Monday, August 10, 2009


There's a new travel magazine in town, and if you're the type looking for new recommendations on places to go and things to do, you might want to have a look at Afar, which will be published 6 times a year. According to their release, they won't be highlighting luxury hotels and the usual touristic trips, but will instead be profiling interesting individuals in the countries in which they travel. Greg Sullivan, who will be launching the magazine, said that "When times are difficult people are looking for something different. Afar is different.” That sounds promising, doesn't it? Afar will contain plenty of stunning photos, “off the beaten path” stories and narratives, and local arts and foods mentions by insiders who managed to find out the secrets to local culture in a variety of locations around the globe, to fit diverse interests and requirements. "I think there will be a smaller magazine industry and I'm happy that we are going to be positioned to be part of that,” Sullivan told MSNBC. Other projects in the works include a website, with books, TV, and radio projects also planned.

We could all use a break after such a turbulent time—and yes, that means a vacation or two, please! Even after all the cutbacks and traveling challenges we've faced, 2008 saw a 2% growth in international travel to 920 million arrivals. 1.6 billion arrivals are expected by 2020, with the most popular regions expected to be Europe, East Asia, and the Pacific. Cultural tourism is expected to grow consistently, and that will be joined by interesting new adventure and eco-related trips increasing steadily as well.

Top Cultural Tourism Locations
Let's say that you're going to be getting in the ecological or cultural tourism groove on your next vacation or two, and you need some advice on places to go. Here are just a few recommended locations to visit.

Europe: Portugal
Portugal offers plenty for the inquisitive traveler, from holiday resort spots like Espinho to fishing towns like Povoa de Varzim. Go to Porto and then try multiple wines where Port wines are aged and blended, later catching a river cruise along the Douro. Renting a car will give you a chance to grab that camera and snap pictures of rugged mountains, pristine lakes, and beautiful towns.

Featured Hotel
Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon: From this hotel, you can see St. George's castle, parks, the Old Town, and the Tagus River. Spacious rooms and suites are in this centrally-located hotel.

The Pacific: Singapore
With English as one of the official languages in Singapore, it's easy to visit, shop, and explore without difficulties. Take advantage of their extensive public transportation system connecting major tourist stops, and be sure to check out the Orchard Road district, which is a multi-story shopping destination considered to be one of the major tourist attractions in Singapore. There's also the Singapore Zoo, which has an “open zoo” concept perfect for animal lovers, and Night Safari, which is a good place to explore animal habitats at night.

Featured Hotel
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore: This particular hotel happens to be located near the aforementioned Orchard Road, otherwise known as Singapore's Fifth Avenue, and is furnished with 1,500 special art pieces.

East Asia: Japan
Just a trip to Tokyo will keep you busy for ages. Tokyo has a population larger than the whole of Sweden, and there are several downtown spots to explore, including Shibuya and Shinjuku. Touristic highlights include Ueno, Yoyogi Park, and the Meji Shrine, but that's certainly not all. Don't forget to catch a panoramic glimpse of the city at least once.

Featured Hotel
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi: In a landmark glass tower, the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi is a contemporary, spacious spot that comes complete with a special spa experience (plus private treatment rooms) and a specially outfitted exercise room.

Will you be using Afar to guide your next trip?

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