Travel Watch

Things To Do In Myanmar, The Hottest Tourist Destination

 Myanmar is the latest travel hotspot in Southeast Asia as it opens its doors to democracy and to tourists. It would be interesting to see the changes the will transpire when it transitions from military ruling to democracy and how it will embrace new opportunities and Western influences.

So be the first one to explore this next jewel of Asia. Here are the things to do in Myanmar

1. Shwedagon Paya

One of the best things to do in Myanmar is to shine light like a golden city that it is. It is a heart stopper every single time. When the sun sets and it envelops the edifice the structure turns red gold and orange. It is basically magical and it is located in central Yangon.

2. Bogyoke Aung San Market

You need to allocate around half of your day in order to tour this 70 year lod market. Its British name is called Scott Market. There are around 2000 shops to it is home to the biggest Myanmar wares. If you are into shopping this is the place to visit.

3. National Musuem

This is where you will find a great collection of Burma’s artifact. One of the highlights of this collection is the huge Lion throne called Sihasana, it’s around 26 feet high. The statue belonged to its former king, King Thibaw Min who is the last reigning monarch of Myanmar.

4. Ngapali Beach

There have been a free backpackers going to this 3km stretch. It’s blue waters and lies in Bay Bengal. There are around 10 huts that serve as hotels and you can still get the feel of it being a traditional fishing village.

5. Inle Lake

One of the best things to do in Myanmar is to check out their tranquil Inle Lake. It is home to 17 villages that is home to Intha people who are world famous for their leg rowing.

A FEW INFORMATION ABOUT BURMA

  • Aside from the things to do in Burma you should
  • Burma is located near the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea
  • It is near Bangladesh, India, China, Thailand and Laos. Those are the borders.
  • Britain conquered Burma from 1824 - 1886.
  • It used to be a province of India (under British rule) in 1937.
  • Burma had a famous railway called Death Railway that connected Kanchanaburi in Thailand to Burma. It passed by the River Kwai and they used forced labor to build this railroad during the war.

 

EUROPE TRAVEL WATCH: ONLINE BOOKINGS FOR 2013 WILL GO UP EXPERTS PREDICT

 Europe’s economy is still recovering from a seemingly insurmountable economic crisis which has affected all industries including travel. However experts in the travel industry say that in spite the realities European nations have to face, there will be more online books, hotel reservations, plane fares to be made for the next year and it seems experts would like to think the market is looking up.
Let’s discuss the European market and where it is up to.

Europe is still hurting from unemployment, euro crisis and a mounting debt. The European Union even warns the nations that are seeing a downgrade in its forecast for the 27-countries that are member of the EU.

The gross domestic product is forecast to grow a barely there .03 percent while 17 countries that use the euro currency will fall by 0.4 percent.

In spite these depressing numbers a study conducted by World Travel Trends Report which was produced by the ITB World Travel Trends Report for Germany’s ITB Berlin said the tourism industry is far more stable in Europe and the numbers seem to tip on the positive scale. Another fortunate prediction is that Europe must be ready because according to online bookings, there are more visitors from across the world that wants to experience Europe, crisis or no crisis.

In the local market the numbers are encouraging for the travel industry; the stays abroad and the spending of Europeans have risen by 2 percent.

Europeans have also experienced some new travel habits and patterns, for example, beach vacations have fallen by just 1 percent but people who explore cities have picked up by 14 percent. Europeans also lessened their holiday time and short breaks are now a rage as online bookings for 1 – 3 nights stay are pointing up by 8 percent.

The cities that benefitted from the new travel patterns of Europeans are Spain, Italy and Portugal as Eastern Europe tours have become trendy. The visitors of this Eastern bloc mostly come from Russia and Poland. The Germans and the Britons numbers have lessened. Spaniards and Portuguese have seen a lot of their locals travelling their own countries and the numbers of local tourists have increased.

In the study, Europeans are discovered to be now interested in faraway destinations as online booking for long flights have increase by 4 percent. The EU locals head mostly over to the US and to Asia.

Tourism in these 2 regions we have mentioned have increased by 2 and 8 percent, in respective order.

On the other hand, short-haul trip have also risen by 2 percent and these trips, mostly in Europe are bound for the Mediterranean. The countries that have a seen in drop of tours by their citizens are Italians (which are down by 5 percent) and Spaniards (outbound trips are down by 3 percent). Vacations for the Swiss and the Norwegians have increased on the other hand. These two particular countries we’ve mentioned enjoy it more because they enjoy the high exchange rates. The Germans numbers of tourism have remained stagnant in spite a stable economy. People from the UK have been travelling less too.

 

A Look At The Hotel Online Distributions System in China

 If you visit China these days you will be impressed at the rate it has lured 5 star hotels in its ever expanding, cosmopolitan cities. However, while the Chinese government is concentrated in inviting big brand names in the hotel industry, the market for midsize and small time hotels is expanding and its demand is gaining momentum as more and more Chinese from each class feels the need to travel.

This is why many hotels and accomodations in China are looking to actively pursue an amazing hotel online distribution strategy that will promote midsize and small time businesses to the growing number of local tourists.

In spite all the censorship that the Chinese government imposes on its people, Chinese travelers are actually tech savvy. In a research, it is said that the Chinese research trips and holidays online. However when placing the call the bookers would usually go back to traditional online travel agents, whom they can have a conversation with. However online bookings are rapidly taking over traditional methods and some of the researchers say online booking increase at an impressive 50 percent a year.

According to Fritz Demopolous who is the CEO of a popular metasearch company, there is around 15 percent increase in online traffic when it comes to hotel bookings in China. In that online market, Mr. Demopolous adds, 70 percent go through 3rd party suppliers as opposed to the hotels or suppliers themselves. This is why if you’re a hotelier in China, choosing a great hotel online distribution software is vital to run a truly competitive business. In fact, successful hotels in China have one thing in common quips Mr. Demopolous, and that is they have a solid online system and infrastructure in place.

Here’s an example, Best Western International runs 31 hotel in China. It is planning to run another 41 hotel and resort in the coming years. What is making the company run these successful businesses is that they give weight on a great distribution service and they support their licensees very well. In an interview with their CEO, William Dong, he said that in the start of the year the profits they earned from just online bookings were around US$2 billion, those are the revenue. The bookings were made via third party online agencies.

In data researched by China Internet Watch, CTRIP is the leading OTA in China and it has 47 percent of the market when it comes to online booking. The next OTA is Elong.com, which was purchased by Expedia this year.

Mr. Demopoulos mentioned that the players that are emerging in the travel scene are websites Booking.com, Agoda, Taobao which is owned by Alibaba and Elong, all of which are international players. Local travel sites which are getting traction are Etpass and Mangocity.

In China there is no market yet for vacation rentals. In this booming oriental country, OTAs operate quite differently than online travel agents in the US where there is a much more simple commission model. The US has a more cost-effective commission structure for hotels. Chinese hotels rely on OTAs because there is not hotel online distribution that is strongly in place, which means companies have no option but to sell their vacancies through OTAs.

 

Why Mobile Hotel Booking is the Future of Hotel Bookings

By: Carol Anderson (guest travel blogger)

 When I went to Europe last year it was on a whim and I did not want to do any planning, just a spontaneous rendezvous the continent that’s been the star of many a travel sections. I’ve had many friends who would really be anal about planning their trip and are really anal about every minute detail of their grand European vacation.

They would book their hotel accommodation in advance and scour travel sites and really ask online travel agencies about every the best hotels, the cheapest flights things to do and so on. What I realize as a long time traveller is that in this age of Smartphones and connectivity all I need is my iPhone and I can have a well organized vacation. This is why as a keen traveller I realize that everything will go mobile including mobile hotel booking, flights and even tours.

Mobile hotel booking is the future of the hotel industry and there’s even an app for it. If you look at travel sites like Hipmunk, Kayak or Expedia, they have all invested in a great website and an equally great app that works for all kinds of systems (iOS, Android). Imagine if hotels had a similar app with additional features such as discounts, activities, map of the hotel and so on.

It would be wise for hotels and hotels to invest in mobile hotel bookings because people are searching for accommodation via web less and less. Along with a great app, the mobile feature should also have a fast online booking system which means instant confirmation.

The trend of marketing accomodation is that you get some kind of reward whether you book early or you book late. In fact online travel website HotelTonight has an Android app and iPhone app that caters to people who book last minute. It’s a US startup company that is expanding to Europe and the last minute travellers who book on the day they arrive at a particular city are the ones that are their main customers.

In an interview with Hotel Tonight’s CEO, the online travel agent is now conquering 43 cities including a new channel in London. According to Mr. Shank there is a great demand for last minute bookings as travellers are split – some would like to make advance reservations while others, with late flights and other delays, would rather book last minute. If they are holiday seekers like me, I’d rather have an ocular inspection of the place before I commit to it.

Mr. Shank even adds that the market for their kind of online travel booking is huge that they were able to tap into a 35 million funding in Silicon Valley, proving that HotelTonight is the biggest player in mobile hotel bookings.

There are of course other travel sites that offer great app including Hotels.com, which is fast becoming the place for flight bookings and accommodations. They also offer deals for last minute bookers which means companies and businesses are aware of the somewhat change in travel habits of their customers. In fact Victor Owen of Hotels.com credits their apps as one of the biggest growing part in the hotel booking site’s business and it has brought in double digit revenues according to him.

The whole thing is good for consumers like me because it means more deals are being offered by hotels and a flight, going on that dream destination proves to be much cheaper than expected.