VISIT FLORIDA unveils online tools allowing travelers to virtually walk hundreds of miles of Sunshine State beaches – from legendary locations such as Miami Beach to lesser-known sanctuaries such as Cayo Costa. Say hello to Florida Beach Finder, found on VISITFLORIDA.com/beachfinder. Here’s how it works.
“Tune” your preferences in four ranges of beach personalities. Looking for “Action-packed”? “Secluded”? Or maybe somewhere in between? Florida Beach Finder immediately delivers visual choices that best match your desires. With every tweak of the tuner, the options change before your eyes.
Then “walk” the Florida beaches you love with immersive Street View imagery in Google Maps. In one of the first partnerships of the Street View Trekker Loan Program, VISIT FLORIDA and Google collaborated on a four-month trek to photograph Florida’s beaches and to make the imagery available to the world. The same technology that lets viewers mouse around their city streets and tour monuments now empowers Florida beach lovers to view the sand, sky and shorelines of the beaches they choose to explore – all in 360-degree panorama.
“For potential visitors, it’s an opportunity to dig their virtual toes into any of Florida’s beaches — and find their dream beach before they come. For Florida, it’s an opportunity to showcase that we have the greatest variety of beach experiences in the world,” said Susannah Costello, VISIT FLORIDA Vice President, Global Brand.
With each beach, Florida Beach Finder users can absorb videos, photography and feature stories reported by award-winning Florida journalists. And social media tools will allow visitors to share their discoveries with friends and family.
Florida beaches are top of mind for many travelers. With Florida Beach Finder and the Street View technology, these destinations – both the internationally famous and the well-kept secrets – will come into focus better than ever.
Using a magic paintbrush and his vivid imagination, Sorcerer Mickey will light up the night with dazzling colors at the launch of “Disney Paint The Night”, the new nighttime spectacular coming to Hong Kong Disneyland in October 2014! The parade will mark Hong Kong Disneyland’s newest chapter after the completion of its three-part expansion project last year. It will appeal to both families and young adults, further boosting the attendance and business of the resort.
“Disney Paint The Night” will immerse guests in the color, energy and magic of an all-new nighttime spectacular through interactivity, inviting them to paint the night with their favorite colors.
Harnessing the scintillating power of Tinker Bell’s pixie dust, Mickey has enchanted his brush and painted visions inspired by classic Disney Pixar stories! Lightning McQueen, Sulley & Mike will be found in a Hong Kong Disneyland parade for the first time ever. Tinker Bell, Ariel, Belle, Buzz Lightyear & Woody, and many other beloved Disney friends will also immerse onlookers in a world of light and color along Main Street, U.S.A. each and every night. The night has changed forevermore!
Hong Kong Disneyland will continue to bring magical experiences to guests from far and wide. Apart from the nighttime spectacular, the resort will launch new offerings to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2015. The first ever Marvel-themed area based on Iron Man will debut in Hong Kong Disneyland in late 2016. Another new resort-style hotel with 750 rooms will open by early 2017 after all necessary approvals have been obtained.
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort offers immersive, unique Disney experiences for all families, generations and ages to enjoy. Hong Kong is one of only five locations in the world that is home to a Disney themed park and the many Disney characters that are beloved the world over, such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Stitch and Buzz Lightyear. Since the Grand Opening in September 2005, Hong Kong Disneyland has received more than 46 million guests from around the globe.
Thai military has taken control of the country to prevent the conflict from escalating. The preemptive move came after talks between representatives of opposing sides and top officials failed to reach a common ground. A nationwide curfew has been announced from 22.00 – 05.00 hours effective Thursday, and martial law is to remain in effect until further notice, the army announced. Businesses and public services are adjusting their operating hours to comply with the curfew.
All airports in Thailand remain open, and air passengers with arrival and departure flights scheduled during the curfew can travel to and from the airports at any time as usual. However, tourists with arrival and departure flights during the curfew are advised to prepare all travel documents when travelling to and from the airports.
Travellers arriving at Thailand during the curfew should experience no difficulty finding taxis to their destination. However, in another preemptive move, a CIP lounge has been introduce to offer a comfortable wait for those who desire to make their commute after the end of the curfew at 5 am. Travellers may also contact the Suvarabhumi Airport call centre on 1722.
Tourism officials claim that all offices and businesses are functioning as usual and all the tourist attractions are welcoming visitors. Life in Bangkok is running smoothly and everything is on track. Set haphan Buddhani, director, Tourism Authority of Thailand says “This is a preemptive move aimed at preventing any damage to property or any escalation of the protest. Tourists can continue to enjoy the kingdom’s renowned hospitality and exciting attractions. However, we advise travellers to avoid rally locations and adhere to the curfew. I underline that those with flights to catch may go ahead as usual, but must keep documents handy as they journey to the airport.”
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) also says that it is closely monitoring the situation, and will be providing more updates as soon as there are further developments. Tourists looking for information on-the-go may contact the TAT Call Centre on 1672, the Tourist Police Call Centre on 1155 and the Traffic Police Call Centre on 1197 for information and assistance.
Whereas, CNN reports that for international tourists looking to visit Thailand for a seasonal winter getaway, it’s hard to be blase about the situation. Street protests, grenade attacks, martial law and military coups just aren’t part of their daily vernacular and the recent months of political conflict have taken their toll on Thailand’s tourism industry.
Though some Bangkok tourists CNN spoke with say it’s easy to avoid the protests by keeping abreast of the news, in recent months many opted to follow the advice of the dozens of countries that issued warnings to its citizens about the situation in the Thai capital and avoid it altogether. Instead, they’re heading for the country’s other popular destinations like Chiang Mai, Koh Samui or Phuket.
Feed your adrenaline and step into a breathtaking world where glaciers rest above and birds soar below. Iconic new Canadian Rockies are now open to the world. Experience waterfalls, wildlife, fossils and more on an exciting cliff-edge walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918 foot drop. From ice-capped mountain peaks to vast glacier-formed valleys, the Glacier Skywalk is your front row seat to nature’s most grand performance. Take your time to journey along the Discovery Trail; a fully-accessible, cliff-edge walkway. Look down and you’ll see hints from life thousands of years ago. Look up and you’ll see the most stunning mountain and glacial vistas. Look around and you’ll discover one of the most unique ecosystems in the world – a place that’s so hard to survive that adaptation never ends.
The grand finale to this experience is an exhilarating glass-floored observation platform 280 metres (918 ft) over the Sunwapta Valley. A bird’s eye view provides the most unique perspective of nature at its finest. Glacier Skywalk is a fully accessible attraction that offers visitors a unique way to connect with the wilderness of Jasper National Park. A cliff-edge interpretive walkway provides an immersive and multi-sensory experience centered around the glaciology, biology and ecology of the unique Columbia Icefield region.
After years of design, planning, environmental monitoring, and construction, the Glacier Skywalk is ready to welcome visitors from around the world. The vision behind the Glacier Skywalk was to create a world-class fully-accessible experience in Jasper National Park that engages visitors to learn about glaciology, geology, and the unique ecosystem of the Columbia Icefield area. With a series of interpretive experiences that appeal to a broad cross section of the population, park visitors will return home more aware of the global environment and Canada’s National Parks. Through their up-close and personal connection, they will be positively impacted and inspired to consider the environmental choices they make in their daily lives.
The Glacier Skywalk is now open daily. Grand opening celebrations were held at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre on May 10-11, 2014.
Hold on for the most twisty, turny, rollicking summer ever for Walt Disney World Resort. From the crowning jewel that completes the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history, a breathtaking new parade that winds its way down Main Street U.S.A., to elevating the guest experience with MyMagic+, guests are rocking their Disney Side in 2014.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: The lovable world of Sleepy, Doc, Grumpy, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy and Dopey comes to life in a rollicking, musical ride into the mine “where a million diamonds shine.” Inspired by the Disney animated film classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the family-style coaster will feature first-of-its-kind ride vehicles mounted in cradle-like pivots that allow the vehicles to swing back and forth during the twists and turns of the ride. Adding to the fun, the journey will be accompanied by beloved music from the film classic and riders will be greeted by animated figures of Snow White, the Seven Dwarfs and playful forest critters.
Festival of Fantasy Parade: The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade brings the magical stories of New Fantasyland to Main Street, U.S.A. through fantastic and innovative parade floats, vibrant costumes and an original soundtrack that features beloved songs from favorite Disney films, plus a new parade theme song. A Steampunk-inspired Dragon as the wicked Maleficent stretches 53 feet in length and 26 feet tall with a prickly spinning wheel dead center of the float. With fiery eyes and glowing effects the spectacular dragon was built on an articulating chassis allowing the float to bend and flex as it moves along the parade route – a first for Disney parades. Ariel and friends grace a larger-than-life music box showcasing a colorful musical party “Under the Sea” while Scottish dancers and a float shaped like an enormous bagpipe announce the arrival of Merida. Other floats celebrate Disney Princesses; Peter Pan and Wendy soar above a pirate galleon; Rapunzel and Flynn Rider appear on a longship in search of another “Best Day. Ever.”
Princess Fairytale Hall: Also part of the Magic Kingdom expansion, the fantasy world of Disney royalty becomes reality in the Princess Fairytale Hall, where guests get to live out their dream of meeting a real Disney princess. It’s the enchanting new home to Anna and Elsa, who join Cinderella and Rapunzel each day until the early evening, after which other visiting Disney Princesses will be available to greet guests. Surrounded by lush purple and gold trimmings, stone walls and ornate chandeliers, loyal subjects can choose between two queues: one for Cinderella and Rapunzel, or one for the Frozen sisters and visiting princesses.
Festival of the Lion King: The popular, high-energy, interactive live musical Festival of the Lion King show relocates in June to an all-new theater in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Festival of the Lion King envelops the audience in the sights and sounds of a tribal-like celebration featuring the music of Disney’s animated classic, The Lion King.
On the occasion of this 19th edition, the Flower Carpet of the Grand Place has chosen to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Turkish immigration in Belgium. 1,800 m2 of begonias (begonyas in Turkish) will make up an ephemeral tapestry inspired by the geometric patterns of Turkey’s famous kilims. Visitors will have the opportunity to admire this astonishing display from 14 to 17 August 2014, to sense all its tones and all its nuances, whether from the Grand-place itself or from above, from the balcony of the City Hall. A magical masterpiece, colourful and scented, what better way to pay tribute to the Turkish community of Brussels!
The Turkish carpets or kilims
Carpets are an integral part of Turkish culture. They are popular objects which are handed down from generation to generation. They are both useful items and decorative objects. Tradition dictates that a carpet should bear the name of the town where it was made. During Ottoman times, carpets were a status symbol and were presented as gifts to kings and sultans. Patterns on Turkish carpets are incredibly varied and geometrical (diamonds, rectangles, stars, squares) and also include floral or animal patterns. The patterns represent and symbolise myths and beliefs: fertility, joy, happiness or protection from the evil eye. Turkey is well-known for its carpets, produced in every region: from Uşak (Ouchak), patterns used for the Brussels flower carpet, Hereke, a small town near Istanbul which, for centuries, created splendid carpets for the Ottoman palace, and many more, such as Sivas, Manisa, Ladik and many more. In the past, the carpets and kilims of Eastern Anatolia were for the most part made by nomadic or semi-nomadic populations.
The border city of Kars is an important region for the carpet trade. In no other city do so many different populations cohabitate. Tatars, Armenians, Cherkessians, Azerbaidjanis, Kurds and Turkmens have lived there in harmony for centuries. Twenty years ago, the well-known Kars-Kasaks were made there, carpets which are much enjoyed here, in dark tones of brown and green. In the past, Erzurum was an important stop on the Silk Road, between Persia and the Black Sea. Kilims formerly weaved in this region are exceptionally beautiful and sought after by collectors. Sivas carpets boast an exceptional quality of wool and meticulous knotting. Carpets and kilims from the district of Malatya are, for the most part, homemade by semi-nomads or nomadic settlers. Production of woven items is much greater than that of knotted carpets. Thanks to the number of gifts conserved in mosques, it has been possible to identify the carpets with great precision. The most beautiful Kurdish works, both woven and knotted, come from this region. Many nomads spend their winter in the fertile plains of the Euphrates. The striped kilims are particularly beautiful. One of their qualities is that, for those made up of two bands which are sewn together, each one is a complete composition in itself, unlike other Anatolian kilims in which the two halves almost always combine into a single composition. Many symbols can be found on these carpets, such as hourglasses, crosses, S-patterns, diamond shapes with hook tips and octagons. Anatolian carpets are the most expensive on the global market but demand remains just as great.
Flowers in Turkey
Turkey’s flora is one of the richest around the Mediterranean! Did you know that tulips, which are generally associated with Holland, actually originated in Turkey. In fact, the name stems from the Turkish ‘tülben’, also the root of the English word ‘turban’. Tulips were discovered in the 16th century. In 1554, learned Flemish botanist and Austrian ambassador, Augier Ghislain de Busbecq, decided to send to Vienna some tulip seeds which he had discovered in Turkey some years earlier. In 1593, a friend of Augier Ghislain de Busbecq introduced the flower to Holland by selling his personal collection of tulips. While it was used as a decorative element of Turkish art for many centuries, the tulip then gave its name to an era, “the Tulip Age”, which corresponds to the period from 1703 to 1717. Suleiman the Magnificent was fascinated with this flower and held many celebrations in its honour. As it is from Persia, the flower features widely in the Tales of the Arabian Nights, where its red colour symbolises eternal love.
But the Flower Carpet is made up of begonias, begonyas in Turkish!
Indian women have come a long way from “Ghar Ka Khana” and long hours of home cooking. The modern Indian woman is versatile and smart and so are her shopping ideas. Being the budget and health regulator of her family, she prefers quality and assurance in food with just a click.
With each passing day, there is an increase in number of working class of men & women which has further lead to changed food preferences amongst the families. It has been observed that women are dynamically using the handiness of internet services for satiating their and their families’ food choices. In the light of this scenario, a comprehensive survey has been conducted across the metro cities by TastyKhana.in, a leading online food portal, which brings forward the online food habits of women in India. Having surveyed across different age groups and cities, the new study has brought a different outlook on the psyche of Indian women, especially when it comes to assuring food quality and versatility at the convenience of a click. The survey highlights some interesting facts like:
69% of women prefer placing order and making payments online
‘Bangalore’ & ‘Pune’ receives highest online food orders placed by women
A large number of food orders have been coming in from women customers. With variation in lifestyles and hectic schedules, it is becoming a challenge to keep up with the different food demands by their families. Hence, more and more women are resorting to getting food at their door step with just a click. There has been a spurt in women shoppers over the year. Today 70% of women prefer placing an online food order over phone calling and are more brand loyal, to ensure the quality of food for themselves and their families. Besides, in a country like India where food is prepared with love and care by the woman of each family, it is important to know the change in behavior of these women in terms of food choices and preferences.
As per survey conducted across the cities, more than half of women i.e., 65% like to opt for variety of food and cuisines. Further, the survey tells us that, 69% of women customers prefer making online payments and 70% of women find online order placing more convenient over calling up restaurants.
For women customers, offers and deals is another driving factor. 77% of them look out for offers & discounts while placing food orders.
Women customers have turned out to be more of brand loyalists and 46% of women hook to TastyKhana.in for their food requirements.
Moreover, the survey clearly brings out the factor that ‘word of mouth’ is the most effective tool in attracting women to the brand.
‘TastyKhana.in’ is an Indian online food ordering service operating in 8 major cities in India: Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Delhi, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad. Headquartered in Pune, TastyKhana has partnered with over 5000 restaurants spreading across their national network. The online food service gives users the convenience of choosing a restaurant in their area and selects their preferred meal items by browsing through the menus on the TastyKhana website and placing the order online for delivery to the desired location.
From bear paw soup to pangolin scales, people can now report suspected illegal wildlife trade in South-East Asia using a smartphone app developed by the Taronga Conservation Society Australia in partnership with TRAFFIC. The ‘Wildlife Witness’ app enables users to report suspected illegal wildlife in trade in the region easily and quickly by taking a photo, pinning the exact location of an incident and sending these important details to TRAFFIC.
Reports by app users will be analysed by a Wildlife Crime Data Analyst and over time, the information will help build data and enrich understanding of illegal wildlife trade across the region, help prioritise response action and highlight areas in need of increased enforcement resources. Wildlife Witness will also feature information on species threatened by trade, how they are often traded, as well as tips for reporting wildlife crime safely. Its current focus is the South-East Asian region which serves as source, consumer and transit hub in both the legal and illegal trade of wildlife. It is hoped app users will include the growing number of tourists to South-East Asia as well as the region’s own smartphone users and over time will expand on what is known about illegal trade here.
“With just a few taps on their smartphones, users can do two important things—learn how their purchasing decisions influence the illegal trade that threatens wildlife and contribute reports that will help build a more informed picture of this threat,” said Chris R. Shepherd, TRAFFIC’s Regional Director-South-East Asia. “Being aware, and ensuring you are not supporting the illegal trade in wildlife is essential if people are to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem,” he added.
“Wildlife Witness is the first global community action tool to tackle illegal wildlife trade. The app makes reporting these activities simple for both tourists and locals and will help give TRAFFIC the information they need to help address this global wildlife crisis,” said Taronga Community Conservation Manager, Dr Kira Husher. The Wildlife Witness app was developed with funds from the Vodafone Foundation’s App Aid competition. The app has been developed for both iPhone and Android devices. Wildlife Witness is now free to download from the App Store. It is expected to be available for Android smartphones in the near future.
Put on your riding gears, sunglasses, old jacket and the running shoes, clean up your cycles, the water can, the helmet and prime up your body. For, India is to make its mark in the world cycling circuit with the Northern Escapes’ Manali Khardungla Cycling Championship – 2014 – and everyone is invited to make it a grand success. Whereas in countries like Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherland, USA people are crazy about cycling as a sport, India had till sometime back, completely lacked taking interest in the sport. But, recently there has been a sea-change in the interest levels and more and more people have taken up cycling on a regular basis. Northern Escapes brings India’s first ever cycling championship to India this year in July (5th-13th July).
Amidst a clear blue sky, the Manali-Khardung La route is very soothing and picturesque with snow capped mountains, rocky terrain, deep valleys, shimmering high altitude turquoise lakes and a deadly desert which have always attracted cyclist and motorists from across the world. But, it has never had a cycling championship, and hence Northern Escapes brings the experience of unparalleled beauty and adventure in this 520 Km’s race directed by long distance cyclist Anil Uchil, where the eligibility for entering the race is 18+ and physically fit with good amount of endurance. The winners will win high end championship grade cycles.
The championship has three integral formats – the first format is a 7 stage race from Manali to KhardungLa determining the winner on the basis of time, speed and distance (TSD). The second format of race is of 2 days from Manali to Jispa in Himachal, the participants can then complete the journey with Northern Escapes’ support vehicles or take a leisure cycling trip route further. The third format is for participants who want to enjoy the ride and do not wish to be a part of the race.
This route has been famous for its changing scenic beauty at every bend. From lush green pastures to rocky mountain deserts famously known as the Moon Land has attracted several cyclists from many countries. The ever-changing landscapes and the challenging terrain attracts more than 3,000 cyclist and bikers to explore the region every year. Northern Escapes founder, Gaurav Schimar says, “The Manali-Khardungla Cycling Championship is a test of ability and endurance where the cyclists are not only pitched against each other, but also against the sheer elements in surreal surroundings in this high-altitude region. Each year, hundreds of cyclists from across the world cycle on this route, but this is the first time a race is being organised on this circuit.” “With the times to come, this race is aimed to become an international event, with cyclists from across the globe participating in it. This race is to encourage and ensure that we can put India on the global cycling circuit.” adds Schimar.
Indeed you can have a 360 degree view from CN tower, but Toronto has much more to offer beyond the CN tower and the trip to Niagara. It has got many festivals ranging from performing arts, Cinema Culture, Cuisines, Art & Architecture & revelry that is sure to guarantee you an experience of a life time. Tourism Toronto has planned a whole lot of events in Toronto in the coming months. So hop on to the next flight to Toronto as there is always something to scintillate and excite the senses!! But of course, you can’t miss CN Tower and Niagara. Here are some events lined up for next month-
Luminato Festival – 6th to 15th June 2014, Davis Pecaut Square
This Festival is the international multi-arts festival for people open to having art change their outlook on the world. For ten days each June, the Luminato Festival transforms theatres, parks and public spaces across the city and creates a home for artists to come play, share and create. When the unexpected meets the transformative, that’s a Luminato moment.
NXNE: North by Northeast Music & Film Festival – 13th to 22nd June 2014
North by Northeast is all about rocking the city with 10 days of great music and the coolest music-related films from around the world. You’ll hear original music you’ve never heard before and get a first look at hand-selected music movies.
Mississauga Waterfront Festival – 13th to 15th June 2014, Port Credit Memorial Park, Mississauga
Known for presenting the best in Canadian and International talent concerts. The Family Fun Village offers everything from stilt walkers and fire-eaters to exciting water shows, family carnival, interactive sports activities, delicious food and unique crafters and vendors. Enjoy a colourful carnival, outdoor concerts, theatre and a petting zoo. Be sure not to miss this event for kids of all ages.
TD Toronto Jazz Festival – 19th to 28th June 2014
TD Toronto Jazz Festival delivers the sounds of the world’s greatest jazz musicians from the quaint and most intimate of venues to the large concert halls. Attractions include more than 350 performances with over 1,500 musicians performing at approximately 40 locations around Toronto. Be sure to schedule this smooth festival into your summer calendar.
Pride Toronto Festival + WorldPride 2014 – 20th to 29th June 2014, Nathan Phillips Square
WorldPride 2014 Toronto, presented by Pride Toronto, is shaping up to be one of the biggest international events of our times. These 10 days of queer celebration will turn streets into parades, parks into parties & strangers into friends. Come out & meet the locals and tourists from around the world expected to gather downtown and in neighbourhoods right across the city.