Cuba Shows Off In Paris

 Earlier this month tourism took centre stage in Paris at the World Tourism Hall in the Exhibition Park of Porte de Versailles. There hundreds representatives from some of the world's most well-known destinations assembled to promote their offerings to Parisians preparing to make 2012 holiday plans. Cuba was among the Caribbean nations represented, all vying for their share of the lucrative French market.

For decades Cuba has struggled as a travel destination due to her communist government and very weak economy. In fact, Cuba luxury holidays were rarely at the top of the list for Europeans heading overseas. But since the political shift which saw Fidel Castro's brother took over leadership, the Cuban government has shifted gears and is now aggressively pushing tourism. Old, run down resorts from Cuba's glory days are being restored, new luxury resorts are being opened, and private ownership of tourism-related businesses is being encouraged.

According to the most recent numbers out of Havana the effort is paying off. In 2011 the country saw a significant rise in the number of arrivals over 2010, most notably from Argentina which was up nearly 11%. And although the vast majority of visitors to Cuba come from South America, the French and the British are also contributed to the increase. If Cuba can convince the United States to allow more flights to and from their country it's possible European visitors could surpass South Americans by the end of this year.

Travel Smart: 3 Tips for Organized Gadget Travel

 I travel quite a bit for both business and for fun, and I can't think of the last time I went somewhere without some tech in tow, whether a digital camera, my mobile phone, iPad, laptop or netbook, or some other gizmo. These devices are so much a part of our lives that it's hard for us to go anywhere without them. But how can we take them with us in a way that makes sense, keeps them accessible and organized, and doesn't leave us with a huge and heavy carry-on bag?

Consolidate. This may seem like strange advice coming from a huge gadget fan, but when traveling, my general philosophy is "the fewer devices, the better." The less you bring with you, the fewer devices you have to worry about losing, the fewer chargers you need to bring, and less you have to carry. One way to bring less tech with you is to leverage something you probably already use all the time - your mobile phone. Your cell phone can do so much for you - and can save you tons of bulk during a trip by consolidating the functions of many other devices into one. Especially if you have a current smartphone, you can often leave your digital camera, mp3 player, portable video game, camcorder, and GPS unit behind. Granted, you may not get every single feature that you'd have with each and every individual device, but the benefit of leaving them at home is far less bulk, and less to lose. One note: if you're traveling abroad, make sure to review your data service plan or turn off your data (just leave your phone in flight mode) to avoid exorbitant roaming charges.