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Coronavirus: The hit to the global economy will be worse than SARS – CNBC

A woman with a facial mask passes the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on February 3, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

The new coronavirus outbreak will be worse for the global economy than the 2003 SARS epidemic was, data analysis firm IHS Markit predicts.

While both outbreaks originated in China, nearly two decades separate the SARS outbreak from the new coronavirus outbreak. In that time, China has grown from the world's sixth-largest economy to the second biggest today behind the U.S. The country has been a main growth driver worldwide, with the International Monetary Fund estimating that China alone accounted for 39% of global economic expansion in 2019.

"Coronavirus will have a larger negative effect on the global economy than the SARS outbreak in 2003," IHS Markit wrote, adding that China accounted for 4.2% of the global economy in 2003. The report says China now commands 16.3% of the world's GDP. "Therefore, any slowdown in the Chinese economy sends not ripples but waves across the globe."

SARS, which stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome, first emerged in China's Guangdong province before spreading to other countries. The virus infected about 8,000 people, claimed almost 800 lives worldwide and shaved 0.5% to 1% off China's growth in 2003, according to various estimates.

Though estimates vary, economists say that the SARS outbreak in China cost the global economy about $40 billion.

Most of the economic cost of the outbreak, though, "is not related to the virus," said CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council Gloria Guevara, who was the tourism minister for Mexico during the H1N1 outbreak. "It's related to the panic."

The long-term economic impact of the new coronavirus outbreak will be determined largely by China's containment measures, IHS Markit's report says. The Chinese government has quarantined Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, and, by IHS Markit's count, 11 provinces have extended the Chinese New Year holiday to keep workers at home and prevent the spread of the virus.

"If the current and unprecedented confinement measures in China stay in place until the end of February, and are lifted progressively beginning in March, the resulting economic impact will be concentrated in the first half of 2020," the report says, "with a reduction of global real GDP of 0.8% in Q1 and 0.5% in Q2."

If China ends those restrictions on Feb. 10, as is currently scheduled, the impact on the global economy will be much more limited, the report says. Most factories in China would be closed around this time for observance of the Chinese New Year, which is factored into expectations. However, the report says the outbreak threatens to severely hamper several industries, especially automotive manufacturing.

"The 11 Chinese provinces which have announced an extended holiday period are normally responsible for over two thirds of vehicle production in China," the report says.

Employees with Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler who are able to do so are working from home this week, while production at both automakers' plants is scheduled to remain closed until at least next week, the companies confirmed to CNBC this week. Tesla has temporarily closed its stores in mainland China as of Sunday, Feb. 2, according to an online post from a company sales employee on that date.

General Motors, the largest U.S. automaker in China, last week told employees there that it will keep its Chinese factories shut down through Feb. 9

The uncertainty in China could also hamper global oil prices, the report says, adding that China accounted for half of the world's oil demand growth in 2019. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and some allies have been holding talks this week to respond to the outbreak.

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Coronavirus: The hit to the global economy will be worse than SARS - CNBC

Dubai airport is the worlds busiest for international travel – MarketWatch

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Dubai International Airport said on Wednesday that it maintained its title as the worlds busiest for international travel, despite closing one of its runways for repairs last year and the ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 Max.

The airport, home to long-haul carrier Emirates, saw 86.4 million passengers in 2019, 6 million more than second-place Heathrow Airport in London. Thats down 3% from 2018, which saw 89.1 million passengers at the massive airport.

The airport blamed the weaker numbers in part on a 45-day closure of its southern runway, the bankruptcy of Indias Jet Airways and the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max. Government-owned Emirates low-cost sister carrier, FlyDubai, had been flying a number of the Maxs in its fleet.

Its the sixth year for Dubai International Airport to hold the crown as the worlds busiest for international travel. The worlds busiest airport overall is HartsfieldJackson Atlanta International Airport.

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Dubai airport is the worlds busiest for international travel - MarketWatch

This Woman Traveled To Every Country On Earth. Heres How She Did It (And You Can, Too) – Forbes

Meet Melissa Roythe first South Asian woman to visit every country in the world. Here, she is ... [+] pictured in Bangladesh, the 193rd country that she visited in honor of her late father.

Add Melissa Roy to the list of women making history by visiting every country in the world. On December 27, 2019, 34-year-old Roy visited Bangladeshthe birthplace of her late father and grandparentsand became the first woman of South Asian origin to travel to every country in the world. Though she doesnt plan to apply for a Guinness World Record (Im doing this for myself, she says), she joins a small, trailblazing group of people who have achieved this lofty goal of visiting every one of the sovereign nation recognized by the United Nations. Its still astounding to me that more people have gone to outer space than visited every country in the world, says Roy. And even more people have summited Mount Everest than visited all the countries.

Roys accomplishment is an unlikely one, considering that she rarely traveled as a child. She was born in the small Midwestern town of Monroe, Michigan, and grew up in Greenwood, Indiana. Until age 6, when her parents divorced, the family relocated to many different states because of her fathers job. I was subsequently raised by an immigrant single mother who worked a minimum wage job and barely spoke English. I faced the struggles that come with growing up as a first-generation minority in Middle America, says Roy. I never had a chance to travel growing up because, quite frankly, we didnt have the money to do so.

Despite the circumstances, Roy had a deep curiosity about the world beyond her small town. I never understood how some people want to sit in their one little corner of the globe and not want to see something bigger than them, she says. I have an insatiable curiosity for the unknown.

READ MORE:Quit Your Job And Live Abroad: 10 Places So Cheap You Might Be Able To Stop Working

Melissa Roy, celebrating her 30th birthday in Antarctica.

By age 19, Roy got her first taste of solo travel, studying abroad in Buenos Aires during her sophomore year at Pepperdine University. Having been bitten by the travel bug, Roy set sail on Semester at Sea the following year, circumnavigating the globe in 100 days. In just one semester, I saw things that most people arent able to see in a lifetime, says Roy. I thought I would be able to slow down and start a normal career, but I wasnt ready to settle down just yet.

It wasnt her original plan to visit every countryRoy didnt even think it was a possibilitybut the call of unfamiliar lands kept her traveling up to eight months each year. By the time Roy was 29, she realized she had already been to 66 countries and wanted to step up her travel game and inspire others. Traveling on a shoestring budget, I want to show the world that it doesnt matter where you come from or how much money you have, says Roy. All you need is an open heart and a desire to connect with others.

Heres the story of how she did it.

What Inspired Me: Having visited 66 countries by age 29, I decided to challenge myself and set a goal of visiting 100 countries and all seven continents before my 30th birthday. I ended up celebrating the big 3-0 in Antarctica with one of my favorite animals, the gentoo penguins. It was also my seventh continent. After that, I decided to keep going, with the goal of visiting all the sovereign UN countries.

READ MORE:The 43 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2020

Exploring the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

How I Paid For It: I am unusual in that I have no sponsorships or endorsementsI pay for all my travels out of my pocket. For the first decade or so, I would return to my home base in Hollywood, do various TV commercials, music videos, even background work, anything that would give me the flexibility to decide my own schedule. Meanwhile, Id be planning my next trip on a shoestring budget. I was lucky to be in Hollywood at a time where I was able to make decent wages and even luckier that I made some wise investment decisions in the stock/bond market, allowing me to use my returns to fund my travels.

Country Counting: I became the first woman of South Asian origin to travel to every sovereign nation in the worldwhen I visited my 193rd country, Bangladesh. As for the number of countries there are in the world, this is a big point of contention among travelers. I wanted to keep things as uncomplicated as possible and go with the list of actual UN members, of which there are 193. There are two more states that are not full fledged UN members but are under observer status. These are Palestine and Vatican City. Finally, Taiwan is a country that many other countries recognize but the UN views it under Chinese sovereignty.Those are the 196 that Guinness uses and I have been to all 196 of those but I just use the basic UN member list to keep things simple and less politically messy. If the UN recognizes it as a country, then all the members of the international community also recognize its sovereignty, and in my book that is enough to be a country. On the other hand, if I started counting disputed regions I wouldnt know where to draw the line. What about Kosovo, Somaliland, Western Sahara, Hong Kong, Tibet and overseas island dependencies such as Aruba, Curacao, St. Martin, etc? Ive been to well over 200, if you count some of those.

In Sossusvlei, Namibia, home to the largest sand dunes in the world.

Why Im Not Going for the Guinness World Record: Im not going for a Guinness World Record because no record really corresponds to what I didI wasnt trying to be the fastest and I cant be the youngest because that record is currently held by my friend Lexie Alford, whos only 21 years old. Im doing this for myselfand okay, maybe for bragging rights for my future grandchildren who can tell their friends how crazy their granny was! Lastly, having to submit something like 7,000 pieces of evidence, witness statements, etc seems like it would take the fun out of traveling for me. But I have so much respect for Lexie and the ones who have gone that extra mile to get the record.

Why Bangladesh: I chose Bangladesh as my final country to honor the birthplace of my late father, Subhash Chandra Roy (whom Id seen for the last time on my sixth birthday) as well as all four of my grandparents. I wanted to try to find the village where my father was born but I thought it would be a shot in the dark because I didnt know a single person in Bangladesh. Most of my family had moved to India after my father moved to the US, so I didnt have any connections left in Bangladesh. Once we made contact, we went straight to the small village of Netrakona, and it was truly an emotional experience. Seeing the exact house where my father grew up was nothing short of powerful and moved me to tears. I had the privilege of staying with and meeting several of his childhood friends who were kind enough to share old photos and memories of him. I know he would have been proud of me.

Roy with her mother in Bangladesh, overlooking Cox's Bazar (the longest beach in the world)

Mixed Emotions: When I arrived in my final country, I experienced a combination of feelings: the euphoria that accompanies the accomplishment of a lifelong goal; the sense of relief that all the hard parts (ie. the bureaucracy and all the necessary sacrifices) were finally over; and the bittersweet feeling that I would no longer be able to have that adrenaline rush of landing in a new country. I was also one step closer to the inevitable, of having to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. I no longer had this as an excuse or a crutch, a reason to procrastinate or postpone the next chapter of adulting. Its the same feeling everyone experiences when they accomplish their biggest goal and then suddenly feel as if they have nothing left to work toward.

Best Experience: One of the highlights, of course, was reaching my final country with my mother by my side, whom I flew out to join me. Neither one of us had been to Bangladesh before, and both of our fathers were born there. This was also the first foreign country we had explored together as a mother-daughter duo. Seeing it as a symbolic homecoming to my roots and origins, I wanted to come full circle and end my journey where my family startedmy ancestral homeland.

Meeting locals on Funafuti, Tuvalu, a Polynesian island in the Pacific Ocean.

Meaningful Travel: Couchsurfing, which involves staying with a local host, is the way I travel in a deeper, more meaningful way. I was able to immerse myself in the local culture rather than insulating myself from it. The difference with couchsurfing, compared to Airbnb, is that it is a gift economy; hosts are not allowed to charge for lodging and is based on the idea that people are generally good and kind. It has renewed my faith in humanity time and time again.

Meeting Locals: I have been fortunate enough to take part in some incredible things that you could only do if you have a local host, friend or family in the country. For example, on the Pacific island of Kiribati I was invited to a wedding, a funeral and then an eight-hour wedding reception all in the course of one day. I had only stayed in Kiribati for five days, but I quickly became a part of the family and did things most people wouldnt even get to do in a month if they didnt know anyone there or were on a business trip staying in a hotel. In cases like this, staying for a few days with a local host makes a bigger impact on your life than staying for weeks but insulating yourself from the locals.

At the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan.

Best Birthday: Another highlight was Afghanistan. From the moment I went to their embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan to the moment I touched down on the tarmac in Kabul, I was treated with nothing but complete kindness and compassion, generosity and hospitality. At the embassy in Islamabad, I stared with awe and disbelief when they served me on a silver platter a four-course meal of chicken, biryani, salad and daal while I was waiting in the lobby for my visa. When I asked them if they do this for everyone, their answer was, You are a guest in our home. We do everything to make a guest feel welcome and dont let them go without eating. Because of that amazing experience, I chose to celebrate my 34th birthday in Afghanistan, though I didnt know a single soul beforehand. I happened to meet an interesting person on my flight to Kabul who said I should come to visit his coffee shop. Fast forward 24 hours: He closed down his coffee shop, invited about 15-20 of his friends and threw a full-blown birthday party, complete with speeches in different languages, a cake, candles, sparklers, balloons and even a handmade painting for a birthday present. Ive never even had family members throw a birthday party like this for me, let alone strangers Id met less than 24 hours ago.

Scuba diving in Cozumel, Mexico.

The Concept of Home: Home was never a happy place for me due to a traumatic childhood Id had with a lot of domestic fighting, police visits, my parents brutal divorce and custody battle leading to a restraining order, which led to me never being able to see my dad again, from age 6 until he passed away when I was 18. Throw into that mix a mental illness in my family, which led to more fighting, and you can see why I didnt like being at home. I always dreamt of being elsewhere and soon enough I made this dream a reality, escaping whatever chance I had. Eventually, faraway lands became my happy place and still to this day I never get homesick.

My Comfort Zone: Home and routine go hand in hand and the unpredictability of foreign places and new experiences also go hand in hand. So where most people have a comfort zone that is cozy and familiar to them, my comfort zone is actually constantly experiencing new things and I get scared when I think about settling into a life of monotony or routine.

The Kindness of Strangers: Growing up I never had much family around me. It was only my mother and me living in America, and so I came to trust strangers quite easily. Fast forward a decade or so, and I am trusting and sleeping in strangers homes, hitchhiking in different parts of the world and striking up deep, intimate conversations with random people anywhere on a bus, train, plane, to a post office, a public restroom or the lobby of a doctors office. Strangers have given me the shirts off their backs without having any sort of obligation to do so. I find something quite refreshing about that. When you arent required to do something and you still do it out of the kindness of your heart, it just seems that much more genuine and organic.

Connecting with a local child in Darjeeling, India.

Goals: My goals go beyond visiting every country in the world. I want to create meaningful connections with humans from every walk of life, shatter misconceptions and bring back faith in humanity. I hope to educate and inspire young women of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds that they, too, can explore the world on their own, taking risks, pushing boundaries and discovering along the way the incredible lessons of other cultures, which connect them back to who they are.

Advice for Other Women Who Want to Do This: My advice for women who want to do this is the same advice that I would have for anyone wanting to do this. It is possibleso get the word cant and all the self doubts out of your mind and vocabulary. Honestly, though: If I can do it, I feel that anyone can. If cost is a hindrance, it is shocking how much you can save each month by cutting out things you dont need (daily Starbucks, monthly manicures, personal trainers). Ive often laughed at how much I save by traveling. Per month, it costs me more to live in one place in the States than it does to travel in most parts of the world.

At the pyramids of Giza, Egypt.

Advice for South Asian Women: Embrace your heritage and everything about yourself. Funny enough, growing up I had an identity crisis because I was the only Indian girl in my entire class of all-American (Caucasian) students in Middle America. I never felt that I fit in or belonged. Oh, how I wanted to fade awayliterally and figurativelyinto an anonymous, homogenous crowd of people and not stand out. Looking back, I cant imagine why I felt that way and didnt celebrate my differences and beautiful complexion. Maybe that is one of the catalysts that caused me to want to explore the world, to see where else I may be able to find people who look like me. The answer is a resounding everywhere. Something like 80% of the world is various shades of brown, so being South Asian actually helped me blend in, giving me a sense of belonging Id never felt. Id always joked that in my commercial acting career being ethnically ambiguous was an advantage I had, and I think this applied to my world travels as well. Sometimes Id think of it as casting myself as a local woman and dressing and playing the role as accurately as possible, studying the women and truly understanding where they were coming from. That, along with my psychology degree, really helped me get into the psyche of the local population.

Whats Next: Im still not 100% sure what I want to be when I grow up, but I have been considering working with some NGOs with missions close to my heart and eventually starting my own. I am very passionate about womens rights and empowerment of those that are vulnerable, which, lets face it, are women, in most of the world. Being of a South Asian background myself, I feel pulled to work with Indian and Bangladeshi women, and one issue I have taken notice of is the one around menstruationthe stigma and taboo that surrounds it, and the lack of education and access to hygiene products.I'd like to do a combination of humanitarian work, maybe get back into acting again, and of course, I've always got to have an element of travel in my life. I want to do all of this while balancing a healthy, fulfilling personal life. If I can marry those things into a single career, that would be the ultimate dream.

Celebrating Diwali at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.

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This Woman Traveled To Every Country On Earth. Heres How She Did It (And You Can, Too) - Forbes

Cramer’s week ahead: Coronavirus news ‘can steal the spotlight at any given time’ from earnings reports – CNBC

Monday: Allergan, Restaurant Brands, XPO Logistics earnings

Allergan reports earnings before the morning bell. The pharmaceutical company, which is merging with AbbView in a $63 billion deal, is projected to ring up nearly $4.1 billion of revenue and produce $4.57 of earnings per share in the December quarter.

"I hope Allergan talks about its miraculous new acute migraine drug, which was just approved," said Cramer, saying he is "betting it's a blockbuster."

Restaurant Brands is slated to release fourth-quarter results in the morning. The Burger King and Popeyes parent is projected to bring in $1.9 billion in revenue and yield 96 cents of profit per share.

"I'm worrying that its sales could be slowing, here," Cramer said. "We're seeing a real divide in the restaurant space between the haves and the have-nots, and Restaurant Brands may be slipping from the former to the latter."

XPO Logistics is delivering its quarterly performance after the market closes. Analysts estimate $4.2 billion in sales and $1.01 of earnings per share from the transports giant.

"We want to find out if they've found any takers for the divisions that they're trying to sell," the host said. "I think it makes sense to own this one going into the quarter."

Hasbro's quarterly earnings report will come out before the market opens. The Monopoly board game parent is expected to complete $1.4 billion of sales and 90 cents of profit per share, according to FactSet.

"We need to know what they can say about China," Cramer said. "Can the factories they need to make toys on the cheap stay open?"

Under Armour's fourth-quarter performance will also come out in the early morning. The sports apparel retailer is expected to report $1.46 billion on the top line and return 10 cents per share to stockholders.

"I hope they'll be able to make a comeback, but we have to stay close to their inventory issues and discontinued products," Cramer said.

Lyft will drop its fourth-quarter report after the closing bell. The ride-hailing app is projected to collect $984 million of revenue and lose 53 cents per share, which would be an improvement from a loss of $11.32 cents per share in the same three-month period the year prior.

CVS Health has an earnings report coming out before the market opens for trading. The health retailer is estimated to register $63.9 billion in revenue and yield $1.68 of earnings per share, according to FactSet.

"We need to know about the debt paydown, about possible assets they can sell, and about the health hub expansion," the host said. "I also want to find out how bad our regular flu season could be this year, not just the coronavirus."

Barrick Gold has an earnings release in the early morning. The gold miner is projected to show nearly $3.7 billion on the revenue line and to return 18 cents of earnings per share.

"I'm betting the numbers will be very good, but you own a gold stock like this one to vaccinate your portfolio against economic chaos," Cramer said.

Shopify reports earnings prior to the morning bell. The internet retailer is projected to record $482 million of revenue and 23 cents of earnings per share.

"They just keep delivering and delivering. I keep hoping the stock will come down" to give my charitable trust a "decent buying opportunity to get back in," Cramer said. "If it pulls back after the quarter, that could be the chance to get into Shopify."

PepsiCo reports earnings in the morning. The beverage giant is expected to bring in $20.2 billion of revenue and $1.44 of earnings per share.

Kraft Heinz reports fourth-quarter results before the market opens. The food producer is estimated to write down $6.6 billion on the revenue line and distribute 68 cents of earnings per share.

"I'd like to see some growth, acquired or otherwise ... or else this stock just remains dead in the water," Cramer said. "Kraft Heinz has become the hallmark of inconsistency."

Waste Management also reports in the morning. Analysts expect the print to show nearly $4 billion of revenue and $1.15 EPS.

"The stock's run in anticipation of a strong quarter on Thursday," the host said. "If you don't own it, I say wait."

Expedia Group will show its financial results for the fourth quarter after the closing bell. The travel agency is projected to report $2.76 billion in sales and $1.19 EPS, according to FactSet.

"I think world travel is being paralyzed by the coronavirus outbreak, but we'll know for sure when Expedia reports after the close," Cramer said. "It could be very downbeat."

Nvidia reports in the afternoon. The chipmaker is expected to show almost $2.96 billion of revenue and return $1.66 per share to stockholders.

"The stock's had a huge run, but with its new raytracing graphics chips for gaming, I think it's worth holding onto and I think you should buy some into weakness."

DexCom's fourth-quarter results come out in the after market. The medical device maker is estimated to deliver $441 million in revenue and 74 cents of earnings per share.

Newell Brands releases its quarterly report in the morning. The consumer goods company is expected to report about $2.58 billion in revenue and 38 cents EPS.

Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Nvidia, Cisco, PepsiCo and CVS Health.

Questions for Cramer?Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Want to take a deep dive into Cramer's world? Hit him up!Mad Money Twitter - Jim Cramer Twitter - Facebook - Instagram

Questions, comments, suggestions for the "Mad Money" website? madcap@cnbc.com

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Cramer's week ahead: Coronavirus news 'can steal the spotlight at any given time' from earnings reports - CNBC

Coronavirus in MENA – The Arab Weekly

With more than 700 dead and more than 34,000 confirmed cases, it is only normal that the coronavirus is on everybodys mind, including populations of the Middle East and North Africa.

The oil market is likely to be directly affected. With China being the second largest oil consumer in the world, oil prices have dropped since the outbreak and oil producers have contemplated production cuts. BPs chief financial officer said the coronavirus outbreak could reduce oil consumption by 300,000-500,000 barrels per day (bpd), about 0.5% of global demand.

Other estimates are higher. S&P Global Platts Analytics said the epidemic could cut oil demand at least 900,000 bpd in February and 650,000 bpd in March. If air travel is further affected by the cancellation of flights, demand could fall 2.6 million bpd.

Many airlines, such as Saudi Airlines, Egyptair and Air Maroc, suspended flights to and from China. Others, including Emirates and Air Algerie, chose not to or to do so selectively. Nationals are being repatriated.

For many MENA countries, the Chinese tourism market, which has a lot of potential, is being deeply disrupted. The H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009 and the 2003 SARS outbreak cost the global tourism industry, respectively, $55 billion and $50 billion.

Reactions in the Arab world have shown huge room for better coordinated logistics (in matters of repatriation of nationals, for instance) and an uneven level of preparedness in preventing and dealing with cases of infection.

Accurate and efficient public communication will be needed to dispel erroneous notions about the outbreak and limit its damage. World Travel & Tourism Council President and CEO Gloria Guevara said: Containing the spread of unnecessary panic is as important as stopping the virus itself.

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Coronavirus in MENA - The Arab Weekly

Travel guide to Athens: gods, sunshine, and souvlaki – Kiwi.com

For centuries, the living cradle of democracy has served as the immortal reminder of what humanity can accomplish and maintain

There arent many places carved in the history of humankind to such extent as Athens. From the invention of democracy to establishing the basics of drama and literature, outstanding architecture and innovation of every aspect of life, the Athenians have always been the pioneers of progress.

Group Created with Sketch. Athens cannot be called Western nor Eastern. Athens is Greek, and more importantly, Athenian ColorMaker / Shutterstock

While strolling through its streets, one cannot miss the variety of Athens different faces. With its tall buildings and contemporary shops, it can give the impression of being the first truly European city when approaching it from the East.

However, from the opposite direction, its food, music, and bustling street life give the visitor an undeniable Easter feeling. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to call Athens merely a memory of the Byzantine or the Ottoman Empire, and neither it could be called Western, nor Eastern. Athens is Greek, and more particularly, Athenian.

Despite having their line of development cut by foreign intruders for a few times in history, the people of Athens have always managed to start where they were forced to halt, to rebuild their heritage and place it on the worldspedestal.

While in the middle of the 19th century Athens was but a few villages scattered around the ruins of ancient temples, now the capital of Greece is home to more than 3.7 million inhabitants in its urban area almost one third of the whole Greek population.

Group Created with Sketch. Like other hilltop sites in ancient Greece, the Acropolis or the high city was both the place of worship or refuge when under attack Shutterstock

The metropolis now serves as the countryspolitical, economic, educational and cultural center and attracts huge numbers of visitors and expats.

With a plethora of temples, archaeological sites, and museums all around the area,Athens is a paradise for true history enthusiasts.

The city is home to the largest pedestrian zone in Europe. Stretching over 4 kilometers the area features an archaeological park that includes some of the numerous historical landmarks the city brims over with. Visitors can walk along the Ancient Agora, the Acropolis, Keramikos, or other places figures such as Pericles, Socrates or Plato strolled through in their everyday lives.

Like other hilltop sites in ancient Greece, the Acropolis or the high city was both the place of worship or refuge when under attack. Being the lasting testament of the Greek golden age, the sacred sites were built in the 5th century BCE.

Group Created with Sketch. Pantheon might have easily been the mightiest temple in the ancient world Shutterstock

Crowned by the mighty Parthenon temple, the site rises above modern Athens as the historical, cultural and literal highpoint. Once dedicated to the virgin god of wisdom and war, Athena, the massive structure, that might have easily been the mightiest temple in the ancient world, now relies on the support of modern cranes.

At the foot of the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora or a marketplace sprawls out from a surviving temple. For three thousand years Athenians gathered here to exchange goods, as well as news and gossip, making it the cultural hotspot of the old times.

While the Acropolis was the center or worship and ancient ceremonies, the Agora played the role of a beating heart of Athens where the roots of modern politics, culture, and science emerged during the times of Plato or Aristotle.

Group Created with Sketch. With colourful and cosy streets featuring many restaurants and souvenir shops, Plaka offers the calmer and more intimate side of Athens Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

Like many of major civilizations, ancient Greece had its peak and then it slowly vanished under the rule of their usurpers. To regain a majestic facade, Athens underwent a massive development in the 19th century. To explore the neoclassical style brought to the city during that period, head to Plaka.

Plaka offers the calmer and more intimate side of Athens, with colorful and cozy streets featuring many restaurants and souvenir shops, and mainly, lack of cars and noisy transportation.

To escape the speed and noise of the metropolis even more, head to Anafiotika. Built in the 19th century by the people who moved to Athens seeking work, this tiny oasis of tranquillity nestled beneath the walls of the Acropolis makes the buzz and hustle of Athens seem miles away.

Group Created with Sketch. Picturesque Anafiotika was built in the 19th century by the people who moved to Athens seeking work Shutterstock

To soak in the national pride of modern Greece, head to the Syntagma square. Guarded by flamboyant soldiers in peculiar uniforms, the royal palace now serves as the seat of the Greek parliament.

Syntagma square or constitution square remains a place of national importance. It was right there where the king promised a constitution to the Greek people after regaining the independence from the Ottoman Turks in the 19th century.

Group Created with Sketch. Soldiers guard the royal palace which now serves as the seat of the Greek parliament Shutterstock

Nowadays, Syntagma square belongs to the most crowded hubs in Athens with the largest metro station, a number of restaurants, cafes, and benches shadowed by trees that offer a short refuge from the strong Greek sun.

As the birthplace of the Olympic Games tradition, Athens can give you the notion of how ancient Greeks appreciated the culture of kalokagathia, the balance between a strong mind and body alike.

Group Created with Sketch. The all-marble Panathenaic Stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896 Shutterstock

As the only city in the world, Athen prides itself with a multi-purpose sports center made entirely of marble. After being refurbished, the Panathenaic Stadium or Kallimarmaro hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896 while 4 of the 9 contested sports took place in the stadium as well.

Visit to Athens would not be even half the experience without trying the colorful supply of traditional dishes. As no Greek would take food lightly, there is the option of getting a Souvlaki, Saganaki, or Moussaka almost everywhere across the metropolis.

Group Created with Sketch. Greek cuisine is famous for its healthy and regional ingredients Shutterstock

Greek cuisine famously belongs to the healthiest and tastiest at the same time. The food underlines Mediterranean freshness and authentic taste, and it usually consists of local ingredients, mainly based on vegetables, olives and cheese, and the gifts of the sea. No Greek dinner could be served without the variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini or aubergines, as well as fish and seafood.

Athens can easily be called one of the busiest hubs in the Aegean, Balkan, and East Mediterranean regions. Built in 2001 for the occasion of Athens being the host of the Olympic Games, its Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport belongs to the most passenger-friendly and efficient in the whole of Europe.

Located 27 kilometers from the center, the airport provides a plethora of connections. The airport Metro line an extension of the citysLine 3 heads to the downtown Syntagma and Monastirki stations.

Passengers can also use the suburban railway to Larissis Railway Station or express bus service to various stations across the metropolis.

Athens is also easily accessible by boat with the ancient and still functioning port Piraeus acting as the marine gateway to the city.

The whole city is connected by a metro system that has three lines in total. Some stations exhibit artifacts found during excavations for the system, which make the ride resemble an extraordinary visit to a museum.

There are also three tram lines that connect the metropolis with the southern suburbs, as well as diesel buses, natural gas buses and electric trolleybuses run by the Athens Urban Transport Organisation. As driving in the city can be rather stressful, it is recommended to leave your car at home.

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Travel guide to Athens: gods, sunshine, and souvlaki - Kiwi.com

moscowliving Best City Trip Is It Safe to Travel to Moscow? – The Moscow Times

SAFE

We often hear the question "is it safe to travel to Moscow?" and therefore we decided to write about it, as the answer is absolutely yes! And Moscow is not only a very safe city, it is also one of cleanest metropols we visited. We can honestly say that we feel more safe in Moscow, than we feel in Amsterdam, London, Paris or New York. A good indicator for the safety is that there's a high chance that, if you forgot something you will find it untouched at the exact same spot. Of course use your common sense as you would do in any major city and try to avoid random taxi's but download a taxi app, like "Gett taxi" or "Yandex taxi". Moscow's metro system is one of the most reliable, safe and most beautiful metro systems in the world. For more tips on public transport:https://www.moscowliving.org/post/public-transport-metro-minibus-taxi.

SCENIC - CULTURE - NIGHTLIFE

The biased image of Moscow as a grey "Soviet" city couldn't be more wrong. You will see colorful, well maintained buildings that are beautifully lit at night, which gives Moscow a great allure. Every season the city is impressively decorated in a theme that fits the season. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union this city has rapidly developed in a super modern & trendy place with many things to offer. It's a cultural mecca with its rich and sad history, it's a theater lovers paradise with world class performances in theaters you find on almost every street corner. And Moscow has a very vibrant nightlife, with restaurants and bars that beat the trendy places in New York or London in terms of decor and quality.

PEOPLE - KIDS FRIENDLY

Part of the reason for the rapid development and modernization is that they wanted Moscow to "shine" at the FIFA World Cup in 2018. A lot of money was invested in English signs and voice overs in the Metro, on constructing and updating buildings, sidewalks and parks. The World Cup also resulted in a much more open & friendly approach towards foreigners and you could see that the Russians where proud to share their beautiful Moscow with the rest of the world. There is definitely a language barrier and especially the older generation hardly speaks English. However, in many restaurants and among the younger generations the level of English is increasing rapidly. They will feel insecure about it, but if you're friendly and patient the Russians will definitely help you. Another very positive aspect of Russia is that the people are very kids friendly. You can skip lines, there are many kids facilities in restaurants and public places and people will help you in any way they can.

And if our personal experience after living for years in Moscow doesn't convince you, maybe this recognition by the World Travel Awards will:

Moscow wins tourism Oscar, overtaking Paris, London, NYC & others as worlds top city destination!

The World Travel awards is an organization that rewards leaders in the tourism, airline, hotel and hospitality sectors. Last year Moscow beat the usual suspects like London, Paris, New York and 15 other cities.

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin wrote on his Instagram account:

According to Sobyanin, almost 20 million tourists have already visited Moscow this year and the new visa policy will only make it easier for tourist to visit.

Enjoy this beautiful city!

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moscowliving Best City Trip Is It Safe to Travel to Moscow? - The Moscow Times

Mauritius to welcome prestigious polo tournament this summer – Breaking Travel News

Mauritius is set to host a prestigious polo match later in the year following the signing of a new partnership.

The news was announced at the annual Snow Polo World Cup, hosted each year in St. Moritz.

Arvind Bundhun, chief executive of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, made the announcement during a gala dinner hosted at Badrutts Palace Hotel.

He was welcomed to the stage by Reto Gaudenzi, chief executive of St. Moritz Snow Polo, and joined by Sanjiv Ramdanee, chief executive of Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa.

St Moritz hosts the only polo tournament on snow in the world.

More than 15,000 spectators were on hand to watch the action.

Polo enthusiasts from around the world gathered for an outstanding weekend of polo showcasing a variety of events.

These included polo clinics taught by former England team champion and Royal Salute World Polo ambassador, Malcolm Borwick, VIP luncheons on the frozen lake and endless flutes of Perrier-Jout champagne.

More Information

Arvind Bundhun, chief executive of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority is honoured by the World Travel Awards

Sanjiv Ramdanee, chief executive of Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa, claims a top World Travel Awards trophy

The date and host of the proposed Mauritian polo tournament will be revealed in the coming months.

Maradiva Villas Resort considered the Worlds Leading Luxury Villa Beach Resort - is expected to be closely involved.

Mauritius itself was recognised as the Worlds Most Romantic Destination, while also claiming the title of Indian Oceans Leading Tourist Board.

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Mauritius to welcome prestigious polo tournament this summer - Breaking Travel News

Beaches Resorts Debuts the All New Beaches Negril – eTurboNews | Trends | Travel News

Sandals Resorts International is excited to announce that Beaches Negril, voted the most awarded resort for families in Negril, has completed an array of enhancements, making it the newest and trendiest resort for families everywhere. The new Beaches Negril offers guests the most spectacular interior dcor, furnishings and fixtures in all of its modern rooms, including the resorts luxurious walkout suites: the Tropical Beachfront Three-Bedroom Walkout Grand Butler Family Suite and the Tropical Beachfront One-Bedroom Walkout Grand Concierge Family Suite.

TheWalkout Grand Butler Family Suite features the most beautiful beachfront viewsimaginable, three bedrooms, four full bathrooms with a bathtub and shower, anda living room leading out to a private walkout patio for guests to bask in thetropical garden and beach views. The Walkout Grand Concierge Family Suite isconveniently just steps from the main pool, offering a king-size bed, spaciousliving room with French doors leading out to the patio, two pullout sofas, atrundle bed and two beautifully designed marble bathrooms. In addition to thereimagined walkout suites, Beaches Negril is also introducing its new andimproved family rooms the Grand Luxe Family Rooms. These rooms feature eithera king-size bed and single pullout sofa bed or two double beds to choose from,while offering a beautiful tropical garden view for families.

Justlast year, Beaches Negril kicked off the cosmetic upgrades by introducing ninenew luxurious rooms and suites for guests, giving them even morefamily-friendly accommodation options to choose from that each radiatesophistication. These new suites included: the Negril Luxury Double, which issituated near a variety of restaurants and the main pool, offering stunningviews of lush gardens from a private patio or balcony; the Tropical BeachfrontTwo-Bedroom Grand Butler Family Suite, which boasts two bedrooms, three fullbathrooms and a living room that leads out to a private balcony overlooking theresorts tropical gardens, and seven equally other amazing suites to choosefrom.

Asidefrom its reimagined luxurious room accommodations, Beaches Negril offers morequality 5-Star inclusions than any other family-resort in the Caribbean. From5-Star Global Gourmet dining at nine restaurants, including trendy Mexicancuisine at El Mariachi or delicious frozen yogurt at Yoyos, to nonstop actionat the 18,000 square-foot Pirates Island Waterpark, to the Caribbean Adventurewith Sesame Street themed activities, and to a wide variety of unlimited waterand land sports, Beaches Negril has been named Jamaicas LeadingAll-Inclusive Family Resort by the World Travel Awards for a reason.

Notto mention, Beaches Negril truly is the resort for everyone, as BeachesResorts attained the Advanced Certified Autism Center (ACAC) designation by theInternational Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards(IBCCES). This certification allows Beaches Negril to offer families withchildren on the spectrum a myriad of specialized services, engaging activitiesand custom dining options so that all families can enjoy a memorable, LuxuryIncluded vacation experience.

To learn more about the fully renovated, all-inclusive Beaches Negril, please visit https://www.beaches.com/resorts/negril/. For a list of current deals and resort specials please visit https://www.beaches.com/deals/resort-specials/.

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Beaches Resorts Debuts the All New Beaches Negril - eTurboNews | Trends | Travel News

Travel round the world with Teessiders who’ve taken their Gazette on tour – Gazette Live

A surefire way to get your picture in the Gazette is to send a picture of yourself reading it.

And the more exotic the location you pick to enjoy it, the better.

We loved featuring your favourite holiday snaps - as long as the paper was in them too!

And like Alan Whicker, The Gazette has got pretty much everywhere.

The 118 advert was a popular fancy dress choice as we rolled into the 2010s, and we particularly loved a picture from Lee Griffiths' stag do with best man Andy Hudson and his mates in, you guessed it, Benidorm.

Year 8 and Year 9 students from what was then Hall Garth School in Acklam represented the paper abroad - taking it to Disneyland in Paris.

And it looked like Alan and Karen Merser has a great time on the West Bank in Luxor, Egypt.

It was a beautiful day 4,500 feet up in the Southern Alps in Queenstown, New Zealand, when George and Sandra Graham were perusing a paper which reported speculation that Boro were after signing Leon Best.

Taffy Boyle Junior's bachelor party in Las Vegas looked enjoyable in 2008, as we reported on plans for Middlesbrough's super-casino.

And we hope Denis Bell, from Cleveland Twinning Association, enjoyed a few tipples at the Warsteiner Brewery at Troisdorf, Germany - Redcar and Cleveland's twin borough.

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Travel round the world with Teessiders who've taken their Gazette on tour - Gazette Live

How the coronavirus could hit the tourism and travel sector – HalifaxToday.ca

This article, written byMarion Joppe, University of Guelph, originally appeared on The Conversation and has been republished here with permission:

The spread of infectious diseases is invariably linked to travel. Today, tourism is a huge global business that accounts for 10.4 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 10 per cent of global employment.

Nothing seems to slow its growth as year-over-year increases outpace the economy. The United Nations World Tourism Organization is predicting further growth of three per cent to four per cent in international tourist arrivals for 2020, with international departures worldwide particularly strong in the first quarter of this year.

But that was before a new coronavirus (formally known as 2019-nCoV) hit China and then very rapidly started spreading to the rest of the world with 20 countries and counting isolating cases.

Officials in China and those in the rest of world have been much quicker to take more drastic action after learning bitter lessons from the SARS outbreak in 2003, which also started in China.

The impact on travel to and from China of this new coronavirus, however, has been devastating. Airlines, including Air Canada, have cancelled all flights or significantly reduced the number of flights in and out of China. Russia closed its land border to passenger travel with China and Hong Kong shut down its borders, cross-border ferries and railways.

How does the impact of 2019-nCoV differ from that of SARS, which also affected tourism dramatically?

SARS has higher death toll so far

The World Health Organization confirmed 8,096 cases and 774 deaths in 26 countries as a result of the SARS coronavirus. First detected in late February 2003, it had run its course five months later.

The coronavirus first appeared in December 2019 but has already surpassed the total number of SARS cases in just two months, albeit with a much lower death rate. Infectious disease experts expect it to last for several months yet with tens of thousands afflicted before it runs its course.

SARS accounted for a drop in international tourist arrivals of almost 9.4 million and a loss of between US$30 billion and $50 billion. But in 2002, Chinas role as both a travel destination and a source country was relatively minor, receiving fewer than 38 million tourists and sending about 17 million tourists abroad.

Compare that to 2019 when it is estimated China received 142 million inbound tourists and the Chinese made 134 million trips abroad and 5.5 billion trips domestically.

The severe travel restrictions imposed by the Chinese government on its citizens and the stern warnings from Foreign Affairs offices, including Canadas, to avoid all non-essential travel to China and all travel to Hubei province (Wuhan is its capital and largest city) means that the economic impact of this coronvirus will be felt in every corner of the world and almost every sector of the economy.

The market response has been swift, with share prices of major airlines, cruise lines and tourism companies dropping several percentage points.

With the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus a public health emergency of global concern, Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) fears that this escalation could have a damaging and lasting economic impact on the sector. Shes expressed serious concerns that airport closures, flight cancellations and shuttered borders often have a greater economic impact than the outbreak itself.

Hundreds of thousands die from seasonal flus

These concerns are well justified when one considers that between 291,000 and 646,000 people worldwide die from seasonal influenza-related respiratory illnesses each year, which does not lead to any of these warnings or drastic measures.

Canada saw 251 SARS cases and 43 deaths, but it cost the Canadian economy an estimated $5.25 billion and 28,000 jobs. At the time, China was a Canadian tourism market of less than 100,000 visitors annually; that dropped by 25 per cent due to SARS.

Today, China is Canadas second-largest overseas market, accounting for close to 800,000 arrivals, and its highest spending market with more than$2,800 per trip.

Depending on how long the restrictions and warnings are in place, losses could easily double of those in 2003. The pain will be felt in every industry as tourisms supply chain involves everything from agriculture and fishing to banking and insurance. The hardest hit will be its core industries of accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, transportation and travel services.

While Air Canada will refund fares for cancelled flights to and from China, other airlines may only extend change fee waivers or provide credit towards future flights.

But this may not be the case for connecting flights from Beijing or Shanghai, the cities most commonly served by North American airlines.

A growing number of hotels are also waiving changes and cancellation fees for bookings in China scheduled for the next few weeks. But many travellers to or passing through China may not be able to recover all their money, even if they bought insurance. Thats because most basic travel insurance plans do not cover epidemics as a reason for cancellation.

Marion Joppe, Professor, Law and Economics of Tourism, University of Guelph

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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How the coronavirus could hit the tourism and travel sector - HalifaxToday.ca

Facing off in the world’s only traditional sumo ring outside Japan – CNN

(CNN) A man with strawberry-blonde hair squats to face his dark-bearded, well-toned opponent. Both are wearing black loincloths, and stand in a meticulously groomed circle, surrounded by ceramic tiles that link together to form a perimeter.

At the Mie Nishi complex, which opened in 1958 and also houses a baseball stadium, Brazilians come to train, wrestle and watch sumo. The wrestling arena was purpose-built and opened its doors in 1992.

In 2000, the Brazilian Sumo Confederation (CBS) was formed in So Paulo state, and the Brazilian National Championships, alongside the South American Championships, were held in the gymnasium.

With the aid of funding from the So Paulo Federation of Sumo, alongside a public fundraising campaign, the arena was refurbished in 2008, much to the delight of Brazil's Japanese population.

"At the time, the new gymnasium was considered to be the first and only exclusive sumo gym in the world outside Japan," says president of the gym Oscar Morio Tsuchiya. It's still the only one with a traditional clay ring, he says.

A crowded arena marks the opening of the refurbished sumo gym in 2008.

Courtesy Mie Nishi Gym

Every year since, the Brazilian Sumo Confederation has held major championships there, offering free admission to the public.

A championship was held at the opening in 2008 with around 400 athletes, including wrestlers from Japan.

The championships are now an annual event and, Tsuchiya says, the number of participants has been steadily increasing. He cites the local Japanese community as being "integral" to supporting the training of wrestlers and organizing the competition.

Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside Japan -- known as "Nikkei" -- with the last estimate in 2016 putting the number at 1.9 million.

In the Liberdade neighborhood of So Paulo, where more than half a million Japanese live, Shinto shrines line the streets, their traditional red torii gates framing the avenues in the district known as Little Tokyo.

"Before there was no permanent space for the practice of sumo here in So Paulo," Tsuchiya continues. "The championships were held in a makeshift manner in various places. Because of this, there were no children in So Paulo who could start practicing sumo, so [it was] only practiced by adults who trained in judo arenas."

Now, he says, the Brazilian community pull its weight by sending young wrestlers -- and women -- to the school to train.

'A source of pride'

Two opponents face each other during a training session in Mie Nishi gym.

Courtesy Mie Nishi Gym

There are around 30 members at the gym, many of whom travel for hours from small towns to come and train.

"The success of Brazilian sumo is certainly a source of pride for all those who, like us, work hard to maintain this sport," Tsuchiya beams.

Brazil now regularly sends wrestlers to national sumo championships, and one of the best sumo wrestlers outside Japan is Brazilian-born Ricardo Sugano, who goes by the name of Kaisei Ichir.

The third generation Brazilian-Japanese rikishi, or sumo wrestler, turned his back on his homeland's favorite pastime of soccer to study martial arts, which eventually led him to sumo.

Indeed, Sugano's training at the gym is a point of pride for Tsuchiya. When asked what some of his favorite memories have been so far, he lists "our dear Ricardo" and his debut at the gym as one of them.

Another wrestler, 25-year-old Rui Junior, drives eight hours to train at Mie Nishi. He's a 10-time Brazilian champion and a three-time South American champion, and recently competed in the World Sumo Championships in Osaka.

The Japanese government is so pleased with the spread of its sport to Latin America it even sent a coach to the gym to help train budding talent.

Unlike sumo in Japan, women are allowed to take part in the sport in Brazil, and it is growing in popularity among women and children.

Courtesy Mie Nishi Gym

However, there is one notable difference at the So Paulo arena: there are women wrestling.

In Japan, women have long been banned from entering, or even touching, the wrestling ring -- called dohy in Japanese. It is traditionally seen as a violation of the purity of the dohy, a view which critics say is based on the Shinto belief that women are "impure" because they menstruate.

But Tsuchiya says it was important to him to include females in the dohy ring.

"In order for Sumo to be recognized as an Olympic sport, it is also necessary to have the female sport, so the Brazilian Confederation created the female sport and started the first championship that included females in 2001."

And Tshuchiya has big dreams for the future, hoping that, some day, his humble gym in Brazil will host the World Championship.

In the meantime, the gym hosts tournaments once a month that are open to the public.

Ginsio de Sumo do Bom Retiro, Av. Pres. Castelo Branco, 5446 - Bom Retiro, So Paulo - SP, 01142-200, Brazil

Lucy Sherriff is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Bogot who covers environment, travel and gender issues.

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Facing off in the world's only traditional sumo ring outside Japan - CNN

A world of cruise options to kick off the new decade – The Union Leader

The Caribbean still reigns supreme when it comes to cruising, but theres a whole new world to explore. Classic ports such as the Bahamas are recovering, new itineraries are opening up in Japan for the 2020 Summer Olympics and luxury options abound in the Seychelles.

Here are eight places to prioritize in 2020.

Japan

Remember when Olympic organizers in Rio de Janeiro slept on cruise ships and called them floating hotels? Tokyo will do the same for its turn in the spotlight. From July 24 to Aug. 9, the city is chartering at least one large ship to serve as a floating hotel in response to a shortage of rooms on dry land.

But youd be better off going a more traditional route: Two of Royal Caribbean Cruises Shanghai-based ships, Spectrum of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, will offer itineraries that overnight at Tokyos new terminal. Passengers with tickets can easily get to Olympic events and then sail on to other, less frenetic parts of the country.

Windstar Cruises is betting that the summers television coverage will drum up tourism interest for Japan in general, so its skipping the marquee games and sending its 312-passenger, all-suite Star Breeze to the country for a series of temple- and garden-centric sailings this fall.

But the most peaceful way to sail might be a three-night trip on Gunt, a 38-passenger design ship thats like a floating ryokan on the Seto Inland Sea, complete with traditional open-air onsen baths in some of its suites.

The trip were most likely to book: Star Breeze 10-night sailing, from $3,599 per person.

All itineraries of Virgin Voyages first ship, Scarlet Lady, will stop at The Beach Club at Bimini in the Bahamas.

The Bahamas

Typically cruise lines have relied heavily on the Bahamas. Not only is Nassau, the capital, a frequent port of call, but several companies have organized sailings throughout the commonwealth around islands that they own. In the last year, however, the roles have changed. After Hurricane Dorian devastated Grand Bahama (also a cruise port) and the less-visited Abaco islands, cruise companies helped deliver recovery supplies and made major donations. In the storms aftermath, theyre helping revitalize the entire Bahamian tourism economy.

The second phase of Royal Caribbeans Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas, which is set to open in January, will include the first overwater floating cabanas in the region.

Royal Caribbean is opening the second phase of its $250 million Perfect Day at CocoCay island in January. The Coco Beach Club includes the first overwater floating cabanas in the region. Norwegian Cruise Line has boosted the offerings at its Great Stirrup Cay, a chic, South Beach-style beach oasis where you can shell out as much as $1,100 a day for a private, air-conditioned villa conveniently located near a Moet & Chandon bar.

MSC Cruises recently opened, 95-acre Ocean Cay offers a more tranquil experience that focuses on spa treatments and underwater activities in its protected marine reserve.

And when adults-only Virgin Voyages debuts its first ship in March, every sailing will stop at a swanky private resort think Ibiza or St. Tropez developed by Resorts World Bimini.

The trip were most likely to book: A four-night itinerary on Virgins Scarlet Lady, from $2,750.

Kinsale, Ireland

Cruise lines are jumping on the DNA tourism trend, and harbor towns in West Cork, including the historic fishing town of Kinsale, are trying to get a piece of the pie. Promotional efforts have focused on attracting small expedition and boutique ships, and theyre paying off.

Last year, French line Ponant sent one ship; this year its sending four. Ultraluxury line Seabourn has been sniffing around, too. Nearby attractions include a 3.7-mile trail around the ocean cliffs of the Old Head of Kinsale, where the Lusitania was sunk just offshore by a German U-boat in 1915. Theres also a star-shaped fort built by Charles II. And if you find through an ancestry search that youre related to the notorious 18th-century pirate Captain Anne Bonny, Kinsale is said to be where shes from.

The trip were most likely to book: A seven-night sailing from London to Portsmouth, England, from $3,830.

Taucks 84-passenger MS Andorinha, which will debut in the spring, was specifically built to sail along Portugals Douro River, from coastal Porto to the Spanish border.

The Douro River, Portugal

Lisbon is a popular port, but attention has also shifted north to the quieter Portuguese city of Porto, famous for its sweet red fortified wine. Its also becoming a popular starting point for cruises on the Douro River. Hillsides covered in terraced vineyards and historic quintas reflect 2,000 years of winemaking in the valley, with itineraries that include stops for tastings and time to cross the border toward the medieval city of Salamanca in northwestern Spain.

Luxury tour operator Tauck and luxury brand Uniworld River Cruises are each debuting ships in the spring: Uniworlds 100-passenger S.S. So Gabriel has butler-serviced suites, Douro-influenced decor and locally sourced cuisine; Taucks 84-passenger MS Andorinha features an infinity-style pool, outdoor dining and Balinese daybeds on the sun deck. Dinner at a family-owned wine estate near the sleepy village of Pinho is included.

The trip were most likely to book: One-week Tauck Villages and Vintages itinerary, from $4,190.

Raja Ampat Islands

Far from the fancy resorts in Bali in miles, scenery, and style this Indonesian archipelago occupies an enviable position in the center of the Coral Triangle. Cruises here lead to fascinating cultural encounters, but the big attraction is the warm sea, home to about 75% of known coral species and about half of all the worlds marine tropical fish. Typically the best way to see it all has been on small dive boats, but upscale expedition cruise ships from Ponant and Australian line Coral Expeditions have recently moved in.

Joining them is Aqua Expeditions, best known for its top-notch Amazon River sailings. It transformed a naval vessel into its first ocean ship, the 15-suite yacht Aqua Blu, on which it offers a culinary program designed by Aussie superstar chef Benjamin Cross and sailings that stretch through the winter.

The trip were most likely to book: One week on Aqua Blu, from $7,525.

Subantarctic Islands

These islands in the Southern Ocean, which are on the way to Antarctica from Australia and New Zealand, are protected nature preserves, where only researchers live among birds and marine mammals. On Macquarie Island, beaches may be covered with royal penguins and fur seals. The island also has a weird geologic feature: Some of its shores are piled up with exposed green rocks from the Earths mantle that look eerily like theyre covered in snakeskin. And the Snares, one of several chains of New Zealand islands, feature crested penguins endemic to the islands.

Cruise passengers visit on zodiacs that hug the shoreline or make a landing for guided walks, all in places where the number of visitors is tightly controlled. Get here on expedition ships from Silversea Cruise or Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, which have new itineraries traversing the region.

The trip were most likely to book: A two-week cruise round trip from Dunedin (on New Zealands South Island) on Silver Explorer, from $13,950.

The Seychelles

Luxurious options abound in this Indian Ocean paradise off of East Africa. Crystal Cruises 62-passenger superyacht, Crystal Esprit, has suites with butler service and a private submarine. Ponants 184-passenger Le Bougainville has a snazzy, underwater Blue Eye Lounge, somewhat like a submarine with a panoramic view and where you can get a martini. But the real beauty of sailing here is taking tiny zodiacs to islands with uninhabited beaches, where you may snorkel among coral reefs or wander past tortoises in lush forests. Keep an eye out for the Seychelles warbler and other native birds, as well as Valle de Mai, a rare palm forest little changed since prehistoric times.

The trip were most likely to book: A seven-night trip on Crystal Esprit, from $5,599.

Nile River

In January, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises launches the 84-passenger, all-suite S.S. Sphinx, and because it will only sail in Egypt, its look will have an authentic sense of place. (Think Egyptian fabrics and artworks.) Similarly, Viking River Cruises in September adds the 82-passenger Viking Osiris, done up in Scandinavian design despite her Nubian name. Standard 12-day sailings on both ships start and end in Aswan, usually after a hotel stay in Cairo and flight to Luxor.

For DIY types, there are also four-night sailings to Aswan on Sanctuary Retreats elegant, recently upgraded, 64-passenger Sanctuary Nile Adventurer. Its shorter sailings arent packaged with pre- and post-cruise land experiences and are a little more flexible. This year, especially, a must-do is drinks on the terrace of Aswans Old Cataract Hotel, where Agatha Christie wrote parts of her 1937 novel Death on the Nile. Kenneth Branaghs film based on the book will debut in theaters in the fall.

The trip were most likely to book: Four nights on the Sanctuary Nile Adventurer, from $1,410.

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A world of cruise options to kick off the new decade - The Union Leader

The most dangerous countries in the world for 2020, mapped – indy100

According to a new map designed for travellers, the most dangerous places on earth for 2020 areLibya and Somalia.

The annual interactive 'Travel Risk Map'reveals the countries where people are most likely to have trouble when it comes to road safety, security and medical matters.

By contrast, the safest places are Finland, Norway and Iceland.

Libya and Somalia both rank lowly in each of the three categories in the study by international medical and security specialists International SOS along with Afghanistan and Venezuela, meaning they are the most dangerous.

When it comes to health, countries with the highest risk of contracting medical issues or disease include African nations Niger, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, South Sudan, Eritrea and the Central African Republic.

Places with a low risk of disease are most of those in Europe, Canada, the US, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and Japan.

For security, researchers evaluated the threat posed to travellers by political violence (including terrorism), social unrest and violent and petty crime.

Countries with an extreme risk to travellers' safety include Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Libya and parts of Nigeria.

Placeswhere security risks are deemed insignificant are Norway, Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia.

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The most dangerous countries in the world for 2020, mapped - indy100

Everything you need to know about traveling during Australias bush fire season – The Points Guy

Record-breaking heat waves, melting roads, savage fires. Dehydrated koalas desperate for help. The news around Australia is alarming.

However, fires are more nuanced than dozens of flame icons on a map express. Before abandoning plans for the Land Down Under, make an informed decision. Needlessly canceling deprives local communities of key tourism income while costing you fees, hassle and a much-anticipated vacation. Instead, manage expectations, stay flexible, and monitor regional developments.

The overarching message from Tourism Australias Managing Director Phillipa Harrison is one of cautious optimism. Whilst bushfires continue to impact parts of Australia, many areas are unaffected, and most tourism businesses are open. It is more important than ever that we rally around our communities and the tourism sector who may have been impacted she said. She pointed to the Australian Governments Bureau of Meteorology as a source for countrywide weather updates and fire warnings.

Heres what tourists need to know about bush fires throughout Australia.

Destination New South Wales (NSW) acknowledges the persistence of bush fires around the state. Check the Rural Fire Service, National Parks, NSW Police and the Bureau of Meteorology for updates, however, as many popular places are safe. Visitors may encounter travel delays due to damaged or partially closed roads and should check Live Traffic for updates.

Of course, the number one destination in NSW is Sydney. The citys denizens have endured weeks of haze and polluted air, generally dampening the mood and forcing people indoors. A new report by Reuters warns fire threatens the water supply. Check in with area hotels and tour operators before arriving.

Beyond Sydney, the Blue Mountains draw Americans to its rainforests, canyons and rock formations. Huge fires have been reported. However, as Scenic Worlds Chief Experience Officer Amanda Byrne reminds us, the World Heritage region is enormous. It is important for tourists to understand that the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area is vast more than 1 million hectares and there are many popular tourist areas currently unaffected by the bushfires, she said.

Scenic World in Katoomba is Australias most visited privately owned tourist attraction, welcoming around 40,000 American guests annually.

All eyes will be on Melbourne when the Australian Open kicks off in late January. Victorias fire season starts later than neighboring states though for now, its business as usual.

Kyle Ross of Grand Slam Tennis Tours, an American tour operator focused on packaged trips to key tournaments including the Australian Open, said he has fielded concerned calls and one cancellation due to a preexisting respiratory issue. Ross is keeping tabs on air quality:Weve obviously been tracking the firesand communicating with any travel partners with whom weve booked excursions for our tennis guests. While the danger from fires is low in Melbourne, the air quality can be affected from fires elsewhere.

If fires or smoke make travel challenging for guests, he added, conditions will affect players, too. An air quality situation could present a test of the functionality of HVAC systems; however, Tennis Australia runs arguably the best tennis venue in the world, he says.

Wineries in Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula, popular day-trips from Melbourne, continue to welcome visitors.

South Australia (SA) has suffered blistering heat waves. According to the South Australia Tourism Commission (SATC), four December days saw temperatures above 104 Fahrenheit. Such conditions led to warnings of catastrophic fires and danger for frail and young travelers.

SATC recommends checking emergency warnings and alerts via Country Fire Service, the State Emergency Service, the Metropolitan Fire Service and the South Australian Government website.

For interested wine travelers, the area of Adelaide Hills suffered an estimated loss of a third of its vines. We do know there have been vineyards, wineries and cellar doors damaged but the extent of what has occurred is not clear. Whats important now is the safety of all involved and we urge everyoneto follow the advice of theSA Country Fire Service, activate your Bushfire Survival Plans and be aware that some roads in the area have been closed, said Kerry Treuel, Executive Officer of Adelaide Hills Wine Region. (Check Adelaide Hills cellar door openings here.)

Nick Knappstein, brand manager of Riposte Wines, confirmed reports of road closures and electrical outages. However, there are plenty of cellar doors openthe smoke has died down considerably, he said. Knappstein reminds tourists that around Adelaide, many other attractions, beaches and the wine regions of McLaren Vale and Barossa have not been impacted.

Only small scrub fires have afflicted remote places. Popular destinations in Northern Territory are unaffected. Darwin and surrounds, Kakadu National Park, Arnhem Land, Katherine and surrounds, Alice Springs and surrounds, and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park are operating per usual, said a tourism representative.

Tourism in Tasmania remains unaffected. Discover Tasmania has added a page with emergency information including links to the Fire Service and TasAlert should the situation change.

If heading to the heart-shaped island, check out summer programming on Tourism Tasmania.

Tour operators have suffered preemptive cancellations due to media coverage but insist popular tourism sites remain open. Check regional fire coverage before and during travel.

But for a few fires beyond Perth, the state is operating per usual.

If you dont have trip coverage through a credit card, buy a policy. In the event you have to change or cancel flights, hotels or scrap an itinerary altogether, several companies have customizable plans.

Always confirm flights with airlines before departure. Earlier in the year, airlines cancelled several flights in NSW due to low visibility from bush fire smoke.

Campers should check total fire bans around camp sites.

Travel parties inclusive of the asthmatic, frail, and elderly can monitor the air quality index of destinations. Bring a mask, if needed. During Californias wildfires, the Governors Office recommended N95 or P100 respirators. The N95 is small and light compared to the P100.

If visiting high risk areas, consider a fire survival plan. Discuss with travel partners what to do if fire threatens your location; know bush fire alert levels if youre in a vulnerable area; and keep fire information numbers, websites and smartphone apps handy.

As in life, be smart, flexible and have fun.

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Everything you need to know about traveling during Australias bush fire season - The Points Guy

20 best new hotels to visit in 2020 – CNN

(CNN) Whether it's for business or pleasure, today's travelers are more discerning than ever about their hotel choices.

Luckily, the newest batch of hotels and resorts have stepped up to the challenge.

Reefsuites, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

As if scuba diving alongside the Great Barrier Reef's 1,500 species of tropical fish wasn't enough of an adventure, you can now sleep among them -- in a luxury glass-walled suite, submerged 15 feet underwater.

Opened in December 2019, Reefsuites, Australia's first underwater hotel, allows visitors to take in the Reef's incredible underwater world -- and all its fish, rays, sharks and turtles -- from the comfort of a plush, king-sized bed.

Each suite also features a light switch that allows you to illuminate the water surrounding your room for extra effect.

On top of that, every stay also includes a scenic cruise through the Whitsunday Islands, dinner under the stars with unlimited wine and a guided snorkeling tour.

Hotel Chteau du Grand-Luc, France

Hotel Chteau du Grand-Luc: Built in the 18th century and renovated in 2019.

Courtesy Hotel Chteau du Grand-Luc

With its bucolic location and acres of mazes, lakes and rose gardens, Hotel Chteau du Grand-Luc might possibly be the world's dreamiest countryside escape.

The chteau, built in 1760, opened its doors to guests in June 2019 after a multimillion-dollar renovation that restored the structure to its original Neoclassical splendor.

Its 17 rooms, adorned with hand-painted murals and antique furnishings, are large and light-filled and boast sweeping views over the chteau's manicured gardens.

Added bonus: It's just 55 minutes from Paris by train, making it an easy weekend trip.

Aman Kyoto, Japan

Tucked away inside 80 acres of dense forest just outside of Kyoto, the newest Aman, opened in November 2019, is the perfect place to unwind and unplug.

Its 26 suites -- scattered throughout minimalist ryokan-inspired pavilions -- are clean-lined and almost monastically sparse, yet still undeniably luxurious. Think super-soft beds, deep-soak wooden tubs and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the woods.

Other highlights include a spa with mineral-rich onsen (hot springs) and five-star Japanese cuisine. Pro tip: Ask to have dinner in one of the seven al fresco dining spots hidden carefully throughout the woods.

Kachi Lodge, Bolivia

Kachi Lodge: Plush pods on the Bolivian salt flats.

Courtesy Kachi Lodge

From above, Kachi Lodge looks like a cluster of tiny geodesic domes set amidst the lunar-like Uyuni Salt Flats.

But don't be fooled by its sterile, space station-like appearance: Inside each dome, you'll find bohemian-chic interiors, plush beds and huge bay windows that offer some of the world's best stargazing. (Being 35 miles from the nearest town -- and 11,800 feet above sea level -- Kachi is virtually free of light pollution).

In the daytime, there's plenty to see and do, from biking across the arid, otherworldly landscape to high-altitude hikes on the nearby Tunupa volcano.

Alternatively, guests can simply relax in the main dome, take a class on Andean cosmology, or enjoy the homemade Bolivian cuisine. Thanks to a culinary partnership with Gustu -- one of Bolivia's finest restaurants -- the food at Kachi is as impressively unforgettable as the views.

August, Antwerp, Belgium

It doesn't get much cooler than August, a former Augustinian convent-turned-boutique hotel behind private walled gardens in Antwerp's leafy Green Quarter.

Sprawled across five renovated Neoclassical buildings, the hotel's rooms are full of raw natural materials and thoughtful artisan touches, from the handwoven carpets to the custom-built lights.

Amenities include a curated library and a luxurious spa with a hammam and sauna.

InterContinental Hayman Island, Australia

You have a choice of pool or ocean at InterContinental Hayman Island.

Courtesy InterContinental Hayman Island

Just two years after Cyclone Debbie left the Whitsunday Islands battered in her wake, the iconic Hayman Island Resort debuted a $135 million transformation -- and its stunning new incarnation as an InterContinental Resort.

The sleek new property has eight beachfront villas, built mere steps from the ocean.

Its crowning jewel is the Beach House: a 4,000-square-foot, three-bedroom villa, outfitted with a whopping three private pools, that looks out over the Coral Sea.

But don't be fooled; it's not all infinity pools and ocean views. Rooms are energy-efficient, single-use plastics are forbidden and guests are provided with reef-safe sunscreen and glass water bottles upon arrival to ensure the resort is as sustainable as it is luxe.

Puro Vik, Chile

When the design-forward hotel Vik opened in Chile's Millahue Valley in 2015, it brought an unprecedented level of luxury and sophistication to the destination. Now, its sister property, Puro Vik -- opened in April 2019 -- is doing it again.

Comprised of 19 literal glass houses carved into the hills just below the original hotel, Puro Vik makes guests feel as if they're completely immersed in their lush natural landscape without having to leave the comfort of their own beds.

Though the focus here is the landscape, each house is also carefully furnished with striking art pieces and sleek furniture handpicked by owners Alex and Carrie Vik. .

Naturally, such an experience will cost you: nightly rates start at a cool $1,100. But sipping wine in your own deep-soak tub, engulfed by lush, unobstructed mountain vistas? Priceless.

Jao Camp, Botswana

The spectacular surroundings of Jao Camp's swimming pool.

Courtesy Jao Camp

When it comes to glamping, it doesn't get much plusher than Jao Camp in Botswana's Okavango Delta. Though the camp was established in 1999, it was completely rebuilt and reopened in the summer of 2019.

The camp's five tented suites are lavishly outfitted with spacious sun decks, plunge pools and indoor-outdoor bathrooms, while an additional two villas created for families and groups come equipped with their own private vehicle, guide, chef and butler.

It's architecturally stunning, too. Communal areas feature floor-to-ceiling windows, and the swimming pool sits beneath a spectacular bird's nest-like canopy that allows guests to soak in their wild surroundings, uninterrupted.

Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, Mexico

Unlike most hotels in Los Cabos, it's not your traditional, hacienda-style property; instead it blends Nobu's signature Japanese minimalism with the area's stark desert beauty. The hotel is fronted by a wide, windswept beach over which the sun sets rather dramatically.

Gorgeous George, Cape Town

Stylishly mismatched furniture and mid-century modern accents are the name of the game at Gorgeous George.

Courtesy Gorgeous George

The aptly named property is a design lover's dream, blending its Art Deco and Edwardian architecture with raw industrial vibes and midcentury accents.

Its 32 rooms are all individually decorated with stylishly mismatched furniture and colorful rugs and huge potted plants, and they feel more like the downtown loft of a cool artist friend than hotel rooms.

On the rooftop, there's a cute plunge pool shaded by leafy palms and an excellent restaurant serving up elevated comfort food, like mac and cheese with black truffles and fancy craft cocktails.

Islas Secas, Panama

If you thought a private island was the pinnacle of exclusivity, what about your own private archipelago? Located 33 nautical miles south of mainland Panama, Islas Secas is the sole development on a dreamy 14-island archipelago, offering guests an unparalleled level of privacy and tranquility.

It has just four casitas (three more will be added in March 2020) nestled amidst the lush, Jurassic Park-like landscape. Though they're undeniably luxe -- each comes with an ocean-facing private plunge pool -- they're also sustainable, powered entirely by solar energy and fitted with water recycling systems.

Activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and whale watching -- or simply dozing off on one of the archipelago's dozens of private island beaches.

Mama Shelter, London

Mama Shelter has two karaoke rooms for hotel guests and the public to enjoy.

Courtesy Mama Shelter London

The Mama Shelter hotel brand is fast becoming an empire, having opened three new properties in 2019 and two more slated for 2020.

Like its sister properties, Mama Shelter London is offbeat and funky and doesn't take itself too seriously with its eclectic decor and "anything goes" vibe. But what you're here for is the trendy East London location, the Japanese-style karaoke rooms (first hour is free for guests) and the extraordinarily good fish and chips.

Rooms are admittedly on the small side, averaging at 200 square feet, but the beds are comfy and the layout is so functional and intuitive that you'll hardly notice or care.

Nayara Tented Camp, Costa Rica

Flanked by lush rainforest near the base of the Arenal Volcano, Nayara -- one of the first luxury tented camps in Costa Rica -- is worth visiting for its location alone.

Just minutes from camp, guests can enjoy thermal hot springs, whitewater rafting, countless hiking trails and horseback riding. There's even an on-site sloth sanctuary home to more than 15 sloths (and a "sloth concierge" to guide you through it).

Of course, you won't be judged for staying holed up in your room, either. Each of Nayara's 29 hillside tents feature plunge pools fed by natural hot springs, luxurious indoor-outdoor bathrooms and unobstructed views of the volcano.

Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand

Lennon's is the bar on the top floors of the Rosewood Bangkok.

Courtesy Rosewood Bangkok

The Rosewood's newest hotel wows from the outset with its striking architecture: two slim, separate structures connected together to mirror the wai, the Thai greeting of hands pressed together in greeting.

The inside is just as impressive, thanks to a 10-story indoor waterfall (a tribute to the Chao Phraya River upon which Bangkok is built) and dozens of pieces of original work by Thai artists.

In signature Rosewood fashion, its rooms feel more like upscale residences than traditional hotel rooms. Rich woods paired with rattan furnishings, plush chairs topped with soft throws and fresh flowers and books on every table make each room feel like a cozy hideaway in the heart of the city.

The Standard, Maldives

It was an odd move for The Standard, an urban hotel chain known for its hip hotels in New York and Los Angeles, to open up shop on the white sands of the Maldives. But they did, and it works strangely well.

Its 115 villas (several overwater) are a departure from the romantic, honeymoon vibes of many other Maldives resorts, instead going straight for the hearts of millennial travelers with their psychedelic decor (think disco balls in the bathroom) and neon-pink pool toys.

Other highlights include nightly beach bonfires, drum circles, karaoke and a glass-floored overwater night club that stays open until after sunrise. Bring friends.

Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards, New York City

Equinox Hotel is fitness-focused, but there's still space for rest and relaxation.

Courtesy Equinox Hotels

The upscale gym chain's hotly anticipated first hotel is exactly as you'd imagine it to be: minibars stocked with magnesium supplements, a 60,000-square-foot gym outfitted with cryotherapy chambers, on-call "sleep coaches" and vitamin-fused IV drips.

But chances are, you'll like it even if you're not a fitness junkie. Rooms are fitted with lighting and temperature presets optimal for rest and relaxation and beds made from spring-free, organic fiber mattresses.

If you're after a little more action, there's also a rooftop pool and bar with panoramic views over New York City. Or simply step outside and hit Hudson Yards, which sits at the hotel's very doorstep.

Six Senses Shaharut, Israel

Perched atop a cliff in Israel's rugged Negev Desert, the Six Senses Shaharut -- opening in Spring 2020 -- is the perfect destination for the intrepid luxury traveler.

The hotel offers a menu of unique and thrilling desert-centric diversions, from camel safaris to rappelling off the Makhtesh Ramon -- the world's largest erosion crater, located at the peak of Mount Negev.

Afterwards, guests can retreat to their sumptuous sandstone villa and watch the sunset over the arid landscape from their private outdoor plunge pool.

The Fantauzzo, Brisbane, Australia

The hotel is named for award-winning Australian contemporary artist Vincent Fantauzzo.

Courtesy The Fantauzzo

Brisbane is having a moment, thanks to a frenzy of hotel openings -- including Australia's first W hotel -- in the past two years. The Fantauzzo, a fantastical, shimmering, geometric-walled boutique hotel in the trendy Howard Street Wharves precinct, is not one you want to miss.

It's got everything you'd want from a hip Aussie boutique hotel in a hip Aussie city: minimalist-modern rooms decked out in timber, stone and leather, original art by local artist Vincent Fantauzzo (after whom the hotel is named) and a central location steps from the city's hottest restaurants and bars.

But what you're really here for are the views. Whether you're at the rooftop pool, in the restaurant, or in your room, you're smacked with heart-stopping views over the Brisbane River, Story Bridge and city skyline.

&Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia

Opened in October 2019 after a top-to-toe $3 million renovation, the sleek new &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is as luxe as it gets in the great outdoors.

Its ten 1,400-square-foot suites boast desert views from every corner and the finest amenities, from fire pits and plunge pools to butler hatches with solar-powered freezer drawers stocked with ice cream and Namibian craft beer.

The biggest draw, of course, is the desert itself. Though you won't find the Big Five here, there's still tons to explore, from the surrounding caves to the stark, otherworldly landscape of the nearby Deadvlei salt pan.

Santa Monica Proper Hotel, Los Angeles

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20 best new hotels to visit in 2020 - CNN

Can the Art World Kick Its Addiction to Flying? – frieze.com

In 2009, the critic and curator Nicolas Bourriaud published (in English) a book-length essay called The Radicant. The term radicant refers to plants that root from the stem above ground instead of below; to be radicant, Bourriaud wrote, meant setting ones roots in motion, staging them in heterogeneous contexts and formats, denying them any value as origins. It was a critical concept that he already lived, de-emphasizing his home base in Paris in favour of an itinerant existence amongst international museums, galleries and studios, the roosting points of art-world peregrination. Bourriaud documented his travels explicitly in his introduction, as if to demonstrate his commitment to cultural nomadism: This book was written between 2005 and 2007 in the places to which circumstances brought me: Paris, Venice, Kiev, Madrid, Havana, New York, Moscow, Turin and, finally, London. Cities and places, rather than countries. Nations are abstractions I distrust, he wrote too xed, too ideological.

To Bourriaud, the Centre Pompidous pointedly international 1989 mega-exhibition Magiciens de la terre (Magicians of the Earth) represented the official entry of art into a globalized world shorn of master narratives, a world that is henceforth our own. In other words, the art world grew to encompass territories beyond its usual Western poles. At the same time, perhaps, art history lost its previous teleological thrust in exchange for a continuous, low-amplitude motion. Cultural globalization represented a kind of loss of self: Nothing counts, since nothing really binds us or requires us to commit to ourselves. The diaphanous, churning loss of self must be countered instead by travel, constant juxtaposition against new people and places.

Over the past decade, Bourriauds itinerancy has become commonplace not just for academic celebrities and the milieu of less-famous curators, artists and critics, but for a wide swathe of those who are or want to be associated with the cultural vanguard: from collectors and start-up CEOs to so-called digital nomads remote freelancers tapping away at laptops in co-working spaces in Bali, maybe making a living by ghostwriting gallery press releases distributed by e-flux. Radicant living has been codified and commodified via the neverending global schedule of biennials, art fairs, panels and openings. Tech companies like Airbnb and Uber extract prot from mobility as we rely on them for on-demand apartments and rides in each new city, while critics and curators fare no better than drivers in the precarious gig economy. Bourriauds itinerary now resembles not a whimsical intellectual adventure but the stops of atravellingsalesman.

Its a lifestyle the critic Andrew Berardini both summarized and parodied in a 2014 essay for the Canadian art website Momus, How to Survive International Art: Notes from the Poverty Jetset. Already that piece reads like a nostalgic elegy for a bygone time. Berardini trades Bourriauds theoretical polemics for a soft sensualism, evoking the pleasures of travel in the lifestyle of the art nomad: You live on one continent and work on two others. You have a firsthand knowledge of the sunrise over the Po, the sunset over Shenzhen, the crackle of the midday sun as the Acqua Alta wets your calves. You might be a poor culture-ronin, but you have accidentally attained an enviable air of weary cosmopolitan glamour, which follows you back to your shabby, expensive at.

The art worlds addiction to travel and the aura it imparts is chronic and its only getting worse. Today, as I watch colleagues depart for another fair, residency or retrospective, I think not of their open-bar, expenses-paid, five-star destination, but of the plane trip there. The three square metres of Arctic sea ice that melt for every tonne of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. (A return flight New York to London generates approximately 986 kg.) The fact that one small group the 12 percent of Americans who make more than six round-trip flights a year are responsible for two-thirds of the USs aviation emissions. We see the pointed internationalism of the cultural vanguard as a bulwark against the inward-oriented conservatism of our moment, but we talk less about how all that movement is only accelerating climate change.

Its a strange double-consciousness, reflective of what the writer Daisy Hildyard has called the second body in her 2018 book of that name. When I fly for work, I feel briefly enlightened, empowered, like I am someone valuable enough to have been transported simply to see a talk or exhibition. (A delusion, of course, but one many people share.) And yet, I also have the crushing awareness of that collective second body: the way that each of us, undertaking our mundane lives, is also invisibly contributing to the damage, our habits and hobbies inseparable from flooding in Bangladesh, droughts in East Africa and extreme heatwaves across European cities.

Our second bodies become bigger and bigger. We know that an overall rise in temperature of just two degrees would mean the displacement of 30 million people a year, 388 million people exposed to water scarcity, a 25 percent increase in hot days.1 It is the age of climate panic, according to journalist David Wallace-Wells, and each year we do not solve the problem, the harder it gets to solve. Any sense of optimism often takes the form of nationalist narcissism: in November 2019, Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement on the grounds that it would punish the American people. This kind of exceptionalism is like the subconscious assumption that your flight alone wont hurt the environment.

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Despite our awareness of the apocalyptic Anthropocene a curatorial buzzword long before it became mainstream we seem to feel that travel is either a right or a necessity. There are plenty of good reasons. The small, scattered art world is kept united by flights and human relationships built on both planned and chance physical encounters. Museums, galleries, magazines and individual freelancers alike must maintain their networks and knowledge of what is happening elsewhere, not just because of the cosmopolitan ethic, but to stay competitive in the creative marketplace. Still, the deeper reason for our desire to travel might have something to do with the nature of art itself, particularly in the digital era, when the Benjaminian aura seems scarcer than ever.

Art has always had an aspect of pilgrimage the imperative to travel to encounter the physical object in its original surroundings. The Grand Tour, the 18th-century tradition for the British gentry to travel continental Europe as a kind of cultural coming of age, was oriented around seeing and buying art. One such 1722 guide to Italys pictures and statues put forth its goal to endeavour to persuade our nobility and gentry to become lovers of painting, andconnoisseurs.2

First we visited individual works, then the great museums and collections, then the ephemeral academic salons of Paris. 1895 saw the first Venice Biennale. Since the 2000s, art fairs and all sorts of -ennials have taken up the mantle of pilgrimage destination. The motivation to attend these events chimes with the goal of the Grand Tour, as the critic Dave Hickey described in his account of the fair circuit c.2007 in Vanity Fair: No matter how rich you are, you cant learn how to be rich playing pitch and putt in Sun Valley or throwing down vodka shooters in Misto Kyyiv. You need to absorb the evolving global etiquette by immersion.

I would argue that it is neither the art nor the artists that provide the attraction these days, but the surrounding social scene. Each event forms a de facto installation of relational aesthetics, a 1998 coinage again of Bourriauds, which privileges social experiences as art objects. The party-as-art was documented, disseminated and intensified through Artforums tongue-in-cheek Scene & Herd diaries, an online column that, from 2003, became weekly propaganda for the privilege of travel. Its name-dropping established an exclusive social cohort. Geoff Dyer satirized the scene in his 2009 novel Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi: This was the Biennale, there were lots of other parties to go to and as soon as a party began flagging it quickly fizzled out. Dyer, via his writer-protagonist, evokes a zone of encounters with art objects, vaguely theoretical discourse with colleagues in which consensus is easily reached, casual sex and cocaine ingestion.

Hans Ulrich Obrist is the latest patron saint of art-world travel, his reliquary a rolling suitcase. In a 2014 New Yorker profile, D.T. Max recounted that the curator had made 2,000 trips over the past 20 years and travelled for 50 of the previous 52 weekends. (All in, we could say hes responsible for at least 6,000 square metres of melted Arctic ice.) The curator made meeting artists and having conversations his practice; both necessitate physical co-presence. Obrists travel habit trickled down. How many participants in the art world today must fall within that 12 percent demographic of maximum polluters?

For DISs 2014 disaster issue, it collaborated with the magazine ECOCORE to solicit data about the climate impact of individual exhibitions; one show at Artists Space in New York with works shipped from Germany produced 0.0449 tonnes of carbon dioxide bad, but not as bad as one intercontinental flight, which produces twice as much. (Multiply that by thousands to get the impact of a single art fair.) In 2018, Olafur Eliassons Ice Watch brought 30 chunks of glacier from Greenland to London, slowly melting in order to incite us into second-body guilt. But the installation also produced 55 tonnes of carbon dioxide between the flights, hotels, ships and trucks needed to execute the project its mechanical and human resources.3

In regard to climate change, theres a gap between what art attempts to communicate and its literal consequences. If a work is particularly memetically successful, as Ice Watch was, perhaps the cost was worth it. Judging between the frivolous and the adequately persuasive is a gamble. In installations such as these, the problem tends to get aestheticized rather than solved, because its easier to respond to or engage with than to undertake the obvious fix, which is to opt out of the global circuit. In his book The Uninhabitable Earth (2019), Wallace-Wells critiques the neoliberal misconception that consumer choices can be a substitute for political action if only we conscientiously buy the right things, we might fix the environment. The climate crisis demands political commitment well beyond the easy engagement of rhetorical sympathies, comfortable partisan tribalism and ethical consumption, he writes. This applies to the consumerism of the art world as well: buying environmentally woke art isnt going to stop the seas from rising.

Art does have the potential for activism in the sense of changing the way we envision climate change and its causes. It can remind us that, for most people in the West, its not too much flying that is their greatest contribution to the warming planet, but emissions from their cars and the way they heat and air-condition their homes. Or it can show that individual choice doesnt even play the most significant role in climate change: 100 corporations including ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron cause 71 percent of global carbon emissions.4

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We are all implicated in making travel aspirational, for accepting the idea that living between places is more cosmopolitan, more creative, than settling in just one and staying there. We keep choosing to leave every few weeks, constantly advertising for subletters on Facebook, melting the Arctic ice, because movement is so pleasurable.

I remember how legitimizing travel felt to me as I tried to make my way through the art world a decade ago as a journalist and critic. Previews, press trips, opening parties, panels: I was a professional spectator. My first full-time job out of university was as the English editor of the Beijing-based magazine Leap. The first moment I felt like I was part of a scene that I barely knew existed as a student the Scene & Herd zone I was leaning against the wall of my own giant hotel suite in Hangzhou, having travelled there in a van from Shanghai with three Chinese art critics to attend an artists museum opening. At the afterparty, there were bowls of Zhongnanhai cigarette packs and plates of smoked duck necks stacked on the bar, which the artist owned. Later came the junkets, the upgraded flights to Istanbul, the dinners on drifting boats or in the courtyards of closed museum, the several times I went to Savannah, Georgia, less for the art than because I liked the Spanish moss and the ageing neoclassical architecture.

In the end, I wasnt even that successful at gaming the system. I always marvel at one friend who seems to have been on the road for the past five years straight: biennial, art fair, fashion retrospective, boutique hotel opening, all with the dubious veneer of art-world relevance. Travel doesnt cost writers anything except the questionable value of our time; the payment we offer in return is often no more than a quick dispatch posted on the website of a major glossy magazine. Some triangulation of real and cultural capital happens between the client, PR agency and publication and, all of a sudden, youre halfway around the world.

In retrospect, I feel both guilty at my own largesse and embarrassed that it wasnt as extreme as others. Was it worth the environmental price? The travel seems like a kind of social pressure that, if we decided to, we might be able to give up, or at least cut back on sneaking in just a few flights like clandestine cigarettes. The young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has pioneered environmental guilt-tripping, mounting her activism using sustainable methods like sailing across the Atlantic, a durational performance of two weeks. In her home country, Thunberg has pushed the term flygskam (or flight shame) to some effect: this past summer, Swedish domestic flights decreased by eight percent compared to the previous year.

Travelling doesnt have to be such a burden on our industry. We consume images on Instagram already; why not leave installation shots to be produced by those who live close to an exhibition or a studio and then just look at them online? Alternatively, there seems to be an opportunity for a kind of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for exhibitions: sustainably curated art experiences, biennials that travel on ships, like Thunberg, or on lower-impact trains, which remain an evocative mode of continuous movement. The trick might be coming up with new formats and new expectations, admitting that our current methods of drop-shipping shows are unsustainable at best. How do we re-localize art through curation, without sacrificing the global culture that we prize?

An answer could come from Obrist, with his formula-based do it exhibitions, launched in 1993, in which works take the form a set of instructions that can be restaged by other artists who are conveniently accessible. Or, we could move at a consciously slower speed, with residencies instead of junkets, commissions instead of short-term installations. I recall Dougald Hine co-founder of the UKs Dark Mountain Project, which advocates retreat from civilization in response to climate change mentioning an idea for a pan-European theatre troupe that travelled only by land. Hines latest project is Home: a school based in rural Sweden for studying the mess the world is in, grounded in bringing people together, in one spot, on a small scale. The goal here is finding a sustainable ecology not just for the climate but also cultural community, rooted in place. We dont need to stop travelling, but its worth admitting that the trips can be made more worthwhile. There are enough parties wherever you already live.

In 2009 Bourriaud asked us to deny our origins any value as origins, to travel as a means of challenging our identities and our aesthetics. But to continue accelerating on the nomadic path risks homogenization in the short term and literal disaster in the long. Ignoring nationhood now seems ignorant, patronizing. Beyond a connoisseurship of places, of cities and their various charms, we need to cultivate an appreciation of staying put. Invite a few local friends over, light some candles and call it hygge it might even be fun.

1The Impacts of Climate Change at 1.5C, 2C and Beyond,CarbonBrief, 20182 Cited in Bruce Redford, Venice and the Grand Tour, 1996, YaleUniversity Press, New Haven, p. 363Ice Watch, report produced by the London-based arts environmental awareness nonprofit Julies Bicycle in collaboration with Studio Olafur Eliasson, February 20194 Dr Paul Griffin,The Carbon Majors Database: CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017, EJ/CJ Digital Hub, July 2017

This article first appeared in frieze issue 208 with the titleVanity & Vapour Trails.

Main image:Roger Hiorns, A Retrospective View of the Pathway, 1990-2016, jet airliner, burial, dimensions variable. Courtesy: Roger Hiorns, Luhring Augustine, New York, Corvi-Mora, London, Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles, and Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam

Link:

Can the Art World Kick Its Addiction to Flying? - frieze.com

Weekend’s wet weather in Nebraska could affect travel, cause flooding – Omaha World-Herald

Rain and snow smacked Nebraska on Saturday and will continue to do so Sunday in some areas.

Persistent precipitation led to National Weather Service flood warnings until early Sunday in Omaha, Lincoln and other communities in southeast Nebraska.

Meteorologist David Eastlack said the vast storm system has lived up to expectations, hammering Nebraska, Colorado, South Dakota and the Northern Plains this weekend.

Authorities advised caution for drivers throughout the weekend because of rain or snow in all directions from Omaha.

Rain late Saturday in northeast Nebraska most likely will turn to a wintry mix and blowing snow Sunday.

Omaha had received up to 2 inches of rain as of late Saturday morning and rain was expected to persist. The National Weather Service said Omaha has a chance of snow Sunday.

Western Nebraska and most of northern Nebraska were placed under a winter storm warning through Saturday.

Cody Thomas, a spokesman for the Nebraska State Patrol, urged drivers to be cautious and alert. "I know it's getting slick out west," Thomas said Saturday. "All the way through the panhandle."

Nebraska travelers can check up-to-date travel conditions at 511.Nebraska.gov or with 511s smartphone app. You may also simply Google NWS Scottsbluff, NWS Kearney, NWS Valentine and other cities to get area conditions and forecasts. NWS stands for National Weather Service.

Forecasts for some communities and cities in the region:

Kearney will be under a winter storm warning through much of Sunday with rain and snow expected to continue.

Scottsbluff can expect snow showers to give way to sun on Sunday, but temperatures will stay well below freezing.

Des Moines will be cloudy Sunday with a chance of rain and snow Sunday night.

Chicago might see rain today and tonight with a chance of rain or snow Monday.

Minneapolis probably will see some rain Sunday with chances of drizzle and a wintry mix Sunday night.

Denver will experience sun and some wind Sunday with a low of 12 degrees on a clear Sunday night.

Many Panhandle cities, including Scottsbluff, declared snow emergencies beginning at 5 a.m. Saturday.

Travel on some roads well north and west of Omaha was expected to be difficult over the weekend as fluctuating temperatures caused ice to melt and refreeze during the storm, according to meteorologist Alex Trellinger at the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, weather service office.

A dry New Years is expected for Omaha, with highs Tuesday in the low 30s and temperatures falling to the low 20s early New Years Day.

The 10 biggest single-day snowfalls in Omaha history

No. 10: The only entry on the list of the 21st century saw 10.5 inches of snow fall onJan. 5, 2005.

Iowa and Nebraska prepared for a "wintry blast" in 2005, when Omaha received 10.5 inches of snow.

No. 9: Omaha was hit with 10.6 inches of snow on Jan. 5, 1932.

A record-breaking snowstorm hit Omaha on Jan. 5, 1932, when the area got 10.6 inches of snow the most ever recorded on a January day at the time.

No. 8: 11.5 inches fell in Omaha on Jan. 27, 1949.

The Jan. 27, 1949, winter storm brought 11.5 inches of snow to Omaha, which hardly compared to the 40 inches that blasted Chadron, Nebraska, earlier in the month, The World-Herald wrote on Jan. 27, 1949.

No. 7: On Feb. 18, 1908, a storm dumped 11.7 inches on Omaha.

A cartoon printed in the Feb. 19, 1908, edition of The World-Herald anticipates how people will remember the storm decades later. The Omaha area received 11.7 inches of snow the previous day.

No. 6: Omaha saw 12.1 inches of snow onJan. 10, 1975.

The Jan. 10, 1975, winter storm was among the deadliest snowstorms in Omaha history, claiming the lives of six people.

No. 5: Omaha saw a snowfall of 12.8 inches onFeb. 21, 1945

The Feb. 21, 1945, storm brought 12.8 inches of snow to the Omaha area. Pictured is a truck foreman lending a helping hand to a car stuck in the snow.

More photos from the Feb. 21, 1945, snowstorm.

No. 3 (tie):It snowed 13 inches in Omaha again onMarch 15, 1923.

The March 15, 1923, snowstorm which produced 13 inches of snow claimed the lives of three in the Omaha area.

No. 3 (tie): It snowed 13 inches on Dec. 7, 1892 the only 19th century entry on the list, largely due to a lack of earlier accurate weather data.

No. 2:It snowed 13.7 inches in Omaha on Feb. 23, 1942

Despite nearly 14 inches of snow, the Feb. 24, 1942, edition of The World-Herald reported that classes were still in session. Previous generations walked to school uphill both ways, as they say.

No. 1: It snowed a whopping 18.3 inches in Omaha onFeb. 11, 1965

The same storm that dropped more than 18 inches in Omaha dumped as much as 30 inches in Clatonia, Nebraska.

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Weekend's wet weather in Nebraska could affect travel, cause flooding - Omaha World-Herald

Travel blogger makes 600k in a YEAR by posting sponsored pics on Instagram all while travelling the world f – The Sun

THIS 25-year-old made 600,000 in a year by posting sponsored pics on Instagram - all while travelling the world for free.

Travel blogger Tara Whiteman, aka Tara Milk Tea, has 1.3 million followers and cashed in AUS$1.1 million in 2019.

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The influencer came 17th in Instagram's rich list, released yesterday, putting her just one spot below model Bella Hadid.

Tara, from Sydney, was paid for 73 sponsored pics this year, and is thought to earn an average of 8,000 per post.

She was the only Aussie to make the top 20 - and her recent envy-inducing trips include the Maldives, New Zealand and Abu Dhabi.

Tara fell in love with travel as a teenager, while exploring her Asian heritage - on her mum's side of the family.

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She previously told the Mail: "I travel with my partner and we've both always enjoyed photography.

"I take photos of him, and he takes them of me. Strangers offer to take photos of us together, which is really nice."

Tara insists there isn't any 'secret' to the perfect Insta shot, but says she always makes sure her pics are bursting with colour.

And you need to be an early riser - as Tara takes most of her shots before 8am, when there are less tourists around.

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Instagram's top 2019 earners

Speaking to Harper's Bazaar, she added: "Three key components to capturing the perfect moment while travelling would be shooting in the right light, which leads to getting up early (for light and to avoid crowds), and also planning your outfits.

"I love trying to match/blend or perfectly contrast with a city, so Ill do a little research before going somewhere to see what outfits would work best for the photos."

And she insists she isn't glued to her phone, with Tara doing tech-free days on many of her trips.

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She said: "I love leaving our hotel without our phones, and then wander off into the unknown... We always try to make sure we get a little lost in places that offer so much more than just picturesque Instagram photos."

Speaking about her dreamy life, Tara told the Mail: "Travel is really fulfilling. I love seeing different cultures and ways of life. Sometimes I do miss my family, but we talk almost every day so it's never too bad."

We previously spoke to an influencer who was told she was too fat to model by school bullies - now they're begging to be her mate on Instagram.

The rest is here:

Travel blogger makes 600k in a YEAR by posting sponsored pics on Instagram all while travelling the world f - The Sun

7 most ‘Instagrammed’ attractions around the world – Travel Daily

As we move into a new decade, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has uncovered the Most Instagrammed Sights Of 2019, as part of their InterContinental ICons campaign.

Marking 10 years since the start of Instagram in 2010, InterContinental takes a look at how Instagram has transformed the travel landscape and informed the way in which we travel. Further insights from the global study reveal that people are looking to use Instagram more in 2020 and beyond.

The most Instagrammed Sights Of 2019 are the following:

53% of all #Paris photos analysed and nearly 10% of all photos analysed worldwide.

44% of all #Shanghai photos analysed

36% of all #Dubai photos analysed

35% of all #Sydney photos analysed

25% of all #MexicoCity photos analysed

21% of all #London photos analysed

20% of all #NYC photos analysed

In 2020, 39% of global luxury travellers will put more focus on social media when travelling in the coming year. 55% of global luxury travellers believe capturing social media content while travelling increases their ability to have a meaningful experience.

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7 most 'Instagrammed' attractions around the world - Travel Daily


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