Tripadvisor’s most popular world destination for 2022 is …


(CNN) — Tripadvisor says a 20th-century fishing village that’ has boomed into a 21st-century global hot spot for high-end travel is its most popular destination in the world for 2022.

The travel platform has just released its Travelers’ Choice Awards for 2022: The Best of the Best Destinations.

While ultramodern Dubai snags the top spot, it’s not the only Middle Eastern entry. And this year’s list ranges from European stalwarts to coveted tropical and desert getaways.

Top 10 most popular destinations in the world

These are Tripadvisor’s highest-rated, most-loved overall places for 2022:

1. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
2. London, United Kingdom
3. Cancún, Mexico
4. Bali, Indonesia
5. Crete, Greece
6. Rome, Italy
7. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
8. Istanbul, Turkey
9. Paris, France
10. Hurghada, Egypt

Why Dubai?

A restaurant cruiser sails by the Dubai Marina Beach.

A restaurant cruiser sails by the Dubai Marina Beach.

Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images

“An always popular spot, Dubai has been slowly rising in the ranks of Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards over the past few years, and now in 2022 takes the crown of the number one most popular destination in the world,” said Justin Reid, director of media, destinations and travel at Tripadvisor, in an email to CNN Travel.

“Dubai is an ultramodern city that has it all: golden beaches, world-class dining, and gorgeous hotels. Since the Travelers’ Choice Awards are based on reviews of places to go, stay and things to do in destinations, to rank as the world’s best means a destination has obtained stellar traveler reviews across all of its tourism sectors,” Reid said.

“Despite the effects of the pandemic, Dubai still attracted visitors from near and far over the past year, and has stood out as their favorite place to go in a year when they really needed some excitement,” he said.

For people who want to join the in-crowd in Dubai this year, rules for entry can be a bit complicated and depend on where you’re coming from.

The United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part, has opened applications for tourist visas to vaccinated travelers from all countries, apart from a dozen African nations.

Passengers arriving into Dubai from most countries must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival, but that’s trimmed to 48 hours for arrivals from select destinations.

As of January 18, the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention put the travel risk for the United Arab Emirates at Level 3, or “high” risk for Covid-19. The CDC makes weekly updates to its rankings.

Top 10 trending destinations in the world

Tourists sunbathe at Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca on June 7, 2021

Mallorca (also spelled Majorca) is the No. 1 trending travel spot for 2022. Here, tourists enjoy Palma Beach.

JAIME REINA/AFP via Getty Images

The trending destinations category is for the locations that showed the greatest year-over-year increase in a combination of positive Tripadvisor traveler reviews and ratings for accommodations, restaurants and things to do. These are the top 10:

1. Mallorca, Spain
2. Cairo, Egypt
3. Rhodes, Greece
4. Tulum, Mexico
5. Dubrovnik, Croatia
6. Ibiza, Spain
7. Natal, Brazil
8. Arusha, Tanzania
9. Göreme, Turkey
10. Santorini, Greece

The general Mediterranean basin does quite well here with seven entries, and sun-soaked destinations dominate.

Top 10 most popular destinations the United States

underscored las vegas sign

What happens in Vegas is of great interested to Tripadvisor reviewers. It’s come out No. 1 for US destinations.

bluejayphoto/iStockphoto/Getty Images/iStockphoto

America’s favorite gambling city tops the US list for 2022, and warm-weather getaways are clearly a big draw with Tripadvisor users:

1. Las Vegas, Nevada
2. Oahu, Hawaii
3. Maui, Hawaii
4. Key West, Florida
5. New York City, New York
6. New Orleans, Louisiana
7. Savannah, Georgia
8. Miami Beach, Florida
9. Nashville, Tennessee
10. Sedona, Arizona

Meanwhile, the Island of Hawaii, the biggest island in the state of Hawaii, is the No. 1 trending location in the United States for 2022.

Other categories

Along with its broader categories, Tripadvisor also features favorites in specialty categories. Tops in those are:

Food lovers: Rome, Italy
Outdoor enthusiasts: Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Skiers: Zermatt, Switzerland
City lovers: Dubai
Sun seekers: Cancún

How the locations are chosen

According to Tripadvisor, the selections honor the locations that are the most popular among their reviewers.

The methodology took into account quality and volume of reviews over the period from November 1, 2020, to October 31, 2021, “to select destinations that consistently deliver the best overall experience for travelers,” it said.



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Our 20 Most Popular Travel News Stories From 2021


At TravelAwaits, we strive to provide our readers with relevant content that will inspire their future travels. In addition to great articles showcasing all of the wonderful things to do in locales from around the world, we are also dedicated to keeping you on top of the newest trends and updates from the travel industry. From landscape altering catastrophes to updated stats on key retirement destinations, our team was busy in 2021 ensuring you didn’t miss a thing. As the year draws to a close, we wanted to share our most popular travel news stories and look back at some of the harder hitting — or at the very least, engaging — news stories from this year as we look ahead to 2022.

Rocky Mountaineer train in Canada
Albert Pego / Shutterstock.com

1. Luxury Train Line Now Operating On One Of The Most Beautiful Routes In The U.S.

Canadian-based luxury train line, Rocky Mountaineer, began its inaugural season in the U.S. back in September. Passengers should expect the same stellar service and magnificent views this Canadian line is known for, but now with access in the U.S. for those not able to travel easily to Canada. Read more about where this new line will take passengers, and what to expect for future seasons.

Line of parked Delta airplanes
Felipe Sanchez / Shutterstock.com

2. Delta Flight Crew Finds Letter Left In Cockpit Calling It A Pandemic Time Capsule

Air travel came to a screeching halt in 2020, and while it did resume that same year, some planes remained out of use until 2021. One such Delta plane — the last out of its arid California desert storage — held a surprise for the flight crew that brought it out of its unexpected sabbatical. Tucked into the tray table was a note left by the last to pilot the aircraft — 435 days prior. Learn more and read the letter that the Delta crew called a pandemic time capsule.

Famous Darwin's Arch in Galapagos in Ecuador
Hakbak / Shutterstock.com

3. Famous Galapagos Islands Arch Formation Collapses Into Ocean

While time appeared to stand still for humanity in the midst of the pandemic, it never-the-less marched onward. Darwin’s Arch in the Galapagos Islands learned this first hand when it lost its long-held battle with erosion and collapsed into the ocean, forever changing this famous landscape. This was a shocker for many, including those that saw it happen before their very eyes. For more details — and a look at what it looks like today — have a look at our report of the incident from back in May.

Canadian border crossing
AP Group of Photographers / Shutterstock.com

4. Canadian Border Reopening: Everything Visitors Need To Know

Canada became off-limits to U.S. travelers early in 2020 in hopes of reducing transmission of COVID-19. The border remained closed for more than a year. Then, in August of 2021, that all changed when the border opened once more for non-essential travel. While the info in this article is already at least partially out of date (always check the state department’s website for the most up-to-date details and travel restrictions) take a look back at this momentous news story for many desiring to travel to our neighbors in the north.

Sunset at Hapuna Beach in Hawaii.
A. Emson / Shutterstock.com

5. Dr. Beach Announces His 2021 Best Beaches List

TravelAwaits‘ readers were chomping at the bit to learn Dr. Beach’s picks for the best beaches in 2021; our article revealing his picks was one of our more popular articles all year. This coastal ecologist and university professor has evaluated what makes a beach truly pristine for decades and has released his findings each of the last 30 years. Our release showcases his top picks for 2021 and provides more details on the specific criterion used to make his selections.

Snowy ski trail in Minnesota
Vladimir Daragan / Shutterstock.com

6. The Farmers’ Almanac Says We’re In For A Long, Cold Winter

A more recent news story shared this month provides insight into the weather we should expect during the winter ahead, at least according to one source. The Farmer’s Almanac claims we are in for a long, cold winter in 2022. While no one can predict the future with certainty, the almanac does reportedly have an 80 percent accuracy rate over its 2 centuries of publication which is quite impressive.

Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park .
blewulis / Shutterstock.com

7. The Most Expensive Places To Live Near U.S. National Parks

Proximity to breathtaking beauty and natural wonder doesn’t come cheap. In fact, the closer you get to some national parks, you may find the cost of living skyrocketing. Can you afford to live near a national park? See the full list to learn which national parks are the most expensive to live near. If you are a little tight on cash, you can also scroll down to the 10th most popular news article on our list to take a look at the most affordable.

A colorful street in Malta.

Daniel.Petras14 / Shutterstock.com

8. The Best Islands In The World To Retire On In 2021

Many fantasize about leaving everything behind and retiring on a tropical island someday. For some, this is a pipe-dream at best, but you might be surprised at just how affordable some island locales can actually be. In April, our team reported on an International Living release of the best islands in the world to retire on; see our full list for more details if you need a starting point for your retirement research.

Kyrenia Castle in Northern Cyprus.
Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock.com

9. This Country Has The Cleanest Waters In The European Union

Considering the cleanliness of swimming water likely does not top your list of factors to consider when scheduling a trip, but maybe it should. The European Environment Agency released their report comparing numerous water samples from each EU member state — as well as three additional nations. Learn which country has the cleanest water in the EU. You might want to see who falls to the bottom of the list as well.

Mount Ranier National Park
Roman Khomlyak / Shutterstock.com

10. The Most Affordable Places To Live Near U.S. National Parks

You may recall that we discussed how expensive it can be to live near a U.S. national park; some are outright cost prohibitive. However, not all parks are equal in this regard. There are even some parks that tout affordable housing nearby. Where can you find these hidden real estate gems? Our full list showcases the most affordable places to live near U.S. national parks.

Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

Manamana / Shutterstock

11. The Least Visited U.S. National Parks In 2020

Over 237 million visitors experienced a national park in 2020. The great outdoors was certainly the place to be. While many parks were overwhelmed with the stronger demand, many of the more remote parks remained far less crowded. If you are looking for a quieter trek through nature, consider one of these least visited U.S. national parks for your next national park excursion.

U.S. Passport with Global Entry info
Evgenia Parajanian / Shutterstock.com

12. TSA PreCheck Vs. Clear Vs. Global Entry: What’s The Difference?

Navigating through airport security can be tedious. Ensuring you have everything you need — and nothing that you don’t — is crucial, as is arriving with ample time to spare to ensure security doesn’t force you to miss your flight. Our team compared a few of the top trusted traveler programs available to determine what really sets them apart.

Pro Tip: As mentioned, airport security can be a scary place. Come prepared and know what is allowed before you arrive. You might even be surprised at what can be brought on as a carry-on.

The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas
Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.com

13. Two Major Las Vegas Strip Resorts Putting Hotels Up For Sale

This past year saw two major Las Vegas hotels put up for sale. The two largest players in town — MGM and Caesars — both announced plans to unload one property each from their impressive portfolios. Discover which hotels may be under new management in 2022 as you plan your next Vegas getaway.

Porto, Portugal
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

14. The Best Places To Retire Internationally In 2021

International Living Magazine releases its updated list of the best places to retire around the world in January of each year. We had the pleasure of sharing the list with our readers last January and were amazed at the level of detail International Living puts into its research. Check out its 2021 list for yourself, and keep your eyes open next month when we reveal its 2022 list!

Virgin Hotel, Las Vegas
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas

15. Peek Inside The Sleek New Las Vegas Resort With No Resort Fees

When you check into a hotel, you expect basic amenities to be included in your stay. This is not always the case at Vegas area resorts where such commonplace amenities and services like Wi-Fi and a basic fitness center will cost you extra. Learn more about how one sleek new Las Vegas resort has promised to do away with such fees.

House decorated for Christmas
romakoma / Shutterstock.com

16. FAA Has A Warning For Anyone Decorating Their Home For The Holidays

No, the FAA is not out to steal your fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. However, this warning isn’t just directed at the Clark Griswold’s of the world blinding neighbors — and more importantly pilots — with their 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights. No, an increasingly common holiday decoration is to blame, and it has cost some homeowners over $30,000 in fines! Learn more here to ensure you stay out of hot water with the feds this holiday season.

Visitors lined up at Grand Teton National Park in 2020
Michael Vi / Shutterstock.com

17. Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Parks Set Visitor Records

It’s year 2 of the pandemic and national parks across the U.S. continue to set new records for attendance. This article from May discussed how the neighboring Wyoming parks of Yellowstone and Grand Teton both set new visitor records this April. Learn more about what this spike in attendance could mean for visiting the famous parks in 2022.

Redwood skywalk
Eddy Alexander on behalf of the City of Eureka

18. Longest Skywalk In Western U.S. Gives Visitors Unique View Of Beautiful Redwoods

Just staring up at the mighty redwoods of northern California will take your breath away. However, an exciting new experience opened at Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka, California, which will enrich this experience further. Visitors will climb 100 feet into the air where they can look down at the ground or up to the canopy above. Learn more about this exciting excursion.

Artist's rendering of Disney Starcuiser
Photo Credit: Disney

19. Disney Unveils New Characters For Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Experience

Disney’s Galactic Starcruiser hotel made news throughout the year: We provided a first look inside the upcoming immersive experience, revealed how opening day was being delayed, and highlighted the eye-popping price tag that guests will face when this new battle station — err, hotel — becomes fully operational. With an official opening day on the books, make sure to get to know the new Star Wars characters set to make their debut at Disney in 2022.

Hammerhead shark
Shane Gross / Shutterstock.com

20. Hammerhead Sharks Spotted Near Swimmers, Boaters Off Florida’s Coast

And what news roundup would be complete without a shark sighting. Over Memorial Day weekend, several hammerhead sharks were spotted in the water near Pensacola, Florida. One witness filmed as the hefty hammerheads swam within feet of their boat in waist-high water with swimmers only feet away. You can find the video as well as more details on this heart-pumping brush with nature in our post from June.

As 2021 comes to a close, we can now look ahead to what news the travel world will bring us in 2022. From national parks and wildlife encounters to hotel openings and heartwarming stories, TravelAwaits is ready to bring you all the news you need to plan your next trip right to your screen. Happy travels!



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This Popular Cruise Line Is Having Its Best. Sale. Ever.


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    We’re almost to Wave Season, the first 3 months of the year when cruise lines and travel agents book the most cruise reservations. After losing almost 2 years on the sea, companies are cruising into this season at full speed, many offering the lowest prices in years.

    Princess Cruise Lines is no different and, in hopes of bringing travelers back to their ships, they announced their Best. Sale. Ever. Although this sale runs through the first 2 months of Wave Season, you need to act fast to secure these incredible deals.

    Cruises are notorious for promoting their “all-inclusive” voyage prices, which aren’t all that all-inclusive once you look at the fine print. Sure, most of the basic food is included, but if you plan to enjoy a few cocktails while at sea, that’s going to cost you. If you plan to check emails while traveling, the WiFi will be an upcharge. Heck, even soda costs extra, so we hope you enjoy water and juice!

    That’s why this Princess Cruise deal is extra sweet. Their sale includes five(!) extra perks with the price of the voyage. Princess’s Best. Sale. Ever. gives guests the following amenities for free with their cruise booking: Premier Beverage Package, fast WiFi, crew gratuities, immediate stateroom upgrades, and specialty dining upgrades.

    We couldn’t believe it; charging extra for these amenities is how cruise lines are able to keep their basic prices so low! So, we tested the waters.

    For a 7-day Northern Alaska cruise, the base price for an interior stateroom is $799 per person. Here’s how it broke down:*

    • Guest 1: $799
    • Port Fees Guest 1: $240
    • Premier Beverage Package: $495.53
    • Specialty Dining: $29
    • Onboard WiFi: $69.79
    • Crew Gratuities: $101
    • Stateroom Location Upgrade: price varies

    *Please note that all prices above are quoted on double occupancy.

    If you pulled out your phone to calculate the total cost above, don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you. This cruise, plus all the Princess perks, should retail for $1,734.32 per person. However, thanks to the Best. Sale. Ever., you instantly save $695.32 without losing a single amenity! That makes this bucket list Alaska cruise, complete with all the food, drinks, and WiFi you can consume, costing a grand total of $1,039 per person. That’s over 40 percent off! It’s time to hit the high seas.

    For more cruising travel news:



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    Ryanair cancels flights to popular winter holiday destinations in January | Travel News | Travel


    A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “The impact of these recent Government travel restrictions, in particular last weekend’s ban on UK arrivals into France and Germany, and the suspension of all EU flights to/from Morocco, has lowered Ryanair’s expected December traffic from between 10 to 11 million, to a lower range of nine to 9.5 million.

    “In responding to these restrictions, Ryanair has now cut its January capacity by 33 percent, reducing its expected January traffic from approximately 10 million to 6-7 million.”

    Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, has called anti-vaxxers “idiots” in a tirade against people who have chosen not to be vaccinated.

    READ MORE: Spain holidays: British tourists face curfew in one region





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    Grievances no more? How one Alabama city plans to fix intersection into popular Chick-fil-A drive-thru


    Airing of the grievances is tradition on the made-up holiday, “Festivus,” created by the TV show Seinfeld in 1997.

    But on any day outside the Chick-fil-A in Daphne, you don’t have to go far to hear the grumbling from those who flock to a congested drive-thru daily for their chicken sandwiches.

    “Horrible” and “dangerous” were words that described the traffic pattern in and around the eatery during the lunch hour on Thursday, two days before Christmas as shoppers also flocked to a nearby Target store.

    “It’s one of the best Chick-fil-A’s that is not on an interstate,” Daphne Mayor Robin LeJeune said. “It’s a huge success. But our concerns are getting people in and out safely.”

    Read more:

    The city and the Alabama Department of Transportation, guided by the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), are moving forward on a $2.3 million project that will create a new interchange into the Target parking lot and eliminate a dangerous access road onto U.S. 98 from Chick-fil-A.

    A small step was taken on Monday when the Daphne City Council approved a property swap agreement with Target. The city, as part of a land exchange agreement, will obtain a section of Target’s property so it can move ahead with the project. In return, the city gave Target a piece of property so the company can install a new sign along U.S. 98.

    The overall goal is to move ahead with a project that could save lives by preventing traffic on U.S. 98.

    “That’s a very dangerous strip of roadway along Highway 98, with a lot of traffic movements, crisscrossing of the roads coming onto the highway and … because of the various businesses in that area, the city and ALDOT are enacting an access management plan to allow for safer traffic movements along the corridor,” said Troy Strunk, director of city development with the city of Daphne.

    The focus in a short, but heavily traveled section of U.S. 98 from Baldwin County Route 64/Daphne Avenue to Van Avenue near Terry Thompson Chevrolet. Close to 35,000 vehicles travel along Route 98 near the busy Route 64 intersection where Target is located.

    The project’s main features include:

    • The creation of a new signalized interchange at Lavender Lane, which leads motorists to the Daphne police headquarters and municipal court.
    • A new road will be created off Lavender Lane leading motorists to Target and a series of businesses including Wacky Shrimp and Chick-fil-A. That road will snake behind the two eateries. Strunk said the road will create a “full movement intersection for Target.”
    • The current access onto U.S. 98 from Target and Chick-fil-A will only allow for northbound travel and will end the dangerous southbound option toward Fairhope that city officials blame for traffic crashes that occur along U.S. 98.
    U.S. 98 map

    A Google map snapshot of the area that will be included in an estimated $2.3 million project to improve access into and out of a shopping center in Daphne, Ala., that includes a Target and a popular Chick-fil-A. (Google maps)

    “We’ve seen fatalities,” LeJeune said. “This will make access to the current Chick-fil-A a right-in and right-out only. You won’t be able to turn left onto (U.S.) 98 anymore. You will have to go to the light.”

    The project is included in the MPO’s fiscal year 2020-2023 Transportation Improvement Program or TIP – the short-term planning document for the organization. Placing a project into an MPO’s TIP makes it eligible for federal transportation money and elevates it as a priority for regional planners and politicians.

    The “local match” for the project is $466,160, of which $450,000 has been dedicated by ALDOT to Daphne for its construction.

    Strunk said he’s unsure on a timeline. He said the final engineering drawings are being crafted and submitted to ALDOT for review. It could be more than six months before the project’s bids are awarded to a contractor, with construction beginning in the fall 2022.

    The entire project would then be completed in 2023.

    That means, at least one more Festivus to air those traffic grievances while trying to access the Chick-fil-A drive-thru.

    “We’ve had issues there with the amount of traffic and growth we’ve seen as a city,” said LeJeune, referring to Daphne’s 27% growth between the 2010 and 2020 U.S. Census counts. “ALDOT has seen the same issues. We’re trying to address it.”





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    7 popular Western desserts Japanese chefs have made their own


    (CNN) — Japan has long been famous internationally for its diverse and delicious eats, from sushi to ramen, with such staples appearing on menus around the world.

    But in recent years word has also spread about its expertise in another culinary arena — cakes and pastries. The country’s chefs have taken many of the traditionally “Western” desserts known and loved around the world and elevated them to new heights.

    Unlike Japanese sweets — called wagashi — Western-style confectioneries, referred to as “yogashi,” are made mostly of flour and sugar. But Japanese versions are generally less sweet compared to their Western counterparts.

    Many of the classic yogashi that are popular in the West made their way to Japan centuries ago and have since been adapted, perfected and popularized. Some of the bigger dessert brands have already opened chains in other cities throughout Asia, from Bangkok to Taipei.

    “In Japanese sweets making, there is a tendency to incorporate improvements … Japan is good at using local ingredients and expressing the tastes of the season while incorporating Western techniques and combinations,” says Kengo Akabame, pastry chef at Imperial Hotel Tokyo.
    Akabame was part of the Japanese team that competed at this year’s Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie, or the Pastry World Cup, and walked away with the silver prize.

    “I think that the point of trying to create new things while incorporating (classic methods) leads to further evolution,” says Akabame.

    Hideo Kawamoto is president of Juchheim Group, one of the oldest confectionery brands in Japan. He agrees that the freedom to experiment has helped the country’s chefs build one successful dessert product after another.

    “Japanese customers like to taste as much as they can, and know their favorites. Through these competitive markets, some chefs get to a famous position and create popular products,” Kawamoto tells CNN Travel.

    Given Japan’s status as a leading travel destination prior to the pandemic, a successful new take on a cake would often quickly become trendy in other Asian countries.

    Here are some of the popular cakes and desserts Japanese chefs have made their own.

    Strawberry shortcake

    Japan's strawberry shortcake has become a popular winter cake around Asia. Here's the version at Good Good, a Hong Kong bakery.

    Japan’s strawberry shortcake has become a popular winter cake around Asia. Here’s the version at Good Good, a Hong Kong bakery.

    Good Good

    Among the most iconic yogashi in Japan is the classic strawberry shortcake, and many credit Rin’emon Fujii, founder of Fujiya — Japan’s first nationwide Western-style cake shop chain — for its popularity.

    After establishing a confectionery shop in Yokohama in 1910, Fujii went to the United States to hone his pastry skills and knowledge. It was there that he tried strawberry shortcake for the first time and fell in love.

    A year later, Fujii returned to Japan to create his version: an airy and fluffy layered sponge cake coated with velvety cream and topped with candied strawberries.

    Considered a luxury to be indulged on special occasions, the festive-colored dessert is now synonymous with Christmas in Japan. Hotels, department stores and bakeries all promote their versions of strawberry shortcakes during the holiday season.

    The tradition and popularity of Japan’s take on the iconic cake has even moved beyond its borders.

    “It’s such a Japanese cake — Europe’s shortcake didn’t take on this style,” says Tammy Chan, dessert chef and founder of Good Good, a cafe in Hong Kong that serves one of the city’s most popular strawberry shortcakes.

    “I put it on our menu every winter as, despite its simplicity, it is a cake that makes you feel so blissful. It’s basic but there is so much room to explore and improve.”

    Baumkuchen

    Japan's Juccheim Group recently invented an AI oven that bakes Baumkuchen over a spit.

    Japan’s Juccheim Group recently invented an AI oven that bakes Baumkuchen over a spit.

    Juchheim Group

    Baked on a spit-like rotisserie, Baumkuchen is a round German cake with golden circular lines resembling a tree’s growth ring (see image at the top of this story).

    “Baumkuchen in Germany is defined by Germany’s Confectionary Handicraft Association. On the other hand, the Japanese one isn’t defined and has many versions created by many chefs,” says Kawamoto when asked to compare the two.

    Though it now symbolizes peace, longevity and everlasting love, Japan’s Baumkuchen had a grim beginning.

    According to legend, in 1909, Karl Juchheim — founder of the Juchheim Group — opened a cake shop in the Chinese city of Jiaozhou, which was under the German concession.

    As World War I broke out, Juchheim — who served as a private in the German army — was sent to internment camps in Japan with his wife. It was there that he started baking and selling the first Baumkuchen cakes in Japan in 1919. After the end of the war, the couple stayed in Japan and opened E. Juchheim in Yokohama in 1922.

    Baumkuchen grew popular in the following decades for different reasons — there was the wedding cake boom in the 1960s, followed by increased demand for local gourmet cakes in the 1980s and the rise of Japanese sponge cakes in the 2000s.

    Today, Juchheim Group has shops across Asia and Baumkuchen has become a staple on Japan’s dessert menus.

    The company even built the world’s first AI oven, called THEO, to cook the cake.

    Castella

    Bunmeido is one of Japan's most famous Castella brands.

    Bunmeido is one of Japan’s most famous Castella brands.

    Bunmeido Tokyo

    The origin story of Castella combines miscommunication and a 500-year-old trade history.

    In 1543, a few Portuguese merchants became the first documented Europeans to reach Japan after a storm blew their ships off course. In the following years, the Portuguese established a trading relationship with Japan.

    During one missionary exchange, a simple bread made of flour, sugar and eggs was introduced to the people of Nagasaki as the “bread from Castile.” It’s said that the locals, who loved the cake, mistook that description as the name and went with it.

    It soon became known locally as “Castella” and grew to become a popular dessert all over the country.

    Nowadays, Castella is made in different flavors — from chocolate to matcha — and the thickly sliced pound cake with a caramelized top goes perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee.

    Bunmeido and Fukusaya are two popular Japanese brands selling these cakes.

    Mont Blanc

    Namashibori Montblanc is a specialty chain that serves Mont Blanc with freshly squeezed chestnut toppings.

    Namashibori Montblanc is a specialty chain that serves Mont Blanc with freshly squeezed chestnut toppings.

    IMM Food Services Inc

    Mont Blanc may make frequent appearances in bakeries worldwide, but few countries have shown as much affection towards this chestnut vermicelli-blanketed dessert as Japan.

    There are even specialty shops for different styles of Mont Blanc — from a six-seater waguri (Japanese chestnut) Mont Blanc store that gives out limited tickets at 9:30 a.m. each morning to Namashibori Montblanc, a chain store that has its own chestnut squeezing machine to ensure maximum freshness.

    In 1933, after the founder experienced an amazing hike at the actual Mont Blanc in France, he asked permission from both the mayor of Chamonix (where Mont Blanc is located) as well as the then-president of Hotel Mont Blanc in the town before naming his Tokyo dessert shop in honor of the delicious treat.

    Cream puffs

    Beard Papa's is one of the biggest Japanese cream puff chains.

    Beard Papa’s is one of the biggest Japanese cream puff chains.

    Beard Papa’s

    Akabame says that in spite of the evolution of so many amazing desserts, his absolute favorite is a classic sweet — cream puffs.

    The pastry chef isn’t alone.

    In a recent study released by Japan’s Seven-Eleven convenience stores, the best-selling sweet is its choux a la crème, known as shu kurimu, locally. It’s a crispy and light pastry with a custard cream filling. (Mont Blanc came third in the same ranking.)

    In the 1850s, Yokohama was a designated foreign settlement and was open to foreigners living and working there. It was there that a French baker introduced Japan to its first cream puffs.

    The sweet soon became a hit, with pastry chefs from around Japan traveling to Yokohama to learn the craft.

    Cheesecake

    Bakery shop Morozoff is believed to have created the first Japanese-style cheesecake in 1969.

    Bakery shop Morozoff is believed to have created the first Japanese-style cheesecake in 1969.

    Morozoff Limited

    Founded by a Russian confectioner in Kobe in 1931, Morozoff started out as a chocolate shop. But it wasn’t until 1969, after then-president Tomotaro Kuzuno sampled a cheesecake in Berlin, that the brand was inspired to create a Japanese version.

    Japanese cheesecakes are often praised for their light and fluffy texture — a marked departure from the dense versions many know and love.

    Souffle cheesecake, also known as dancing cheesecake, is the fluffiest version of all Japanese cheesecake variants. It is so light and airy that it jiggles when it moves.

    It’s usually made by folding cream cheese into a meringue — the froth is made of beaten egg whites, resulting in its uber fluffy texture.

    Souffle pancakes

    Japanese pancake restaurant Flipper's specializes in fluffy souffle pancakes with sumptuous toppings.

    Japanese pancake restaurant Flipper’s specializes in fluffy souffle pancakes with sumptuous toppings.

    Flipper’s

    Similar to the idea of souffle cheesecake, Japan’s souffle pancakes are hotcakes made from meringue, resulting in an extremely airy texture.

    The origins of these delicious and highly photogenic treats are murky, but most would agree that the trend kicked off in Japan in the last five to 10 years.

    Now appearing in Instagram feeds worldwide, these stacks of fluffy, jiggly pancakes — eaten all day, not just at breakfast — accompanied with colorful fruits and cream are available in many specialty stores around the world.

    Among the popular restaurants devoted to souffle pancakes is Flipper’s, which was founded in Japan in 2016. It’s since traveled to New York, with Flipper’s SoHo opening in 2019. Flipper’s Singapore opened its first outlet in 2020.

    Top image credit: Juchheim Group



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    Most popular U.S. tourist destinations for European travelers


    When the U.S. announced plans to lift an 18-month-long travel ban in September, Europeans wasted no time making plans — particularly the Brits.

    In the 24 hours that followed the Sept. 20 announcement, flights from London to New York City were searched 1.4 million times, according to the global travel technology company Travelport, making it the most popular U.S.-bound flight search of the day.

    The route, however, didn’t achieve the most bookings that day.

    Europeans booked the most seats on another route — London to Orlando — according to Travelport, which analyzes bookings made through travel agents and websites like Priceline and Booking.com.

    This “underscores the return of leisure travel demand,” said Katie Cline, a senior director at Travelport.

    A business travel rebound

    The Sept. 20 announcement, which indicated early pandemic-era travel bans would be replaced by vaccination and Covid-testing protocols for international travelers, specified a start month — “early November” — but not an effective date.

    That was enough to send leisure travelers straight to their computers, many of whom booked travel well into the future. Most of the early bookings to Orlando, Florida — home to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort — were for trips in the summer of 2022, said Cline.   

    In the 24 hours that followed the Sept. 20 travel announcement, searches for flights from London to New York City averaged nearly 1,000 per minute.

    Smithlandia Media | Moment | Getty Images

    On Oct. 15, the Biden Administration announced the new rules would start on Nov. 8. That unleashed a torrent of business traveler bookings for trips before the year-end.    

    “After the second announcement, corporate travel from London to New York has almost doubled,” said Cline.  

    Hotel booking data from travel marketing company Adara supports this trend.

    Adara | Booking period Sept. 1 to Nov. 8 | Travel period Nov. 8 to Jan. 9

    European leisure and business travelers booked U.S. hotels at similar rates until mid-October. Thereafter business bookings soared.

    Where Europeans are going

    The popularity of the Orlando route was soon eclipsed, said Cline, by a more expected transatlantic flightpath: London to New York.

    According to Adara, New York City is the top destination for hotel bookings too.

    Adara | Hotel booking: Sept. 1 to Nov. 8 | Travel: Nov. 8 through Jan. 9 for leisure ; Nov. 8 to Dec. 18 for business

    European travelers also favored cities and “sun-centric locations,” the company said.

    Most cities are still attracting less interest from Europeans than in 2019. However, hotel bookings in Phoenix are up 84% among business travelers, while Honolulu is up 139% among leisure travelers, according to Adara. Miami has also returned to its pre-pandemic stride.

    Phoenix appeals to businesses in that it has decent air service, great golfing, sun and outdoor activities.

    Carolyn Corda

    Adara, CCO and CMO

    The ‘need to travel now’

    Since September, the top “origin markets” for travel from Europe to the U.S. are the U.K., Netherlands, France and Germany, according to Adara.

    But Britons are leading the charge, according to Travelport. Its data showed that in the 24 hours after the Sept. 20 travel announcement, U.S.-bound flights from the U.K. were searched more than U.S.-bound flights from all other European countries combined.

    Following the Oct. 15 announcement, flights from the U.K. to the U.S. for Thanksgiving weekend increased by 2,200%. Cline said she believes that’s due to families reuniting for the holidays, as well as Britons who enjoy Black Friday shopping in the United States.

    “Additionally, this underscores the greater trend we’re seeing for ‘the need to travel now,'” she said. “November was the most popular month for travel to the U.S. from Europe, and November 8th — the day of reopening — was the most popular departure date.”

    Recovery is underway

    The uptick in international travel is positive news for the beleaguered travel industry, said Cline, who said it’s “the first time we’ve [had] such a significant growth to transatlantic corporate travel since the pandemic began.”

    The industry is still far from a full recovery, however. Aggregate demand for hotel bookings by travelers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the U.S. is down 43% from 2019, according to Adara.

    British business travelers made half the number of U.S. hotel bookings for 2021 year-end travel as they did in 2019, according to Adara.

    Adara | Booking Sept. 1 to Nov. 2 | Travel Nov. 8 to Dec. 18

    Adara

    Hotel bookings by German (-65%) and Swiss (-56%) business travelers are noticeably down too, while bookings by Israelis (-21%) are closer to pre-pandemic levels.

    Dutch business travelers, however, don’t appear to be sitting on the sidelines. Adara’s data shows U.S. hotels booked from the Netherlands are up 44% this year as compared to 2019.  

    Still, both the speed and duration of the booking surge along with the interest in dense, urban areas are all optimistic signs of a recovery, according to a report issued by Adara in October.

    “We expect these trends to continue to gain momentum,” it said.

    Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal, which owns Universal Orlando Resort, and CNBC.



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    25 Seriously Useful Travel Tips Straight From Locals About Popular Destinations Around The World – Yahoo Lifestyle



    25 Seriously Useful Travel Tips Straight From Locals About Popular Destinations Around The World  Yahoo Lifestyle



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    Expat property trends in ‘popular hotspot’ Dubai- ‘Make significant profits’ | Travel News | Travel


    According to the experts, property prices have declined in recent years across the United Arab Emirates. Sarah-Jane Carter, Head of Marketing at Cavendish Maxwell said: “There has never been a better time to invest in Dubai.”

    Cavendish Maxwell research found that average residential prices in Dubai declined by just over four percent between 2019 and 2020.

    Yet prices grew by over one percent on a quarterly basis suggesting stability in the Dubai housing market.

    Carter said: “This could mean that housing in Dubai can be bought at a relatively low price but will appreciate in value.

    “There is the opportunity to potentially make significant profits as prices begin to rise again in Dubai.”

    According to experts, Investement Expatriates, the Dubai property market is a stable sector “by and large”. 

    READ MORE: Expats: Spain rejects 2,000 residency applications after Brexit

    Carter also told Express.co.uk that while the cost of living can be expensive in Dubai, it’s cheaper than some other global hotspots such as New York.

    Dubai and the UAE as a whole does not have income tax so anyone working in Dubai will receive their whole salary.

    Carter said: “It’s mandatory for employers to provide insurance to employees which can extend to families.

    “Keeping this in mind, compared to other capital cities, such as London, the price of Dubai is relatively reasonable.”

    There are reportedly over 120,000 British citizens living in Dubai.

    DON’T MISS

    Cavendish Maxwell data also found that Dubai’s rental market is in decline, with people choosing to move to bigger spaces after the pandemic.

    However, if potential investors choose bigger properties in popular neighbourhoods, Carter said it isn’t a “bad time” to become a Dubai landlord.

    Villas in the popular areas of Jumeriah Golf Estates, Jumeriah Park, Arabian Ranches and Palm Jumeirah have all performed strongly according to Cavendish Maxwell.

    Jumeirah is a coastal residential area of Dubai and is a popular area with expats working in Dubai.

    “With the length of a guest’s average stay increasing, there’s untapped potential for hotel apartments to grow.

    “While house prices are low this could be a prime time to secure property in the city before a market boom.”

    She added: “The UAE is the wealthiest country in the Middle East, according to new data and Dubai is the richest city.

    “More and more people are being drawn to Dubai and the population is estimated to stand at almost three million in 2021.”





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