AFRICA IRAN
Once President Obama signed the Joint Plan of Action with Iran on  July 14, 2015, public perception of Iran changed dramatically. Travel sanctions were lifted (not without warnings) as did the veil of negative perceptions. Iran has recaptured the attention of globetrotters who’ve been waiting to tick it off their bucket list. Tourism is an important government directive in Iran. According to sources, the country is investing to invigorate tourism, in contrast to the past. Recent statistics indicate a 40 percent rise in tourism since 2014.

Published in May - June

AFRICA KENYA
There is a cadence in a giraffe’s walk that makes it appear as though they are keeping time to music in their heads. They nod and lope along to a slow rhythmic beat and gently bob their long graceful necks. I think they might be the most beautiful of all the animals in Kenya. On Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha they are the stars of the show because they allow you to get very close and observe them. Walking here, unencumbered by the confines of a safari jeep, it feels as if you are on a film set for Out of Africa. Indeed, these very creatures could be the offspring of the African animals that starred in that 1985 classic movie; it was filmed right here on this 8 acre island.

Published in May - June

AFRICA ISRAEL
Visitors from around the world have long journeyed to the holy land to visit its sacred sites. Now, a new breed of creative chefs has turned Israel into a gastronomic mecca for pilgrims in search of the ultimate cuisine. They are like rock stars, with TV shows, huge followings, book deals and packed eateries. Their world-class restaurants add chic appeal to the newly anointed temple of gastronomy.

Published in March - April

AFRICA KENYAKenya
With a rich heritage, breathtaking scenery and an immense number of tourist attractions, Kenya has been on the top of people’s bucket lists for many years. Although Kenya has seen its fair share of troubles this past year and tourism numbers dropped in 2015, the government is determined to get those tourism numbers back. The number of visitors to Kenya fell by 25 percent in the first five months of 2015, according to tourism board figures, but the government’s budget for the fiscal year 2015/2016 starting this past July 1, 2015 allocated 5.2 billion shillings ($53.4 million) for “tourism recovery.”

Published in March - April

Africa-QatarFor Qatar, a country that relies heavily on its hydrocarbon revenue, tourism has never been at the forefront of their identity. Recently, however, tourism is playing a pivotal role in diversifying the nation’s economy. In that vein, this past year the Qatar Tourism Authority has developed and unveiled a “Qatar destination brand” to position the country as a premium tourist destination offering an authentic experience rooted in the nation’s culture and heritage. H.E. Mr. Issa Bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, chairman of Qatar’s Tourism Authority, stated, “The unveiling of Qatar’s first destination brand marks the beginning of a new phase in our journey towards achieving the vision for Qatar, to become a world class hub with deep cultural roots.”

Published in January - February

Africa-SASouth Africa is an excellent intro for anyone interested in Africa. Set on the southernmost tip of the African continent, South Africa’s cosmopolitan cities can be experienced side by side with the country’s rich African roots and recent Apartheid history. Add in abundant wildlife, natural beauty and a rich culture, and you are hard pressed to find that diversity anywhere else.
There is a lot to see in South Africa. If you’re an avid traveler, chances are you’ll pass through South Africa, en route to other Southern African countries; Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Whether your destination is South Africa alone, or you’re en route, do more than stretch your legs on a Jo’Burg layover. Get out and stretch your imagination and your sense of adventure.

Published in January - February

Egypt-largeThrough classical antiquity and early Christianity, visitors will find their origins in an Egyptian city where the arts, religion and government of any modern civilization developed.
More than 5,000 years ago Egypt was comprised of a group of autonomous city-states, the primary ones being Heliopolis; Memphis, the capital; Saqqara and Giza (Lower Egypt), the area of
modern-day Cairo.

Published in November - December

Africa-Israel
Because of the great importance of Jerusalem to Jews, Christians and Muslims as the place God chose to dwell during the world’s creation, centuries of kings and rulers have commissioned builders and artists to beautify it. Despite wars fought over its possession resulting in the destruction of several major monuments, Jerusalem remains a location of significant works of Hebrew, Roman, Early Christian, Muslim and Crusader endeavors - both above and below the ground.

Published in November - December

Africa-Zim
With some of the best safaris and luxury lodges, the countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana have been gaining popularity year over year. In Zambia, for instance, authorities have expressed optimism that the country will be able to capture the targeted 1 million tourists arrivals by the end of 2015. The country’s Minister of Tourism and Arts, Jean Kapata, stated the increase was partly due to the 20th United Nation World Tourism Organization general assembly held in his country in 2013.

Published in November - December

Africa-SafariA safari vacation can be a bit on the pricey side no matter how you slice it. The term “affordable” is relative when considering a safari option. Of course, there are tips you should consider when trying to book a budget safari for your client. Consider having them travel in the off-season (in South Africa, for instance, the quieter May-July winter months offer cooler temps and better animal viewing), select owner-operated safari lodges and lesser-known game reserves. If your client is adventurous, have them try a self-drive safari. In some instances in Namibia and South Africa, the roads are good and parks fees low. Below are some options for a safari that won’t break the bank...relatively speaking.

Published in September - October
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