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Showing posts from May, 2008

Plan Less, Travel More, Grab a Bargain

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Abandon your plans, throw away the brochures and take the flight of fancy. Jump into the swirling pool of last minute travel opportunities and see where you end up. Roderick Eime dares you.

For many, the family holiday is as meticulously planned as a military operation. Timetables, visas, schedules and check-in/check outs all conspire to make vacation planning as stressful as the life we are attempting to escape from. How about throwing plans out the window and trying some of the many “last minute” travel, holiday and adventure possibilities flourishing on the ‘net?

It’s no secret that hotel and resort bookings can be found on the Internet at rock bottom prices, especially if you seek them out close to your anticipated travel time.

Industry leader in what the trade calls “distressed inventory” is perhaps the website www.wotif.com which currently offers more than 10,000 properties in 40 countries and books almost 3 million room nights each year – numbers that grow every day.

“Large hotels …

The Last Mahouts

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They stood before us like condemned men, their proud tradition and heritage had run its course. These well-weathered, handsome men of the jungle were the last real mahouts, trained in the ancient and dangerous art of wild elephant capture.

The mighty Asian elephant has featured large in Asian culture for centuries. This enormous beast, a perennial symbol of strength and power, has been tamed and trained to perform in a variety of roles in agriculture, royal ceremonies, circuses and even combat.

The Brand of the Long White Cloud

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Published Sunday Telegraph Escape - 6 May 2007 - © Roderick Eime [PDF]



“New Zealand. Show me one good thing about it,” asked a cynical Peter FitzSimons in Tourism NZ’s highly successful 2004 TV campaign. His artificial rhetoric has come home and our Kiwi cousins are basking in tourism success.

Of course, catalysts like Lord of the Rings and even Zena, Warrior Princess catapulted New Zealand’s spectacular scenery and landscapes onto the world stage. Almost at once, Middle Earth and 100% Pure New Zealand were indistinguishable.

I’ve made three trips across the Tasman in as many years and one thing that sticks with me is the Kiwis’ consummate expertise in service excellence. And not just the five star hotels and resorts in which they excel, but right down to the little corner shop. Regular folks, it seems, are ready to go the extra mile for visitors, something I’m sure we don’t manage here at home. “Youse right there?” I still get from staff at large retailers here when I attempt to interru…