Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Travelers411 Travel Radio Shownotes - March 12, 2011
"Travelers411" Radio Show - March 12, 2011
Admiring a cute 500 Fiat on Via Marghera, Italy From Mount Kenya to the Great Rift Valley with Uniglobe Silverbird Travel, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa; When in Rome, Rent an Apartment with Rental in Rome, Rome, Italy; Live Like an Italian with Papavero Villa Rentals; Turkish Luxury and Bosphorus Views at Hotel Sumahan, Istanbul, Turkey; Affordability, Accessibility, and Culture in China, China National Tourist Office; Georgian Architecture and Banksy's Graffiti in Destination Bristol, Bristol, England, UK; Culinary Tours and Tiffany Stained Glass with the Norfolk Convention and Visitors Bureau, Norfolk, Virginia; Honeymoon Suites and Caribbean History from Nevis Tourism Authority, Nevis, West Indies, Caribbean.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Caroline Malinda, Managing Director, Uniglobe Silverbird Travel, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa.
www.silverbirdsafari-africa.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show kick off this hour with Caroline Malinda, Managing Director of Uniglobe Silverbird Travel in Nairobi, Kenya. Caroline has been in tourism for over 25 years. She started out doing corporate travel management for the UN, government, and other large organizations in Nairobi. Eventually, she branched out into leisure travel, holiday packages, and safaris, and started her own company. "We want to develop partnerships with American travel agents who want to deal with a reliable destination management company," she says.

Bush camping. Image (c) www.silverbirdtravel.com.
Bush camping.

Caroline was born and raised in Kenya. She describes her homeland as "a long trip from the U.S., but worth it." What makes Kenya such an attractive destination? "Kenya is the original safari country," Caroline explains. "From the 1950s on – even President Roosevelt went there. Kenya is a country where you can go from the Indian Ocean to Lake Victoria in 8 hours. You can be at the beach in the sun and then go up to Mount Kenya where it's cold. You can go to the Great Rift Valley and see all the lakes and experience different cultures and peoples along the way."

Elephants on safari. Image (c) www.silverbirdtravel.com.
Elephants on safari.

Uniglobe Silverbird Travel works closely with travelers to customize packages. "We don't want to provide mass products," says Caroline. "We tell clients what we can offer and what they can expect. Based on our guidance, clients select an option, and then we make the arrangements. We do ground handling and hotels based on your budget. So we can take you to a 5-star hotel or lodge or a budget one – we have student and youth safaris, too. It's all based on your budget. We're sensitive to that and will make sure you get a good value for your money."

On safari.
On safari.

Most visitors arrive in Nairobi, where Uniglobe Silverbird picks them up. "If you arrive at night, we'll take you to a hotel and you start the safari the following day," Caroline explains. "For example, we might take you to the Masai Mara, where we arrange for you to visit Masai villages and see the people. From there, you might go to Lake Nakuru in the Great Rift Valley, which is famous for its flamingos. There are over 1,000 bird species there. Then we might pass through Nairobi and Amboseli National Park, in the foothills of Kilimanjaro. We'll spend the night there, then take you down to Shaba, where 'Out of Africa' was filmed."

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2898

For more information visit www.silverbirdsafari-africa.com


Link to this segment

Michael Smith, Manager, Rental in Rome, Rome, Italy.
www.rentalinrome.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show stay in Rome with Michael Smith, Manager of Rental in Rome in Rome, Italy. Michael is originally from Kansas City but eventually found his way to Rome. "I was dating a girl who studied art in Florence, so I went to visit her, traveled around Italy, fell in love with the country, and decided to go back," he recalls. "I packed up and moved after doing a master's in business administration. You can take that anywhere you go – so now I'm in Rome."

View from Medici Noble Penthouse.
View from Medici Noble Penthouse.

Rental in Rome has over 500 apartments in the city's historic center that rent for a minimum of 3 nights. "We compete with hotels but offer more space and full kitchens, so you can cook," explains Michael. "You get to live a bit like a Roman, so it's a great cultural experience." In Florence and Venice, the company does villa and castle rentals as well. There are a range of rental properties, from 2-star to 5-star.

Gourmet kitchen and laundry.
Gourmet kitchen and laundry.

During the low season, studio apartment rentals start at 59 euros per night. "A good target is about 120 euros for a great apartment in a great location near the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Coliseum," Michael says. "A lot of them have a couple bedrooms, so it's a good deal for families." There are six different castles in the region surrounding Rome; travelers can rent individual suites in the castle starting from 160 euros per night. "That's just a room in a castle, but it's still very accessible," he adds.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1392

For more information visit www.rentalinrome.com


Link to this segment

Patrice Salleze, Owner and Founder, Papavero Villa Rentals.
www.pvillarentals.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show experience Italy with Patrice Salezze, Owner and Founder of Papavero Villa Rentals. Patrice is third-generation Italian-American and the former owner of Appennino Ristorante in Allentown, Pennsylvania, which she started in 1982 and sold in 1999. "It was Appennino Ristorante – not Ristorante Appennino, which is right – because my father said we had to be first in the phone book," says Patrice.

Leaning tower of Pisa, Italy.
Leaning tower of Pisa, Italy.

After selling the restaurant, Patrice and her mother spent 3 months traveling around Italy, renting homes and spending 2 weeks in each location. "I didn't want to stay with relatives and be an inconvenience," she says. "So we rented and just went from one to another. My mother said to me, 'You know, you should do this for a living.' I was in Italy enjoying myself! But when I got home, my clients would call, wanting recommendations. So I was giving tips on where to go and where to stay."

Orvieto Cathedrale. Image (c) Italy Hotline Custom & Gourmet Tours.
Orvieto Cathedrale. Image (c) Italy Hotline Custom & Gourmet Tours.

Although Patrice was planning to start a new job, she deferred and spent another 3 months in Italy. "I spent the spring in the Mugello area," she explains. "It's about 35 minutes north of Florence – it was just perfect. I fell in love with Italy again, saw it in a different light. I came home and worked for a while, but then realized, why not work for myself again? I speak the language, know the people, know it inside and out, and love what I do."

Ruins. Image (c) Italy Hotline Custom & Gourmet Tours.
Ruins. Image (c) Italy Hotline Custom & Gourmet Tours.

Patrice started Papavero Villa Rentals in 2003 and hasn't looked back. The company currently has about 315 villas and an online catalogue of properties. Patrice visits Italy 6 times a year to keep an eye on the villas. "Our criteria are very strict," she says. "We cater to Americans, so we make sure the plumbing is good, turn on the showers, run the taps, sit on the bed, and even sleep in many of the villas. We also make recommendations to the villa owners. Some are a little hesitant, but we have such a good reputation now that they'll usually make the changes to accommodate Americans."

Italian view. Image (c) Italy Hotline Custom & Gourmet Tours.
Italian view. Image (c) Italy Hotline Custom & Gourmet Tours.

Villa rentals run from $900 per week for a 1-bedroom apartment in Rome or Florence to $175,000 per week for a huge villa with 5-star service. "The best rentals are 3 to 4 bedrooms with a pool, maybe 4 bathrooms, a beautiful yard and terrace, about $4,000 to $5,000 per week," Patrice advises. "Every owner and house are different. Our requirement is that the house be comfortable and charming – it doesn't have to be luxurious." Stephanie adds that villa rentals are particularly convenient for families or groups of friends traveling together.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2904

For more information visit www.pvillarentals.com


Link to this segment

Tuba Tekeli, General Manager, Hotel Sumahan, Istanbul, Turkey.
www.sumahan.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show visit with Tuba Tekeli, General Manager of Hotel Sumahan in Istanbul, Turkey. Although Hotel Sumahan has been open for over 5 years, Tuba has been with the property since the beginning – this is her 7th year as general manager. Stephanie was introduced to Tuba by George Paldi of the Regency Suites in Budapest, Hungary.

Lounge at Hotel Sumahan, Istanbul, Turkey.
Lounge at Hotel Sumahan, Istanbul, Turkey.

Why should visitors choose Hotel Sumahan? "It's in a very good location, with one of the best views in Istanbul," says Tuba. "You can see the Bosphorus Bridge and old city right across from you. We only have 20 rooms, and they all have the same view." On the Bosphorus Strait, which divides the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, guests can watch small fishing boats pass alongside larger vessels.

Room at Hotel Sumahan, Istanbul, Turkey.
Room at Hotel Sumahan, Istanbul, Turkey.

Hotel Sumahan is a 5-star luxury hotel with 2 restaurants on the premises and a wellness center with Turkish bath, hamam, and massage room. The Kordon Restaurant specializes in seafood and serves very fresh seafood and fish, while the Waterfront Terrace Restaurant features Turkish and international cuisine. Most of the 20 guest rooms are doubles, but a few are 2-story family loft suites. The upper story has accommodations for parents, while the lower level has bedrooms and a bathroom for the kids. Family suites also have a garden door that opens onto the hotel gardens and Bosphorus views.

Waterside view at Hotel Sumahan, Istanbul, Turkey.
Waterside view at Hotel Sumahan, Istanbul, Turkey.

It's easy to reach popular tourist attractions like Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia from Hotel Sumahan. "We're on the Asian side of the city, so by car, you would take a bridge to reach these sights," explains Tuba. "The journey takes 40 minutes in heavy traffic, but in light traffic, it takes as little as 15 minutes." Fortunately, the hotel has its own boat, which crosses the Bosphorus in 15 minutes as part of its daily scheduled complimentary service.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3202

For more information visit www.sumahan.com


Guests Include:

Caroline Malinda, Managing Director, Uniglobe Silverbird Travel, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa.
www.silverbirdsafari-africa.com

Michael Smith, Manager, Rental in Rome, Rome, Italy.
www.rentalinrome.com

Patrice Salleze, Owner and Founder, Papavero Villa Rentals.
www.pvillarentals.com

Tuba Tekeli, General Manager, Hotel Sumahan, Istanbul, Turkey.
www.sumahan.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Baoshi Jin, Assistant Director, China National tourist Office, New York City, New York, USA.
www.cnto.org

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show start the hour with Baoshi Jin, Assistant Director of the China National Tourist Office in New York City, New York. Baoshi has lived in New York for 2 years, but previously worked in the China National Tourist Office in Beijing for 5 years. As an international trade major, he learned English at school. "I practiced with students from America and had a foreign teacher from Ireland, so I was able to talk with them," he says. "I also listened to a lot of American radio – that's why I picked up the American accent, not the Irish one."

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams at the Forbidden City in China.
Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams at the Forbidden City in China.

Stephanie points out that tourism has really progressed in China thanks to the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. This year, there are no international events, but Baoshi recommends a flower expo in May and June. "Chinese people like flowers," he says. "During springtime, every family buys different flowers for their homes." Unfortunately, Baoshi missed the World Expo because he was working in New York.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams in China.
Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams in China.

What should American travelers know about China? "It's affordable," says Baoshi. "The U.S. dollar is still worth about 6.6 Chinese yuan. So in China, you can buy for $1 what you could buy with $6 in the U.S. China is more accessible than before, too. We have nonstop direct flights from Newark and JFK daily with Continental, Cathay Pacific, Air China, and more." He adds that China is already a popular destination with Americans – every year, nearly 2 million Americans visit China, and only 1/3 of those are traveling for business.

Stone Forest in Kuming China.
Stone Forest in Kuming China.

Besides affordability and accessibility, China has a long history and culture to offer. "It's a major draw for visitors. We now have 40 heritage sites listed by UNESCO, which is third in the world," says Baoshi. "We've already seen a lot of cultural tourism, but we want to bring more guests to China to see that." Baoshi reminds travelers, though, that China is a huge country and can't be seen in just one trip. "For the first time visitor, you probably want to pick what you really want to see, whether it's the Great Wall, the terracotta soldiers, or Shanghai," he adds.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3203

For more information visit www.www.cnto.org


Link to this segment

Jessica McDonald, Marketing Executive, Destination Bristol, Bristol, England, UK.
www.destinationbristol.co.uk

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show chat with Jessica McDonald, Marketing Executive for Destination Bristol in Bristol, England, United Kingdom. Jessica is an American who has lived in the UK for the last 2 years. "I married a Brit, but I chose Bristol specifically because I enjoy it so much," she says. Bristol is just 90 minutes southwest of London by train and served by a major railway. The city is also 15 minutes west of Bath and close to Cardiff, in Wales.

Bristol Bridge.
Bristol Bridge.

"Both Bath and Bristol have amazing Georgian and Victorian architecture," says Jessica. "Bristol is much larger, so people usually base themselves here, then stop by Bath for a day or two." Bristol is well known for the churches and cathedrals built during its 1,000-year history, as well as a historic harbor. Destination Bristol offers both Sacred Bristol, a tour of those churches, and a major city sightseeing tour that includes stops at the landmark Clifton Suspension Bridge. There's even a Banksy walking tour, which takes visitors to see works by the famous graffiti artist.

Hippodrome Historic Theatre.
Hippodrome Historic Theatre.

Bristol is also home to the Bristol Zoo Gardens, the world's fifth oldest zoo. This year, the zoo celebrates its 175th anniversary with a range of events, including the launch of artistic displays of gorillas throughout the city. "It's a small zoo compared to many because it's so old, but they're launching new exhibitions this year, like the meerkat manor," says Jessica. "Obviously it's much different now than when the Zoo Gardens started, and today it's known as an outstanding conservation organization."

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2899

For more information visit www.destinationbristol.co.uk


Link to this segment

Erin Filerecki, Media Relations Director, Norfolk Convention & Visitors Bureau, Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
www.visitnorfolktoday.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show talk waterfront festivals and Tiffany stained glass with Erin Filarecki, Media Relations Director for the Norfolk Convention and Visitors Bureau in Norfolk, Virginia. Norfolk is part of the Newport News and Virginia Beach region and is surrounded by water on 3 sides. Starting in June 2011, Norfolk will be served by an 8-mile light rail system that runs from the Eastern Virginia Medical School in the historic Ghent district halfway to Virginia Beach. It makes 8 stops along the way in several downtown spots.

Norfolk Virginia.
Norfolk Virginia.

The Norfolk bureau has partnered with the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and a culinary tour company to create Coastal Food Tours of Virginia. Starting on April 1, 2011, visitors will be able to take 2 food tours of Norfolk: one on Granby Street, the city's restaurant row, and one in Ghent, the city's historic district. Each tour will offer menus at 5 to 7 different restaurants. Erin recommends trying the dishes with Lynnhaven oysters, a local specialty.

Norfolk Virginia.
Norfolk Virginia.

Norfolk hosts several food and drink festivals throughout the year, from Bayou Boogaloo, which features Cajun seafood, to a parade of sails and the Virginia Wine Festival, held every May and October. "It's the largest wine festival in the state," says Erin. "We have 30 to 35 local wineries set up shop right on the waterfront. It's a lovely weekend on the water. We even have boaters' packages, so you can bring your boat up, dock, and enjoy the music. It takes place at Town Point Park, which just underwent a $12 million renovation and is a beautiful green space."

Norfolk Virginia.
Norfolk Virginia.

If it's not festival weather, visitors can explore the Chrysler Museum of Art. "It's one of the top 10 art museums in the country and it's free to the public," Erin explains. "It has one of the two largest Tiffany glass exhibits in the nation. Walter Chrysler was heir to the auto fortune and had a love of glass. He collected everything from the tiniest figurine to gorgeous chandeliers and stained glass windows. So you'll find a little bit of everything there."

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2900

For more information visit www.visitnorfolktoday.com


Link to this segment

John Hanley, CEO, Nevis Tourism Authority, Nevis, West Indies, Caribbean.
www.nevisisland.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show get some sunshine with John Hanley, CEO of the Nevis Tourism Authority. Nevis is in the West Indies in the Caribbean. Why should travelers choose this Caribbean destination? "We emphasize its genuine Caribbean-ness," says John. "It's an authentic destination, known for being quiet, serene, and tranquil. It's the perfect place to get away from the city hustle and bustle."

Botanical Gardens in Nevis.
Botanical Gardens in Nevis.

Nevis also has a strong history and culture and a rich heritage. "We have unique plantation inns, which are former sugar plantations converted to honeymoon suites," says John. "We also have the Bath Hotel, which was built in the 1700s in an area with a geothermal spring known for its natural healing properties." This tiny island was also the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton; today there is a museum on Nevis dedicated to his life.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2912

For more information visit www.nevisisland.com


Guests Include:

Baoshi Jin, Assistant Director, China National tourist Office, New York City, New York, USA.
www.cnto.org

Jessica McDonald, Marketing Executive, Destination Bristol, Bristol, England, UK.
www.destinationbristol.co.uk

Erin Filerecki, Media Relations Director, Norfolk Convention & Visitors Bureau, Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
www.visitnorfolktoday.com

John Hanley, CEO, Nevis Tourism Authority, Nevis, West Indies, Caribbean.
www.nevisisland.com

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