As the world’s only superpower and biggest economy by a huge margin, almost everyone on the planet knows something about the USA, even if they’ve never been. The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State, the Hollywood sign, Las Vegas neon, Golden Gate and the White House have long been global icons, and American brands and images are familiar everywhere, from Apple computers and Levi’s to Coca-Cola and hot dogs. Yet first-time visitors should expect some surprises. Though its cities draw the most tourists – New York, New Orleans, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco are all incredible destinations in their own right – America is above all a land of stunningly diverse and achingly beautiful landscapes. In one nation you have the mighty Rockies and spectacular Cascades, the vast, mythic desert landscapes of the Southwest, the endless, rolling plains of Texas and Kansas, the tropical beaches and Everglades of Florida, the giant redwoods of California and the sleepy, pristine villages of New England. You can soak up the mesmerizing vistas in Crater Lake, Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks, stand in awe at the Grand Canyon, hike the Black Hills, cruise the Great Lakes, paddle in the Mississippi, surf the gnarly breaks of Oahu and get lost in the vast wilderness of Alaska. Or you could easily plan a trip that focuses on the out-of-the-way hamlets, remote prairies, eerie ghost towns and forgotten byways that are every bit as “American” as its showpiece icons and monuments.
Whether you’re a hardcore adrenaline junkie, a wildlife enthusiast or a city slicker looking for cutting-edge culture, Canada ticks all the boxes. The world’s second largest country racks up an astonishing diversity of landscapes; vast prairies rise abruptly to glacier-topped mountains; rugged, unspoiled coastlines give way to immense forests and emerald lakes; and Arctic waters lap upon frozen tundra. Incredibly, this wilderness is also home to cosmopolitan cities, quirky towns and remote indigenous settlements. A stone’s throw from the Canadian Rockies, booming Calgary flashes its oil wealth and flaunts its cowboy traditions during the annual boot-stomping Stampede. Chilled-out Vancouver, meanwhile, seems to have it all: mountains, beaches, an incredible downtown park and a cosmopolitan dining scene. And across the Georgia Strait, Vancouver Island is just the tonic if the city life gets too tough. Not that it ever does here.
An array of new Australian tourism products have entered the market by way of this event this year. Some of the representatives among the first time participants were Mt Buller Alpine Snow Resort, Taronga Zoo, Skydive Australia, Oz Jet Boating Sydney, and Sealink and Captain Cook Cruises. Michael Newcombe, regional general manager, S/SEA and Gulf, Tourism Australia, said, “We would like to thank our Indian travel partners for their overwhelming support in yet another successful edition of ITM. We are optimistic about India’s continued sustained growth as one of Australia’s top inbound markets.” More than most other developed countries, Australia seizes the imagination. For most visitors its name is a shorthand for an endless summer where the living is easy; a place where the adventures are as vast as the horizons and the jokes flow as freely as the beer; a country of can-do spirit and easy friendliness. No wonder Australians call theirs the Lucky Country.
Every aspect of Australian life and culture, whether its matey attitudes or its truly great outdoors, is a product of its scale and population – or lack of it. In size, it rivals the USA, yet its population is 23 million, leading to one of the lowest country population densities on Earth. The energy of its contemporary culture is in contrast to a landscape that is ancient and often looks it: much of central and western Australia – the bulk of the country – is overwhelmingly arid and flat. In contrast, its cities, most founded as recently as the mid-nineteenth century, burst with a vibrant, youthful energy.