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Hangzhou's Modern Marco Polo

201405-hd-chinas-new-ambassador-in-hangzhoujpgWhat would the modern-day Marco Polo look like? After a global search on Facebook, which included 26,000 applications, 26-year-old Liam Bates is the successful recruit. He'll become the foreign ambassador to represent the city of Hangzhou, a major tourist destination in China, and will work to encourage visits and increased tourism from foreign nationals.

The announcement was made on Monday, May 19, commencing the start of a 15-day trip to Hangzhou for Bates and a salary of 40,000 euros.

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World's Most Pinteresting Destinations

201405-hd-trending-pinterest-trampoline-bridge-parisjpgWhether it’s a local weekend getaway destination or a far-flung city, T+L’s editors are consumed by travel most days of the week. Pinterest recently released a breakdown of what people Pin on different days and it seems that travel (and specifically, summer vacations) are top of mind on Saturdays.

We’ll do our best to keep you Pinning over the weekend, while still giving you a dose of wanderlust during the week, in case you need a little pick-me-up.

Top 50 Place Pins trending on Pinterest

1. Trampoline Bridge, Paris

2. Eiffel Tower, Paris

3. London

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Top Facebook Check-Ins for Earth Day

Grand Canyon

Untamed mountains, green forests, pristine lakes, and wide-open spaces. What better way to celebrate Earth Day than at a U.S. national park? Facebook agreed and put together a list of the top 2013 check-ins from national parks around America.

Top US National Parks:

1.  Grand Canyon
2.  Yosemite
3.  Yellowstone
4.  Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
5.  Great Smoky Mountains
6.  Zion
7.  Rocky Mountain
8.  Everglades
9.  Acadia
10. Joshua Tree

Interestingly enough, 12 percent of those who checked into a park on Facebook in 2013, live in another country, with the United Kingdom in the lead.

The U.S. cities whose residents are the top visitors to U.S. National Parks are from Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Denver.

Wherever you are in the world, Earth Day is the perfect excuse to get outside and enjoy, well, the earth!

Gabrielle Blitz is Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Michael Quinn / Courtesy of NPS

Airlines Grapple with Social Media This Week

It's been a rough week for airlines on social media.

After a Dutch teenager jokingly tweeted a bomb threat to American Airlines—she has since been arrested—the air carrier is now fielding dozens of other fake bomb threats over Twitter.

Meanwhile, U.S. Airways, is in crisis mode after it accidentally included a pornographic picture in one of its tweets. Even though the airline deleted the Tweet soon after, the image had already gone viral, with thousands of responders mocking U.S. Airways.

One bright spot: Southwest Airlines had a hit with its stand-up comic flight attendant delivering one of the coolest safety briefings we've ever heard. (Watch video above.) If you're going to go viral, that's the way to do it. 

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.

 

 

InstaMeet Around the World

Instagram is able to bring people together in an instantaneous and unique way—now, it’s even happening in person, with what’s being called “InstaMeets."

In late February, 12 Instagrammers from Malayasia and Indonesia, met for a four-day #InstaMeetJiran on East Java’s active volcano, Mount Bromo.

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Top Facebook Check-Ins During Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Fat Tuesday marks the end of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but we’re still reminiscing about the flaky slices of King Cake and over-the-top parades. These numbers, officially crunched by Facebook, show the most popular bars, hotels, and neighborhoods in NOLA from 2013, based on the volume of and increase in Facebook check-ins during the week leading up to Mardi Gras. Only check-ins within a 15-mile radius of the city center made the cut, so vicarious revelers couldn’t skew the stats. Read on to see how many of your 2014 party spots racked up against last year’s.

Places to Hang Out and Watch the Parades

1. St. Charles Avenue

2. Lee Circle

3. Uptown

4. New Orleans City Park

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Hotel Strategies Twitter Chat on Tuesday, March 4

201402-hd-hotel-strategies-chat_1_jpg

What are the go-to apps and websites for hotel research and booking? Which hotel brands are the most innovative in personalization? We're discussing hotel strategies with the experts this Tuesday, March 4th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. Join along and ask them for their insider advice!

The Hosts:

Amy Farley, News Editor, @TLTripDoctor

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Our Favorite Movies To Inspire Travel

201402-hd-movie-twitter-chat-recapjpg

To get ready for the 86th Academy Awards, we dedicated a recent Twitter Chat to discussing how movies have the ability to transport a viewer and even inspire future travel.

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New York's Hottest Food Trends and Restaurant Tips

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From the latest food trends to favorite nights for dining out, we asked for tips from the experts. Here's what they had to say in a recent Twitter chat.

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Skype's Travel Challenge Could Send You Around the World

To what limits would you want to be challenged? If you’re like travel videographer and member of Skype’s Moment Makers program, Mike Corey, the answer is: Bring it.

Corey took part in Rerouted: a Skype travel challenge, which dropped him off in Europe without an itinerary. A Skype-selected local met Corey in each country he visited to give him a clue as to where he was going and what he was doing next—from bungee-jumping in Italy to battling an oil-wrestling champion in Turkey.

Now, Windows 8.1 and Skype are giving travel enthusiasts the chance to have their own journey. The winner will receive a two-week trip through Europe for themselves plus a guest, along with travel equipment to document the time abroad. Enter here for your chance to win the ultimate European vacation.

Gabrielle Blitz is Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.

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