They are people we like to hate.
Filthy rich and largely self-inspired, the main characters of The White Lotus season 2 are both horrifying and appealing, captivating us with their politically incorrect attitudes and inability to stay out of trouble for long.
As the sun-drenched social satire plays with stereotypes, you’ll likely spot traits of someone you know among the main characters – if not (if you’re being really honest) yourself.
The gold digger
Living the gold digger’s dream, Greg Hunt (John Gries) soars around Sicily courtesy of his financially gifted but emotionally fragile new wife, Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge).
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At times he seems to play the role quite well, at one point even agreeing to spend a whole day as she pleases (although it soon becomes apparent that he has an ulterior motive, and how hard it really is when it comes to cruising around the Italian coast roads on a Vespa and overdosing on aperitivos and pasta?).
It doesn’t take long for the cracks to show. He shames her after she eats the macaroons left in her hotel room, disappears to attend to his “marsh step” when she says she’s nervous, has muffled phone calls in the bathroom revealing him to be a traitor, and flies back home to “work” halfway through their week-long trip. You’d be better off without him, Tanya. Better to fly alone than travel with a lying leech.
The egocentric good-time girl
Bold and beautiful with a wealthy real Ken doll for a husband, it’s no wonder Daphne Babcock (Meghan Fay) is unrelentingly optimistic – the opening scene of the first episode reveals that she’s still bubbly about her time in the Italian idyll is over.
If she reveals she doesn’t read or watch the news and can’t remember if she voted, it would be easy to dismiss her as stupid, but her failure to acknowledge the dark side of life could be seen as wise if she didn’t infallible, form of self-protection.
Her financier cheats on her, lets her babysit the kids, and hangs out with a bunch of sociopaths – her saving grace (maybe one) is that she has ridiculous amounts of cash to spend. She will feel a lot better if she forgets the bad things and does her best to buy happiness. She clearly knows how to have a good time – and show others. Who wouldn’t love to travel with a woman happy to call out to them a night in a vast palazzo?
The awakened child prodigy
Newly rich tech genius Ethan Spiller (Will Sharpe) is perhaps the most likeable of the main characters, doing his best to keep things real and despairing at how little contact his new money buddies have with so-called regular Joes.
He is patient (though often visibly annoyed) with his prickly, willfully provocative wife; refuses to cheat on her with a prostitute when his friend Cameron urges him to do so; and claims that the best thing about being rich is the opportunity to help people.
There’s something appealingly healthy about his tendency to get up early for a run every morning — even if his post-sprint porn habit is anything but.
But I’m worried about him. Such an innocent will surely be corrupted at some point in this series. As his wife says, he is “honest in every detail”.
He may look like a charming, wealthy old man, but it quickly becomes apparent that Bert Di Grasso (F. Murray Abraham) is a scoundrel.
Seemingly determined to prove his manhood to his skeptical grandson, he shamelessly flirts with every female employee he meets, most of whom are likely young enough to be his granddaughter.
As someone who believes that Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather is “the greatest American film of all time,” it’s unsurprising to learn that he also agrees with its portrayals of toxic masculinity. His take on male infidelity: “It comes with the testosterone”.
I’m sorry Bert, but you live in fantasy land. Have you ever wondered why the women you flirt with don’t respond right away?
The self-satisfied high-flyer
Harper Spiller (Aubrey Plaza) makes it clear that she’s a difficult character to begin with, refusing to toast other guests and defying husband Ethan’s decision to order the “white fish” for dinner.
Unlike her frenemy Daphne, however, Harper probably worked hard for her money as a lawyer and prides herself on her political awareness and altruism. She clearly believes that she and Ethan are superior to the legitimate couple they’re vacationing with, but her jibes about the 1% inevitably come across as hypocritical.
Her constant criticism also hurts. Is it any wonder she and Ethan have intimacy issues when she constantly points out his flaws and belittles him in public? Someone sends her to the spa so she can learn to relax.
The long-suffering employee
Much like hotel-spa attendant Belinda in season one, Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) is forced to serve as an emotional crutch for her boss, Tanya, leaning heavily on her when needed and firing her when she doesn’t.
Used and emotionally abused, it’s no wonder Portia finds herself in a lot of misery — even when her work pleasures involve hanging out by the pool and eating the breakfast buffet on an ocean-view patio.
Like many of us, she had a rough few years, saying, “I feel like I’ve just been stuck at home, just scrolling my phone.” Ordered to remain in her room, she craves an escape “from discourse” in the form of “something real” and a “funny” man, but seems relatively clueless as to how to pursue her dreams. Certainly a description that would apply to many in their early twenties.
The emotional wreck
Tanya McQuoid is living proof that money can’t buy happiness. She always seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown that she can’t handle on her own.
As in the first season, Tanya believes she can pay other people to solve her problems, hiring Portia to help her both personally and professionally and a tarot card reader to tell her if her marriage will last – she characteristically kicks out the tarot card reader when she tells her what she doesn’t want to hear.
It’s easy to feel sorry for her unfortunate lovesickness, but Tanya is always looking for the number one first. In the last season, she dumped Belinda when Greg came on the scene, and in season two, she banished Portia to her room when Greg said he didn’t want her around. Ultimately, she is a user – but still one who tugs at our hearts with her chaotic vulnerability.
The boy in a man’s body
Flush financier Cameron Babcock (Theo James) may look like the ideal husband, but it quickly becomes apparent that he is anything but.
Aside from being a serial adulterer, he encourages Ethan to engage in insider trading, boasts about being friends with Jeff Bezos, and dismisses the “bunch of hoaxes.” [sexual assault] Claims in his company as a “total waste of time” and “huge waste of money”.
On the other hand, he is affectionate towards his wife when they are together and seems like a fun guy to be around most of the time. Basically, he’s a boy in the body of a man who, like Peter Pan, is thought to never grow up.
The hero without a cloak
Thankfully, Albie Di Grasso (Adam DiMarco) doesn’t appear to have inherited his father’s and grandfather’s attitudes towards women.
In contrast, he often appears to be quite a gentleman, berating his father for cheating on his mother, and coming out as a feminist when his father and grandfather claim men can’t help but cheat on their partners.
His puppy dog eyes and Prince Charming demeanor are undeniably endearing, but some of his comments come off as a little offbeat. Is his attraction to “wounded birds” a sign that he sees himself – and perhaps men in general – as women’s saviors?
Anyway, he seems to be the “sweet, sensitive young man” his mother thinks he is. At least for now.
The repentant adulterer
Dominic Di Grasso (Michael Imperioli) can’t help but cheat on Albie’s mother – although hiring two prostitutes to hide out in his hotel room during a family vacation suggests he’s not trying very hard.
Dominic is less horny than his father Bert, but still has a lot to do with his relationships with women. He seems to want a good relationship with his (ex?) wife, but is unlikely to make it unless he gets over his serial adultery and potential sex addiction.
But like most people, he’s not all bad. He seems to try to be a good father most of the time and is (mostly) happy to entertain his aging father.
However, until he learns to be a good boy, one can’t help but wonder if he’ll ever find happiness.
Longer vacations, responsible vacations among Africa travel trends: Travel Weekly
With improved air access to Africa and ever-increasing traveler confidence, Africa is expected to be a hot ticket for US travelers in 2023. This presents incredible opportunities for travel consultants, Africa experts say.
The opportunity lies in the fact that more than ever, travelers to Africa are taking a lead.
“Before Covid, some travelers asked for quotes on pre-determined destinations and camps. They would then compare prices, often choosing the lowest[-priced] Operators,” said Karen Zulauf of Deeper Africa. “They seemed to trust the internet more than anyone with extensive experience in the space. Travelers planning safaris for 2023 appear to be much more open to advice and guidance.”
The knowledgeable specialist safari tour operator will play an important role in advising and assisting travel consultants and their clients in planning the safari itinerary that best suits their expectations, said Holden Safaris’ Jim Holden. He pointed out that with more information and choices when deciding on a safari, the assistance of a safari specialist is essential.
According to Holden, the most common prefix for most customer questions is “when or what is best” and then fill in the blank, be it the best time to go on safari, the best destination to go on safari, the best place to see a leopard etc. “The answer is, rather than relying on hearsay or trying to sort through all the conflicting information on social media, go with a specialist safari tour operator,” he said.
As travelers are more likely to turn to trusted travel advisors for 2023, it’s important to be up to date on the key trends for the year ahead. Here’s what thought leaders in Africa are predicting:
1. Short delivery times: Probably not the news most travel advisors want to hear, but last-minute bookings to Africa will remain rife in 2023, said Cindy Sheedy Walker, a consultant at Extraordinary, a collection of luxury hotels and lodges in southern Africa. Travelers have an urge for spontaneous adventure and discovery, adds Craig Glatthaar, Americas sales manager at Wilderness Safaris. “In a post-pandemic era, the need for adventure in life is a growing trend.”
Onne Vegter, managing director of Wild Wings Safaris, also sees a trend towards last-minute or “spontaneous” trips. This is unfortunate, he said, as availability can be limited many months in advance during peak seasons, particularly in destinations where demand far outstrips supply. Vegter added that no-deposit concessions made during the pandemic have come to an end. Travelers are still reluctant to part with large sums of money well in advance, but suppliers understandably need to insist on a reasonable deposit, typically between 10% and 30%, to reserve the rooms.
Opportunity for travel consultants? Travel advisors can encourage their clients to get out of peak season where they have greater value with new experiences and fewer crowds during shoulder seasons, says Sherwin Banda, president of African Travel.
2. Take responsible travel to a new level: In 2023, responsible travel in Africa will reach a whole new level, according to safari specialists. Sandra Devoti, general manager at Giltedge, says meaningful travel is a big trend for 2023 as travelers want to “give back” and have a meaningful vacation.
Travelers are turning to Africa because it offers sustainable travel with numerous opportunities to give back in a meaningful way, Banda agreed. “Given the severe impact of the global pandemic and the importance of wildlife conservation, there has never been a greater focus on sustainable travel in Africa,” he said. “Customers across the continent are looking for up-and-coming destinations and more remote destinations. They crave life-changing experiences.”
People are traveling much more consciously, said Lindy Rousseau, chief strategist at Singita. They are interested in authentic sustainability credentials and engage with issues such as solar energy, food waste, plastic use, water conservation, ethical food sourcing, sustainable building materials and local employment.
Opportunity for travel consultants? Direct travelers to responsible companies that not only pay lip service to sustainability and conservation, but companies that have a proven track record, said James Currie, North American sales and new development manager at Great Plains.
3. Linger longer: According to Robert More, CEO of More Family Collection, people can and will linger longer in 2023 as they have more flexibility with virtual work options.
Index Hotels CEO Craig Seaman agreed, saying we will see more individual travelers. But contrary to what is seen in Europe where it will be the more mature market, in Africa we will see a younger profile (under 35). “This is being driven by the ‘work-from-anywhere’ phenomenon that will allow this generation to enjoy longer stays,” he said.
Travelers are asking for longer stays at safari lodges to enjoy the full safari experience and the many additional activities now offered by many safari lodges, such as learning about the importance of conservation, Holden noted.
Opportunity for travel consultants? Expand the safari experience by incorporating many activities previously considered “back home” that are an integral part of a safari lodge’s existence, such as protecting wildlife and the environment, Holden said.
Seaman adds that it is important for travel consultants to be realistic and aware that Africa is a large and developing continent and not all areas are easily accessible. “It often takes a lot longer to travel from A to B than Google Maps says, so it’s better to choose a ‘base’ hotel/luxury villa from which your guest can explore, rather than doing this every day or two to change hotels,” he said.
4. Group travel of any kind: While solo travel is a key trend for 2023, so are multi-generational travel and group travel. As Zulauf of Deeper Africa pointed out: “Before Covid, the trend was to personalize travel, but now people want to travel with others who matter to them.”
“We see friends traveling together – men, women and couples traveling together – to create memories. These groups often have a common interest, be it sport, food, fauna or flora, but what they are looking for most are unforgettable experiences,” said Seemann.
The result, according to Index Hotels’ Seaman, is an increasing demand for luxury serviced private residences.
“Groups traveling together want the luxury of a hotel but the freedom of homestay, where they can set their own schedule but still not have to worry about cleaning and cooking,” he said.
Opportunity for travel consultants? Banda noted that customers want enhanced experiences and are interested in a la carte options that cater to the diverse desires of their group, so there is something for everyone. Travel Agents who have a group of more than 10 clients traveling together may book a new group.
Travel agents should look for multi-room villas to accommodate group travel. Both Tswalu and Natural Selection have previously announced that they will be incorporating multi-room villas into their new camps, which will launch next summer.
5. A holistic experience: “We’ve entered a new travel landscape and not just a travel bubble,” Seaman said. He said travel has become part of people’s well-being and wellness journey since the pandemic subsided.
Wilderness Safaris’ Smoothhair agreed with Seaman, saying that as travelers look to the future, self-development will be a critically important element of the travel experience. “Events surrounding the pandemic have highlighted the issues of self-care, mental resilience and other introspective exercises. People will look at travel as a way to invest in themselves.”
Opportunity for travel consultants? After the uncertainty of the pandemic era, travelers want to travel with peace of mind. Hence a consistent, reliable delivery of the travel experience, with health and safety in mind from start to finish, said Glatthaar.
Singita Rousseau’s travel consultants must provide guests with a seamless and easy booking experience. “Make sure guests feel cared for. Take the time to connect the right guests with the right product,” she said.
Berlin, Germany Destination Guide – Hotels Above Par
Berlin has a reputation for being “poor but sexy” – but its shopping, nightlife, restaurant and hotel scenes strive to ensure you never compromise on the value of taste, quite literally.
Combining aesthetic nods to 1920s Paris with Berlin’s modern hedonism, the most flirty hotel on the Berlin scene is ready to have as much fun as you on this trip. The Provocateur Hotel is the kind of hotel that’s unabashedly red velvet and dark dining rooms, which seems just right after years of Scandinavian minimalism.
One of those hotels where residents and tourists really mingle at the bar, there’s usually an interesting crowd at the Michelberger Hotel, making it perfect for solo travelers looking to socialize, business travelers looking for coworking company, or groups of Friends who wish to stay up all night (or day) at the nearby clubs. It’s within walking distance of artsy Kreuzberg and brunch-and-boutique hotspot Boxhagener Platz, and the on-site restaurant is excellent, too.
This Michelin-starred restaurant in trendy Neukölln joyfully blurs the lines between dinner and dessert, thanks to the talent of chef René Frank and the rest of his team. It’s an unexpected break with much of the fine dining scene, thanks to the way Frank, a former pastry chef, uses this approach to meet, enhance and explode savory flavors on the plate. Two seating arrangements per evening (each with a different number of courses) require a reservation.
A Franco-Australian dream team runs this utterly delightful brunch spot in leafy Prenzlauer Berg, home to the massive Mauerpark flea market (which is where you go after you’ve eaten an Eggs Benedict, which people love to queue for). You can enjoy a meal that lasts for hours if you wish: the menu is heavy on fizzy and rosé, and the staff has easy judgment, which is exactly how a perfect brunch restaurant should be. Check the wonderfully loud Facebook page for special events – oyster and rosé nights are known to take place in the summer.
Head here for a drink before your CODA reservation, or take a trip to Berlin’s southern neighborhood — full of galleries, excellent bars, and other after-hours fun — for this cocktail bar. It’s run by some of Berlin’s most talented mixologists, who develop seasonal menus that often focus on handpicked ingredients and condiments from around the city, but no pressure if nothing speaks to you: the friendly staff are also happy to whip up a classic concoction or a creative libation with a few tips to keep you going.
The classic night at Berlin’s Berghain techno club is on most tourists’ checklists and needs no explanation—though the adventure ends before you actually make it through the doors. While a lot of effort has gone into deciphering a guaranteed outfit or aura that will see you past the bouncer, the general advice is extremely Berliner: wear black and chill.
Kurfürstendamm and Friedrichstrasse might be the places to find designer designer names, but if you want to head to some independent shops instead, Kastanienallee is the place to be. Begin (or end, or both) your stroll down the street at the Pratergarten, Berlin’s oldest beer garden, located near the end of Eberswalderstrasse. Kauf Dich Glück is a medium-priced shop for clothes and flagship offers ethical fashion – and there is even more to discover in the side streets of the avenue. In a blast from the past/true Berlin spirit, there is also a DVD shop.
Kreuzberg’s most famous market hall hosts a big party once a week celebrating the local gastronomy, Street Food Thursdays, where you can go from vendor to vendor with friends and taste their wares. (Arrive early to secure a spot!). It’s family-friendly, but there are also some great wine suppliers here, adding a bit of a party vibe to the evening – our advice is to buy a bottle or two, then send friends off to collect missions from the talented chefs. It’s great too Not Thursdays to take home local specialties (and to buy quality local ingredients for cooking if you choose the apartment route for accommodation).
This design-led concept store features both big names and those who call Berliners home, whether you’re looking for an all-black outfit for Berghain, utility trousers from GmbH, Jacquemus knitwear or minimalist jackets from Acne Studios.
If fashion with the capital F isn’t quite your thing, head to Manufactum in Charlottenburg for a huge selection of homewares for gifting or keeping that combine timeless design with good old-fashioned German quality and a few foreign finds. Here you can take home wooden toys for your children, Japanese gardening gloves, nice stationery, chunky sweaters and a bottle of German whiskey (yes, really) – and think of your trip every time you use them.
This former Nazi airport has seen a lot of drama and history in its lifetime – and now it’s a huge park, playground, kitesurf track, barbecue area and basically a backyard for Berliners. In fact, it’s the world’s largest open inner-city square, and this is where you’ll find everyone (really everyone) hanging out on a sunny summer’s day. There’s a circus school, a beer garden and a six-kilometre track (the former runways) where you can walk, run or kitesurf, and the charming cafes of the Schillerkiez are a short stroll away if you need a break .
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Kerala’s women-friendly tourism to unlock entrepreneurship in the State, Hospitality News, ET HospitalityWorld
Kerala tourism is launching another ambitious movement to take its already well-established responsible tourism project to a whole other level and level, and has recently launched a campaign to make the state women-friendly through its Responsible Tourism Mission.
What does the Kerala Campaign different from the usual safe to travel Campaigning for women is the whole construct of how they want to achieve this goal. The country’s tourism minister recently launched the campaign, PA Mohammed Riyas said that state tourism seeks to achieve this by unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of women in the state. The travel packages are designed and run by women, with food, accommodation, transportation and tour guides being women.
“We have combined two global campaigns – Tourism for Inclusive Growth and UN Women – Gender Inclusive Tourism – in our women-friendly tourism project,” said Rupeshkumar, state coordinator of RT Mission Kerala.
As a knot agency RT mission is commissioned to advance the project for Kerala Tourism. With a network of over 25,000 RT units statewide spanning farm tourism, agritourism, homestays, cultural and craft units, the state RT Mission sees this as an expansion of its current activities.
“Of the 25,000 RT units, almost 18,000 are women-led RT units, which gives us a head start when we start this project,” says Rupeshkumar.
Around 1,500 people have already registered on the network since it launched last month, he says. Two rounds of training were also successfully arranged for these newly registered participants. In the coming months, training workshops will be held in all 14 districts and around 1000 panchayats.
In addition to the RT units, the country also has well-connected and active women’s travel groups. That’s an added benefit, he says. All these groups also fully support the initiative.
He said an audit of all destinations would be launched in terms of women-friendliness and gaps would be identified and bridged with financial support from state tourism. These audits address gaps in terms of adequate toilet facilities, availability of safe and hygienic food, feeding stations, shelter, etc. The audit will be completed in all villages before December 30th.
There are already 2800 ethnic kitchen units registered under the RT mission. Many of these units are part of a household and run by women. According to Rupeshkumar, the number of such units could be increased many times over.
The initiative aims to include 30 women from each village in the women-friendly tourism network. Among these 30 people there are tour guides; travel coordinators; Homestay/Serviced Villas, ‘she stays‘, food/catering units, toilet/drinking water units; refresh houses; female-friendly taxis; ‘you cars‘, Etc.
While female-friendly travel aims to create a positive image for the state and attract the burgeoning female solo travelers and women’s groups; It also intends to encourage local women to explore their own state with confidence.
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