Tag Archives: tourism

Why visit Valencia instead of Barcelona in Spain

2019-06-19

Valencia Cathedral, Spain, Europe
Overtourism (too many tourists in the same place at the same time – crowds so large that they negatively affect the daily life of residents) is a serious problem in the world’s most popular travel destinations. Particularly legendary European cities and ancient towns are planning ways to restrict the number of visitors. The New York Times has identified six different types of tourist destinations in Europe that are dealing with too many visitors, but The Times has also identified six perfect alternative destinations.

One of the New York Times’ recommendations is to visit Valencia instead of Barcelona.

Barcelona in northeast Spain (Catalonia Province) is a fabulous city destination, but it also one of the top three cities with high crime rate in Spain, and many residents are fed up with tourists (and some of them show it).

The ancient city of Valencia is located 350 km / 217 miles south of Barcelona on the Mediterranean coast. After Madrid and Barcelona, Valencia is Spain’s third largest city.

The atmosphere and cityscape in Valencia differs from Barcelona. Valencia is more relaxed. People on the streets and staff at hotels and restaurants have time to chat. Yes, even with tourists who can’t Spanish, or only know a few words. It is still a friendly city to visitors.

Valencia has slowly developed from the center outwards during thousands of years. Buildings and monuments from every era can be explored. Even the ultramodern wonder of architecture The City Arts and Sciences fits in to this long development.
a plaza in the old city center of Valencia, Spain
In addition to claiming to be the home of paella dish, Valencia’s authorities and residents believe the real Holy Grail is in their hands. Not literally, but safely stored in the Cathedral Museum where it can be seen.

The climate is pleasant around the year in Valencia, making it excellent choice for a city break any time of year. Well, if you don’t like very humid and warm weather, avoid the city in July and August.

Even though The New York Times assures that there are not many tourists in Valencia, my experience is that tourists have discovered the city. It is far from overcrowded, though. In fact, there might be just about the right volume of visitors because it ensures the fantastic selection of hotels, restaurants and bars in the city. The key sights – ancient city center, the city of arts and sciences, and the beaches – are large, so that there is enough space for everyone.
cover image for travel guidebook Valencia, Spain
Read more about Valencia in the recently published travel guidebook that shows you around the city and highlights the best sights, walking tours, local food and drink, historical places, beaches and nearby places worth visiting.

The other destinations The New York Times recommends in Europe if you want to avoid the crowds are:

Instead of:
– Amsterdam, try Delft and The Hague
– Prague, visit Olomouc
– Dubrovnik, go to Kotor
– Florence, visit Lucca
– Santorini, find a boat to Tinos

5 travel and tourism megatrends reflect the rise of new technologies, businesses and prospering nations

2019-03-14

Travel and tourism is already one of the largest, yet also one of the fastest growing global industries. It was estimated to account for about 10% of global GDP in 2017. Entire regions depend on the arrival of tourists, like Bali or Southern Portugal. Since the world is changing, travel is changing. Here are five megatrends that are shaping the way the world travels in the near future.
Valencia, Spain, Europe. crowds at a fiesta.
The five megatrends have been identified by WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council) and Bloomberg Media. WTTC is an organization that represents the Travel & Tourism private sector globally.

The travel and tourism megatrends 2019 according to the WTTC report are as follows.

1. Reality, Enhanced

Anywhere, anytime connectivity that allows access to information, communities and services have led to an experience-driven world that only 20 years was pure science fiction.

Today, it is reality. For some people, it can be harsh reality that has gone a step too far. Digital detox and unplugging from social media, or from the internet altogether for awhile is a real option for stressed minds. New travel products and services can help people who experience anxiety because of their digital habits. It doesn’t have to mean a year on an isolated island, but a trek to a mountain, or a bicycle trip around Lake Geneva. Additionally, wellness and travel have a close relationship that both industries are rapidly developing.

2. Life, Restructured

Work, especially knowledge work, is expected to change dramatically in the near future. Not only because of artificial intelligence (AI), but because of the so called gig economy. People want to work remotely and it already has a big impact on life, commute and travel.

As much as 50% of the workforce in the US is expected to be freelancers by 2027. Many of them – not all – have skills that they can sell to clients while they are actually staying at home, or on the other side of the world. Digital nomads started the trend of traveling and working years ago. Now, both young adults and seasoned knowledge workers are trying the life of a connected nomad.

3. Data, Revolutionised

Automatic collection of data is familiar for all of us because of companies like Facebook and Google. They have been criticized for their collection and of archiving private data for business purposes. Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are connecting fridges, lamps, door bells and practically everything else to the network so that we can monitor and control our homes, police can monitor streets, and Facebook and Google everything.

Travel businesses and officials are also collecting private data from travelers. For businesses, it is a way of learning more about their customers and a way for governments to secure borders. The collection of data will increase – there is no stopping it. It is up to travel businesses to apply the rules of the Europe’s GDPR and respective laws in other regions that are already being prepared across the world.
selfie photograph takers at a viewing platform

4. Power, Redistributed

The economic power and demographic power is shifting to the East. Pretty quickly. China’s GDP is expected to overtake the US by late 2020s. But it is not only about China: also India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey are forecasted to grow strongly and comprise 50% of global GDP within the next 30 years.

China has been identified in specific markets, such as in Rovaniemi, Lapland years ago as the number one priority. Years ago, Nordic airline Finnair positioned itself as the hub between Asia and Europe. Today, everyone who has traveled in popular destinations in Europe recently has witnessed large groups of Chinese selfie-takers at all key sights.

5. Consumption, Reimagined

Years of talk of tourism causing pollution and breaking sensitive ecosystems has led to initiatives like sustainable tourism and ethical travel. Some travelers even try to compensate their air miles by reducing their carbon footprint by other means. This is an opportunity for travel businesses that can offer nature-friendly products.

Overtourism – although not discussed in the report – is a serious concern for regions that are getting so many travelers that their way of life and identity are at risk. Venice and Barcelona are examples of cities that are already finding ways to balance the needs of locals and travelers.

The WTTC report concludes that

– Tomorrow’s traveller is not the same as a traveler today. More personalization, enrichment of experiences and autonomy will be required in travel products and services.
– Travel businesses are going to have to deliver authentic experiences to tourists. Some of the experiences are likely to be enhanced by technology, like AR (augmented reality).
– Travel industry will capitalise on new trends, business models and technologies. Businesses that don’t adopt will be left behind. An example is electric vehicles that can assist both locals and visitors to move around in urban environment easily and without polluting the air.

Top 20 most visited countries in the world

2019-02-05

France is still the number one tourist destination in the world according to the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) statistics. The US has fallen third, and Spain has claimed the position of the second most visited country. At the continental level, the growth of visitors is the greatest in Europe, even though it already is the biggest tourist destination.
UNWTO travel destination statistics 2017
Top 10 most visited countries in the world in 2017 according to UNWTO:

1. France
2. Spain
3. USA
4. China
5. Italy
6. Mexico
7. United Kingdom
8. Turkey
9. Germany
10. Thailand

If you want to travel in 5 out of 10 most visited countries in the world relatively easily in a manner that doesn’t take too much time, here is our tip. France and Spain share a long border along the Pyrenees Mountains. Italy has a border with France. Germany is the northeast neighbor of France. The large island where England, Scotland and Wales are located is separated from France by a short train ride or ferry trip.

The best way to tour these countries is to do a road trip, or to get an Eurail pass or an Interrail pass for traveling Europe by train.

Top 11-20 most visited countries in the world are:

11. Austria (29 million visitors)
12. Japan (28 million)
13. Greece (27 million)
14. Hong Kong (27 million)
15. Malaysia (25 million)
16. Russia (24 million)
17. Portugal (21 million)
18. Canada (20 million)
19. Poland (18 million)
20. Netherlands (18 million)

Don’t leave on a trip without a guidebook. Riviera (Cote d’Azur) in France is the must-see destination in addition to Paris. Most travelers want to see the Mediterranean coast of Spain where the city of contrasts, Valencia, has both its long history and ultramodern contemporary architecture on display. The hot trending travel destination Portugal has its own sunny coast in the south in Algarve.
tourism statistics by continent, by UNWTO
Via Quartz.

Do marketers’ travel slogans really attract tourists to visit a country?

2016-11-23

Probably every country in the world, apart from closed societies like North Korea or disorganized regions like Somalia, has a state-powered marketing organization whose responsibility is to attract more tourists to the country. Nothing wrong with that, tourism is one of the largest industries in the world today, and some countries rely their national budgets on tourism. You may have met people from these marketing organizations at travel fairs where the marketers have been keen to offer a brochure or a plastic bag with a slogan on it. That slogan is supposed to make their country attractive for potential visitors.

Family Break Finder has published a marvelous map that shows all the slogans the world’s tourism organizations are using at the moment. The slogans tend to change after a few years, but this is how the world of travel marketing slogans looks right now.

Among the best slogans is Norway’s “Powered by nature” that really nails the essence of touring in Norway’s magnificent landscape. Among the worst is Australia’s “There’s NOTHING like Australia” (if you have nothing to say, it doesn’t get any better by shouting). India’s slogan “Incredible India” is so true just now that it makes you wonder did they really mean it (trains don’t travel along rail tracks in India anymore, and people are desperate because they can’t get cash from banks).
tourism slogans by family break finderSource: Family Break Finder.

Albania – Go your own way!
Algeria – Tourism for everybody
Andorra – The Pyrenean Country
Antigua and Barbuda – The beach is just the beginning
Argentina – Beats to your rhythm
Armenia – Visit Armenia, It is Beautiful
Australia – There’s NOTHING like Australia
Austria – Arrive and revive
Bahamas – Life Is Grand
Bahrain – Ours. Yours. Bahrain
Bangladesh – Beautiful Bangladesh
Barbados – Brilliant Barbados
Belarus – Hospitality Beyond Borders
Belgium – The place to be
Belize – Mother Nature’s Best-Kept Secret
Bhutan – Happiness is a place
Bolivia – Bolivia awaits you
Bosnia and Herzegovina – The heart of SE Europe
Botswana – Our pride, your destination
Brazil – Brasil – sensational!
Brunei Darussalam – A kingdom of unexpected treasures
Bulgaria – A discovery to share
Burundi – Beautiful Burundi
Cabo Verde – No stress
Cambodia – Kingdom of wonder
Cameroon – All of Africa in one country
Canada – Keep exploring
Chad – Oasis of the Sahel
Chile – All are welcome
China – China Like Never Before
Colombia – Colombia is magical realism
Costa Rica – Essential Costa Rica
Croatia – Full of life
Cuba – Autentica Cuba
Cyprus – Cyprus in your heart
Czech Republic – Land of stories
Denmark – Happiest place on Earth!
Djibouti – Djibeauty
Dominica – The nature island
Dominican Republic – Dominican Republic has it all
Ecuador – All you need is Equador
Egypt – Where it all begins
El Salvador – The 45 Minute Country
Estonia – Epic Estonia
Ethiopia Land of origins
Fiji – Where Happiness Finds You
Finland – I wish I was in Finland
France – Rendez vous en France
Gambia – The smiling coast of Africa
Georgia – For the best moments of your life
Germany – Simply inspiring
Greece – All Time Classic
Grenada – Pure Grenada
Guatemala – Heart of the Mayan World
Guyana – South America Undiscovered
Haiti – Experience It!
Honduras – Everything is here
Hungary – Think Hungary more than expected
Iceland – Inspired by Iceland
India – Incredible !ndia
Indonesia – Wonderful Indonesia
Iran – You Are Invited
Iraq – The Other Iraq (Kurdistan)
Ireland – Jump into Ireland
Israel – Land of Creation
Italy – Made in Italy
Jamaica – Get All Right
Japan – Endless discovery
Jordan – Yes, it’s Jordan
Kazakhstan – The land of wonders
Kenya – Magical Kenya
Kiribati – For travellers
Kyrgyzstan – Oasis on the Great Silk Road
Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) – Simply Beautiful
Latvia – Best enjoyed slowly
Lebanon – Live Love Lebanon
Lesotho – The Kingdom In The Sky
Liechtenstein – Experience princely moments
Lithuania – See it! Feel it! Love it!
Luxembourg – Live your unexpected Luxembourg
Macedonia – Macedonia Timeless
Madagascar – A genuine island, a world apart
Malawi – The warm heart of Africa
Malaysia – Truly Asia
Maldives – The sunny side of life
Malta – Truly Mediterranean
Mauritius – It’s a pleasure
Mexico – Live It to Believe It
Micronesia (Federated States of) – Experience the warmth
Monaco – Easy going Monaco
Mongolia – Go Nomadic
Montenegro – Wild Beauty
Morocco – Much Mor
Mozambique – Come to where it all started
Myanmar – Let the journey begin
Namibia – Endless horizons
Nepal – Once is not enough
Netherlands – The original cool
New Zealand – 100% Pure
Nicaragua – Unica. Original!
Nigeria – Good people, great nation
Norway – Powered by nature
Oman – Beauty has an address
Palau – Pristine Paradise Palau
Panama – Panama Surprises
Papua New Guinea – A million different journeys
Paraguay – You have to feel it!
Peru – Land of the Incas
Philippines – It’s more fun in the Philippines
Poland – Move your imagination
Portugal – Europe’s West Coast
Qatar – Where dreams come to life
Republic of Korea (South Korea) – Imagine your Korea
Republic of Moldova – Discover the routes of life
Romania – Explore the Carpathian garden
Russian Federation – Reveal your own Russia
Rwanda – Remarkable Rwanda
Saint Kitts and Nevis – Follow your heart
Saint Lucia – Simply beautiful
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Discover SVG
Samoa – Beautiful Samoa
San Marino – San Marino For All
Saudi Arabia – Experience to discover
Serbia – My Serbia
Seychelles – Another world
Sierra Leone – The freedom to explore
Singapore – Your Singapore
Slovakia – Travel in Slovakia – Good idea
Slovenia – I feel SLOVEnia
Solomon Islands – Seek the unexplored
South Africa – Inspiring new ways
Spain – #spainindetail
Sri Lanka – Wonder of Asia
Suriname – A Colorful Experience… Exotic beyond words
Swaziland – A royal experience
Switzerland – Get natural
Syrian Arab Republic – Always Beautiful
Tajikistan – Feel the friendship
Thailand – Amazing Thailand. It begins with the people
Timor-Leste – Being first has its rewards
Tonga – The true South Pacific
Trinidad and Tobago – The true Caribbean
Tunisia – I feel like Tunisia
Turkey -Be our guest
Tuvalu – Timeless Tuvalu
Uganda – You’re welcome
Ukraine – It’s all about U
United Arab Emirates – Discover all that’s possible
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – Home of amazing moments
United Republic of Tanzania – The land of Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the Serengeti
United States of America – All within your reach
Uruguay – Uruguay natural
Uzbekistan – Naturally Irresistible!
Vanuatu – Discover what matters
Venezuela – Venezuela is your destination!
Vietnam – Timeless charm
Zambia – Let’s explore
Zimbabwe – A world of wonders

Despite uncertain economic times, international tourism industry is growing, with Europe attracting ever more travelers

2015-11-04

UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) has published its World Tourism Barometer that reveals some interesting pieces of information on trends in travel. The number of international tourists who stayed at least one night overseas grew 4.3% during January-August 2015. Europe showed the strongest growth with 5% increase in the number of international travelers.
Paris, France, Europe, Eiffel tower
– Central Europe had +7% growth in international tourist arrivals
– Eastern Europe +7%
– Northern Europe +6%
– Southern Mediterranean Europe +5%
– Western Europe +4%
– The 28 countries of the European Union had 6% more arrivals than the year before.

Other regions of the world experienced growth as well, only Africa recorded lower number (-5%) of tourists than the year before.

UNWTO’s Press release.

Travel guides for planning a trip to Europe, and taking the guide along for the vacation are, for instance:
The Gems of Nice and the French Riviera
I, Helsinki (A guide to Helsinki, Finland)
Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast