beyondbrics on the beach

By Iona Teixeira Stevens and Joe Leahy in Altamira

When people talk about tourism in Brazil, most think of the beaches near Salvador, the carnival in Rio de Janeiro or a boat tour in the central Amazon.

Outlying regions, such as the northern Amazon region state of Pará, on the other hand usually only attract unwanted attention for their high rates of deforestation, land conflict and other environmental issues, such as the construction of dams. Yet the state, which is bigger than Angola, is a rough-edged jewel with plenty of potential for tourism. Read more

Step one, achieved in late 2009, was getting the Taliban out of the Swat valley and reasserting control from Islamabad. Step two – in this spectacular haven of lush pastures beneath towering mountains near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan – will be to get the tourist business humming again.

Given the widespread fear that remnants of the Taliban will try to take charge again one day, maintaining calm is a tall order. A revival of domestic tourism would be a major step towards restoring confidence. Read more

There are three kinds of tourists: those who have braved the Trans-Siberian , those who wouldn’t bother and those who dream of it all their lives but never get around to buying a ticket.

The Golden Eagle, Russia’s first luxury tourist train, caters for the latter group, transporting about 1,200 mainly elderly tourists on the world’s most iconic railway journey every year. Read more

Mainland Chinese tourists are the fuel of Hong Kong’s roaring high street, but the flood of money is a mixed blessing for the island’s homegrown retailers.

Rising rents are pricing some independent and local retailers out of the island’s most prestigious addresses as Chinese visitors snap up the international and luxury brands that are heavily taxed or not yet available on the mainland. Read more

beyondbrics on the beachThe world’s tallest waterfall tumbles from one of the spectacular table-top mountains in southern Venezuela that inspired Arthur Conan Doyle to write The Lost World. With a 1750-mile Caribbean coastline, Venezuela also has countless paradise beaches, some of which must rank amongst the most beautiful on the planet. Read more

South-east Asia has a new challenger on the tourism block: Burma.

The ministry of hotels and tourism announced in June that arrivals were up almost 25 per cent for the first five months of the year, statistics that are supported by anecdotal evidence. A traveller looking for a last-minute room in Rangoon last week found the first hotel he tried fully booked – and this is the low season. Read more

beyondbrics on the beachIt’s winter holidays again for high-rolling Brazilians benefiting from the strength of the real. The options are many: London has Big Ben, Paris the Eiffel Tower and New York the Empire State building. However, Miami seems to increasingly be their destination of choice.

Aside from the art-deco architecture of Miami Beach, the area has palm-trees, sun and nice beaches, just like their home country. So why fly all the way up there? In three words: dirt cheap shopping. “I love Miami. In Rio we have Copacabana, but Miami has Banana Republic,” says a cheerful Flávia from Rio de Janeiro, standing at one of the store’s counters at the Lincoln Road Mall. Read more

By Sounak Mitra of mergermarket

Many of us remember school trips as low-key affairs involving lots of trudging across open moors enlivened by unexpected camaraderie, under-age smoking and the prospect of slipping off to the nearest bar.

Well, some things never change, or not much. But now emerging market companies are muscling in on the act and providing school holiday packages for kids in both developed and developing markets. Mumbai-listed Cox & Kings (COX&KINGS:NSI) has become the latest by acquiring London-listed Holidaybreak. Read more

beyondbrics on the beachFor many married expat men, working in the United Arab Emirates over the summer months can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand they have a new found freedom and on the other, it can be downright lonely.

Every summer from July onwards many of the stay-at-home wives and children of Dubai’s expatriate population head home to Europe or further afield, to dodge the 40-50 degree heat and skip the onset of Ramadan, a holy period where eating and drinking in public is prohibited before sunset. That gives the UAE’s foreign married men the chance to let loose in Dubai’s bars and clubs or sometimes just order more pizza or get cooked for by the maid. Read more

beyondbrics on the beachLee Myung-bak, South Korea’s president, has called on his people to boost the domestic economy by taking their holidays at home rather than jetting off to traditional favourites like Cebu, Guam and Hawaii. His tourism chief has gone a step further and wants workaholic Koreans to take a full (and hitherto unthinkable) two weeks off.

The president’s exhortation comes rather late but reflects his growing concern that South Korea’s domestic economy is doing pretty poorly compared with mighty groups such as Hyundai and Samsung, who seem to be getting rich in their own cocooned, export-driven world.

 Read more

beyondbrics on the beachRoman Abramovich has brought his golden touch to Evraz, Chelsea Football Club, and yachts. These days, however, the oligarch has his sights set on a less prestigious target: Moscow’s run-down, but beloved, Gorky Park.

While the park’s dated amusement rides – including one in the shape of Mt Rushmore – have spent the past few years teetering on collapse, a group backed by Abramovich, the Moscow city government and restaurant group Ginza Project is in the process of transforming the dilapidated fair space into a 21st century posh art and park complex. Read more

beyondbrics on the beachIt was the natural force of an earthquake and tsunami that back in March triggered the Japanese nuclear disaster and prompted foreign tourists to stay away from the country in droves.
Japan is trying to lure them back with the force of a storm. That is, Arashi, which means storm in Japanese, but is also the name of a cutesy boy band. Read more

beyondbrics on the beachIt’s late July in Patagonia and the skiing season is at its peak – a time for Argentines to take advantage of the magnificent scenery and the school holidays to get down a few runs. Not this year, though.

For six weeks now a volcano in neighbouring Chile has been spewing ash into the Argentine sky, grounding flights and keeping airports closed and skiers, well, piste off. Read more

beyondbrics on the beachSome of Asia’s urban hotels are renowned for their pools with a view. The Intercontinental in Kowloon offers stunning vistas of the jewel box that is Hong Kong’s office district across the harbour. The Fullerton offers an eyeful of Singapore’s cityscape.

The elegant 50m pool at the Aman in New Delhi, by contrast, keeps the hustle and bustle of India’s capital city deliberately out of sight with artfully created jaalis, or screens, inspired by Mughal palace architecture. Read more

The Greeks may be in an economic mess but their beaches aren’t losing their charm – at least not for east European tourists.

While the number of tourists coming from Germany, France, UK and other western European countries has declined, eastern Europeans are arriving en masse. Read more

How many Chinese tourists can you fit in a Taiwanese taxi? The answer, apparently, is no more than five before someone calls the cops. Taiwan police last week chased a taxi for 3km on a highway to stop an apparent kidnapping, after a motorist saw a hand waving from the taxi’s half-open trunk.

Fortunately, it turned out not to be Taiwan’s notorious gangsters at work, but only thrifty Chinese tourists who thought getting two cabs for six people was too expensive. Read more

Heading to the beach for your northern summer break, or to the ski slopes for your southern winter one? Then don’t go without beyondbrics. Today we start the first of our mid-year specials with beyondbrics on the beach – a look at what attracts, repels or otherwise motivates tourists and the tourism industry across the emerging markets world.

The total contribution of travel and tourism to world GDP is set to rise from $5,992bn in 2011 to $9,227bn in 2021, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. The emerging world is taking an ever bigger slice of that cake. Read more