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Travel back to the Dubai of 1962

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People who enjoy learning about the history of their holiday destination can visit a fascinating exhibition of photography during Dubai tours this year.

Entitled Dubai 1962, the display will be open at the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre from May 6th to 26th.

It showcases a series of photographs that were taken by a Japanese reporter 47 years ago, offering a fascinating look at a location that would grow into one of the world’s most dynamic and groundbreaking cities.

The images provide a narrative for the reporter’s journey as he visited the local fish market, took a boat ride on the creek and encountered Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the former ruler of Dubai.

According to the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre, a "harsh but vibrant way of life" is explored in the black and white pictures, presenting a stark contrast to the destination that so many travellers are familiar with today.

During their tours of Dubai, visitors can appreciate the scale of the city’s achievement in recent decades by taking in sights such as the iconic Burj al Arab hotel and the under-construction Burj Dubai, which is already the world’s tallest structure.

Dubai – A true modern metropolis Dubai boasts a fine range of tourist facilities including the refined Burj al Arab hotel.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19064752-ADNFCR

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Brits ‘looking further afield for holidays’

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British people are becoming increasingly adventurous in their holiday destination choices, according to the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta).

Steve Barnes, the travel association’s corporate marketing manager, said that the companies that have been joining Abta recently indicate a growing trend for adventurous trips.

Speaking at the Destinations travel show in Birmingham recently, Mr Barnes said that more firms operating in locations that are "off the beaten track" have been joining the association.

Commenting on the particular destinations that appear to be interesting travellers, he added: "Places like Bhutan and Mongolia, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are becoming more popular now.

"There was a couple here a while ago who always used to take holidays in Europe. They’ve just come back from a five-week holiday in Egypt and now they’re just planning another holiday in India, so they’re certainly far more adventurous than they would have been years ago."

Travellers who take adventure tours in Thailand this year may notice their budget stretching further than they thought, as the country was ranked the most affordable destination of 2009 in a recent report by the Post Office.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19064481-ADNFCR

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See the ‘supercroc’ on Australia tours

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Travellers planning Australia tours this year may be interested in paying a visit to the city of Darwin to see the so-called ‘supercroc’ – the largest crocodile ever recorded.

People who list reptiles among their phobias should not fear, however, as the display at Darwin’s Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory will only feature the giant skeleton of the 12-metre-long crocodile.

The exhibit is part of a gallery that uses crocodilian specimens to illustrate Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Arranged to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great scientist, after whom the city of Darwin is named, the exhibition will be open until November 29th.

Travellers who are interested in seeing some live reptiles can go on a crocodile cruise along the Northern Territory’s Adelaide River or visit the Crocosaurus Cove centre in Darwin.

Arguably the most famous attractions of all in the Northern Territory are the Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu national parks, where visitors can set off on adventure tours and see the famous Ayers Rock.

Uluru / Ayers Rock – Visit the Aboriginal sacred site which is Australia’s most visited tourist attraction.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19063564-ADNFCR

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Jude Law to play Hamlet in London

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Hollywood movie star Jude Law will take on one of the most famous roles in the history of dramatic theatre in London this year – William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Travellers on London tours will be able to see Law’s interpretation of the character as the Donmar Warehouse presents Hamlet at the Wyndham’s Theatre from May 29th to August 22nd.

The play begins with the death of the king of Denmark, a death which Hamlet, the king’s son, believes was the result of foul play.

Hamlet devotes himself to avenging his father’s demise, taking a course of action that will eventually have devastating consequences for himself, his family and the kingdom of Denmark.

Appearing alongside Law in the play will be Kevin McNally, whose film credits include Valkyrie and Pirates of the Caribbean, and Ron Cook, star of stage productions including Twelfth Night and Glengarry Glen Ross.

Hamlet will mark the end of the Donmar Warehouse’s year-long residency at the Wyndham’s Theatre, which started with Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov and will see Madame de Sade, starring Judi Dench, open on March 13th.

London – Ride the London Eye, visit the Tower of London or take a day out the city to see Stonehenge.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19061698-ADNFCR

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Great Saunter to explore rim of Manhattan on foot

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Adventurous holidaymakers planning New York tours later this year may be interested in taking part in the Great Saunter, a hike around the rim of Manhattan.

The 32-mile walk, which will be held for the 24th time this year, is scheduled for May 2nd.

Most of the route is fairly flat and the pace is described as "steady but not fast", although visitors should be aware that the walk will take place come rain or shine so waterproof clothing may be necessary.

Setting off from the South Street seaport at 07:30 local time, participants in the Great Saunter will pass through 20 parks and see the Statue of Liberty, all four of New York’s outer boroughs, the New Jersey Palisades and other sights.

Described as a "world famous civic event", the walk has received support from high-profile figures including secretary of state Hillary Clinton and New York mayor Mike Bloomberg in the past.

It is organised by Shorewalkers, which arranges numerous hikes across the state of New York throughout the year.

An itinerary arranged for April 26th will take in three lakes and three parks in Queens, while on May 9th visitors will be able to take part in a tour of the bridges and waterways of Central Park.

New York – From the dizzy heights of the Empire State Building to the serene Central Park, New York has it all!ADNFCR-1652-ID-19061507-ADNFCR

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New family attractions across Germany

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Holidaymakers planning family tours in Germany this year will be able to take advantage of a host of new attractions opening up at amusement parks around the country.

Germany’s most popular theme park is Europapark, which will be opening on April 4th and launching a new ‘catapult-coaster’, complete with three full 360-degree rolls and speeds of up to 100km per hour.

People who like their park visits to have a splash of water thrown in can visit Phantasialand near Cologne from April 4th to experience Wakobato, which is described as a "splash-battle style" attraction.

There will also be an aquatic theme at Legoland Gunzburg in Germany’s Bavaria region this season when it opens a new Atlantis zone, with interactive Lego models and an underwater glass tunnel.

Other attractions opening this year include the themed Valley of the Maya area in Heide-Park Soltau and the Curse of Novgorod ride in Hansa Park outside Lubeck.

People planning family tours this year can visit amusement parks all over Europe, including the recently opened Tibidabo in Barcelona, Disneyland Resort Paris or Terra Mitica in Benidorm.

Family – Theme Parks – Treat the family to a day at one of the Disney resorts or to a splashing day out at a Spanish waterpark.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19061036-ADNFCR

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Paris exhibition looks at surrealist master

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People taking Paris tours over the coming months will have the opportunity to visit an art exhibition that will transport them to a world defined by the surreal and supernatural.

The Musee d’Art Moderne display at the Palais de Tokyo, which visitors will be able to see until May 24th, focuses on the early surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico.

De Chirico was one of the most influential figures in the growth and success of the surrealist movement, providing inspiration for the likes of Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte and Giorgio Morandi.

The exhibition in Paris represents the first time in more than 25 years that there has been a display exclusively dedicated to De Chirico in the French capital.

People on Paris tours will be taken on an absorbing and thorough journey through the artist’s body of work at the exhibition, which features some 170 paintings, sculptures and pieces of graphic art.

Arguably the most famous art institution of all in Paris is the Centre Pompidou, which this year will devote an exhibition to the great painter Wassily Kandinsky.

Paris – Enjoy the view from the Eiffel Tower or see the Mona Lisa in the "city of light".ADNFCR-1652-ID-19059740-ADNFCR

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Check out some cutting-edge cars in Barcelona

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People with a passion for cars will be able to visit a major event dedicated to the world’s newest automobiles during Barcelona tours in May.

The Barcelona International Motor Show will be held at the Fira de Barcelona between May 9th and 17th, where it will be celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2009.

Considered one of the biggest motor shows in Europe, the event will feature 171 direct exhibitors and 44 leading automobile brands from around the world, with more than a million visitors expected to see them this year.

The fair will cover cars, vans, customisation equipment, spare parts, audio technology, vehicle services and much more.

In a major development for 2009, the show has been declared an ‘event of exceptional public interest’, a classification previously given to occasions such as the Barcelona Olympic Games and the Seville Universal Exposition.

An added bonus for petrolheads taking Barcelona tours in May will be the Formula One Catalunya Grand Prix, which will take place on the weekend starting May 8th.

Barcelona – Wonderful Gaudi architecture and a cosmopolitan atmosphere have made Barcelona Spain’s most popular city.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19059324-ADNFCR

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China tours to visit earthquake sites

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Travellers on adventure tours in China will soon have the option to visit sites that were affected by the devastating earthquake that hit the country in May last year.

The tours in Beichuan county, the area most severely affected by the earthquake in Sichuan province, are expected to begin before the end of March, a local official told China Daily.

Chen Wen, an information officer in the city of Mianyang, said demand for the tours was shown during this year’s Spring Festival, during which some 200,000 people visited Beichuan.

Visitors will be taken to vantage points that offer a view of the damage caused by the earthquake, including the local high school and the village of Jina Qiang.

Tourists will also be able to take boat trips on the ‘quake lakes’ that were formed when rivers were blocked by landslides during the earthquake, causing a build-up of water.

The earthquake that hit Sichuan province last year was so severe that tremors were felt in Shanghai and Beijing, both more than 1,500km away.

Trips around the affected areas will be among many unusual tours that travellers can take in Asia, Oceania and elsewhere, which offer a memorable way of exploring one’s holiday destination.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19058840-ADNFCR

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Consumers ‘flocking to travel websites’

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Travel websites could be in for a bumper year as consumers flock to online providers for their holiday tours and other breaks, according to new research.

A major survey by eDigitalResearch and the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) came to the conclusion that online travel providers could be in for their best year ever in 2009.

More than half (57 per cent) of the respondents to the poll said they do not plan to change their travel plans this year but they do intend to search online for their trips to find the best prices.

Some 47 per cent of people said they are hoping to spend less on holidays in 2009 and 58 per cent said that price is the main factor they consider when making their travel arrangements.

James Roper, chief executive of IMRG, said: "Everybody needs a holiday – and this year more than ever, with stress levels high and people working harder than ever to keep or find employment.

"Prices are pointing in the customer’s favour and as everybody now knows, online is where to find the best deals."

American Express recently conducted a survey which found that price will be the most important consideration for holidaymakers this year, while the promise of good weather will also be a priority.

Family – Theme Parks – Treat the family to a day at one of the Disney resorts or to a splashing day out at a Spanish waterpark.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19057374-ADNFCR

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