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Israel Remains Top Travel Destination

(NewsUSA) - For a truly distinctive experience, Israel stands out as a dream destination that should be on everyone’s top travel list. For the first time since 2019, Israel is open to all travelers from around the world. Whether you are a solo traveler, or part of a couple, family, or group of friends, Israel is a diverse destination with something everyone can enjoy. When planning a trip to Israel, consider a range of destinations and events for a well-rounded itinerary.     

- History: Israel is steeped in history, and travelers can indulge in a journey to the past by visiting Jerusalem’s Old City. Key destinations include the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Via Dolorosa, and the Dome of the Rock. Travelers also can experience a spectacular view of the Old City from the nearby Mount of Olives.     

- Natural Wonders: Tel Aviv’s world-renowned beach, spans the entire western side of the city along the Mediterranean. Travelers mix with locals to appreciate the sun, sand, waves, and water sports. When in Haifa, don’t miss the Baha’i Gardens on Mount Carmel. The gardens are designed with 19 mountainside terraces filled with flowers, small trees, small sculptures, water fountains and pools.     

- Food and Drink. Many visitors to Israel are unaware of the region’s rich wine-making tradition. In fact, Israel boasts more than 300 wineries, large and small, with signature brands inspired by the sweeping hills of Western Galilee and the low-lying Negev. Israel is well known for its abundance of delicious street food found in every city, but two markets not to miss are the Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem and Carmel Market in Tel Aviv. Vibrant food stalls feature Israeli staples ranging from the more familiar falafel and hummus to lesser known but equally delicious shakshuka and sabich.       

- Caves and Craters: For the geologists, or anyone who appreciates the power and beauty of nature, the Ramon Cater in Israel’s Negev Desert was created more than 220 million years ago, and remains the world’s largest erosion crater. Visitors can rappel down its sides, bike across its ledges and hike across its canyons. For those craving more rappelling, the Keshet Cave is a popular site with a stunning view from the highest point in Western Galilee. Adventurers rappel off a high natural stone arch through the air and down approximately 150 feet.     

- Dead Sea Dip: Located 1,412 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea is the earth’s lowest elevation on land. The waters of the Dead Sea are 10 times saltier than sea level water, which means marine life can’t live in it, but humans can enjoy the unique experience of floating effortlessly on the surface.     

- Inclusive atmosphere: Tel Aviv is one of the most LGBTQIA+ friendly cities in the world and celebrates Pride all year long; however, visitors can enjoy exceptional Pride events every June, when people of all genders, religion, and color flood the streets for a celebration of acceptance, love and joy.     

Visit Israel.travel for more information.

Israel Returns as Top Travel Destination

(NewsUSA) - For a truly distinctive experience, Israel stands out as a dream destination that should be on everyone’s top travel list. For the first time since 2019, Israel is open to all travelers from around the world. Whether you are a solo traveler, or part of a couple, family, or group of friends, Israel is a diverse destination with something everyone can enjoy. When planning a trip to Israel, consider a range of destinations and events for a well-rounded itinerary.     

- History: Israel is steeped in history, and travelers can indulge in a journey to the past by visiting Jerusalem’s Old City. Key destinations include the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Via Dolorosa, and the Dome of the Rock. Travelers also can experience a spectacular view of the Old City from the nearby Mount of Olives.     

- Natural Wonders: Tel Aviv’s world-renowned beach, spans the entire western side of the city along the Mediterranean. Travelers mix with locals to appreciate the sun, sand, waves, and water sports. When in Haifa, don’t miss the Baha’i Gardens on Mount Carmel. The gardens are designed with 19 mountainside terraces filled with flowers, small trees, small sculptures, water fountains and pools.     

- Food and Drink. Many visitors to Israel are unaware of the region’s rich wine-making tradition. In fact, Israel boasts more than 300 wineries, large and small, with signature brands inspired by the sweeping hills of Western Galilee and the low-lying Negev. Israel is well known for its abundance of delicious street food found in every city, but two markets not to miss are the Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem and Carmel Market in Tel Aviv. Vibrant food stalls feature Israeli staples ranging from the more familiar falafel and hummus to lesser known but equally delicious shakshuka and sabich.       

- Caves and Craters: For the geologists, or anyone who appreciates the power and beauty of nature, the Ramon Cater in Israel’s Negev Desert was created more than 220 million years ago, and remains the world’s largest erosion crater. Visitors can rappel down its sides, bike across its ledges and hike across its canyons. For those craving more rappelling, the Keshet Cave is a popular site with a stunning view from the highest point in Western Galilee. Adventurers rappel off a high natural stone arch through the air and down approximately 150 feet.     

- Dead Sea Dip: Located 1,412 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea is the earth’s lowest elevation on land. The waters of the Dead Sea are 10 times saltier than sea level water, which means marine life can’t live in it, but humans can enjoy the unique experience of floating effortlessly on the surface.     

- Inclusive atmosphere: Tel Aviv is one of the most LGBTQIA+ friendly cities in the world and celebrates Pride all year long; however, visitors can enjoy exceptional Pride events every June, when people of all genders, religion, and color flood the streets for a celebration of acceptance, love and joy.     

Visit Israel.travel for more information.

This Summer's Hot European Travel Trend Is Golf Tourism

(NewsUSA) - Golfers who combine their love of the sport with their love of travel account for the growing travel niche of golf tourism.

Golf tourism is travel just to play golf or when golf is secondary -- when a beach vacationer decides to play a round or two. Every year, of the 56 million golfers worldwide, about six million take a trip to play golf.

Europe is the largest golf tourism market, with a 44% share, while North America accounts for 30%. Of 32,000 golf courses in 140 countries, Europe has 6,000.

Tapping into the growing demand for European golf tourism, Costa Cruises is offering a "Cruise & Golf" program on Mediterranean cruises through summer 2022.

"As an occasional 'duffer' myself, I can't think of a better vacation than a Costa Mediterranean cruise combined with a few rounds of golf," says Scott Knutson, vice president of sales and marketing for Costa. "Playing these top European courses will give you bragging rights for years."

Starting in May on Costa Smeralda's seven-day cruises, this offer gives guests a choice of 15 of the most prestigious golf courses in Italy, France and Spain. Rome has five available courses (including the Marco Simone in Rome, where Italy's first Ryder Cup will be played in 2023); Savona, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca each have two; and Marseille offers four.

An avid golfer could take back-to-back cruises and not play the same course twice!

The "Birdie" package offers three courses, and the "Eagle" four. Both packages include priority access on and off the ship, equipment storage and insurance, welcome kit, snack basket, private transfers, golf balls, lanyard with card holder, golf bag tag and branded cap. Additional perks include early breakfast times, flexible dinner times and reserved restaurant seating.

A Birdie package starts at $1,322 for one guest or $992 each for two. Cruise fares start at $849 per person, plus taxes, fees and port charges of around $70.

If you want to "shoot for the green" on the finest courses in Europe while enjoying the finest in Italian cuisine, culture and entertainment on a Costa cruise, contact a travel agent, visit costacruises.com or call Costa Cruises at 1-800-462-6782.

 

Jingdezhen: A Name Card of Cultural Tourism in Jiangxi

(MS) - Located in eastern China, Jiangxi Province is a place with abundant resources, rich cultural background, and outstanding people. Jingdezhen, the world's capital of ceramics, is a small city in the mountains of Jiangxi.

More than 1,000 years before the Europeans mastered porcelain manufacturing techniques, the ancient Chinese people in Changnan (The ancient name of Jingdezhen) had already shown their talents in making exquisite ceramics. Over time, through trade and interaction with outsiders, Changnan, or a corrupted pronunciation of the name, came to be used by outsiders to refer to porcelain -- or "china."

There is no doubt that Jingdezhen is a must-visit when you travel to Jiangxi because it will guide you to a meaningful journey of historical culture and ancient art, presenting a unique cultural tourism experience for tourists.

Jingdezhen is a city renowned for its more than 1,700-year history of porcelain making. Every visitor will be amazed by its 1,000-year history of official-run kilns, and 600-year history of imperial kilns.

From the past few centuries to the present, countless porcelain makers have come to Jingdezhen to explore and pursue the ultimate in porcelain making. Ceramic culture permeates every corner of the old city, creating a unique, precious, and complete cultural heritage system of porcelain.

Artists who have come to Jingdezhen to learn porcelain making are known as "jingpiao", and foreigners as "yangjingpiao." To date, there are more than 30,000 jingpiao living in Jingdezhen, including 5,000 foreigners, who have found their dreams and realized their value of life in this precious city.

Camille Grandaty is a French artist. Her first visit to Jingdezhen was 10 years ago, bringing her unforgettable memories. She has moved between Amsterdam, London and Brussels before she settled down in Jingdezhen in 2015.

Camille says the vibrant and free artistic vibe of Jingdezhen made her stay.

"The ancient kiln imbues bricks with a unique touch and spirit, and the ancient ceramic heritage here fills me with creativity," notes Ryan Matthew Mitchell, an American ceramist.

Now, strolling around the alleyways of Jingdezhen to explore the local ceramic culture has become a regular activity in his spare time.

Ryan LaBar from the United States says coming to Jingdezhen is like "a son returning home."

The 43-year-old gentleman set up a studio in Taoxichuan, a renovated porcelain factory that unifies industrial heritage, ceramic and arts-crafts galleries and studios as well as restaurants, cafeterias and hotels.

Partnering with a young Chinese businessman, LaBar established Lab Artz, a 260-square-meter workshop where he plans to house more artists and offer ceramics classes.

With more than a 1,700-year history of porcelain making, Jingdezhen has now shouldered a new mission in the new era. The local government of Jiangxi, last year, issued a new plan of building Jingdezhen into a national ceramic culture inheritance and innovation pilot zone.

According to the plan, the ancient city will hereafter focus on the protection, inheritance and innovation of ceramic culture; innovation and development of the ceramic culture industry; development of ceramic culture tourism; fostering ceramic professionals, and ceramic culture exchange and cooperation.

Taking advantage of its ancient ceramic culture, the new plan aims to build Jingdezhen into a national ceramic culture protection, inheritance and innovation base, a world-famous ceramic culture tourism destination, and an international ceramic cultural exchange, cooperation and trading center.

After the implementation of the plan, Camille felt the great changes of the old city, saying "both the infrastructure and the ecological environment are improving and getting better and better."

"When I first came to Jingdezhen, the Luojia Airport here didn't have as many flights as it does today, and there was no high-speed railway station," says Camille, who has witnessed the fast development of the city.

Jingdezhen saw great improvements in local public facilities and services, as well as the vitalization of its tourism industry, and spots such as Taoxichuan and Sanbao Village, which are now known globally.

"People from all over the world exchange ideas in local cafes and hold exhibitions in the art space. Different ideas collide here, bringing artists with inspirations," Camille adds.

The ecological environment of this ancient city has also improved. Through endless efforts of the local government, Jingdezhen has become the city with the best air quality in Jiangxi province in 2020.

Camille likes to take photos of the blue sky. "Sometimes I go to nearby villages to paint, and villages such as those in Yaoli Ancient Town are mostly clean, neat and beautiful. Many city dwellers also head to the countryside on weekends to get close to nature," she says.

Having a dream of holding solo exhibitions in both France and China, Camille is passionate about sharing her artworks with the world. During the COVID-19 epidemic, she stayed in Jingdezhen and set her mind to work.

"For me, the artistic life in Jingdezhen is a great experience," she says.

Explore Your Local Trails, Enjoy Long-Term Health Benefits

(NewsUSA) - Stress -- it's everywhere. But there is an easy form of stress reduction that is as simple as opening your front door.

Spending time outside can help improve your physical and mental health, and you don't have to be an extreme athlete to reap the benefits.

Studies show that simply going out for a walk in nature can help build strength and endurance, and contribute to feelings of relaxation and resilience. Being active outside has proven benefits for people's minds and bodies.

Rail-trails in particular are ideal for individuals of all abilities and fitness levels to safely enjoy the outdoors. Rail-trails are multipurpose public paths created from former railroad corridor. That means they are flat or gently sloping, have a hard surface that makes them accessible to all types of activities and are available in rural and urban areas.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting communities across America with trails. One way they do this is through promoting the value of time spent outside -- by encouraging people to make "trail moments" a regular part of their lives and sharing these experiences to inspire others to discover the convenience and joy of being active outside on trails.

"I feel really lucky to have grown up in Virginia, and now I live in Washington state, with lots of access to these trails, but there are literally thousands of miles of rail-trails all over the country," says Miranda Webster, (@mirandagoesoutside) a longtime outdoor-enthusiast.

"So, whether you are mountain biking, hiking, walking your dog, or riding your bike, I hope that you're able to find a trail near you where you can enjoy it as much as I have through my entire life," she says.

Travel blogger Jeff Jenkins (@chubbydiaries_), based in Texas, has taken his wanderlust to local trails in a series of blogs and videos for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

"Now, I'm showing people how to discover their own backyards, from their local cities to national parks, trails and the great outdoors," says Mr. Jenkins, who has also created an online community for plus-sized travelers at chubbydiaries.com.

"So often people see trails as a way to get a little outdoor recreation, and yes, that's true," says Ian Mackay (@ians_ride), who regularly enjoys the trails in rural Washington state from his power wheelchair. "But it is so much more for me... having a safe trail space where I can go explore my own interests, interact with the community, and run my own errands is monumental to my happiness," adds Mr. Mackay, who is also the founder of Ian's Ride, a nonprofit organization.

This fall, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is taking inspiration from the thousands of stories that people have shared about the personal impact of time spent outside on trails and encouraging people of all ages and abilities to make a habit of it. Their #TrailMoments 21-Day Challenge offers fun activities to encourage people to get out on the trail every day.

Visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website for more information and tips on making outdoor time part of your daily routine. www.railstotrails.org/trailmoments and @railstotrails #TrailMoments on social media.

 

Find Exclusive Adventure on a Galapagos Cruise

(NewsUSA) - Despite the reinstatement of precautions related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, travel remains possible in most areas, especially for individuals who are vaccinated. The urge for escape has prompted a surge in interest in adventure travel to experience other places, cultures, and wildlife. A Galapagos Cruise with Quasar Expeditions offers an unparalleled experience in the legendary Galapagos Islands for families, photography/wildlife enthusiasts, honeymooners, and adventurers of all ages.

Travel to the Galapagos on a luxury yacht offers visitors a unique opportunity to avoid cruise ship crowds and experience a safari-style adventure in deluxe accommodations. Other benefits of small ship cruising include more attention from expert guides, and more opportunities to take advantage of life-changing close-up encounters with the Islands' unique wildlife. Watch a video of these amazing encounters here.

Quasar Expeditions, a leader in the small cruise ship industry for more than three decades, offers 8-day and 15-day Galapagos luxury cruises on one of two yachts. Their vintage Grace Yacht was once owned by Princess Grace Kelly in the 1950's and it served as the honeymoon yacht for the royal couple soon after they wed. It carries a maximum of 16 guests and is maintained to a modern and elegant standard. The Evolution Yacht, a larger but no less luxurious ship in Roaring 20s style, takes a maximum of 32 guests along the footsteps of the famous naturalist, Charles Darwin who explored and studied the Galapagos Islands.

"We do not sell to the tourist. We cater to the traveler," according to the company's website.

"We strive to make sure our guests connect on an emotional level with the destination and all it encompasses; it is a journey for transformation."

Although the Galapagos boasts moderate temperatures year-round, fall in particular offers several unique opportunities, including snorkeling encounters with sea lions and pups, exceptional lighting conditions for photography enthusiasts, glimpses of giant tortoises laying eggs, and a good chance of whale and dolphin sightings.

All Quasar cruises on both yachts offer additional features that appeal to today's travelers:

Sustainability: Quasar Expeditions' unique commitment to sustainability extends from a zero single-use plastic policy and carbon-neutral emissions to partnerships with organizations that combat over-tourism and the commercialization of indigenous cultures.

Flexibility: Quasar offers a risk-free booking and cancellation policy, and cruises also allow for flexibility to capitalize on unexpected peak wildlife encounters.

For more details, visit www.quasarex.com/galapagos.

Vacation in Jamaica and Indulge Your Senses

(NewsUSA) -Luxury travel is back. The pandemic-weary population is emerging from lockdowns with the goal of relaxing and reviving senses dulled by one zoom meeting too many.

Whether it is finally taking the postponed honeymoon, or just getting some time away from home, travelers seeking a uniquely restorative experience can find it at Sunset at the Palms, a boutique Jamaican resort with the tagline, "Sensory Magic."

Sunset at the Palms offers an indulgent, adults-only experience. The resort has always featured its own version of "social distancing," with just 85 rooms and 25 acres of beachfront and gardens for maximum privacy.

The all-inclusive resort makes it easy to indulge all your senses through a full range of experiences.

  • Accommodations. Upon arrival, your senses will be rewarded with the pleasant scent of lemon grass oil used to clean the natural wood found throughout the room, creating a relaxing atmosphere within the space. You have the choice of rooms or suites, in one of the resorts "treehouses," an individual Asian-inspired bungalow featuring private balconies located within lush gardens for privacy, but just steps from the beach, with full amenities, including wi-fi, king-size beds, and luxurious bathrooms.
  • Dining. Sunset at the Palms tantalizes the taste buds with dining options including buffets, a la carte restaurants, room service, and private beach bar and grill amenities. The resort showcases the tastes of the island with Caribbean fusion cuisine, while providing a range of dining options to suit all tastes. A weekly cocktail party adds spice to the experience.
  • Relaxing. At the resort's Ginger Lily Spa, "our mission is to help you relax," says Kamarla Simms, general manager.

Curate your experience from a menu of wraps, scrubs, massages, and facial treatments designed to help you unwind and rejuvenate. A full-service beauty salon is available, along with manicure and pedicure services.

  • Sporting. When you are ready to indulge your sense of excitement, check out the range of water- sports opportunities at the resort's on-site water-sports center. Want to leave your stress on the water? The resort has kayaks, paddleboards, or the low-key pedal boats. Snorkeling equipment is available as well, so you can experience the ever-changing undersea environment.

"Sunset at the Palms invites travel enthusiasts to experience the healing warmth of the ever-present sunshine," says Ian Kerr, managing director. The white-sand beaches and tropical foliage in the heart of Negril is designed to provide a truly serene, intimate, and restorative getaway.

Visit thepalmsjamaica.com for more information.

Upgrade A Summer Road Trip with An RV Rental

(NewsUSA) - An annual road trip is a staple for many American families.

Whether plans for visiting relatives, exploring a new destination, or revisiting a favorite vacation spot, loading the car and getting behind the wheel is second nature. But, upgrading a road trip with an RV may be just the ticket to making the next adventure the best one yet.

According to Phocuswright's US Consumer Travel research, almost half of Millennials are interested in renting an RV for a leisure trip within the next 12 months. It may be because hitting the road in an RV is an exciting way to spend time traveling with friends or family on a nature-filled adventure. Don't have an RV? Thanks to sites such as RVshare, RV rentals are easier to find and book than ever. With more than 100,000 RVs to choose from across the country, the peer-to-peer marketplace has a variety of vehicles with options ranging from a luxury motor home to a confined camper, there is something for everyone at any price point. There is no special license required and the RV insurance is built-in.

"RV rentals are a great option for those to experience the RV lifestyle without having to buy an expensive vehicle," says RVshare's CEO Jon Gray.

"Travelers come to our site to find RVs for a weekend of camping or a multi-week road trip. With a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen all on-board, an RV is essentially a hotel room wherever you want it."

Want to ditch the sedan and upgrade to a motor home? Here are a few tips for renting an RV for first-timers.

  • Use a trusted site: Use a trusted site such as RVshare.com where payments are protected and the owner of the vehicle is verified. RVshare also offers roadside assistance, 24/7 customer service, insurance and other perks to protect your trip and payment.
  • Have a plan before booking: With camping, road tripping and RV travel being in high demand this summer, campgrounds will get booked up, especially on weekends.
  • Narrow down the options: For a first-time renter, finding the right RV may feel daunting. First, consider the trip type, how many people will be traveling and what the goal of the road trip is. For a couple, a Class B Campervan is a great option for two. A family should look at a Class C driveable RV, which boasts a lot of space but is still maneuverable for those intimidated by big rigs.
  • The owner is the best resource: When booking with a peer-to-peer platform, the owner is the best resource to answer questions about the vehicle, including what is included, their rules about pets and if the RV is suitable for long road trips.

Interested in learning more about how to book an RV rental? Visit RVshare.com.

 

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