The unscrupulous activities by the terrorist groups all over the world are resulting in a huge blow to the global tourism sector substantially. The world tourism body, UNWTO strongly condemned the recent terror attack in Bangkok. UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai in a statement said, “These are direct attacks on the livelihood of the Thai people and their economy which is strongly linked with tourism. We stand by the Government and the people of Thailand in supporting its tourism sector as a vital pillar of the well being of Thai people.”
The truth about the terrorism activities pronounce the fact that anything can happen anywhere in the world. Be it the shooting and explosion at the touristy Dolmabahce palace in Istanbul, the bombing at the Erawan shrine and in the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, or the mass shootings on the shores of Mediterranean at a beach resort in Tunisia. Paris, Nairobi and many other popular destinations of the world have witnessed the burns of cruel and gruesome terror attacks.
Global travelers are striving hard to find a way to avoid such ill-fated incidents but there is hardly any full-proof plan. However, as a smart traveler, one should be able to gauge the political condition of a country before planning a trip. People in New York might be afraid of traveling to Paris, but even their own city witnessed the dreadful 9/11 incident.
Taleb Rifai in his statement about the recent Bangkok attack added, “Terrorism is a global threat impacting our societies, taking the lives of innocent people around the world and aiming to destroy our economies and our way of life. Thailand has a long tradition of being a hospitable and welcoming country and we fully believe it will continue to be so.”
In a debate against the thought of avoiding travel, one can imagine how that will encourage the terrorists even more. Travel agencies are advising travelers to plan their trips smartly and keep a track of the odds before traveling. It is observed, while it’s always a good idea to register your trip abroad with the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. It becomes all the more important if you’re heading to an area where you’re worried about terrorism or unrest.
For travelers who book independently, it is for them that the travel leaders worldwide are suggesting travelers to book their trips through a travel advisor. This may be one of the situations in which it could be beneficial to have a trusted travel agent help you plan your trip, rather than simply booking yourself online. A travel advisor can be an advocate you can turn to in a time of crisis when you’re far from home.
To conclude, a traveler must remember that the odds are always in their favor and they can hardly defy the destiny. In 2014, 24 private-sector U.S. citizens overseas were killed as result of terrorism. However, the fatalities were in places where people will hardly go for a holiday, like Syria and Afghanistan.
LIFESTYLE BY IVAN DIMITRIJEVIC
Everyone enjoys a bit of traveling now and then – it’s good for the soul they say. For me personally it is about leaving my “normal life” behind and focusing on exploring and rediscovering myself, as much as it is about learning about different cultures and history, meeting new and interesting people, trying out great food and partying. I am sure that a lot of people out there want a bit more than to just snap a few pictures and prance around in cargo pants, following a tour guide all day long.
We want to get as close to the movie star travel experience while staying within our means – we want to travel in style and be as comfortable as possible. If this sounds like something you could get on board with, then keep on reading, as you are in for a treat.
1. Go online to find the best accommodations in your price range
Most people have had experience with both bad and good hotels, and are aware of the fact that looking for a bit of luxury can get quite expensive. While the 17-25 year old crowd can make the most of a backpacking holiday, and spend their nights in dirt cheap hostels, more mature travelers will be looking for a nice comfortable place that makes them feel like a stylish globetrotter.
You can make good use of modern technology and find excellent short-term rentals, which provide you with a good deal of luxury at reasonable rates. Websites like WorldEscape.com should be your go to source when planning an exciting holiday and wanting more than just your basic tourist experience.
2. Prioritize your needs and pack your bags efficiently
The most important questions to ask yourself are:
Why you are traveling: business or pleasure?
What will you be doing?
What will you need to make the most out of the experience?
Once you answer these questions you can start packing the right clothes and various other items that you will need. It is always a good idea to have a small first aid kit handy, clothes options for different weather, casual and fancy dress options. You can focus on mixing and matching a few items to create several unique outfits, so you can have plenty of options with a limited wardrobe. Rolling up your clothes, packing socks into shoes and leaving out non-essential items will help you utilize the available luggage space more efficiently.
3. Bring along gadgets that will make the journey more fun
What you need will depend on the nature of your travels and your personality. For example, businessmen need plenty of electronics, while someone who is more of an outdoors type in search of adventure will be better served packing a GPS, a strong flashlight and a capable multitool, than a portable keyboard. There are some items, however, that will benefit everyone. You’ll need something to keep yourself entertained during the flight or ride to your destination, so an e-book reader or an mp3 player and good headphones are a smart choice. You want to make sure that your trip is as smooth and comfortable as possible – traveling in style is all about the little details.
4. Choose simple clothes that are elegant and comfortable
First of all, a stylish traveler wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a cliché tourist outfit – cargo pants, shorts, brightly-colored shirts, baseball hats and fanny packs are out of the question. However, a three piece suit or a complex outfit, tons of accessories and high heels, are not going to be very comfortable on a long flight, and will make you spend a lot of time going past the metal detector. What you are looking for is something along the lines of business casual or some simple clothes that you might wear when getting some coffee with friends on a lazy Saturday.
5. Girl tip – Pack a small hygiene/make up kit in your carry-on
Travel makeup kit
How do those classy ladies manage to stay fresh and look stunning after long exhausting trips where you get all sore and don’t get nearly enough sleep? Well, they come prepared. You’ll need a few basic hygiene items like wet wipes, a small antiperspirant stick, breath mints, nail file and a brush. To ensure that you look as gorgeous as ever, be sure to also pack a mini makeup kit that includes a small amount of moisturizing cream, liquid foundation, concealer, mascara, and a small eye shadow kit.
6. Guy tip – Get shaving soap in a bar
Since you can’t bring a whole lot of liquid onboard, it pays to find good alternatives. A bar of shaving soap goes a long way, and the whole experience of using a brush and an old school safety razor makes you feel like more of a refined gentleman. You can take advantage of all the extra liquid you will be allowed by packing a nice after shave balm, blackhead cream and moisturizer.
7. Have a few emergency items and spare clothes in your carry-on
Packing carry on luggage
There is always a risk of your luggage getting misplaced, or you may not have the energy to dig through your tightly packed bag upon arriving to your room in order to find something to wear to the restaurant you’ll be going to in a couple of hours. This is why you should have some extra clothes ready to go in your carry on. Accidents can also happen on the plane, and it’s good to have a clean shirt at hand. A few essential items like a flashlight, multitool, lighter and a small first-aid kit are enough to help you handle smaller emergencies.
8. Buy some accessories and clothing items at local stores when you land
You’ll be able to travel more comfortably if you pack somewhat light and get some cool new accessories at local stores. More importantly, you want to fit in with the locals as best as you can, so that you don’t seem out of place. Go on a shopping spree on your first day there and try to find out what the local fashion is like, then get some great little items that you can combine with the clothes that you’ve brought with you. You’ll avoid looking like a wide-eyed tourist and pull of a cultured look that everyone you encounter will appreciate.
9. Research the best cafés, restaurants and clubs before you even set foot on the plane
There is precious little time to delve deep into the local culture, visit all the historical sites and experience some great winning and dining. As soon as you have made the reservations, go online, open Google maps and get to know the lay of the land. Websites like Yelp.com provide plenty of useful information on the local restaurants, bars and cafes, so you can make a list of places to visit and mark the most efficient routes from your accommodations to different areas in the city.
You can take screenshots of the maps and save them to your phone, so that you can access the information even if there is no Wi-Fi around, and you definitely want to avoid data roaming. Plus, pulling out your phone to have a quick look is inconspicuous, while leering over a big old map makes you seem like a pesky tourist to the locals, and an easy target to the criminal element.
10. Learn to speak the local language and behave according to the accepted etiquette
One of the best ways to ensure that you have a pleasant stay and that you are welcomed with open hands by the locals, is to learn as much of the language as you can. Focus on the most common phrases, slang words, proper pronunciation and the basic grammar rules – no one cares much about finding the post office or using stilted formal phrases. Oh, and find out as much as you can about proper etiquette, starting from how close locals stand to each other without perceiving a breach of personal space and how they greet each other, all the way to table manners, how to behave when coming into someone’s home and social norms related to dating and partying.
Knowing enough about a particular culture can help save you a lot of trouble – e.g. you don’t ever want to try to outdrink a Russian and people in the south of Italy can get really touchy feely and in your face, and use a lot of hand gestures as they talk to you. Also, be sure to gain some understanding of the basic body language cues and hand gestures, so you avoid accidentally offending someone.
There are different ways you can travel, but if you don’t want to be seen as just another annoying goofy tourist, you’ll do well to follow these tips. With a little work you will be able to spend your vacation in great comfort, look cultured and elegant, and exude confidence.
Featured photo credit: Nick Harris via flickr.com
Chinese bought 46% of the world’s luxury products in 2014 – 76% of which was purchased overseas, a recent Chinese luxury report reveals.1
In dollar amounts, that was US$106 billion spent by Chinese luxury consumers.1
Simply put, the global luxury industry is becoming more Chinese. After all, Chinese luxury consumption is influencing this industry like no other nationality has before.2
Borderless travel & Chinese luxury boom
China’s population is becoming increasingly urbanised2, and its large and fast burgeoning middle class means more Chinese are able to splurge and travel.2
Over 100 million Chinese travelled abroad in 2014.10 By 2020, 200 million Chinese tourists are expected to travel overseas.11”
Also, as they travel more, Chinese have quickly realised the price benefits of buying luxury goods abroad, which resonate well with the typical Chinese value-for-money culture. This further perpetuates their desire to spend, and spend abroad.
However, it would be foolish to assume that Chinese buyers are all the same. As diverse as China’s many dialects and provinces are, so too, are the profiles of its consumers.
As the rising sophistication of Chinese consumers2 become more prominently recognised, it’s important to also note the diversity that exists within this group. These buyers range from middle-aged businessmen to young female shoppers to nouveau riche. For example, it’s been said that China’s nouveau riche tend to be more eager and willing to flaunt their newfound wealth.3
The end result of all this surging wanderlust, though, is the thriving economic impact that Chinese luxury consumers now have – whether in Asia, Europe or the US.3
Chinese effect on luxury brands
Given this boom, luxury retail markets worldwide have been scrambling to attract Chinese money, and we don’t blame them. Chinese travellers remain the undisputed fastest-growing luxury buyers in the world, and more enticingly, they allocate 71% their budget on shopping when travelling overseas.5
2015, however, will see luxury brands evolve. The role of e-commerce, for example, will play a more dominant role.
In the past, high-end brands have been averse to hopping onto the e-commerce bandwagon, which they perceived would tarnish their image and eliminate the inimitable in-store experience that comes with luxury shopping.
Now, however, luxury brands are increasingly embracing digital marketing strategies in lieu of the uprising digital and social media revolution – especially in China, where there are 632 million internet users and 519.7 million smartphone users.6
91% of Chinese go online everyday7, of which 81% access the internet via mobile.6 Additionally, 65% of China’s HNWIs (high-net-worth individuals) favour online social media as their preferred source of information.8
Yet navigating China’s social media landscape is complex, and quality social media marketing is key to the success of high-end brands transitioning to their digital storefronts without losing its exclusivity appeal and brand loyalty.
Luxury real estate online
Fortuitously, luxury real estate has been one sector that has been successful taken online – much like a duck takes to water.
Overseas property remains the top investment choice for China’s ultra-rich, and the first place to search for such a purchase is online.
We’ve seen visits on Juwai.com go from 1.5 million to 2.5 million monthly visits, and news of wealthy Chinese investors buying overseas properties without ever even viewing the property are making agents and developers salivate from all corners of the world.
In the past year alone, we’ve heard of wealthy Chinese investors buying million-dollar homes sight unseen and Chinese luxury property transactions completed entirely via social media. These stories have become the stuff of legends amongst property agents and brokers.
Somewhat unique to Chinese buyers is their marked penchant for generational driven investment:
97% of affluent Chinese are more inclined to buy a lifestyle property12, while 93% of Chinese HNWIs are more likely to purchase legacy homes for their children, usually worth between US$1 million to US$3 million.12
Truly, the impact of Chinese buyers on global luxury markets is impossible to ignore, and property agents and brokers would do well to tap into the market online if they want to remain relevant and on top of the game.