Portugal Wins Top Honors At 2017 World Travel Awards

Portugal was the big winner at this year’s World Travel Awards ceremony. Travel experts and average tourists agreed that Portugal deserves the 2017 title of “World’s Leading Destination.”

In addition to winning “World’s Leading Destination,” Portugal’s capital city Lisbon won World Travel Awards’ “Leading City Break Destination.” Portugal’s Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua won the award for “World’s Leading Conservation Company” and Portugal’s Pine Cliffs Resort won the title of “World’s Leading Luxury Leisure Resort.”

Just a few decades ago, Portugal struggled to attract international tourists. Nowadays, however, Portugal is flooded with tourists interested in the country’s natural wonders and cultural treasures. Many travelers feel Portugal is a safer and cheaper travel alternative to other Western European nations.

Although Portugal stood out this year, there were other surprising wins at the World Travel Awards ceremony. Interestingly, Bolivia was awarded the “Leading Cultural Destination.” Reviewers say they respect the Bolivian people’s commitment to putting together festivals and special events on a monthly basis.

Singapore once again led the way in the airlines department. The “World’s Leading Airline” went to Singapore Airlines and Singapore’s Changi Airport was voted “World’s Leading Airport.” However, AirAsia won this year’s prize for “Leading Low-Cost Airline.”

This year’s “Best Beach Destination” went to the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean. As for the “Best Culinary Destination,” Peru took home the top prize.

A few other winners at this year’s festival include Wynn Las Vegas for the “World’s Leading Casino Resort,” the Armani Hotel Dubai for the “World’s Leading Hotel,” and Machu Picchu for “World’s Leading Tourist Attraction.”

Anyone can vote for their favorite travel destinations on the World Travel Awards website throughout the year. Travel experts’ ballots count double ordinary tourists’ ballots.

The 24th annual World Travel Awards took place on December 10th in Vietnam’s JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Hotel. To see a full list of winners, anyone can visit World Travel Awards’ website.

Things World Travelers Should Take With Them

Do you travel a lot? There are some things you should always take with you around the world.

For example, if you are someone who often misplaces things, then you should use a tool that lets you track your items. There are many products that let you use Bluetooth devices to keep track of your personal items such as your wallet or cellphone. This way, you will not have to worry about leaving your wallet behind in your old hotel.

A laptop briefcase is another thing that is useful to take around if you use a laptop on your vacations. This is especially suitable for business travelers.

If you travel around the world, you may want to consider getting travel insurance. This can help you out if you suddenly run into a tough situation and you need medical help, for example.

You may also want to take electrolyte tablets. This will help you from becoming dehydrated. Remember that you can not take drinks with you on flights. If you are dehydrated, electrolytes can energize you.

Another idea, especially if you fly a lot, is a little divider for your armrest. This way, you will not have to fight over the armrest between you and another passenger. You can also take a little pillow with you.

Of course, do not forget the simple things, like a toothbrush and a comb.

The Best Vacation Destinations For Star Wars Fans

With the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, travel experts expect Star Wars-themed tourism to grow exponentially. There are dozens of locations Star Wars fans can (and do) choose to visit every year. Anyone putting together their own intergalactic bucket list should take a look at the locales listed below.

First, fans who wants to see Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine must visit the Tunisian desert Djerba. Here you’ll get to tour Skywalker’s home and the infamous Mos Eisley cantina. You can also take a short trip to the nearby cities of Tozeur and Matmata to see more Star Wars filming locations and stay in the Hotel Sidi Driss.

For a soothing Star Wars voyage, travel experts recommend booking a trip to Villa del Balbianello, which is alongside Italy’s Lake Como. All of the scenes that took place on the planet Naboo in Star Wars: Episode III were filmed right here. This is an exceptional vacation idea for couples looking for a Star Wars-themed romantic getaway.

Probably the easiest Star Wars filming location for Americans to visit is the Redwoods State Park in California. This site was used to film all the scenes on the forest planet Endor in Star Wars: Episode VI. While you’re in California, you should also check out Death Valley National Park. A few Tatooine scenes were filmed in Death Valley.

Finally, if you don’t mind the cold, take a trip to the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier in Norway to experience the planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. Locals are used to Star Wars fans visiting this region and a few hotels host special “Visit Hoth” events. Note, you can only take a tour of the glacier between July and September.

A Culturally Diverse Israeli Cycling Team Travels the World Bringing a Message of Peace and Coexistance

The Israeli Cycling Academy was founded in December 2014 and includes members with similar social values including members of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Their mission is to become ambassadors for peace. They plan to serve as role models for a younger generation that people from different countries, with different beliefs, can work together toward a common goal.

The 2018 team includes champions like Israel’s Roy Goldstein, Spain’s Ruben Plaza, Italy’s Kristian Sbaragli, and Turkish rider Ahmet Orkin. Having a Turkish and an Israeli rider on the same team sends a message of coexistence and peace.

In 2017 the Israeli Cycling Academy competed across three continents, including Australia, South America, and Europe. This diverse team includes members with strong ability but who wouldn’t be able to really show off their skills in their home countries.

The Giro D’Italia is a race second only to the Tour de France in the competitive biking world. This team will compete in a traditional race that will leave the continent of Europe for the first time and pass through Israel.

The Israeli Cycling Academy has members from 22 countries if you count support staff, trainers, and technicians. The Israeli Ministry of Tourism and corporate sponsors including De Rosa Road-racing bikes of Italy sponsor the team.

“The vision and main goal of the team is to instill a love of cycling among young Israelis from all backgrounds,“ Roni Baron of the Peres Center and co-founder of the team said in November. The team for 2018 includes riders from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.

20 Michelin Stars Enhance Bangkok’s Status As A Culinary Capital

If you’re still looking for excuses to finally book a trip to Bangkok, the city’s first Michelin Guide was released at the start of December. In total, Michelin handed out 20 stars to 17 Bangkok-based restaurants.

Only three of these 17 restaurants received two stars each. These restaurants include the Indian-themed Gaggan, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok’s Le Normandie, and Lebua Hotel’s Mezzaluna.

But perhaps the most famous Michelin star winner in Bangkok was the street-food vendor Jay Fai. Located at 327 Samran Rat Intersection, Phra Nakhon, Jay Fai serves exceptional crab omelets and crab curries to hungry locals every day of the year. Fai was awarded one Michelin star.

The 13 remaining restaurants received one star each. These restaurants include the following names: Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin, Ginza Sushi Ichi, Bo.Lan, J’aime by Jean-Michel Lorain, Nahm, Saneh Jaan, Suhring, Savelberg, Paste, Chim by Siam Winsdom, Elements, L’atelier de Joel Robuchon, and Upstairs at Mikkeller.

Many Thais were surprised only one of the city’s famed street-food vendors made the cut for a Michelin star. In particular, locals were disappointed that Tipsamai Pad Thai near Golden Mount didn’t earn a spot in Michelin’s 2018 Guide.

All of these Michelin stars greatly enhance Bangkok’s status as one of Asia’s premier cities for high-class dining. Many culinary experts now consider Bangkok on par with cities like Tokyo, Macau, and Singapore.

Michelin officials released their 2018 Bangkok Guide at an event in the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok. After the awards were handed out, Siam Kempinski staff hosted a gala dinner with dishes from other Michelin-starred chefs. Tickets to this special event cost $614 per person.

Travel + Leisure Announces Top 15 Cities In Europe

Spain and Italy claimed most of the top prizes in Travel + Leisure’s 2017 reader’s survey of the top tourist draws in Europe. Out of this list of 15 cities, eight spots went to locales in these two nations.

The top prize went to Italy’s Florence. This shouldn’t come as a shock to readers, especially considering Florence won the top honor ten out of the past eleven years. Out of a possible score of 100, Florence got a 90.75.

Italy also clinched second place with the capital city Rome. “The Eternal City” raked in a score of 89.73 from Travel + Leisure’s readers.

Coming in third place was Spain’s second largest city: Barcelona. Barcelona’s score of 89.52 was extremely close to Rome this year.

Rounding out the top five European cities on this list were San Sebastián in Spain and Hungary’s capital Budapest. These two cities scored 89.52 and 89.19, respectively.

The only other nation that had more than one city on this year’s list was Portugal. The Portuguese capital Lisbon came in tenth place and the city of Porto came in ninth. Travel experts say this is yet more evidence of Portugal’s rising status as a major player in the European tourism industry. Both cities scored in the 88-point range.

Travel + Leisure authors asked readers to rank major tourist destinations in areas such as friendliness, cost, food quality, shopping opportunities, and cultural experiences. Respondents praised Florence’s efforts to preserve its cultural identity by blocking off fast-food chains from the city center and planning renovations at the Uffizi Gallery.

From sixth place to fifteenth, this is how Travel + Leisure’s list broke down: Siena, Seville, Kraków, Porto, Lisbon, Prague, Venice, Edinburgh, Istanbul, and Madrid.

3 Romantic Places to Ring in 2018

If you are looking for a place to hang out with some friends to see 2017 out, then you may want to consider an Airbnb. There are some unique choices that would be super for you and a gang of friends.

Irish Castle

You and 11 of your closest friends can celebrate at an Irish castle near Galway, Ireland. Prepare your own feast in the well-stocked kitchen before serving it in the formal dining room. Then, head upstairs to dance in the new year in the great hall as the clock strikes midnight.

Ski Chalet in France

Hit the slopes on December 31 before relaxing with 10 of your friends at your own private chalet in the Mont Blanc region of France. Soak sore muscles away in the secluded hot tub before snuggling up in front of the fireplace to welcome 2018 in with someone special.

Private Island in the Philippines

Relax in the warm tropical atmosphere by staying in your own bungalow on this private island escape located just three hours from Manila. Enjoy seeing your own lake out your bedroom window when you first wake up in 2018. This one-bedroom home is the perfect place to escape the winter doldrums.

These three places each have their own unique style, so choose the one that is right for you. Then, decide who you want to spend New Year’s Eve with as it may be the start of a beautiful relationship.

St. Petersburg Awarded Best World Travel Destination In Major Awards Ceremony

St. Petersburg was the big winner at this year’s World Travel Awards show. Judges awarded two of the annual competition’s top prizes to Russia’s “cultural capital.”

Not only did St. Petersburg win the title for the “World’s Leading City Destination” in 2017, it also took the prize for the “World’s Leading Cultural City Destination.” St. Petersburg’s only major competition this year was the Vietnamese island Phu Quoc.

This isn’t the first time St. Petersburg has been honored as an exceptional travel destination this year. Indeed, earlier this year St. Petersburg was selected to host the World Travel Awards’ Europe Gala Ceremony, in which it also won the prize for “Europe’s Leading City Destination.”

Andrei Mushkarev, the head of St. Petersburg’s tourism industry, said he wasn’t surprised at all by these high honors. When people visit the “Venice of the North,” it’s hard to deny the city’s “tourist potential,” Mushkarev said.

Over the past few years, St. Petersburg has worked hard to build up its tourism infrastructure and attract global visitors. With about seven million visitors in 2017 alone, it seems that all of those efforts are paying off.

Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city with about 5 million residents. Peter the Great used European models when he was designing this great city in the early 1700s. During the Soviet era, St. Petersburg’s name changed to Petrograd (1914-1924) and then to Leningrad (1924-1991).

The most popular attraction in the city is the Hermitage Museum. This massive museum, which includes the Romonov’s Winter Palace, is the largest in the world and includes great works by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Matisse, just to name a few.

The World Travel Awards was founded in 1993 to access the world’s best travel destinations. Judges who work for this awards ceremony look at various factors for each city they select, including transportation, the local hotel industry, and the quality of hospitality services.

A City Below a City

The Windy City. The crown jewel of the Midwest. Chicago.

Undoubtedly hidden in the shadow of New York City and Los Angeles, Chicago is the cultural capital of the Midwestern United States.

Yes it has had a rough reputation the past few years of violence and crime, but a city that is home to the Cubs, Rise Against, and Barack Obama has to be a place one wants to see.

The highlight of this city seems to be shifting not from its museums, restaurants, or sports venues, but a vast underground neighborhood called, the Pedway.

Not only seemingly beneficial for avoiding the notorious tough Chicago winters or crowded intersections, the Pedway has greatly grown in popularity over the past couple of years.

Seemingly unknown to most people, the Pedway spans over 5 miles underneath the Chicago Loop, and is home to a collection of stores, restaurants, and other sights and sounds that draw people from all over.

The Pedway’s uniqueness and relative obscurity attracts the most adventurous people, and is accelerating a regrowth and revival of this unique neighborhood that has existed since the early 1950s.

Even as a kid from Detroit who has some minor animosity to the city of Chicago (Blackhawk fans I’m looking at you), I would definitely plan to make a stop to the Pedway the next time I visit the Windy City.

Highland Capital Alternative Investment Firm

Highland Capital is a global venture capital firm that uses alternative strategies when it comes to credit accounts like hedge funds, fixed income, mutual funds and collaterized loan obligations. Formerly known as Protective Asset Management Company, the firm is focused on providing their clients with adequate training on the subject of investment strategies.

The independently owned company is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has several other offices in places such as New York, Singapore, Seoul and Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was founded in 1993 by James Dondero, who is its President, and Mark Okada. Both men have more than 30 years of credit management experience, and they are also part of the commercial and mortgage banking company known as NexBank, which provides financial services to corporations. Read this article at Dallas News.

The CEO of Highland Capital is Steve Wishnia, who was also one of its founding members. He brought more than 45 years of experience to the company, having earned a BA degree from New York City’s Pace University, then going on to obtain employment with several businesses during his long career in the financial industry.

In order to help clients learn more about how to invest strategically, Highland Capital offers an online training class through their Trading Academy, because the company feels that to achieve success, an investor has to have the right kind of education, as well as the type of dedication and time it takes. The business is one that also serves as a mentor for aspiring entrepreneurs who seek ways to avoid having failed business ventures. Learn more about Highland Capital at Affiliate Dork.

The company has 200 employees, and has so far generated more than $3 billion in profits, which makes it one of the largest and most successful alternative credit management companies in the world. Highland Capital applies the team approach when it comes to their investment strategies, because they believe that successful investing requires all those involved to keep a curious mind and stay open to different points of view.

Through their consistent performance as strategic investors, Highland Capital has developed trusted and long-term relationships with many of the clients they have worked to educate and partner with by involving them in the investment process.

Read: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/highland-capital-management-closes-private-equity-fund-with-south-koreas-national-pension-service-300456659.html