Value and Convenience Close the Deal For Business Travelers Throughout Mexico and the Caribbean

As the Caribbean is home to a number of spacious resorts – in many cases larger than those found in American cities – the region is an excellent destination for large groups and corporate getaways. In addition to ample space for large groups, the region’s resorts offer incredible business amenities, numerous on-site conveniences and plenty of exciting ways to spend free time. Best of all, business travelers will find limitless tropical scenery surrounding the resorts, meaning inspiration or relaxation can always be found just beyond their doors.

As nearly all Caribbean and Mexican resort destinations operate under a distinct annual tourism season – generally November to April – the summer and fall months feature excellent values for business travel and corporate functions. During the tourism offseason, business travelers will still find remarkably mild weather throughout much of the region, while popular sightseeing attractions and recreation destinations are often better equipped to handle large groups. Additionally, many of the region’s best resorts typically offer substantial offseason discounts, allowing corporate groups to secure rooms and meeting areas at rates similar to or even below comparable domestic destinations.

Business travelers staying at the best Caribbean and Mexican resorts will have access to all of the latest technology – including flat screen TVs, digital projectors, high-speed internet and multi-use business machines for fax and copy needs. As the best resorts offer easy connectivity for slideshow presentations, speeches and film viewings, business travelers won’t have to waste time setting up for events. For conferences and large corporate gatherings, resorts can also offer fully-equipped meeting rooms with ample space and seating for all types of activities, while catering services allow guests to enjoy the combination of excellent meals and on-site convenience.

As passports can be one of the biggest challenges of international business travel – especially for large groups – the Caribbean stands as an excellent destination for both American and European citizens, as passports are often not required for travel to national territories. For instance, American citizens can visit the U.S. Virgin Islands – most notably, St. Thomas – without a formal passport, just as they would U.S. mainland destinations. Additionally, St. Thomas’ resorts are known for having some of the best business facilities in the Caribbean. For instance, the island’s largest resort – The Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort – boasts 15 individual meeting rooms and 60,000 square feet of event space. Business travelers can also enjoy the outdoors in open-air meeting spaces that offer excellent views of Charlotte Amalie and the adjacent harbor. The Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort also boasts 479 guest rooms – meaning the resort has plenty of space for large corporate groups – while five on-site restaurants and six bars offer remarkable convenience and help business travelers maintain productivity throughout their Caribbean stay.

Despite the excellent business travel facilities and values to be found throughout the Caribbean and Mexico, the region’s scenery remains the biggest draw. As the most popular destinations in the region are small communities with centrally located attractions, it is easy to take advantage of downtime during business trips. Tropical destinations throughout the Caribbean and Mexico offer guided half-day and full-day tours throughout the year that allow business travelers with tight agendas to experience many of the best sightseeing destinations. Furthermore, as many of the largest resorts in the region boast picturesque waterfront locations, it is easy for business travelers to enjoy all types of active endeavors or simply relax on the beach. For instance, business travelers can often enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, kayaking and many other water sports by making simple reservations through their resort or, in many cases, simply walking a few steps to the beach.

When combining the values available to business travelers throughout Mexico and the Caribbean with endless scenery and easily accessible attractions, it is easy to see why many of the region’s top destinations have become such popular choices for conferences and corporate getaways.

Retro Air Travel Returns to Tanzania

When I was a little boy in the 60s and 70s, the Douglas DC-3, which, like they did in Britain we used to call the Dakota, was all the rage. I used to travel around the country in that aircraft with my mum and dad. It was an awesome experience. I used to love the way the tail dipped when the aircraft was on the ground and how it lifted as it taxied down the runway before take off. A remarkable airplane, and one I couldn’t forget even when the Fokker Friendship came to replace it on domestic routes. As it happens, the DC-3 never really went away. 73 years after the DC-3 first flew, it has remained in the skies in quite a few countries around the world… it is believed there are 400 DC-3 aircraft still in service. In this article, I will discuss retro travel and the opportunity that awaits you to rekindle vintage travel in a remarkable tourist haven and setting that is, Tanzania.

One of the most successful airplanes ever built, the DC-3 made its maiden flight on December 17, 1935. The Gooney Bird, as it was sometimes called, was one of the first airplanes built primarily out of metal, replacing the wood-framed-and-doped-fabric airplanes that had evolved out of the Wright Flyer and the many models of airplanes developed during World War I. In the 1930s and 1940s, this American fixed-wing, propeller-driven aircraft — generally regarded as one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made because of its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II — is still taking to the skies to this day in many parts of the world. Like its land equivalent, the marvels of yesteryear engineering — the steam train — offers a lap of luxury to its passengers to this present day on packaged rail safaris like the Blue Train in South Africa, aviation too brings back the the beauty and luxury of vintage travel to the skies.

Air travel in the 50s was much more regulated than it is today. All fares were fixed by the International Air Traffic Association (IATA). It seems almost inconceivable today, but IATA dictated exactly what could be charged on any particular route. Airlines could compete on standards of service, but not price. Hence a desire to offer the passenger the very best prevailed. In the early fifties there was only one class of travel: first or better than first class. Such luxuries as cocktail bars, and even beds had been provided on transatlantic flights. Fares were expensive and passengers were either very wealthy or claiming the trip on expenses. By the end of the fifties, there were four classes of travel, deluxe (better than first), first class, tourist class and economy class. The Indigo Aviation Dakota plying the Zanzibar, Selous, Pemba and Mafia routes from Dar es salaam, Tanzania, judging from the luxurious cabin alone, takes you back to the early 50s when, literally, there was only one way to travel – first class.

When I saw an ad on the cover of a local magazine (Advertising Dar) back in May 2009, I was thrilled to see the DC-3 back in action. To me, she is the most beautiful bird that ever took to the skies. My plan is to get on that plane to travel to Mafia island, a fascinating island steeped in history, and what I consider to be the ideal destination to fly to to write a series of articles on, in retro style.

The Top Ten Travel Sights of Africa

It is difficult to list a top ten African travel wonders list without leaving out a number of other superb sights. Here is my list. How many have you seen?

1. Mountain Gorillas of Central Africa

It is an indescribable experience to spend an hour visiting an habituated gorilla family in the rain forests of Central Africa. With over 98% commonality of DNA with human beings, you can sense and feel their emotions and familial ties. A family group which varies from 8 to 20 is led by an alpha male – the silverback – with a silvery blanket of hair down his back. Seriously endangered, tourism is their only chance of survival.

2. Wildlife Safari in East Africa

The African rift valley offers the most remarkable variety of wildlife to view anywhere on Earth. Across the protected game parks in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana and Zambia, seeing the great African wildlife is a special experience to savor. Way beyond reading National Geographic, seeing in real life a pride of lions stalking and hunting down its prey gets your heart racing. Vultures and jackals hover nearby for their share of the feast. Many plan to see the so-called Big Five, the buffalo, elephant, lion, rhinoceros and leopard, along with the familiar antelope, giraffes, zebras and wildebeest, along with a wide variety of colorful birds.

3. Pyramids and Sphinx of Egypt

The Great Pyramids of Giza, just outside Cairo, have stood and overseen over 5000 years of Egyptian history. These giants structures stand in a stark sandy desert expanse while local touts sell camel rides or their various crafts, souvenirs and knick-knacks. The nightly light and sound show describes the rich history with colorful lights and lasers.

4. Victoria Falls

The locals describe it as the “The Smoke that Thunders” in their native language, where plumes of spray from the thunderous water can be seen for miles around as the calm waters of the mile-wide Zambezi River plunges well over 100 yards into the deep gorge below. These famous waterfalls change mood across the year from the dry to the wet seasons and often appear with dazzling rainbows in the misty spray.

5. Nile River and Egyptian Temples

Small armies of river boats travel the famed Nile River between Luxor and Aswan in central Egypt. From the cool of the boat, you can enjoy the narrow fertile strip of land being intensively farmed in much the same manner as it has sustained the population for centuries. This thin strip of greenery is the only break from the desolate Saharan sands which seem to extend forever. Luxor’s Temple of Karnak is an ancient construction on an unequaled scale with pillars, carvings, ceremonial lakes and temples extending over an area beyond a mile by half a mile. The pharaohs’ final resting places sit on the opposite bank of the Nile in the Valley of the Kings – a stark, empty ravine.

6. Sahara Desert

Incredibly hot by day and surprisingly cool by night, the dry vastness of the Sahara Desert is striking in its beauty. Eroded over the centuries by wind, jagged mountains, rocky escarpments and sweeping sand dunes detail a harsh terrain. The small oasis towns reveal a battle for survival over the many centuries, the refreshing patches of green highlighting the invaluable resource of water.

7. Moroccan Cities of Marrakesh and Fes

With their souks woven like ancient mazes, Marrakesh and Fes both boast remarkable medinas (walled-in areas of the town) which ignite every human sense. Rich in craft shops (tanners, textile makers, dressmakers, jewelers and carpet weavers), food stalls and teashops (with their enchanting sweet mint tea), the alluring aroma of spices clash with the nasty odors of the dye pits. Every night, Marrakesh’s immense Djemaa el Fna square becomes a virtual circus of snake charmers, fortune tellers, jugglers, comedians, spruikers and magicians as you enjoy the tasty delights from the variety of fresh food stalls and juice bars.

8. Dogon Villages of Mali

The Dogon people live in simple villages along the imposing 120 mile Bandiagara Cliff. Their strange adobe (mud-brick) houses are built along the cliff edge providing areas to sleep and relax, common areas for village meetings and for storage of grain. The houses are remarkably cool in this hot arid area.

9. Leptis Magna

Africa’s most significant Roman ruin overlooks the dazzling Mediterranean Sea. Being a major Roman city in its time, Leptis Magna includes the ruins of athletic arenas, theaters, markets and temples, along with the traditional central Roman Forum.

10. Zanzibar

The Spice Islands are a haven, providing a chance for a relaxing break from African travel and game parks. It has a number of sights with its Arabic heritage, the old Stone Town and tropical palm-fringed sandy beaches. The maze of ancient alleyways and narrow lanes are lined with whitewashed houses with superbly carved wooden doors. Culturally separate from the African mainland, small bazaars and gleaming tiled mosques provide mouthwatering cultural walks, between relaxing sun-baking sessions on the beach.

Africa has a wide variety of attractions and travel wonders to experience from the Arabic north through the jungles of central Africa to the rich jungles of southern Africa. Travel with a spirit of discovery and enjoyment to experience this wonderful and diverse continent.