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2020 Predicted as the Boom Year for Tourism

  

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In recent years, traveling has not just been as a form of leisure but has become a sort of investment especially among Millenials. Thanks to the influence of digitalization, and globalization, most young adults are trading career and family life to plane tickets and picturesque sceneries. As the decade draws to a close, survey from the United Tour Operators (USTOA) shows that exponential growth and good sales are the expected travel trends for 2020.

 

Seeing The Boom Year 

Based on the association’s survey results, as much as 82 percent of tour operators anticipate growth in sales for 2020. In fact, 45% or almost half of the respondents see it as the “boom year” with expected growth from 7 to 10 percent or even higher. 

 

This positivity might be a result of good sales in 2019 as 69% say that they have seen an increase for this year, with half of the respondents saying they have enjoyed a 10 percent increase in sales or higher. 

 

The growth in tourism also affects all aspects of travel including the airline industry as 67% claimed a steady growth in the number of passengers for 2019. 

 

So what are the key reasons for this exponential growth? 

 

One-third of the respondents said that this might be attributed to better and improved marketing strategies- and in an era of Facebook and Instagram, marketing on a global scale has never been this easy (and cheap!). On the other hand, infrastructure projects, travel agency’s expansion in their portfolio of products, and new programs have also contributed to the sales growth. 

 

 

The Next Top Travel Destination

Based on the survey, the picture-perfect city of Italy remained the most popular destination for travelers in 2020. While the island might expect an influx of tourists for the new year, there are also emerging destinations for those who want to take the off-beaten path. 

 

For travel advisors, the wealth of history in Egypt plays a key role in being named as the top emerging destinations. “Egypt topping the list is the epitome of a destination comeback story. It reinforces a strong return in popularity and demand among travelers, after several challenging years.” Terry Dale, President, and CEO for USTOA said. 

 

Croatia and Columbia also follow as one of the emerging destinations, as well as  Slovenia, Thailand, Vietnam, Morocco, and Ethiopia.

 

Meanwhile, the next “hot” destination for 2020 is listed as; France, Spain, Greece, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Germany, and South Africa.

 

On the other hand, if you are looking for local top spots, respondents list California as one of the most popular destinations, followed by New York, Florida, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii.

 

Expected Problems 

While there is a steady increase in sales, the next year’s presidential election might have a strong influence on traveler confidence. Another key factor that might affect the tourism industry is the recession, especially with the looming global financial instability. 

 

For the next year, travel advisers see that tourists are not only after visiting places and frequenting gift shops but as well as having that authentic local experience. In fact, local immersion, small groups/small ships and uncharted destinations were identified as the next top travel trend to look out for in the next five years. 


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The Best Way To Enjoy The Liberty Tour

A trip to the US will never be complete, without a visit to the Statue of Lady Liberty. Here are some inside tips on how to enjoy your rendezvouz with lovely Liberty.

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     The Statue of Liberty has been a typical icon when the word America or New York is mentioned. Given that the statue is located on an island in Manhattan, New York, of course, it will be a staple of any American Tour. In order to fully enjoy the visit to the statue, it is often best to check out our tips and guidelines for the Statue of Liberty tours

What is a Statue of Liberty Tour?

     It is a tour around the vicinity of the Statue that involves not only a visit to the famous landmark but also a boat ride and a walking tour going up to the crown of the statue, that offers a panoramic and breathtaking view of the Manhattan Metropolis.

How Long Will It Take?

     Well, the length of your tour depends on how long you wish to stay on some of the attractions but visitors of Liberty’s crown are only allowed to stay for a couple of minutes. But don’t worry, aside from site-seeing atop the statue’s crown, you can also visit some of the attractions within Liberty Island.

Ferry Ride

     Start your tour with a ferry trip to Liberty Island. You can aboard the ferry from New York in the Battery Park or from New Jersey in Liberty State Park. The ferries depart from New York and New Jersey at 8:30 – 9:00 AM and 3:30 – 4:00 PM and back to the mainland at 5:00 – 5:45 PM. Statute Cruise is the sole accredited ferry company allowed to ferry tourists to and from Liberty Island. Though the Ferry trip has a schedule, the Liberty Island is open from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, but also offer extended hours during peak seasons.

The cost for a ferry ticket is around $18 for adults and $9 for kids 4 to 12 years old, and a free ride for kids younger than 3 years old.

Liberty Island

     When you get to Liberty Island, you can stop first at the information center to get some brochures and tour schedules.

Next, you can explore the Statue of Liberty Museum to take a look around the history and background of the statue. It also safely keeps some of the statue’s historic artifacts like the original torch of the statue.

Then, get ready to go up the pedestal, which stands almost half of the statue’s total height. Though the trip up the pedestal might be a little tiring, it will be worth it as the climb to the pedestal allows you to have a breathtaking view fo both New York and New Jersey, as well as New York Harbor and Ellis Island.

The last stop of your visit will be the Crown of the statue. If you are brave of heart, you can venture to the crown through its double-helix staircase, which has exactly 162 steps. Keep in mind that there is no elevator in the statue so it is greatly advised that visitors with heart and respiratory problems to best avoid the climb to the crown. Once up at the crown, visitors are treated with a surreal, bird’s eye view of the New York Metropolis.

Tips to make your visit enjoyable:

  • Check first for all the list of things that are prohibited on Liberty islands such as large bags, strollers, food, and drinks.
  • Bring an ID along with you as you need to show an ID when you claim the ticket and visit the crown.
  • Reserve and Purchase in advance. Also, check of your ticker comes with free access to some of the attractions.

 

So, there you have it. Have a great visit to the Statue of Liberty! Excuse me as I pack my bag and purchase my ferry ticket. See you there!


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Preserving the Shine: Protecting Your Kitchen and Bathroom Tiles with Expert Tips

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Article written by Serena Johnson.

The kitchen and bathroom are more than just functional spaces in our homes; they are personal sanctuaries that reflect our style and taste. Central to this aesthetic appeal are the tiles that grace these rooms. However, maintaining the pristine condition of these tiles can be a challenge. We turned to the experts at Marble Systems in Fairfax, Virginia, for advice on how to keep our kitchen and bathroom tiles in top shape.

Understanding Tile Vulnerability

Tiles, especially in high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms, are prone to various forms of damage. From the dulling of surface shine to the accumulation of grime and the threat of chipping, these issues can detract from the beauty of the space. The key is understanding the material of your tiles. Different materials require different care strategies.

Regular Maintenance: The First Line of Defense

Daily cleaning is crucial. For ceramic and porcelain tiles, a gentle cleanser and a soft cloth can prevent dirt buildup. Avoid abrasive materials that can scratch the surface. Natural stone tiles, like marble or granite, require specific cleaners that are pH-neutral to prevent etching.

Understanding the importance of dealing with spills immediately, especially on natural stone tiles is crucial. Acidic substances like lemon juice or vinegar can damage the stone if not wiped up promptly, he explains.

Sealing: A Shield for Your Tiles

Sealing is another vital step, particularly for natural stone tiles. A quality sealant can make a world of difference in protecting your tiles from stains and moisture. Marble Systems recommends resealing stone tiles annually, to protect them and keep them looking like new.

Grout Matters

Often overlooked, grout plays a crucial role in tile maintenance. Discolored or cracked grout not only looks unsightly but can also lead to moisture seeping beneath the tiles. Regular cleaning and periodic resealing of the grout can prevent these issues.

Professional Help: When to Call In the Experts

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, tiles can suffer damage that’s beyond the scope of DIY fixes. This is where professionals like Marble Systems come in. With their expertise, they can advise on the best course of action, whether it’s a repair or a complete overhaul.  They can even recommend solutions you may not have thought of.

Innovative Solutions from Marble Systems

Marble Systems, a Fairfax-based company with national locations, has been at the forefront of providing innovative tile solutions. They offer a wide range of tiles, from classic ceramics to luxurious marbles, and their team is equipped to handle everything from installation to maintenance and repair.

One trend we’re seeing is the increased use of large-format tiles in kitchens and bathrooms. These are extremely popular because they reduce the number of grout lines, making cleaning easier and giving a more seamless aesthetic.

Sustainability and Tile Care

In an era where sustainability is paramount, choosing the right cleaning products is essential. Marble Systems advocates for eco-friendly cleaners that are effective without being harsh on the environment.  They produce their products in a sustainable, environmentally friendly manner that sets them apart in the industry.  From custom projects to replacing existing tile, this company is one to watch.

As trends and technologies evolve, so does the approach to tile care. Marble Systems stays ahead of the curve, continually updating its practices and product offerings to ensure that their clients’ kitchens and bathrooms remain timeless and durable.

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The Unique History of Dumplings

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Did you know that a dumpling eating record was set in Sydney, Australia in 2019?

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, they held a celebration in Sydney in which 764 people all ate dumplings at the same time. They met the previous record in 2013 when 750 individuals participated.

Whether you choose to eat them at a massive celebration or in the comfort of your home, dumplings are an indisputable part of global cuisine. But where exactly did this tasty meal stem from?

We’re here to fill you in! Check out our guide below to learn the evolution and ancient history of dumplings! 

Intro to the History of Dumplings

Dumplings have popped up in various cultures throughout history. The easiest way to narrow down their origin though is by first asking: what is a dumpling?

Dumplings are pieces of dough that are fried, boiled, steamed, or baked. Typically the dough holds meat or vegetable fillings. Occasionally the dough is cooked without fillings.

We can trace dumpling-like recipes as far back as Ancient Rome. However, the classic dumpling we all know and love has its origins in Ancient China.

The history of Chinese dumplings began over 1,800 years ago under the Eastern Han Dynasty. A man named Zhang Zhongjian returned to his home village and found that the villagers were suffering from frostbite.

Zhongjian was a medicinal practitioner and searched for a way to assist his fellow villagers. To fight the cold, Zhongjian blended together meat, vegetables, and herbs and wrapped the mixture in scraps of dough. The dumplings were then steamed to bind all the ingredients together.

It’s believed that Zhongjian used his skills as a doctor to create the dumplings. He chose herbs that would help combat frostbite and keep the villagers safe and healthy.

The steaming hot dish was a good way to fight the ill effects of a harsh winter. The villagers enjoyed the meal so much that they continued to make dumpings even when spring arrived.

The Spread of Dumplings

The history of dumplings doesn’t end with its conception in Ancient China nearly 2,000 years ago. Dumplings have pervaded throughout the centuries, and they’ve evolved and changed to fit the needs of the people.

We can see the passage of dumplings as early as the 1300s. At this time, traders often carried their goods along the Silk Road. It’s suspected that this is how one dumpling recipe came to pass from one culture to the next.

At this time, it’s suspected that the Turkish peoples adopted the manti dumplings, likely from the Mongolian peoples traversing the Silk Road. Manti dumplings are made from a spiced meat mixture—typically lamb or ground beef—which is then wrapped in a thin dough before they’re boiled or steamed.

This type of dumpling is most commonly compared to the Chinese jiaozi and baozi dumplings. The manti steamed buns are now a staple even in Russia and post-Soviet countries, where they’ve crossed over from Central Asia.

Pierogi is the Polish word for dumplings and another dumpling variety that many Westerners have grown familiar with. Pierogi—which is actually the plural of the word pieróg—are a Polish staple and are even commemorated with a yearly festival. These dumplings, wrapped in unleavened dough, are stuffed with either savory or sweet fillings before they’re boiled and then pan-fried.

Pierogi have a debated origin story. However, some suspect that pierogi entered Poland from China via the Silk Road, much like the manti dumplings that emerged in Turkish culture. 

Additional Cultural Adaptations

While China is often considered the earliest origin site for what we now refer to as dumplings, other dumpling variations have cropped up around the globe since then. Whether you travel through Latin America, Africa, or Central Europe, you’re sure to find the local take on dumplings.

Many dumpling recipes arose as a solution to poverty. It’s much cheaper to combine a ration of meat with vegetables and dough scraps than to create a more meat-hearty entree.

Many of these recipes even take a different route and create sweetened dumplings, perfect for desserts. Others incorporate cheese, much like the Italian ravioli and tortellini and the potato-based gnocchi. You’ll even see an American spin on dumplings in the classic Southern chicken and dumplings dish. 

The Globalization of Chinese Dumplings

However, the tasty variations from China still prevail around the world and are a notable addition to American cuisine.

In fact, Chinese food in general has become an integral part of the diets of many Americans. It’s likely that dumplings, as with many other popular Chinese dishes, arrived around the same time.

Chinese immigration to the U.S. began in the 1800s, so we can safely assume that dumplings arrived in the U.S. at this time as well. The Chinese diaspora would still indulge in traditional Chinese celebrations throughout the year. Food played an important role in these celebrations.

By the mid-1800s, Chinese restaurants were becoming more popularized in America. Chinatowns, such as the largest one in San Francisco, were growing in popularity, and their cuisine was too.

Dumplings were but one of many Chinese dishes to emerge in America, but the mass Chinese immigration in the 19th century certainly solidified the dumpling as an addition to the ever-evolving Chinese-American cuisine.

The Importance of Dumplings

The history of dumplings stretches back hundreds of years and has been passed down by hundreds of thousands of hungry travelers and chefs. We’re happy to say that there’s a dumpling for everyone, whether you’re indulging in Chinese potstickers or Italian ravioli!

For more articles on travel and your favorite foods, check out the rest of our website!

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