Gift Card rush Will Boost Holiday Sales Figures

While online and retail holiday shopping sales have met or exceeded expectations for most retailers in 2005, there is another “rush” for all retailers to prepare for: gift card redemption.

According to Hitwise, an online intelligence service, the market share of U.S. Internet searches containing the words “gift card” was up 32{5995fb5ca9ed880384c5b17f04a49e067c227a2e003485f1fda7f6ecf2f1a02f} for the week ending December 10, 2005 as compared to the previous week. In fact, the National Retail Federation expects gift card sales to increase 6.6{5995fb5ca9ed880384c5b17f04a49e067c227a2e003485f1fda7f6ecf2f1a02f} this holiday season to 18.48 billion dollars, with consumers spending an average of $88 dollars on gift cards or 15.6{5995fb5ca9ed880384c5b17f04a49e067c227a2e003485f1fda7f6ecf2f1a02f} of their holiday shopping budget.

Gift certificates have always been a popular gift choice for the hard to please recipient or even for the lazy shopper. For the gift giver, it allows a quick purchase at whatever store or online merchant they select, with a dollar amount that fits their budget. For the recipient, they can select what they want from a particular merchant and for the most part use the card at their convenience.

But for some, giving a gift card is a cop-out, reasoning it is too impersonal and opting to hand pick a gift and selecting something special and unique for a loved one or friend. However, for some, the gift card is the ideal gift choice, with family or friends even suggesting the store or online merchant they prefer.

For the merchants, it has extended the holiday shopping season because they cannot record the sale until the recipient uses the gift card to make a purchase. This holds down sales figures in November and December, but provides a boost in January when most cards are redeemed. An additional boost is provided by the fact that most of the shoppers who redeem their gift cards typically spend 15{5995fb5ca9ed880384c5b17f04a49e067c227a2e003485f1fda7f6ecf2f1a02f} to 50{5995fb5ca9ed880384c5b17f04a49e067c227a2e003485f1fda7f6ecf2f1a02f} more than the face value of the card when they select their holiday gift.

There are some downsides to gift cards. Some retailers clear unused gift cards off the books by subtracting off of the face value of the card, an inactivity fee (usually $2.50 per month) after a certain amount of time. Some gift cards have an expiration date and others come with special conditions or restrictions. However, consumer outrage has prompted many states across the country to introduce legislation limiting or banning the fees. Additionally, there is no federal law on gift cards but, two Republican congressmen, Joe Barton of Texas and Charlie Bass of New Hampshire, have requested that the Federal Trade Commission investigate the way retailers conduct their gift card programs.

Is giving a gift card too impersonal? Is it the best gift choice? That question is up for debate and is a personal preference. But with annual gift card sales projected to reach 90 billion dollars by 2007 (Ernst & Young 2005), the gift card is here to stay.

The Misconceptions Of Cheap Surfing Vacations

Harsh reality is that however much you save for a vacation, it always falls short in some aspect, whether its travel arrangements, room upgrades etc. Unlike other run of the mill vacation packages, cheap surfing vacations simply give you the leverage to think and plan within the box. Simply meaning, you get what you pay for and you are well aware of what you are entitled to before you embark, nothing more, nothing less.

Surfing is by far not an expensive sport to pursue so why should your getaway be? All you need you do is saddle up in the appropriate gear, grab your board and ride the waves. This is the only distinct difference between a regular all inclusive vacation and surf all inclusive trips since airfare, accommodation, cuisine and activities are common to both. When choosing between the many all inclusive cheap surfing vacations, the aspects to keep a keen eye for are the number of days included in your package, hotel category and activities.

Hawaii is frequented by millions of surfers from across the world and although you will find upscale resorts in abundance, there are an equivalent number of cheap surfing retreats. Holiday Surf hotel is located in the heart of Waikiki and is within close proximity of promenades of shopping districts, restaurants and activities. This budget resort is famed for its cost friendliness and has guests returning year after year.

Chicama surf resort is a combination of pocket friendly accommodation and hard core surfing, and is an ideal spot for those looking to get maximum water time. Located in the heart of Peru, this resort offers free internet access and complimentary airport transfers.

Set on the Pacific Coastal Highway of El Salvador, the K59 is a great private beach to catch a few swells. The world renowned Punta Roca is one of the best surf spots in the Western Hemisphere. Some of the other local surf spots in the area are Zunsal and Mizata, San Blas, Conchalio and La Bocana.

Just steps away from the Red Frog Beach, the recently constructed Bocas Del Toro bungalows in Panama offer comfortable sleeps for half the price of a decent hotel room. Powered by solar energy, these retreats are surrounded by landscaped gardens, private gardens and a tranquil ambience. Home to the largest variety of hummingbirds in the world, Panama is not only a great spot to fulfill your surfing desires but also catch a glimpse of unique wildlife.

The above are just a few cheap surfing vacations in the globe, and the one you choose completely depends on your budget and the activities you would like to pursue.

Property Investors Target The Greek Islands

The Guardian newspaper has learned of Greeces plans to sell or offer long-term leases on some of its beautiful and highly popular islands, reports property website House Sales Greece (). This remarkable decision which could see some of the most unusual property sales in Greece and indeed Europe is an attempt by the country to repay its sizeable debts. It is thought that (unsurprisingly given the scale of the purchase) wealthy property investors are likely to be the target market.

In a move never even previously considered by its government, Greece has decided to put some of its 6,000 picturesque islands up for sale or long-term lease to anyone that can afford what are sure to be hefty price tags. Its not just Greek properties on the islands that will bear a for sale or for rent sign – whole areas of some islands will be for sale or rent to the right buyer. The Guardian has found that an area of Mykonos which is one-third owned by the government will be put up for sale to a real estate investor who can not only afford the price of the sale itself but who is also willing and able to invest cash into developing a new luxury tourist complex on the island.

Wealthy purchasers and property investors from Russia and China are also looking to buy Greek property on the island of Rhodes, according to the article. These are two of the BRIC nations; along with Brazil and India, Russia and China have been highlighted as emerging economies with an ever-increasing class of the super-rich. It is these high-net worth individuals and property investors that are being targeted to buy property in Greece and its islands to help fill the countrys empty coffers. It is thought that Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea football club, could be one of the more famous investors considering purchasing a slice of a Greek island.

Meanwhile, mere mortals have not turned their back on property in Greece. While the dire economic situation of the country has seen an increase in the number of people needing to sell property in Greece, there is still interest from people wanting to buy Greek property, particularly bargain hunters looking to exploit the market.

If youre looking to buy or sell Greek property even if its a humble apartment rather than a swathe of a Greek island then youll find further information and the latest property listings at .

Editors Note: The Worldwide Group and House Sales Greece () is represented by the digital marketing specialists and SEO provider Jumping Spider Media. Please direct all press queries to Louise Byrne. Email: or call: +44 (0)20 3070 1959 / +34 952 783 637.

A Holiday Treat Savoring A Freshly-brewed Cup Of Coffee

Nothing can beat a freshly-brewed cup of coffee during a fine holiday morning. A great cup of coffee can be easily enjoyed at home with the help of popular single serve brewers.

Whats so good with these trendy single serve brewers that coffee aficionados are craving about? Read on and get to know the unique features of single serve brewers.

Most homeowners love this type of brewers because a great cup of coffee can be prepared without trouble for just a minute. Single serve brewers can satisfy the coffee needs of the entire household and it is really ideal to have one during holiday season when family and friends are staying over. With great speed, you can make several cups of coffee for an instant to serve a big crowd. A cupboard filled with wide array of coffee pods can make the guests happy as they find their favorite coffee flavor to enjoy every morning.

Single serve brewers can be cleaned with ease and coffee grinds no longer need to be measured. Along with great speed, ease of use and plain clean up, you can still do lots of errands and tasks in hosting a holiday party such as wrapping gifts and preparing a sumptuous meal for your guests.

When it comes to buying coffee pods, quality is always the main concern of coffee lovers. There are many coffee pods with fine quality in grocery stores and you can try out as many kinds as you like to get a grip of your ideal taste. Select coffee pods that are created purely out of Arabica beans which provide a fuller and richer taste compared to coffee pods made of Robusta beans. These pods can perfectly fit your single serve brewer and you can shop for it anytime without hassle. You can buy a few bags while shopping for the things you need in your holiday event preparation.

Single serve brewers and coffee pods are ideally paired to satisfy your coffee needs during a fine holiday morning coffee break.

Reasons To Book To Singapore Tour Packages

As the holiday packages go, Singapore travel is kind of perfect. It is affordable. It is modern amenities and services. Plus, it has the combinations of travel experiences available. It is little wonder that this small country is popular, visited and revisited by all kinds of travellers. Yet, for the cautious and cynics, here are some awesome details you should consider for booking Singapore tour packages.

Clean & green global the Singapore city

The capital of Singapore is extremely clean and very green city. This is a global travel destination for every modern indulgence: diverse numbers of cuisines, Buddhist, Chinese & Hindu shrines along with mosques, botanical gardens, art galleries and museums & more. Amidst the tropical fun in Singapore, you need the modern leisure. You need the dream night cruise that is such a perfect backdrop for budding romance. Yet, it is an affordable city. You can step out on the street and buy from next street food vender you see and indulge in your choice of snack or meal safely.

Wild ride of a lifetime

Singapore has Sentosa for adventure and resorts. There is tremendous wildlife is scattered into Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Jurong Bird Park and the Botanical Gardens, Singapore Zoo, Pulau Ubin & Chinese Gardens. So, go on a night safari, bird watching or strolling through the exotic species in the parks. Added to that, you can make a gamble of a life. The serene natural beauty is simply perfect for the adventure sports you can have guts to enjoy. Gamble at the casinos at the various avenues. Witness the Singapore Grand Prix. Enjoy exquisite water sports experiences at waterskiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, canoeing on the beaches.

Culture and art

Singapore is great destination for anyone who appreciates art. From art connoisseurs to art lovers, there are several avenues and types of art available. The edgy art scene blends well with the mixing and thriving cultural kaleidoscope. From massive choices of international cuisines in the city to different kinds of religions and shrines, Singapore is diverse, dynamic and interesting. However, this culture has too many international influences as everyone is well versed with English. So, you can find diversities and similarities of your choice. It is the ultimate choice in one Singapore tour package, right?

For holiday packages, we want what Singapore offers; to be honest. You want affordability, ease of travel and communication and diverse experiences: ethnic and modern alike. So, you can place your bets on Singapore with closed eyes. It is the dream celebration of humanity in stunning tropical locale.

Future Vacations Jayanagar Bangalore Is A Travel Company Which Is Known For Its Excellent Client Ser

Excitement and thrill are the two important factors which drives people to go for a vacation trip. Spending quality time with dear ones gives immense pleasure. In such kind of tour, when we move away from our busy and hectic daily life, we get a chance to revive our lost energy level and inner happiness. In that sense vacation tours are very important to bring solace to our tired body and mind. But if these trips are not meticulously planned, then the result can be different. With a single mismanagement, the charm of the whole trip may wither away in the air of tension. In short, we can say that when we think about spending our holidays in any unknown location we need to get it precisely planned. And the better way of doing it is to consult with a travel company which has sound knowledge of the travel industry. Proper local connections and thorough knowledge of the locations can take your journey to a next level. But, at that same time, you should also check the credibility of the travel agency before investing. As the competition is very tough, you may get cheated in the ocean of lucrative offers. Well, in this matter, one can trust the service of Future Vacations Bangalore which relies on client satisfaction and full commitment. Future Vacations Jayanagar Bangalore is a travel company which is known for its excellent client service and healthy tie-ups.
Credited for its ever-increasing vendor base, Future Vacation Jayanagar Bangalore reviews always keep track of the existing market. Proper care is taken about the budget of the clients so that they can offer the best deal out of their decorative range of travel packages. Led by a team of proficient travel advisors Future Vacations, Bangalore has successfully offered best customized travel packages to its high esteemed clients.
Its wide reach in more than 93 countries, has also helped the company in building a strong rapport in the travel and tourism industry of the country. With over 4000 affiliates, Future Vacations Jayanagar Bangalore looks forward to serve its clients in the best possible manner. At the same time, it also relishes on its extensive experience which has created a profound niche for the company among its market competitors. The sole aim of Future Vacation Jayanagar Bangalore reviews is to work as a master vacation planner for its valuable customers. And during the course of making this dream true, the company will also keep track of the budget constraints of its esteemed clients.

A Calming Experience on the Beautiful Beaches of Port Aransas

Spending a time at the beach is a refreshing moment for everyone who likes to be under the heat of the sun. The beach is a perfect getaway for people who just want to relax and see the beauty of nature as well. Variety of enjoyable activities can be done like making sand castles, skim boarding, surfing, swimming and family picnics. Port Aransas is one of the best beaches in the United States which is located in Mustang Island in the Gulf of Mexico.

Port Aransas is a lovely place. Most people always come to this place for their recreational beach activities. The island is perfect for people who love a coastal lifestyle. You can enjoy the cool sea breeze and receive an immense feeling of tranquility and comfort. The beach reduces your stress and anxiety. If you sit comfortably near the beach, you can appreciate the beauty of nature. You can also engage in some meditation and connect with nature like breathing deeply and slowly.

Gazing the birds from the sky can also be mind-refreshing. As you glance in the sea, sometimes you can also see some birds going down from the sky catching fishes. It’s an interesting scene to behold. A lot of awesome things can be seen in the beach that can captivate your naked eyes. You can also stare the tide approaching you and touching your little toes. Your body’s weight will somehow push you down into the sand and it is something like the sand is eating or grabbing you.

Port Aransas is a famous beach community in Florida endowed with incredible spots. It is a like a paradise for beach-goers. This place is also ideal for those people who are looking for places after their retirement where they can just relax and enjoy. If you’re planning of buying beach properties then this would be a perfect place for you. You can look for properties at Port Aransas Homes for sale. Port Aransas real estate can also help you find your dream house in this marvelous location.

Victor Komaleng is a freelance article writer who writes about articles related to real estate and various topics. To get more details about Port Aransas homes for sale and Port Aransas real estate visit our website. Check Port Aransas mls for more information.

Add More Counter Space By Having Kitchen Islands And Carts

A lot of people are having a difficult time organizing their kitchen and have enough space for them to move around while preparing food for their family. This often happens to people who have lots of kitchen utensils and accessories. One possible result of this is that their space to prepare food on and counter space becomes limited making one feel congested and uncomfortable in cooking and moving around the kitchen.

A good solution to this problem is to have kitchen islands and carts. This can make things more organized in the kitchen. This is also perfect for those who have lots of utensils and accessories in their kitchen. Kitchen islands and carts remove all the clutter from your kitchen making more space to move around. With your kitchen islands and carts, you are able to put in your spoons, forks, bowls, plates and other utensils in their proper places. And you can even get those with allotted space for microwave ovens and toasters. Kitchen islands and carts simply put things where they should be. This will then provide you more space for your counter giving you more room to move around.

Kitchen islands and carts simply provide the purpose of extending your kitchen and making it neat and clean all the time. Now, you do not have to be in a limited counter space because you have everything sorted out and kept properly. It can also be a protection for your kitchen utensils from being lost or damaged because of improper keeping.

As everybody may agree, kitchens should always be kept clean, neat and organized. This will give you a good image to others that you serve good and clean food all the time. This will also give you a great experience always when cooking and preparing the food for your family. Great food ideas even come out when the environment is just simply pleasant.

So do not just settle for the usual kitchen that you have right now. Make it look more pleasant and have that enough space for your counter and other food preparation needs by having your own kitchen islands and carts.

Experience the Culture of the Cook Islands

Experiencing a new culture is the best part of holidaying overseas. It’s exhilarating to escape the beach or pool and immerse yourself in a new location.

The Pacific Islands are a perfect place to travel if you’re looking for a mix of relaxation and adventure. Vanuatu, Samoa and Fiji; there are a number of different countries to travel, all offering their own unique cultures and way of life.

For the ultimate experience combining the sought after island holiday with the country’s rich history, book a stay at a Cook Islands resort and spend a week or two under the warm sun and blue skies.

Culture on the Cook Islands

These islands boast a strong culture through language, music and art that range from the traditional through to the contemporary. Holidaymakers that are interested in more than just a country’s historical way of life will love the strong national identity that the locals proudly call their own and the constantly evolving, unique culture that the islands are home to.

The islands have a close affiliation with New Zealand; the two countries are in a free association and share close similarities in indigenous language with Cook Islands Maori the official language of the nation’s people.

Island society still maintains strong associations with the villages and their chiefs. Land rights and titles are passed down at the discretion of older family members and the bond of family is held in great esteem by the locals.

Art and Music

Traditional artworks are commonly in the form of woodcarving and weaving with each of the country’s different islands featuring their own unique style and subject matter. The contemporary art scene in the Cook Islands is populated by painters, sculptors and photographers, sharing close ties with New Zealand artists with the island’s culture and history a focus that shines through in many works.

Christian music is popular on the islands, but traditional Polynesian song and dance draws a number of tourists and visitors and remains frequently performed and enjoyed. Every island in the nation has its own dances that are taught from a young age and dances are commonly accompanied by the Cook Islands styled drumming of the traditional wooden percussion instrument, the pate.

Holidaying and Vacations

The most populous and well known island, Rarotonga, is the commonly chosen location for holidays because of the luxurious resorts that offer travellers a quality stay, relaxing location, amenities and access to the vibrant and unique culture of the islands.

Book a trip away and find out for yourself why a stay in the Cook Islands is considered one of the best island vacations in the world.

The Advantages Of A Motorhome Holiday

A motorhome holiday is significantly different to a package holiday. The cost associated with a motorhome holiday is nowhere near the amount of money you will spend on a package holiday. There is also the feeling of freedom and independence you get from travelling with a motorhome that you can’t get when vacationing at only one destination. People are now considering the benefits if purchasing or renting a motorhome for their next holiday trip because going on a motorhome holiday allows them to travel far and choose where they want to go at any given time.

Going on a motorhome holiday allows for flexibility. The idea of being able to go anywhere they like at any given time is what appeals to most people. You plan and take your motorhome holiday anytime during the year. You don’t have to settle on traveling to just one destination, you can stay at one place for a day or two, then pack up and head over to your next destination. Traveling in a motorhome vehicle is comfortable and convenient so you can go on holidays several times a year. You will never be bored because you can easily go from one place to another, see and experience different things.

A motorhome holiday is a may be life changing and educational experience. If you are tired of the same old package holiday deals, try something new and exciting. Hiring a motorhome and heading out on your own will give you memories and the experience of a lifetime.

One other advantage of a motorhome holiday is the food. Even if the food at hotels is decent, nothing beats the taste of home cooked meals. Most motorhomes are equipped with a kitchen; you can whip up some of the dishes that you would cook at home without having to spend a fortune. And you can eat your food anywhere that you want and eat it at your own pace.

The UK is one of the best places to spend your motorhome holiday. From the abandoned castles, fun theme parks, and the walks of Wales, Britain is actually a good choice to spend your holidays in. Of course, there are several other places that you could go to. Europe is another popular destination. There’s Spain, France, and Italy as well. These are just some of the most recommended motorhome holiday destinations.

It comes as no surprise that motorhome holidays are fast becoming popular. Those that normally would have paid a premium for a pampered luxurious vacation at a far-off tropical beach are seriously considering the benefits of a motorhome holiday. Combining both accommodation and transportation in a single package, purchasing or hiring a motorhome is more cost-effective compared to a package holiday deal. A motorhome holiday also allows you to experience the freedom of the open road.