lunedì 30 novembre 2009

España, por favor…ahi ahi ahi.




Solitamente in cose di tale genere non abbiamo rivali al mondo, ma questa volta gli iberici ci hanno “fregato” e si sono messi a “spazzolare” gli sprovveduti; senza copiarci e addirittura precedendoci.
Almeno così credo.
La Reserva123.com, un’azienda spagnola, ha condotto una ricerca sulle motodologie degli alberghi nazionali in merito alle prenotazioni dei clienti attraverso i vari sistemi informatici indipendenti, e vale a dire, il web.
Il risultato è stato catastrofico.
Infatti il paradosso è che, per lo stesso letto in una medesima struttura e per lo stesso giorno, questo può essere fino al 50% più costoso a seconda da dove proviene la prenotazione.
Il sondaggio è stato effettuato su 11 siti web di viaggi per dimostrare le differenze di prezzo e del modo di pianificare la loro strategia.
Il metodo è semplice: mettere a confronto i prezzi degli alberghi in alcune date, su operatori web diversi.
Un esempio: Building a Fuerteventura, cinque stelle, sette giorni in mezza pensione. Prezzo medio: 585 €. Prezzo più basso, 519 euro; prezzo superiore, 765 euro.
Quindi tra andare e venire la differenza è del 47,7%.
Ma chiediamo spiegazioni al capo del Settore Turismo della PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Alvaro Klecker, sulle Banche del web dei posti letto; che così risponde: “I prezzi per le stanze o le pagine web sono il risultato di un'equazione di elementi diversi", spiega, "Se questo è un accordo diretto con l'hotel, i prezzi tendono ad essere più convenienti, mentre se no, dipende dal contratto che è l'impostazione per ciascuna banca di letti e spesso lavoro con una dozzina di loro.
Se ci sono molti letti liberi, i prezzi sono più bassi, in caso contrario, maggiori ", aggiunge.
Beh, questo è abbastanza normale, aggiungo io e la spiegazione mi risulta alquanto scarna di sostanza, perchè non ha spiegato per nulla la differenza tra; stesso albergo, stessa stanza, stessa scheda, stesso servizio, stesse date ma differenti esorbitanti prezzi.
Comunque, anche il direttore commerciale della Reserva123.com, Juan Enrique Escalas, spiega che il fattore chiave è il costo di ammortamento della struttura virtuale, poichè i siti dovrebbero avere un impatto sui prezzi offerti dai costi del personale, manutenzione, gli impianti e gli investimenti, quindi i costi ed i margini.
Personalmente resto ancora stupefatto da questa seconda dichiarazione perchè è talmente evidente che in qualsiasi azienda del mondo debbano per forza essere svolti degli ammortamenti o budget...però nessuno spiega ancora il motivo della differenza dei prezzi; vabbè.

Fonti di un'importante catena alberghiera hanno confermato la differenza di prezzo: "Il costo delle nostre camere possono variare in modo significativo tra il prezzo indicato dal nostro sito e le varie pagine degli operatori sul web.
Questo è normale, ma la differenza del 50%???
Ci rivolgiamo allora all’Agenzia catalana Consum (ACC) che dichiara di aver già iniziata la seconda fase della campagna per rilevare le infrazioni nei siti web dei servizi turistici. L'agenzia ha fatto parecchi acquisti su vari siti web, con risultati non molto incoraggianti: infatti hanno riscontrato molti siti che violano le leggi del consumo e danneggiano gravemente i diritti degli utenti.
Nella prima fase dello studio, l'ACC esaminato il contenuto di 62 imprese (portali di viaggi, siti di agenzie tradizionali, alberghi) che rappresentano il 90% del settore delle imprese.
Le conclusioni raggiunte da parte dell'agenzia, tra l’altro, sono che il 95% delle pagine impongono clausole abusive nei contratti, il 36% ha lacune di informazione, 15% inseriscono il supplemento per l'utilizzo di carta di credito, mentre il 13% dispone di un sub certa-frame in riserva.
Questa settimana, l'ACC ha iniziato la seconda parte dello studio: "Abbiamo appena iniziato, ma finora tutte le operazioni confermato violazioni", ha detto il direttore della ACC, Jordi Anguera. "Il più comune è che è impossibile trovare le offerte che vengono pubblicizzate in copertina.
Nel caso in cui vi è spazio disponibile, il prezzo è sempre superiore a quello pubblicizzato ed inoltre, ci sono supplementi per l'utilizzo di carte di credito ", aggiunge Anguera.
Quindi se Sparta (Italia) piange, Atene (Spagna) non ride di certo, e allora lanciamo l’ennesimo consiglio alla Michela Brambilla; ne seguisse almeno uno.
Come vanno le cose da noi?
E se vanno abbastanza bene, perchè non pubblicizzare internazionalmente la nostra onestà?
Ad majora semper!

domenica 29 novembre 2009

El precio de un hotel varía hasta un 50% según la web donde se contrata





Mismo hotel, misma habitación, misma pensión, mismo servicio y mismas fechas. Pero diferente precio. Los establecimientos hoteleros trabajan con diversos sistemas informáticos independientes para gestionar las camas disponibles y las reservas de los clientes, lo que comporta una ventaja para los hoteles, pues les es más fácil obtener mejor ocupación. Sin embargo, la variedad de sistemas provoca la paradoja de que, para la misma cama en un establecimiento y para idénticos días, esta pueda resultar hasta un 50% más más cara según donde se realice la reserva.

La empresa Reserva123.com ha realizado un estudio de 11 webs de viajes para demostrar las diferencias de precios y planificar su estrategia. El método es sencillo: comparar para un hotel en unas fechas determinadas qué precio ofrece cada página (incluida la suya).

Un ejemplo: establecimiento en Fuerteventura, cinco estrellas, siete días en régimen de media pensión. Precio medio: 585 euros. Precio más bajo, 519 euros; precio más caro, 765 euros. Un encarecimiento del 47,7%.

BANCOS DE CAMAS / «Los precios de las habitaciones en las páginas web son fruto de una ecuación de varios elementos», explica el responsable sectorial de Turismo de PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Álvaro Klecker. Por un lado, los hoteles firman contratos directos con algunas agencias de viajes on line. Por el otro, venden sus habitaciones a «bancos de camas», plataformas que gestionan las habitaciones ofreciéndolas a multitud de operadores (webs). Cuando se busca un hotel en una página, el precio puede venir o del banco de camas con el que trabaje la web o del contrato que tenga firmado directamente con el establecimiento.

«Si se trata de un acuerdo directo con el hotel, los precios suelen ser más económicos. Si no, depende del contrato que tiene el establecimiento con cada banco de camas (suelen trabajar con una decena de estos) y del número de habitaciones que queden disponibles. Si quedan muchas camas, los precios son más bajos. Si no, más altos», añade. A toda esta negociación y casuística hay que añadirle otro elemento: los costes y los márgenes. «El factor clave es el coste de amortización de esta estructura virtual», señala Klecker.

Las webs deben repercutir en los precios que ofrecen el coste del personal, de mantenimiento, de instalaciones y de inversión. «Optimizar recursos y un gran volumen de gestión son claves para poder ofrecer precios más competitivos», asegura Juan Enrique Escalas, director comercial de Reserva123.com.

Fuentes de una importante cadena hotelera confirman la diferencia de precios: «El coste de nuestras habitaciones puede variar bastante entre el precio que indica nuestra web y el de las diferentes páginas. Unas veces somos más competitivos nostros; otras, las agencias on line», afirman. Klecker recuerda que no hay que olvidar que en España, las reservas en línea representan «entre el 17% y el 30% del total de las ventas», mientras que en otros países, como los nórdicos, el porcentaje alcanza el 60%. «La mayoría de las contrataciones se sigue realizando a través de las agencias tradicionales», dice.SIN CLASIFICACIÓN / Del estudio también se desprende otra conclusión: no hay una web que sea la más cara ni la más barata.

Porque unas veces la misma página es la más económica para un producto pero, para otro, es la más cara. «Desde el punto de vista del consumidor, lo más aconsejable es que se pase todo el tiempo que crea necesario o pueda para comparar los precios en distintas webs», aseguran las mismas fuentes de la cadena hotelera. Ya lo decía Manuel Luque: busque, compare y si encuentra algo mejor, cómprelo.

JOSEP M. BERENGUERAS

sabato 28 novembre 2009

La mano del turismo e della produttività un pò mona


Forse è meglio affidarci agli oroscopi che a questa massa di “inutili profeti” istituzionali.
Quelli che pur essendo profumatamente pagati e riveriti, continuano a non capirne un granché.
Ma non perdiamo altro tempo e veniamo subito ai fatti.
Claudio Scajola 24 novembre 2009 (
tre giorni prima del crack) dichiara: "Dubai ha superato la crisi, crescerà del 5 per cento nel 2010 e ora guarda con simpatia all'Italia e con ammirazione ai nostri prodotti".
Il che detto tre soli giorni prima del crack di Dubai, e dal ministro delle attività produttive, non fa di certo un bell’effetto sulle proprie competenze in materia, ma soprattutto il cosa produce la sua conoscenza sulla redditività.
Michela Brambilla 2 febbraio 2009
La ministra, auspicando un grandioso successo, si presenta a Dubai accompagnata da uno stuolo di assessori, imprenditori e quanto di meglio dell’azienda italiana e, a parte un vago protocollo d'intesa, dall'avventura non è arrivato un centesimo; anzi ci impegneremo a Dubai per la costruzione di un centro che pubblicizzi il prodotto italiano.
Bene, anzi male, ma chi gliela detto e come si fa a non mettere in riga neanche la più elementare delle logiche commerciali (?); ci fosse uno che l’azzecca.
E vi spiego il perché.
Del presunto e possibile crack di
Dubai avevamo già scritto in tempi non sospetti; il dopo è sempre troppo facile, e l’avevamo paragonato al classico castello di sabbia dove non avremmo impegnato neanche un soldino.
Infatti, anche per uno non addentro al commercio, i primi segnali arrivano già dal 2008, e vale a dire da quando si raccontava di Mercedes e Bmw abbandonate all'aeroporto da bancarottieri in fuga dall'Emirato.
Dubai è una monarchia medievale, 87 chilometri quadrati con popolazione inferiore a quella di Roma, che in un raptus prolungato da manie di grandezza ha speso decine di miliardi per costruire inutili isole finte a forma di palma, campi da sci con neve fasulla in una bolla di vetro nel deserto (dove gli sceicchi sciano in tunica), alberghi di stralusso a 7 stelle, metropolitane senza passeggeri, eccetera eccetera, e forse un po’ troppo.
Un bel patatrack da 80 miliardi di dollari, mentre il valore di quegli stessi immobili che prima tutti volevano comprare, ha preso a scendere a capofitto, facendo segnare, nei primi 11 mesi di quest’anno, un secco -47%.
Sono comunque bruscolini se si pensa che sul valutario, si scambiano ogni giorno 4 trilioni di dollari alla velocità di un bip, e non credo si possano avere ripercussioni finanziarie a livello mondiale a lungo termine, ne tantomeno di rialzo prezzo petrolio.
Dai primi NO, e perdita in borsa, seguiranno i SI per la legge del rialzo; mentre i "ricchi", anche questa volta, ci guadagneranno con l'altalenarsi dei sopraddetti.
Comunque, una storia annunciata per tutti, ma non per i nostri due edotti ministri; la solita storia italiana.

Dubai, from dream to nightmare






Dubai shook investor confidence across the Persian Gulf after its proposal to delay debt payments risked triggering the biggest sovereign default since Argentina in 2001.

The cost of protecting government notes from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain rose, extending the steepest increase since February as Dubai World, with $59 billion of liabilities, sought a “standstill” agreement from creditors. Its debt includes $3.52 billion of bonds due Dec. 14 from property unit Nakheel PJSC. Dubai credit-default swaps climbed 90 basis points to 530 after yesterday increasing the most since they began trading in January, CMA Datavision prices showed.

“There is nothing investors dislike more than this kind of event,” said Norval Loftus, the head of convertible bonds and Islamic debt at Matrix Group Ltd. in London, which manages $2.5 billion of assets including Dubai credits. “The worst-case scenario will, of course, be involuntary restructuring on the Nakheel security that brings into question the entire nature of the sovereign support for various borrowers in the region.”

Dubai World’s assets range from stakes in Las Vegas casino company MGM Mirage to London-traded bank Standard Chartered Plc and luxury retailer Barneys New York through asset-management firm Istithmar PJSC. The Dubai government’s attempt to reschedule debt triggered declines in stocks worldwide that had been rebounding from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

‘Debt Burden’

“We understand the concerns of the market and the creditors in particular,” said Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al- Maktoum, who chairs the Supreme Fiscal Committee in charge of apportioning financial support to ailing companies, in the first statement to come out of the Dubai government since the announcement about debt rescheduling. “However, we have had to intervene because of the need to take decisive action to address its particular debt burden.”

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index of stocks had the biggest decline in four weeks, falling 2.2 percent, led by Russia and China. Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index lost 3.3 percent in London, the biggest decline since April 20. South Africa’s rand and the Turkish lira weakened 2.1 percent against the dollar. Hungary’s forint lost 1.7 percent per euro. Credit-default swaps on Russia increased to 205 basis points from 192.

The MSCI World Index of 23 developed markets has risen 26 percent this year after banks worldwide recorded more than $1.7 trillion in writedowns and losses and governments committed about $12 trillion to shore up economies.

‘Shock’ Announcement

“The announcement was a shock,” said Beat Siegenthaler, chief emerging-market strategist at TD Securities Ltd. in London. “It is strongly affecting European markets.”

Dubai, ruled by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, borrowed $80 billion in a four-year construction boom to transform the economy into a regional tourism and financial hub. The emirate suffered the world’s steepest property slump in the global recession, with home prices dropping 50 percent from their 2008 peak, according to Deutsche Bank AG.

Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s cut the ratings on Dubai state companies yesterday, saying they may consider Dubai World’s plan to delay debt payments a default.

Gulf region default swaps jumped, with contracts linked to Bahrain adding 29 basis points today to 223.5, the biggest increase since Feb. 18. Contracts linked to Abu Dhabi added the most since February yesterday, climbing 36 basis points to 136.5 and were another 23 basis points higher at 159.5 today, according to London-based CMA. Qatar default swaps rose 13 basis points to 117, adding to yesterday’s 11 basis-point increase.

‘Further Defaults’

“Dubai is the most indicative of the huge global liquidity boom and now in the aftermath there will be further defaults to come in emerging markets and globally,” said Nick Chamie, head of emerging-market research at Toronto-based RBC Capital Markets.

Saudi Arabia default swaps climbed the most since February, adding 18 basis points to 108. The British Bankers’ Association asked the U.K. government to intervene with Saudi authorities over debts of at least $20 billion owed to as many as 100 banks by Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co., two family holding companies based in the oil city of Al-Khobar, according to a letter dated Nov. 20.

Default swaps on Dubai World unit DP World Ltd., the Middle East’s biggest port operator, jumped by a record 181 basis points to 540.5 yesterday and were priced another 72 basis points higher today at 612, according to CMA data.

‘Restructuring Process’

Dubai World had $59.3 billion in liabilities and $99.6 billion in total assets at the end of 2008, subsidiary Nakheel Development Ltd. said in an August statement. Dubai owes $4.3 billion next month and $4.9 billion in the first quarter of 2010 through government and corporate debt, Deutsche Bank AG data show.

“DP World and its debt are not included in the restructuring process for Dubai World,” the government said in a statement to Nasdaq Dubai today.

The price of Nakheel’s bonds fell to 70.5 cents on the dollar from 84 yesterday and 110.5 a week ago, according to Citigroup Inc. prices on Bloomberg.

“Nakheel is now standing on the brink of failure given the astonishing amount of cash Dubai would have to inject on it in order to see the enterprise survive,” said Luis Costa, emerging-market debt strategist at Commerzbank AG in London. “Events like this are a perfect storm.”

Dubai credit-default swaps now rank as the fifth most expensive worldwide, exceeding Iceland’s and Latvia’s.

Preventing a Default

The contracts, which increase as perceptions of credit quality deteriorate, pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent should a company fail to adhere to its debt agreements. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point and is equivalent to $1,000 a year on a contract protecting $10 million of debt.

UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest bank, said it expects the U.A.E. will prevent a default by Nakheel. Owners of bonds sold by Nakheel scheduled a conference call today, said an investor and a trader who received the details.

Dubai is one of seven sheikhdoms in the U.A.E. that includes Abu Dhabi, which holds 8 percent of the world’s oil reserves and bought $5 billion of bonds sold by Dubai yesterday through state-controlled banks.

Sheikh Mohammed turned to Abu Dhabi’s central bank on Feb. 23 to raise $10 billion by selling debt. The emirate’s credit default swaps dropped 178 basis points that day, after trading for a record 976 basis points.

Bond Sale

Unlike Argentina, which stopped payments on $95 billion of debt eight years ago after yields on benchmark bonds more than doubled in four months to more than 40 percent, Dubai’s announcement yesterday “was a surprise,” said Alia Moubayed, a London-based economist at Barclays Plc.

The government raised $1.93 billion last month in its first sale of Islamic bonds, attracting more than $6.3 billion of orders. The dollar-denominated securities due 2014, which are governed by Shariah laws barring investors from profiting from the exchange of money, dropped to 5.5 percent today to 92 cents, lifting the yield to 8.4 percent from 6.2 percent on Nov. 24, according to ING Groep NV prices on Bloomberg.

Gulf International Bank BSC, a Bahrain-based lender owned by the governments of six Gulf Arab states, postponed a planned sale of bonds in a $4 billion debt program, citing the “unexpected announcement” from Dubai, according to an e-mailed statement today.

‘Standstill’ Agreement

Dubai World will ask creditors for a “standstill” agreement as it negotiates to extend maturities, including $3.52 billion of Islamic bonds due Dec. 14 from Nakheel, Dubai’s Department of Finance said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Dubai World’s more than 70 creditors face the prospect of writedowns on as much as $60 billion of debt if they haven’t unloaded their holdings and the state-owned company fails to win additional support from Abu Dhabi.

The biggest creditors are Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Emirate NBD PJSC. Other lenders include Credit Suisse Group AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, according to a person familiar with the situation. Barclays slumped as much as 6.9 percent, the biggest intraday loss in a month, while RBS sank as much as 8.3 percent. Lloyds and Credit Suisse dropped more than 3 percent.

“Our exposure is immaterial,” said Credit Suisse spokesman Marc Dosch. HSBC, Lloyds and RBS declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg. Simon Eaton, a spokesman for Barclays Capital in London, also declined to comment.

Default Criteria

Emaar Properties PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest developer, was cut by four levels by Moody’s to Ba2, two steps below investment grade. Jebel Ali Free Zone, an operator of business parks, and DIFC Investments were also lowered to speculative-grade by Moody’s yesterday. DP World and Dubai Electricity & Water Authority were downgraded two levels to Baa2, the second rank above junk. Moody’s and S&P said they may cut ratings further.

The debt “restructuring may be considered a default under our default criteria,” S&P said in a statement.

Borrowing from Abu Dhabi state banks accounted for half the $10 billion Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed said he planned to raise by yearend. He said Nov. 9 the program will be “well received,” and those who doubt the unity of Dubai and Abu Dhabi should “shut up.”

Sheikh Mohammed removed the chairman of Dubai World from the board of Dubai’s main holding company, the Investment Corporation of Dubai, last week.

Contracts on Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., the state- controlled energy producer known as Taqa, jumped 70 basis points to 250, the highest since August. Swaps linked to Mubadala Development Co., a government-backed investor that announced an $8 billion joint venture with General Electric Co. last year, rose 111 basis points to 247, according to CMA. Mashreqbank PSC, the U.A.E.-based lender owned by billionaire Abdul Aziz al- Ghurair, jumped by a record 254 basis points to 639.

“It’s very important to resolve this in a way that will minimize contagion across the region,” Matrix Group’s Loftus said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Cochrane send me e-mail

venerdì 27 novembre 2009

The twenty-two European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) in tourism and the protected areas






The winning destinations, chosen by national juries, are located in protected areas (i.e. area of land and/or sea/internal waters dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means) and areas bordering them, where an economically viable tourism product has been developed using the protected area as an asset, while respecting its protected environment and at the same time meeting the needs of local residents and visitors.

Austria
Grosse Walsertal Biosphere Park
Located in the heart of the Austrian Alps lies the remarkable Grosse Walsertal Biosphere Park. With such a rich landscape, Grosse Walsertal has it all, whether you’re a walking, gardening or food enthusiast. The Alps rise over 2,700 metres high, parted by fertile farming valleys where everything from herbs, berries and flowers are grown.

Belgium
Viroin-Hermeton Nature Park
Located south of Charleroi in Belgium's heartland is the Viroinval Nature Park. This regional jewel offers timeless landscapes and scenery, plant life and wildlife, along with tantalising local cuisine. Perfect for walking, mountain biking, family adventures, cultural festivals or romantic getaways. Marvel at the pristine meadows and farmlands, thick-green forests and rolling hillsides .

Bulgaria
Town of Belitsa
Bulgaria's town of Belitsa, is located in the south-west part of the country within the valley of Razlog. Since it rests on the foothills of the Rila, Pirin and Rhodopes mountains, the town boasts stunning panoramic views, and is home to the largest bear rescue centre in Europe. History lovers can step back into Neolithic times.

Croatia
Northern Velebit National Park
Situated in the north-western part of Croatia is the Northern Velebit National Park. Located just a few kilometers from the Adriatic Sea, the park unites two different locales, the coastal region and the mountainous zone. Predatory animals such as wildcats, bears and wolves, roam the mountainsides, while deep sinkholes and caves give the park an unparalleled sense of multiplicity.

Cyprus
Vouni Panagias
Resting in the eastern boundaries of the Pafos District rises Cyprus' Vouni Panagias. Ancient oak trees fill the dense and beautiful Pafos Forest in the mountainous regions, while closer to sea level age-old vineyards and water springs enhance the landscapes’ natural scenery. Extremely rare species of birds and wildlife inhabit the area, known for its walking and hiking trails.

Czech Republic
Bohemian Switzerland
Resting near the German border just inside the Czech Republic is the Bohemian Switzerland Natural Park. Its unique beauty and unmatched landscapes have inspired many great minds such as Kafka, Dvorak and Fridich, to name a few. Rock towers rise from the Earth, while gorges cut and slash their way through valleys leading to ancient castles and ruins.

Estonia
Soomaa National Park
Located in Transitional Estonia, the Soomaa National Park was established to protect the many large raised bogs, flood plains, forests and meandering rivers. The region is home to Siberian Irises, beavers, cranes, the Ural owl, lynx, wolves and bears. In winter there are snowshoe tours over the bogs and frozen rivers, while in other seasons nighttime canoe tours are available.

France
Northern Vosges Regional Natural Park
Surrounded by regions such as Alsace, Moselle/Lorraine and the Palatinate in Germany, the Northern Vosges Regional Natural Park has sandstone, hot springs and many water passages. The region is also home to many of the finest glass and crystal makers in the world, while fine restaurants specializing in the region's unsurpassed tastes are plentiful.

Greece
Prefecture of Lesvos
Located in the Northeast Aegean Sea, Lesvos is Greece's prized possession. The Island combines natural beauty and history in a unique way. An island best known for its beaches, Lesvos is home to some of the most spectacular natural attractions in the world. See fossilized tree-trunks in Lesvos Petrified Forest or go bird watching at the Gulf of Kalloni.

Hungary
Írottkő Nature Park
Situated in the West Transdanubian region of Hungary rests the Irottko Nature Park. Since the Irottko sits on the foothills of the Alps, the region is known for its varied landscapes and rich, fertile soil. The highest peak in the park , Irottko Mountain, rises 882 meters above sea level and overlooks quaint villages, historical landmarks and spectacular hillside vegetation.

Ireland
Sheep's Head Peninsula
Located off Ireland's southwest coast is jagged Sheep's Head Peninsula. Despite its rugged terrain, Sheep's Head is rigged with unrivaled charm and a true hidden gem in Ireland's vast history. Take a walk on the Sheep's Head Way, visit forts and monuments such as Lord Bandon's Folly, and complete your trip by visiting some of the numerous pubs and restaurants.

Italy
Protected Marine Area Penisola del Sinis, Italy - Isola di Mal di Ventre
Located in the central western coast of Sardinia, the Protected Marine Area Penisola del Sinis is an area of contrasting landscapes ranging from spectacular coastlines to imposing cliff formations. With timeless scenery, a unique wildlife population, an effervescent local community and fine cuisine, the area offers a peek into an indigenous culture and setting steeped in tradition .

Latvia
Tervete Nature Park
With a history that dates back to the first millennium BC, Latvia's Tervete Nature Park, about 75 kilometers to the south of the capital city Riga, is a mystical region filled with a heroic past. A visit to the three castle mounds offers a distinct glimpse into the area's proud past, and visiting the beautiful Swans Lake is a must.

Lithuania
Nemunas River Delta Regional Park
Lithuania's natural wonder known as the Nemunas River Delta Regional Park was formed when massive glaciers melted to conclude the Ice Age. What the glaciers carved out and left behind were a series of flooded meadows, rivers, lakes, bogs and the Curonian Lagoon. In this vast region, covering nearly 2,000-square kilometers, water activities reign supreme .

Luxembourg
Schengen - "Haff Réimech
Situated on the southeastern-most tip of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Commune of Schengen is comprised of three villages: Remerschen, Schengen and Wintrage. It is a region of tremendous wineries with a major attraction being the 42-kilometer long "Wine Road" which starts on the Luxembourg Moselle river, winding its way through gorgeous lands dotted by wineries .

Malta
Mel lieħa and the Hamlet of Manikata
Mellieħa is a rural village situated in the north-western part of the island of Malta. Known for its wonderful sandy beaches, world-class hotels and restaurants, Mellieħa is one of Malta's most pristine regions. The area is rich in important archaeological sites with the magnificent church being one of Malta's most-prized pieces.

The Netherlands
Park Gravenrode
Nestled in the southern part of the Netherlands adjacent to the German border in the province of Limburg is the fully transformed Park Gravenrode. Once a dilapidated mining region with little or no nature, the region is quite a contrast to the rest of Holland with rolling hills and rising landscapes and its beauty is just beginning to be untapped.

Poland
The Bird Republic in the Warta Mouth
Nestled away in the Warta Mouth National Park lies Poland's Bird Republic. This special bird sanctuary draws visitors throughout the year due to the great number of birds that make the park their home at various times throughout the year. The park itself is vast, with wetlands, rolling meadows, grasslands and the Warta River carving its way through .

Romania
Apuseni Nature Park
Tucked away in western Romania, in the Apuseni Mountains, lies the amazing Apuseni Natural Park. The region boasts green forests, blue waters and white limestone as well as ravines, caves, underground lakes and unique carnivorous wildlife. The remarkable sunsets that this region is named after, along with timeless local charm, make Apuseni a mystical place to visit .

Slovenia
Solčavsko
The Solčava district lies at the upper end of the Savinja River and has some of the most beautiful sceneries in the whole of Slovenia. The Alpine scenery is peppered with sites of breathtaking natural beauty, and the three mighty glacial valleys are the highlight of any stay. Hike in Alpine meadows, misty beech forests or banks of wild strawberries.

Spain
The Ebro Delta
In the Southern Dis tricts of Cataluña lies Spain's Ebro Delta Nature Park. Tucked away in the hinterland of three major cities (Barcelona, Valencia and Zaragoza), this region boasts the splendid Terres de L'Ebre, an area of stunning scenery and ecosystems. Hear the wind whistle through the rice paddies, watch rare birds fly by and escape into the tranquility of nature.

Turkey
Kars - Kuyucuk Lake Wild Life Reserve
In the northeastern corner of Turkey, at an altitude of 1,750 meters lies the region of Kars. This historical area, which dates back to the Lithic Ages (13,000-10,000 BC), sits below the Castle of Kars, a magnificent fortress built in the 12th century. Visit Lake Kuyucuk for a spot of stargazing, or enjoy incredible panoramic views from Satan’s Castle .

giovedì 26 novembre 2009

Top 10 Worldwide Ski Resorts






Hope you enjoyed staying at the finest hotels around the world. Few things in life beat the luxury and amenities of fine hotels, except perhaps a visit to some choice ski destinations around the world. So bundle up and make some cocoa because we're about to embark on some crazy vertical drops...
10. Aspen, Colorado, Western United States
Want to ski with the rich and famous? If yes, then Aspen is the place to be. Aspen is known for its steeps and its four mountains that are not linked. This Colorado ski resort accommodates all by featuring excellent terrain for all skier levels. Filled with steeps and bumps, Aspen Mountain has fantastic groomed intermediate runs as well. The mountain is also a great choice for experts, who can access hundreds of acres of terrain off the backside of the mountain. As the resort-of-choice for the "better off," Aspen has a tendency to get slightly expensive.

9. Cortina, Italy
Perhaps this is where Alberto 'la bomba' Tomba got his start. Cortina matches any resort in the Alps and served as the host of the Olympic games in 1956. Similar to Zermatt in Switzerland, life revolves around a trafficless street. One of the world's first ski resorts, Cortina is also Italy's most stylish.

8. Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Eastern Canada
French Canadian joie de vivre meets North American service standards. Tremblant, Eastern Canada's best-known resort, has been given a facelift thanks to a $1 billion investment (that's Canadian currency, so roughly $13 American dollars). Open since 1939, Tremblant was the first resort to open in Canada and the second in North America. What makes Tremblant even more special is that it is an hour away from Montreal. An alternative would be Mont-Sainte-Anne, which is a nicer mountain and a short trip away from Quebec City, perhaps North America's most historic city as the gateway into the "New World."

7. Stowe, Vermont, Eastern United States
One of the most renowned and picturesque ski resorts on the map, Stowe offers traditional New England charm and the biggest vertical drop in the area. Stowe's two ski areas are Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. The latter actually backs onto Smugglers' Notch's terrain. As a result, Stowe is amongst a handful of American resort that has a lift-link to another resort. Stowe offers over 90 shops and 60 restaurants to make sure that visitors do not trek too far away.

6. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France
Host of the world's first Winter Olympic games in 1924, Chamonix ranks among the elite of contenders for the title of "world's most famous ski resort." Located at the foot of Mont-Blanc, it's the highest peak in the Alps and the second highest in Europe (top elevation 4,810 m/15,771 ft). Chamonix Mont-Blanc holds bragging rights both for its lift-served vertical drop of 2807 meters (9209 feet) and for having one of the world's longest runs (Vallée Blanche), at 22 km (13.7 miles).

5. Banff/Lake Louise, Alberta, Western Canada
Located in the heart of Canada's Banff National Park, Lake Louise ranks as one of the most scenic mountain resorts in North America, if not the entire world. Banff/Lake Louise has three different ski areas (Mount Norquay/Mystic Ridge, Sunshine Village, and Lake Louise) that are roughly 50 km apart (yes, they use km outside of the US). The Insider's Guide to the Best Canadian Skiing has labeled Norquay as "an unforgiving brute legendary for its unrelenting vertical and monster moguls."

4. Vail, Colorado, Western United States
Legendary Vail markets itself as "America's favorite resort" and deserves to be ranked amongst the world's top five all-around ski resorts. As the largest single ski area in the United States, Vail offers roughly 5,300 acres of skiable, terrain. Let's not forget the fastest high-speed detachable quads on one mountain. No small feat, I'm sure. Vail offers much more with several art galleries, museums, ballooning, dog sledding, ice skating, hockey, snowmobiling, and much more.

3. Zermatt, Switzerland
While neighboring Gstaad is one of the world's top resorts with its three five-star hotels and St. Moritz is more popular, most rank Zermatt as Switzerland's top resort. A remarkably peaceful getaway, the village is peaceful thanks to its car-free environment. Amazingly picturesque, Zermatt holds the world's second biggest lift-served vertical drop and receives huge snowfalls thanks to its altitude (and some help from snowmakers on the lower slopes).

2. Kitzbuhel, Austria
While St. Anton holds the crown of "Europe's liveliest ski resort," and Innsbruck is home to one of Europe's liveliest and most beautiful cities (the International Olympic Committee must have thought so as well, as the city hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976), Kitzbuhel is considered the "Pearl of the Alps" and is the most famous holiday resort in the Austrian Tyrol. This 700-year-old village offers visitors the charm of an alpine village. Skiing began in the winter of 1892.

1. Whistler/Blackcomb, Canada
These two towering mountains provide the best skiing in North America, with the biggest vertical drop. It's funny what a difference 30 years and $600 million can make. Yet there was not much there but a mountain for courageous hikers. Whistler's charming village offers everything snowboarders and skiers crave; cafes, international stores and over 100 restaurants that cater to all tastes including Chinese, French, Greek, Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican, and Thai cuisine. Food is key after partaking in the activities that really make Whistler legendary. Whistler quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the strongest contenders for the much-disputed title of "world's greatest ski resort." Over the past decade, Whistler was consistently voted "Best North American Ski Resort" by North Americans. The Japanese repeatedly rank it as their favorite international destination.

By Harry Marks

Enit: una nuova unica strada; anzi, forse due







Gli sforzi della Brambilla per rendersi insopportabile ma anche qualcosa di
più incomprensibile, sono straordinari. La fresca vicenda della nomina di Paolo Rubini a General manager dell'Enit
(Ente Nazionale italiano turismo) è addirittura surreale e quasi impossibile da raccontare se non col linguaggio della barzelletta.
La Michela, eleggendolo, ha dato la causale che il proprietario dell'azienda
specializzata nel congelamento dei cordoni ombelicali sia anche in possesso di comprovati e adeguati requisiti tecnico-professionali in relazione ai compiti istituzionali dell'Enit, e non perché sia il responsabile della “banca dati” dei Circoli della libertà, chissà?
In poche parole e senza menar il can per l’aia, “chillullà” è la persona più giusta a ricoprire questo difficile e delicato incarico, che gratis non è.
Solo che il signor Paolo, che di turismo non ne capisce una benemerita mazza, dichiara invece, nella sua prima uscita, di aver già capito tutto (modestamente) e propone lo smembramento o suddivisione dell'Enit in due tronconi (nazionale ed internazionale) poiché le due cose, sempre a suo edotto, esperto e professionale dire, sono incompatibili.
Ma come, lui che proviene dalle cellule staminali è compatibile col turismo, mentre le due forme dello stesso settore aziendale, non lo sono?
Che dire poi del Titolo V o il programmato futuro federalismo (?); o forse si vuole così....?
Ci siamo capiti!
Sarà così che l’Enit che per decenni è stato internazionalmente ritenuto come un carrozzone adatto per il ricovero di trombati politici, nulla saccenti e poco facenti, si tramuterà in un lungo treno di variopinte carrozze; lungo quanto ancora non si sa.
Ma di certo tutti i posti saranno occupati.
La massima parte degli italiani non sa cosa sia e a cosa serva l’Enit, e allora lo spieghiamo in tre parole: un ente inutile.
Forse dannoso.
Probabilmente una fissa dimora simil politica in cui si può fingere di lavorare, percepire gettoni e indennità, viaggi, sfarzo, migliori alberghi e perchè no (?); la bella vita, usufruire di auto blu, segretarie e ammennicoli vari.
Forse la solita truffa all'Italia e per questo ambito da molti.
Personalmente, anche a se a pochi può interessare, non avrei mai accettato d’essere il GM di un comparto che non conosco perché avrei per forza fatto perdere tempo ad altri per prepararmi alle minime conoscenze del settore, e non avrei mai ostacolato (meritocrazia), chi al mio posto, avrebbe potuto dare sicuramente un prodotto migliore, ma soprattutto non mi sarei mai proposto nei confronti di chi nel turismo ha impegnato fatica, soldi e la speranza di ricevere da me (Enit) un formidabile aiuto che non sono in grado di dare.
La Michela Brambilla è il ministro e vabbè.
Il Presidente, ora Commissario dell’Enit, Matteo Marzotto, deve badare alla sua azienda tessile ed è molto spesso a Parigi.
Il General Manager ha un’azienda di cordoni ombelicali congelati; di questa in maggior parte si occuperà e forse è anche meglio.
Mentre se scendiamo giù nel consiglio d’amministrazione, tutti i partecipanti hanno un altro personale impiego; beh, se va avanti così ci resta l’usciere, a meno che anche lui non faccia il doppio lavoro.
Una storia italiana si, ma che deve finire.

martedì 24 novembre 2009

"Italy hotels" o giù di lì








C’è qualcosa di pazzesco in questo Paese ed è perfino imbarazzante raccontarlo, mentre ci rimane la sgradevole sensazione della continua presa in giro.
Ormai ne abbiamo un callo grosso così e vi spiego, o almeno ci provo, qual'è il perchè.
Ogni anno l'Unione Europea sceglie un tema per una campagna di sensibilizzazione su un argomento specifico, e per il 2009, ha scelto di puntare, quasi fosse uno stimolo e un suggerimento, sulla creatività dei suoi cittadini sulla base di tre parole chiave o slogan; immaginare, creare, innovare.
Quindi realizzare interventi contro i ‘cambiamenti climatici’ e la capacità di rivedere profondamente una serie di aspetti che regolano la convivenza organizzata di persone e popoli.
Rivediamo per un attimo le tre parole: immaginazione, creazione ed innovazione, e proviamo questa volta noi, ad immaginare il cosa c’entri tutto questo con un portale di alberghi.
Beh, in un elenco di “questi” non ci troviamo nulla di così innovativo o adatto ad interventi contro i cambiamenti climatici, mentre invero notiamo qualcosa che regoli la convivenza organizzata di persone e popoli, ma questo esisteva anche ai tempi dell'Arca, si, quella di Noè; infine sono decenni che esistono i portali turistici ed anche di migliori; quindi che innovazione è?
Appunto vi chiederete, ed appunto è quello che sosteniamo noi, infatti, ItalyHotels, il portale della Federalberghi/Confturismo che elenca tutti gli alberghi nazionali, forse non ci crederete, ma l’ha vinto.
Un momento, non dopo essere stato visionato in rete (troppo facile) ma antecedentemente di essere messo nel web.
Che non ci sia stato proprio niente o nessun’altro in tutta l’Europa che abbia programmato un qualcosa di più innovativo (BTO – marketing 2,0), è già di per se abbastanza un po’ strano, ma che venga premiata un “affare” che ripercorre gli stessi passi degli altri che nessuno ha ancora visto; suvvia, ma che roba è?
Che sia il grande potere della meritocrazia nazional/europea o un sottile messaggio di B. Bocca alla M. Brambilla?

sabato 21 novembre 2009

Palle di Natale


La Brambilla avrà tanti difetti; anzi, senza “l’avrà”, ma non le manca di certo la capacità di voler impressionare.
E per non venir meno a questa ritenuta qualità, ha estratto dalla paglietta la “bestia” da offrire a noi, poveri “fessi” d’Italia; almeno, è forse ciò che lei crede.
I “maghi”, quelli normali, usano il cilindro col coniglietto, ma Michela si sa, preferisce stupire.
L’idea è vecchia come il cucco e comprende quella di mettere in una “logica” sequenza una miriade di str…anezze complete di sillogismi e ghirigori che ti trascinano il pensiero sul quanto lei è brava.
Mangime per polli.
Solo che nel mucchio, o forse nell’agitazione dei resoconti, molte cose non quadrano, come nel caso nell’ultima intervista rilasciata sul giornale di casa (Il Giornale del 15/11/2009) dal titolo “Scacciamo le comari di sinistra che gufano sull’Italia”.
A parte l’infelice intestazione, la ministra afferma d’essere riuscita a “costo zero” ed in soli 15 giorni, di mettere on line una versione demo del famoso portale (www.italia.it) già completa ed in 5 lingue.
Si, ma completa di errori madornali come, il caricamento lento: 4.21s per caricare la homepage che pesa 1952.6k, effetti pacchiani e da circo, la Basilicata al posto della Campania, eccetera eccetera.
Mentre sul “costo zero” o quant’altro, ecco qualche autorevole dubbio dal web qui, o più dettagliatamente qui.
Ma nulla al confronto, poiché di seguito la ministra afferma in rapida successione che gli occupati del turismo sono 3 mln, mentre l’Inps c’informa che le imprese ricettive contano una forza lavoro dipendente pari a 241.299 unità, i pubblici esercizi 639.293, l’intermediazione 36.441 e il termale 8.849 per un totale di 925.882 (media annua).
Dichiara inoltre, forse per avvalorare il suo “dotto operato”, che la Francia ha chiuso il 2009 con un segno meno a due cifre, mentre i dati che ci vengono forniti dal responsabile francese Novelli, sono completamente diversi (-1%).
Stesso discorso per Spagna e Grecia.
E’ bene ricordare che i dati delle presenze turistiche sono camuffabili con estrema facilità; ognuno dà i suoi, per lo più politicizzati, e non sono quasi mai concordanti.
Dulcis in fundo ci dice che il suo portale “4zampe”, a causa dell’alto successo ottenuto, è andato in “crash” per via dei molti contatti imprevisti.
Tanti, ma così tanti accessi che è stata obbligata a triplicare immediatamente i server su cui girava per poter consentire i click… così, perlomeno racconta.
Attualmente, secondo Alexa, il portale “4zampe” conta 50/100 contatti al giorno e la proiezione trimestrale, al tempo del fatto, lo dava sui 300/500, o poco oltre.
Beh, che dire; meglio star zitti, ma quest’anno a Natale per l’albero, le “balle” le ho già.

giovedì 19 novembre 2009

Ho sbagliato di nuovo il Logo, ma tanto è lo stesso (2a parte)

Quando c'è di mezzo la Michela Brambilla, mi è impossibile non scrivere, non dire o non pensare male.
Però la maggior parte delle cose che vorrei dire, per volere o per fortuna, le tengo per me.
Sia ben chiaro, la mia non è assolutamente una questione politica né tanto meno è quella personale, ma quando si parla di turismo e leggo, vedo o sento qualcosa che non và; beh, allora mi ci tuffo.
Testate?
Finora m’è andata abbastanza benino; acqua alta, attento agli scogli, e speriamo continui.
Perchè la penso cosi?
Nel corso della vita ho avuto l’opportunità di lavorare e di conoscere nazioni e Paesi retti sia da regimi, sia da sistemi democratici, liberali e meritocratici.
Quindi la scelta è venuta da sé.
Credo infatti nelle capacità dell’individuo e nella liceità delle sue speranze di crescita materiale e spirituale; credo nella libertà, ma credo anche che una libera diffusione della ricchezza possa garantire anche il miglioramento e il progresso; credo nel merito e per questo mi batto.
Che cosa mi irrita?
Mi irritano i “comandanti” inefficienti, sciuponi, confusionari, e mi disturbano, di conseguenza, i “soldatini” locali che, nelle loro specificità, li scimmiottano; odio i ruffiani.
Detesto i fannulloni, coloro i quali fanno della furbizia spicciola un mestiere disonesto e vivono di conoscenze altolocate, ed ho ribrezzo dei potenti che di questi “cialtroni” si circondano per essere sempre osannati, innalzati e per sentirsi importanti.
Ho avversione per i violenti che distruggono o s’impossessano illegalmente dei beni della comunità e dei singoli.
Nutro disprezzo, e timore, nei confronti di chi sparge odio sociale per confondere le menti di giovani in difficoltà, ma anche di quelle più semplici e vecchie.
Provo dispregio per chi fa di tutto per impedire a chi ha voglia, forza, coraggio e onestà per costruirsi un futuro al quale deve però rinunciare a causa d’ingiusti balzelli, di leggi fumose e di regolamenti astrusi, ma soprattutto ho veramente schifo, disgusto, ma non pena o pietà, per chi usa il clientelismo o altro di enormemente deprecabile a danno del merito.
Tutto questo forse non c’entra, ma la vicenda di Paolo Rubini nominato Direttore Generale con la causale della Michela di essere in possesso di comprovati e adeguati requisiti tecnico-professionali in relazione ai compiti istituzionali dell’Enit (Ente Nazionale del Turismo), mi puzza di grande e maleodorantre bruciato.
E se poi penso al probabile prezzo (190.000 annui "elargiti" al predecessore Magnani) o a chi quel posto al mio similare, che nella vita se l’è guadagnato sul campo e che sicuramente avrebbe prodotto un lavoro migliore; scusate ma "serenamente", mi c’incazzo.
Infatti da essere proprietario della StemWay Biotech, specializzata nel congelamento di cordoni ombelicali (cellule staminali), ad occupare una poltrona importante sul turismo, non penso ci sia molta equità.
O forse l'ha aiutato il fatto che era o ancora è, il responsabile della “banca dati” dei Circoli della libertà, chissà?
E qualcuno eviti scioccamente di dire che non è necessaria questa conoscenza per un GM; non contiamoci balle, io lo sono e credo con merito, mentre queste cose ben le conosco.
In nessuna “seria” azienda privata al mondo sia la proprietà che la presidenza e addirittura la direzione generale, non hanno importanti precedenti nozioni del settore che trattano, ed è appunto dalla prima dichiarazione del Rubini che si evince il perché.
Ma questo ve lo racconto, se posso, domani.

martedì 17 novembre 2009

Ho sbagliato Logo, ma tanto è lo stesso (1a parte)

Questa notizia non l'ho commentata subito perché ero fuori dagli stracci e avrei rischiato di dire cose che penso ma che non posso dire desiderando salvaguardare la mia libertà personale.
A molti non potrà dire nulla, che è poi la stessa cosa che è successa a me quando ho sentito per la prima volta quel nome, però lavoro nel turismo e quindi la intendo nel senso che mai e poi mai mi sarei aspettato tanta (§§§censura§§§) nella decisione della Brambilla e del Matteo; si, il Marzotto. Paolo Rubini è il nuovo General Manager dell’Enit (Ente Nazionale del Turismo); mentre i più diranno, chi è... e ecchisenefrega.
Un momento, andiamo per gradi.
Il turismo in Italia è la maggiore fonte di income nelle casse erariali, mentre nell’indotto di questo comparto lavorano oltre due milioni di persone, e l’Italia è “naturalmente” il Paese più bello del globo.
1 + 1 = 2 e quindi perché non approfittarsene?
Certo, e pertanto ci saremmo aspettati un fior fiore di nomina, ossia qualcuno che avesse due "palle così" in questo mestiere, ma Paolo Rubini che cosa c’azzecca?
La “sciura Brambilla” dichiara: "Visto il curriculum del dottor Paolo Rubini ed accertato che il dottor Rubini è in possesso di comprovati e adeguati requisiti tecnico-professionali in relazione ai compiti istituzionali dell'Enit...", si legge nel protocollo firmato il 5 agosto.
Sarà vero, ma nel curriculum del futuro braccio destro di Marzotto di turismo non v'è traccia: responsabile della 'banca dati' dei Circoli della libertà, ex responsabile dell'audit interno dell'Isvap, è vicepresidente, ma di cui credo sia proprietario, della StemWay Biotech, specializzata nel congelamento di cordoni ombelicali.
Insomma, cellule staminali e quindi l’associazione di categoria che raggruppa le imprese nazionali ed estere operanti nel settore della ricerca e dei servizi in materia di cellule e tessuti umani.
???...Forse che il suo "possesso di comprovati e adeguati requisiti tecnico professionali in ambito turistico ed Enit" sia da limitare alla probabile settimana bianca o qualche giorno al mare...???
Riprendo la dicitura “responsabile della banca dati dei Circoli della Libertà” e allora capisco, mentre penso a quante cose avrebbe da dirmi e da insegnarmi sul turismo il Rubini in un eventuale confronto a quattrocchi.
Vabbè, un’occasione “per me” andata persa!
Quello che fa “rabbia e stupore” è che tutte le associazioni, enti, sindacati, università e chi più ne ha più ne metta; sono state zitte.
Chissà mai che a toccare la suscettibilità della ministra, potrebbe portare delle serie conseguenze?
Ed i bloggers italiani che di turismo si occupano?
Silenzio anche loro, indistintamente tutti, ma non noi, no di certo.
Questa è solo la prima puntata perché, dalle prime dichiarazioni del Paolo Rubini, ne arriva una che è grossa e tutta uno spasso, merita un post soltanto per sé e ve la racconto, non appena posso, un pò più avanti.
Forse domani.

lunedì 16 novembre 2009

http://www.italia.it.cip.ciop.quack/quack





Lo sto sperimentando giorno per giorno, l’Italia del turismo sta sprofondando sempre più nel ridicolo e un po’ mi vergogno quando vengo interpellato da amici o dai colleghi esteri.
Le solite cavolate tipo, ‘avete il più bel Paese del mondo ma non sapete cosa farne’, ‘vi lamentate sempre di chi c’era prima, ma dopo non cambia un bel niente’, e via dicendo, fino all’esaurimento anche della più grande calma celestiale.
Io poi di questa ne ho ben poca, soprattutto quando penso che il tutto è nelle mani della Michela Vittoria Brambilla, ma d’altronde amo l’Italia.
Vabbè, non so neanche da che parte cominciare, ed allora riporto un articolo di M.M. dell’Espresso che rispecchia pienamente quello che volevo dire in merito alla recente dichiarazione della Signora sui suoi presunti molteplici contatti ricevuti da Italia.it.

I numeri si sbandierano se sono belli e si nascondono se non lo sono.
Così, sui dati di traffico del portale turistico Italia.it è sceso il silenzio: nessuno sa quanti visitatori abbia e le promesse di trasparenza proclamate da Renato Brunetta evidentemente in questo caso non valgono.
Esistono tuttavia alcuni strumenti che permettono di valutare la diffusione e la popolarità di un sito, come Alexa.com o Google Trends: e da questi emerge come il bilancio di Italia.it sia catastrofico, con poche centinaia di utenti unici al giorno e tutti o quasi provenienti dall'Italia (il sito doveva servire a stimolare il turismo dall'estero).
Nato ai tempi del ministro Lucio Stanca (precedente governo Berlusconi), Italia.it è stato riesumato dal nuovo ministro del Turismo Michela Brambilla, dopo che l'esecutivo Prodi ne aveva decretato la fine.
Anche dopo il rilancio, tuttavia, il sito è rimasto povero di contenuti, nonostante il suo costo altissimo: le stime più prudenti parlano di 7 milioni di euro già spesi.
Negli scorsi mesi il ministro aveva annunciato "entro ottobre" grandi novità per Italia.it: mai arrivate, proprio come le notizie sui clic.

Portale turistico dei principali competitors europei e riferimento posizione Alexa:

Francia (16.315) Spagna (23.840) Italia (120.877) Inghilterra (78.801)

Top 14 Casino Hotels (Las Vegas) -2nd part- (I migliori Hotels Casinò di Las Vegas)

Luxor
Las Vegas
A vast 30-storey pyramid (the world's forth largest pyramid) encloses the world's larges atrium, measuring 820'000m3 (29 million cu ft). From its summit, the world's brightest beam of light reaches 16 km (10 miles) into space. Attractions include the Ra nightclub; Lasting Impressions - a show starring Bill Acosta; a replica of Tutankhamen's tomb, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922; Luxor Live, a simulated talk show with hologram characters; and an IMAX Cinema.
The gaming area fills 11'000m2 (120'000 sq ft) and features a race and a sports book. Minimum table stakes start at $5, increasing to $10 on busy nights. Novice players can practice in poker lessons and try their luck in beginner's games with $1-$2 minimum stakes.
MGM Grand
Las Vegas
Dubbed the 'City of Entertainment', the MGM Grand promises 'more facilities and recreational venues than any other resort'. The Grand Garden Arena features world-class concerts and special events; EFX Theatre is home to a $45 million musical starring Tommy Tune; Hollywood Theatre features top entertainers and New York's famous studio 54 nightclub is recreated. The MGM Lion Habitat showcases five lions - descendants of the company's famous mascot.
The Entertainment Dome houses the 16'000m2 (170'000 sq ft) gaming area, where 165 tables offer craps, roulette, baccarat, mini-baccarat, Caribbean stud poker, pai gow poker, big six wheel, Spanish 21 and keno. Stakes start at $5 and increase at busy times. There are 3700 Slots with stakes from a nickel (5c) to $500. Tables in the race and sports book have their own TV sets and laptop points. The casino also has a sumptuous European-style area of high rollers.
The Mirage
Las Vegas
At dusk, the volcano outside The Mirage springs into life. Every 15 minutes it erupts, spewing flames and smoke 30m (100 ft) into the air and lava down its side.
The illusion continues inside Kokomo's Restaurant where diners are surrounded by a tropical rainforest housed beneath a huge dome. Bathed in a fine mist of water, over 100 species of plant including orchids, bromeliads and bird of paradise trees inhabit the unique indoor environment. dolphin pools, an aquarium with live sharks and a lagoon-style pool add to the paradise theme. The long-running show by world-famous illusionists Siegfried & Roy features the Royal White Tigers and the White Lions of Timbavati.
The casino has 117 table games and 2200 slot and video poker machines. Minimum stakes are 5c on the slots and $5 on the tables, rising to $25 at peak times.
Steve Wynn, the former head of Mirage Resorts, has helped transform Las Vegas into a sophisticated location. When The Mirage opened in 1989 it set new standards in the city, which Wynn surpassed when he opened Bellagio in 1998, realizing his dream to create the 'most romantic and exciting hotel in the world'.
New York New York
Las Vegas
This casino took its theme from 'the city that never sleeps', recreating the Manhattan skyline at one-third scale. Times Square, the Empire State building, Chrysler building and the public library provide a backdrop for a 45m (150 ft) replica of the Statue of Liberty with a tugboat at its base. The Brooklyn Bridge links The Strip with Greenwich Village.
Cobbled streets are lined with tenement buildings, complete with graffiti. The Manhattan Express Roller Coaster, which reaches speed of 107 kph (67 mph), runs across the skyline and into the casino, introducing a flavour of New York's Coney Island beach resort.
The interior of the 7'800m2 (84'000 sq ft) casino echoes New York's Central Park, with trees, streams and bridges surrounding 74 gaming tables, 2000 slots and a sports book. Games include roulette, blackjack, craps, mini-baccarat, progressive pai gow poker, Caribbean stud poker, let it ride, big six wheel, casino war and keno. Minimum stakes range from $5-$10.
Paris Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Opened in 1999, the $760 million resort, owned by Park Place Entertainment, recreates the atmosphere of Paris with replicas of Parisian landmarks including the Arc de Triomphe, Louvre and Paris Opera House. The half-scale Eiffel Tower has glass lifts to the summit, from where there is a panoramic view of Las Vegas.
The 7'900m2 (83'000 sq ft) casino, with 100 tables and 2200 slots, is a Parisian street scene, with cobble-stone paths, wrought-iron streetlamps and the ceiling painted to give the effect of the Paris sky at twilight. Games include blackjack, craps, Caribbean stud poker and pai gow. Stakes start at $5, rising to $10 at peak times. The race and sports book provides live coverage of major events from around the world.
The decor in the 2916-room hotel is in the style of the historic Hotel de Ville in Paris. The roof has a 1ha (2 acre) swimming area set in a formal French garden. passages in the convention area are inspired by the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles.
Paris Las Vegas is linked to Ballys via Le Boulevard, a shopping mall with French-themed restaurants, and exclusive boutiques featuring some of Europe's top fashion names. Other facilities include a theatre, European-style spa and two wedding chapels.
Treasure Island
Las Vegas
Treasure Island, owned by Mirage Resorts, has a pirate theme. A free show takes place each evening outside the casino in Buccaneer Bay, where swashbuckling pirates from Hispaniola do battle with British naval officers from HMS Britannia. The exchange of canon and musket fire culminates in the sinking if the British vessel. Large crowds gather to watch, so it is best to arrive early to get a good vantage point. Other amenities are the Mutiny Bay Entertainment Centre; Pirate's Walk Shopping Promenade; a tropical pool area, spa and beauty salon; and a children's zoo. The Treasure Island casino is open 24 hours a day.
The Venetian
Las Vegas
Located at the heart of The Strip, The Venetian, which opened in 1999 at a cost of $2 billion, is built on the site of the legendary Sands Hotel. It is modelled on famous landmarks of Venice, including the Campanile tower, Doge's Palace and the Rialto Bridge. Gondolas on the Grand Canal and masked carnival performers in St Mark's Square add to the effect. The all-suite hotel has a 2 ha (5 acre) pool deck surrounded by gardens. Attractions include Madame Tussaud's Celebrity Encounter featuring famous Las Vegas icons such as Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra.
The rococo-style casino has 122 gaming tables, offering blackjack, craps, roulette, pai gow, Caribbean stud poker and let it ride. The minimum stake is $5, increasing at peak times. There is a race and sports book and keno lounge. There are 2500 slot machines with stakes ranging from a nickel (5c) to $500.

Top 14 Casino Hotels Las Vegas -1st part- (I 14 migliori Hotels Casinò di Las Vegas)

Ballys
Las Vegas
Hollywood movie stars Cary Grant and Raquel Welch performed the opening ceremony when Ballys was built in 1973, at a cost of $100 million.
In 1981 a second tower was added and the hotel was expended to over 2800 rooms. Now owned and operated by Park Place Entertainment, the Art Deco interior recently had a $72 million restoration. The complex includes restaurants and shopping arcade.
Ballys is host to Jubilee!, Las Vegas' longest-running topless revue with a cast of 100 dancers and singers, which opened in 1981 at a cost of $10 million. It was recently updated with a new $3 million opening number. The programme of original song and dance acts includes reenactments of the sinking of the Titanic, and the destruction of the Temple of Samson.
The gaming floor covers 6'224m2 (67'000 sq ft) with over 100 table games, including blackjack, craps, poker, big six wheel, pai gow and a new race and sports book with 11 jumbo screens and 210 personal monitors.
Bellagio
Las Vegas
When Steve Wynn's Mirage Resorts opened Bellagio in 1998, no expense was spared to create one of the most elegant and luxurious hotels in Las Vegas.
Bellagio is stylish recreation of its namesake, a scenic village overlooking Lake Como in northern Italy. The effect is accomplished with a 3.6ha (9 acre) man-made lake, lavish gardens and terracotta tiled roofs on the buildings.
Top class restaurants offer a diners choice of award-winning French and Tuscan cuisine. The hotel's 3000 rooms are decorated with antiques and art. Facilities include a swimming pool, spa and shoppingarcade featuring names such as Prada, Chanel and Hermes. A monorail links Bellagio to the Monte Carlo next door.
The 10'000m2 (110'000 sq ft) casino offers roulette, blackjack, craps, let it ride, pai gow, Caribbean stud poker and baccarat. The table minimum starts at $5, rising to $10 at peak times.
Binion's Horseshoe
Las Vegas
Situated in the Horseshoe Hotel on Fremont Street in downtown Vegas, Binion's gives a taste of how gambling used to be in the Old West. Opened in 1951 by Benny Binion, a former Texas bootlegger and gambler, the casino evokes the atmosphere of a traditional gambling hall - no shows, no music, just gambling. Minimum stakes are $2 on blackjack and $1 on craps. The poker tables are not for beginners though, as many professional players make their living here.
The World Series of Poker has been held at Binion's since 1970. The first competition had seven players, but now over 650 players from around the world try their luck. Each May, Becky Binion opens the tournament with a call of "shuffle up 'n deal". The action takes place nonstop for 30 days with a variety of tournaments offering stakes from $1 to no limit. The final is the No Limit Texas Hold 'em Tournament, which lasts four days. Players pay a $10'000 entrance fee and compete for the $1.5 million first prize and the title of world champion. The winner is given celebrity status, gaining a place in the Poker Hall of Fame.
Many players attempt to win their entrance fee by competing in satellite tournaments. Ten players each stake $1'000 and play a knock-out tournament, with the winner taking all the stakes. There are also super-satellites where players each stake $100 and attempt to win the entry fee from a field of 200 or 300 gamblers.
The World Series of Poker was inspired by a poker marathon which took place in 1949 at Binion's Horseshoe between Nicolas 'Nick the Greek' Dandolos and Johnny Moss. They played poker non-stop for five months, only taking breaks to sleep. Moss won and in 1970 repeated success by becoming the winner of the first World Championship.
Caesars Palace
Las Vegas
First opened in 1966, Caesars Palace underwent a $300 million renovation in 1997. Many of the 2400 rooms feature spas, saunas and Roman tubs. Adjacent to the hotel is the Forum, an ancient Roman streetscape with shops, boutiques and restaurants, as well as a thrilling simulator ride, Race for Atlantis. The casino's Roman theme is also realized in the hand-painted murals and classic sculptures that line the gaming rooms.
With three 24-hour casinos, Caesars offers some of the best gaming facilities in Las Vegas. Games available include roulette, craps, baccarat, big six, and Caribbean stud poker. Stakes start at $5 and increase when the casino is busy. A unique form of stud poker is played here, based on five-card stud. Blackjack games are available in many forms including hand-dealt single, double and multiple deck games, games dealt from a shoe, and over/under 13 games. Stakes on the slot machines start from 5c. The venue, which has hosted many championship boxing tournaments, also offer a huge sports book.
Circus Circus
Las Vegas
Circus Circus comprises three casinos, plus a separate keno area. The main casino has over 1800 slots with a range of progressive games. Table games include roulette, craps, poker, blackjack, casino war, pai gow poker and Caribbean stud poker. Stakes start at $3 for blackjack, $2 for craps and $1 for roulette. The poker room has 10 tables featuring low limit games.
The West Casino has over 500 slots, plus roulette and blackjack tables. The SkyRise casino has over 400 slots, blackjack and roulette. The race and sports books allow the players players the opportunity to have a flutter on horse or greyhound racing, and other sports events.
Family entertainment includes the world's largest permanent circus, the dramatic Mystere Cirque du Soleil. The cast of 72 acrobats, gymnasts and dancers dazzle visitors with their polished routines and flying trapeze shows. The Adventure Dome theme park features the spectacular Canyon Blaste roller coaster and three motion-simulator rides. Couples can tie the knot at the Chapel of Fountain.
Excalibur
Las Vegas
Located in one of the world's largest hotels, with 4008 rooms, the casino at Excalibur has 75 gaming tables, offering blackjack, roulette, craps and mini-baccarat, with stakes from $3-$5. Eleven poker tables offer a choice of seven-card stud, pai gow, Caribbean stud, Texas hold 'em, jackpot poker and progressive poker.
There is also a 132-seat keno lounge and facilities to play keno in the restaurants. The race and sports book has150 seats. The more than 2550 slots, which include electronic games, video poker and video keno, offer stakes ranging from five cents to $25. The casino also has big six wheel, Spanish 21 and let it ride.
The medieval theme is embolied in King Arthur's Arena, where a nightly medieval jousting show, The tournament of Kings, features battles between invading armies, brave knights, wizards and a fire-breathing dragon. Other non-gaming attractions include the Grand Slam Canyon - an in-house roller coaster, swimming pools with waterfalls and waterslides and a medieval shopping village.
Las Vegas Hilton
Las Vegas
The Las Vegas Hilton appeals to business people due to its excellent convention facilities. The gaming floor is spread over 6'224m2 (67'000 sq ft). It is dominated by the world's largest race and sports book, where a video wall made up of 46 screens, some of which are 4.5m (15 ft) across, covers an area of 2'833m2 (30'500 sq ft). This is complemented by a state-of-the-art audio system. Games include slots, blackjack, craps, poker, keno and roulette. Minimum stakes start at $5 and increase at peak times. There is also a large luxurious baccarat room, with crystal chandeliers and plush furniture.
Additional facilities include the 1600-seat Hilton Las Vegas Theatre; a nightclub; 12 restaurant offering everything from burgers and fries to Japanese Hibachi; and an 18-hole golf course. Another attraction is Star Trek - The Experience, an interactive museum housing a collection of props and costumes from the popular television show. Visitors are taken on a simulated journey via the bridge of the starship Enterprise, through the Star Trek universe.

domenica 15 novembre 2009

Top 10 Casino Hotels Worldwide (no Las Vegas)

CROWN CASINO
Australia
The Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex on the banks of Melbourne's Yarra River opened in 1977. It includes a five-star hotel, convention facilities, river-side restaurants, boutiques and an entertainment area. The Atrium entrance is designed to give the effect of four seasons in a day with a subtle blend of light, water, clouds, glass and black Italian marble combining to make a stunning display. Created by artists, composers and technical experts, the five-storwy-high space features a crystal wave ceiling and laser lights.
Crown is one of the largest casinos in the southern hemisphere, offering 350 table games and 2500 slots.

JUPITERS
Australia
Jupiters hotel, casino and leisure complex is located on Broadbeach Island in the heart of Queensland's Gold Coast, Australia's favorite holiday destination. The buildings are set amid 6ha (15 acres) of lush land-scaped sub-tropical gardens and parkland.
The 5'574m2 (60'100 sq ft) casino covers two levels and the action takes place 24 hours a day. There are 88 gaming tables and 1176 slots. Games include roulette, blackjack, baccarat, craps, Caribbean stud poker, pai gow, two-up, keno and Jupiters Wheel. Stakes vary from A$1 to A$10'000. Admission is free, but players must be over 18 years. The exclusive Club Conrad, which caters for high rollers and serious gamblers, offers baccarat, roulette and blackjack.
Facilities include Fortunes nightclub, with the latest video and sound effects. Nine bars, six restaurants and an English-style pub cater for all dining tastes. Jupiter's Theatre, a 1120-seat auditorium, is the venue for live performances by top acts. Recreation options include swimming, tennis, squash and a jogging track.

BADEN BADEN
Europe
Baden Baden, famously described by Marlene Dietrich as the 'Most beautiful casino in the world', is also one of the oldest still in operation. It was opened in 1748 by Edouard Benazet, who employed Parisian craftsmen to design the stylish rooms that are now a tourist attraction in their own right.
The main gaming area, which totals over 3'000m2 (32'000 sq ft), compromises several luxuriously decorated rooms, including the Red Chamber, Austrian Room, the Winter Garden, le Salon Madame de Pompadour, the Margrave Room and the Florentine Room.
The casino is open daily 14:00 to late. Games include American roulette, baccarat, blackjack, poker and slot machines. French rules apply. Minimum table limits are 5 Euro for roulette and slots, 10 Euro for blackjack and poker and 100 Euro for baccarat. The slot machines are housed in a separate building that was formerly the town's railway station.
Players must be over 21 and passports or identity need to be shown. There is an admission charge and dress code of jacket and tie for men.

LONDON CLUBS
Europe
London Clubs International operates some of the city's most prestigious and exclusive casinos, from venues offering high stakes and fine dining in elegant surroundings to more popular, lively clubs. Access is restricted to members and visitors should apply for membership beforehand.
The Palm Beach is one of the largest and most elegant casinos in London. It attracts a young, cosmopolitan clientele who enjoy the combination of fine dining and sophisticated gaming.
Les Ambassadeurs is set in a building dating back nearly 200 years. Discretion and service are hallmarks of this friendly yet intimate casino offering roulette, blackjack and punto blanco.
The Golden Nugget has lower minimum stakes than other London casinos. Games include roulette, blackjack, punto banco, stud poker and slot machines.
The exclusive upmarket 50 St James, first operated in 1828, has recently been restored to its former glory. In the gaming hall, the walls are covered with pure silk damask and the floors are carpeted with a design from the 1820s. Two salons prives offer high stakes roulette, blackjack and punto banco. Membership is compulsory, but out of town visitors can obtain complimentary membership between 14:00 and 21:00. Dress is smart and men are required to wear jackets.

SKY CITY
New Zealand
Auckland's Sky City casino is located alongside the imposing Sky Tower which at 328m (1076ft) is the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere. Three glass-fronted elevators whisk visitors to the top in just 40 seconds. From the observation level it is possible to see up to 82 km (51 miles) away with views of the Leigh Peninsula, the Wailakere Ranges and Bombay Hills.
In the main casino the 1'300m2 (14'000 sq ft) gaming floor features blackjack, roulette, money wheel, keno, Caribbean stud poker and pai gow, as well as over 1000 slot machines. Gaming takes place 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The smaller Alto Casino and Bar, which has more intimate atmosphere, is open from 16:00 to late. Players must be over 20 years and are required to dress smartly, with jackets optional for men. Both casinos feature live entertainment.

SUN CITY
South Africa
The extensive Sun City resort complex, owned by Sun International, is situated 185 km (115 miles) northwest of Johannisburg. First opened in 1979 it was soon expended to include the Cascades Hotel, the family-orientated Cabanas, and the Superbowl, a multi-purpose entertainment and conference venue. On-side facilities include a man-made lake for water sports, and two 18-hole championship golf courses designed by Gary Player. (The annual Million Dollar Challenge golf tournament takes place here.) The resort is adjacent to the 60'000 ha (136'000 acres) Pilanesburg.
National Park where Africa's 'Big Five' of wildlife can be seen.
Sun City offers one of the largest casinos in the southern hemisphere. It is open daily from 13:00 to late and the slots are open 24 hours. Games include blackjack, roulette, punto banco, craps and slots. Table stakes start at R5. Minimum stakes on the slots are 50c. The casino features the largest progressive slots jackpot in Africa, including the Dream Machine, with a minimum payout of R1 million. There are two private gaming rooms. The salon prive caters for medium limit games of roulette, blackjack and punto banco with minimum stakes from R25-R200. The International Room has minimum stakes of R50 on roulette and R500 on blackjack.
The opening of the Palace of the Lost City in 1992 moved the resort into a new dimension. This showpiece luxury hotel has won international acclaim for its opulent fantasy decor which incorporates elaborate frescos, murals and mosaics depicting the stories and myths of a lost African tribe. The hotel is linked to the casino by the trembling, smoking Bridge of Time, which is guarded by rows of life-size elephant statues.

ATLANTIS
The Caribbean
Located near Nassau in the Bahamas, the $850 million Atlantis resort on Paradise Island was opened by Sun International in 1998. The 370ha (826 acre) resort, surrounded by white beaches and crystal-clear water, is the perfect place to recreate the myth of Atlantis, the beautiful island that was overwhelmed by the sea.
The ruins of Atlantis are depicted in The Dig, an underwater labyrinth of walk-through tunnels which wind through 11 lagoons filled with over 200 species of marine life. Giant rays, barracuda and sharks swim among fanciful relics of the ancient culture, including submarines and flying machines.
A life-size replica of a Mayan temple features water slides, such as the Serpent which spins its riders into darkness to emerge in a tunnel that passes through the Predator lagoon. The Jungle Slide meanders through exotic jungles, temples and caves.
The resort's 2300 rooms are housed in four hotels. Included in the 176 suits is the 465m2 (5'000 sq ft) Bridge Suite that spans the twin Royal Towers. The resort has 38 restaurants and bars offering a choice of Pacific Rim, American and Italian cuisine.
The Entertainment Centre, which houses the Caribbean's largest casino, has the unusual feature of opening onto outdoor terraces and restaurants, bringing the tropical environment of the Bahamas into the gaming area. The 78 gaming tables include roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat and Caribbean stud poker, as well as a high limit table area, the Baccarat Lounge. Stakes on the 980 slot machines range from 25c to $100. Free gaming lessons are offered daily.

BEAU RIVAGE
USA
Beau Rivage, meaning beautiful shore, is situated in the Gulf coast town of Biloxi, Mississippi. A feature of Mississippi casinos is that they are required to float, so the 6'700m2 (72'000 sq ft) casino has been built on a barge. The 24-hour a day casino offers table games, slot machines, a race book and a separate poker room.
The Mediterranean-themed resort, built at a cost of $675 million, opened in 1999. Mature oak trees line the circular entrance which leads to an atrium planted with flowers and fragrant magnolia trees. Finches fly overhead and the floor is an Italian-designed mosaic.

MOHEGAN SUN
USA
When expansions are completed, Mohegan Sun, in Uncasville Connecticut, is set to be one of the largest casino complexes in the world. Opened in 1996 by the Mohegan Tribal Nation, the expansion will add a 1200-room luxury hotel, 10'000 seat arena, new retail outlets, convention facilities that include the Northeast's largest ballroom, and a second casino.
Decor throughout the complex draws on Mohegan legend and tribal lore. The original Casino of the Earth is a circular room divided into four sections, representing the four seasons of nature. The 16'700m2 (179'500 sq ft) gaming area has 3000 slot machines and 192 table games including high-stakes bingo, blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat and a separate poker room. There is also a race book.
The new 10'600m2 (115'000 sq ft) Casino of the Sky will feature the world's largest planetarium dome, and a multi-level onyx and alabaster venue, Wombi Rock, housing a lounge and dance floor. Both casinos offer non-smoking gaming areas.

Monte Carlo
Europe
After gaming was introduced to Monaco (an enclave in France, near the Italian border) in 1857 by Prince Charles III, the Mediterranean principality flourished, becoming a playground for Europe's aristocracy and a name synonymous with glamour and wealth.Monte Carlo Casino, one of Europe's oldest, dates from 1863 and was designed by Charles Garnier, architect of the Paris Opera House. The classical buildings are set in formal gardens on a terrace overlooking the sea. There are several restaurants, including Les Prives, which has a sea view, and the Cabaret, which offers live shows. The Train Bleu restaurant recreates a deluxe dining car of a train from the belle epoque era.The sumptuously decorated gaming rooms feature marble columns, gilded mahogany and chandeliers fashioned from Bohemian crystal. Games include blackjack, baccarat, French and American roulette, punto banco, craps and trente et quarante.Stakes start at 20 french francs for roulette, FF200 for blackjack, and FF500 for baccarat, chemin de fer and punto banco. There are 280 slot machines with stakes starting from FF1. The casino is open daily from 12:00 to late. The minimum age for gambling is 21 years. Dress is smart and men must wear ties.The revamped Monte Carlo Sporting Club houses the futuristic Les Palmiers gaming hall, Maona restaurant and Jimmy's disco. Le Cafe de Paris, adjacent to the main casino, offers poker, craps, blackjack and roulette, as well as bars, restaurants and cabaret shows.