Exploring the Timeless Beauty of Bruges, Belgium

Exploring the Timeless Beauty of Bruges, Belgium

By Author

Published on November 8, 2023

Tucked away in the heart of Belgium, the charming city of Bruges, often referred to as the “Venice of the North,” beckons travelers with its picturesque canals, historic charm, and delectable treats. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, and for good reason. Bruges has something to offer everyone, from history and culture lovers to foodies and shoppers.

The history of Bruges dates back to the Roman era, but it truly flourished during the Middle Ages when it became a bustling trading port. Its well-preserved medieval architecture and network of canals are living testaments to its rich past. It was a member of the Hanseatic League, a powerful confederation of merchants that dominated trade in northern Europe. At its zenith in the 14th century, Bruges was a prominent center for trade and culture in Northern Europe.

Today, Bruges is a popular tourist destination for people from all over the world. The city's medieval center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there are many things to see and do in Bruges. 

Bruges' Canals: Start your journey by exploring Bruges from the water. The canal tours provide a unique perspective of the city's medieval architecture, passing under picturesque bridges and past historic buildings.

The Belfry of Bruges: This 83-meter tall medieval bell tower offers panoramic views of the city. Climb its 366 steps for a breathtaking vista of the enchanting surroundings. 

Bruges' Markt: This central square is lined with colorful, step-gabled buildings and is home to iconic buildings including the Belfry, the Town Hall, and the Cloth Hall, and hosts a vibrant market. It's an ideal place to savor a coffee or Belgian waffle while people-watching. 

The Groeningemuseum: This museum houses a collection of Flemish art from the 14th to the 18th centuries. As you wander through the museum's halls, you'll find yourself captivated by the stunning details, vivid colors, and profound stories embedded in the paintings. It's a visual and emotional journey that connects you with the artists who poured their heart and soul into these magnificent creations.

The Beguinage of Bruges: Beguines were women who dedicated their lives to serving the community without taking formal religious vows. What makes the Beguinage truly charming is its simplicity and the sense of quietude that envelops visitors. It's a place to escape the bustling city, find a moment of introspection, and appreciate the dedication of the women who lived here centuries ago.

Bruges' enchantment goes beyond its historic architecture and picturesque loc. It's a city that encourages leisurely strolls along cobblestone streets, with surprises waiting around every corner. The delicate lacework and artisanal shops add to the city's allure, making it an excellent place to pick up souvenirs. You'll find friendly locals who are proud to share the secrets and stories of their beloved city, adding a personal touch to your visit. This is a city where history and modernity coexist harmoniously.

Image Source: Visit Bruges


Goa Thrives Year-Round: Summer and Monsoon Tourism Drive Economic Growth

Goa Thrives Year-Round: Summer and Monsoon Tourism Drive Economic Growth

By Shreenidhi Jagannathan

Published on May 27, 2024

As temperatures rise and summer approaches, Goa's beaches have become a magnet for tourists seeking an escape from the heat. Known for its sun-kissed shores and vibrant nightlife, Goa is experiencing a surge in visitors from neighboring states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Kerala. This influx brings significant economic benefits to the region, filling hotels, restaurants, and local shops with eager patrons. However, unlike previous years where the onset of the southwest monsoon marked a sharp decline in tourist numbers, Goa is now thriving as a year-round destination. The pleasant weather and unique attractions during the monsoon season, such as bird watching and lush green landscapes, continue to draw visitors.

The continuous flow of tourists throughout the year has provided a steady stream of revenue for local businesses. During the summer rush, beach shacks, water sports operators, and local markets experience peak business, capitalizing on the large crowds. When the monsoon arrives, these businesses adapt, offering new experiences that cater to the different interests of monsoon tourists. Suneel Anchipaka, IAS, Director of Tourism and Managing Director of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), notes that the tourism industry has adapted to this shift. "Beach clearing agencies are in place, all the cleaning activities are taking place. Lifeguards are situated in various beaches. A few shacks have already started dismantling. By the end of this month, they are all going to be dismantled." While the dismantling of shacks marks the end of one tourist season, it also signifies the beginning of another. The transition from summer to monsoon tourism involves different preparations, but the economic impact remains positive.

Industry leaders have welcomed Goa's transformation into a year-round tourist destination, recognizing its positive impact on the local economy and tourism industry. Among them, TWH Hospitality, the operator of two beloved properties in Goa, has been at the forefront of embracing this trend. "Our properties are designed to offer the best of Goa, regardless of the season," said Ambika Saxena, CEO, TWH Hospitality. "At Boho Box, guests can immerse themselves in the vibrant culture of Goa with easy access to local markets and nightlife. Meanwhile, Boho By The Beach provides a tranquil retreat with stunning beach views, perfect for those looking to relax and enjoy nature." The industry has also introduced special packages that highlight Goa’s diverse attractions year-round. These offerings ensure a memorable stay for guests and support the local economy by driving continuous tourism. “We're proud to be part of Goa's thriving tourism landscape," Saxena adds. "By offering year-round packages that showcase the best of what this enchanting state has to offer, we're not just creating memories; we're fostering lasting connections between travelers and the communities they visit."

Goa's transformation into a year-round tourist destination has brought significant economic benefits to the region. The combined allure of its summer beaches and monsoon activities ensures a steady flow of visitors, providing continuous support to the local economy. This steady influx of tourists throughout the seasons underscores Goa's appeal as a must-visit destination all year long.


Culinary Tourism: Drawing Visitors through Mall/High Street Dining and Hospitality

Culinary Tourism: Drawing Visitors through Mall/High Street Dining and Hospitality

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on May 23, 2024

Culinary tourism is rapidly becoming a key driver in the tourism industry, with an increasing number of travelers seeking unique and memorable dining experiences. Malls and high streets are capitalizing on this trend by transforming into culinary destinations, offering diverse and immersive gastronomic adventures. This strategy not only enhances the visitor experience but also boosts foot traffic and revenue for retail and hospitality businesses.

The Rise of Culinary Tourism

Culinary tourism focuses on exploring local cuisines, dining experiences, and food-related activities as a significant part of travel. According to the World Food Travel Association, culinary travelers spend about 25% of their travel budget on food. This shift has prompted many commercial centers to integrate high-quality dining options and culinary events into their offerings.

Malls and High Streets as Culinary Destinations

Omaxe Chowk, located in the heart of Delhi, aims to be a hub for culinary tourism by showcasing India's rich culinary heritage. "Our vision is to recreate the charm of Chandni Chowk's street food within a modern and comfortable environment. Visitors can enjoy authentic local delicacies while exploring the historical and cultural essence of Old Delhi," says Jatin Goel, Executive Director, Omaxe Group. The operational food brands at Omaxe Chowk's Dawatpur include Popeyes, Burger King, Hongs Kitchen, Pizza Hut, Vaango, Spicenama, Eat Co., Amritsari Chennai Express, Chat Town, Jung Bahadur Kachori, KDH Chat, Vezley, Chicago Pizza, KFC, Chinese Wok, Dominos, Rolls Mania, Wow Momo, and Wow China.

Pacific Malls, with multiple locations across India, have embraced the culinary tourism trend by offering a variety of dining options ranging from fine dining to food courts with international cuisines. "We believe that a great dining experience is crucial to the overall appeal of our malls. By bringing together diverse culinary traditions, we aim to attract food enthusiasts and create a vibrant community space," states Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director of Pacific Malls. Notable food brands at Pacific Malls include Spezia Bistro, Punjab Grill, United Coffee House, Chili's, Birch By Romeo Lane, Neoba, House of Royal, Indus Flavour, and QDs.

Reach 3Roads, a mixed-use development in Gurugram, combines retail, dining, and entertainment to create a holistic experience for visitors. "Our focus is on creating an environment where people can come together to enjoy great food and social activities. Culinary events and festivals are a significant part of our strategy to engage the community and attract tourists," shares Nandini Taneja, VP, Reach Group. The dining options at Reach 3Roads include Sagar Ratna, Starbucks, Haldiram's, Chaayos, McDonald's, Badmaash Kebabi, Hong's Kitchen, Dunkin', and Moti Mahal.

Urban Square Mall in Udaipur is positioning itself as a premier culinary destination in the region. "We are curating a mix of local and international dining options to cater to the tastes of both residents and tourists. Our goal is to make Urban Square Mall a landmark for food lovers in Udaipur and for those also visiting Udaipur," says Uddhav Poddar, Managing Director of Bhumika Group, developers of Urban Square Mall. The mall features a variety of food brands including Kailash Parbat, Starbucks, Pind Balluchi, Keventers, Wow Momos, Subway, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Baskin Robbins. Additionally, they're excited to announce the upcoming opening of Lemon Tree Hotel and PVR INOX, further enhancing the visitor experience.

Creating Memorable Culinary Experiences

To attract and retain visitors, malls and high streets are incorporating various elements into their culinary offerings. Diverse food options, including local, regional, and international cuisines, cater to different tastes and preferences. Themed food festivals celebrate specific cuisines, seasons, or cultural traditions, drawing in crowds. Interactive food experiences, such as cooking classes, food tastings, and chef meet-and-greets, engage visitors actively. Aesthetic and comfortable ambiance enhances the overall dining experience, while promotions and partnerships with food bloggers, chefs, and influencers help to promote dining options and attract food enthusiasts.

Culinary tourism is transforming malls and high streets into vibrant culinary hubs, creating memorable experiences for visitors. As this trend continues to evolve, these commercial centers will be pivotal in shaping the future of travel and dining.


Can a Hospitality Degree Be Your Key to Success?

Can a Hospitality Degree Be Your Key to Success?

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on April 11, 2024

Considering a career in hospitality? You might be wondering if a hospitality degree is truly worth the investment. The answer, in a dynamic and ever-evolving industry, is a resounding yes! 

A hospitality degree equips you with far more than just the ability to smile and say "welcome." It delves into the core principles that run the hospitality industry, from revenue management and marketing to human resource management and customer service excellence.  You'll gain a comprehensive understanding of guest psychology, allowing you to anticipate their needs and deliver exceptional experiences.

Broadening Your Horizons: The industry encompasses a vast array of exciting sectors, from event planning and cruise lines to destination management and luxury resorts. A hospitality degree exposes you to these diverse opportunities, helping you discover your niche within the broader industry.

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Standing Out from the Crowd: In a competitive job market, a hospitality degree sets you apart. It demonstrates your dedication to the industry and equips you with a specialized skillset. Employers value graduates who possess a strong foundation in hospitality principles and can hit the ground running.

High-earning Potential: Hospitality careers offer excellent earning potential, especially with the right qualifications and experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, several hospitality occupations boast above-average salaries. For instance, hotel managers earn a median annual wage of $99,500, while meeting, convention, and event planners make a median of $53,390 (as of May 2022).

Courses to Consider in Hospitality:

Culinary Arts Management: This degree equips you with the skills to manage a restaurant or food service operation, opening doors to lucrative positions like Executive Chef or Food and Beverage Director.

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Event Management: If you thrive on organization and creating memorable experiences, event management offers a high-paying path. Graduates can find success planning weddings, conferences, or concerts.

Hospitality Marketing: In today's digital age, hospitality marketing skills are in high demand. This course will teach you how to craft compelling campaigns and leverage social media to attract guests, making you a valuable asset to any hotel or resort.

Hotel Management: This classic degree offers a well-rounded education in all facets of hotel operations. Graduates can climb the career ladder, potentially reaching positions like General Manager or Hotel Operations Director.

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A hospitality degree is just the beginning. Gaining relevant experience through internships or entry-level positions is crucial to career advancement. Network with industry professionals, hone your soft skills, and stay passionate about creating unforgettable experiences.

With dedication, a hospitality degree can unlock a world of opportunity and pave the way for a successful and rewarding career in a dynamic and ever-growing industry. Take the plunge, embrace the challenge, and watch your hospitality journey unfold!

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