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The Origins of Halloween

Haloween

Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition and is now characterised by community-based child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season.

samhainHalloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

If you want to see some magic in your meetings or incentives in any of our 12 international destinations, contact MICEport DMC (www.miceportdmc.com) at inspireus@miceport.com

Have a good Halloween!!

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2015 in DMC

 

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Travel is the Greatest Teacher

MICEport’s philosophy on travel is that it is the greatest teacher! Not only to learn new cultures but also to learn from each other. Isn’t that why meetings and incentives are so important for companies? You can’t do everything from a computer, from a telephone or through webinars – we have to meet, learn and experience.

This is exemplified in Dubai at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU). The SMCCU opened in 1998 to help visitors gain a better understanding of the culture and customs of the UAE. SMCCU invites guests to take part in their activities, including a range of Arabic classes, heritage tours, and guided mosque visits.

The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is located in a beautifully restored wind tower house in the historic Al Fahidi District in Bur Dubai, the centre offers a range of activities, from traditional cuisine to conversations with local Emiratis. It’s motto is ‘Open Doors, Open Minds,’ and isn’t that the thing we strive for in all of our meetings and incentive!

SMCCU is where groups can ask questions such as why the native women of the UAE wear black while the men wear white? What happens inside a mosque? Do you want to try a traditional Emirati meal? MICEport feels that SMCCU is definitely a great and an essential part of a program to UAE. It breaks down barriers, preconceptions and misunderstandings. Understanding the local traditions adds depth and meaning to any group visiting from UAE.

UAEGroup attendees can ask any question – no matter how sensitive and they will be answered – it is a great experience!

For our groups we can have a traditional Emirati breakfast, lunch, or dinner and you’ll start with a guided walking tour of the historic Al Fahidi District. Then take a seat on Bedouin-style carpets and pillows and enjoy a selection of traditional dishes while your local host answers the groups questions.

Contact MICEport for more information on groups, meetings or incentives to UAE. MICEport’s DMC in UAE is Incentive Connections. Perfection and innovative programs would be two words to describe Incentive Connections programs in UAE. Contact us inspireus@miceport.com and see our website at www.miceportdmc.com

 

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MICEport – “Meet the DMC” Series

Meet the DMC StampsAs part of MICEport’s continuing expansion, we have started a webinar series called “Meet the DMC“.

The goals of the webinars are:

  1. Create a personal touch –  So often, it is difficult to physically meet with the respected DMCs such as those within MICEport DMC due to the fact that they are in the 10 destinations throughout the world – this is a way to combat that;
  2. Quick – A quick 30 minute webinar presentation on the DMC and the overall possibilities of that particular destination;
  3. Convenient – MICEport has added these webinars to our website for “on-demand” convenience;
  4. Informative & Innovative – Our DMCs give great information about the destination while at the same time introducing buyers to new program ideas.

These webinars are an ideal way to Meet the DMCs and get to know your potential partner in Ireland, Scotland, France, Monaco, Italy, Germany, Austria, UAE, Oman and Morocco.  MICEport DMCs have on average 26 years in business and are all owner operated. We are proud to be their partner in North America and we know that their experience and creativity will be a winning combination for any incentive or meeting program.

All of the webinars will be posted on www.miceportdmc.com under the events and webinar section and also on this Blog.

You can contact MICEport in North America, either via phone (215-253-8924) email: inspireus@miceport.com or on the web at www.miceportdmc.com

 

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MICEport DMC Welcomes Morocco – Octav Tour DMC

ilhamWe are so happy to welcome our newest DMC to MICEport DMC from Morocco – Octav Tour, based in Casablanca, welcome Ilham. This now brings MICEport DMC to 10 international destinations with our fantastic boutique owner managed DMCs.

Morocco has so many great opportunities for North American MICE groups.  Geographically, Morocco is characterized by rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert. It is one of only three countries (with Spain and France) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. Morocco has a population of over 33 million.  Morocco is culturally diverse, culturally speaking and has always been successful in combining its Berber, Jewish and Arabic cultural heritage with external influences such as the French, Spanish, Anglo-American lifestyles during the last decades.

Moroccan cuisine

Moroccan cuisine has long been considered as one of the most diversified cuisines in the world.This is a result of the centuries-long morocco10_1746570binteraction of Morocco with the outside world. The cuisine of Morocco is mainly Berber-Moorish, European, Mediterranean cuisines. The cuisine of Morocco is essentially Berber cuisine (sometimes referred to as the Moorish cuisine). It is also influenced by Sephardic cuisine and by the Moriscos when they took refuge in Morocco after the Spanish Reconquista. Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients such as saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Chicken is the most widely eaten meat in Morocco. The main Moroccan dish most people are familiar with is couscous, the old national delicacy. Beef is the most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco, usually eaten in a Tagine with vegetables or legumes. Chicken is also very commonly used in Tagines, knowing that one of the most famous tagine is the Tagine of Chicken, potatoes and olives.

Mint TeaSome must dos:

  • Wander through the souk – You can test your bargaining skills with the shopkeepers, who all speak enough English and Spanish to drive a hard bargain for anything you could imagine. Be sure to check out the leather which is famous around the world.
  • Drink mint tea – after a long day of shopping or incentive activities, retire to one of the teahouses above the central square for a nice glass of Moroccan mint tea.
  • Visit the tanneries – Moroccans are famous for their leather goods, not only can you buy them from the market, but you can also visit the tanneries where they’re made. The most famous tannery in Morocco is in Fez.
  • Visit the Hassan II Mosque – Mosque of Hassan II is open to the public in Casablanca, make sure you take a tour of this awe-inspiring monument.

Morocco offers clients a truly unique experience and Octav Tour ensures that that it is totally authentic.  You will be hearing more from this fantastic destination in the coming months but in the meantime, take a look at our website at www.miceportdmc.com

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MICEport DMC Partners operate in Ireland, Scotland, France, Monaco, Austria, Germany, Italy, UAE, Oman and Morocco.  For more information, go to www.miceportdmc.com 

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Can You Afford NOT To Have An International Meeting or Incentive!

Euro usdI want to warn you this is a mathematical blog post for international incentives and meetings, please don’t turn off because it will give you and your clients some real saving opportunities for your next international program.

Exchange rates in Europe and the United Kingdom have been dropping and now is the time to buy your international incentive/meeting!!!

As of 20th January 2015 vs 20th January 2014 The Euro vs USD and CAD enables clients in USA and Canada to receive about 15% and 8% more for their program respectively in exchange rates alone.  In the UK, the exchange rate has been a little more stable vs the USD and CAD enabling clients in USA and Canada to get about 6% and 1% more respectively in exchange rates alone!

So what does this mean in reality?

Clients Paying in US Dollars:

  • A EUR£100,000 program in 2014 cost about USD$135,600 and in 2015 the same program would cost USD$115,800 in exchange rates – a saving of US$19,800
  • A GBP£100,000 program in 2014 cost about USD$164,200 and in 2015 the same program would cost USD$151,600 in exchange rates – a saving of US$12,600

Clients Paying in Canadian Dollars:

  • A EUR£100,000 program in 2014 cost about CAD$148,700 and in 2015 the same program would cost CAD$139,000 in exchange rates – a saving of CAD$9,700
  • A GBP£100,000 program in 2014 cost about CAD$182,100 and in 2015 the same program would cost CAD$180,000 in exchange rates – a saving of CAD$2,100

MICEport’s DMCs in Ireland, Scotland, France, Monaco, Germany, Austria, Italy, UAE, Oman can ensure that that your program not only works within your budget and exchange rates but more importantly fits in with your goals and objectives of your program. Our DMCs throughout Europe and the Middle East have an average of 26 years in business.  Learn more about our DMCs at www.miceport.com.

Can you afford not to bring your incentive meeting to Europe and Scotland?

UP Next: Next Wednesday we will be covering some of the Tax benefits you can receive for meetings and incentives in international destinations.

All of the opinions in this blog are used as examples and are based on exchange rates based on 20th January, 2015 information. Rates and pricing is subject to change and is only used to exemplify potential savings.

 

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