Over the past 15 years or so, we have been told that a healthy lifestyle is important. Scientists recommend we should be accumulating on average 60 minutes of exercises a day in order to maintain healthy levels. What exactly does that number mean? Over the course of a regular day, we should be doing some sort of physical activity that adds up to approximately 60 minutes. Whether it is in the gym on the treadmill or just in the garden for the afternoon, adding physical activity is vital.

First we need to know what actually constitutes exercise. The term Healthy activity can be broken down in to three categories; Cardiovascular, Resistance, and Flexibility.

Cardiovascular training

It is recommended to do cardio 2 or 3 times a week. Depending on your fitness level., cardio can consist of a nice walk with your dog, or a vigorous run on the treadmill. Ideally you are trying to increase your cardio capacity. which has many health benefits.

Resistance Training

Part of living an active lifestyle is by doing some sort of resistance training at least 2 times a week. That doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym and lift weights, you can easily do it at home by doing movements as simple as pushup and sit-ups, or by using something like resistance bands. Resistance training is just as important as cardiovascular activity and adds to your overall physical health.

Flexibility (stretching)

After you exercise, it is recommended you stretch for roughly 10 minutes, holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds. Stretching is crucial to maintain flexibility and reduce the chance of injury from exercise.

Benefits of Exercise

So now we know that working out is important, but what are the actually benefits of living an active lifestyle? Below are just 5 of the countless benefits of being active.

Reduces the Risk of Dying Prematurely – Those living a healthy active lifestyle live longer compared those who are more sedentary.

Lowers the risk of developing diabetes – Exercise keeps body fat in control and helps regulate sugar levels

Increase muscular strength – Having an increase in strength helps make daily activities less difficult.

Helps reduce the risk of heart disease – Regular exercise strengthens the heart, respiratory system, and lungs which aids to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Decreases Body Fat – Exercise along with a balanced diet will reduce body fat significantly.

As you can see there are many excellent benefits of living an active lifestyle. By adding a small amount of cardio, resistance training and some stretching to your daily routine, the overall benefits are almost endless. Essentially being healthy is about adding balance to your life. You don’t have to be a Lance Armstrong, or a Venus Williams to be considered active, you just have to add some extra activities to you routine.

 

Corporate Financial Reporting is part of corporate reporting that consists of financial statements and accompanying notes that are prepared in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The financial statements are summaries of business transactions during the financial year of the corporation. The business world has many forms of organizations ranging from the for profit sole proprietorship, partnership and incorporated businesses with limited liability to the not for profit organizations whose existence is not mainly driven by financial gain.

Regulations that govern the preparation of financial statements largely apply only to the incorporated entities. This has given rise to accounting standards setting bodies and legal provisions that form the frameworks used when preparing the financial statements. The process of preparing the reports in accordance with the GAAPs and legal requirements presents advantages and disadvantages to the organizations and to other interested groups. The International Financial Reporting Standards are increasingly being adopted by many national accounting standards setting bodies leading the way to a single set of accounting standards all over the world. It is therefore worthwhile to look at the advantages and disadvantages of financial reporting to create an awareness of the complexities that corporations and accounting professionals contend with.

THE ADVANTAGES

A number of advantages of corporate financial reporting can be enumerated and perhaps among the most important is that organizations are able to compare their individual performance with others in the same industry or line of business. This is because the established principles, standards and regulations ensure that there is a benchmark to be followed in the preparation of financial reports. Recognition of income, expense, assets and liabilities is standardized by the existing framework and any deviation can be countered with disciplinary or legal action. Organizations strive to prepare their financial statements to closely match the set frameworks as much as possible. In some countries for example Kenya, this has been translated into an annual competition (the fire award) where companies performance in this area is assessed by professional bodies including the national accounting professionals body with the aim of awarding the company with the best prepared financial statements. This in turn promotes staff and professional development which is a desirable aspect in the growth and wealth creation of the corporate organizations.

Investors and owners of companies in jurisdictions where corporate financial reporting follows strong established and clear frameworks can make the appropriate investment decisions. Corporate reporting in this case enhances the development of understanding of the activities of the companies and at the same time keeps the companies themselves on their toes as the wider society is well-informed of the expected reporting standards. This also acts as an incentive to managers to perform at their best and to institute control measures that aid the organization to comply with the frameworks.

Requirements of corporate financial reporting lead to timely preparation of financial reports. This is desirable to the stakeholders who may be more interested in the organizations immediate past rather than wait for a long time before the outcome of their input is known. When financial reports are prepared and published within the stipulated time, it is possible for necessary actions to be taken to correct any anomalies that may have led to undesirable outcomes. In a more serious case where a material error happens to be discovered, it can be corrected and the necessary measures taken to avoid a repeat of such occurrences.

IFRS give room for flexibility as they are based on principles rather than rules. As principles are based on value, corporations can adopt the standards that best suit their circumstances as long as fair value is adequately reported. This also encourages professional development as accounting standards setting requires qualified academics who can develop the required standards after lengthy and rigorous discussions and considerations to come to a consensus.

Overall, corporate financial reporting acts as a control measure as management, owners, employees, customers, creditors and the government are dependent on the reports in their decision-making. For instance the government in taxation of companies relies at the outset on the financial reports prepared and examined by qualified public or certified professionals. Trends on the growth of the companies can also be quickly determined by comparing sets of reports for different periods.

THE DISADVANTAGES

Corporate financial reporting does not bring desirable results only. There are some undesirable outcomes that should be mitigated against. The consideration of cost guides many companies in their operation. In preparing corporate financial reports in accordance with laid down standards and rules, expertise is required and the company has to engage highly qualified professionals for this task. The fee payments to qualified professionals can be prohibiting especially to small companies controlled closely by their owner managers. Compared to larger companies the small entities do not have adequate resources to implement adoption of the standards or even to train or employ qualified staff. In many instances such small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are tempted to forgo compliance with certain aspects of the standards or rules leading to problems with regulatory bodies including the government.

Freedom to adopt standards that suit the particular circumstances of the company leads to manipulation of reports. Disclosure of important information is in jeopardy as there is no legal enforcement for implementing the standards. Even where the government imposes legal obligations on what financial reports are to be prepared, there are still loopholes that can arise especially when the accounting standards and the legal stipulations are not in conformity in some areas.

For multinational companies, there are challenges in preparing their consolidated financial reports especially where operations are in countries with different accounting standards and legal regimes. There are also other challenges in dealing with for instance exchange rates, interest rates and transfer pricing where treatment of such aspects may be considered differently in different countries. Taxation and existence or non-existence of dual taxation treaties also poses another challenge.

CONCLUSION

It can be concluded that corporate financial reporting is essential and the gains from following accounting standards based on principles far outweigh the disadvantages as freedom to prepare reports in whatever way organizations deem appropriate may lead to financial chaos.

Music has been one of the key features of the entertainment industry. People have become so addicted to music that they can’t imagine their lives without it. Listening to music reduces the stress level and helps to calm an individual. It also rejuvenates and soothes one’s mind. Truly, music refreshes an individual and acts as a stress buster for the people whose lives have become monotonous due to the hectic schedule.

These days, music systems come with a variety of features and enhancements and are well equipped with proper bass, vibe and treble. They have a better sonic resolution. One can arrange their music tracks in their order of preference while listening. One can also take it as a disc jockey when arranging for a party. The karaoke is another important feature introduced in these systems. This feature shows a listener, lyrics of the song being played which increases the interest of a listener even more. Moreover, a listener can sing the song along with the same beats and rhythm.

Music industry is aware of the demands of listeners and so keeps on updating the music systems with new software. Sonos is the foremost digital music system that enables an individual to play music in all the rooms of the house.

Internet is another medium that makes music accessible to the people around the world. No matter if it is an old song that one wants to hear or a latest track all can be downloaded from the Internet. Computers are equipped with memory, software, sound card, processors, record and play features that can play the same track infinitely. One such software is named file-sharing program. This enables the internet user to browse a site and download the music in a digital format. Moreover, all the songs can be downloaded free of cost with best quality voice.

DVD players are another source of music. These players make use of digital video discs to store data and movies. Though priced quite reasonably, they have features that are parallel to high-valued models. They are portable and also have a video screen. It can be used for listening all different types of music like jazz, rock, soft and many others.

Thus, music is an important source of entertainment and can be listened anywhere through various sources available. The means of music systems vary and are distinctive in range, whether it is music system, Internet music or DVD players.

 

Here Comes the Bride may be played at every wedding you attend, but that’s not the case around the world. Wedding music traditions vary from country to country, and even from one religion to another within the same country.

America

Here Comes the Bride is still a favorite for the bride’s walk down the aisle, but Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major has become a close contender. Songs include hymns, popular music, and classic music…basically whatever the couple desires, as long as the event venue doesn’t prohibit it. In America, weddings may be held anywhere, as long as a minister or justice of the peace conducts the ceremony and proper paperwork is filed with the government.

England

Just like in America, Here Comes the Bride is the song of choice for the bride’s entrance. English weddings are very stepped in custom and tradition, so many brides may choose to employ a harpist. In England, law requires weddings to be held in an approved place-mostly churches. Like Americans, British weddings may have a mix of music, but British ceremonies are usually very traditional and formal.

Australia

Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major is popular here, along with many of the traditional love ballads used at wedding ceremonies in America. One thing that differs in Australia is the signing ceremony, which also can involve music. At the end of the ceremony, the couple signs the wedding certificate while everyone watches. British ceremonies may incorporate musical instruments such as bagpipes and a didgeridoo.

Japan

The traditional Japanese wedding is called a shinzen shiki, a ceremony conducted by a Shinto Priest and a shrine assistant. The bride and groom may either wear a gown and tux or traditional Japanese wedding garb, which includes a kimono and hakama. These traditional weddings use flutes and drums. Summer Candles and Dolphin Ring by Anri are both popular wedding songs. Similar to American and British weddings, Japanese weddings include sappy love songs.

Mexico

While the Mexican wedding ceremony may be serious and traditional, the reception is a full party, with salsa and mariachi music getting everyone on their feet. Mariachi music involves a wide variety of music, including guitars, drums, and even violins. Canon in D Major is also popular for the bride’s processional here.

Ireland

It should be no surprise that bagpipes are popular in Irish weddings. Many couples are choosing to honor their country’s rich tradition, so Celtic music is very popular in Irish weddings. The Irish Wedding Song is often played at receptions and Danny Boy and Irish Eyes Are Smiling are always popular at gatherings in Ireland.

India

White gowns have no place at a Hindu wedding. The bride traditionally wears a beautiful red sari and covers her feet and hands in henna tattoos, known as henna staining in India. Music plays a prominent role in the Hindu wedding ceremony and many popular wedding songs (including Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai) have been used in Bollywood movies. The wedding ceremony and post-ceremony are very involved and may last a few days, including the bride leaving her groom to join her new family and the wedding party welcoming the bride to her new home.

Conclusion

Music provides the backdrop for all wedding ceremonies. No matter where your wedding is set, the feeling of rich tradition is still the same. From Here Comes the Bride to Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, brides all over the world are celebrating their love with music.

It is always interesting to study the history of weddings of different cultures. One can find that some of the old traditions have been carried forward to the current weddings.

In Italy, to this day marriages are not performed during Lent and Advent in May or August. Sunday was declared the best day for the marriage and June was (and is) considered the ideal month to marry. This is based on the Roman goddess Junio, representing safety of home, marriage, and childbirth.

In some families the marriages were arranged by the families of the bride and groom. A male relative of the groom would visit with the father of the intended bride and ask for her hand in marriage. Sometimes a matchmaker was used to carry a message to the intended bride’s family. Once an agreement between the families was reached, the couple was declared engaged. The prospective bride was expected to immediately start gathering clothing (even for her future husband), furniture, and other items for the home. This became known as the bride’s ‘trousseau’. If the engagement ring contained gold it was not to be worn until she received the gold wedding band as it was seen as bad luck to wear gold without being married.

In olden times a great deal of the Italian wedding traditions consisted of warding off evil spirits. The groom would be sure to have something iron on his person to ward off the evil eye. The wedding veil was for the purpose of warding off evil spirits they may try to attack the bride and tearing the veil after the ceremony was considered good luck. The bride was not to have a complete bridal gown until the wedding day. It was to remain incomplete until she walked down the church aisle. Presumably a final stitch was made somewhere on the dress at the entrance of the church. The groom would wait at the front of the church and present the bride with a bouquet of flowers and herbs, to ward off the evil spirits.

At other times the groom would pick the bride up and walk her to the church. In this case a log and a saw would be placed in their path and they had to saw it into two pieces to show their union. If the bride walked to the church, without the groom, the local people often put things in her path such as a broom, beggar, crying baby. How she handled these items showed if she would be a good wife, mother, would be kind, etc.

In the ceremony the groom stood to the right of the bride, thus freeing his sword hand, just in case someone tried to steal his bride. Ten witnesses were required to make the ceremony official; hence the need for a large bridal party. They were dressed like the bride and groom to confuse the jealous spirits. The bride carried (and still does in most weddings) a silk or satin purse for guests to deposit their money gifts in as a way to help with the expenses. Another way money was raised was by the best man cutting the groom’s tie into pieces and selling them to guests at the wedding.

Following the ceremony the bride and groom were pelted with almonds (in mesh bags), three for children and five to seven to promote fertility. In ancient times a loaf of bread was broken over the bride’s head to represent fertility. At the end of the wedding the bride and groom broke a vase or glass into pieces with the number of shards representing how many years they would be married. Mothers-in-law sat at a table and kept a record of the repayment of favors or money which needed to be witnessed (this is still done in some of today’s ceremonies)

Most of the ceremonies started with mass in the early morning, followed by music and dancing throughout the night. Food was, and is, a large part of the wedding. Thirteen or more courses were ordinarily served (a large meal is still served at today’s weddings); this represented the union of the couple and their families.

It’s amazing how many wedding traditions still remain even though they may have evolved somewhat to reflect today’s society. Incorporating traditions based on heritage is often a good way to honor the old while celebrating the new.

The 5 components of physical fitness are often used in our school systems, health clubs and fitness centers to gauge how good a shape we are truly in. The 5 components that make up total fitness are:

  • Cardiovascular Endurance

 

  • Muscular Strength

 

  • Muscular endurance

 

  • Flexibility

 

  • Body Composition

Total fitness can be defined by how well the body performs in each one of the components of physical fitness as a whole. It is not enough to be able to bench press your body weight. You also need to determine how well you can handle running a mile etc.

A closer look at the individual components:

Cardiovascular endurance is the ability of the heart and lungs to work together to provide the needed oxygen and fuel to the body during sustained workloads. Examples would be jogging, cycling and swimming. The Cooper Run is used most often to test cardiovascular endurance.

Muscular strength is the amount of force a muscle can produce. Examples would be the bench press, leg press or bicep curl. The push up test is most often used to test muscular strength.

Muscular endurance is the ability of the muscles to perform continuous without fatiguing. Examples would be cycling, step machines and elliptical machines. The sit up test is most often used to test muscular endurance.

Flexibility is the ability of each joint to move through the available range of motion for a specific joint. Examples would be stretching individual muscles or the ability to perform certain functional movements such as the lunge. The sit and reach test is most often used to test flexibility.

Body composition is the amount of fat mass compared to lean muscle mass, bone and organs. This can be measured using underwater weighing, Skinfold readings, and bioelectrical impedance. Underwater weighing is considered the “gold standard” for body fat measurement, however because of the size and expense of the equipment needed very few places are set up to do this kind of measurement.

Why the need for physical fitness testing?

As stated earlier the 5 components of physical fitness represent how fit and healthy the body is as a whole. When you have the battery of tests performed you will receive information on the specific areas you made need to work in. A very specific goal oriented fitness program can be developed from the test battery.

If body composition is of (higher fat compared to muscle mass) there are many health related diseases and illnesses you have a higher chance of contracting. It is important to combine healthy eating habits with your exercise program.

If you scored low on the cardiovascular test you would have a higher chance of being at risk for heart related illnesses and would not do well with activities that require longer times to complete. You would participate in things such as long bike rides, swimming and jogging for extended periods of time to correct this component.

The next three tests can have results that are isolated to specific joints and muscles of the body or affect the body as a whole.

If you score low on the flexibility tests, you have a greater chance of decreased performance in daily living activities/sports and a higher risk of injury. You may also experience low back pain. It would be important to included flexibility training into your workout everyday.

If you scored low on the muscular endurance test you fatigue early into the exercise or activities of daily living. Many exercises that require high reps and low weight would be implemented into your training program.

If you scored low on the muscle strength test you do not have enough strength to perform well in sports, resistance training and activities of daily living. Your fitness program would have a progressive strength training component added that would allow you to become stronger with little chance of injury over time.

Fitness testing has its limitations – while it gives you a good idea of where your body is, it does not paint the entire picture. As stated earlier some of the above tests are only testing specific body parts. Other important factors such as balance and agility are not tested. It also requires the ability to perform the tests. It would be dangerous for someone who is in poor condition and does not exercise to participate in fitness testing.

Before deciding to undergo fitness testing, make sure you know why they are being done and determine that it is safe for you to participate.

 

Indian weddings are easily among the most colourful, elaborate and lively in the world. Unlike the West, where it is the bride and the groom that are the prominent characters, in an India wedding, it is the immediate and extended families on both sides that are the star players! A wedding is a social affair, and heralds the coming together of not just the couple but of their families as well. So, it should come as no surprise that a majority of the youth comply with their family’s wishes even today and go in for arranged marriages.

A typical Indian wedding comprises of three broad segments – the pre-wedding ceremonies (which are almost as elaborate as the actual wedding itself), the wedding and some post-wedding rituals.

India is a vast and diverse country, with the North, South, East and West each having its own distinctive languages, cuisine, customs and traditions and wedding rituals.

North Indian marriages

A traditional North Indian wedding takes place at the brides’ home. North Indian marriages are characterized by several pre-wedding and post-wedding ceremonies. The most important pre-wedding ritual is that of the Mangni or Sagai (engagement ceremony). The boy and the girl exchange rings in the presence of a religious priest and family and close friends.

On the actual day of the wedding, the boy’s family sets off for the girls’ house in the evening amidst a lot of cheering, dancing and general merriment. The groom mounts a brightly adorned horse, usually with the youngest boy of the family sitting up front with him. He is preceded by a crowd of his male and female relatives, and friends, dressed in all their finery and accompanied by a musical band. His face is covered with a curtain of flowers (the sehra which is tied by his sister). The noisy, procession, with the band belting out the tunes of the latest Bollywood chartbusters, makes its leisurely way past residential houses, busy streets before finally arriving at the girl’s house.

The groom and his family are warmly received by the girl’s family, new members greet each other by exchanging garlands of flowers.

Finally, the groom and the bride, seated on a dais, get up to exchange garlands in the Jaimala ceremony – one of the most important of North Indian wedding traditions -amidst a lot of good-natured cheering.

The next part is the most symbolic one – the Saat Pheras (or the seven steps) that the bride and groom take around the ceremonial fire. Thus usually takes place very late – usually after 12 midnight – much after the guests have feasted and left and only the very close relatives on either side are left. Both of them circle the scared fire, taking vows to love and honour each other throughout their lives. The groom then applies a streak of vermilion to the bride’s head, after which they become lawfully wedded husband and wife.

The bride is then given a tearful send-off by her family as she leaves with her new husband to start a brand-new life.

South Indian marriages

The biggest difference between North Indian and South Indian weddings is that the latter takes place during the day instead of at night. The basis for the rituals is the same except that they are conducted in a different manner.

The wedding venue is usually a hall where the wedding mandap ( a small covered enclosure) has plantain trees tied to both the gateposts, overhead festoons made of mango leaves strung together, and Rangoli designs (intricate designs made with coloured powder) at the entrance.

The evening before the actual wedding day, the bridegroom is led in a flower-decked procession from a temple by the bride’s parents to the marriage Mandapam (hall). Once there, the formal espousal ceremony takes place. The elephant-headed god Ganapati, the God of Initiation, is invoked, and is entreated to keep away all obstacles away from the couple.

The ritual is followed by presenting clothes to the couple. Interestingly, the marriage ceremonies are performed separately by the bride and the groom.

The marriage ceremony is formalized in the hall by a Vedic priest who chants ancient hymns and verses, recalling the names of three generations of ancestors of both, the bride and the groom before all who have gathered to witness the wedding. The bride and the groom exchange garlands when they are lifted onto the shoulders of their respective uncles.

The bride then sits on her father’s lap for the ‘Kanyadan’ (giving away the daughter) ceremony to the bridegroom. The bride is presented with a Mangalsutra (the scared necklace that signifies her married status) as well as a new sari which is draped around her by the sister of the bridegroom.

After this, the groom walks seven steps with his bride, holding her hand in his. The seven steps are the most important part of the wedding ceremony.

The wedding is followed by an elaborate and delectable wedding feast, usually vegetarian.

When people decide to leave the comforts of their home and venture to other locations there is usually a reason behind it. Whether the cause to travel was a last minute whimsy or had an actual purpose, it makes one think about all of the reasons why people travel. Reflect on the last time you left your location and ventured to another one. Did it have a purpose behind it? Let’s look and see if your motive to travel matched any of the one’s listed below. These are not listed in any particular order.

1. Romance- There are thousands of people who are involved in long distance relationships. At some point though, they need to see each other. For the sake of love, people will travel for hours to spend as much time as they can with the love of their life.

2. Relaxation- All work and no play is not a good thing. People need to get away from the stress of everyday life, and a nice sunny location with a beach might just be what the doctor ordered.

3. Family/ Friends -Many people have family/friends that are located in different parts of the world. They need to visit with them even if it’s for a short period of time.

4. Religion- There are places in the world that hold religious importance for many people. Religious travel is often related to a purpose such as seeing where the last pope was buried, or traveling to the town where Jesus was born.

5. Death- A relative, friend or acquaintance has passed away and travel is required to attend the funeral which is located out of town.

6. Honeymoon- You’re getting married and are going somewhere special to celebrate. This usually occurs right after the wedding, but there are many occasions where people celebrate a honeymoon years later.

7. Education-You’re getting your education somewhere other than where you live or you are going away on an educational school trip.

8. Celebration- Wedding, Anniversary, Birthday, Birth- There’s always something to celebrate and it doesn’t always happen where you live.

9. Medical/Health- Sometimes the treatment you need isn’t available in the city/town where you live. Often the best medical care is costly and requires travel to receive it.

10. Work- Job requirements might mean a fair bit of travel is involved. Even if the travel is within your own country it still has a purpose attached to it.

Overall, traveling can be a wonderful experience or it can be draining, expensive and just plain torture. Nonetheless if you need to go then embrace it for what it is, and try to make the best of it even if it wasn’t planned.

 

Not unlike other businesses, hotels have been forced to step up their game as people travel less and, when they travel, their budget is smaller in a still lagging economy. While the goal is always full occupancy and high occupancy rates, all hotels have unoccupied rooms that need to be filled. Hoteliers realize that their hotel are each one among many and that consumers have a variety of hotel options to choose from. Hotels realize that part and parcel of maintaining their occupancy rates is offering the right amenities at a competitive rate in order to attract new guests and retain returning ones. In the lodging industry, hotels must be ahead of current trends in order to better their occupancy rates which means being mindful of hotel supplies guests prefer as the mind their budgets.

Hoteliers start with the premise that most hotels offer the same basic hotel supplies and amenities such as complimentary toiletries, durable ice buckets and functional hangers. They offer the basics in an effort to make a guest’s stay comfortable by offering the conveniences of home. While the definition of “basic” hotel supplies will vary depending on the hotel class, most hotels provide drinking glasses, either plastic, an ice bucket of either shatter proof plastic or faux leather and an iron with ironing board. Hotels compete with one another for business. The amenities they offer are part of that competition which is why guests find many hotels in the same general area and price range with the similar amenities and hotel supplies.

Depending upon the sophistication of the hotel itself, guests may define ‘basic’ differently. Absorbent towels, bed linens with higher thread counts, bowed shower rods, and heavy duty wooden luggage racks become basic, expected hotel supplies in mid-grade hotels. Because they’re constantly competing for guests in order to maintain their occupancy rates, hotels are constantly striving to best their competition. This is truer the more sophisticated the hotel as they know consumers have a wide variety of options and the standards such as drinking glasses and coffee service are no longer enough. Instead, hotels must study what the new basic is and add it to their repertoire of hotel supplies and amenities in order to impact their occupancy rates.

5 Star hotels and resorts are on a unique plane in every way from the level of guest services they offer to the list of available conveniences and amenities offered to attract guests and increase occupancy rates. Microfiber bathrobes and slippers, monogrammed glass tumblers, video game systems and fog free shaving mirrors are among the high quality hotel supplies offered to guests at resorts and luxury hotels. They hope, and the numbers tell them, that by offering amenities that are above and beyond the basic hotel supplies provided by their competition they’ll not only attract and retain wealthier guests but increase their occupancy rates as well.

It’s a given that hotels, regardless of their rating and price point, want to please their guests by offering the best possible hotel supplies and amenities. However, when hotels are reviewing the amenities they may offer guests, deciding which specific hotel supplies they’ll offer will depend in part on their budget and what prior hotel guests have indicated they’d like to see or be likely to use. Hotel supplies are an intrinsic part of the hotel experience and their impact cannot, and should not, be under estimated as they can affect occupancy rates. All else being equal, the right hotel supplies can make or break a guest’s experience.

2000 years Before Christ, in India and Mesopotamia

Travel for trade was an important feature since the beginning of civilisation. The port at Lothal was an important centre of trade between the Indus valley civilisation and the Sumerian civilisation.

600 BC and thereafter

The earliest form of leisure tourism can be traced as far back as the Babylonian and Egyptian empires. A museum of historic antiquities was open to the public in Babylon. The Egyptians held many religious festivals that attracted the devout and many people who thronged to cities to see famous works of arts and buildings.

In India, as elsewhere, kings travelled for empire building. The Brahmins and the common people travelled for religious purposes. Thousands of Brahmins and the common folk thronged Sarnath and Sravasti to be greeted by the inscrutable smile of the Enlightened One- the Buddha.

500 BC, the Greek civilisation

The Greek tourists travelled to sites of healing gods. The Greeks also enjoyed their religious festivals that increasingly became a pursuit of pleasure, and in particular, sport. Athens had become an important site for travellers visiting the major sights such as the Parthenon. Inns were established in large towns and seaports to provide for travellers’ needs. Courtesans were the principal entertainment offered.

This era also saw the birth of travel writing. Herodotus was the worlds’ first travel writer. Guidebooks also made their appearance in the fourth century covering destinations such as Athens, Sparta and Troy. Advertisements in the way of signs directing people to inns are also known in this period.

The Roman Empire

With no foreign borders between England and Syria, and with safe seas from piracy due to Roman patrols, the conditions favouring travel had arrived. First class roads coupled with staging inns (precursors of modern motels) promoted the growth of travel. Romans travelled to Sicily, Greece, Rhodes, Troy and Egypt. From 300 AD travel to the Holy Land also became very popular. The Romans introduced their guidebooks (itineraria), listing hotels with symbols to identify quality.

Second homes were built by the rich near Rome, occupied primarily during springtime social season. The most fashionable resorts were found around Bay of Naples. Naples attracted the retired and the intellectuals, Cumae attracted the fashionable while Baiae attracted the down market tourist, becoming noted for its rowdiness, drunkenness and all- night singing.

Travel and Tourism were to never attain a similar status until the modern times.

In the Middle Ages

Travel became difficult and dangerous as people travelled for business or for a sense of obligation and duty.

Adventurers sought fame and fortune through travel. The Europeans tried to discover a sea route to India for trade purposes and in this fashion discovered America and explored parts of Africa. Strolling players and minstrels made their living by performing as they travelled. Missionaries, saints, etc. travelled to spread the sacred word.

Leisure travel in India was introduced by the Mughals. The Mughal kings built luxurious palaces and enchanting gardens at places of natural and scenic beauty (for example Jehangir travelled to Kashmir drawn by its beauty.

Travel for empire building and pilgrimage was a regular feature.

The Grand Tour

From the early seventeenth century, a new form of tourism was developed as a direct outcome of the Renaissance. Under the reign of Elizabeth 1, young men seeking positions at court were encouraged to travel to continent to finish their education. Later, it became customary for education of gentleman to be completed by a ‘Grand Tour’ accompanied by a tutor and lasting for three or more years. While ostensibly educational, the pleasure seeking men travelled to enjoy life and culture of Paris, Venice or Florence. By the end of eighteenth century, the custom had become institutionalised in the gentry. Gradually pleasure travel displaced educational travel. The advent of Napoleonic wars inhibited travel for around 30 years and led to the decline of the custom of the Grand Tour.

The development of the spas

The spas grew in popularity in the seventeenth century in Britain and a little later in the European Continent as awareness about the therapeutic qualities of mineral water increased. Taking the cure in the spa rapidly acquired the nature of a status symbol. The resorts changed in character as pleasure became the motivation of visits. They became an important centre of social life for the high society.

In the nineteenth century they were gradually replaced by the seaside resort.

The sun, sand and sea resorts

The sea water became associated with health benefits. The earliest visitors therefore drank it and did not bathe in it. By the early eighteenth century, small fishing resorts sprung up in England for visitors who drank and immersed themselves in sea water. With the overcrowding of inland spas, the new sea side resorts grew in popularity. The introduction of steamboat services in 19th century introduced more resorts in the circuit. The seaside resort gradually became a social meeting point

 Role of the industrial revolution in promoting travel in the west

The rapid urbanisation due to industrialisation led to mass immigration in cities. These people were lured into travel to escape their environment to places of natural beauty, often to the countryside they had come from change of routine from a physically and psychologically stressful jobs to a leisurely pace in countryside.

Highlights of travel in the nineteenth century 

·        Advent of railway initially catalysed business travel and later leisure travel. Gradually special trains were chartered to only take leisure travel to their destinations.

·        Package tours organised by entrepreneurs such as Thomas Cook.

·        The European countries indulged in a lot of business travel often to their colonies to buy raw material and sell finished goods.

·        The invention of photography acted as a status-enhancing tool and promoted overseas travel.

·        The formation of first hotel chains; pioneered by the railway companies who established great railway terminus hotels.

·        Seaside resorts began to develop different images as for day-trippers, elite, for gambling.

·        Other types of destinations-ski resorts, hill stations, mountaineering spots etc.

·        The technological development in steamships promoted travel between North America and Europe.

·        The Suez Canal opened direct sea routes to India and the Far East.

·        The cult of the guidebook followed the development of photography.

 

 

Tourism in the Twentieth Century

 

The First World War gave first hand experience of countries and aroused a sense of curiosity about international travel among less well off sector for the first time. The large scale of migration to the US meant a lot of travel across the Atlantic. Private motoring began to encourage domestic travel in Europe and the west.  The sea side resort became annual family holiday destination in Britain and increased in popularity in other countries of the west. Hotels proliferated in these destinations.

The birth of air travel and after

The wars increased interest in international travel. This interest was given the shape of mass tourism by the aviation industry. The surplus of aircraft and growth of private airlines aided the expansion of air travel. The aircraft had become comfortable, faster and steadily cheaper for overseas travel. With the introduction of Boeing 707 jet in 1958, the age of air travel for the masses had arrived. The beginning of chartered flights boosted the package tour market and led to the establishment of organised mass tourism. The Boeing 747, a 400 seat craft, brought the cost of travel down sharply. The seaside resorts in the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Caribbean were the initial hot spots of mass tourism.

A corresponding growth in hotel industry led to the establishment of world-wide chains. Tourism also began to diversify as people began to flock alternative destinations in the 70s. Nepal and India received a throng of tourists lured by Hare Krishna movement and transcendental meditation. The beginning of individual travel in a significant volume only occurred in the 80s. Air travel also led to a continuous growth in business travel especially with the emergence of the MNCs.