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Foreign Press Bashes U.S. Travel Experiences

Normally, this blog is about getting out of town. But as the dollar weakens and the economy remains top of mind in this election year, I’d like to shift the focus for a moment on getting people in town.

A message promoting The Travel Industry Association’s Discover America Partnership just popped in my inbox with the headline Foreign Press Continues to Bash U.S. Travel Experience While America Remains Silent.

A few of the unfavorable headlines include:

Coming to America Isn’t Easy
US visa requirements and airport entry procedures have become the stuff of legend. (The Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 28)

Business Travel to USA Is Unpopular
Conferences are moving to other countries with simpler entry conditions where travelers are not made to feel like potential terrorists. (German Financial Times, Feb. 19)

Fortress America
Why hassle yourself to go to America, when the Caribbean is there, the Maldives, all of these other markets? (The Irish Independent, Feb. 16)

America – More Hassle Than it’s Worth?
Brits visiting America down 11% since 9/11, despite the weak dollar. (The Guardian (UK), Feb. 12)

Travel to America? No Thanks
It’s already a nightmare, but now they want to make entry into the USA tougher. So let’s not go. (The Sunday Times of London, Jan. 20)

Photo Courtesy of Mike Wroblewski.

Top Cities for Singles

If you’re still looking for Mr. Right or Ms. Walks-on-Air this February 14th, you might wonder if your chances would be improved by a visit to Valentine, Texas or Valentine, Nebraska. Recently a single friend suggested I write a travel blog called: You Don’t Have to Go to Alaska to Meet the Man of Your Dreams. She wanted me to figure out where the most single men live so that she could vacation accordingly.

Chinese New Year Festivities

Yesterday marked the official beginning of Chinese New Year. To many people, this late winter holiday means vibrant street festivities complete with fireworks, colorful dragon floats, and tasty Chinese goodies galore. To others, the term “Chinese New Year” barely rings a bell. But given the growing influence of Chinese culture, more people are learning about the holiday and making plans to participate in celebrations across the country and the world.

The New Las Vegas

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Vegas veteran, there’s never been a better time to visit. As the new year begins, Vegas offers an incredible array of new resorts, renovations, nightclubs, and more. The city has never been the center of so much excitement.

Among the most captivating of these new additions is the Palazzo, which opened earlier this month and is the newest and largest resort in the city. The sister property of the Venetian, it is connected to its neighbor by walks and waterways, and its elegant architecture evokes a similar Mediterranean charm. Its luxurious sports bar and lounge, the 40/40, was created by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z. And with a spacious pool deck overlooking the Strip, suites with sunken living rooms, plenty of premium restaurants, and 50-plus international boutiques, it’s poised to be the premier new hotspot in Las Vegas.

Fur Rondy? Fur Real

I grew up in Panama City, Florida, one of the weirdest corners of America, a place where we boil peanuts and signs read, “No shirt. No shoes. No problem!” When I travel I’m much more likely to choose Dollywood over Hollywood, Austin over Dallas, or Versailles (pronounced ver-sails), Kentucky over that silly palace in France.

Maybe that’s why I love Alaska. Recently I had the opportunity to see how life is lived in this rugged state. Around every corner awaited a new oddball thrill. I’ll never forget when our tour director gleefully pointed out the town of Wasilla. Among its many attributes, Wasilla was the 2003 Duct Tape Capital of the World, consuming more tape per capita than anywhere else. Plus, each year there is a Duct Tape Ball (moved to Anchorage due to popularity) where Alaskans show their passion for the silvery stuff by making gala duds out of tape.