Editor’s Notes: July 2011

If you’re looking to find the ultimate in travel experiences, look no further than right here in the pages of our very special July Recommend—the 2011 “Experiential Travel” issue. What we’re going to give you and your clients this month is a unique collection of travel destinations that offer the definitive travel experience for travelers eager for a never-to-be-forgotten cultural adventure. Whether it’s an opportunity to go “barefoot sailing” on a traditional sailing vessel and cruise in yacht-like ambiance throughout the world and into small, out-of-the-way ports; taking “Journeys Beyond the Ordinary” in Africa and the Middle East; or even “New World Adventures in Food,” a gastronomic odyssey through Latin America. We’re also going to introduce you to “The Not-So-Familiar Vietnam,” as well as the opportunity for a journey of the soul in “Spiritual India.”

We’ve all been hearing that ubiquitous phrase “experiential travel” for some time now, long enough anyway, that it’s matured to the point that it’s become almost a cliche. But like most cliches, its overuse has come about because of the reality of its popularity—experiential travel, simply put, is what people want. The days of satisfying a traveler’s wanderlust with a seat beside a bus window are long gone. People want to connect to a destination and its culture and the more different and unique the destination and the culture, the better the travel experience. Travelers want to step out of the norm, they want to scrape the bottom of that bucket list and satiate their thirst for that so-called “once-in-a-lifetime” travel experience, so they can get home and start planning their next one. If you doubt us, consider the results of the 2011 Virtuoso Luxe Report, which showed that their clientele increased their travel purchases by over 36 percent from 2009 to 2010 with international leisure trips topping their travel choices. Even more telling, of those booking travel, the top three motives influencing travel choices were, “Seeking authentic experiences in new destinations; rest and relaxation; and spending time or reconnecting with loved ones.” But keep in mind, the number one reason that list focused on was “…authentic experiences in new destinations.”

So it’s not too much of a surprise then, that of the five most popular emerging destinations named in Virtuoso’s annual survey, Vietnam—arguably one of the most exotic destinations in the world where geopolitical and social factors kept it isolated from most North American travelers until relatively recently—topped the list. Which is why it’s now a hot sell, with Mekong River cruising a driving factor, as well as the cultural appeal of its ancient attractions and traditions visitors can enjoy throughout the rest of the country. And it’s no accident the remaining destinations in that top five list of emerging destinations are no less exotic, promising unique adventures in India, China, the Galapagos Islands and Morocco. So don’t miss a word of our collection of features in this issue because it’s going to be an “experience” you won’t want to miss.

our new online look If you haven’t seen it already, you’re not going to want to miss our brand-new recommend.com. Okay, we know, you’ve heard it all before—“It’s a brand-new look! An interactive masterpiece. All new, in-depth applications!” But guess what, this time it’s true. We stripped our old site naked and the new one’s wearing the finest new fashions in website technology and design. Believe us when we tell you you’re going to love it. There’s going to be ongoing blogs, photo essays, videos and all kinds of material you’ll be able to share with your clients to help you sell travel. You’ll be able to enjoy regular pictorials in our “Eye on the World” front page feature, with all new, easy-to-use applications in our education site. We’re going to be posting retrievable features by theme and destinations which you can use as either educational or promotional material in your sales efforts.

And, we’re happy to report, many of you are already participating with us in our online efforts with more than 1,200 of you following us on Twitter (@Recommendmag), and hopefully a lot more to come, with still another 1,600 Facebook fans (facebook.com/ recommendmag), many of whom are actively participating on our Wall. And hopefully, with our new look and expanded content on recommend.com, we hope to inspire even more of you to join us in our efforts to grow our social networking.