Brazilian flip flop and sandal brand Havaianas has underlined travel retail as a priority channel for expansion as it accelerates its growth in Asia Pacific. As reported, Havaianas made its debut at the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition last month.

Owned by São Paulo-based footwear company Alpargatas, Havaianas was launched in 1962 as a basic functional slipper but became popularised as a fashion item in the mid-1990s. Today, 240 million pairs of Havaianas are sold annually in more than 100 countries. In 2018, the company – which also owns Dupé, Osklen, Topper Argentina, Meggashop and Mizuno – generated net revenue of R$3.9 billion (US$980 million).

Up to 2018, Alpargatas’s owned operations were primarily focused in Brazil, US and Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA), while the rest of the world was run as an export market. Last year, the group restructured its businesses into five regions: Brazil, Latin America, North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific. To further bolster its push into the fast-growing Asia Pacific region, it created a regional subsidiary, Alpargatas Asia, in May 2018 and opened its first office in Asia Pacific.

Based in Hong Kong, the organisation is led by regional President Robert Esser, who has grown the team to 15 employees and spearheaded the rapid development of Havaianas in the past year.

Speaking to The Moodie Davitt Report, Esser said: “Travel retail is a key component because travel is a big part of the Havaianas identity. Prior to the establishment of our Asia Pacific office, the brand has been supported by an excellent group of independent distributors in the region for the past 20 years. But travel retail requires a great deal of structure and preparation, and upfront costs are relatively high. It needs to be part of an overall strategy, and being run by distributors remotely from our headquarters in Brazil was just not going to be possible. We really needed to establish a regional office and have the kind of strategic, long-term thinking and commitment necessary to invest in the channel.”

Havaianas President Asia Pacific Robert Esser (left) and Regional Commercial Manager North Asia and Travel Retail Asia Pacific Lucas Torres at TFWA Asia Pacific

Travel retail has been earmarked as one of Havaianas’s three main strategic pillars for distribution and expansion, said Esser. The other two were beach holiday destinations and cities & urban areas. “Using Thailand as an example, this means we would want to be heavily present in the capital city of Bangkok, the beach areas of Phuket, Krabi, etc. as well as all the airports in between,” he explained.

Within travel retail, Havaianas currently has close to 20 airport and downtown duty free and duty paid doors in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea and Australia. These include mostly wall-bays, gondolas and shop-in-shops in locations such as Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, Incheon International Airport, Taoyuan International Airport and Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta Airport. In May 2019, the brand opened a 45.5sq m shop at Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport – its first and only mono-brand store in travel retail.

The first Havaianas mono-brand store in travel retail opened in Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport last month, welcoming holidaymakers at domestic arrivals

Esser said these existing doors are performing above expectations given their limited retail space. Most of the gondolas are about 4sq m, but can sell up to 18–20 pairs of flip flops or sandals a day.

“Globally, we have about 650 styles of flip flops and sandals, and we carry about 40% of that in travel retail. Right now, we are offering purely flip flops and closed sandals which have a strap at the back. Given the limited nature of what we do now in terms of space and assortment, I think we’re doing better than expected. But we would like to dramatically expand our presence and our sales volumes.”

The company aims to do this by pursuing opportunities in a variety of retail formats, from multi-brand and pop-up to mono-brand stores.

“Our first objective is to establish multi-brand buy-and-sell relationships with the top duty free operators in their existing stores. The second objective is to open Havaianas mono-brand stores in key airport locations, such as Singapore Changi, Hong Kong International, Tokyo Narita, Shanghai Pudong International and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. Our third objective would be filling in the gaps with airlines, cruise ships, train stations and other duty free and duty paid travel hubs.”

In the last 14 months, Alpargatas Asia has made significant strides in mono-brand store expansion in the domestic channel, primarily in Southeast Asia. For the next phase of growth, it is targeting North Asia – China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong – where it has a big presence in wholesale but no mono-brand stores at the moment. Seasonal pop-ups, however, make up a core part of the marketing programme in these markets.

Pop-ups are a big part of Havaianas’s strategy to drive visibility and excitement, and the brand is exploring opportunities to bring them into the airport space

“China is our big thing for this year,” he revealed. “We start trading there in June with Alpargatas China. We will be going direct, and it will be an e-commerce only proposition for the first year. After that we will look at building bricks-and-mortar stores in selected places, possibly a flagship in Hainan. We would love to get involved in travel retail in China.”

The company is building up the brand awareness of Havaianas with both traditional and digital marketing. “We have quite a heavy programme this year in digital marketing, consisting of Instagram, Facebook and Google AdWords, with WeChat, Weibo and VIP.com in China starting in June. We also do quite a lot of out-of-home (OOH) advertising in and around airports; right now we’re running a huge OOH campaign in all 14 airports in Thailand.”

The company is hoping to capitalise on the Asia Pacific travel boom and the rise of ‘bleisure’ travel. The latter is being driven by millennials, with 70% of business travellers aged 25–35 years old keen to extend their business trips for leisure purposes.

Esser said: “We’ve got great brand awareness and affinity among Asian consumers, especially the Chinese, South Koreans and Japanese. And I think we have very good opportunities in travel retail to follow these consumers, maybe even better than in domestic. These countries are very cold in winter, and there’s a window between November and January – or even February during the Lunar New Year – when they travel outbound to places such as Bali, Hawaii and Phuket, where they can buy Havaianas either at the point of departure or arrival.

“Asian consumers, especially females, like to bring flip flops with them when they travel – to wear in the hotel, the spa or the beach – and they are willing to spend a little more money on a nice pair. Havaianas is affordable luxury. We are inviting consumers to spend a little bit more for an authentic, high-quality and fashionable product that’s 100% made in Brazil.”

The average price of a pair of Havaianas is US$25, but can go up to more than US$100 for custom pair featuring Swarovski crystals. The customisation service is only offered in retail stores, where customers can choose from a range of strap styles, base colours and pin designs.

“With our mono-brand stores, we’ll be offering the full Havaianas line extension and customisation options in-store. We also sell apparel in Brazil and Europe, and we are looking to bring in apparel to Asia Pacific this year as well, in selected mono-brand stores only,” he revealed.

The full Havaianas offering includes flip flops, sandals, espadrilles, sunglasses (manufactured under license by Safilo Group) and accessories such as bags, pouches and beach towels. Product exclusives are also in the pipeline, Esser said.

“We are launching an exclusive collection at the end of this year as part of the Havaianas Local Soul campaign, which celebrates the most famous beach cities in the world. For Asia Pacific, we have chosen Bali, Phuket and Sydney. The designs will be exclusively available at these destinations, and we are looking to do some pop-up airport activations around the launch. Our Brazil-based innovation team has been travelling throughout Asia Pacific and together we are looking at two or three potential travel exclusive kit offerings right now. I think you can definitely look out for that in 2020.”

[Click on the YouTube link below for a sneak peek into the Havaianas factory]

Conrad Bali, a beachfront resort on the southern coast of Bali, today announced the launch of its 85 newly-renovated expanded Deluxe rooms that boast incredible Indian Ocean views, expansive lagoon access and lush tropical gardens views.

The completion of this second phase of renovations at the resort promises guests transformed guestrooms featuring a fresh blue, grey color palette and wooden furniture, reflecting tropical island-inspired patterns with warm, cozy lighting and contemporary Balinese artwork.

The first phase of Conrad Bali’s transformation project began in December 2017 and was completed last September, which features 103 expanded Deluxe rooms, a refurbished lagoon pool, a revamped main pool and an update to the all-day dining Suku Restaurant.

“Since our opening 15 years agoConrad Bali has been a haven for travelers looking for an unparalleled experience in Bali. The refurbishments bring a fresh new look and feel to all our guests and we are excited to be offering an elevated experience and perfect getaway for both business and leisure travelers at Conrad Bali,” said Andreas Justkowiak, general manager of the resort.

This year, Conrad Bali celebrates its 15th anniversary as Hilton, one of the fastest-growing hospitality companies in the world, celebrates its 100th on 31 May 2019. In the lead-up to its centennial milestone on 31 May 2019, the global hospitality company aims to bring what it coined “The Hilton Effect” to life through a series of initiatives that will involve more than 12,000 Team Members across nine countries in South East Asia to impact communities and surprise guests.

As part of the activities held as part of its celebrations, Conrad Bali continues to demonstrate passion and dedication for developing creative and impactful solutions for its surrounding community. Together with the other Hilton hotels in Bali, Conrad Bali was awarded a Travel with Purpose Action Grant amounting to more than IDR 90,000,000.


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This Action Grant will enable Conrad Bali, together with Hilton Bali and Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport, to support the non-profit organization Bye Bye Plastic Bags (BBPB) in the production of linen-based, recycled material bags as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags. The funds will be directed to building a facility and providing necessary equipment and electricity where women will create re-usable bags from discarded linens that can be resold to form the basis of their livelihood, allowing them to thrive in their home village near Bedugul.

“Travel with Purpose Action Grants are given to Team Members of Hilton properties and corporate offices that propose creative ways to contribute and improve the lives and environments of the local communities where they operate, while driving value for their hotels and offices. We hope this cause will inspire our Team Members to show their creativity and passion of giving back to their own communities,” said Justkowiak.

“In the spirit of celebration, we are also thrilled to mark our hotel anniversary as well as Hilton’s 100th anniversary by inviting our guests down to the lobby for a beautiful Balinese cake-cutting ceremony and experiencing the local dance culture through a performance by 100 of our Team Members. Since the day our hotel doors opened, our team has been dedicated to providing exceptional hospitality and creating moments for each guest and this is our way of thanking them for their loyal support all these years,” Justkowiak added.

Conrad Bali is part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 14 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and the Hilton Honors mobile app.

Launch of refurbished rooms tie in with Hilton's 100th Anniversary Celebrations

BALI, Indonesia, June 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Conrad Bali, a luxury beachfront resort on the southern coast of Bali, today announced the launch of its 85 newly-renovated expanded Deluxe rooms that boast incredible Indian Ocean views, expansive lagoon access and lush tropical gardens views.

Conrad Bali Newly Renovated Deluxe Oceanfront

The completion of this second phase of renovations at the resort promises guests transformed guestrooms featuring a fresh blue, grey color palette and wooden furniture, reflecting tropical island-inspired patterns with warm, cozy lighting and contemporary Balinese artwork.

The first phase of Conrad Bali's transformation project began in December 2017 and was completed last September, which features 103 expanded Deluxe rooms, a refurbished lagoon pool, a revamped main pool and an update to the all-day dining Suku Restaurant.

"Since our opening 15 years ago, Conrad Bali has been a haven for travelers looking for an unparalleled experience in Bali. The refurbishments bring a fresh new look and feel to all our guests and we are excited to be offering an elevated experience and perfect getaway for both business and leisure travelers at Conrad Bali," said Andreas Justkowiak, general manager of the resort.

This year, Conrad Bali celebrates its 15th anniversary as Hilton, one of the fastest-growing hospitality companies in the world, celebrates its 100th on 31 May 2019. In the lead-up to its centennial milestone on 31 May 2019, the global hospitality company aims to bring what it coined "The Hilton Effect" to life through a series of initiatives that will involve more than 12,000 Team Members across nine countries in South East Asia to impact communities and surprise guests.

As part of the activities held as part of its celebrations, Conrad Bali continues to demonstrate passion and dedication for developing creative and impactful solutions for its surrounding community. Together with the other Hilton hotels in Bali, Conrad Bali was awarded a Travel with Purpose Action Grant amounting to more than IDR 90,000,000. This Action Grant will enable Conrad Bali, together with Hilton Bali and Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport, to support the non-profit organization Bye Bye Plastic Bags (BBPB) in the production of linen-based, recycled material bags as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags. The funds will be directed to building a facility and providing necessary equipment and electricity where women will create re-usable bags from discarded linens that can be resold to form the basis of their livelihood, allowing them to thrive in their home village near Bedugul. 

"Travel with Purpose Action Grants are given to Team Members of Hilton properties and corporate offices that propose creative ways to contribute and improve the lives and environments of the local communities where they operate, while driving value for their hotels and offices. We hope this cause will inspire our Team Members to show their creativity and passion of giving back to their own communities," said Justkowiak.

"In the spirit of celebration, we are also thrilled to mark our hotel anniversary as well as Hilton's 100th anniversary by inviting our guests down to the lobby for a beautiful Balinese cake-cutting ceremony and experiencing the local dance culture through a performance by 100 of our Team Members. Since the day our hotel doors opened, our team has been dedicated to providing exceptional hospitality and creating moments for each guest and this is our way of thanking them for their loyal support all these years," Justkowiak added.

Conrad Bali is part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton's 14 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and the Hilton Honors mobile app.

www.conradbali.com or call +62-361-778-788." data-reactid="36">Conrad Bali is located at Jalan Pratama 168, Tanjung Benoa, Bali, 80363, Indonesia. For reservations, visit Conrad Bali at www.conradbali.com or call +62-361-778-788.

http://www.conradbali.com. For more news on Conrad Hotels & Resorts, visit http://newsroom.hilton.com/conradhotels" data-reactid="37">For more information on Conrad Bali, visit http://www.conradbali.com. For more news on Conrad Hotels & Resorts, visit http://newsroom.hilton.com/conradhotels

About Conrad Bali

Conrad Bali is a luxury beachfront resort located on the southern coast of Bali, an island in the Indonesian archipelago with an alluring blend of natural beauty and timeless traditions. Contemporary in design, the resort boasts panoramic views to the ocean, pools and gardens and features 358 guest rooms and suites, inspired dining options, extensive meeting, event, and leisure facilities including the Jiwa Spa. The resort is also home to a beachfront wedding venue, Infinity. The exclusive Conrad Suites is located on a private wing and offers enhanced privacy with personalized service.

About Conrad Hotels & Resorts

www.conradhotels.com or through the Hilton Honors mobile app. Learn more about the brand by visiting news.conradhotels.com, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter." data-reactid="41">Spanning more than five continents with nearly 35 properties, Conrad Hotels & Resorts has created a seamless connection between contemporary design, leading innovation and curated art to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit of the globally connected traveler. Guests can manage their stay through the Conrad Concierge service in the Hilton Honors mobile app, getting access to pre check-in and room selection, to ordering in-room dining and mobile checkout, all from their own mobile device. Conrad is part of Hilton, a leading global hospitality company. Connect with Conrad by booking at www.conradhotels.com or through the Hilton Honors mobile app. Learn more about the brand by visiting news.conradhotels.com, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Hilton

portfolio of 16 world-class brands comprising more than 5,600 properties with nearly 913,000 rooms, in 113 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world's most hospitable company, Hilton earned a spot on the 2018 world's best workplaces list, and has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its nearly 100 year history. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, more than 85 million members who book directly with Hilton have access to instant benefits, including digital check-in with room selection, Digital Key, and Connected Room. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. " data-reactid="43">Hilton (HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 16 world-class brands comprising more than 5,600 properties with nearly 913,000 rooms, in 113 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world's most hospitable company, Hilton earned a spot on the 2018 world's best workplaces list, and has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its nearly 100 year history. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, more than 85 million members who book directly with Hilton have access to instant benefits, including digital check-in with room selection, Digital Key, and Connected Room. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, TwitterLinkedInInstagram and YouTube

CONTACT:

mashaning.purwitasari@conradbali.com " data-reactid="45">Mashaning Purwitasari
Conrad Bali
+62-361-778-788
mashaning.purwitasari@conradbali.com 

https://photos.prnasia.com/prnh/20190611/2492963-1" data-reactid="46">Photo - https://photos.prnasia.com/prnh/20190611/2492963-1

Late in May, the Louvre closed. The museum’s workers walked out, arguing that overcrowding at the home of the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo had made the place dangerous and unmanageable. “The Louvre suffocates,” the workers’ union said in a statement written in French, citing the “total inadequacy” of the museum’s facilities to manage the high volume of visitors.

Half a world away, a conga line of mountaineers waited to approach the summit of Mount Everest, queued up on a knife’s-edge ridge, looking as if they had chosen to hit the DMV at lunchtime. A photograph of the pileup went viral; nearly a dozen climbers died, with guides and survivors arguing that overcrowding at the world’s highest peak was a primary cause, if not the only one.

Such incidents are not isolated. Crowds of Instagrammers caused a public-safety debacle during a California poppy super bloom. An “extreme environmental crisis” fomented a “summer of action” against visitors to the Spanish island of Mallorca. Barcelona and Venice and Reykjavik and Dubrovnik, inundated. Beaches in Thailand and Mexico and the Philippines, destroyed. Natural wonders from the Sierra Nevadas to the Andes, jeopardized. Religious sites from Cambodia to India to Rome, damaged.

This phenomenon is known as overtourism, and like breakfast margaritas on an all-inclusive cruise, it is suddenly everywhere. A confluence of macroeconomic factors and changing business trends have led more tourists crowding to popular destinations. That has led to environmental degradation, dangerous conditions, and the immiseration and pricing-out of locals in many places. And it has cities around the world asking one question: Is there anything to be done about being too popular?

Locals have, of course, complained about tourists since time immemorial, and the masses have disrespected, thronged, and vandalized wonders natural and fabricated for as long as they have been visiting them. But tourism as we know it was a much more limited affair until recent decades. Through the early 19th century, travel for personal fulfillment was the provenance of “wealthy nobles and educated professionals” only, people for whom it was a “demonstrative expression of their social class, which communicated power, status, money and leisure,” as one history of tourism notes. It was only in the 1840s that commercialized mass tourism developed, growing as the middle class grew.

If tourism is a capitalist phenomenon, overtourism is its demented late-capitalist cousin: selfie-stick deaths, all-you-can-eat ships docking at historic ports, stag nights that end in property crimes, the live-streaming of the ruination of fragile natural habitats, et cetera. There are just too many people thronging popular destinations—30 million visitors a year to Barcelona, population 1.6 million; 20 million visitors to Venice, population 50,000. La Rambla and the Piazza San Marco fit only so many people, and the summertime now seems like a test to find out just how many that is.

The root cause of this surge in tourism is macroeconomic. The middle class is global now, and tens of millions of people have acquired the means to travel over the past few decades. China is responsible for much of this growth, with the number of overseas trips made by its citizens rising from 10.5 million in 2000 to an estimated 156 million last year. But it is not solely responsible. International-tourist arrivals around the world have gone from a little less than 70 million as of 1960 to 1.4 billion today: Mass tourism, again, is a very new thing and a very big thing.

Business trends have also contributed to turning paradise to paradise lost. Cruise vacations are vastly more popular than they once were, with the diesel-belching vessels disgorging thousands of passengers at a time onto port towns. Supercheap airlines using satellite airports have dramatically cut the cost of hopscotching around Europe, the Americas, and Asia, encouraging travelers to take 1 billion flights on budget airlines every year. And platforms such as Airbnb have increased the supply of rentable rooms in cities from Rio to Delhi, reducing search friction for travelers, boosting cities’ carrying capacity, and bumping up rents for existing residents—an estimated 4 percent in Barcelona, for instance.

Social media are at work, too, with apps such as Instagram leading tourists to pitch over cliffs and clog vital roadways in search of the perfect pic, and sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor making restaurants, museums, and beaches discoverable and thus ruinable. Overtourism itself is a media phenomenon as much as it is anything else. The word catapulted into common use in 2017, with wall-to-wall coverage of the problems in Venice, Bali, and elsewhere helping to drive the global backlash against tourists as well as the backlash to the backlash.

As for the backlash to the backlash: Some concerns about overtourism seem enormously overblown, and many local complaints about visitors are shot through with classism and racism. The majority of tourist destinations have no problem with the number of visitors they receive—would it even be possible for Orlando or Vegas to be over-touristed, logistically or spiritually? Travelers and their foreign direct investment remain a vital lifeblood for tiny Italian towns and big American parks and thousands of places in between. And while many sites are inarguably overcrowded, very few cities and towns are; the problem is mostly one of beaches and blocks and buildings, not of neighborhoods or regions.

There’s too much of a good thing in some of these spots, and mayors and city councils are doing their part to take it away. A number of places have implemented or expanded or proposed tourist taxes, among them Amsterdam, Bali, Edinburgh, Ireland, Rome, and Venice. These levies on hotels and day trips both reduce the number of visitors to a given place and provide it with revenue to improve infrastructure and defray the damage that tourists inevitably cause. Governments are also rolling out regulations, such as bans on tour buses in Rome and gating-and-ticketing in Barcelona. Those kinds of measures stand to become more important in the coming years, as the global middle class gets bigger, social media more ubiquitous, and travel cheaper.

These phenomena inevitably mean more complaints from locals, and more damage and lines and selfies and bad behavior. But they also mean more cross-cultural exposure, more investment, more global connection, more democratization of travel, and perhaps more awe and wonder. Even overtourism has its upsides.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

This article was originally published in Yale e360.

Thailand’s Maya Bay used to be a quiet cove teeming with marine life, visited by only a handful of tourists each day. Then came the 2000 film "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio, about a young American adventurer on an exotic island. By 2018, 5,000 tourists were visiting the bay, where the film had been shot, each day. Marine experts reported severe damage to the reef from boat anchors and snorkelers wearing sunscreen that contained a common chemical toxic to juvenile corals. Thailand’s national parks department announced that more than 50 percent of the bay’s corals showed signs of damage, prompting the agency to close Maya Bay indefinitely "until natural resources return to normal."

In the Philippines, the tiny island paradise of Boracay, covering 4 square miles, was overrun by 2 million visitors in 2017, many from cruise ships. Last year, with hundreds of businesses and residences dumping sewage into the sea, authorities closed the island for six months to undertake a large-scale cleanup operation and developed plans to cut the number of visitors by two-thirds.

And in Vietnam, the country’s most popular tourism destination, Ha Long Bay, with its thousands of limestone islands of all shapes and sizes rising out of the sea, has experienced a huge increase in tourists whose sheer numbers are fouling the ecosystem. Officials say that in 2017, nearly 7 million tourists visited the bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; roughly half were international visitors, many from China. Hundreds of ships ply the bay each day, often discharging human waste into the sea. Tourists increasingly express surprise not at the landscape, but at the amount of trash in the water or the crowds.

Around the world, burgeoning numbers of tourists — many from nations with millions of new middle-class travelers — are putting pressure on legendary natural areas, from the mountains of Patagonia, to the national parks of the western United States, to the Arctic landscapes of Iceland. But nowhere is the problem more acute than in Southeast Asia, famed for its beaches, tropical forests and far-flung islands. Not only are the economies of Southeast Asian nations heavily geared to, and dependent on, foreign tourism, but the region’s vacation destinations are also close to China, whose citizens made an estimated 150 million trips abroad last year — a fifteenfold increase from 2000.

Andrew Hewett, with the Thailand-based Phi Phi Island Conservation and Preservation Group, says that the face and mode of tourism in Southeast Asia has changed significantly in the last 10 to 12 years. Most of the region’s tourists used to come from Australia, the United States, Europe and Japan, with many arriving in small groups or as backpackers. Today, China and India dominate the tourist ranks, their travelers often arriving in what Hewett calls "mass charter groups." Larger groups mean bigger boats, with more oil and waste discharged in the water. They also mean more garbage and human waste, and more damage to sensitive marine and terrestrial environments.

Until recently, many Southeast Asian nations, grateful for new jobs and surging revenue, have done little to address the growing threat to the natural environments that attracted tourists in the first place.

"I would argue that tourism has not only been badly managed in general, it’s not been managed at all," said Randy Durband, chief executive officer of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. "Southeast Asia is one of the most dramatic regions in the world for the issues we’re talking about."

The sheer number of tourists pouring into Southeast Asia is "eye-popping," according to Megan Epler Wood, director of the International Sustainable Tourism Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and president of EplerWood International, a company that helps locales develop sustainable tourism. Thailand, one of the world’s top 10 countries for international tourism, welcomed more than 38 million visitors in 2018, a threefold increase from 15 years ago. From 2016 to 2017, the number of foreign tourists visiting Vietnam grew by 30 percent, and then by 2.5 million visitors the following year, bringing the total number of foreign tourists in Vietnam in 2018 to 15.5 million.

A report released late last month by the Travel Foundation, Cornell University and EplerWood International found that local capacity to manage environmental impacts from tourism is lacking in much of Southeast Asia.

"The invisible burden is the social and environmental impacts of tourism that are not accounted for when countries look at economic impacts," says Epler Wood, a co-author of the Travel Foundation report. "There’s a cost as each tourist comes into a country. It’s not equally distributed throughout the economy, and where it fails is in the protection of the environment."

The crush of tourists into areas such as Maya Beach, Ha Long Bay or Bali extracts an environmental toll in several key ways. One is the handling and treatment of human waste. A second is the mountains of garbage and plastic bags piling up in places that once received thousands of visitors annually and now receive millions. And a third is the damage to the environment as legions of tourists disembark from cruise ships or planes and fan out across fragile ecosystems.

Boracay Island in the Philippines, once named by Travel and Leisure magazine as the world’s best island, serves as a cautionary tale of what can happen to a once-paradisiacal spot that finds itself flooded with tourists. As more visitors poured onto the island in recent years to enjoy its white sand beaches and turquoise waters by day and raucous party scene by night, the island’s environment reached the breaking point. A government survey found that 716 of 834 businesses and residences lacked wastewater permits and many were discharging sewage into the sea. Armies of tourists, sometimes reaching nearly 20,000 a day, were strewing trash about the island and disturbing wildlife, including sea turtles.

In April 2018, after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said the unregulated discharge of sewage had turned Boracay’s limpid waters into a "cesspool," authorities closed the island to tourists for six months. They limited the number of tourists to 6,400 a day, required hotels and other businesses to install proper sewage treatment systems, mandated that tourists stay in government-accredited hotels with proper sanitation, banned single-use plastics, created steep fines for littering and required Jet Skis to operate more than 100 meters offshore. The island has been largely reopened to tourists since October, although officials say Boracay’s rehabilitation will take at least two years.

"I believe the closure served its purpose of giving Boracay the much needed rest it deserves and allowing for improvements," says John Paolo R. Rivera, associate director of the Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism at the Philippines-based Asian Institute of Management. "Boracay must only permit quality tourists. [It] should not be positioned as an island that is known for parties, but rather an island that is an example of sustainable tourism."

Similarly overrun, Maya Beach in Thailand remains closed to tourists. Declared off-limits to visitors in June 2018, the government initially planned to reopen the resort by October, but has decided to keep Maya Beach shuttered for the foreseeable future. The main restoration work involves replanting corals on the resort’s badly damaged reefs. With the swarms of tourists gone, some marine life is returning to Maya Beach, including dozens of blacktip reef sharks caught on video last fall.

Another fragile Southeast Asian ecosystem facing growing tourism pressure, and a looming closure, is Komodo National Park in eastern Indonesia. This is the only habitat on the planet for the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, as well as other species such as the dugong, a marine mammal, and 260 species of corals. The number of visitors coming to Komodo Island to snorkel its spectacular coral reefs, swim beneath waterfalls, kayak through mangrove forests and see the Komodo dragon has doubled in recent years, from 80,000 in 2014 to 159,000 last year.

A recent upgrade to the airport nearest to Komodo Island will expand the airfield’s capacity to 1.5 million passengers annually, putting further pressure on the park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cruise ships, carrying up to 1,200 passengers, also are calling on the park more frequently. Developers hope to cash in on the increasing number of visitors, but conservationists and government officials are concerned about environmental pressures such as pollution, freshwater shortages and habitat destruction.

Officials have been contemplating the temporary closure of the island to give the Komodo dragon’s realm a chance to recover. After wildlife traffickers were busted in late March poaching 41 Komodo dragons and selling them at $35,000 apiece on the black market, local provincial officials announced plans to close the park in January. But Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry, which manages the park, said no final decision has been made.

Epler Wood says she and her colleagues believe closures should be considered only as a last resort. "We don’t advocate a closing unless it’s an emergency," she says. "We recommend balanced management that looks at supply and demand and measured responses based on planning and science that involves regular benchmarking, like water testing, so you can see when they’re getting close to a problem, which should trigger action."

James Sano, the World Wildlife Fund’s vice president for travel, tourism and conservation, says the Southeast Asia’s travel boom is a clear threat to the region’s "natural and cultural resources." He says that all involved, including the travel industry and local and national officials, must develop strategies to deal with environmental, cultural and economic impacts "to conserve the integrity of the destination — the very reason why travelers are drawn to the region."

Popular tourist spots such as Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay are facing growing pressure to do something before millions of tourists debase the breathtaking environments they came to see. In Ha Long Bay, a coalition of government officials, local businesses, grassroots organizations and international groups such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature are working to improve water quality. These efforts include collaborating with tour boat operators to install waste treatment technologies on their vessels. But whether these efforts will prove effective in the face of growing numbers of tourists clamoring to see Vietnam’s iconic tourist destination remains to be seen.

The Indonesian Island of Bali has for years been trying to cope with ever-increasing numbers of tourists. Bali’s international airport received more than 5 million foreign tourists in 2018, a fivefold increase since 2001. The scale of environmental problems has grown in parallel with the number of tourists, including overuse of freshwater, air pollution, habitat destruction and the generation of large amounts of garbage. More than 1,700 acres of land are developed annually in Bali. Each four-star hotel room uses 80 gallons of water a day.

Officials in Bali have proposed a $10 tax levied on international passengers flying through the island’s airport, which would be used to fund programs to preserve Bali’s culture and environment, with a focus on tackling the island’s waste management problem. The island produces 3,800 tons of garbage daily, with only 60 percent of it going to landfills, according to the Bali Environment Agency. In December, Bali banned single-use plastics, such as shopping bags and straws.

Hyatt Hotels Corp has announced that 21 new luxury hotels and resorts are planned to open in Asia-Pacific by the end of 2020, fueling Hyatt's brand expansion in the region. This expansion is comprised of seven Park Hyatt branded properties, six hotels each under the Grand Hyatt and Andaz brands and two Alila branded resorts, boosting Hyatt's luxury portfolio in the region by more than 25%.

"We are excited to expand our luxury portfolio in Asia Pacific, bringing more distinct experiences through the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Andaz and Alila brands to destinations that matter most to our guests," said Carina Chorengel, senior vice president, Commercial, Asia Pacific, Hyatt. "As we expand our resort, lifestyle and wellbeing offerings, we will better cater to today's increasingly diverse luxury travelers who seek greater personalization, whether they are traveling for business or leisure."

With this expansion, a record number of seven Park Hyatt hotels are expected to open in under two years - a significant milestone for Hyatt, which adds an average of one Park Hyatt property per year. The Andaz brand, known to offer immersive cultural experiences, is set to double its footprint in Asia Pacific with new openings in major cities such as Seoul, Dubai and Shenzhen, alongside resort destinations such as Bali, as well as Sanya and Xiamen in China.

Set to join the World of Hyatt loyalty program later this year following its integration into the Hyatt portfolio in 2018, the Alila brand will add two resorts in Malaysia and Oman next year. Together these two resorts will bring the brand's contemporary expressions of century-old traditions, authentic experiences and sustainable mindset closer to more travelers. Additionally, the Grand Hyatt brand continues its steady growth momentum with new openings in emerging cities in China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

"We see enormous potential to grow our luxury portfolio in Asia Pacific, which currently accounts for 40% of Hyatt's overall portfolio in the region," said Patrick Finn, senior vice president, real estate and development, Asia Pacific, Hyatt. "Hyatt has a distinct and differentiated strategy with each of our brands positioned at the high end of every segment in which we operate, and we are committed to expanding our brand footprint in major business cities, cultural destinations and leisure hot spots that resonate with developers, owners and guests."

Planned openings in 2019

  • Andaz Dubai The Palm in the United Arab Emirates
  • Andaz Gangnam Seoul in South Korea
  • Grand Hyatt Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia
  • Grand Hyatt Gurgaon in India
  • Grand Hyatt Hefei in China
  • Park Hyatt Auckland in New Zealand
  • Park Hyatt Doha in Qatar
  • Park Hyatt Jakarta in Indonesia
  • Park Hyatt Kyoto in Japan
  • Park Hyatt Shenzhen in China

Planned openings in 2020

  • Alila Dalit Bay in Malaysia
  • Alila Hinu Bay in Oman
  • Andaz Bali in Indonesia
  • Andaz Sanya Sunny Bay in China
  • Andaz Shenzhen in China
  • Andaz Xiamen in China
  • Grand Hyatt Jeju in Korea
  • Grand Hyatt Kuwait in Kuwait
  • Grand Hyatt Shenzhou Peninsula in China
  • Park Hyatt Niseko, Hanazono in Japan
  • Park Hyatt Suzhou in China

© Business Wire

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 26, 2019--

Hyatt Hotels Corporation  (NYSE: H) announced today that 21 new luxury hotels and resorts are planned to open in Asia Pacific by the end of 2020, fueling Hyatt’s brand expansion in the region. This expansion is comprised of seven Park Hyatt branded properties, six hotels each under the Grand Hyatt and Andaz brands and two Alila branded resorts, boosting Hyatt’s luxury portfolio in the region by more than 25%.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190526005007/en/

Alila Dalit Bay Villa (Photo: Business Wire)

“We are excited to expand our luxury portfolio in Asia Pacific, bringing more distinct experiences through the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Andaz and Alila brands to destinations that matter most to our guests,” said Carina Chorengel, senior vice president, Commercial, Asia Pacific, Hyatt. “As we expand our resort, lifestyle and wellbeing offerings, we will better cater to today’s increasingly diverse luxury travelers who seek greater personalization, whether they are traveling for business or leisure.”

With this expansion, a record number of seven Park Hyatt hotels are expected to open in under two years – a significant milestone for Hyatt, which adds an average of one Park Hyatt property per year. The Andaz brand, known to offer immersive cultural experiences, is set to double its footprint in Asia Pacific with new openings in major cities such as Seoul, Dubai and Shenzhen, alongside resort destinations such as Bali, as well as Sanya and Xiamen in China.

Set to join the World of Hyatt loyalty program later this year following its integration into the Hyatt portfolio in 2018, the Alila brand will add two resorts in Malaysia and Oman next year. Together these two resorts will bring the brand’s contemporary expressions of century-old traditions, authentic experiences and sustainable mindset closer to more travelers. Additionally, the Grand Hyatt brand continues its steady growth momentum with new openings in emerging cities in China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

“We see enormous potential to grow our luxury portfolio in Asia Pacific, which currently accounts for 40% of Hyatt’s overall portfolio in the region,” said Patrick Finn, senior vice president, real estate and development, Asia Pacific, Hyatt. “Hyatt has a distinct and differentiated strategy with each of our brands positioned at the high end of every segment in which we operate, and we are committed to expanding our brand footprint in major business cities, cultural destinations and leisure hot spots that resonate with developers, owners and guests.”

Planned openings in 2019

  • Andaz Dubai The Palm in the United Arab Emirates
  • Andaz Gangnam Seoul in South Korea
  • Grand Hyatt Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia
  • Grand Hyatt Gurgaon in India
  • Grand Hyatt Hefei in China
  • Park Hyatt Auckland in New Zealand
  • Park Hyatt Doha in Qatar
  • Park Hyatt Jakarta in Indonesia
  • Park Hyatt Kyoto in Japan
  • Park Hyatt Shenzhen in China

Planned openings in 2020

  • Alila Dalit Bay in Malaysia
  • Alila Hinu Bay in Oman
  • Andaz Bali in Indonesia
  • Andaz Sanya Sunny Bay in China
  • Andaz Shenzhen in China
  • Andaz Xiamen in China
  • Grand Hyatt Jeju in Korea
  • Grand Hyatt Kuwait in Kuwait
  • Grand Hyatt Shenzhou Peninsula in China
  • Park Hyatt Niseko, Hanazono in Japan
  • Park Hyatt Suzhou in China

The term “Hyatt” is used in this release for convenience to refer to Hyatt Hotels Corporation and/or one or more of its affiliates.

About Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Hyatt Hotels Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 19 premier brands. As of March 31, 2019, the Company’s portfolio included more than 850 properties in over 60 countries across six continents. The Company’s purpose to care for people so they can be their best informs its business decisions and growth strategy and is intended to attract and retain top colleagues, build relationships with guests and create value for shareholders. The Company’s subsidiaries develop, own, operate, manage, franchise, license or provide services to hotels, resorts, branded residences, vacation ownership properties, and fitness and spa locations, including under the  Park Hyatt®,  Miraval®,  Grand Hyatt®,  Alila®,  Andaz®,  The Unbound Collection by Hyatt®,  Destination®Hyatt Regency®,  Hyatt®,  Hyatt Ziva,  Hyatt Zilara,  Thompson Hotels®,  Hyatt Centric®,  Hyatt House®,  Hyatt Place®,  Joie de Vivre®tommie™Hyatt Residence Club®  and  Exhale®  brand names, and operate the World of Hyatt ®  loyalty program that provides distinct benefits and exclusive experiences to its valued members. For more information, please visit  www.hyatt.com.

About Alila

The hallmark of the Alila brand is the combination of innovative design and luxury in unique locations, set apart by an unprecedented level of private space, crafted artisanship, personalized hospitality, and bespoke journeys. Alila means “Surprise” in Sanskrit, which suitably describes the refreshing character of our properties and impressions of our guests when they stay with us. In support of sustainable tourism, Alila hotels adopt EarthCheck operating standards, integrating the natural, physical and cultural elements of their environments. To stay at any Alila hotels and resorts is to embark on a destination experience – be it in recreating the flavors of the local cuisine, enhancing your well-being through ancient healing arts or the thrill of adventure sports, you will re-discover the luxury of living at Alila hotels. For more information visit, alilahotels.com, follow us on Instagram  @AlilaHotels or like us on  Facebook.

About Andaz

Global in scale while local in perspective, the Andaz brand of luxury hotels weaves the sights, sounds, and tastes of each property’s surroundings for a distinctively local experience. Through thoughtful, unscripted service tailored for travelers, Andaz hotels enable guests to go beyond the familiar and satiate their curiosity while immersing them in the spirit of the eclectic culture around them. Nineteen Andaz hotels are currently open: Andaz 5th Avenue and Andaz Wall Street in New York, Andaz San Diego, Andaz West Hollywood, Andaz Napa, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Andaz Savannah, Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, Andaz Munich Schwabinger Tor, Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market, Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya, Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo, Andaz London Liverpool Street, Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, Andaz Singapore, Andaz Delhi, Andaz Xintiandi in Shanghai, Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, and Andaz Capital Gate Abu Dhabi. For more information, please visit andaz.com. Follow @Andaz on  FacebookTwitter  and  Instagram, and tag photos with #WhenInAndaz.

About Grand Hyatt

Around the world, Grand Hyatt hotels bring travel dreams to life by celebrating the iconic in small details and magnificent moments. Located at the crossroads of local culture and global business within major gateway cities and resort destinations, each Grand Hyatt hotel is uniquely designed to be a captivating destination within a destination. Grand Hyatt hotels deliver welcoming and elevated service, first-class accommodations and an abundance of options within a multicultural backdrop of dramatic architecture and bold and vibrant design. Grand Hyatt properties boast inventive restaurants, luxury spas, fitness centers, and business and meeting facilities. For additional information or to make a reservation, please visit  grandhyatt.com. Follow @GrandHyatt on Facebook and Instagram, and tag photos with #GrandHyatt.

About Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt hotels provide discerning, global travelers with a refined home-away-from-home. Guests of Park Hyatt hotels receive quietly confident and personalized service in an enriching environment. Located in several of the world’s premier destinations, each Park Hyatt hotel is custom designed to combine sophistication with understated luxury. Park Hyatt hotels feature well-appointed guestrooms, world-renowned artwork and design, rare and immersive culinary experiences, and signature restaurants featuring award-winning chefs. There are currently 40 Park Hyatt hotels in the following locations: Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Beaver Creek, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Busan, Canberra, Changbaishan, Carlsbad, Chennai, Chicago, Dubai, Guangzhou, Hamburg, Hangzhou, Hyderabad, Istanbul, Jeddah, Maldives, Mallorca, Melbourne, Mendoza, Milan, Moscow, New York, Ningbo, Paris, Saigon, Sanya, Seoul, Shanghai, Siem Reap, St. Kitts, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto (under renovation), Vienna, Washington, D.C., Zanzibar, and Zurich. For more information, please visit parkhyatt.com. Follow @ParkHyatt on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and tag photos with #LuxuryIsPersonal.

Forward-Looking Statement

Forward-Looking Statements in this press release, which are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Our actual results, performance or achievements may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These statements include statements about Hyatt’s planned expansion in the Asia Pacific region and the timing of certain new hotel openings and involve known and unknown risks that are difficult to predict.
In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “may,” “could,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “seek,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” “continue,” “likely,” “will,” “would” and variations of these terms and similar expressions, or the negative of these terms or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by us and our management, are inherently uncertain. Factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from current expectations include, among others, the rate and the pace of economic recovery following economic downturns; levels of spending in business and leisure segments as well as consumer confidence; declines in occupancy and average daily rate; the seasonal and cyclical nature of the real estate and hospitality businesses; changes in distribution arrangements, such as through internet travel intermediaries; changes in the tastes and preferences of our customers; the financial condition of, and our relationships with, third-party property owners, franchisees, and hospitality venture partners; the possible inability of third-party owners, franchisees, or development partners to access capital necessary to fund current operations or implement our plans for growth; risks associated with potential acquisitions and dispositions and the introduction of new brand concepts; the timing of acquisitions and dispositions, and our ability to successfully integrate completed acquisitions with existing operations; our ability to successfully execute on our strategy to expand our management and franchising business while at the same time reducing our real estate asset base within targeted timeframes and at expected values; changes in the competitive environment in our industry, including as a result of industry consolidation, and the markets where we operate; our ability to successfully grow the World of Hyatt loyalty program; cyber incidents and information technology failures; and other risks discussed in the Company’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K, which filings are available from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. These factors are not necessarily all of the important factors that could cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by any of our forward-looking statements. We caution you not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which are made only as of the date of this press release. We undertake no obligation to update publicly any of these forward-looking statements to reflect actual results, new information or future events, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting forward-looking statements, except to the extent required by applicable law. If we update one or more forward-looking statements, no inference should be drawn that we will make additional updates with respect to those or other forward-looking statements.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190526005007/en/

CONTACT: MEDIA CONTACT:

Gloria Kennett

Hyatt

312 780 5506

Gloria.Kennett@hyatt.com

Angelina Hue

Hyatt – Asia Pacific

+852 2678 1323

Angelina.Hue@hyatt.com

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES ASIA PACIFIC NORTH AMERICA ILLINOIS

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: TRAVEL DESTINATIONS VACATION LODGING ARCHITECTURE CONSTRUCTION & PROPERTY COMMERCIAL BUILDING & REAL ESTATE

SOURCE: Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Copyright Business Wire 2019.

PUB: 05/26/2019 10:00 PM/DISC: 05/26/2019 10:00 PM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190526005007/en

Must-visit destinations, scams to watch out for and other top tips to help you navigate your holiday plans.


“I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything…You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.” — Bill Bryson, Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe

Signing up blind can be an exciting way to play it, provided you have the luxury of time. But when you don’t, it’s best to plan out your trips to the T. Snapshots from the haunting finds of these avid travellers will point you in the right direction.

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My secret hideaways


A RESIDENT of Worli, Digant Desai favours destinations that offer scuba diving and wildlife spotting opportunities. “For the last 13 years or so, I’ve been making at least five or six such international trips a year,” he says. An avid diver, Desai who was a partner at one of the city’s foremost travel agencies for 23 years, launched ‘Scubacentric’ seven years ago to guide others who share his passion.

Tips from Digant’s travel diaries

Places you must visit: South Africa’s Simon’s Town, a couple of hours from Cape Town, is a beautiful place to explore, with Victorian era buildings, and some of the best seafood I’ve ever tasted. Scuba dive there and you may just get to watch seals engaged in an underwater ballet. In Bali, Indonesia, you can enjoy the pristine beaches of Pemuteran and Menjangan, or take a day trip to the mountain lake resort of Bedugul. For $200, you can get a two bedroom villa in Pemuteran, with a private pool, and with the sea on one side, and volcanic peaks on the other.

Packing tip: Pack your things with your itinerary in hand — in the order they will be needed in — so you can retrieve them easily.

Word of advice: For the best deals, deal directly with hotels instead of opting for packages, or go through wholesale hotel agents — you don’t need to be part of a big group to do so. And, stick to known hotel chains rather than experimenting with a standalone property.

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Loosen up the purse strings


SWARNIM Bharadwaj traces his love for travel back to his childhood. “My family often explored new destinations around India, and I guess that made me develop a taste for offbeat destinations,” says Bharadwaj, a marketing director at Unilever. Bharadwaj who moved to Singapore six months ago, has already been exploring the islands near by. “But I will try to make three to four trips a year to faraway places too,” he says, adding that he prefers to travel with friends. He recounts a funny incident from one such trip last year, when he visited Russia to watch Russia take on Spain at the FIFA World Cup 2018: “We attended the match in Spain jerseys, expecting the team to win, but at the end Russia won, and the crowd went wild. The party spilled out onto the streets, and here we were, dressed in the wrong colours to enjoy it.” So, Bharadwaj and his friends did the only thing they could, of course: “We slipped into a store, and promptly switched our jerseys and loyalties, and joined the party.”

Bharadwaj and friends at Salar de Uyuni, the salt desert of Bolivia.

Bharadwaj and friends at Salar de Uyuni, the salt desert of Bolivia.

Tips from Swarnim’s travel diaries

Places you must visit: Whether you’re looking for a cultural eye-opener or fantastic food, Peru in western South America has it all. Aside from the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, the place has a vibrant cultural and party scene. Beirut is another great destination, although the political climate tends to deter travellers. If you’re keen on a European destination, opt for Prague in the Czech Republic, or the Hungarian capital of Budapest — these make for more pocket-friendly holidays than trips to France and Italy. In Southeast Asia, Bali is a great bet. There are no visa restrictions for Indians. Aside from the beaches of Kuta and Seminyak, you can explore the forest region of Ubud.

Packing tip: I carry a multiplug, a phone charger, a waterproof case for my phone so I can take pictures in water, an expandable bag to accommodate the shopping, and PartySmart tablets to avoid hangovers.

Word of advice: Take an international debit card and withdraw cash as and when you need it. You get the best rate, as you cut out the middlemen. And, mainly, stop looking for Indian restaurants. Remember, you’re there to try different food and different experiences. That’s the whole point.

A meal in Istanbul

A meal in Istanbul

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A new world


A MARKETING professional in the tech industry, Preethi Chandrasekhar, who divides her time between Abhiramapuram in Chennai and San Francisco, fell in love with the idea of exploring foreign lands when she visited Kenya with a bunch of friends, shortly after completing her education. Chandrasekhar, who records her experiences and offers advice on her blog, ‘the eager traveler’, is currently enjoying a getaway in Tashkent (Uzbekistan).

Preethi Chandrasekhar in Sri Lanka

Preethi Chandrasekhar in Sri Lanka

Tips from Preethi’s travel diaries

Places you must visit: The ‘five stans’ in Central Asia — Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan — which are just opening up for tourism. I’ve been invited by strangers to have tea at their homes, attend Iftar dinners, and even to take pictures with them. When they hear that I’m from India, they invariably ask me about Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. Besides, the Islamic architecture in cities like Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkhand are a visual treat. One of my favourite things to do is to stroll through the bazaars and try the big flat bread and dried fruits.

Packing tip: Always travel with a ‘carryon’ suitcase, so you’re not leftstranded if your luggage gets lost in transit.

Word of advice: Ask the locals for advice on where to eat and shop instead of referring to a guide book. Be wary in places where language is a barrier, as shopkeepers and taxi drivers may try to overcharge you.

A view of Poi Kalyan mosque, Bukhara

A view of Poi Kalyan mosque, Bukhara

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There should be something for everyone


A MOTHER of three and an educator, Priyanka Pandit usually travels with her family — her husband Vivek, and their children Kaiya (16), Nirvaan (14) and Tahira (11). “We try to cater to everyone’s passions, and to see that each itinerary has something to nourish the mind, body and soul,” says Pandit. “Last winter, we visited Borneo with Vivek’s family. In all, there were 13 of us,” says Pandit. Making sure that everyone got their fill of holiday fun meant exploring Mount Kinabalu, trekking through the rainforest of Sandakan, known for its orangutans, enjoying picturesque walks and nature trails, and scuba diving off Sipadan Island. Next month, they’ll set off on a trip to Europe and the UK.

The Pandits on a bicycle tour of Paris

The Pandits on a bicycle tour of Paris

Tips from Priyanka’s travel diaries

Places you must visit: New Zealand is perfect for family holidays. You can go biking, take in the natural beauty, enjoy wine tasting, or even go for an overnight hike. I also love Kenya, for the historical and cultural experiences it affords. Our children enjoyed learning about the Maasai Mara and how they live when we visited. And, on our ride from the airport to the lodge, we saw a lion hunt down a wildebeest. The wildlife reserve of Ranthambore is fantastic too, and if you want to immerse yourself in culture, or enjoy great food, there’s nothing like Amritsar.

Packing tip: I start packing a whole week in advance. If it’s a short trip, I’d put together outfits for each day. I never travel without a good book, lip gloss and a swimsuit.

Word of advice: As the only Indian citizen in a family of American citizens, I have learnt, through experience, to organise visas well beforehand. Get all the travel advice you can first-hand, from people who’ve visited before you. Or, look up tourist reviews online.

A boat ride in Borneo

A boat ride in Borneo

Would you like visiting Amsterdam for all its beautiful museums and art or pick Bali just to unwind and relax by the vivid landscapes? Amsterdam is the most expensive city on our index, while Bali is the ninth cheapest. Or, would you like to see what fits within your budget because this is your first international holiday and you don’t want to go overboard on your expenses? Do you want to spend as much as you would for a holiday in Delhi or do you want to enjoy the thrill of exploring a foreign destination but at a lower cost? The Mint Globetrotter Index prepared by Mint’s data partner Howindialives.com, a database and search engine for public data, took into account a basket of essential spends—25 in all, across various categories such as accommodation, shopping, leisure, market and food to come up with an index that will help you make the most of your money.

“Indians are known to be smart travellers, especially when it comes to choosing destinations and optimizing costs. The smart Indian traveller is constantly on the lookout for best bargains on tickets, combo deals, etc., to maximize the value for time and money," said Rajeev Kale, country head, holidays, MICE Visa, Thomas Cook India Ltd.

This year, we also spoke with travel bloggers and experts to understand what some cities in these regions have to offer in terms of food, culture and tourism. Their anecdotes and experiences will give you a taste of what these cities are like and perhaps help you settle down on a destination for that upcoming trip. But first, a run down on the methodology that Howindialives.com adopted for the index.

HOW THE INDEX WAS DRAWN

A set of qualitative and quantitative filters were applied to shortlist these 50 cities from five regions—North America, Europe, Australia and Asia together forming Australasia, the rest of America and others. The “others" category is a heterogeneous mix of cities which didn’t make it to the individual regions. To start with, we looked at data from the Indian aviation regulator to arrive at a list of the busiest airports routes from India, which indicate frequent traveller trends. Then, routes where Indians typically travelled mostly for work or because they were aviation transit hubs such as Doha were eliminated, leaving around 75 cities.

To shorten the list to 50, we looked at only those cities that were listed on Numbeo.com, a website that uses technology and crowd-sourcing to collect data on the cost of living in cities across the globe. If a particular country had multiple cities with a similar cost profile, we chose just one among them. For example, in Germany, Frankfurt and Munich were dropped but Berlin was retained. However, for Italy, we retained both Rome and Venice because they have very different cost profiles. The diversity was also tested and a few cities such as Auckland were added to widen the options and not leave any region unexplored.

Once this was done, data from these 50 cities was collated based on 25 items that are essential for any international travel experience. In doing this, flight tickets were left out because prices depend on how much distance you’d have to travel to reach a specific destination, and this could vary from person to person. The basket covered costs related to food, entertainment, accommodation and commute within the city and the cost of the 25 items was converted from local currencies to dollars and then to rupees. To allow easy comparison between various cities, the indices were benchmarked to a value of 100 for Delhi and re-based accordingly. Thus, Zurich has an index value of 301 which means the 25 items cost 201% more of what they cost in Delhi. Or, Kathmandu has an index of 82, which means the same items cost 18% less than what they cost in Delhi.

Mint, after all the number crunching, learnt that there’s something for every kind of budget on this list. Within Europe itself, from Istanbul with an index of 109 to Amsterdam with an index of 335, the options are vast. The graphic on the right shows how these 50 cities stack up against Delhi. Data capsules atop the pages show the cost extremes when it comes to basic spends.

We hope the index helps you make the right choice and helps you fly or sail economically. Bon voyage!

This Mega-yacht Has a Floating Pool and Beds Beneath the Stars — and It Will Take You to Over 50 Destinations from Pole to Pole | Travel + Leisure

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