There was a suggestion of spring and summer in a recent New York Times. The January 18, Sunday TNYT Magazine contained an ad for its Travel Show to be held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center during our first month’s last weekend. I became immediately fascinated with the partial list of 2015 exhibitors (there were more than 500), a hint of travel trends.
Ten exhibitors represented Florida. No surprise there. A stern, loud VISIT FLORIDA was one of them. A gentler Discover Daytona Beach was there too.
Four promoted African safaris. I had to look up Fatarsh Tours to find that it’s in Tanzania. Another, South African Tourism, reminded me of South’s Africa’s inclusion in a very recent blog about the world’s most dangerous cities. The list had a North and South American thrust, but South Africa had 3 entrants, including Capetown. Be careful. I actually know a couple who is taking an African safari, a long-time dream, this year.
A few of the exhibitors represented scenically splendiferous Canada. The photo above, one of the best I’ve ever seen, was taken last fall by Australian friend Trish in the Canadian Rockies, which reminds me that I must write to thank her for it. Travel Show exhibitors included Gros Morne Gatherings. Gros Morne is a National Park on the western side of the island of Newfoundland, one of my favorite Canadian destinations. In fact, Ruth & I hope to include Labrador in our summer 2015 travels.
A few of the attendees were mildly surprising. The Jordan Tourist Board was one. Like the center circle of a target, Jordan is in a hot spot with Syria to its north, the West Bank to its west, Saudi Arabia to its south, and Iraq east. No wonder they’re trying to attract tourists. Good luck with that. Troubled The Philippines and Sri Lanka are beckoning visitors. I have a friend named Alex who just returned from The Philippines. I’ll see and interview him in March about its travel potential.
But the biggest surprise of all was Azerbaijan. I wasn’t even sure where it was. Am I alone in that? I researched and found it rather enticing. In the Caucasus Mountains region, Azerbaijan has the Caspian Sea to its east, Russia to its north, Georgia to its northeast, Armenia to its east, and Iran south. Probably the main reason why it’s exhibiting in New York is the fact that it, a country approaching 10 million citizens, is hosting the European Games this year. Azerbaijan is part of the travelagent.com network.
Azerbaijan is the world’s first democratic and secular republic with a Muslim majority (95% of its population). Tourism and spas are important industries. It’s hoping to attract yet more health care seeking travelers and trying to establish itself as an elite tourist destination. Its top attractions include Fountains Square, Maiden Towers, and the world’s tallest flagpole.
Its capital, Baku, has the distinction of being the largest city in the world below sea level. Baku is 92 feet below the Caspian, seems culturally and historically rich, and has both Asian and European sensibilities, like Istanbul. Check it out.