remarkable frescoes in the St. Domitilla catacombs. If the promise of rich pasta and thirst quenching wine wasn’t enough, maybe it’s time you add Italy to your list.

Recent protests broke out elsewhere in Europe, this time against whaling around the Faroe Islands. Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid statue has been vandalized in red paint with the words, ‘Defend the whales of the Faroe Islands’ graffitied next to it. Islanders continue to partake in controversial, gruesome whale hunts in Denmark, forcing organizations to take action against Denmark for its participation in whaling. Not the first time vandals have destroyed the national statue, but it hasn’t deterred tourists from visiting. Still it’s a shame vandals resort to defacing this treasure regardless of their political motivations.

Little Mermaid, Copenhagen. Photo courtesy of Telegraph. 

While Venice fights against climate change, striving towards small victories to protect the city’s future, the world reacts to recent news of Trump withdrawing U.S. from the Paris climate deal sparking criticisms globally. The intention of the Paris agreement was to bind the world together into combatting rising temperatures and pollution. The departure of the United States is definitely a set back to global efforts and weakens the widespread mission to fight climate change, a change we all need to be apart of in order to protect our environment.

In other news, it brings us great joy to hear the official launch of Global Degree Academy! Who else wishes they had had the opportunity to travel while getting a university degree online? Learn more on the ‘world’s most diverse study-abroad program’ here. Students can apply now or join the team today! You won’t want to miss out on graduating with a Global Degree while making an impact on the world. After all, we love to travel, and more importantly, we believe in the life changing experience and positive power of travel. There’s a reason our friends over at Global Degree have created a program centered around travel. Travel has a way of opening your perspective, removing prejudices and expanding your horizons. It allows you to experience the world beyond the classroom, educating and challenging you away from your daily routines. And it inspires peace through trade and travel teaching empathy and compassion, a quality we all need as individuals in this world.

St. Mary, Salt Spring Island. From the Kosan archives. 

 

Happy Travels!

The Kosan Team