Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

7 Apr, 2011

Smithsonian Journeys Lists Top 10 Destinations, Most Popular Vacation Packages

Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution’s travel program, offers new opportunities for travelers to fulfill their lifetime “must-see” destinations. This, and several other great stories in this dispatch.

===============

Click on the headline to go directly to the story.

1. Smithsonian Journeys Lists Top 10 Destinations and Most Popular Vacation Packages for 2011
2. TripAdvisor Announces 2011 Travelers’ Choice Beaches Awards
3. U.S. Consumers Rate Corporations They Trust in the “Reputation Economy”
4. Global Cyber Security Market to Reach $80.02 Billion by 2017
5. New Research Reveals How To Connect with Active and Healthy Consumers
6. Global Cooperatives Movement Gets Boost with International Year, New Logo
7. International Trade Union Movement Launches Worldwide Jobs Pact For Young People
8. UN Forms Partnership With Mediterranean Countries To Save Region’s Forests
9. Development Aid Increases, But With Worrying Trends, OECD Report Shows

==============

Smithsonian Journeys Lists Top 10 Destinations and Most Popular Vacation Packages for 2011

Source: http://www.SmithsonianJourneys.org.

Washington, DC (Vocus/PRWEB) April 05, 2011 — Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution’s travel program, offers new opportunities for travelers to fulfill their lifetime “must-see” destinations. Trends show that more than ever, Americans seek greater cultural immersion when they travel, including a meaningful experience that comes with genuine insight into the culture and history of a destination. Smithsonian’s focus on valuing world cultures translates into the Institution’s travel program through travel experiences that feature special access and top leaders. Plus, the breadth of Smithsonian Journeys’ travel collection can accommodate any style of travel, whether it is land, sea or rail, from luxury to value focus. Full details on all trips can be found at its website http://www.SmithsonianJourneys.org.

Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast. The Adriatic became popular years ago due to its pristine coastline of charming towns and islands, plus significant World Heritage sites. Smithsonian features two small-ship cruises in this region: “Treasures of the Adriatic” (Sept. 12-24) an in-depth luxury experience aboard the 114-guest Corinthian II, and “Splendors of Italy and the Dalmatian Coast” (May 31-June 15), an all-inclusive value cruise aboard the 350-guest Aegean Odyssey.

Italy. Because it is on everyone’s life list, Smithsonian Journeys offers a broad collection of tours and cruises to Italy, each with specific themes and styles of travel. Travelers can choose from 10 unique cruises, such as “Journey of Odysseus: A Voyage from Greece to Italy” (June 18-29). Five in-depth small-group tours focus on just one area (Florence, Venice, Siena, the Amalfi Coast or Sicily), while the comprehensive “Art Treasures of Italy” showcases the arts of Venice, Florence and Rome.

Athens. At the center of western civilization, Athens should be on everyone’s life list. Smithsonian Journeys offers three choice ways to experience it, including two all-inclusive value cruises to the Mediterranean or “City Explorer: Athens” (Oct. 17-29), an in-depth yet leisurely experience.

Istanbul. The only city in the world situated on two continents, Istanbul features a fascinating history of both western and eastern cultures, as reflected by its monuments. Travelers interested in visiting Istanbul and Athens in one trip can choose from Smithsonian’s all-inclusive Mediterranean cruises and its popular “Black Sea” luxury cruise (Aug. 5-16). “Legendary Turkey and the Turquoise Coast” and “Ancient Worlds of Anatolia” are two small-group, air-inclusive tours that travel to Istanbul before moving south to different regions of Turkey. Both have multiple departures in the spring and autumn.

France. Travelers who have not experienced French culture and history will enjoy the comprehensive themes and regions featured in the small-group, air-inclusive “France through the Ages” tour, which travels from Toulouse to Paris. “Sojourn in the Dordogne” provides a closer understanding of the Dordogne region, renowned for prehistoric cave paintings, charming medieval towns, gourmet cuisine and fine wines. Both tours feature multiple departures.

Canadian Rockies. Travelers are drawn worldwide to the magnificence of the Canadian Rockies, celebrated for the region’s pristine alpine lakes, majestic snowcapped mountains and plentiful wildlife. During “A Canadian Rockies Adventure” (Aug. 5-12), Smithsonian travelers stay at top accommodations in Banff and Jasper as they explore the landscape, then enjoy panoramic vistas on a two-day train trip aboard the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer before arriving in Vancouver.

The Great Lakes. Situated between Canada and the United States, the Great Lakes are the largest inland lake system in the world and retain an important history and natural beauty. During “Canadian Splendors” (July 25-Aug. 3), travelers can take a cruise in Canada that features notable cities and charming towns, engineering marvels and the history and natural beauty of Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron.

Alaska. Alaska continues to be at the top of many life lists due to its dramatic natural wonders of calving glaciers, pods of humpback and orca whales and magnificent spruce forests. Travelers can experience it all up-close by kayak, Zodiac and hikes on “Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness” (July 30-Aug. 6), an adventure cruise to Southeast Alaska and the Inside Passage, which also features the comforts of a small-ship cruise.

Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is considered the most spectacular gorge in the world and consequently Grand Canyon National Park merits listing as a World Heritage site. Smithsonian Journeys has taken Americans to this breathtaking site for nearly 40 years. “Grand Canyon Weekend Adventure” (June 17-20 and July 15-18) offers an in-depth weekend experience of the park, which features an overnight rafting trip down the Colorado River and a day at a nearby ranch.

China. Travel to China continues to increase dramatically for many reasons and Smithsonian Journeys has helped Americans get there since the doors opened. Travelers can count on Smithsonian for an in-depth quality experience on two small-group, air-inclusive tours, “Imperial China and the Yangtze” and “Classic China and Tibet,” both featuring multiple departures.

Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. There were approximately 30 million visits from around the world at the Smithsonian in 2009 with more than 188 million visits to the Smithsonian websites. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at 137 million.

TripAdvisor Announces 2011 Travelers’ Choice Beaches Awards

NEWTON, Mass., April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — TripAdvisor, which claims to be the world’s largest travel site*, today announced the winners of its inaugural 2011 Travelers’ Choice Beaches awards. Top beach spots were named in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, the South Pacific, the Caribbean and Mexico, and Central and South America.

Award winners were determined based on the most highly rated beach destinations by travelers in TripAdvisor reviews. Unlike any other honors, TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice winners are based on millions of real and unbiased reviews and opinions from travelers around the world.

According to a recent TripAdvisor survey of more than 2,100 U.S. respondents, 68 percent are planning a beach vacation in 2011. Fifty-four percent are planning a trip to a U.S. beach destination. Seventeen percent intend to visit the U.S. southeast coast, 13 percent expect to explore the northeast coast, 12 percent plan to go to the gulf coast and 10 percent plan to visit the west coast. Twenty-six percent are planning a beach trip to the Caribbean or Mexico in 2011.

“It’s that time of year when travelers are dreaming of getaways to warm beach destinations. To provide inspiration on where to go, we’ve named some amazing hot spots around the world, based on millions of real and unbiased reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “In addition to the outstanding beaches, these destinations also feature top-rated options for hotels, vacation rentals, attractions, and restaurants.”

Travelers’ Choice Beaches Award-winning World Beach Destinations:

1. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

2. Boracay, Philippines

3. Palm/Eagle Beach, Aruba

4. Negril, Jamaica

5, Tulum, Mexico

6. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

7. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

8. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

9. Cape May, New Jersey

10. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Travelers’ Choice Beaches Award-winning U.S. Beach Destinations:

1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

2. Cape May, New Jersey

3. Panama City Beach, Florida

4. Miami Beach, Florida

5. Sanibel Island, Florida

6. Clearwater, Florida

7. Honolulu, Hawaii

8. Captiva Island, Florida

9. Poipu, Hawaii

10. Siesta Key, Florida

For the complete 2011 Travelers’ Choice Beaches lists, go to http://www.tripadvisor.com/TCBeaches.

U.S. Consumers Rate Corporations They Trust in the “Reputation Economy”

NEW YORK, April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Since the global financial crisis of 2008-09, negative headlines of product recalls, government bailouts, insider-trading and CEO scandals have reinforced the importance of reputation and its ability to humble once-high flying market leaders. Despite this toxic operating environment, eight of the largest 150 companies in the U.S. were still able to earn excellent corporate reputations and drive value-creation with the general public in 2011, according to a new study by private consulting firm Reputation Institute, in partnership with Forbes Media.

For a complete list of the U.S. findings, visit: http://www.reputationinstitute.com/global-reptrak-pulse.

How are companies able to gain the highest levels of trust, esteem, admiration and good feeling from consumers in such a challenging environment? Two common themes for building reputation resilience and a positive legacy with stakeholders stand out. First, companies with the strongest reputations have moved beyond products and services when communicating what the company stands for. Second, it is the CEO at these companies who is leading the reputation management strategy.

Reputation Institute’s analysis of the seven dimensions of corporate reputation shows that perceptions of the enterprise (Workplace, Governance, Citizenship, Financial Performance and Leadership) trump product perceptions (Products & Services plus Innovation) when it comes to driving behaviors. The five enterprise dimensions drive 61% of purchase consideration and 58% of recommendation/advocacy behavior with consumers. This provides further proof of what Reputation Institute calls the “reputation economy” – a place where people increasingly choose among competing products and services based on their impressions of how the companies behind them behave.

“The reputation economy of 2011 is characterized by a heightened focus on three things: trust in companies and leaders rather than product brands, multiple stakeholders and their interactions, and building a connection between a company’s reputation strategy and its business strategy,” said Anthony Johndrow, Managing Partner at Reputation Institute. “Today’s best ‘Chief Reputation Officers’ combine cognitive, analytical, process, communication and organizational skills to give voice to their companies and connect the enterprise to stakeholders.”

In search of what separates weak from average and strong from excellent companies, Reputation Institute asked “Chief Reputation Officers” (either the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, or Chief Communications Officer) responsible for reputation management from these 150 companies about the challenges they face in their role. This second study found that companies who scored in the excellent range of reputation (80+) were:

2.5 times more likely to have the CEO set the strategy for their enterprise positioning

1.5 times more likely to include reputation metrics as part of their senior management “dashboard”

15 times more likely to manage corporate reputation across company functions

1.7 times more likely to use an outside partner to assist with corporate reputation management

2011 RepTrak™ Pulse Study Highlights

The Automotive (69.35/+5.75 points) and Banking (61.5/+2.03 points) industries’ reputations began to rebound with the general public, while the Diversified Financial Services and Insurance industries continue to struggle in the wake of the global financial crisis.

The top three drivers of corporate reputation with the U.S. general public remain Products & Services (17.7%), Governance (15.8%), and Citizenship (14.3%).

Reputation Institute’s U.S. RepTrak™ Pulse Study measures the 150 largest, by revenue, independent U.S. public and mutual companies that are at least somewhat familiar to the general public.

Global Cyber Security Market to Reach $80.02 Billion by 2017

San Jose, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) April 05, 2011 — The magnitude and latitude of cyber crime has skyrocketed in recent years and with advances in technology, the immersion factor has increased on a ridiculous scale. Today, cyber-crime costs more than $1.0 trillion to society, with billions of dollars being stolen from small, medium and large-sized enterprises, identity of millions of individuals compromised, and several governments across the world already been targets of cyber-warfare. Internet has become a primary conduit for cyber attack activities with hackers channeling threats through social-engineering attacks and legitimate websites, placing a higher risk to larger number of people than in the past. Financial fraud, phishing, pharming, malware, laptop theft, man-in-the-middle attacks and database breaches on information and identities have resulted in huge losses for consumers.

Cyber crime has witnessed a considerable rise during the economic recession, partly attributed to the decreased focus of enterprises on computer and cyber security coupled with the growing desperation of people to generate quick income. Resurgence of viruses, banker Trojans, and fake anti-virus software continue to drum up media headlines and industry concerns. Additionally, the rise of social-networking websites and smartphones has created new outlets for propagation of malware. Growing popularity of social networking sites, and increasing availability of company infrastructure ‘in the cloud’ have exposed global enterprises to higher levels of security threats.

As a response to customer fears, organizations are seeking various proactive strategies to prevent the brand damage resulting from data breaches and identity-related fraud. While the recent economic recession forced substantial cutbacks in IT spending across several developed nations, it has however intensified the focus of business enterprises on cyber security solutions in a bid to minimize cyber crime induced financial losses, avoid high cost of security breaches, and safeguard organization’s reputation. Concurrently, the need to comply with various industry standards and regulations has also driven organizations to invest heavily in cyber security solutions.

As stated by the new market research report, United States and Europe accounted for a major share of the global Cyber Security market. Today, the worldwide cyber security market has fast evolved into a high revenue generating industry due to the large-scale development and deployment of advanced cyber security solutions. The launch of new cyber security products and services demonstrates the overall confidence in the market, and more funds were made available for cyber security, with the landslide of recent breaches itself lending to a much improved 2010. The increased sophistication of cyber security solutions is another driver of market growth. The technology and software, which can rapidly identify anomalies and help with the prevention and detection of cyber crime, has encouraged enterprises that would otherwise not invest in cyber security to purchase systems, especially in the financial industry.

By segment, Network Security is the largest contributor to global market revenues for cyber security. Endpoint security software such as desktop anti-virus has been in the marketplace for longer than any other cyber security solution. However, in the race to win the corporate clients, the market participants are shifting away from antivirus-style products to software suites combining network access control, configuration control, anti-malware, patch management, and systems management capabilities. The ability of endpoint security vendors to offer a comprehensive endpoint security suite to protect an organization from insider threats through features such as Web filtering, DLP (data loss prevention), asset management, tracking and recovery and insider monitoring will be key to future growth. Global market revenues for Endpoint Security are expected to surpass $5.0 billion by 2017.

The research report titled “Cyber Security: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides a comprehensive review of market trends, issues, drivers, company profiles, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic industry activities. The report provides market estimates and projections (in US$ Millions) for major geographic markets including the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Rest of World. Product segments analyzed include: Application Security, Content Security, Data Security, Endpoint Security, Network Security, Identity & Access Management, Risk & Compliance Management, Consulting Services, and Security Operations.

For more details http://www.strategyr.com/Cyber_Security_Market_Report.asp

New Research Reveals How To Connect with Active and Healthy Consumers

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) April 5, 2011 — Almost every day we hear stories about the obesity crisis. The New York Times recently published a piece on the “increase in (American) waistlines,” while the Wall Street Journal ran a story proclaiming that “never have so many human mastodons bestridden the Earth.” With such media focus on obesity, it can be easy to overlook the huge numbers of health-conscious, physically fit Americans.

A recent study by Williams-Helde Marketing Communications set out to uncover the attitudes and behaviors of healthy and fit Americans, dubbed Active Healthy Lifestyles (AHLs). The study showed that in addition to living an active lifestyle, AHLs are highly influential consumers, much more likely to share preferences with friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and even total strangers via blogs and social media. AHLs are active information seekers – heavily researching products online and in magazines before making purchasing decisions.

Key AHL Statistics

63% of AHLs are willing to pay slightly more for a product that is made by a brand they trust.

AHLs are 41% more likely to use Facebook than non-AHLs.

77% of AHLs say they buy the best.

AHLs are broken down into four key segments: Young Movers (18-25), Active Parents (25-55), Booming Boomers (45-65), and Senior Jocks (65+).

AHLs are willing to pay for the best, but only after their research has helped them define what the best is. They are not easily swayed by advertising and unsubstantiated brand promises, as they like to believe their decisions are uniquely their own. This report by Williams-Helde Marketing Communications will help marketers gain a deep understanding of the Active Healthy Lifestyle audience, which will enable brands to tailor their marketing to the unique motivators of this vast and influential group.

Click here to read the report: http://tinyurl.com/WH-AHL

Global Cooperatives Movement Gets Boost with International Year, New Logo

(UN News) — Leading up to the launch of the International Year of Cooperatives in October 2011, the United Nations has released the official logo of the year based on the slogan, “Cooperative enterprises build a better world”.

Cooperatives are member-owned, autonomous, self-help organizations that offer a business model that contributes to socio-economic development. The cooperative sector, with nearly a billion members in 90 countries through the International Cooperative Alliance, a membership organization, is estimated to account for more than 100 million jobs worldwide.

The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 64/136, declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives, in recognition of the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, especially with regard to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The objectives of the Year are to expand public awareness of the role of cooperatives, particularly in relation to the fulfilment of internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals; encourage the growth of cooperatives worldwide; and establish a policy and legal environment conducive to the strength and stability of the cooperative movement.

The new logo, available for non-commercial use by civil society, Governments and private entities, features people who are central to the cooperative model working together to lift a large cube. The seven figures represent the seven principles of the cooperative movement: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.

The logo is available on the International Year of Cooperatives website at http://social.un.org/coopsyear in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. To obtain permission to use the logo, please visit the website or contact the secretariat at coopsyear@un.org. After you have received authorization, you will be able to download the logo, free of charge.

For more information, please contact Astrid Hurley, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, tel: +1 347 292 9492, e-mail: coopsyear@un.org; or Vikram Sura, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel: +1 212 963 8274, e-mail: sura@un.org.

International Trade Union Movement Launches Worldwide Jobs Pact For Young People

Source: International Trade Union Confederation News Release

“Of all the pressing employment and social issues in the continuing global economic crisis, youth unemployment is the most urgent, says International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

In view of this, the ITUC has launched a Youth Jobs Pact which aims to get governments to create employment for young people, boost investment in education and training, improve job placement and protect youth wages and working conditions. The seriousness of this problem, and the different experiences in the various G20 countries, provide another reason why the G20 needs to set up a Working Group on Employment to move this and other such issues forward throughout the G20, says Ms Burrow.

According to an ITUC report submitted to the G20 High Level Experts’ Seminar on Employment Policies in Paris this week, “Youth unemployment rates are often three times that of adults and an expected 45 million young women and men are expected to enter the global labour force this year alone. Between 2007 and 2009 alone the number of unemployed young people increased by eight million, bringing the overall percentage unemployed to 13%. It is essential to tackle youth unemployment urgently, and prevent a situation where a whole generation of young people sees its life chances permanently diminished by the jobs crisis. In this context, G20 Labour Ministers should propose to the G20 Leaders that they make a pledge to youth to provide an Employment Pact for young workers.”

The report says, “The fastest way to tackle youth unemployment is to provide an increased overall number of jobs accompanied by an increased focus on young workers. Overall, opportunities for young people to obtain decent work are influenced by a number of factors, including demographic trends, the level of aggregate demand, the employment intensity of growth, the policy space for pro-employment policies at the national level, an enabling regulatory environment for both workers and enterprises, education and vocational training outcomes and quality, work experience and entrepreneurship options. Consequently a range of policies to ameliorate youth employment prospects is needed, based upon work placement and other innovative schemes, public works programmes, and promotion of high employment-absorbing sectors and methods of production, particularly in developing and transition economies. In all cases, youth employment policies need to be based upon the close involvement of the social partners to contribute their expertise to both the design and implementation of policies and programmes.”

The report adds, “It must be strongly underlined that youth unemployment is primarily cyclical, driven by a lack of demand. There is no compelling evidence suggesting that youth unemployment can be blamed on allegedly too-high labour costs or on strict employment protection. Therefore, wage policies need to ensure that young people receive fair and adequate incomes. Any exemption of young workers and apprentices from the sectoral or national minimum wage should be ended. In responding to youth unemployment, minimum wages for young workers must not be lowered. By the same token, the rights of young workers should not be compromised through efforts aimed at increasing the flexibility of their labour. In order to avoid precarious employment situations, labour inspection and national labour administration systems should play a key role and be strengthened, where necessary.”

Download the full report here: http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/G20_TRADE_UNION_STATEMENT_TO_THE_HIGH_LEVEL_SEMINAR_ON_EMPLOYMENT_POLICIES.pdf

UN Forms Partnership With Mediterranean Countries To Save Region’s Forests

(UN News) Apr 6 2011 — In an effort to save forests in the Mediterranean region from damage exacerbated by the impact of climate change, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has formed a partnership that will tackle the threats facing the woodlands and draw attention to their value.

The partnership brings together 12 institutions and organizations, including FAO, and will focus primarily on six countries in the southern and eastern Mediterranean – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, the agency announced during the second Mediterranean Forest Week, which opened yesterday in Avignon, France.

“The Collaborative Partnership on Mediterranean Forests will help raise awareness on the wealth of vital functions Mediterranean forests provide,” said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, the Assistant Director-General of the FAO Forestry Department. “These include soil and water protection, landscape values, carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation. It is urgent that we join efforts to restore and preserve their functions for future generations,” he said.

The Mediterranean Basin loses between 0.7 and one million hectares of forests every year to fires. Economic loss as a result is estimated at €1 billion. The region faces considerable increase in longer and more frequent droughts and heat waves, resulting in the growing risk of large-scale forest fires as well as more water scarcity, affecting both rural and urban populations.

Total forest area in the Mediterranean region is 73 million hectares, or 8.5 per cent of the region’s total land area.

The forests provide a diversity of products such as wood, non-wood forest products including cork, fodder for livestock and aromatic plants and game, all of which are important for socio-economic development and contribute to food security and poverty alleviation in rural areas.

Threats to the forests include climatic change, agricultural expansion, tourism, urban development and other land use practices that are contributing to forest losses.

The partnership is designed to integrate policies and investments at the country level in order to adapt forests to climate change. It is also aimed at developing a joint regional approach to forest management and in particular to wildfire prevention, through the sharing of expertise, knowledge and best practices.

At the local level the partnership will help to promote sustainable forest management among all stakeholders, including local communities, forest owners and managers, farmers, herders, environmentalists, protected areas managers and researchers, according to FAO.

Development Aid Increases, But With Worrying Trends, OECD Report Shows

OECD – Paris, 6 April 2011 – Aid flows from OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor countries totalled USD 129 billion in 2010, the highest level ever, and an increase of 6.5% over 2009. This represents about 0.32% of the combined gross national income (GNI) of DAC member countries. While the 2010 figures demonstrate a commitment to the neediest countries, they also confirm that some donors are not meeting targets they set at Gleneagles and other fora.

“As the OECD and the DAC celebrate their 50th anniversary this increase shows a continuing commitment to development and development co-operation – principles central to the mission of the OECD since its inception,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “It is in this positive spirit that I would encourage donors to make every effort to meet their Gleneagles targets and work toward achieving the MDGs. This will be central to discussions at the OECD’s Ministerial Council Meeting next month.”

In 2010, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan were the largest donors of official development assistance (ODA) in terms of volume. EU countries that are members of the DAC provided a combined total of USD 70.2 billion, representing 54% of total net ODA provided by DAC donors. Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden continued to exceed the United Nations ODA target of 0.7% of GNI. The largest increases in real terms in ODA between 2009 and 2010 were recorded by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Korea, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Looking ahead, a recent OECD survey shows that most donors plan to increase aid over the coming 3 years, though at a sharply reduced pace. Aid will grow at 2% per year between 2011 and 2013, compared to the average 8% per year over the past three years. Aid to Africa is likely to rise by just 1% per year in real terms, compared to the average 13% over the past three years. At this rate, any additional aid to the African countries will be outpaced by population growth.

“When countries make aid pledges, they must do the political, budgetary and planning work needed to sustain them,” said Brian Atwood, Chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee which groups the world’s major donors. “Too often, donors commit without the backing that will enable these promises to be kept. We are promoting a new code of good pledging practice – to ensure that promises are backed by plans.”

“The volume of aid is a crucial factor, but there are other forms of assistance that are not classified as ODA , such as some loans and guarantees, that provide critical support to low income countries. And the contribution of new donors is important as well. We are building broader and deeper global partnerships – sharing collective know-how to alleviate poverty and meet the Millennium Development Goals.”

These issues will be at the core of a major international meeting in Busan, Korea, later in the year: the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness from 29 November to 1 December 2011 will look at results-oriented solutions for development, drawing on a range of experience and knowledge from developing countries, DAC and other donors, civil society organisations (CSOs), the private sector and many more players in global development.

For detailed information on the 2010 ODA figures see http://www.oecd.org/dac/stats/analyses

  • So much for Trip Advisor’s Top Ten Beaches – that’s just because bonehead tourist go to those places. Not one would make this explorer’s list:
    1 – The Wedge, Newport Beach,
    California
    2- Return to Blue Lagoon. Taveuni,
    Fiji
    3 – Ao Son, Tarutao, Thailand
    4 – Kalalau, Na Pali, Hawai’i
    5 – Kahana Bay, O’ahu, Hawai’i
    6 – Aitutake, Cook Islands
    7 – Snake Island, Puerto Princesa,
    Palawan, Philippines
    8 – Pak Bia, Krabi, Thailand
    9 – Keanae, Maui, Hawai’i
    10 – Papalaula, Moloka’i, Hawai’i

    Most are remote and many accessible by kayak or boat only.

    Regarding Trip Advisor, most Hawai’i residents avoid Hanauma like the plague. We set Hanauma aside for tourists so they don’t infest our really good beaches!