125:Greetings 2024 + Bangkok + Membership Renewal + FAMtrips + Christmas in China + 2024 in Hong Kong + NYETraditions; 125-20241231

Issue 125, December 30, 2023New York, NYIssue 124, https://conta.cc/3TtPeV3www.newyorkpata.org
Dear Valued Members and Colleagues, As we usher in the new year, NY PATA would like to extend our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones. We hope this new year brings you happiness, good health, and prosperity. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support in making NY PATA a success. We look forward to working with you in the coming year and beyond. Once again, from all of us at NY PATA, we wish you a very Happy New Year! With best regards, Elizabeth ChinExecutive Director
Bangkok is the Most Visited City in the World
Bangkok is the most visited city in the world, with 22.78 million international visitors, followed by Paris, London, Dubai, and Singapore in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place, respectively.
As per the Travelness website based on the Global Destination City Index studied by Mastercard, Kuala Lumpur has secured the 6th spot in the list of the most visited cities in 2023.New York, Istanbul, Tokyo, and Antalya in 7th, 8th,9th and 10th place, respectively. 
The study ranks cities based on total international overnight visitor arrivals and cross-border spending. By understanding global travel patterns and studying how they affect urban economies, the index can also predict visitor growth for the upcoming year, according to Travelness.
Membership Renewal for 2024

We would like to remind you that the membership renewal due date for New York PATA is on the first of January of each year. To make the renewal process easier, we have introduced self-renewal options for our members. You can confirm your membership renewal by clicking on the link “View invoice online” in the renewal email/invoice. Alternatively, you can exercise the self-renewal option on the renewal link within your profile on www.newyorkpata.org . Please make checks payable to: New York PATA, and mail to:Irene Sino, NY PATA Treasurerc/o Panorama Travel65 West 36th Street #302New York, NY 10018 We hope that these options will make the renewal process more convenient for you. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.
Laos AdventureTravel Agent FAM
Fly from Los Angeles and experience the beauty of one of the last frontiers. Arrive in Vientiane, Laos’ capital city, on the bank of the mighty Mekong River. Visit Buddhist temples and see an enchanting collection of sculptures on the river’s banks. After two nights, travel north for a night in Vang Vieng, a city upstream on the Mekong with stunning karst topography. Take a new train service to Luang Prabang, known for its Buddhist temples, Royal Palace, and Pak Ou Caves, for a four-night stay. Visit an ethical elephant sanctuary. Return to Vientiane before flying to Bangkok for two nights. Non-agent companions are welcome. Also available: Land Only, from $2,199 per agent (includes air between Bangkok and Laos). VIEW DETAILS ›
13 days/10 nights – from $3,199 per person including air from Los Angeles – October 18 to 30, 2024
Bora Bora, Moorea, TahitiTravel Agent FAM
Experience three of Tahiti’s most beautiful islands on this Fam trip, co-sponsored by Pacific Holidays, Air Tahiti Nui, and Air Tahiti. Begin with two nights on the main island of Tahiti. Next, take a round trip ferry to the island of Moorea, where you stay two nights. Then, from Tahiti fly to Bora Bora. Your two-night stay at this ultimate romantic island of the South Seas includes a night at Le Bora Bora by Pearl for an overwater bungalow experience. Fly back to Papeete on the main island, and connect with your return flight to Los Angeles. Hotel inspections, airport transfers, and breakfast daily are included. Space is limited. This Fam is for travel agents only. VIEW DETAILS ›9 days/6 nights – from $1,999 per person Including airfare from Los Angeles
Christmas in China
Although Christmas is not a public holiday and has no religious significance in Mainland China, it is celebrated as a novelty day, like Valentine’s Day. Despite this, the festive season is embraced in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, with malls and streets adorned with Christmas decorations, fir trees, Santa Claus, and carols. Families decorate their homes with evergreens, posters, and bright paper chains, and put up a Christmas tree, also known as the tree of light, illuminated with beautiful lanterns, flowers, and red paper chains symbolizing happiness. Red pagodas are cut out and pasted on windows, while paper lanterns light up the houses, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Many Chinese enjoy the fun and color that Christmas brings to the drab winter season, and although Christmas traditions are relatively young in China, it is still a time for families to come together and enjoy the holiday season.
On Christmas Eve, Christian children in China hang up their muslin stockings that are specially made so Dun Che Lao Ren, or “Christmas Old Man,” can fill them with wonderful gifts. Santa Claus may also be called Lan Khoong-Khoong, “Nice Old Father.”
China has the world’s largest Buddhist population, with an estimated 185–250 million practitioners, according to Freedom House. Though Buddhism originated in India, it has a long history and tradition in China and today is the country’s largest institutionalized religion.
Hong Kong Welcomes in 2024
Hong Kong Tourism Board says show is the biggest and longest new year extravaganza yet, lasting 12 minutes. Liu Lin, director of fireworks at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has taken the helm for this year’s display in Hong Kong. The show – themed ‘New Year New Legend’ – depicts changing seasons and the beauty of nature.Other cities in China – including Beijing – are welcoming in 2024 now.
Fireworks light up the night sky above Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. Photo: Sam Tsang
As the world welcomes the year 2024, several countries in Asia and Australia have already celebrated the start of the new year. Auckland, in New Zealand, was the first major city to greet 2024 with spectacular fireworks display from its tallest building, the Sky Tower. This was followed by Sydney’s 12-minute display launched from the iconic Harbor Bridge and the Opera House, which thrilled a crowd of thousands. Hong Kong also joined in the festivities with huge fireworks display over Victoria Harbour in front of an estimated crowd of hundreds of thousands. India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are among the latest countries to reach midnight and ring in the new year. As the celebrations continue across the globe, people are filled with hope and optimism for the year ahead.
New Year’s Eve Traditions
Black-eyed PeasAs we ring in the New Year, many of us are looking for ways to bring good luck and prosperity into our lives. One popular tradition, particularly in Southern and Caribbean cultures, is to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. This practice has its roots in African-American history, and has been passed down through generations. The symbolism behind black-eyed peas is twofold. First, they are said to resemble coins, symbolizing wealth and financial abundance in the year ahead. Second, their hearty nature represents resilience and sustenance during challenging times. By eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, we are setting the stage for a prosperous and resilient year ahead. So if you’re looking for a tasty way to bring some good luck into your life, consider adding black-eyed peas to your New Year’s Day menu. Whether you enjoy them in a classic Hoppin’ John dish, or in a more modern recipe, this tradition is sure to bring some added meaning to your celebrations.
OystersOysters have been a beloved delicacy in France for thousands of years, with a rich history of being enjoyed by both kings and peasants. This French tradition of consuming oysters has made its way into modern celebrations, such as serving oysters on New Year’s Eve. The briny and salty taste of oysters is highly appreciated in French cuisine, and many bistros and brasseries across the country offer raw oysters on their menus. With their flavorful juices and unique texture, French oysters are often considered to be the best in the world.
12 GrapesIn most Hispanic countries, including Spain, a tradition known as “12 grapes wishing” has been practiced for over a century. This tradition involves eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, with each grape representing a wish for each month of the coming year. The color of the grapes can be either green or red, and the act of eating them is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year. So if you want to start your New Year with a bunch of good luck, make sure to grab 12 grapes and join in on this fun and meaningful tradition!
ChampagneChampagne has been a beloved drink for centuries, with a rich history dating back to the 16th century. Originally enjoyed by European aristocrats, it has become a global tradition associated with joyous occasions and celebrations. The luxurious reputation of champagne has made it a symbol of status, prestige, and quality. Its bubbly and refreshing taste is often savored and enjoyed slowly, making it the perfect drink to welcome the new year. So, raise a glass of champagne this New Year’s Eve and toast to new beginnings with the timeless luxury of this beloved drink.

Elizabeth Chin
Executive Director
Past Chair (2016-2022)
NY PATA Life Member
PATA New York Chapter