Phil Butler
Travel

Phil Butler

Argophilia Travel

Phil is editor-in-chief of Argophilia Travel News, and senior partner at Pamil Visions PR, and CEO of Argophilia Travel. Phil now enjoys engaging the world’s travel sector with the vigor of a tech guru. He’s a widely cited authority on public relations by Russia Today, CBC, and other mainstream media. .



Latest by Phil Butler

  • Wine Legends of the Mosel – Old and New

    Mosel harvest

    “Hail! O Mosella, to thee, great parent of fruits and of peoples!“

    It was Ausonius, the Roman poet who lived at 310–395 BC, who provided us our most resilient reminder of the Mosel wine region of Germany. The steep hillsides overlooking the Mosel River, they render wines as unique as the flowers they mimic, the magic potion of Bacchus,  straight from the world’s finest Riesling grapes. The Mosella is famous for it viticulturists, and for some, for sunlit sparkling surprises too. 

    Unlike the other main wine growing regions of Germany, the Mosella has somehow retained its individuality. Family vineyards dominate the slopes overlooking the small villages of the region, unlike their Rheinhessen counterparts,  notorious for mass produced Liebfraumilch and such. …


  • USSR travel art auctioned at Christie’s

    Max Litvak & Robert Fedor - The New Travel Land, Ussr Soviet Russia - Lithograph in colours, c.1930 condition B+/A-; not backed - 40 x 25 in. (102 x 64 cm.) - Courtesy Christie's London

    Yesterday I got wind of a wonderful sale of period travel art at world famous auction house Christie’s. Not many realize how travel advertising over the decades has captivated people, and especially nostalgic are the Stalin era travel posters commissioned for Russian Intourist (which still exists) from as far back as 1929. Yes, you read that correctly, the Soviet Union was once touted as T.H.E. travel destination to see. 

    Christie’s Vintage Poster Sales division held a sale yesterday on lots of items actually commissioned by Joseph Stalin himself for Intourist. For those unfamiliar, this organization (ministry) of Stalin’s government was tasked with promoting travel inside, and from abroad, across Mother Russia. Ironic, beautiful for their sheer creativity, the …


  • The Epitome of Hungarian Cuisine: Hungaricum

    The real item, traditional Hungarian goulash soup

    Experiencing true Hungarian cuisine in the villages and hamlets across most of Europe is not as easy as one might think. In fact, real Hungarian is a rarity on a scale right up there with Croatian in its sparseness. Maybe this is a gastronomy fact a little eatery we just dined at can change though?

    Just opened in our village of Schweich, Germany, Hungaricum is a novelty sitting alongside the traditional German eateries here. After we dined there the other night, I did a bit of unofficial research into Hungarian food in Germany, and as it turns out this brand of gastronomy really is pretty rare. Even in Berlin, there only seems to be 8 or 10 restaurants that even …


  • What about a Winter in Crete?

    Stavros

    Some travelers head for the ski slopes in winter, some fly like “snow birds” deep, deep down south to escape frozen breezes and toes. A few sojourners though, they head to Crete to enjoy a bit of moderation in between. Yes my favorite island has snowcapped mountains and wintry sullen beaches to trod, plus a lot more. For your information, and to further solidify my position as Crete’s biggest evangelist, here’s an off season suggestion for you skiers who would as soon stroll an empty beach. 

    For the would-be winter migration you’re considering , Crete is an island paradise cheaper to enjoy by far than any Florida getaway, and with its own brand of diverse pleasures. Here’s just a sampling.…


  • A Brief Cretan Wine Tour

    Bart Lyrarakis

    The land that was once the center of Bronze Age magnificence, for that time beyond any comparison, Minoan Crete was a place of refined society. Ages ago, the cultivated of pure fruits of the vine were central to daily life on Crete. The wines of Crete today, bear tasteful witness to a tradition that is thousands of years in the making. Now, as back then, no dinner table on this mythical island is set without a special wine to go along.

    “There’s a place in the middle of the wine-dark sea called Crete, a lovely, fruitful land surrounded by the sea” – The Odyssey

    While many Minoan varieties of wine exist to this day, the process and pride that went …


  • Two Girls, 10 Days, and Some Crete Celebrity

    Diana & Roxy shopping on Crete

    Last month two colleagues of ours ventured to Crete for an end of summer holiday. What was intended as a beach getaway for friends though, ended up as publicity trip too. For Ruxandra Mindruta and Diana Abu-Zuaiter, suntan oil and toes in the sand turned to mini-Greek stardom. Before I relate their tale, I am reminded of a quote from Crete’s most famous author, Nikos Kazantzakis, who penned Zorba the Greek: 

    “You have your brush, you have your colors, you paint the paradise, then in you go.” 

    A couple months ago I was discussing technical features of the social media intelligence tool Brandwatch with Ruxandra Mindruta. Our conversation led to she and her friend’s plans for vacationing, and as …


  • Russia’s Putin Sends Travel Sanctions “Boomeranging” Back to EU

    Russia's Putin arrives for BRICs summit in Brazil - Courtesy The Kremlin

    According to business daily Vedomosti this week, Russia will likely start  restricting European airlines use of Russian airspace on routes to and from Asia.  If such “reverse” sanctions on EU and other western airlines are enacted, some experts say the economic fallout on European carriers will be crippling. Western sanctions levied against Russia, in an effort to punish Vladimir Putin over politics, may well prove out the Russian president’s “boomerang” theory on west sanctions. 

    The news from Russia this morning, Putin has evidently had enough of Washington, UK, and EU economic spears (July 31st EU Sanctions PDF)cast in his direction. Putin has just signed a ban on the import of agricultural goods from countries that have imposed sanctions …


  • Greece Tourism 2014: A Template for Economic Recovery

    Olga Kefalogianni

    Hard times these past few years have forced a competitive filtering-reset to take place in tourism. Since the economic crisis began in 2008, some businesses have shined, while others have ended up stagnated or worse, bankrupt for many factors. However dismal the crisis has been though, in the end the customer/traveler is starting to benefit. Looking at countries like Greece, and tourism competitors in the southern Europe region, provides us with some answers as to how any entity can survive when the competition gets really tough. The question “what differentiates a successful tourism marketing campaign”, begs to be answered.

    It’s so often a sad reality in a competitive business world that sometimes potentially wonderful businesses just lose. But when one …


  • Catching the Breeze: A Selection of Sailing Trips for 2014

    Lord Nelson

    At long last Spring is here north of the Equator, and for the seafarer at heart the sea breezes bring remembrances of good times, adventure, even romance. If landlubber vacationing has become old hat, or if the siren’s call has set your compass seaward, here’s a selection of sailing vacations adventures to set sail for. Let the wind take you. 

    Bali & Beyond: Exotic Islands

    Baby Boomers may remember their parents sighing, “Bali Ha’i” at some point in time or other. The famous song from the film South Pacific fueled many a fantasy and real voyage to the magical islands or Indonesia. Well, Millennials and all generations can still capture a piece of the South Pacific Ocean  here in the …


  • Play2Shop Relieves Gaming Addiction – Play and Shop Online

    Blasting Ducks to Shop

    Maybe you heard already, about half the activity on the social web involves game playing or other forms of entertainment. No matter what kind of device is used to access the web, it’s clear being social is more about fun than it is about business. That being said, why haven’t more businesses caught on to what the audience is into? A new startup called Play2Shop may help change all that. 

    The concept of offering prizes for gaming is not a new one. Anybody out there who had Yahoo! loaded on their first PC probably ended up in a game of backgammon or chess with a distance partner at one time or other. Points to trade for this and that, the …


  • Microsoft Surface 2 and the Need for App Supremecy

    MS Surface

    Earlier today ZDNet’s Charlie Osborne broke the news Nvidia’s CEO spilled the beans on what version 2 of the Microsoft Surface tablet might offer. At the top of the MS list of “must have” or “killer apps” is none other than the software giant’s Outlook, one big plus missing from the current iteration of smart device. But is a mail program enough of a “killer” to matter? 

    As for the “leaked” news of Microsoft, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang was caught discussing with CNETs’  about just how hard his firm and Microsoft are working to rescue and rejuvenate interest in what has been a fiscal disappointment for MS, so far.  The dismal sales figures for the MS tablet made …


  • Android vs. iOS and Other Revenue Schemes

    Android versus iOS

    You know what? It doesn’t matter if Google Play has 5 trillion more downloads form it than the iOS App Store if Google doesn’t gain revenue share on the market. 

    There, how simple was that to understand? Well, apparently not many tech media people can grasp such complex algorithms as money making. Not even the so-called “The Capitalist Tool“, Forbes Magazine, seems to grasp the indefinable. News foretelling of Google Android surging into the lead by virtue of China, India, Russia and Brazil market destructiveness are – impotent when compared to Apple earnings. Sure Android is making headway, how could the OS not given so much media hype? 

    Okay, it’s not that poor little App Annie is …


  • A Well Deserved Reckoning for Former HP Exec Adrian Jones

    Adrian Jones

    All Things D’s Arik Hesseldahl had an interesting item this week about Oracle’s new head of its Asia operations. And the name Adrian Jones immediately rang a bell here, as it clearly did with that reporter.

    I did a little research of my own. It turns out that Jones was a former HP executive who made headlines in 2011 when he left HP for Oracle.  HP sued Jones after he left, saying he used a USB storage device to copy proprietary HP documents, including strategic plans, financial statements, sales figures and employee data, etc. 

    The lawsuit came amid the feud between HP and Oracle that appears to have arisen after Oracle hired Mark Hurd shortly after Hurd left HP.  HP’s …


  • What If the Rumored Nexus 7 Could Talk Too?

    Asus Fonepad

    Rumors that a new Nexus 7 tablet is coming today are music to some tablet fans’ ears. This second generation Android slate, which will probably be announced in San Fancisco later today, will likely be manufactured ASUS too. My question for all the manufacturers is, “Where’s my super-sized smart phone with hands free?” 

    As an avid, and I mean fanatical user of the iPad II, ownership of a new fangled Nexus has an appeal, I must say. It’s not that Apple has lost any of its “Zing”, mind you, it’s just that Google and Android do offer up the other end of the consumable digital experience. Now, what appears to be strategic leakage of this new Nexus 7 inch product, …


  • An Einstein Rationale for Your Business Marketing

    Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results Albert Einstein -

    Einstein is credited with many a smart quotation, but perhaps the most relevant one for business in the digital age than this one. With this brilliant sort of simplification in mind, marketing and PR today is insane, or worse. But however much we would enjoy criticizing the evangelists (good and bad) for such things as social media and affiliate programs, etc. the problem with YOUR business is not really their fault. Now is it? 

    Last week I was with a notable friend visiting Europe for speaking engagements, and for promoting his most recent book; “What’s the Future of Business”. Brian Solis is probably …


  • Brian Solis and “The Future of Business” Convergence in Paris

    Phil Butler and Brian Solis

    Whether you personally like it or not, and whether or not your business is well prepared for it, the convergence of digital media with you and your interests has already begun. More significantly, the narrowing digital divide will soon even surprise the most wired digital adopters of all. 

    “In the future, successful businesses will be ‘Customer Companies’—companies that connect with their customers, partners, employees, and products in entirely new ways.” – Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, salesforce.com, speaking about Brian Solis’ latest book  – 

    This week an old friend of mine, Brian Solis, headed to Paris and London for a series of meetings ostensibly intended for promoting his latest book, “What’s the Future of Business”. This volume is the …


  • 5+ Social Media Tools to Beat the College Rush With

    Way back in 2007, about the time social media and the so-called “conversation” really took off, Miriam Webster’s definition of the term really was about as archaic as it gets. Using “Forms of electronic communication” to intro social media was and is about as useful as the word “explosion” is to describe a thermonuclear blast. Fast forward to today, and using Facebook plus some social networks, apps and so forth, there’s a lot out there to empower students this Fall.  Those forms of electronic communication have now become near necessities. 

    Yep, you can hook up before the semester begins via a virtual maze of school groups and tools. Here are a few tips to help guide you through the educationalist’s …


  • Sony Playstation 4 Preview: A Numbers Smackdown Vs XBox One?

    PS4 dual shock controller

    Sony revealed  last evening at their E3 press conference the long awaited “look” and specifics of the highly anticipated Playstation 4. With a launch expected sometime in November, and a low retail price of $399, the new console shows great potential for holiday season 2013/14. 

    In an apparent bid to under-cut Microsoft’s Xbox One launch in the US, Sony theoretically chops MS sales numbers by a bunch in taking off a hundred bucks from the family budget here. Add in other strategic “jabs” like Sony unrestricting used game selling and trading, among other “key” positioning moves, and Sony Playstation 4 futures just went up with the current press. 

    What’s more, PS4 game play will not require online authentication like Microsoft …


  • Apple iOS and Mac OS X Get Next’d: But What’s the Big Secret?

    Apple branding

    Later on today Apple’s Tim Cook will unveil the highly anticipated latest upgrades on iOS and Mac OS X. Some experts think Apple may unleash some gargantuan news amid a lot of apparent secrecy.  

    Scheduled to be announced at the annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), the latest Apple changes are reportedly the most significant ones to add to iPhone and iPad functionality ever. Later on today CEO Tim Cook will draw the curtain back at the Moscone West Center in San Francisco and give a window into what the coming iPhone and iPad hardware will run on, and perhaps more. Judging by the super (relatively) secretive tone of this event so far, and the minimalist departure in logos …


  • NOOWIT: A New & Very Witty Feed Innovation

    Magazine cover

    And now a word about NOOWIT, “your digital world in a multidimensional magazine form.”

    It sounds interesting, doesn’t it? NOOWIT is a “now century” feed reader-slash publishing platform unlike any you will have experienced so far. Really. A so-called “adaptive information filter”, NOOWIT goes a long way toward organizing a user’s information universe, and to hoeing the weeds of information overload, all from inside a classy walled garden magazine. The service is pretty close to an “all in one” for media consumers, and another channel for publishers too.

    About ten years ago the world of tech development seemed to want to produce an “all in one” platform or service to attract a host of users (traffic), and for pretty obvious …



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