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Road trip to Perth for 200th anniversary celebrations. Summer 2016

Adventures during our Perth-Ottawa Road Trip. Summer 2016


We left Toronto early in morning and after about an hour on 401 as usually stopped over at Big Apple. The place is well known for cute cafeteria, large giftshop, children`s outdoor pet zoo, and clean washrooms.

After arriving to Perth, we first stopped over at the Fairgrounds where the place was already prepared for the 200th years celebrations. One could see the rib grillers’ stands from all over Lanark county and the vendors offering foods and drinks to all tastes. There was a mini amusement park for young children with bouncy castles and a climbing tower. The stage was ready for musicians and singers; close by the stone carvers were competing in their art – the winners’ sculptures will become part of the new stone bridge being constructed in Perth and funded mainly by donations.

Perth lanark County
Building a New Bridge in Perth, Lanark County, Canada


Late afternoon we headed to the McReary’s beach resort. The resort has beautiful and spacious cottages and we stayed in one of them for the next 3 days. The resort is located on the beach and at the same time not far from the main road; that made it convenient for our local day trips exploring the area. Our cottage had fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms, living room and the deck with BBQ. The environment is really family friendly and kids were allowed to go around by themselves.

McReary Beach Resort
Paddling in McReary Beach resort

Once settled we all headed for a boat tour that was so much fun!

Water Fun on the lake near McReary Resort
Fun time at McReary Beach resort

We swam in warm lake water, did spectacular jumps from the boat and raced each other. On the way back to the cottage we saw two eagles high up on a pine tree.

Eagle nest near McReary Beach resort
Eagle nest near McReary Beach resort

Next to the beach there one can find a boat house with many canoes and kayaks to borrow, but we were too tempted to relax in the indoor pool; under same roof there is a sauna and hot tub. After dinner we played for a while and later enjoyed a beautiful sunset and the marshmallows roasted on the campfire right behind the cottage.

Family Nights at McReary Beach Resort
Marshmallow Party at the Cottage in McReary Beach resort

The next morning we went to Perth to see the 200th year anniversary parade, which was very well organized and included a lot of various performances. After the parade   we stopped by the ice-cream shop before heading to the park.

Not far from the park there was a farmers market where we bought local maple syrup and some homemade jams; the stands were also filled with crafts and flowers. It was a fine place to browse…

Perth Farmers Market
Farmers Market in Perth


200th Perth Maple Syrup
Special edition “200th anniversary of Perth” Maple Syrup at farmers market

In the park the speeches were already underway and we could see the Mayor and other city officials on the stage. At the end of the ceremony the Mayor handed the special capsule with the money collected for the construction of the new stone bridge to the builders.

After the official part everyone headed across the park to the spacious lawn where the dressed up musicians and dancers were getting ready to perform. The Scottish kilts in different colours, traditional musical instruments and actors were all mixed with the arriving public.
For the next hour we all could watch the scenes from the past brought by the musicians and actors to show the history of Perth from 19th century. The show ended by the guns’ salute and marching of the bands.

Perth 200th
200th anniversary of Perth Celebration

On the way back to the cottage we stopped again at Fairgrounds to have some ribs, check out the stone carving competition and listen to some music.

The day was almost done, we only had enough time to get back to the cottage for some swim in a pool and dinner.

The next morning we left early for the Blue Heron Golf club. The club house was already busy with the arriving golfers, so we quickly got ready and headed out to the course.

Blue Heron Golf Club
Playing Golf in Blue Heron Golf Club, lanark County, Ontario, Canada

The course has nine holes which makes it suitable for those new to the game or seasoned golfers. The beautiful landscaping adds to the natural surroundings creating pleasant environment – mix of water, forest and green lawns… after golf we all were ready to have good lunch, and decided to go towards Perth.

Perth, Lanark County
Beautiful Perth

On the way we stopped by the General store to buy sandwiches. Forget the sandwiches – in the middle of the store there was a small table where a lady was painting the large egg… The painting reminded us some fine antique porcelains, Easter eggs and may be Christmas… the paintings were filled with very fine details such as flowers, birds, butterflies, little bunnies and colourful ornaments. Hard to resist – we bought two beautifully painted eggs and then turned to sandwiches – we were hungry!

Tatlock Quarry
Observation Deck in Tatlock Quarry in Lanark County

After Perth our destination was Ottawa. Instead of staying in the city hotel we stopped at the Generations Inn., which is about thirty minutes away. Even before we open our bags right away kids went to swim in a lake… The Inn has three rooms with private bathrooms located in the old estate. The place is quite well known for the fact that the chief for the Ottawa Senators sometimes cooks his famous dishes for the guests, but you have to call in advance to find out when; we didn’t and so had to visit nearby restaurants.

Generations Inn
Funtime at “Generations Inn”

Next morning we were in Ottawa. First we visited The Museum of History, Children’s Museum and Parliament Hill, later the Airspace Museum and we finished the day watching the amazing Light Show that is projected right on the Parliament building.

In the Museum of History “Napoleon” and “Gold Rush” special exhibits were well worth to visit. Going back in times of Napoleon and learning about his personality and various projects was really like visiting France and Europe of that time. In the halls of “Gold Rush” we were able to wash some golden nuggets and learn about gold mining history. At the exit the special scale displayed the value of your weight as gold equivivalent in $$ – so we all got on! Worth millions!!

Children’s Museum is always full of kids and their parents. It’s a wonderful world of real things scaled to toy size. One can be a banker, another a salesman of Turkish rugs or spices, be a sailor or mechanic or dress up and go on stage!

After lunch on the French side in a small lovely café and some rest we headed to the Airspace museum. And that is where we spent a lot of time learning about airplanes, history of aviation and space exploration.

Ottawa Aerospace Museum
Aircraft tourbine in Ottawa Aerospace Museum
Fighter jet Simulator
Fighter jet Simulator in Ottawa Aerospace Museum

A bit tired we went back to the city to have dinner. And again we went to the Airspace Museum this time for the conference to meet the real astronauts Jeremy Hansen and Robert Thirsk.

Canadian Astronaut Robert Thrisk
Precious moments! Robert Thrisk autographed a book!
Jeremy Hansen and Jonathan
Canadian Astronaut Jeremy Hansen autographed my book

They were presenting the launch of the new recruitment campaign and there were various officials and a lot of fans. We even got a chance to chat with them and get autographs.

Jeremy hansen and Robert Thirsk
Children and Canadian Astronauts Jeremy Hansen and Robert Thirsk in Ottawa Aerospace Museum, July 2016

After such an exciting evening we were back to the Parliament Hill for the Light Show that presented the history of Canada in projected images accompanied by narration and music.

Parliament Hill Light Show in Ottawa
Parliament Hill light show, Ottawa, Canada

Tired after such a long day full of events we were ready to go back to Generations Inn for a good night sleep…

Next morning we were on our way back home. We decided to stop over in Peterborough and visit the unique lift locks. Dated back to 1900 the locks operate based on the natural powers created by the weight of the water in the tubs – this is the largest hydraulic lift lock in the world that raises boats up to about 65 feet high! It was a lot of fun to watch the boats go up and down – they looked so small compare to locks’ structure!

Before getting back on the road we stopped over for pizza lunch and then drove all the way home talking about places we liked most…

Let’s Go to Perth celebrating 200 anniversary together! July 22-24 weekend

Suggested itinerary:

Day One: Friday, July 22

  • Arrive in Perth between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. for the BBQ Block Party at the Perth Fairgrounds (50 Arthur Street)

Directions from Toronto (3hrs 46 mins):,+ON/Perth+Fair,+50+Arthur+Street,+Perth,+ON+K7H+3E3/@44.2698707,-78.9357309,8z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x89d4cb90d7c63ba5:0x323555502ab4c477!2m2!1d-79.3831843!2d43.653226!1m5!1m1!1s0x4cd27a443bbdbc8b:0x63becdf201c85aee!2m2!1d-76.2464385!2d44.892452

  • Lunch at festival food stations
  • Canadian Stone Carving Festival
  • Dinner
  • Drive 17 minutes to McCreary’s Beach Resort to check in anytime after 4:00 p.m.


  • Relax and enjoy the beach!

Day Two: Saturday, July 23

  • Breakfast
  • Travel for 14 minutes to Perth for Blast from the Past (Opening Ceremonies are at 11:30 a.m.) Full Event Schedule:
  • I suggest parking at Café Bean, 1 Sherbrooke Street East, Perth


  • Walk about 4 blocks for 8 minutes to Stewart Park (80 Gore Street East) to see the parade. Map:,-76.250517,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x41185e3fc910fbd2!8m2!3d44.8988287!4d-76.250517


  • In the afternoon, you may wish to return to the Perth Fairgrounds. Enjoy the Festival!

Day Three: Sunday, July 24

  • Check out
  • Travel home

Upcoming Local Food & Drink Events in Norfolk County

Upcoming Local Food & Drink Events

July 15-16: Port Dover Fish Fest, by the beach
July 23-24: Ice Cream Fest, Simcoe
July 24: Feng Shui, Whistling Gardens
July 29: Dinner in the Park, Lynn River Music & Arts Festival
Aug 18: Simcoe Farmers Market Farm to Table Fundraising Dinner, Norfolk County Fairgrounds
Aug 20: Pig Roast, Win Del Park
Aug 29: Travelling Kiln Series at Lago Trattoria, Port Dover
Aug 31: RCMP Musical Ride with Food & Fun Fest, Norfolk County Fairgrounds
Sept 12: Lakeside Soiree Collection with Matz Fruit Barn – David’s Restaurant
Nov 7: Lakeside Soiree Collection with Woolley Lamb – David’s Restaurant

Toyota Cambridge Assembly Plant Tour

Toyota Visitors Centre
Toyota Visitors Centre

Toyota Cambridge Assembly Plant Tour

It all started with the usual long, one-hour drive out of Toronto, but soon we were there. As we headed in to the visitor centre we discussed our first impressions. Inside the centre we found many exhibits of the Toyota history and models of the past and present. After a short safety video in the conference room we made our preparations to step in to the factory.

Toyota Plant Tours in Canada
Toyota Plant Tours in Canada

As we began the tour we immediately took note of the extreme cleanliness of the factory. Sadly though visitors and employees are not allowed to bring any of their beloved personal electronics into the factory (no selfies), we are not able to show you the amazing robots and technology that were within the factory. Shortly after we climbed in to the trams that would drive us around the plant. The first stop was the west stamping area where they would take massive sheets of steel and use a multi-ton weight to stamp them (these where not in action when we were there).


Informative Free Tours to Toyota Plant near Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
Informative Free Tours to Toyota Plant near Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada

The stamper had to be supported by concrete to prevent a mini earthquake every time they where in action. After, we visited the main assembly where we saw cars hanging above us as they were coming fresh out of paint, soon we headed to the west weld where the 10 thousand pound “Godzilla” robot moved multi ton cars around. The welding section impressed us with 600 separate robots. After seeing the sparks fly, we headed down to the final assembly line where the cars are started up for the first time. This one-hour super informative trip felt too short as we headed through the final corridor and back to the visitor centre. We where impressed that the Toyoda family built up from being a automated sewing business.

You can arrange the Free tour only week in advance by visiting webiste or by phone:(519) 653-1111 x 2270 Keep in mind no walk in tours. Printable map of TMMC

Downloadable Toyota Tours brochure

Exploring Sint Maarten with kids.

Traveling to Caribbean Sint Maarten, always was an expensive adventure, especially traveling with kids.

Calculating expenses, we found out that airflight takes half of budget.

Knowing that usually prices drop in October/November, then first week of January, and after April 15th, trips could become affordable with  Westjet, Sunwing, or Transat… We use mostly or, or direct websites from airlines, or,

Marigot Harbour in Saint Martin
Marigot Harbour Saint Martin

Last year our family stayed in villa on French side in Concordia district in Marigot.

Marigot, Saint Martin , French West Indies

It was good immersion into local life, and good practice of French for kids.  We hiked on Fort Louis in Marigot, Tree Top Trekked at Loterie Farm, took windsurfing lessons on Galleon Beach (nearby is Butterfly Farm), fine dined in Grand Case, snorkelled and sun bathed on Friars Bay. The shopping we did in “U” supermarket, and fresh bread in local boulangeries. Few times we visited Grand Case for a nice evening stroll, beach comb and fancy dinner combination.

Saint Martin
Marketplace in Marigot, Saint Martin

From nearby Marigot Sea Port we took day trips to Anguilla and St.Barth. One day we spent in LoterieFarm. It’s a place to spend a whole day, first to go on Fly Zone (like Tree Top trek), and then soak and rest in the pool. We noticed many local families spent time on weekends here. I think our favourite beach in St.Martin is still on Happy Bay, and the runner up will be Friars Bay Beach.

Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Philipsburg- the capital of Dutch side in Sint Maarten.

The choice and variety of hotels is also great in Dutch St.Maartten, from casino hotels, down to small boutique inns. We chose Joshua Rose guest house this time, cause of the good balance, price , location, and facilities.

Guest house located in the heart of Philipsburg, with easy access to transportation, beaches grocery stores and good restaurants. For dinner our favorite was “Green House” restaurant, with it’s great service, good variety and price combination. One evening we visited acclaimed “L’Escargot” with classy service and beautiful ambiance. Yes, it’s pricey, but you pay what you get, once for the trip is great. For lunch there are good places to eat like “GUSTO”, and few Chinese restaurants nearby.
I should mention the trip to “The Carousel” ice cream shop it’s well worth after lunch, and explore sophistication in ice cream variety. (Actually I tried once “Heineken Ice Cream”. It tasted good!). There are lots of photographs on display with famous people eating ice cream. Our kids, 8 and11, are too big for the Carousel to sit on, but they still enjoy the rides.

On the property of DIVI Resort, there are ruins of Fort Amsterdam, from there is a nice view of Philipsburg and Point Blanche Cruise Ship Terminal,. We spent hours there watching pelicans catch fish in blue waters down the cliff.

Sint Maarten
3D view of Maho Beach in Sint Maarten

Yes, we have to mention famous “Maho Beach”. The best time is after 1pm, when KLM / Airfrance jumbo jet is landing. It is really spectacular moment, quick and scary. Expect to see lots of tourists with cameras there.


PADI Open Water Certification in St.Lucia

Ah…beautiful St.Lucia…

Pitons from Anse Chastanet
Beautiful Saint Lucia. View from Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain







Our son, after receiveing PADI  E-learning Diving Certificate wanted to get an Open Water Diver Licence.

Dive Saint Lucia
Dive Saint Lucia

We planned to visit St.Lucia in November, and found it will be a good option to combine vacation with 3 day practice diving course with DIVE SAINT LUCIA. We booked Bay Gardens Inn. It’s in walking distance to Dive St.Lucia facilities, where our son for three days was training to pass Deep Water Diver Licence. This state-of-the-art facilities with modern pool, and own moorings, offered good price for licencing. Actually it’s also fun for the day trip with divers..

YYZ_6703SLU DIVE-SLU www- YYZ_6810SLU www- YYZ_6922SLU DIVE-SLU www- YYZ_7447ASLU DIVE-SLU www- YYZ_7696SLU www-On the last day of practicing, we booked a diving trip for the whole family. This was a good treat for all. We enjoyed the speedboat trip down to Soufriere, snorkelled and suntanned while our son was diving. Actually I did one dive with my son and instructor at the foot of Petite Piton. Lots of coral reefs and fish. The other dive was at Anse Chastanet, and my son had a chance to encounter with two turtles. The views of Pitons from the boat as much spectacular as from nearby expensive resorts. YYZ_7705SLU DIVE-SLU www- YYZ_7733SLU DIVE-SLU www-



For the second half of our vacation we moved to South East, Praslin Area, where Mamiku Gardens and Piece-of-Paradise , to our family favourite Fox Grove Inn, our home-from-home. This time we got two bedroom apartment ( for the price of one room in Bay Gardens Inn). It was our special treat… We spent time in the pool (which is double size than in Bay Gardens Inn ) ,or playing ping pong, billiards, chess and puzzles , or hiked the road to beautiful vistas.

The owners, Esther and Franz as usual were sweet and helpful at any our request. If traveling as a couple , or alone, the best option will be to have a room with breakfast, and have optional lunch and dinners, but if traveling with children, especially for longer period, we prefer to book two-bedroom apartment, and have full independence, having equipped kitchen.

Fox Grove Inn
Fox Grove Inn

At Fox Grove Inn we usually enjoy hiking into tropical forest, while birdwatching, find and photograph some exotic flora.



Experiencing Grey County in winter

We’re all familiar with winter above ground but heading underground during the winter months is a truly unique experience. The experts at Free Spirit Tours will take you on a 3-hour caving expedition to Metcalfe Rock. You’ll snowshoe to the caves, where you’ll un-strap, don headlamps and head underground. Jennie and her crew know all the cracks and crevices at Metcalfe Rock inside and out and will support your every move. Take the plunge and book with them now!

Indulge in Moonlit Winter Fun

Night time excursions under the twinkling stars take Grey County’s winter activities to another level. Take a guided snowshoe through the silhouetted evergreens with Free Spirit Tours or Scenic Caves Nordic Adventures. Grab some sticks and a group of your best mates for a round of moonlit hockey on one of our outdoor rinks, then thaw and unwind in the Nordic bathes at Scandinave Spa. To find other night time options visit our website.
Photo Credit Blue Mountain

With record breaking lake effect snowfall and 3,500kms of groomed trails in Grey & Bruce, its little wonder our region is a snowmobile destination. All local trails are managed by OFSC District 9 and riders need a trail permit and insurance to ride. Don’t have your own sled but want to try the sport? Homestead Resort in Durham offers rentals with guides and Ride on Rentals near Collingwood also offers tours. To learn more about where to buy your permit and to check on trail conditions,

Winter Warm-ups
Après Ski Food and Drink

All winter lovers know that half of the fun of going out is coming back in. There’s nothing better than taking off all those layers and sitting, rosy cheeked by the fire, enjoying a well-deserved treat. If you’re looking for a winter drink that will hit the taste buds, try the Mexican spice hot cocoa at Casero Kitchen Table, in Owen Sound. Warm up from the inside out with Meredith’s Ginger Elixir, which can be picked up at any bakery, local general store or farmers market within our region. For great après snacks, try the wood-fired pizza at the Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury or a meal overlooking one of our frozen cascades, Walter’s Falls – The Falls Inn, in Walters Falls. For a full list of eateries in Grey County go to

Looking for the best place to take the family tobogganing, Google maps recently pinpointed Canada’s best toboggan hills, and two of our regional hills made the cut. Harrison Park in Owen Sound and Indian Falls Conservation Area in Georgian Bluffs. Bring your family up this weekend to try the runs out for yourself! For other great hills to experience in Grey County, click here.

Visit Finland win a luxury holiday. February 14th Newsletter

?I wish I was in Finland? is a campaign by the Finnish Tourist Board that questions tourist clichés and challenges travellers to share their most absurd holiday experiences for the chance to win a vacation in Finland. The campaign launches Finland ?s new tourism portal at
The Finnish Tourist Board launches a campaign which challenges tourist clichés and traditional mass tourism destinations. With the tag line ?I wish I was in Finland ?, the humorous campaign introduces Finland as an authentic and interesting destination for travellers looking for a fresh alternative to the conventional.

The campaign features a playful photo competition in which visitors are challenged to upload photos of their most absurd holiday experiences at the new portal. The ten top-rated photos will automatically qualify for a lottery to win a luxury holiday for two in Finland .
The photo competition runs from December 15to February 28, 2010 at

New Visit Finland portal invites you to explore, search, book and participate
Visit Finland ?s new portal launched in autumn 2009 at www.visitfinland.comreveals Finland ?s many faces by allowing visitors to explore facts about Finland , search and book trips as well as share experiences with fellow travellers. The website serves travellers, trade and media in ten languages: Chinese, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.
The portal consists of three sections: Finland Guide allows you to virtually explore Finland by navigating through different topics of interest, viewing the destination location on the map and seeing ratings by other users. The Travel Planner is a one-stop-shop where you can build your entire itinerary, from transportation to Finland to accommodations and activities for your stay. Our Finland is a community section that welcomes you to share experiences by posting travel stories, photos and videos, as well as rate destinations and services.
A mobile version of the portal is also available at http://mobile.visitfinland.comallowing travellers to access their travel plans, find the nearest cash machine, get a weather forecast or add photos to their blogs on the site?s Our Finland section.
By subscribing to the Visit Finland trade newsletter you will be updated with the latest tips on travel to Finland . Sign in at Newsletter ? Subscribe to Newsletter
Finlandin Brief
Aside from ice hockey, F1 drivers and mobile phones, Finland is perhaps best known for its lakes, forests and archipelago. There are hundreds of thousands of islands and lakes, and the dream of every Finn is to have a little cottage on the shore of one of them, a place where he can kick off his shoes, go fishing, and indulge in the sheer luxury of a good sauna.
Did you know that Finland has?
5.3 million inhabitants (17 people per sq km)
1.8 million saunas (approx. 500 are traditional smoke saunas)
180,000 islands
188,000 lakes (which account for 10% of the total surface area)
465,000 holiday homes
230,000 reindeer (you can meet them face to face in Lapland )
1,000,000 salmon (maybe more)
35 national parks
5.2 million mobile phones (Nokia is a Finnish brand)
1 Santa Claus – the real one!

Visit Jordan! News May 2010

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Jordan Tourism Booms in the First Quarter

The first quarter of 2010 heralded good news for Jordan’s tourism sector in what could be another landmark year. Statistics by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the by the Central Bank of Jordan have shown across-the-board increases in both visitor numbers as well as tourism receipts.
The Ministry of Tourism has said overnight tourist numbers have jumped 33.4% during the first quarter to 883,450 people from a total of 662,075 in the same period of 2009. Same day visitors were up 17.6% to 651,325 people from 553,929 in 2009. The Ministry said overall numbers in the first quarter totaled 1,534,802 visitors compared to 1,216,004 in the same period of 2009, and representing a jump of 26.2%.
With the exception of African visitors whose numbers have declined by 5%, all other regions have witnessed increasing numbers particularly from Europe. American visitors increased by 8.7%, Asia-Pacific nationals by 27%, South Asians by 29.4%, Arabs by 20.8%, and Europeans by 35.5%.
Figures by the Central Bank of Jordan have shown that tourism receipts in the first quarter went up by 39.7% to 503 million Jordanian Dinar ($701 million) from 360 million ($501 million) in the same period of 2009 – a increase of $200 million.
Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) Managing Director Nayef H. al-Fayez expressed great pleasure at the figures and said “they have given Jordan’s tourism industry a very good reason to keep smiling.” 
Mr. al-Fayez said “while we look forward to a landmark season, we are confident that interest in Jordan as a unique and diversified international destination is increasing across the world.” He added that JTB’s participation in recent exhibitions and road shows “has given us a distinctive look at the increased confidence visitors have in Jordan both as a country and as destination for a trip of a life-time.”
Jordan’s numerous touristic sites have reported increased visitor activity during 2010’s first quarter compared with the same period of 2009. Petra, the Kingdom’s jewel in the crown, saw an almost 50% increase in visitors. However, the biggest attraction was Mount Nebo with an 88% increase, followed by Madaba’s map with a 72% increase. Visitor numbers went up 32.5% in Jerash, 47.4% in Kerak, 41.2% in Ajloun, 45.1% in Um-Qais, 40.3% in Wadi Rum, and 24.3% in the Baptism Site.
Baptism Site officials have said that this is the biggest single increase in visitor numbers since the site was officially opened in 2002. They said April 2010 alone has seen more than 20,100 visitors and pilgrims indicating a growing appetite for the location, as well as for religious tourism as a main component of Jordan’s diverse tourism product.
Tourism officials have said a very good season in 2010 will mean that Jordan’s tourism industry is on track and in the right direction, particularly after avoiding impact of the global economic crisis which started in 2008.
Jordan has faired quite well in 2009 despite the difficult times witnessed by the global tourism industry, which included both the global financial crisis as well as the H1N1 virus pandemic. Tourism revenues remained almost unchanged at JD2.064 billion (around $3 billion) compared with 2.089 in 2008, while overnight visitor numbers increased by 1.6% in 2008.
Al-Fayez said for a small country like Jordan, maintaining 2008 figures was a great achievement. “Now we can focus on making 2010 another exceptional year,” he concluded.

Petra visitor numbers up 50%


Jordan’s Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) has said that the numbers of tourists visiting Petra had witnessed a “progressive increase” over the past three months, rising by 50% in the first quarter of 2010, Jordan Times has reported. The numbers of foreign tourists increased by 53%, while Jordanian visitors rose by 23%, PDTRA chief commissioner, Nasser Shraideh said. From January through March, around 210,000 local residents and foreigners visited the city, up from 140,000 during the same period in 2009, he said.

Queen Rania’s US Press Tour
On Friday, April 21 Her Majesty Queen Rania was the premiere guest on Oprah Winfrey’s OPRAH LIVE show. Her Majesty spoke on her life as Queen of Jordan, especially her love and appreciation of the vast diversity of beauty in her land. Touted by Oprah as a modern monarch, the Queen also talked about being in touch with the community via social media networks like Facebook & Twitter, where she has over 1 .5 million followers!
Queen Rania also shared images of a recent trip to Jordan made by such celebrities as Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban & Hugh Jackman where they are enjoying the wonders of Petra, the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum & Aqaba. To see the slide show please visit:
Queen Rania then spoke with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, followed by an appearance on The View to discuss her new children’s book, “The Sandwich Swap”. The Sandwich Swap is meant to teach children not fear diversity and to appreciate other cultures.

The Wild Side of Jordan guideFollow Peter Potterfield, editor,

on his epic- 50 mile backcountry

 journey through the

mountains of Jordan!

“One of the most interesting routes in the Middle East, the hike starts from Jordan’s wild Dana Reserve and follows a rugged wilderness to the country’s crown jewel-Petra. This is a journey made entirely on foot, day by day, hour by hour, staying in traditional Bedouin camps, savoring the Jordan countryside at a walking pace, having the time to appreciate this unique landscape.”

Potterfield will make the trek with noted Jordanian backcountry traveler and guide Yamaan Safady, and the pair will be accompanied by Jordan Tourism Board videographer Catherine Porterfield. The expedition is sponsored jointly by ExOfficio,  the premiere clothing company for outdoor & travel enthusiasts & Wildland Adventures, a U.S. Tour Operator who creates authentic worldwide explorations for active and inquisitive travelers.

The hike is currently underway and the full story will appear in early summer.

To read Peter’s preview piece please visit:

Bethany Beyond the Jordan Reclaims Spot on Holy Land Pilgrim Map
Jordan attracts 24% more U.S. visitors to Baptism Site in First Quarter 2010; Tour Companies Say Numbers Mark Turning Point in Faith-Based Travel to Jordan

The rustic, eco-protected  settlement on the eastern banks of the Jordan River known as “Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan” – where the Bible says Jesus came to be baptized by his cousin John – is fast becoming a must-see destination for faith-based travelers and general tourists alike to the Holy Land. In 2010, 24% more American tourists visited the baptism site during January-March than during the same period last year, and travel suppliers are reporting increased interest and demand for the site from Christian travel planners and consumers.
“We have worked hand in hand with our suppliers to promote this unique location and educate religious travel planners about how to build it into all of their Holy Land travel programs,” said Malia Asfour, director of the Jordan Tourism Board North America. “Now that the site is fully open and travelers have easy access, it is only natural that this authentic location is once again returning to its place of prominence on the Holy Land map.”
Asfour views faith-based travel as one of the primary niches for Jordan tourism. She has been working since 1997 to promote the destination of Jordan to the North American travel market, and decided early on that Jordan needed a re-branding in the religious sector in order to educate and re-introduce the kingdom’s biblical sites and experiences to prospective travelers. With Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan at number one on the list of must-see biblical locations in Jordan, the rising tide of visitors to the site should lift faith-based travel to other parts of Jordan.
“It’s a case of what was old is new again,” said Christine Moore, founder of Epiphany Media, who has spent a decade representing the Jordan Tourism Board to the religious community in North America. “More Americans are simply returning to the original pilgrim route taken by the early Christians, who would visit the place of baptism between their journeys to Mount Nebo and Jerusalem.  Today, faith-based travelers can have the same authentic experience that the original pilgrims had, and also enjoy adventures and experiences at Petra, Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea and so many other locations in Jordan.”
The authenticity, simplicity and eco-protected nature of the site means it is here to stay on the pilgrim map. And more and more faith-based travel suppliers are recognizing that the practice of taking Christian groups to other locations on the Jordan River does not hold the same meaning for their clients as visiting the special area where John the Baptist lived, preached and baptized his cousin.
Nick Mancino, president of Group IST, who operates Regina Tours for the Catholic market and Journeys Unlimited for the Protestant market, said he has experienced increased demand across the board for the Baptism Site. And Rick Ricart, president of Imagine Tours & Travel, whose father promoted Jordan as a religious travel destination as far back as the 1970’s, said he has had one of his busiest seasons ever for travel to Jordan. Ricart said the baptism site is becoming more popular among his clients, as word has spread about its excavations and accessibility.
“I used to feel like a voice crying out in the wilderness myself when trying to promote the baptism site or other holy places in Jordan,” said Ricart. “But we have prepared the way, and now more travel leaders are aware of the opportunities in Jordan, and want to give their groups a chance to experience Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan and other special places, as well as sample some of that famous Jordanian hospitality.”
Additional Information:
Church/Visitor Facilities
An area of 350,000 square miles of land has been set aside for the pilgrim village just outside the baptism site reserve, which has strict environmental protection bylaws. 

Many Christian denominations have begun building new churches and facilities/guest houses nearby in a “pilgrim village” to facilitate modern pilgrims to what has been called the “Birthplace of Christianity.” Churches and facilities in existence or in the works include these traditions: Greek Orthodox; Anglican; Baptist; Catholic; Coptic and Russian Orthodox.

In March, 2009, Baptist World Alliance (BWA) officials, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammed of Jordan joined officials from around the world to dedicate a new Baptism Center. “I think believers from many parts of the world who want to make a pilgrimage to the area where Jesus was baptized will certainly want to make their own pilgrimage here,” said BWA President David Coffey.

In May, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI blessed the cornerstones of two new Catholic churches being built with these words: “Let us rejoice in the knowledge that the two buildings, one Latin, the other Greek Melkite, will serve to build up, each according to the traditions of its own community, the one family of God.”

Rupert Murdoch’s youngest daughters were baptized at Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan in March, 2010, but you don’t have to be famous to hold a ceremony at the baptism site – park officials welcome all church groups and other visitors interested in holding special ceremonies, such as baptisms or communion, and these are easily arranged through tour operators.

Park Oversight and Planning
The Baptism Site is a legally protected National Jordanian Park run by an independent board of trustees – the Baptism Site Commission – appointed personally by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan, who considers its maintenance an honor and a sacred trust for future generations of Jordanians and Christian pilgrims from all over the world. For more information, please visit

While several hundred thousand people visit the park each year, Baptism Site Commission officials expect to receive more than a million visitors a year once all churches and guest facilities are complete.

The baptism site is close to Amman and the Dead Sea resort and hotel area, which is served by several 4- and 5-star hotels. Planning is underway to build 3-star hotels on the northeastern shores of the Dead Sea.

Biblical Background:
Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan is part of the wilderness area associated with John the Baptist and also contains the traditional spot where the Bible says Elijah the prophet ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire.

While Jordan is home to hundreds of biblical locations, some of the most pivotal biblical events occurred at these sites:

Mount Nebo, where Moses saw the land he would never enter and, according to the Bible, is buried nearby in an unknown location; Mukawir, a mountaintop fortress not far from the Dead Sea where John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded; Tel Mar Elias, the birthplace of the prophet Elijah (also known as Elijah the Tishbite), located among the ancient Hills of Gilead;Umm Qais, a Roman provincial town overlooking the Sea of Galilee where the miracle of the Gadarene swine took place; Jabbok River, where Jacob wrested with “the Angel,” and his name was changed to Israel, meaning “He who wrestles with God.”


Grenada : New Website Launch April 2010

April 27, 2010 (Grenada, W.I.) –Things are heating up in Grenada starting with the launch of their new, custom designed website at

The multi-lingual website (available in English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese) is the culmination of a year’s work and emphasizes the country’s vibrant culture. The site has a number of new functions including a fully featured trip planner, tour operator locator, interactive map and blog, to name a few. Each aspect helps to create an enhanced experience when visiting Grenada’s website.

“We are excited to launch our new website,” said William Joseph, the director of tourism for the Grenada Board of Tourism. “The site highlights Grenada’s famous hospitality and captures the true spirit of the country. This is just a taste of what you’ll get when you come visit Grenada!”

Trip Planner/Events: This function allows visitors to plan a trip specifically tailored to their travel needs. Through an Expedia link on the site, visitors can book any hotel or resort. Visitors to the website can also create an online profile and save trip plans each step of the way. An interactive events calendar listing all events happening in Grenada (365 days per year!) helps to refine trips.

Tour Operator Locator: This unique function allows visitors to locate affiliated tour operators anywhere in the world, providing both location and contact information.

Interactive Map: The interactive maps provide views of dive sites, marinas, historical sites, hotels and resorts.

Media and Travel Professionals: The section contains news releases and features. Travel professionals can register and create an account, so that they can easily help their clients plan trips to Grenada.

Island Blog: Stay up-to-date on what’s going on in Grenada by reading the island blog.

Visitor Experiences: A visit to is an interactive experience. Share beautiful island images with other visitors by submitting photos online, or visit the multimedia gallery to watch videos of Grenada.

About Grenada Board of Tourism
– The Grenada Board of Tourism (GBT) objective is to market and promote Grenada as a preferred year round Caribbean tourist destination, while also providing technical and managerial support to the travel trade, industry partners and airlines. For more information on Grenada contact the Grenada Board of Tourism office in Toronto at  416-595-1339  416-595-1339 , email at or visit

How to Get to Grenada from Canada – Grenada can be reached via Air Canada Vacations that operates a seasonal direct flight from Toronto to Grenada (Sunday departure with easy connections from major Canadian gateways ( ). AC operates daily flights from Toronto to Barbados (Saturday & Sunday departure from Montreal) with connections on LIAT to Grenada. Caribbean Airlines operate regularly scheduled flights from Toronto to Barbados and Trinidad with connections on LIAT to Grenada. GG Tours and Titan Tours operate seasonal charter services ( and West Jet operates a flight from Toronto to Barbados with connections on LIAT to Grenada year round.