Seeing the world in 2018

The New Year is on its way and we want to tell you about some of the interesting tourist destinations emerging in 2018. A selection of unfamiliar countries and cities that are gradually becoming a trend for tourism agencies. Ride the wave of adventure and enjoy these places the world has to offer; it’ll be worth your while…

Lonely Planet’s recommendations for 2018 are here and we wonder how they choose the destinations. It’s a carefully thought-out process based on suggestions made by experts and travellers: a team of experts creates a list of finalists using criteria such as current interest in each destination, the expectation they generate and the ‘surprise factor’. Selected destinations also have to meet other specific requirements, such as their holding a special event, that they have been unfairly ignored or that they ought to be seen before they become a destination for the masses. Consideration is also given to five travel trends for the coming year, such as marathon-run destinations, vegetarian and vegan holidays and private islands, among others. The experts also select the top ten cultural holidays for families, the best newcomers and the best accommodation.

So, which are these destinations? First up, we have the ten countries with a lot to celebrate.

Chile is at the top of the list as 2018 sees it celebrate its bicentenary as an independent nation. It’s an exceptional country thanks to the variety of its natural phenomena: glaciers, volcanoes and deserts to arouse visitors’ interest.

South Korea is one of the Asian wonders least known in the West and in 2018 it is set to host the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

Our neighbour Portugal is also in vogue: a cultural and gastronomical resort with wonderful beaches, natural parks and biosphere reserves.

Yibuti is where you want to be if you’re looking for adventure. It has the most incredible desert and salt-crystal lakes hidden in the most remote corner of the world.

New Zealand is a hiking paradise thanks to its Great Walks -long routes that take hikers through some of the wildest areas of its incredible countryside- and it is also pioneer in protecting its environment.

The island of Malta will be in travellers’ sights just as soon as La Valetta becomes European Capital of Culture 2018. This tiny island country in the heart of the Mediterranean, with its dense, convulsed history, is to play its part as European Capital of Culture with a great deal of baroque, pop music, international film festivals and a biennial contemporary art exhibition.

A century ago, after the Russian Revolution, Georgia was declared an independent state and, in 2018, this country of the Caucasus will celebrate in style. The perfect destination for excursions, rafting, horse riding and skiing.

Mauritius is a racially mixed cultural destination with traces of its colonial past, in which different historical influences (African, European, Hindi) have created a Creole culture of its own. Its beaches amaze visitors with their spectacular crystal-clear water, luxurious resorts and coral reefs for those who enjoy diving.

China has the highest population in the world; it is enormous and has many places yet to be discovered. Classic sights such as the Great Wall, the Silk Road, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an and the Shanghai skyline are joined by other destinations that have remained more or less beyond reach until recently. These include Gansu, the jewel of the Silk Road, and Yunnan, a backpacker’s paradise.

2018 will be the year of Nelson Mandela and South Africa commemorates the centenary of his birth with an official programme of sports, educational and artistic events under the motto of ‘Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018: Be the Legacy. The main aim is to inspire societies committed to the same values through exhibitions on transparency, respect, passion and integrity.

As far as cities go, Lonely Planet puts Seville at the top of the list. In recent years, it has been transformed and bloomed into a vigorous city with an artistic past. In 2018, it plays host to the European Film Awards and will be a location for the series ‘Game of Thrones’. There are also plans to continue the exhibitions organised for the fourth centenary of the baroque painter Murillo.

The Andalusian capital is followed by the US city of Detroit, which is ‘bubbling over with ideas’, Canberra in Australia and Hamburg in Germany, with its new Elbphilharmonie concert hall. Next year could be perfect for discovering Kaohsiung and its seaside charm and creativity. Antwerp is one of the most important baroque cities in Europe and is to stage the Flemish Baroque Year. The unofficial capital of Flanders is brimming with history, art and design. Matera is an underground city preparing for tourist fame when it becomes the European Capital of Culture 2019. Eighth on the list is San Juan in Puerto Rico, where a colonial past ‘blends in with an emerging, modern city’. It is followed by the Mexican city of Guanajato, with its colourful urban landscapes. The list ends with Oslo, which has been undergoing a spectacular renovation and, to top things off, the iconic Oslo Opera House is celebrating its 10th anniversary with an exceptional season of concerts and shows. This makes 2018 the ideal year for visiting the city.

And remember what John Steinbeck said: “People don’t take trips, trips take people”.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!



Celebrating our 50th anniversary

On November 25th, we held our first Balliu convention with our partners, another opportunity to develop professional and personal relationships. The motive for our celebration was the company’s 50th anniversary, which is coming up next year 2018.

We are aware that our success comes from the work and effort of all the company’s distributors, customers, and staff throughout those 50 years, which is why we are proud to continue as the sector’s leading sunlounger manufacturer.

We are excited and enthusiastic about this new phase. Our commitment to continue offering the best products for the professional sector derived in the launch of a new sunlounger, the Eva Pro. The project has been long and tough, involving prestigious designers who managed to capture our spirit and values, expressing them through their creations. Thanks to our great team making it all possible, we were able to convey our values of innovation, commitment, quality, and sustainability.

Specialized in product design and Balliu industrial designer, Jordi Aguilar created the new structural design; comfortable, versatile, with maximum resistance and adaptability to a wide range of environments.

The new project comes with new fabrics too, designed by Lara Costafreda, a graphic designer with a fashion sense. She designs using watercolours and draws inspiration from natural elements, taking us to a pure dimension.

We also launched the Eva Pro T, with some innovative slats designed by Mario Eskenazi, an Argentinean graphic designer. Known for his simple approach to brand identity projects, he does away with the expendable and highlights the true essence of things.

The company’s management would like to thank all those that attended and made the event possible, as well as those involved in the new product, undoubtedly a success, and lastly, our Balliu team, who drive the company forward.

The Urban gardering at Spoga fair

Once again we attended the Spoga garden trade fair in Cologne.

The fair’s 10 pavilions included garden living, garden creation & care, garden bbq and garden unique, giving visitors the opportunity to discover the latest products and trends in the sector.
Plants and greenery for both open air and interior green spaces were showcased at this year’s fair.

The Urban Gardening trend featured even more strongly this year, reflecting people’s need to enjoy nature without giving up the convenience of city life. Interior gardens and urban terraces mix natural materials such as wood with other more modern elements such as aluminium and polypropylene.

As we saw in Milan, sofa combinations, including modular furniture, armchairs and three-piece suites continue to be highly popular garden furniture options, in response to people’s desire to enjoy outdoor spaces to the full.
Soft greens, yellows and browns are the colours that best reflect the natural tones of the plant world, while greys and whites are more appropriate for urban settings.

Attractions at the fair included Smart Gardening World and IVG Powerplace Akku, showcasing the latest technology for balconies, terraces and gardens, exterior lighting, garden care, security, barbecues, canopies and swimming pools.

This year’s fair also provided an opportunity for new talent, with the Unique Youngstar competition, the theme of which was outdoor living. The first prize went to Jessica Bruni for her design for hanging bags for plants, suspended from a pole attached to the ceiling, demonstrating how greenery is being increasingly incorporated into urban settings.

According to official figures, a record number of exhibitors and 39,000 visitors attended this year’s fair, making Spoga one of the leading events in the garden furniture sector.
A total of 2,131 international exhibitors displayed their wares for the garden sector. Both the number of visitors and the quality of the stands were impressive.

2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism.

2017 has been declared as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations, which should promote a change in politics, business practices and customer behaviour to foster a more sustainable tourism sector.

Sustainable tourism is committed to the environment and to the autochthonous culture, seeking to produce the least possible impact on these, while at the same time contributing to generating income and employment for the local population.

The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as: “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities“.

This commemoration is a great opportunity to analyse how tourism is affected by climate change, to advance in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the sector, and to increase efforts at adapting to the inevitable impacts of global warming.

Every year, more than one billion tourists travel across the world, generating jobs and resources for millions of people. Tourism is a crucial sector for the economies of developed and developing countries both on a local and national level.

Having a stable climate is fundamental for the correct development of tourism, above all other sectors of activity. The tourism sector is suffering the increasingly serious effects of climate change, such as storms, heat waves, droughts, a rising sea level that threatens coastal resorts and a lack of snow that is affecting ski stations.

The World Tourism Organization deems that “tourism is responsible for 5 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Of this percentage, the carbon footprint of hotel establishments makes up 20% of the total, including heating and air conditioning, refrigeration in bars, restaurants and heated swimming pools.”

Transport for tourism reasons whether by plane, car or train generates the sector’s largest percentage of emissions.  It is important to point out that transport emissions can be reduced by prioritising the use of trains for continental journeys.

We need to become aware and act to improve all the negative aspects affecting those of us who work in the tourism sector, with each of us making a commitment to our future.

I wish you all a very happy holiday period. We’ll be back in September!

Carme Balliu.


Let’s go Glamping!

The camping sector is growing year by year and for some time now there has been interest in Glamping, the subject of this post.

Glamping or glamorous camping is a growing trend worldwide. It combines open-air camping with the luxury and comfort found in the best hotels. The expression, coined in the early years of this century, is a combination of the words “glamour” and “camping”.

Glamping is a new trend that allows holidaymakers to enjoy nature with all the amenities of a hotel, making it possible to enjoy both camping and glamour.

Tree-top houses, yurts, teepees, domes, igloos, cabooses, barns, eco-pods, luxury caravans and safari tents are among the many glamping options available. Let’s take a brief look at each of them.

Tree houses aren’t just for children! Constructed on the branches of a tree, a tree house is a wooden structure that uses the shape of the trunk and the strongest branches to support a platform.

Yurts were traditionally used as shelter from the long cold winters in Mongolia. They have a broad cylindrical base and are constructed using expanding wooden lattice wall sections.

Teepees, originally used by nomadic tribes in America, are a simple but ingenious combination of a few construction elements. The framework consists of a number of poles forming a triangular structure tied together at the top.

Domes are modern constructions that may be built using a combination of materials such as wood, iron and steel or high-tech fabrics such as high-resistance PVC-polyester.

Igloos are dome-shaped dwellings, originally built with blocks of snow by the Inuit, the indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada and the United States.

Cabooses were used as accommodation on trains in the past. They were attached to the end of a freight train and served many purposes, including shelter for the crew and other passengers.

Barns were originally farm buildings used to store hay or grain and house animals such as cows, pigs, chickens and horses. Today, however, some have been restored and refurbished to provide luxury accommodation.

Eco-pods are the latest glamping option. Made of wood, they use local, natural or recycled materials throughout. They provide excellent protection against wind and rain and offer a cosy, welcoming atmosphere inside.

The concept of the safari tent can probably be traced back hundreds of years. Kings, nomads, hunters and tourists have all made use of this practical, portable accommodation. Today safari tents are the main type of accommodation used for luxury safaris in Africa.

Glamping on water implies either a structure floating directly on water or one supported above the surface on columns or pillars. It may be an anchored houseboat, a yacht or a floating cabin.

Who chooses this type of holiday?  65% of those using this type of accommodation and its followers on social networks are women aged 25 to 45. They are the ones who usually make the decision to try this type of experience.

The popularity of this type of holiday shows that camping in the heart of nature is not incompatible with a sophisticated lifestyle.

How about giving it a try this summer?

Responsible tourism, millennial travellers

Today’s post is dedicated to the millennial generation of travellers, young people born between 1980 and 2005, as in the near future they will represent half of all tourists, reaching a total of 320 million. These young people are bent on learning about other cultures, getting to know local people manners and discovering exotic destinations. Their main motto is: travelling is a part of experience.

Their destinations are mostly traditional places in nature, less protected remote surroundings. For this reason, companies that operate in the tourism field must develop sustainable projects to avoid harmful impacts on their destinations. How can it be done? The solution is to apply sustainable practices. Sustainable tourism is committed to causing the least possible impact on the environment and on local culture.

Millennial travellers feel a great desire to share everything they see, in a very original and incredible way, by showing unique places, original food, impressive landscapes and scenes with local people, through their own social media pages. For this reason, it is necessary to raise awareness about sustainable practices, as millennial travellers are influencing travel trends with their mentality based on environmental preservation. The tourism industry must fulfill with the demands that are of the utmost importance, offering them products and services that support their cause to prevent negative reactions  of any non-sustainable practices they may come across.

For that purpose, in Balliu we are aware of the millennial generation best practices and we offer 100% recyclable products, without causing any harm to the environment in our production processes, as confirmed by our ISO 14001 certification.


We continue to strive to create a better world.

The classics are back in style, with nostalgia.

Once again, we have visited two outstanding industrial design fairs for our sector.

Heimtextil was a chance to see all the latest trends and innovations in textiles. This year’s title, “Explorations”, invited visitors to travel with their senses. We would highlight four styles for decorating businesses and restaurants that will be popular this year.

The “Abissi” style is inspired by the ocean depths, featuring deep-sea shades of blue, coral and rose.

The style “Nature and artifice” blends elements taken from nature with high-tech inserts. There are contrasts between greens and greys, with flashes of orange to break up this harmony.

The “Psico bit” style is a hallucinatory journey with an arithmetic effect, using jarring colours such as yellow, hot pink, violet and lime green.

Finally, there is “Africa Punk”, which combines nature and urban space. The colours used in this style are yellow, red and burgundy.

Patterns using natural motifs such as flowers, branches and landscapes, fauna of the Amazon, flamingos, toucans, parrots and tigers will be all around us this year.

Milan’s Salone del Mobile trade fair showed us elegant, sophisticated designs, with simple forms  and warm colours for basic furniture, playing it safe with classic looks.

The leading lights of the sector have opted to rework existing designs, showing a preference for timelessness. We would highlight the Dream Machine stool by designer Eugeni Quitllet, or his Ibiza chair, inspired by traditional forms. The legendary Thonet chair, a classic in furniture design, has been renovated in form and finish, with sophisticated results.

Textiles continue to employ elegant patterns with neutral tones, following the influence of the trends we observed at Heimtextil.

Metallic materials are still in fashion, being used both in supports and on surfaces.

Finally, we come to the item of furniture most viewed at the fair, the sofa.  The choice of this item indicates the desire to provide a place for people to meet in comfort and safety. We saw them in different shapes, sizes, colours and finishes, noting the modular models that make it easy to combine pieces to suit different locations.

With this in mind, we have presented a collection for this year inspired by vintage models.  It is a modular sofa group inspired in the styles of the 1970s, with rounded, natural forms.  Its elegant, neutral colours are intended to blend into the surroundings and create a perfect combination that evokes nature and harmony. The more daring can add a dash of colour by adding cushions with different geometric finishes and bolder colours that give character and personality to the space.

An essential addition for those summer sunsets.

It’s time to renovate!

After a good year in the sector, the catering industry has opted to rehabilitate its facilities in order to offer greater comfort and elegance.

The terraces and pools will be transformed to progressively become environments in which to offer users a space for recreation and relaxation, according to their needs.

The key is to find the most suitable style to suit every need. To do this, an appropriate selection of outdoor furniture is fundamental.

The products must provide a designer and modern touch without falling victim to temporary fashions, so as to be timeless and, therefore, enhance their longevity.

In our new catalogue, you will find a wide range of colours, warmer ones for more Zen-style environments and bright colours for spaces with a more “cool” style, as well as the new “Iris” lounger, which has been manufactured with an innovative aluminium profile to ensure maximum functionality and durability.

Finally, the piece of furniture of the year will be the stool designed for the most chic terrace and bar areas, and even beaches, so we have expanded our Diana collection with an aluminium stool that you can find in a wide range of colours to match different settings.

Let me extend my best wishes for this season 2017!

Carme Balliu