As authorities on travel in Asia, Southeast Asia and South America, Dr. Antonia Neubauer and Allie Almario name philanthropic travel, the rise in vacation rentals and a Galapagos travel transformation as several emerging trends for the New Year
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – As 2014 comes to an end, the travel industry is already gearing up for another adventurous year ahead. Dr. Antonia Neubauer and Allie Almario, president and vice president of Myths and Mountains respectively, are preparing for more amazing experiences with travelers who want to get away from it all to see the beauty in everything. Here, these travel experts share what they deem as top travel trends in Asia, Southeast Asia and South America for 2015:
1. Uncover the untouched worlds of Laos and Cambodia. Most people have heard of Angkor Wat, Phnom Penh and Luang Prabang, but these historic places are not the only ancient treasures Laos and Cambodia have to offer. In 2015, more travelers will step off the path and into an untamed world to discover hidden Khmer ruins, abundant wildlife, pristine beaches, and irresistible villages where local people invite you into their homes and lives.
2. Bhutan: Leave the better known west for the uncharted east. As new and better hotels spring up in the eastern part of Bhutan, more visitors will finally wend their way across the country to experience the colorful festivals in towns such as Trashigang and Mongar, escaping the overcrowded events in the better known west of the country.
3. Sri Lanka will become a popular “new" destination. Famous for centuries for its wealth of spices, gems and hardwoods, Sri Lanka remains little known as a travel destination. The country’s borders encompass an exciting mix of cultures and customs, outstanding archaeological sites, lush tea plantations and spice gardens, a gorgeous coastline and extraordinary diversity of birds and other wildlife.
4. Travel with a purpose. As technology advances our globe continues to shrink, driving people to depend on new gadgets to learn about and interact with their world. Even though tech tools have minimized face-to-face interactions in recent years, people now seem eager to reconnect with humankind. Travel philanthropy – supporting and empowering communities by providing basic resources to help create lasting social change – will continue to expand as travelers desire to make a difference in the world and in the lives of others.
5. Follow a guide then wander alone. The travel industry will see a lot more people asking for a combination of guided travel and time to venture off on their own. Why? Because people are doing a lot more Internet research and think they know a destination; they want time on their own to explore after having a guide with them for a few days.
6. Nepal: Not just for trekkers. Non-trekkers will finally realize that Nepal has some great places to visit by car, without having to trek up mountains: Bandipur, Chitwan or Bardiya National Parks; Tukuche in the Annapurna area; or even Dwarika’s Resort-Dhulikhel, where you can enjoy their spa, food and incredible views!
7. Galapagos: Tourism could end at the origin. Once the small gift shop at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island closed due to pressure from local traders, combined with the on-going difficulties in finding funding for indirect costs, the Charles Darwin Foundation found itself on the the brink. In their 50th year of carrying out science in Galapagos, the station has been faced with the real possibility of closure. If the research station ceases to exist, then land-based tourism is likely to pick up in places like San Cristobal and Isabela, both of which have small exhibits similar to the one at the station but on a much smaller scale. However, these exhibits lack the extensive educational component, showing visitors how tightly connected scientific research is to the wildlife they are actually seeing in front of them (i.e. chatting with a scientist while he logs real time data about the baby tortoises at an exhibit or seeing the research station’s newly modeled gardens as an example of on-going plant restoration work).
8. Hotels vs. Vacation Rentals. Companies like Airbnb and VRBO have given travelers more – and often better – options in destinations worldwide, taking business away from local and chain hotels. Travelers with more time will start their trip by exploring a city on their own and staying at a rental or in a private room, then will continue out into the country using hotels.
9. Ladakh Instead of Tibet. If visiting Lhasa and praying in front of the Jokhang is a lifelong dream, then go to the Chinese part of Tibet, the Tibetan Autonomous Republic (TAR). But . . . if seeing an intact Tibetan culture, visiting monasteries that are not monitored by police, enjoying colorful Buddhist festivals that are not cancelled by the government, reveling in the beauties of the Tibetan landscape, and avoiding additional fees levied by the Chinese on foreigners are your goals, head to Ladakh. Today, part of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh is basically the western part of Tibet and a far better place to learn about Tibetan culture, religion and lifestyle than the TAR.
10. Google Flights. Travelers will plan trips farther in advance to secure cheaper airfare or will wait until the 11th hour and search for last-minute deals. Google Flights allows you to peruse the most popular destinations around the world, browse travel dates with the lowest fares, and scan the best possible flights based on date and destination selections.
Dr. Antonia Neubauer is Founder and President of Myths and Mountains, Inc., a cultural travel company based in Nevada, and is Founder of READ Global (Rural Education and Development), a non-profit organization whose focus is improving rural education and infrastructure in Nepal, Bhutan and India. Dr. Neubauer is a former educator and language teacher who speaks at colleges, clubs and conferences around the world; she contributes to numerous literary and travel publications; is an authority on travel and outdoor education; and has spent significant time in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America. Dr. Neubauer was recognized as the top “Nepal Specialist” by Conde Nast Traveler, and is the “Trusted Travel Expert for Nepal and Bhutan” on Wendy Perrin’s WOW List. In 2014, she was honored with the “Ambassador for Peace Award” from the International Institute for Peace through Tourism and will serve as a featured speaker at the 2015 IIPT World Symposium in South Africa.
Allie E. Almario is Vice President of Myths and Mountains. After studying and working in London, Allie joined the staff of the Philadelphia Zoo and became the Director of Publications and Travel Programs. Her love for wildlife conservation travel grew when she became deeply involved with the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA), eventually serving as Executive Director. Her expertise has given her the opportunity to work with an award-winning documentary film called “The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden”. She is on the Wendy Perrin WOW List as a “Trusted Travel Expert for the Galapagos Islands & Ecuador” and has consulted and edited the popular Marylee Stephenson guidebook, “The Galapagos Islands: The Essential Handbook Exploring, Enjoying and Understanding Darwin's Enchanted Islands”. Allie has traveled extensively to all seven continents and more than 70 countries. She is also an accomplished speaker, writer and photographer.
Myths and Mountains is a cultural travel company focusing on Asia, Southeast Asia and South America. The company designs adventures that highlight cultures and crafts, religions and holy sites, folk medicine and traditional healing as well as wildlife and the environment. The company’s goal is to immerse participants in unfamiliar cultures in a manner that encourages understanding and appreciation of their global neighbors. Myths and Mountains designs award-winning adventures that showcase travels beyond the guidebook, expertise beyond the internet and service beyond expectations. The company has been named one of the best adventure travel companies in the world by Travel & Leisure and National Geographic Adventure. For more information, visit www.mythsandmountains.com.
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Myths and Mountains
CONTACT: Allie Almario
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