SriLankan Airlines help regulate Whale and Dolphin watching

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SriLankan Airlines help regulate Whale and Dolphin watching

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Whale watching in Sri Lanka has gone from a tiny minority pursuit of just a few hundred visitors a year, to over 30,000 a year since 2010. The warm water, t-shirt weather and a fleet of local fishing boats have spurred the growing awareness of this pursuit.

It has been managed expertly. You can see why SriLankan Airlines want to protect whales and dolphins. They’re helping put measures in place to ensure these stunning wild mammals and their habitat remain unharmed by the impact of increased activity on their waters. With whale numbers dropping across the world it’s great to hear about whales and dolphins thriving in the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka’s seas are brimming with different species of wild mammals. Whale and dolphin watchers can see: blue whales, bryde´s whales, sperm whales, fin whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and striped dolphins.

It’s not just the whales who are benefiting from improved regulation – local fisherman now work in a more sustainable and structured industry. SriLankan Airlines’ work could give a boost to the local economy, providing vital income for the community.

They launched Project Blueprint with a group of hotels to ensure that whales and dolphins and their environment remain unharmed by a recent boom in tourism.

The influx of visitors occurred after increased whale sightings on the south coast led to a large amount of locals with vessels offering tourists whale watching tours. SriLankan Airlines noticed this influx and soon realised that this blossoming industry was going unregulated. They worked with Keells Hotels and Jetwing Hotels to introduce safety regulations to ensure that vessels were safe for tourists and the whales and dolphins that they find so fascinating.

Watch our short film about SriLankan Airlines’ work in the field featuring an interview with Manoj Gunawardena, Chief Commercial Officer at SriLankan Airlines as well as some stunning shots of whales off the coast of Sri Lanka.

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Gap year do-Gooders can do Harm

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Helping out at an African nursery or digging trenches in rural India has become a fashionable – rite of passage for a generation of young Britons.

But many volunteers end up doing more harm than good – and the gap year trend is even being blamed for potentially fuelling child abuse in the host communities.

Mounting concern that the growing numbers of tourists keen to work in orphanages in countries such as Cambodia and Nepal could be leading to local children being abandoned or abducted to meet the demand has led to calls for a radical rethink on the ethics of so-called voluntourism.

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Gadget-free isle of Tiree

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YOU know you are way off-grid when people view WiFi as a question.

“Why Fi? Why indeed,” came the response when I asked about about internet connection upon realising I had no phone signal.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the kids went white when we arrived at our cottage to find there was no TV signal. What the hell were we going to do for three days?

The only SKY was the big boring blue stuff outside.

But it doesn’t take long after arriving on the fantastically remote and beautiful island of Tiree to adopt a similar view to the locals.

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Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, London

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The 18th London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival takes place this Sunday June 30th, 2013

Time: 10am – 5pm
Venue: London Regatta Centre E16 2QT

London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is the largest of its kind in Europe – a free festival open to all ages. Leading up to the event, visitors to www.lclc.co.uk, the official website of the London Chinatown
Lions Club, is offering the opportunity to win a fantastic prize of 2 x return Hong Kong air tickets courtesy of Cathay Pacific.

It will be laying on an unprecedented mix of cultural attractions and family entertainment to make this year’s London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival a totally unmissable event.

By replicating the vibrant cultural richness of Hong Kong in London, it is going to be a spectacular event, promising a day full of fun, action, thrills and surprises with FOUR FESTIVALS IN ONE. These include the Hong Kong Cultural Festival, East West Music Festival and Hong Kong Food
Festival

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Beachside nature trails in Majorca

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The South-East of Majorca has many fine beaches with trees eding the white sand and clear, clean blue water. Some of the best are near the Mondrago national park, like S’Amarador beach – surrounded by cliffs and pine forests, it is made from soft white sand and is small at 150 metres long but has a depth of 50 metres. It is actually one of the larger beaches in this corner of Mallorca – others are in much smaller sheltered coves. On the other side of the bay, at this time of year, there are sunbeds and parasols to rent, and a small bar for refreshments. Toilets and showers are available.

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Mallorca country house agro-turismo

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Its known as the HQ of grockle tourism, but the island of Mallorca has seen a boom in upmarket country house hotels in recent years, also known as finca hotels, agro-fincas and agro-tourism. There are also Country house apartments, self-catering, but converted with great style and taste. The island is uncannily beautiful and the best of the country houses are in places from where you can take a walk along lightly populated and very heady mountain paths.
Mallorca (or Majorca) has an incredibly rich history since it was first settled by the French 7,000 years ago. The early settlers developed the Talaiot culture – named after the towers into which they withdrew at any sign of danger. The remains of these towers can be found all over the island.
Over the millennia, Cartheginians and Phoenicians were driven off by the Balliarides, Greek for stonethrowers Now Majorca is the leading member of the Ballearic island group.
Then Rome conquered and with its thirst for wine the Roman rulers cultivate vines that lasted until today. The traditional Majorcan weather has not been much in evidence these past few, rain-sodden years, but when it conforms to type there is little rain mainly in the Spring and plenty of sunshine from May to October.

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Cycling in Majorca

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Off-road opportunities abound

Off-road opportunities abound

Cycling in Majorca is a beautiful way to keep fit and enjoy nature. In the cooler months, the mountainous roads and pure air attract world champion cyclists as well as other top sportsmen and women.

One of the best places to base yourself is Read’s Hotel between Santa Maria and Alaro, set amongst Olive and Almond groves, with views of the nearby mountain range. While many of the top country house hotels on the island are closed in the winter months, Reads is one of the few to open all year round.
The island is at its best in the uncrowded off-season, and biking is safer with less traffic about. The hotel also offers boat hire and hot air ballooning.
It has a spa, two pools, two restaurants, and yet is a personal, intimate, family-owned boutique hotel.

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Eco-luxury

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Up-market travel agency Abercrombie & Kent offers destinations where you’re completely off-grid — no phones, no mains electricity, no fax, no Internet, not even running water.

The company offers packages to all these places, with starting prices ranging from $850 U.S. a day for the Argentina trip to $9,995 for a 14-day trip to Antarctica. See www.abercrombiekent.com or call 1-800-554-7094 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-800-554-7094      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Los Glaciares, Argentina

“To truly understand Argentina and its proud rural traditions, travel to the vast steppe lands of Patagonia where ice shelves and glaciers give way to beech forests and remote plains. El Calafate is t

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Never book with Ryanair at weekends

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If you must use Ryanair (and our advice is – don’t) then do yourself a favour and do not use the airline’s online booking service at weekends. If anything goes wrong, there is absolutely nothing you can do – the switchboard is closed, and in our experience nobody answers their premium rate enquiry line – that’s right, their 1 Euro a minute enquiry line is apparently unmanned. They areally are the most hateful bunch of swine, as everyone agrees.

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Eco-travel is fastest growing UK sector

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Brits take a million green holiday trips a year, worth a total of £409m, according to research from Mintel.

Green tourists are a tiny minority, the survey finds, accounting for only 1.2% of the 2006 UK travel market. However Mintel’s research predicts a 25% growth in responsible travel year on year in Britain, making it the fastest growing travel sector.

Awareness of ethical travel issues is strong among British travellers, though their actions lag behind. 20% say they are willing to pay to offset carbon emissions from flights, but only 2% of UK consumers’ carbon is currently offset.

And 42% were aware tourism helps the local economies of their holiday destinations. However, only a minority of travellers actively seek holidays with an ethical code of practice and even fewer change their holiday plans because

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