Tunisia declares its Sahara desert area ‘closed military zone’ needing special …

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Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/tunisia-declares-its-sahara-desert-area-closed-military-zone-needing-special-travel-permits/2012/06/30/gJQACJgoDW_story.html

Travel Matters: Summer fun from Corpus to Horseshoe Bay – Austin American


ANDERS MEANDERS

Finding Amtrak station is trip in itself

Have you ever taken an Amtrak train trip out of Austin? Were you even aware we had an Amtrak station? And, if so, can you find it? I went off looking for it last week so I could get tickets for an upcoming Colorado train trip, and I had one heck of a time locating it. After much Googling and some false starts and growling about poor signage, I can tell you how to get there:

From Congress Avenue, drive west on Cesar Chavez Street. Just after you pass under Lamar Boulevard, a little street called B.R. Reynolds Drive pops up on your right. Turn onto it, drive up a hill and you’ll come to a little street that jogs off to the left with a “No Outlet” sign on it. Against every instinct that tells you not to, drive up that little road, and you’ll find the Amtrak station. Now you know.

WISH YOU WERE HERE

Close encounters in Costa Rica

By Larry McGinnis of Rollingwood

The howler monkeys came out of nowhere high in the treetops of the Costa Rica rain forest and gathered 50 feet off the ground in a tree that reached up forever at the edge of a clearing.

A big guy tightroped out on a limb, began a slow, throaty rumble from the low side of the music scale and launched into a deafening frenzy. Filling his lungs from the diaphragm like your high school music teacher urged you to, the howler sent his roar through the forest canopy like thunder bouncing around for a way out of the dense foliage. It’s as if King Kong himself was marking his territory in the Tortuguero rainforest.

Then they were gone. Like a breeze slipping away at the end of the day, the monkeys moved off into the shadows of the rain forest, and the green curtain of the jungle closed up behind them.

Hearing the eerie call of the howlers was one of the many adventures that fascinated my wife, Lindy, and me when we booked a trip to Costa Rica with International Expeditions (www.ietravel.com). That’s how we found the iguanas. Dozens of them. Usually lazing about in the trees at the Restaurante Las Iguanas, the reptiles dropped down from their lofty perch and descended onto the patio. Some watched us like waiting dragons, while others lumbered close like dinosaurs of a prehistoric age.

Hoisting our flag like modern-?day explorers, 12 of us set a course with our guide through the heart of Costa Rica. For eight days, we immersed ourselves in the tangles of the jungle, walked the hidden trails of verdant cloud forests, drove precipitous curves of some very tall mountains and celebrated the rich culture of a wonderful Central American country.

Larry McGinnis is a government affairs adviser for the Austin office of the KL Gates law firm. ?Wish You Were Here runs the first Sunday of every month. Email 300 words about your trip, along with a high-resolution image, to handers@statesman.com.

GULF COAST

South Padre Island, land of sand castles

If you visit South Padre Island this summer, pop into the Visitors Center at 600 Padre Blvd. (next to the Wells Fargo). You will find a sand castle smack in the middle of the floor. It was under construction during my recent visit by local sand sculptors Lucinda Wierenga (also known as Sandy Feet) and Walter McDonald (the Amazin’ Walter). South Padre is becoming well known for its castles. One of its top annual events is its fall Sand Castle Days, although the event hasn’t been scheduled this year. It’s still looking for sponsors. Hope it finds some.

GULF COAST

Bridge of many different colors in Corpus Christi

I was eating my way through a perfect medium-rare steak at Republic of Texas Bar Grill atop the Omni Bayfront Hotel in Corpus Christi recently when I got a surprise out the restaurant windows just after sunset: The city’s Harbor Bridge, which goes over to North Padre Island, suddenly turned purple.

The bridge lights, I learned, are new, just turned on in December. Using $2.2 million in public and private money, the city put LED lights on the bridge, and they flash in various colors and patterns. Wow.

Poor Corpus has never had much of a reputation for beauty, given that the first impression a visitor gets is the oil refinery as you drive into town. Finally, we have a view — at least after dark, looking east.

BRANDING

Wine time for La Quinta, starting with own label

More and more, I see chain hotels stepping up to make themselves less generic and more reflective of where they are. Here’s a great example: La Quinta Inn and Suites in Paso Robles, Calif., just released its own custom wine. The hotel’s signature wine, Inn-viting La Quinta Cuvee, is a blend of 20 percent primitivo and 80 percent petite sirah. You can taste it at the hotel’s complimentary wine and cheese receptions, offered Sundays through Thursdays. The hotel is also offering a couple of wine-linked summer deals. The Suite Wine Deal adds a welcoming bottle of Sculpterra wine and a tree tasting at Sculpterra Vineyards to your room starting at $139 weekdays. Or choose the Wined Down and Refuel package, which includes your room, a $25 gas card and some free tastings at nearby vineyards. It’s $139 weekdays, too; $209 Friday and Saturday. To book, go to www.lq.com. The hotel is at 2615 Buena Vista Drive in Paso Robles.

HOLIDAYS

Marble Falls-area resort ready with Fourth fiestas

If you’re still planless for the nation’s birthday, here’s one last package. Horseshoe Bay Resort, an hour west of Austin near Marble Falls, is planning special activities including a fireworks show over Lake LBJ choreographed to music, a boat parade, a land parade, a kids’ carnival and a barbecue. There’s also a special Fireworks Extravaganza Package that includes your room, free golf for kids when they play with paying parents, a banana boat ride, a round on Whitewater Putting Course, arts and crafts, special seating for the fireworks, a round of beverages and a glow-in-the-dark necklace. Rates start at $419. Find out more at http://hsbresort.com or call 877-611-0112.

Article source: http://www.statesman.com/life/travel/travel-matters-summer-fun-from-corpus-to-horseshoe-2407284.html

Kayak leads travel sites in slimming down, speeding up for summer

Editor’s note: Keynote Systems’ Startup Shootout Index provides some insight into the three-screen challenge now facing anyone with a web presence. It’s the first website performance index to measure load times and completion percentages on desktops, smartphones, and tablets simultaneously. VentureBeat is Keynote’s exclusive media partner, so we’ll be bringing you a fresh set of data from Keynote every month. Check out previous Startup Shootout results.

As the summer travel season heats up, more travelers are searching for special deals and last-minute bargains. It seems that travel startup sites are responding with improved performance and availability. In June’s shootout, all but one travel site was faster than 4 seconds on the desktop, as shown in blue in the chart at the top of this post.

Mobissimo averaged 4.93 seconds, more than 25 percent slower than the other sites. The Mobissimo site is one of the heavier sites in the Travel shootout index, requiring over 100 new HTTP requests for the desktop-optimized version of the page to load. Also, nearly half of the requested elements are JavaScript files. Together, those are two clear reasons for the delay in speed. One consequence of the page design is that even the initial page render (when a site visitor first sees visual changes to the screen) typically takes more than 3 seconds.

Kayak, on the other hand, was the fastest site in the Travel shootout this month. Its desktop-optimized home page loads only 6 JavaScript files, and the time to initial render was faster than 1 second.

Kayak was also a standout for its mobile-optimized sites as well this month. Together with TripAdvisor, it was one of only 2 sites to serve the mobile-optimized home page in 6 seconds or less to smartphone users (the red bars in the above chart). The overall availability was lower on the mobile sites this month, but both TripAdvisor and Kayak maintained excellent availability.

Kayak’s smartphone-optimized site loads just ten elements, but could potentially be optimized even further. Four of the individual images used on the Kayak mobile home page are small PNG image files that could be combined into a single file using CSS sprites. Doing so would reduce the number of round trips between the phone and the web server and could lead to even faster page load times. Another opportunity for Kayak to improve its home page performance is in optimal use of redirections. Currently, if a site visitor types “kayak.com” into the mobile browser, the site will first send a redirection to “www.kayak.com” and then a second redirection from “www.kayak.com” to “m.kayak.com.” Eliminating this middle step could reduce overall page load times by 1 to 1.5 seconds on average.

In tablet-optimized offerings (the orange bars), the Travel industry also improved in June, on average loading page 1 second faster this month. Tablet users on 3G mobile data connections can expect very slow page load times, however. Only three of the seven sites in the Travel shootout were faster than 20 seconds on average.

Tripology and Kayak were the leaders in tablet website performance for this category. Tripology does well despite serving essentially the same content to tablet users as it serves to desktop users. Kayak does as well, but at the price of trimming off many of the links at the bottom of the page, for tablet users. By not optimizing content for the tablet user with the 3G mobile network in mind, pages that take less than 2 seconds on average to load over a high-speed desktop network connection can take 15 to 16 seconds to load over 3G mobile connections. Most sites in the startup shootout have yet to optimize their sites specifically for tablet users, and it really shows.

It is clear that the travel industry is quickly catching on the optimizing idea, especially for their peak season. However, travel sites overall have yet to catch on to the 3-screen optimization strategy to get the best from their desktop, smartphone and tablet users. That’s going to be important, as web access diversifies even further and users become increasingly mobile in the travel season.

See below for a summary of the June startup shootout across all categories, or click over to Keynote for the full Startup Shootout data set.

startup shootout june 2012 summary graph, from Keynote Systems

Ken Harker is a mobile performance specialist at Keynote Systems.

Article source: http://venturebeat.com/2012/06/30/kayak-leads-travel-sites-in-slimming-down-speeding-up-for-summer/

Travel expected to rise for Fourth

A phenomenon that happens about once every seven years takes place this week.

The Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday.

As a result, there won’t be the usual three- or four-day weekend for most people. Some manufacturing plants will close for the week, as they traditionally do for the Fourth, but most businesses will give employees only Wednesday off.

“Because it falls in the middle of the week, people are piggybacking two days before or after the Fourth,” Shawn Kaup, director of marketing and public relations for AAA Central Penn, said last week.

The mid-week Fourth means travel plans are scattered.

Instead of having one or two heavy traffic days, holiday departures will be spread out over six days, according to a survey

conducted by D.K. Shifflet Associates for AAA. This past Friday was expected to be the busiest day, with 25 percent of travelers heading out on vacations that day – followed, in order, by Tuesday (19 percent), Wednesday and Saturday (16 percent), today (13 percent) and Monday (11 percent).

A combination of lower gas prices and an improving economy mean that more people are expected to be traveling than in the past few years.

“The general climate for travel has increased,” Kaup said. “There were a higher amount of travel-oriented visitors in the spring and summer. The forecast for the rest of the summer is that this will be one of the highest numbers in the last 10 years. Airline travel has increased 9 percent this year after it was

anemic the last five years.”

AAA projects 42.3 million people will travel over the Fourth of July. If that happens, it would equal the 2007 total, which was the highest number of travelers during the past decade. Last year, 40.3 million people traveled during the early summer holiday.

Of the 42.3 million expected to travel this week, 35.5 million are expected to drive, with 3.2 million flying and the other 3.6 million taking other transportation, like trains or ships.

“If people are traveling, they’re spending money,” Kaup said. “It’s a good thing for the economy. Consumer confidence is creeping back up.”

Five months ago, gas prices were pushing $4 a gallon, with some doomsday forecasters anticipating $5 a gallon gas by Memorial Day.

Instead, gas prices have steadily fallen and are now between $3.15 and $3.19 a gallon at most area gas stations. The state average was $3.24 on Wednesday, Kaup noted.

According to The Associated Press, the national average was $3.40 per gallon on Tuesday, 18 cents cheaper than it was a year ago at this time. It is below $4 in every state in the continental United States.

With the holiday in mid-week, some local residents intend to take a day trip Wednesday, like Leigh Beamesderfer, a Lebanon County Conservation District forester who will head to Cecil County, Md., in search of crabs at Rising Sun or North East.

“Hopefully, it will be as nice as it is now,” she said while pumping gas at the Sheetz station in North Cornwall Township last week. “We’ll be watching fireworks on TV.”

Anyone driving south will like what they see at gas pumps.

John and Pam Raytick of Lebanon drove to Myrtle Beach, S.C., a week ago.

“Gas prices dropped along the way,” Pam wrote in a text message. “(Wednesday) in North Myrtle Beach we paid $2.99 per gallon.”

Anita Furyak of Cornwall won’t be traveling this week but plans to head to Bethany Beach, Del., with her daughter and 4-year-old grandson later this month.

“It’s time to take him to the beach,” Furyak said. “I like Bethany. It’s not crowded, and it’s a nice area.”

Like Furyak, Gary Gristick of North Cornwall Township does not plan to travel this week but will instead make a trip to the Jersey shore to visit Wildwood late this month.

Ken and Holly Brandt and their son, Kenny, will hit the road next week for some college visits and day trips. Kenny will graduate from Lebanon High School next year.

“We actually started planning the night before school ended,” Holly said.

The Brandts’ itinerary includes the University of Virginia on July 9; Gettysburg College on July 13; Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park in Jackson, N.J., on July 14; Knoebels Amusement Park in Northumberland County on July 16; and West Chester University on July 17. Ken and Faye Brown, Holly’s parents, will be doing the driving on some of those days.

That’s about 1,160 miles, including the 490-mile round trip to Charlottesville, Va.

“Gas prices will not affect us since we have these already planned,” Holly said.

stevesnyder@ldnews.com; 272-5611, ext. 152

Article source: http://www.ldnews.com/latestnews/ci_20961751/travel-expected-rise-fourth

Exclusive Sunday Preview | Travel How to get through airport security more quickly

Many travelers will kick off their vacations with that dreaded foray through airport security for screening and scanning. According to Airlines for America, an industry trade association, more than 200 million people will fly on US airlines this summer, 26.8 million of them on international flights. Like last year, travelers need to anticipate long security lines.

The Transportation Security Administration has been trying to ease the pain — at least for a subset of “trusted” travelers. But security procedures vary at different checkpoints (even within the same airport) and policies seem to change continually as the agency embraces a new risk-based, more efficient approach, focusing its resources on those who appear to pose the greatest threats.

There are exceptions to every rule: TSA acknowledges on its website that security measures are “random and unpredictable” by design. Yet advance planning can minimize some of the hassles. Here are some ways to help expedite your passage.

 Avoid traveling during peak times to peak destinations. Europe, Hawaii, and Canada are peak summer destinations.

Continue reading below

 Before your trip, familiarize yourself with updated TSA procedures, including prohibited carry-on items, by visiting www.tsa.gov. Download the MyTSA smartphone app from iTunes or visit apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa for current information on what you can bring, airport delays, and real-time waiting times at specific checkpoints.

 Some airlines offer first-class and elite passengers priority check-in, security, and boarding, so check with your carrier. For example, American Airlines has Flagship Check-In (now available only at Los Angeles International Airport) that offers expedited security access for eligible passengers. US Airways allows ordinary passengers to pay $10 per person, per direction, at certain gate locations for a PreferredAccess program that includes similar benefits.

 If you or someone traveling with you is disabled, contact TSA Cares (toll-free at 855-787-2227) 72 hours before flying to know what to anticipate in terms of screening, and so that TSA can facilitate the process upon your arrival at the airport.

 Familiarize yourself with special TSA procedures for traveling with children under age 12. They do not have to remove shoes, can make multiple passes through the metal detector if the alarm sounds, and will not be separated from their parents. If you are traveling with small children, collapse all equipment (strollers, car seats, etc.) before you go through security.

 Fewer pat-downs for people over age 75. TSA announced a nationwide rollout (over this summer) of its pilot program allowing this group to pass through security with light jackets or outerwear.

 TSA is piloting modified screening procedures for “known crewmember” pilots and providing TSA Prel™ screening benefits to active duty US military personnel traveling through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Some critics argue that the agency is creating a two-tier system, with more affluent travelers, with more money and miles, moving to the front of the line. “The larger issue here is really whether the TSA can implement a way to shorten security lines for everyone, so as to make priority lanes at checkpoints unnecessary,” says Warren Chang, vice president and general manager of Fly.com.

Article source: http://bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2012/06/30/how-get-through-airport-security-more-quickly/k2nojE7a2Cnom3zBQNNhdP/story.html

Fourth of July travel expected to rise this year

Wednesday may be an awkward time for a day off from work, but Californians are expected to hit the road for this Fourth of July holiday in numbers not seen in almost a decade.

The annual travel forecast from AAA Northern California predicts 4.8 million in the state will leave town from Friday to Wednesday, an increase of 5.2 percent from last year and the most since 2003.

The uptick in travelers can be attributed to falling gas prices and the perception that the economy has finally started to stabilize, AAA spokeswoman Cynthia Harris said.

“There’s a sort of a conscious optimism about what’s happening with the economy,” Harris said. “A lot of people have postponed or canceled their travel plans in recent years and are ready to finally take off.”

Another reason for the record numbers is that instead of the usual long weekend for the Fourth of July, some are taking advantage of the midweek holiday to get off of work for the entire week.

“It’s spurring people to travel because they feel they can take a few extra days,” Harris said.

But just because more Californians now feel they can afford a vacation, that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking to save a few bucks.

“People are economizing in more ways than they ever did, staying with family and friends instead of booking hotels and choosing places where they can camp,” Harris said. “People are definitely staying close to home.”

Air travel and other forms of transportation, such as rail, bus and watercraft, are predicted to see 10 percent more passengers statewide than last year, according to the AAA survey.

San Francisco International Airport anticipates about 44,000 more fliers than last year for the holiday week, with the busiest days being June 29 and July 6, according to spokesman Charles Schuler.

In Oakland, the airport has also seen about 5 percent more passengers take to the skies compared with last year, though spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said she did not have specific estimates for the upcoming week.

“Fuel prices are coming down, and we certainly hope that airline fares will follow that soon,” she said. “People just want to get away – you get tired of staying home or the trips.”

Driving around the Bay Area shouldn’t be as challenging as it was over Memorial Day weekend, when the Dumbarton Bridge was closed for seismic strengthening. No major road closures or new roadwork are expected for the next few days, said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Diana McDermott.

Last year’s Fourth of July weekend was unusually deadly, McDermott said. Thirty-four people were killed in traffic collisions, up from 23 in 2010, and 80 percent of those killed last year may have survived if they were wearing seat belts, she said.

McDermott said the CHP arrested 1,562 for driving under the influence during last year’s holiday weekend. She also said that if drivers happen to find themselves on the Golden Gate Bridge when fireworks are shooting off from the Embarcadero, they need to remember to focus on the road.

“It’s not a good idea to slow down and start watching,” she said. “I’ve worked the San Francisco area on many July Fourths and that’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Neal J. Riley is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: nriley@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @realdealneal

Article source: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Fourth-of-July-travel-expected-to-rise-this-year-3674948.php

The art of summer travel with grandchildren

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In just a few days, Chris Dibling-West and eight of her 10 grandchildren will
load up the car and head west for Lake Martin in Alabama.

Letting kids help with the planning of family vacations makes the trip more fun for everyone.

Tom Wilson, Special

Letting kids help with the planning of family vacations makes the trip more fun for everyone.


It’ll be a quick trip — no more than three days — but no less fun. Traveling
with the grandkids and, in this case, a few of their friends, the
58-year-old Woodstock grandmother said, is a chance to tune in and
rediscover that awesome feeling she and, hopefully, her grandchildren get
from just spending time with each other.

“It’s not so much about the destination as it is the joy of the journey
and being together,” Dibling-West said.

It’s become a family ritual that both she and her grandchildren look forward
to each year. But for others, summer traveling with children can prove to be
a dreadful experience. Are we there yet?

And so the question for Dibling-West: How does she do it?

“Proper planning is key,” she said. “I always assign each of
them a task”

For example, Dibling-West, a spokeswoman for Atlanta’s Goddard School, said
when she took them on a visit to Charleston last year, she asked one
granddaughter to research the food for which the city is famous. Another was
charged with finding out what part it played in the Civil War. And another
was asked to research plants indigenous to the area. Each of them had to
share what they learned with their siblings and cousins.

“No matter how old you are, there are always things you can learn along
the way,” she said.

They also help plan their itinerary — where they will stop alone the way, what
they want to see the most — and keep a journal.

To keep the costs down, they cook.

To raise the fun quotient, they sing at the top of their lungs.

“They can sing everything from the Mills Brothers to James Taylor and
Taylor Swift,” she said. “Getting to know your grandchildren this
way, for the people they are becoming, what makes each of them tick is
awesome.”

– Keep damp wash cloths available in a Ziplock bag should someone get motion sickness.

– Plan for an active stretch at a rest stop or a playground. Let them walk or toddle
for twenty minutes or so before climbing back in the car.

– For infants, pre-measure formula into bottles and carry a room temperature bottle
of water to mix on the go.

– If traveling by plane, a car seat can double as a feeding chair or nap location.
Call ahead for a crib to be sent added to your hotel room.

– Have some active playtime just before leaving. and plan for frequent stops.
In an airplane, let children walk down the aisle periodically.

– Airports can be a bustling place; check your luggage at the curb. This way, you
can focus on your little ones’ needs.

– Play window games to keep your child entertained — count the trucks,
cows or red lights.

– Buckle up a toy bin right next to the children so they can help themselves. Having
a variety of books, links, stuffed animals and puppets can help keep them
from getting bored.

– Use a laptop desk for drawing with paper and crayons.

Article source: http://www.ajc.com/lifestyle/the-art-of-summer-1467702.html

People Are Less Likely To Travel This Summer Puts Party Tent in Higher …

People choosing to not travel and stay home this summer brings higher sales for party tents for a leading canopy supplier.

Palmdale, Ca (PRWEB) June 29, 2012

With rising gas prices and unemployment rates at an all-time high, it is not surprising that the fact that people are less likely to travel this summer puts party tents in higher demand. With less money to spend, more and more people are opting to make the most of the resources that they already have. Even though they will be staying at home during the traditional vacation months, these individuals know that they can still have a fantastic time.

Ace Canopy has seen a 20% increase in party tent sales for May and June of 2012 compared to May and June of 2011.

Steve Benson of Ace Canopy says, “We have had many more calls for party tents this year compared to last year. People are telling us they would rather stay home and entertain than travel.”

A party tent can be put to a number of very effective uses, especially on days when the sun is burning hot. People can use these to create a designated play space for small children. Creating an outdoor playground area helps to keep tots out of the way when a barbecue or other stay-at-home event is underway.

Parents can place sandboxes, sand and water tables or even small wading pools beneath these. They will allow you to create a veritable wonderland that will keep kids entertained for hours. More importantly, they dramatically reduce the likelihood for tykes with sensitive skin to get sunburned.

These are also great for setting up bars and food service areas for adults. They will help to keep food and drinks cool even when the temperature climbs quite high. Those that have mesh about their exterior will even help to keep the bugs out.

One of the most popular uses for these is for adult socializing. The interior area of the tents help keep people cool and well-shaded. People can eat, drink and converse with one another in optimal comfort. As with children, no adults need to worry about becoming sunburned either, whilst socializing in the shade.

Perhaps the foremost benefit of having an outdoor canopy for you home parties, however, is that they can make your yard area appear exceedingly stylish. This is a great way to create an utterly new environment right on your very own property. This is why the fact that people are less likely to travel this summer puts party tent in higher demand.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/6/prweb9659671.htm

Article source: http://www.sfgate.com/business/prweb/article/People-Are-Less-Likely-To-Travel-This-Summer-Puts-3674893.php

UK travel agent cuts price of Olympic ticket deals by half to boost last …

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This commenter is a Washington Post contributor. Post contributors aren’t staff, but may write articles or columns. In some cases, contributors are sources or experts quoted in a story.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/industries/uk-travel-agent-cuts-price-of-olympic-ticket-deals-by-half-to-boost-last-minute-sales/2012/06/29/gJQAKK1DCW_story.html

Touristlink Unveils Innovative Approach for Displaying Travel Content

Touristlink.com announces a new approach for displaying travel content. Travelers can now easily find information about a particular place and at the same time find the nearby locals who can help them plan a trip. Touristlink.com is a social marketplace connecting travelers to small local travel providers.

Mumbai, Maharashtra (PRWEB) June 29, 2012

Touristlink.com a social marketplace connecting travelers to small local travel providers announces the launch of a new content delivery system that lets travelers easily find information about a particular place and at the same time find the nearby locals who can help them plan a trip. Touristlink takes a different approach to travel content by contextually showing related members and local travel providers. Travelers using the Touristlink travel guide can now see local mountain guides when they navigate to the Mount Everest guide page or they might see a local dive shop owner when they look at information on the Red Sea. In addition to seeing the small travel providers at each location members can also see other members who want to go to a particular place or who have already visited it. Touristlink features one of the largest global travel guides on the internet with information on over 300,000 places of interest accompanied by 1,000,000 million plus photos.

The Touristlink team has taken several other steps towards being an innovation leader in travel content. For instance, Touristlink lists attractions based on the rankings of members. Site founder David Urmann commented “This can be an incredibly powerful tool and as our user base grows we will be able to let users sort attractions based on interest or demographic.Touristlink members will be able to see how members who surf rank beachs in Bali, how birdwatchers rank hill stations in India or even which restaurants women prefer in Paris.” The same concept also applies to the local providers that Touristlink displays since as the provider base grows Touristlink will be able to display providers to members based on their particular travel interests.

The Touristlink team believes that innovation in travel content has stagnated and that a new focus on integrating “social” into the results users see will bring a revolution in how online travel guides work. Urmann, stated that “This is just the first step for us in innovation and in the next few months you can be looking for us to launch a product that will take travel reviews to a whole new level by getting rid of the standard text review and replacing it with a much simpler interface that builds on what we already know about the member.”

Touristlink is a social marketplace for travel that lets you get to know firsthand the local behind the tour you are planning or the small hotel you want to stay. Travelers tired of generic tour offerings can get unique trip ideas and offers direct from local providers as well as see reviews and recommendations of the same provider from other travelers. It’s a great resource whether you want to get off the beaten path or just want to plan your own trip. With over 5000 local experts it is perhaps the largest social marketplace connecting travelers and locals. Touristlink is managed by GotripIndia the developers of arrangeyourvacation.com and the parent company of Visitusa.com.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/6/prweb9656127.htm

Article source: http://www.sfgate.com/business/prweb/article/Touristlink-Unveils-Innovative-Approach-for-3675211.php