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Xtreme Adventure in Jordan – Celebrity style!


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Bringing together the ultimate combination of adrenalin pumping adventure, fitness & a healthy lifestyle – five Indian TV celebrities visited Jordan recently on an adventure trip. The celebrities who travelled to Jordan are: Kishwer Merchant, Pooja Gor, Pryanca Talukdar, Asha Negi and Mrunal Thakur. These fit and famous TV stars in their new avatar explored Jordan in the most adventurous way possible.

“The Jordan sojourn trip was planned to take them to numerous places in Jordan which are famous for adventure and their scenic beauty, and will appeal to the Indian audience. We look forward to create an outstanding content from the Xtreme trip,” commented Ashit Taneja, Country Manager- Jordan Tourism Board. The trip kicked off in Amman where shopping for local souvenirs and knick-knacks got the group enthralled. They walked through the amazing local restaurants, coffee shops, shisha (Hookah) bars, local theaters, and loved the night life and souvenirs shops that dot every corner.

The first Adventure activity of the trip started with Jordan Trail – 8 kms from Umm Qais; which includes rough terrain, mountain hike and lot of walking! The Jordan Trail which is a continuous route crossing the entire county of Jordan, offering over 650 kilometres of trail and hiking through diverse terrains and landscapes. “We participated in the trail that starts from Umm Qais and we got a taste of the exciting adventure that the entire trail offers,” said Pryanca Talukdar.

The other activity on the itinerary was Wadi Al Hidan – a 4km Canyoning experience where they had to walk through Rocky terrain, uphill climb & downhill and swim through 12 water bodies to complete. Testing fitness limits, it has been rated as a must-do adventure segment in Jordan itinerary.

“Wadi Hidan is a canyon with a river running through it, which eventually leads to Wadi Mujib, which leads all the way to the Dead Sea. The hike we did consists of hiking along wet/dry trails alongside the river, swimming through slot canyons, and had some optional cliff jumping and natural water slides which were exhilarating and wonderful,” said Asha Negi.

The next stop was a Camp in Wadi Rum for a overnight glamping (glamorous camping) experience; with fantastic facilities, food and fun! The next day, the celebrities started with a grueling mountain rock-climbing which were formed almost thousands of years ago. The scorching heat of 40 degrees and hard façade of the rock mountain was scaled by the passion and enthusiasm of the celebrities to reach the top of the rock. This was further followed by half day tour of Wadi Rum which took the celebrities through the Mars-like landscape of the area.

At Dead Sea, the adventure started when the celebrities went down to the lowest point on earth, which is 420m below sea level and found that they cannot drown due to high salt density. Mrunal Thakur felt that despite the name, “Dead Sea actually makes you feel alive and I am very fortunate to experience its magic.”

Kishwer Merchant favourite spot was Petra which according to her has the world’s best hiking trails. Accessed via a narrow canyon called Al Siq, it contains tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs, earning its nickname, the “Rose City.”

Pooja Gor enjoyed the snorkelling in Aqaba where she was on the wheel of the yatch as well and enjoyed the scuba diving in one of the best diving places on earth. “It was a superb experience being in the crisp crystal blue waters,” she said. For an adventurous trip of a lifetime, follow these stars steps and visit Jordan to experience the adventure style itinerary they followed!

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Swim with sharks and feed the stingrays!

Sharks often bring fear to your mind. You are often warned to stay away from waters where sharks are at large. News of fatal shark attacks often come from beaches down under. But are all sharks so dreadful? How would react to an opportunity o swim with sharks? Have you ever envisioned yourself swimming amongst sharks? If not then you can, or you should try it once. Guests visiting tropical day resort Discovery Cove in Orlando can now do just that – if they wish.

In celebration of Shark Awareness Day guests at Discovery Cove can now take part in exclusive new animal experiences at the park. Discovery Cove has always been known for its memorable dolphin interactions, and now guests can enhance their visit with one of-a-kind, hands-on encounters with sharks and stingrays. The awe-inspiring Shark Swim program provides closer-than-ever encounters with legendary predators. While guests have always been able to view park’s sharks, the new program takes them on a daring next step – swimming freely among five species: Pacific blacktip, reef whitetip, nurse shark, zebra shark, and a spotted wobbegong.

The immersive session is divided into two unique interactions and begins as guests meet with the park’s shark team and head into the water. Through hands-on interaction, guests learn about shark anatomy and the threats the animals face in the wild. Guests can also join the sharks in the deeper part of their habitat and embark on an exhilarating snorkel experience.

Discovery Cove works to dispel myths about sharks and to inspire guests to learn more about these mysterious creatures. As top predators, sharks play an essential role in maintaining the balance of ocean ecosystems worldwide by monitoring fish populations. Sadly, shark finning and overfishing threaten many shark species and disrupt that natural balance. Guests who take part in the new Shark Swim program will walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for these fascinating ocean ambassadors.

The Shark Swim experience is available to Discovery Cove guests ages 10 and older. The cost is US$85 per person. For every shark swim package purchased, SeaWorld will donate 5% of the proceeds to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) in support of shark conservation and research.

In addition to the Shark Swim program, Discovery Cove has launched a new Ray Feeding experience. This exclusive opportunity gives guests the chance to feed the stingrays during a private tour of the Grand Reef. Guided by one of the park’s aquarists, guests ages 6 and older spend their session in the Grand Reef learning all about the species of rays as they hand-feed the incredible creatures. The Ray Feeding program is US$50 per person. The new interaction programs require a Dolphin Swim or Day Resort reservation at Discovery Cove to participate. Space for each program is limited and guests are encouraged to book in advance.

Discovery Cove® in Orlando is an all-inclusive day resort where guests can enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, snorkel among thousands of tropical fish and rays, hand-feed exotic birds, and encounter playful otters and curious marmosets. At the park, guests can relax and explore rocky lagoons surrounded by lush landscaping, tropical reefs, winding rivers and white, sandy beaches. Freshly prepared meals, snacks and beverages throughout the day and swim gear are included, plus unlimited, 14-day admission to SeaWorld® Orlando and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark®. Guests will experience the most exciting animal encounters the world has to offer in a breathtaking tropical atmosphere.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, behavioral training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 30,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

Want to see a video of tourists swimming with sharks? Watch it on my channel by clicking the thumbnail below-

Young tourists look for kicks other than waffles

Well, these are maps which are as good as any tourist guide but actually they are so good that they are also souvenir in themselves. That means, when you are visiting a city then in search of a good souvenir, you first get a souvenir in form of a map. And these are no normal maps. These maps are now turning 10. USE-IT, the tourist info for young people, will soon celebrate its first ten years in European capital Brussels. They’re a household name for city maps made by young locals, with no-nonsense tips for how not to be caught as a tourist in Belgium. (Nope, we don’t have fruit on our waffles.)

These maps are starting to conquer Europe, and the research team Expeditions has measured the impact on tourism in the entire network. Does alternative city info really make people move outside of the city centre? Do they stay longer? And what does this imply for the local economy? The results were very positive, and Brussels stands out. 59% of users say they went further from the centre indeed. Desk personnel at hostels and the tourist infos confirm. 86% think also that off-the-beaten track information boosts the investment in the local economy. Furthermore, 14% of the young tourists extended their stay with one or more nights, and nearly everybody (97%) would like to get the same kind of no-nonsense info on their next city trips.

When asked about their best experience in Brussels, the maps’ local tips are mentioned more often than the tourist classics. Highlights include the panorama on top of Parking 58, the vegetable garden on top of the Albertina library, a walk through Molenbeek, going out at Bonnefooi until the morning, and pissing in the public urinal that’s built against Sint-Katelijne church.

The survey ran in the entire European USE-IT network (more than 40 cities) and Brussels came out on top. Of the 4,000 respondents, one out of three had already used the Brussels map. Strikingly, a large number of them (38%) was also motivated to start up a USE-IT map for their own city.

ALSO READ: Travelling to Where Locals Go

“The creative side of Brussels speaks to many tourists’ hearts, and USE-IT embodies that side well. As Alderman for Tourism it’s important that we support young innovative teams. So we’re proud that these city maps have spread out all over Europe from Brussels,” says Philippe Close, the Alderman of Tourism in Brussels.

The USE-IT headquarters is stationed in the Galerie Ravenstein, where it attracts more than 20,000 travellers per year. Apart from all the European free maps, visitors also get tips about nightlife there from the young Brussels volunteers, or they head out together for a walk along the Anderlecht supporters’ bars or the latest genital graffiti in town. Anything but the Manneken Pis.

Want to have local food while on travel! TTC partners VizEat!

Want to have some authentically local food while travelling abroad, but are afraid of what hotels serve in name of local dishes? Also, you might be interested in having local food in authentically local environments such as homes, but don’t know how to in a new city! Here is a brand new initiative.

The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) award-winning family of brands including Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Contiki, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Busabout and Evans Evans partnered globally with VizEat, the innovative and immersive food experience platform, bringing travellers together by offering immersive culinary experiences with their 22,000 local hosts in 110 countries. In 2014, the app was first launched in Paris and it has now become the world’s most popular meal sharing platform with guests being welcomed into a global network of hosts’ homes while making authentic connections with both locals and travellers.

TTC’s travel brands will be able to connect their guests to these VizEat hosts who are trained chefs and home cooks where they will share their delicious meals and learn about new cultures with other travellers  and foodies from across the globe. They will sample regional specialties and traditional cuisine in unique locations with a relaxed ambience. Travelers can enjoy a pasta making class in Rome, embark on an interactive market tour in Barcelona, indulge in a wine and cheese tasting party in Paris or join a Tuscan chef’s table and sample gastronomic delicacies.

“Our partnership with VizEat will enable our guests from across our 30+ TTC travel brands to discover amazing and fun culinary experiences in each destination which we visit while also interacting with the local people and creating unforgettable memories,” said Brett Tollman, Chief Executive Officer of The Travel Corporation. “We also share similar values by offering experiential experiences and meeting like-minded travellers from around the world.”

Beginning this summer, TTC’s guests will have an opportunity to enjoy these immersive food experiences on selected trips or as optional experiences through the assistance of their knowledgeable Travel Directors and Tour Managers.

“We’re thrilled to announce this global partnership with TTC and this marks a great opportunity for more travellers worldwide the chance to uncover immersive culinary experiences with locals wherever they go,” said Jean-Michel Petit, Chief Executive Officer of VizEat. “It’s a great match for both of us: TTC family of brands plans the most memorable experiences for their clients and VizEat is aligned in this search for unforgettable and authentic moments.”

The Travel Corporation (TTC) is a highly successful international travel group. No matter what your taste, whether you are a family or a couple, a group or traveling solo – TTC offers something for everyone. Its multi-award-winning portfolio ranges from luxury hotels and boutique river cruises, to independent holiday package companies and a variety of guided travel experiences.

Created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands, the TreadRight Foundation is a not-for-profit that works to help ensure the environment and communities we visit remain for generations to come. Founded by Brett Tollman, Chief Executive Officer, TTC, to date TreadRight has supported more than 40 sustainable tourism projects worldwide. As an official Diamond Sponsor of the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, TTC is dedicated to bringing the industry together with a shared goal of benefitting local communities and the environment.

VizEat website and apps are now available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese. Anyone can sign up to become either a host or a guest. The mobile apps for VizEat are available for download for iOS and Android. Apple selected VizEat in the TOP 3 Apps of 2016 and  CEO Tim Cook went for a VizEat lunch in Paris early February.

Experience Ladakh Like Never Before

Ladakh, a land of myriad influences never ceases to amaze travellers with its iridescent colours. Ancient picturesque monasteries adorned with fluttering prayer flags, cobalt blue lakes merging into blue skies, grazing Pashmina goats in the backdrop of mineral rich snow-crowned mountains – every setting here is a dramatic performance with stunning colours.

Escape to another Realm with the Ultimate Travelling Camp

Nestled in the quaint hamlets of Ladakh, The Ultimate Travelling Camp’s widely popular Chamba Camp Thiksey and Chamba Camp Diskit is inviting travellers to fully immerse in the thin airs of Ladakh while being cushioned by luxuries of a glamorous abode. Known to have introduced ‘glamping’ in challenging landscapes of India, TUTC’s seasonal camps in Leh and Nubra Valley is beginning operations from 15th May 2017 until end of September, a favorable time to visit Ladakh. For those looking to deep dive into the soul of Ladakh TUTC’s signature itineraries promise experiential sojourns without comprising on luxury.

Thiksey Monastery near Leh

TUTC weaves together experiences like none other. Guests can rediscover the mystical energy of a Buddhist stupa, discover ancient stories of the divinities of Buddhism hiding beyond the secret symbolisms and colours of the monasteries, offer prayers of peace, raft down glacier fed rivers, cycle down mountain roads, watch a game of polo, a sport of the royals, experience a private séance with the village oracle or simply indulge in the multitude of extraordinary services at the camps.

Diskit Monastery in Nubra valley

At 11,000 ft., TUTC’s exceptional services cater to all the whims and fancies of its esteemed guests. Luxury is exemplified by the aesthetically beautiful tents furnished with wooden chandeliers, four poster beds, exquisite linen to wooden period furniture. The tents are triple layered and protected from the outside and the interiors are climate controlled to suit individual preferences. Each tent offers en-suite bathrooms with hot showers, in-house signature wash amenities, safe deposit, laundry service, private decks, unlimited Wi-Fi at the reception Tent, 24/7 security & paramedic on site, 24/7 electricity, boutique, library and services of a personal butler. TUTC’s in-house Chef uses garden fresh ingredients to prepare and pamper visitors with world class cuisine – Regional, Indian and International that suits the taste of the travellers.
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Two weeks of chocolate indulgence!

For the Love of the ChocolateWhat’s a love without chocolate! Countdown to valentine day has already started and chocolate always brings some sweet memories. From 1 – 15 February chocolate aficionados can once again indulge in European capital Brussels. For the third time visit.brussels focuses on chocolate during the Chocolate weeks. Armed with a Chocolate pass, the visitor will be able to sample more than 20 chocolatiers’ delicacies while also enjoying discounts to the chocolate museums and purchases at various chocolate stores.

Belgian ChocolatesWith Valentine’s Day fast approaching and the Salon du Chocolat in Brussels set to run from 10 – 12 February chocolate is again top of mind. This is the third time since 2012 that Chocolate weeks has been organised. Genuine chocolate aficionados will use the Chocolate pass this year. This grants access to more than 20 chocolatiers, offering the chance to sample their delicious creations. In addition, this pass also offers discounts at the Belgian Chocolate Village et Choco-Story museum, where the visitor can delve further into the history of chocolate and make purchases at numerous chocolatiers.

Salon Du ChocolateEarly birds can now buy their Brussels trip voucher for only €5.55 by purchasing the voucher for the pass online at chocolatepass.brussels. The voucher can be exchanged from 1 February at one of the visit.brussels tourism offices and also gives access to the experience.brussels expo free of charge. From 1 February – 15 February the pass can be purchased directly from € 5 at participating chocolatiers and museums, 36 locations spread over 8 Brussels districts, and at the visit.brussels collection offices.

Salon Du ChocolateParticipating chocolatiers are: Art de Praslin, BenoîtNihant, Bruyerre, Café-Tasse, Concept Chocolate, Corné Dynastie, Corné Port-Royal, Delacre, Galler, Godiva, JérômeGrimonpon, L’Alchimie du Chocolat, Laurent Gerbaud,  Leonidas, Mary, Neuhaus, Passion Chocolat, Planète Chocolat, Vandenhende, Wittamer and Zaabär.

Travelling To Where Locals Go

Brussels-based city maps are conquering Europe.  Some tourists can make do with a selfie stick picture at Manneken Pis, but the younger and more alternative kind want to break through the tourist bubble. Where do you guys from Brussels go for free live shows? Where do you lunch? And should we be more careful now, with the attacks and all?

Brussels1The answer is on the USE-IT city map. It shows the way to metal at Magasin 4, lunch at the Albertina library and a coworking space in Molenbeek. “We’ve reached the point where Lonely Planet doesn’t do,” the map makers say. “Those guides are sparsely updated, and they lack those nice tips on how not to stand out as a tourist. For instance: don’t order a waffle with whipped cream and four kinds of fruit, because we Belgians don’t either. And perhaps a mitraillete is more of a Brussels dish than mussels with fries.”

Brussels2The Maps for Young Travellers were first created in Ghent, and since USE-IT moved to Brussels in 2008 (headquarters are at Galerie Ravenstein) the virus has started to spread all over Europe. By now, 41 cities have joined the network, and their number grows fast. USE-IT Brussels has an info desk too, where more than 20.000 visitors drop by per year. They get fresh advice from young Brussels volunteers about nightlife, or they go on a walking tour together along the Anderlecht supporters’ bars or the new genital graffiti. Everything but Manneken Pis.

Brussels3The USE-IT maps now also appear in an app for iOS. Still, the paper maps won’t fade out, not even when roaming costs go down. “Paper is still doing well for travellers. People want to get that overview over the whole city, and a small screen doesn’t suffice. Besides, they prefer to pull a paper map out of their pocket instead of an expensive phone,” says Nicolas Marichal, USE-IT’s editor in chief.

This week, all USE-IT initiatives from the whole of Europe are joining in Brussels for the 2016 European meeting, supported by visit.brussels. “This city will always remain the epicentre. Our info desk and our maps still serve as an inspiration to most startups in the rest of the continent. And we absolutely wanted to get everyone here again, even if only to show how this city has not become that infamous hellhole in March 2016,” Marichal concludes.