Category Archives: Asia

Sail the Mekong with the Brand-New Emerald Waterways Harmony

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If you love Emerald Waterways, here’s your chance to join their brand-new river cruise ship on the Mekong River.

The 84-passenger Emerald Harmony, will sail the Mekong River in 2019.

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Emerald Harmony will have many of the features of the line’s European “star ships,” including:

  • Panorama Balcony suites with drop-down windows
  • Asian design touches
  • Horizon Bar & Lounge will be Asian-themed
  • the ship’s main dining venue, Reflections Restaurant, will serve a locally-inspired menu.

One standout feature of the ship is that it will be built to allow access to the center of Ho Chi Minh City, so passengers can embark there as opposed to a dock outside of the city. Emerald Waterways has been sailing on the Mekong since 2014, with a chartered vessel, Mekong Navigator.

Emerald Harmony will be the first time that the company has put a “star ship” style ship outside Europe.

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Itineraries

Beginning August 2019, Emerald Harmony will sail three itineraries in Vietnam and Cambodia:

a 13-Day Majestic Mekong River Cruise – cruise tour sailing between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap, with time for Angkor Wat; 

Your journey begins in Siem Reap, where early mornings and ancient architecture promise to be the perfect combination. Angkor Wat is sure to fascinate, as is Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. Then your journey along the majestic Mekong introduces Phnom Penh, invites you to a family-owned silk-producing factory and to attend a scarfweaving workshop in Long Khanh Island. Continue onwards before leaving your Star-Ship at the center of Ho Chi Minh City for a two-night stay in a 5-star colonial-style hotel.

a 17-Day Treasures & Temples of Vietnam & Cambodia: that adds stops at Hanoi and Halong Bay in the north;

Begin your adventure in Hanoi, where centuries-old architecture is a wonderful nod to the past and the Old Quarter strikes a fine contrast with its many temples. Cruise the emerald waters of Halong Bay in a traditional junk boat, learn of Ho Chi Minh City’s fascinating war history and embark on a once-in-a-lifetime river cruise along the Mekong. Enjoy tuk-tuk and ox cart tours in Phnom Penh and finish your adventure in the Cambodian city of Siem Reap, where you’ll witness Angkor Wat and attend a circus performance.

and a 21-Day Grand Tour of Vietnam & Cambodia that encompasses all of the above, plus Hoi An and Hue.

Hanoi’s labyrinth of streets is filled with food stalls and markets. Journey to Halong Bay and embark on a traditional junk boat as you sail its ethereal waters, and drive through Da Nang before crossing the Pass of Ocean Clouds. Discover Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi Tunnels, before meeting your Star-Ship and sailing the Mekong, stopping off in My Tho, Sa Dec and Phnom Penh. Conclude your trip with three nights in Siem Reap, attending the Phare Cambodian Circus and visiting the historic Angkor Wat.

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Inclusions

Fares for Emerald Harmony will have the same inclusions as other Emerald Waterways ships:
  • transfers,
  • port charges,
  • meals,
  • unlimited wine and beer with lunch and dinner,
  • bottled water in the cabins,
  • complimentary Wi-Fi,
  • at least one shore excursion in every port and
  • all onboard and excursion gratuities.
  • During the cruise tour portion of the trips, hotel, internal flights and transfers are also included.

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Filed under Asia, Cambodia, Cruises, emerald waterways, Thailand, Travel by Ship, Vietnam, Vietnam

8 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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8 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites

We have a bunch of New UNESCO Heritage Sites on the list, to add to our ever-growing bucket list!

All of these cultural and natural landmarks are recognized for their outstanding value to humanity. Discover which wonders made the list this year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a handful of our favorites. Learn more about other sites on the UNESCO official webpage

What are some of YOUR favorite UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

Let us know in the comments!

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1. Naumburg Cathedral, Germany

Built in the 11th century, this gorgeous cathedral is remarkable from a distance for its stain glass windows and soaring Gothic arches. Its real claim to fame, however, is the medieval art inside—including 12 life-sized statues of the cathedral’s founders. The Naumburg Masters was a workshop of sculptors and stonemasons in the 13th century who dedicated their work of realistic sculptures to the cathedral and all over France, Middle Rhine area and boundaries of the German Empire. This is a destination for history buffs — the cathedral and the region around it has a high density of authentic monuments and structures dating back to the High Middle Ages.

2. Chiribiquete National Park, Colombia

Ever-surprising Colombia takes next place with this national park, sometimes called the Maloca (“Amazonian long house”) of the Jaguar. As Colombia’s largest protected site, it protects 10,810 square miles and over 3,000 species of animals and plants. High on the sandstone plateaux, over 75,000 rock paintings have been found. Nature lovers will surely love this one.

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3. Ivrea, Italy

This small Piedmont town near Turin is famous for its 20th century industrial boom in typewriters and computers. Stunning Ivrea is also a remarkably beautiful village, resting on the Dora Baltea river, and, at the time of writing, still off the usual tourists’ map.

4. Caliphate City of Medina Azahara, Spain

The Islamic civilization of Al-Andalus is highlighted all across southern Spain, especially Alhambra. Added to the list of must-sees this year is the Medina Azahara. These ruins, 1.5 hours from Seville, were built between 940 and 975 c.e. and once held the seat of the Caliphate of Cordoba.

5. Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains, South Africa

The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains are so ancient, with volcanic and sedimentary rocks dating back over 3 billion years. More adventurous travelers will have quite the holiday hiking and biking around the town of Barberton and the nature reserve.

6. The Border of Hedeby and the Danevirke, Germany

Once a Viking trading post, this cultural landscape now consists of the ruins of a 33-km-long fortification–the Danevirke–as well as the archaeological site of the trading town Hedeby. Hedeby rose in power on the major trade routes between the Frankish Empire and Scandinavia, as well as between the Baltic and North Seas.

7. Göbekli Tepe, Turkey

This mysterious archaeological site in southeastern Turkey is the oldest known example of hunter-gatherer settlers in the world. It houses the world’s oldest known megaliths, with around 200 pillars in about 20 circles, and may have the world’s oldest temple as well. Göbekli Tepe dates back to around 9600 and 8200 b.c.e., and is a fascinating glimpse into ancient Mesopotamian culture.

8. Hidden Christian Sites, Japan

Kyushu Island keeps many historical secrets, but its historic Christian community that draws the eye of UNESCO—with 10 villages, Hara castle and cathedral that were built between 16th-19th centuries, despite a ban of all outsiders during the Tokugawa Shogunate. Along with these Christian remnants, visitors can explore active volcanoes, bubbling hot springs and marvelous waterfalls.

What UNESCO World Heritage Sites are you looking forward to seeing in 2018?

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Filed under Asia, Colombia, Europe, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Turkey

Travel News: Longest Lunar Eclipse this July

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The Longest Lunar Eclipse of the Century Is Happening in July 

Afar.com reports if you’re based in North America, you’ll have to travel to see the blood moon on July 27. A total lunar eclipse is happening on the night of July 27, and it will last 1 hour and 43 minutes, making it the longest lunar eclipse to take place this century. But if you want to see it in person, you’ll have to leave North America, since no part of the eclipse will be visible in the United States, Canada, or Mexico (unless you’re watching a livestream). A total lunar eclipse occurs when a full moon enters the Earth’s shadow. While some of the sun’s light can still reach the moon even when the Earth is directly between the two, our planet’s atmosphere filters out the blue light making the moon take on a deep red or rusty brown color, which is why a total lunar eclipse is also known as a “blood moon.” Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses can be observed safely with the naked eye. According to NASA the entire eclipse will be visible from most parts of Africa and the entire Middle East will also have great views, if the weather is clear. But that’s not all. India, Pakistan, western China, and most central Asian countries reaching up to parts of southern Russia will also be able to see the eclipse in its entirety. Everyone in Europe, western Africa, and most of South America will be able to see the lunar eclipse after sunset on July 27. If you’re in Asia or Australia, you’ll get a glimpse of the blood moon just before sunrise on July 28.

Federal Aviation Administration Says Shrinking Airline Seats Are Not Its Problem 

The FAA has stated that squeezing bottoms into shrinking airline seats is not its problem. The FAA did so despite a demand for federal regulation of seat size, a lawsuit brought by the consumer group Flyers Rights, and a judge’s order that the agency reconsider its position. Reconsider, the FAA did, concluding that there is “no evidence that a typical passenger, even a larger one, will take more than a couple of seconds to get out of his or her seat” in the case of an emergency. Seat width on many major airlines has shrunk from about 18.5 inches to 17 inches. Seat pitch, the distance between your seat and the one directly in front of you, has decreased from an average of 35 inches to 31 inches, and on some airlines it has been reduced to 28 inches. While seats have grown smaller, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention report a growing size in American passengers. The average weight of a man is 192 lb (89 kg), a woman 165 lb (75 kg). Men pack a 101cm waistline. Women tickle the tape around the waist at 96cm. 

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Passing through DUBAI Airport? DXB is Getting The World’s Largest Vertical Farm

Business Insider that there are plans for a 130,000-square-foot vertical farm in Dubai. Vertical farms grow crops indoors and year-round without natural sunlight or soil. The facility will be the largest of its kind, and will produce 6,000 pounds of crops daily. The greens and herbs will be used for in-flight meals at Dubai International Airport, the world’s largest by international passenger traffic. When passengers board their flights at Dubai International Airport, most are served in-flight meals that include salads or greens atop sandwiches. These crops usually come from traditional, outdoor farms in the United Arab Emirates. By 2020, flights taking off from the airport will serve greens and herbs grown from a more high-tech source. The 130,000-square-foot indoor farm will produce up to 6,000 pounds of greens and herbs every day. Unlike traditional outdoor farms, Crop One grows crops year-round under LEDs (which mimic natural sunlight) located inside climate-controlled rooms, which are each set to optimal temperature and oxygen levels depending on the crop. Instead of soil, greens sprout in nutrient-rich water beds on trays stacked from the floor to the ceiling. Sensors in the trays track how the plants are doing in real time. The two companies will start construction in November 2018, and start delivering crops to Emirates Flight Catering’s customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges, in December 2019. Crop One currently operates a vertical farm in Millis, Massachusetts, and delivers to Boston metro area grocery stores under the Fresh Box Farms brand name. The new farm in Dubai will surpass the size of the current world’s largest vertical farm, which is operated by AeroFarms. The facility grows greens inside a 69,000-square-foot warehouse in Newark, New Jersey. AeroFarms and other big indoor farming companies mostly sell their products to supermarkets, but Crop One believes greater opportunity may lie within airline partnerships.

Click Here for WIT Agent Pam’s feedback on her trip to DUBAI

Air New Zealand Allowed To Recycle Untouched Snacks And Beverages 

Airlineratings report a project that allows Air New Zealand to re-use untouched snacks and beverages from international flights has prevented more than 132 tonnes of “waste” being sent to landfill in the first nine months. Air New Zealand received permission form New Zealand authorities in August, 2017, to distribute 40 inflight products from international aircraft landing in Auckland to future flights. The unused products were previously sent to landfill because of New Zealand’s tough biosecurity controls and were burnt or buried. The airline said the figure so far, equivalent to the weight of three of its Airbus A320 aircraft, meant it was confident the program would meet its planned target of saving about 150 tonnes from landfill annually. It said tracking to date showed more than nine million individual items had been recovered for reuse or recycling rather than going to landfill. Items that had each seen more than one million recovered included plastic cups, sugar sticks, one paper cups and paper cup lids. Air New Zealand has a number of initiatives to reduce waste, with a program in place to tackle organic waste from office spaces, repurpose office materials and lounge furniture, and blankets. It also last year began plugging in its jets to gates to provide them with power rather than use on-board auxiliary power units, small jet engines in the tail of the aircraft. It estimates that using electricity from the gate will save about 4500 tonnes annually in carbon emissions. 

US airlines and China: tension over how websites refer to Taiwan

China has rejected U.S. requests for talks over how American airlines and their websites refer to Chinese-claimed Taiwan, according to sources, including a U.S. official. China has demanded that foreign firms, and airlines in particular, begin referring to Taiwan as Chinese territory on their websites, along with Hong Kong and Macau. Numerous non-U.S. carriers, such as Air Canada, Lufthansa and British Airways have already made changes to their websites, according to Reuters. But several U.S. companies, including Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, were among carriers that sought extensions to a May 25 deadline to make the changes. The final deadline is July 25. In late May, the U.S. State Department presented China’s Foreign Ministry with a diplomatic note requesting consultations on the matter, but the ministry has since refused it. 

 

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A new airline enters the market very soon

From Conde Nast Traveler: The International Airline Group (IAG) already has a ton of airlines-British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus- but they just announced a “new” budget airline in Europe, one that will start flying on July 17. Level already exists as a relatively new long-haul carrier flying between the U.S. and Barcelona. In this new version, those cheap long-haul flights-from Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco to Barcelona, and then more recently from New York City to Paris and Madrid-will still stand. But those flights (about $350 round-trip, even from the West Coast) look expensive in the face of $30 one-way flights between London and Vienna, which launch on July 17, along with cheap flights between Vienna and Mallorca. The company will expand quickly in August, launching routes from Vienna to Barcelona, Madrid, Florence, Paris, Dubrovnik, and a number of other Italian and Spanish cities, The Independent reports.

Cross the Atlantic with Bob Mackie designs on the Queen Mary 2

Cunard has partnered with Julien’s Auctions to offer guests an exclusive opportunity to sail with legendary fashion icon Bob Mackie and enjoy a special exhibition preview of “Property from the Collection of Bob Mackie,” which includes some of the designer’s most famous pieces. The Transatlantic Crossing sets sail out of Southampton, England on August 19, 2018 (M831B), ahead of the auction which will take place on November 17, 2018 in Los Angeles and online at juliensauctions.com. Renowned fashion and costume designer Bob Mackie is best known for his creations for Cher, Carol Burnett, Diana Ross, and Raquel Welch. From his unforgettable award-winning wardrobe as the costume designer for the first Carol Burnett Show to his longtime collaboration with Cher and her dazzling, boundary-pushing wardrobe on her TV show, concert tours and public appearances, the nine-time Emmy® award winning designer, three-time Academy Award® nominee and Television Academy Hall of Fame inductee has spent a distinguished career designing for women who dare to be noticed. His achievements have been honored with numerous awards and accolades and he continues his work by designing for the upcoming The Cher Show, set to open on Broadway in fall 2018.

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What’s New in Tokyo? – Summer 2018 Edition

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It’s summer in Tokyo (along with half of the globe), and there are new attractions popping up all over the place in this bustle-and-whirlwind of a city. Here are some exciting events to check out in Japan’s busiest streets. (Courtesy of GoTokyo.org)

UPCOMING SUMMER EVENTS IN TOKYO

Hozuki Bazaar in Senso-ji and Asagao (Morning Glory) Flower Festival in Shingen-ji

The hozuki or “Chinese Lantern” is a symbol of early summer and the morning glory a symbol of midsummer. Both plants have festivals dedicated to them: the Hozuki Bazaar around Senso-ji in Asakusa held on July 9th and 10th and the Asagao Matsuri or Morning Glory Flower Festival in Shingen-ji, around Iriya, Kishimonjin held on July 6th, 7th and 8th. These two summer markets with their long histories are excellent ways to enjoy the season.

Borderless Art – Digital Art Museum by MORI Building and teamLab

The art collective teamLab and the urban developer MORI Building are teaming up this summer to open a Digital Art Museum in Odaiba. This museum’s first permanent exhibitions will be provided by teamLab. The exhibition is aimed at bridging the boundaries and encouraging interaction between art and its audience. As digital technologies continue to provide artists with more and more freedom, art itself is becoming borderless.

TOKYO EDO WEEK 2018 – Traditional Culture Today

From July 26th through 29th, the Ueno Park Fountain Square will be transformed into old Edo for the third year in a row. Tokyo Edo Week is an event celebrating traditional Japanese culture, focusing on kimonos. In addition, visitors can enjoy various other traditional arts and crafts.

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Metro and Grutto Pass 2018

For those who want to visit as many museums in Tokyo as possible in a short space of time, this is a great and convenient pass to have. The “Metro and Grutto” pass 2018 comes with two 24-hour unlimited ride Tokyo Metro tickets and free or discounted admission to museums in Tokyo. Satisfy your curiosity and discover what Tokyo’s museums have to offer with this pass! (Buy at Tokyo Metro pass offices, details in the link.)

Summer Fireworks: Painting Tokyo’s Night Sky in Dazzling Colors

Since the Edo period, Tokyoites have been enthralled by the beautiful lights of fireworks in summer. One of the largest displays of fireworks in the nation takes place along the Sumida River with more than a million spectators attending on the last Saturday of July. However, Tokyo offers plenty more spots where visitors can see this unique summer treat.

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Yukata Shopping in Tokyo & Tanabata Festival

Summer in Japan runs from June to August. During this time, Tokyo’s department stores, malls and supermarkets are filled with yukatas, a casual kimono-like garment worn in summer. The latest yukata trend is always a popular topic among Tokyoites, who love to wear yukata when going out, regardless of gender or age. Are you surprised that something as traditional as yukata can be so trendy and chic even today?

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Bonsai in Edogawa-ku

Kunio Kobayashi has refined the art of making Bonsai for more than four decades. He is known for his unique “Aji no aru Bonsai” (good taste Bonsai) style, which favors harsh lines suggesting the influence of natural elements on the tree, such as the rain, the wind or the snow . Mr. Kobayashi runs the SHUNKAEN Bonsai Museum in Edogawa-ku, Tokyo, a place that not only offers an exquisite exhibition of his acclaimed Bonsai, he also offers all sorts of unique experiences for international visitors wishing to get in touch with Japanese culture, as well as formal training in the art of Bonsai. SHUNKAEN BONSAI MUSEUM

MORE ON JAPAN — 

Japan – Asia

Springtime in Japan

Wittravel Agent Pam’s photos

20 Top Things to Do in Tokyo

10 Coolest Places to check out in 2018

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Travel News: The World’s Longest Sea Bridge

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Airlines Must Continue To Accept Service Animals

Reuters reports the US Department of Transportation told airlines on Tuesday that they must continue to allow the transport of the most common service animals, but said it was asking for public comment about amending its existing regulations. The department said in a statement that it “wants to ensure that individuals with disabilities can continue using their service animals while also helping to ensure that the fraudulent use of other animals not qualified as service animals is deterred.”

Yokohama On Track To Open Two New Cruise Terminals In 2019

Yokohama, Japan, is gearing up for increased calls and accommodating bigger cruise ships with two new cruise terminals due to be fully operational in 2019. Last year the Japanese port, 20 minutes away from Tokyo’s Haneda airport, welcomed 178 cruise calls and a similar number is expected this year. Five years ago in 2013, there were some 152 calls and 120 calls ten years ago. Princess vessels have been a regular highlight of the Yokohama skyline since they first began calling with Dawn Princess in 2009, Sun Princess in 2010 and Diamond Princess in 2013. Last year Diamond Princess alone made 21 calls and Majestic Princess made a maiden call. In 2019, Princess returns for a sixth season with round-trips from Yokohama.
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China Unveils World’s Longest Sea-Crossing Bridge

China’s new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, spanning 34 miles (55 kilometers), is the longest sea-crossing bridge ever built. Guo Xinglin, assistant director and senior engineer at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Authority, said the tough conditions his construction crew experienced, as they perched on precarious platforms, working miles from land and high over the water, are evident. Due to open to the public this summer, this long snake of bitumen will connect a relatively small city on the Chinese mainland with the two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau. Since the bridge was first suggested in 2003, it has stirred controversy. This massive span of concrete and steel is not just proof of China’s ability to build record-setting megastructures, it’s also a potent symbol of the country’s growing geopolitical ambitions.

Hawaii Tourism Gives Perspective On Volcano Situation

The Hawaiian Tourism Authority says that “there is absolutely no reason at this time for travelers to change or alter their leisure or business plans.” Here are some facts to back up the claim: All of the Hawaiian Islands are unaffected by Kīlauea volcano except a remote area on the island of Hawai’i’s east side. Out of the island’s 4,028 square miles, only less than a 10-square-mile area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions in Puna is affected. All flights into Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole, KOA (west) and Hilo International Airport, ITO (east) are operating normally. All accommodations, activities and attractions on the island are also operating normally, with the exception of those in the area affected by the lava activity. Air quality on the island of Hawai’i remains largely unchanged with this situation. However, air quality near where the lava is flowing can be hazardous (SO2-sulfur dioxide), and officials are continuing to monitor air quality. 
A Few Other Facts to Note About Kilauea: 
  • Big Island is 4000 sq. miles.  The volcano action is in one very small corner
  • Tradewinds blow from NE to SW and the volcano is in the SE of the island. Fumes and VOG would have to move SE to NW (reverse of the trade wind pattern) to impact Hilo, Kona, Kohala coast, etc.
  • There is another volcano, Mauna Loa, between Kilauea and most of the rest of the island.  Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on earth. Lava can’t flow uphill –
  • Yes, it is tragic for the people that have lost their homes, but it is a still a very small area that is being impacted.

Orlando First US Destination To Top 70 Million Annual Visitors

Open Jaw reports Orlando has become the first US destination to surpass 70 million visitors in one year. In 2017, 72 million visitors traveled to Orlando, an increase of more than 5% over the prior year, once again making it America’s most-visited destination. Visit Orlando, the region’s official destination tourism and marketing organization, shared the number at a gathering of more than 1,000 tourism and community leaders. “Our record-breaking year was achieved despite international headwinds and the statewide effects of Hurricane Irma,” said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. “In 2017, our destination launched new consumer experiences on a significant scale and our marketing efforts leveraged increasing consumer confidence in the United States. We also continued our focus on communicating the unique emotional connection visitors have with Orlando.” 

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Travel News This Week

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Royal Caribbean Tightens Cruise Cancellation Policy
Royal Caribbean International is tightening its cruise cancellation policy, making passengers more on the hook for a larger portion of the fare if they decide not to go before sailing. The policy has multiple changes. Chief among them: the cancellation window during which you would only lose a deposit is gone. For full cancellation details, be sure to contact your Willamette Intl travel agent! 
 
NASA To Develop Supersonic Airplane
CNN reports NASA to develop ‘quiet’ supersonic airplane for those who still hanker after the supersonic air travel offered by Concorde. NASA has announced it’s going ahead with plans to develop an aircraft that can break the sound barrier, but quietly. Without the sonic boom the plane could operate commercial routes over land. NASA has awarded Lockheed Martin a $247.5 million contract to build the supersonic aircraft. It wants the aerospace company to refine, build and test the experimental aircraft, known as the X-plane or “Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator,” and deliver it to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center by the end of 2021. 
 
American Airlines Lifts Curtain On Chicago-New York Shuttle Today
Chicago Business Journal reports American Airlines will debut its branded Chicago-New York shuttle service Wednesday. The shuttle launch is sure to spark yet another heated operational rivalry between AA and United Airlines, both of which have major hubs at O’Hare International Airport and both have extensive flights between two of the nation’s principal business markets. 
 
Travel Fraud Is Exploding, and It’s Hurting Travelers
Travelwirenews reports Travel fraud is on the rise, and it’s quickly becoming everybody’s problem. The rise of online travel has created a wealth of convenience and opportunity for users, who can now access last minute and discount fares to a degree unheard of even 20 years ago. However, says the digital security firm Sift Science, this has also created a broad platform for thieves and con artists. Travelers, hosts and even huge companies are vulnerable. Thieves steal, on average, between $283 and $588 per fraudulent transaction. In total, fraud costs billions of dollars per year. Airlines alone lose from $2.4 billion to $4.8 billion to credit card fraud annually, and it happens at virtually every point in the industry. For many travelers, it can represent a very real problem. For researchers and industry, “fraud” defines any purchase made under false pretenses. The trouble is that in travel there are many points of contact where this can go wrong. Thieves can often book travel using stolen credit cards or financial information, effectively stealing a high-value airline ticket or hotel room in the process. For hotels especially, same-day bookings are up to 4.3 times more likely to be fraudulent because the short time frame makes it far harder for the hotel or authorities to detect anything wrong. By the time a consumer has noticed the charge on his or her credit card statement, the criminal is often long gone. 
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India Limits Visits To Taj Mahal To 3 Hours Per Person
CNN reports the enormous white marble tomb, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can attract at least 50,000 visitors a day on the weekend, according to a spokesman for the Archaeological Survey of India, which oversees the Taj Mahal. “Sometimes people end up spending a whole day at the Taj. This creates a situation where there are too many people,” the spokesman D N Dimri told CNN. “It is being implemented so that the movement of visitors can be regulated. Day by day, the number of visitors are increasing. This is to ensure no untoward incidents or accidents occur.” He added there had been no incidents due to overcrowding at the site. 
 
China To Unveil World’s Longest Sea Bridge
Travelwirenews reports it is billed as the world’s longest cross-sea bridge. After seven years of construction, the new link between Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China is finally complete. Beijing says the $20bn project will cut travel time in half, bringing China and its two territories closer together.
 
New Whale Protection Strategy In Gulf Of St. Lawrence
Canada has developed a more nuanced approach to protecting North Atlantic right whales from vessel strikes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The 10-knot speed cap applies in certain areas, but ships will be allowed to travel at normal speeds in two set shipping lanes when no whales are observed. 2018 sees a fixed speed restriction in a large area of the Gulf where the whales aggregated in 2017 and a dynamic management approach for the shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island where temporary mandatory speed caps will be activated should a right whale be observed. 
 
Airport Pays $7,500 For Dog To Chase Birds From Runway
Fox News reports Yeager Airport, located in West Virginia, has purchased an 18 month border collie named Hercules to help protect public safety. The pup has been hired to chase birds and other animals off the runway, a problem that has been a concern for the Charlestown, W.Va., airport. “Every airport has problems with bird strikes and wildlife on the airfield. It’s a big safety hazard, so a dog can be a real predator,” Nick Keller, assistant director at Yeager, said. “It will keep birds, deer, coyotes, rabbits away from the airfield.” Hercules will have a reflective vest, safety goggles and ear protection to wear while he is at work. Keller said the dog could potentially reduce deadly animal collisions once trained. Hercules is currently being trained in North Carolina on a range of verbal and whistle commands. Yeager staff must also be trained to handle Hercules while he is at work. While on the clock, Hercules will be outfitted with a reflective vest, safety glasses and ear protection.
 
Scenic Expands To Northwest Passage, White Sea
With Scenic adding a second ‘discovery yacht’ in May 2020, the company is expanding itineraries. New are a 21-day Northwest Passage exploration, a 13-day adventure through Russia’s White Sea and, in late 2019, two opportunities to visit North America’s Eastern Seaboard, from New York City or Halifax. Scenic new Northwest Passage cruise will embark in Copenhagen and skirt the coast of Greenland before transiting the Canadian Arctic to end at Nome, Alaska. Limited to just 200 passengers and departing Aug. 15, 2020, ‘Across the Northwest Passage’ is a once-in-a-lifetime journey and a pinnacle of polar exploration. With the highest ice class rating of any luxury ship (Polar Class 6), Scenic Eclipse will make its way from Copenhagen along the coast of Greenland and through the Canadian Arctic until reaching Nome, Alaska. Travelers will get to visit Inuit communities and learn from the shipboard expert discovery team. There will be opportunities for kayaking amid icebergs, viewing polar bears and Arctic foxes and hiking across the frozen tundra. Russia’s White Sea is another seldom-visited area Scenic will explore. 
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Lindblad Expeditions Unveils Short Galapagos Cruises
Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Islander will sail a series of short one-week Galapagos cruises in 2018 and 2019, giving vacationally-challenged people the opportunity to see the bucket list destination without spending too much time away from home or work. Dubbed the “Wild Galapagos Escape,” the one-week journey is onboard the recently refurbished, 48-passenger National Geographic Islander and features five days in the archipelago, plus a one night pre-voyage stay in Guayaquil and the option of another night post voyage at no additional charge. All sailings include multiple shore excursions each day from walks and hikes to kayaking, snorkeling and paddle-boarding. New in 2019, passengers on any Lindblad sailing in the Galapagos receive complimentary drinks (excluding certain premium brands) and an hour of free Wi-Fi per person, per day. Dates for the Wild Galapagos Escape sailings are: 2018: November 24 and 29; 2019: April 27; May 2, 11 and 16; August 31; September 5, 14 and 19; and October 31. For those who have a little bit longer and also want to see Machu Picchu, the eight night Wild Galapagos & Peru Escape trip includes a night in Lima, two nights in Peru’s Sacred Valley and five nights on National Geographic Islander in the Galapagos. Departures for this tour are December 1, 2018; May 4 and 18, September 7 and 14, and November 2, 2019. Both trips include roundtrip charter flights from Ecuador to the Galapagos.
 
Air New Zealand And Virgin Australia To Terminate Alliance
Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are set to end their seven-year-long trans-Tasman alliance in October. The termination will impact the strategic alliance launched by the airlines at the end of 2010 to partner on various services between New Zealand and Australia. Both carriers decided not to renew their existing regulatory approval for the alliance, which expires on 28 October. 

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Explore & Experience Southeast Asia with VExplore Tours

Looking to Step off the Beaten Track in Vietnam?

Think you know Thailand? Think again!

Always wanted to explore inner Myanmar?

VExplore Tours is one tour company that we highly recommend for unique itineraries in Southeast Asia. Discover a world beyond stuffy museums and explore terraced paddies, ancient stupas and hidden rainforests that are usually unknown to the avereage tourist.

Read More: WIT Agent Wailana’s Trip to Thailand and Laos with VExplore Tours

VExplore guides seek to open up new roads to travelers, so they “don’t just visit – they explore and experience.” Here are some unique itineraries that delve deeper into the heart and soul of Southeast Asia:

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Discover the Central Highlands of Vietnam

11 Days / 10 Nights – Saigon – Pleiku – KonTum – Buon Me Thuoc – Danang – Hoi An

For travelers who want an overview of Vietnam’s countryside

Step off the beaten track into Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Traverse splendid tea, rice and rubber plantations and encounter unique ethnic tribal groups exhibiting their traditional lifestyle through their work, ancient ceremonies and rituals. Immerse yourself in the serene and lush landscape of picturesque waterfalls, lakes, rivers, emerald mountains and the bucolic setting of lakeside minority groups.

From $1958 per person, includes: private roundtrip airport transfers, local English-speaking guide, 8 full days sightseeing tour with admission fees, 10 buffet breakfasts, 7 lunches and 2 special dinners, 10 nights superior hotel accommodation

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A Photography Expedition in Northwest Vietnam

12 Days / 11 Nights – Mai Chau – Moc Chau – Nghia Lo – Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai – Fanxipan Mountain – Sapa

For travelers who are photography enthusiasts or professional photographers

Trek deep into NW Vietnam to capture breathtaking panoramic images of stunning emerald terraced paddies, spectacular mountain passes, scenic valleys and crystal clear mountain streams. Photograph timeless village life, lively local markets – Vietnam is a photographer’s paradise.

From $2219 per person, includes: private roundtrip airport transfers, local English-speaking guide, 11 full days sightseeing tour with admission fees, 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 nights superior hotel and 3 nights homestay

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Island-Hopping in Southern Thailand

8 Days / 7 Nights – Phuket – Koh Yao Yai – Krabi OR Koh Samui – Koh Tao – Koh Phangan

For beach lovers and watersports enthusiasts

Thailand’s tropical islands are renowned for their idyllic and exotic beaches, top diving areas, laid-back vibe and scores of water activities. Discover prehistoric worlds of hidden sea caves, recline on pristine sandy beaches, kayak through secluded coves and sample succulent seafood.

From $1169 per person, includes: private roundtrip airport transfer, joining speedboat transfer islands-hotels, one day sightseeing tour, buffet breakfasts and 7 nights superior hotel accommodation

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Secret Adventures of Thailand

9 Days / 8 Nights – Bangkok – Khao Sok Elephant Hill – Cheow Larn Lake – Khao Lak

For travelers looking to get off the beaten track in Thailand to explore the country’s beautiful rainforests

A remarkable opportunity to explore rare primordial rainforests and bond with elephants at the eco-friendly Elephant Sanctuary.

From $1868 per person, includes: private roundtrip airport transfer, local English-speaking guide, 6 full days sightseeing tour including admission, 8 buffet breakfasts, 5 lunches and 2 special dinners, 6 nights superior hotel accommodation, 2 nights Luxury Tented Camp.

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Myanmar, The Golden Land and Ayeyarwady River

11 Days / 10 Nights, Yangon – Mandalay – Ayeyarwady River – Mingun – Sagaing – Bagan – Kalawa – Inle Lake

For travelers who step back in time to explore Southeast Asia’s last undeveloped frontier.

The mysterious land of Myanmar showcases its rivers, lakes, magnificent ancient stupas, monasteries, one-legged rowing fishermen, village life, extraordinary markets and the holiest sights in magical Myanmar.

From $2588 per person, includes private roundtrip airport transfer, local English-speaking guide, 10 full days sightseeing tour including admission, 10 buffet breakfasts, 9 lunches and 2 special dinners, 8 nights superior hotel accommodation, 2 nights onboard Ayeyarwady River Cruise. 

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A Tapestry of Adventure in Northern Laos

14 Days / 13 Nights, Golden Triangle – Houeyxay – Nam Kan National Park – Mekong River – Pakbeng – Oudomxay – Muang La – Nong Khiaw – The 100 Waterfalls – Pak Ou Cave – Luang Prabang

For travelers who love adventure and heading off the beaten track.

Relish the adventure of exciting river trips and nature at its most exotic. Trekking and gliding through pristine forests, you will experience wildlife encounters in Black Gibbon territory and find yoruself overnight in an amazing treehouse high up in the jungle canopy. As you venture from the Thai Golden Triangle into the lush and remote mountainous areas of Northern Laos you will encounter intriguing local hill tribes and find there is no experience like this anywhere in the world.

From $3868 per person, includes private roundtrip airport transfer, local English-speaking guide, 12 full days private tour including admission, 13 buffet breakfasts, 10 lunches and 2 dinners, 30 nights superior hotel accommodation. 

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