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PHOTO OF THE MONTH
The Forgotten Kingdom of Tavolara, Sardinia, Italy

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(Drum roll, please!) Yes, we've had a facelift!

It seems the stars, tech team and designers have finally aligned so we can now welcome you, at long last, to the brand spanking new WHL Group newsletter, entitled The Travel Word. We hope you’ll agree this version is a little easier on the eye!

This month, we delve into the wonderful worlds of film and literature, shining a light on whl.travel's and Urban Adventures' greatest movie and literary destinations. So, if you fancy a spot of ‘set-jetting’ make sure you check out our Top 5 picks for movie locations to include on your holiday hit list. But if you’re more bookworm than film buff, then our article on literary destinations will give you plenty of ideas about where to head instead for novel-inspired R&R.

We also have more of our regular features: a Traveller Tale looking at Toronto's vibrant movie scene, the Inside Word on what to do in Pirenopolis, Brazil, and an interview with our the whl.travel local partner in Damascus Syria. And not forgetting our fabulous monthly promos and competitions to whet your appetite for adventure, so make sure you check out what's up for grabs this month!

Happy reading!

Natasha Robinson, Editor

Brazil, China, India, Romania, Tunisia, WHL Group newsletter, fine arts, human interests, top five

Top Five Movies Filmed on Location

WHL Group 23 JULY 2010

To a cinephile, nothing compares to seeing a great movie in a darkened theatre, the perfect blank slate from which to be transported to unfamiliar and far-off lands with vivid scenery and amazing cultures. Epic tales have been created in the farthest-flung corners of the globe, a long way removed from the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood film set, yet all the more captivating for it. It just goes to show that 'location, location, location' is not merely the mantra of real estate agents, but a pretty good sales tool for filmmakers too! Here, WHL Group presents five of its favourite movies, shot on a variety of locations around the world.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Botswana, Chile, Colombia, Greece, Samoa, cities, fine arts, human interests, local knowledge

Feature: Opening the Book on Literary Locales

NATASHA ROBINSON 16 JULY 2010

Mention literary destinations and many people immediately conjure up images of 19th-century Britain – dingy Dickensian London and the rolling hills of Wordsworth’s beloved Lake District – or the United States, with its Beat poets in New York and San Francisco, and Mark Twain’s tales of life on the Mississippi. Of course, literature has left its imprint far and wide across the globe. Here is just a smattering of other novel (excuse the pun) locations.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Asia, South-Eastern Asia, Thailand, adventure travel, animal conservation, beaches, birds, ecotours, islands, marine conservation, responsible travel

Feature: The Inspiration for ‘The Beach’: Ang Thong, Thailand

Laurel Angrist 8 JULY 2010

These days, untouristed beaches are few and far between, so we can all see the appeal of a story like The Beach, which follows a utopian community on a remote Thai island untouched by tourism. The blockbuster movie – famously starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Danny Boyle – was shot off Phuket, a sun-drenched tropical playground with a well-developed tourism industry. The real-life inspiration for Alex Garland’s best-selling book, however, was the undeveloped paradise of Ang Thong National Marine Park, a stunning 42-island archipelago off the east coast of southern Thailand and most easily reached from the laidback island of Koh Samui.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Canada, North America, Northern America, WHL Group newsletter, cities, fine arts, local knowledge, personal experience, traveller tale

Traveller Tale: Toronto is the New Movie Mecca

Jason Kucherawy 27 JULY 2010

I recently received a call from a hotel concierge asking if I did tours of Toronto that cover famous locations used in film and television. As a film buff and local tour guide, I know many places that have been seen on screen. After all, Toronto has a reputation as a popular city for making motion pictures. Next to Hollywood and New York City, there isn’t another place in North America that is home to more film and TV productions (although Vancouver is coming close). However, most of Toronto locations (and often the films they are in) are obscure and not easily recognized, so it had never occurred to me that a tour of just movie-shoot locations would be all that interesting.

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China, India, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Tunisia, festivals & events, fine arts, human interests

Feature: Hanging on the Literary and Film Festival Circuit

Natasha Robinson 24 JULY 2010

These are golden times for cinephiles and bibliophiles. Bookworms and movie buffs can now check out the latest cinematic and literary offerings in the most unexpected corners of the globe. And if you imagine literary festivals as gatherings of fusty old intellectuals spouting arcane references to James Joyce, think again! They are fast outshining movie festivals as the places to be seen if you’re hip, happening and brainy to boot!

Read the rest of this entry >>

Asia, Syria, WHL Group newsletter, Western Asia, architecture & landmarks, human interests, interview, local knowledge

Interview: Rich Travel Insights from Damascus, Syria

whl.travel 21 JULY 2010

Every month, we delve into the travel experiences of people in the extended WHL Group network. This month we talk to Ednan Ghamyan, who works for Ghazal Tours, the whl.travel local connection based in Damascus, Syria. Having lived in the USA during his childhood, Ednan has a valuable international outlook and excellent English skills that serve him well when dealing with client enquiries and putting together web content in his own inimitable style! He counts his managers at Ghazal Tours as big influences who have done a great job mentoring him. He actually prefers his work as a local partner to studying for his degree!

Read the rest of this entry >>
  on Pirenópolis, Brazil