New Director of Marketing Canada for Saint Lucia Tourism Authority

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Tuesday, June 5, 2018 TORONTO — The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority has named Jeanette Faria as Director of Marketing, Canada.As President of JF Marketing, Faria will support the marketing efforts of the SLTA as part of a leading, national strategy to reposition the destination to Canadians.Faria previously worked as Account Manager for the U.S. Virgin Islands and North Carolina and is currently the Canadian lead for The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel. Throughout her 20-year career, several international destinations have seen an increase in visitor arrivals from Canada, in addition to achieving a stronger brand identity under her leadership, says the SLTA.In her new role she will be responsible for developing and executing a strategic marketing plan targeting consumer and the travel trade through product launches, training seminars, marketing initiatives, and national advertising campaigns.“I am so excited for the opportunity to represent such an exotic destination,” said Faria upon her SLTA appointment. “I am looking forward to working with all of our partners to build long-lasting relationships. Saint Lucia is the perfect destination for weddings and honeymoons, there’s no shortage of sites to explore. The island caters to wellness travellers, families, and those in search of adventure, with a variety of breathtaking waterfalls, the healing powers of the Sulphur Springs, world famous dive sites, and the majestic Pitons.”More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesAdds Agnes Francis, Executive Chairperson of the SLTA: “Canada is an important and growing market for Saint Lucia. Over the next five years, Saint Lucia is set to see an increase of 50% in our product offering. Jeanette’s expertise in the travel industry will play a pivotal part in our mission to reach new Canadian visitors.”Faria can be reached at jfaria@stlucia.org or (416) 788-4482. Travelweek Group center_img New Director of Marketing, Canada for Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Posted by Sharelast_img read more

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Mexico struggles to understand solve seaweed invasion

first_imgTags: Mexico Share Friday, June 28, 2019 Mexico struggles to understand, solve, seaweed invasion MEXICO CITY — Mexico has spent US$17 million to remove over a half-million tons of sargassum seaweed from its Caribbean beaches, and the problem doesn’t seem likely to end any time soon, experts told an international conference Thursday.The floating mats of algae seldom reached the famed beaches around Cancun until 2011, but they’re now severely affecting tourism.Initial reports suggested the seaweed came from an area of the Atlantic off the northern coast of Brazil, near the mouth of the Amazon River. Increased nutrient flows from deforestation or fertilizer runoff could be feeding the algae bloom.But experts like oceanographer Donald R. Johnson said, “Do not blame the Brazilians.” Johnson said it appears that other causes contribute, like nutrient flows from the Congo River.Increased upwelling of nutrient-laden deeper ocean water in the tropical Atlantic and dust blowing in from Africa may also be playing a role, according to Johnson, a senior researcher at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamWhile it sometimes appears sargassum mats float west into the Caribbean, experts say the seaweed actually appears to be sloshing back and forth between the Caribbean and Africa.It all has the local population – which depends of tourism – fed up.“Fighting sargassum is a chore every day,” said Cancun Mayor Mara Lezama. “You clean the beaches in the morning, and sometimes you clean them again in the afternoon or at night, and then you have to go back and clean it again.”Anger increased this week when President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador visited the coast and downplayed the seriousness of the problem. He recently said he would not contract out the work of cleaning up sargassum – or gathering it before it reaches shore – but will put the Mexican Navy in charge of building collector boats and cleaning the sea.“I haven’t talked much about this, because I don’t see it as a very serious issue, as some claim it is,” Lopez Obrador said. “No, no, we’re going to solve it.”More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsSargassum is not just a problem for Mexico; it affects, to a greater or lesser degree, all the islands in the Caribbean.“We are seeing a major impact on our countries, economically, socially,” said June Soomer, the general secretary of the Association of Caribbean States, noting massive arrivals of seaweed “are now considered national emergencies” in some Caribbean counties like Barbados. << Previous PostNext Post >> By: The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Essential Costa Rica on display at worlds largest tourism fair

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s biggest tourism fair brings together reps from 29 countries Costa Rica promoted at tourism fairs this week in France and Brazil Costa Rica’s health tourism market topic of upcoming forum Costa Rica aims to become major conference destination A group of 27 Costa Rican businesses including hotels, tour operators and car rental agencies are featuring their services at this year’s International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Germany, the world’s largest tourism fair, which started on Wednesday.Coordinated by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), the country also will unveil its European launch of “Essential Costa Rica,” Costa Rica’s official tourism brand, at the ITB from March 5-9.The 2013 edition of the fair featured more than 10,000 exhibitors from 188 countries, and attracted 170,000 visitors.This year, Costa Rican participants will exhibit handicrafts and offer Tico food, while the ICT will host performances and folkloric dances and will meet with members of the press.The fair also will help businesses reach potential markets in Asia and Latin America, as the 2013 edition saw an increase in visitors from these regions, event organizers said on their website.The first three days of the ITB are open for travel wholesalers only, and the last two days will be open for the general public.Tourism Minister Allan Flores said the presentation of Costa Rica’s brand in Europe follows a similar presentation in the U.S. during the New York Times Travel Show.The ICT also promoted the brand campaign to U.S. audiences during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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With flags and cheers Costa Rica faces an uncertain future on Election

first_imgRelated posts:And they’re off! Live blog: Costa Rica’s 2018 election results On sunny Election Day, Costa Rican voting heats up Why these Costa Rican women dressed as characters from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ to vote today The weather seemed appropriate on this unusually complicated Election Eve, but at least some voters’ spirits were high nonetheless. As unseasonably dark clouds drew together over San José and the last rays of sun struggled to find their way through, excited party supporters flooded San Pedro’s Rotonda de la Hispanidad, filling the streets with color, honking and cheers. As befits a city where traffic is a part of daily life, political gridlock became an actual traffic jam, drawing police and electoral observers to the scene.The red-and-yellow flags of the Citizen Action Party (PAC) predominated; San Pedro, which as a university neighborhood is home to many young and left-leaning voters, is PAC country. However, a steady stream of cars adorned in the green and white of the National Liberation Party joined in the celebrations at the roundabout, a traditional gathering place for Costa Ricans in the area after major victories, whether in soccer or in politics.Stay tuned to The Tico Times on this site, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram tomorrow as we cover Costa Rica’s long-awaited Election Day. Andrés Madrigal / The Tico Times Who says election season isn’t fun anymore? PAC supporters in Costa Rica on the eve of the Feb. 4 election. Andrés Madrigal / The Tico Times Supporters of the Christian Social Unity (PUSC) presidential candidate Rodolfo Piza take part in a campaign rally in San Jose, Costa Rica on February 3, 2018. Costa Ricans go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president. / AFP Photo / Ezequiel Becerra Choose a lane, Costa Rica: Liberation supporters merge with PAC supporters in an electoral traffic jam. Katherine Stanley / The Tico Times Back at the Rotonda, a PAC supporter clowned around. Andrés Madrigal / The Tico Times As always, Costa Rican elections are a family affair. Andrés Madrigal / The Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Facing terrorism charges and death threats thousands of Nicaraguans flee to Costa

first_imgA ‘new Nicaragua’Guardabarranco and PSJ said they planned to meet up with other exiled Nicaraguans in Costa Rica to discuss how to bring about change in their home country.For both, it was difficult to leave family and country behind.“It hurts me deeply to leave my country, to leave my children,” PSJ said.“I didn’t want to leave. But I am going to Costa Rica with the hope of one day seeing my country become free,” he said, his eyes wet.Guardabarranco concurred.“I want to leave my children a new Nicaragua, where nobody is murdered for not thinking the same as the government,” he said. “Guardabarranco” and “PSJ” -the alias used by leaders of the resistance against the government from the Monimbo neighborhood of Masaya- walk in a forest in the south of Nicaragua, on August 7, 2018. AFP Photo / Marvin Recinos Facebook Comments In Nicaragua 2018, living is resisting Related posts:Two dead in Nicaragua protest violence as Ortega calls for ‘peace’ US warns Nicaragua as more killed in unrest Nicaraguan student leaders meet with former President Oscar Arias Thousands march to back Nicaragua bishops after Ortega attackscenter_img RÍO SAN JUAN, Nicaragua—On a rainy morning in Nicaragua’s south, two men step out of the jungle and into a boat that will transport them a short distance over the border with Costa Rica, slipping past border guards and police to safety.Both were among those spearheading roadblocks protesting the government of President Daniel Ortega in the city of Masaya, which in July was the target of an operation by police and loyalist paramilitaries to quash three months of dissent.One of the men, a 28-year-old who used the pseudonym Guardabarranco, or “ravine-guard,” was one of the coordinators of Masaya’s protest movement. The other, a 31-year-old calling himself PSJ, had led those manning one of the barricades.With only a backpack each, the men have left behind wives and children to join a flow of other Nicaraguans escaping what they see as a national “prison” for the relative safety of Costa Rica.“We are fleeing the Ortega regime because to protest in Nicaragua is considered a crime. We’ve been threatened with death,” Guardabarranco said before getting into the small, flat-bottomed boat, known as a “panga.”The United Nations says nearly 23,000 Nicaraguans have sought asylum in Costa Rica since the anti-Ortega protests started in mid-April, overwhelming the country’s processing system.The UN refugee agency UNHCR said it was bolstering its operations. The Costa Rican government says 100 to 150 people are daily crossing through main border station with Nicaragua—a number that doesn’t include many clandestine crossings. “Guardabarranco” and “PSJ” -the alias used by leaders of the resistance against the government from the Monimbo neighborhood of Masaya, Nicaragua- get off a boat in Costa Rica after crossing the bordering San Juan River, on August 7, 2018. AFP Photo / Marvin RecinosOngoing unrestThe Nicaraguans are seeking refuge from unrest that shows no sign of ending, despite a recent decline in violence.More than 300 people have been killed and 2,000 wounded in the past four months, according to rights groups, although the government puts the death toll at 197.A crackdown by authorities has seen 480 people arrested, 180 of whom have been put on trial on charges of terrorism and other serious crimes.“Costa Rica has opened its arms to Nicaraguans. We want to work, to spend some time there while things in Nicaragua calm down, while the international pressure keeps up on what’s left of the Ortega regime,” Guardabarranco said.His companion said “this genocidal government is pursuing us, it wants to kill us. They know me very well and I’m afraid they will follow me and know where I am.”AFP accompanied the two men this week as the crossed the border to a Costa Rican beach where a car awaited them on condition they not be identified and no details be given about the people helping them.Costa Rica is the main destination for Nicaraguans. But many are also going to Honduras, Panama and the United States.The two men used to be active in the Sandinista movement that backs Ortega before turning against the president. Guardabarranco left a senior post with a company to join the protests. PSJ left his job in a family business. “PSJ” -the alias used by a leader of the resistance against the government from the Monimbo neighborhood of Masaya- poses before boarding a boat to cross the bordering San Juan River, in the south of Nicaragua, on August 7, 2018. AFP Photo / Marvin Recinos“I saw the injustices done against the first protesters. I joined their fight and rapidly became one of the leaders” in the Masaya district of Monimbo, a bastion of anti-Ortega sentiment, Guardabarranco said.“That was my crime: to protest, to rise up against the killers and the corruption in this government,” he said.PSJ’s story was similar. He became enraged seeing Ortega’s security forces brutally putting down the initial protests on April 18, when they were against cutbacks to social security.A day after that first crackdown Masaya erupted with youths taking to the streets to decry the government’s violence. They were attacked by police.“I took the initiative to make a barricade at Masaya’s entrance. My wife helped me. And then a group of young people helped. We were there for three months,” PSJ said.Clashes were constant for those three months, up until mid-July when riot police and masked paramilitaries carrying assault rifles sealed off Masaya and went in to forcibly clear the barricades and corner the protesters, some of whom resisted with stones and home-made mortars.last_img read more

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The Tico Times March print edition Puerto Viejo safe travels and more

first_img Facebook Comments Letter from the Editor: The Tico Times’ incredible year Related posts:Next Tico Times print edition to focus on Central Pacific Police to streamline crime reporting in far-flung beach spots Low airfares to Mexico increase tourism Our 2019 Green Season Print Edition is here!center_img Our upcoming quarterly Tico Times print edition will put our Puerto Viejo Deep Dive into the hands of readers, explore expert tips for traveling and living safely in Costa Rica, and more of our news and analysis, interviews, food and drink reviews, classifieds and more.Keep an eye out for the new edition, to be distributed nationwide starting March 1.If you’re interested in advertising in the print edition and related online content, contact us today (read more here, email sales@ticotimes.net or call 4000-0838). And if you’re interested in becoming a Tico Times distributor, click here.Read more about what’s new at The Tico Times:last_img read more

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Costa Rica does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization safety standards

first_imgThe United States’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that Costa Rica no longer meets the highest international standards for air travel.“The Republic of Costa Rica does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards and has been assigned a Category 2 rating based on a reassessment of the country’s civil aviation authority,” the FAA said in a press release.The announcement suggests Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) “is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures.”A country could also drop in ratings due to a lack of “laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards,” according to the FAA.Costa Rica had held a Category 1 rating since 1996. The downgrade in rating follows an in-country reassessment under the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) in October 2018.“The assessments determine whether or not foreign civil aviation authorities are meeting ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations,” the FAA said.With a Category 2 rating, “Costa Rica’s carriers can continue existing service to the United States. They will not be allowed to establish new service to the United States.”Avianca Costa Rica and Volaris Costa Rica both operate international flights from Juan Santamaría International Airport near San José.DGAC addressed the news in a Tuesday press conference.Read: Costa Rica working with FAA to restore Category 1 rating ‘as soon as possible’ Related posts:KLM, Air Canada increase flights to Costa Rica American Airlines expanding service to Costa Rica Costa Rica working with FAA to restore Category 1 rating ‘as soon as possible’ Costa Rica bans 737 Max 8 from its airspace Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Chinese police kill one of most wanted fugitives

first_img Comments   Share   More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home BEIJING (AP) – A Chinese man suspected of killing nine people in armed robberies since 2004 was shot dead by police Tuesday after senior officials ordered he be hunted down, authorities said.The Chinese Ministry of Public Security said police in southwest Chongqing city found and killed Zhou Kehua, 42, after an extensive manhunt. Zhou was one of China’s most wanted fugitives.The ministry said Zhou was believed to have been responsible for the shooting deaths of several people in Chongqing and two other Chinese cities since 2004. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Sponsored Stories center_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Patients with chronic pain give advice Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Most recently, Zhou allegedly shot to death one person and injured two in an armed bank robbery in the city on Friday.The latest violence prompted senior Chinese officials _ including Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu and Chongqing Communist Party boss Zhang Dejiang _ to issue directives that the suspect be arrested as soon as possible.The ministry said Meng and a vice minister traveled to Chongqing, where they ordered an operation to hunt down Zhou.Photos posted on the website of the official Xinhua News Agency show Zhou lying in a pool of blood with a bullet hole in his head.China bans private ownership of guns, and armed robberies are rare. State media say Zhou’s death brought relief to both police and the public.Immediately after Zhou was shot to death, Meng signed an official document praising the Chongqing police.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familylast_img read more

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Obama hosts Vietnam Communist Party chief at White House

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Tuesday the United States and Vietnam are deepening cooperation on health, climate and other issues, despite differences over “political philosophy.”Obama spoke in the Oval Office following a meeting with the head of Vietnam’s Communist Party. Nguyen Phu Trong is the de facto leader of Vietnam despite holding no official government post.The president said he and Trong had candid discussions on issues of human rights and religious freedom. Obama said he is confident the two countries can continue to improve their relationship and noted Trong’s invitation for him to visit Vietnam. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Comments   Share   Following the White House meeting, Vice President Joe Biden hosted Trong for a lunch at the State Department.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help How men can have a healthy 2019 FILE – In this July 3, 2015 file photo, Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong gestures during a meeting with the Western press in Hanoi, Vietnam. Trong doesn’t hold an official government post, but it’s not surprising that he’ll meet with U.S. President Barack Obama on his visit to the United States. Trong called his trip on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 “a historic visit.” He said he expects Obama to make his first visit to Vietnam later this year, though the White House has not confirmed the trip. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh, File) New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to homelast_img read more

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Greece pledges to get rid of tax evasion as a way of

first_img Comments   Share   Nikolaos Artavanis, a finance professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said the government’s decision to raise the sales tax for restaurants as part of its offer in return for a bailout could prevent a tax evasion crackdown from working.The rate is going from 6.5 percent to 13 percent for hotels and from 13 percent to 23 percent for restaurants and other businesses that sell food. Many Greek restaurant and hotel owners say they’ll be forced to absorb the hike because their clients can’t afford to pay more, and experts like Artavanis believe evasion could skyrocket.“The fiscal impact could be zero or be negative because tax evasion will increase,” he said. “They could get less in taxes.”More enforcement will be needed, but Artavanis said many parts of Greece rarely see a tax inspector. His research focuses on tax payments by Greek restaurants, and owners in some parts of the country have told him they have not had tax inspector visits since last August.Bokas, the plumber and fixture vendor, said most of his customers who want no-tax jobs are apartment owners or small businesses. Larger businesses and big apartment buildings with on-site management always want a receipt for the work so they pay the full price, and Bokas collects the sales tax and pays tax on the work he does for those jobs. Contributing to the problem is an informal economy that accounts for about 25 percent of Greece’s annual gross domestic product. Evasion is most common in the services sector where customers don’t receive a physical product, and it’s not limited to small businesses like plumbers and restaurants.In monthly reports, Greece’s financial crimes unit lists finalized tax investigation cases and recent offenders include doctors, engineers, high tech firms, construction companies, clothing manufacturers, bakeries, architects and advertising agencies.Many cases involve unreported income of hundreds of thousands of euros or more and one lawyer failed to report 16 million euros in income, the unit said in a statement last week.But many cases go uninvestigated because of poorly trained tax investigators, personnel shortages and politically motivated appointments of tax investigation supervisors, said Haris Theoharis, who was Greece’s top tax enforcer until last year and is now a lawmaker with the centrist To Potami party.Theoharis said it’s too soon to tell whether the governing far left Syriza party will mount an effective campaign against tax evasion because few specifics of its plans have been disclosed. He argued that freeing the system from political interference is key: “Unless they depoliticize the tax administration and stop trying to interfere with who gets promoted,” he said, “they will not have success.” Top Stories ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Dimitris Bokas keeps meticulous records of the bathroom fixtures he sells from his small shop in the quiet middle-class residential neighborhood of Koukaki near the center of Athens — just in case a tax inspector makes a surprise visit to ensure Greece’s 23 percent sales tax is being collected and reported correctly.But Bokas also does installation and repair jobs — and half of those involve cash deals with no receipts for his labor. The result is that a job costing 250 euros ($275) goes for 125 euros because he doesn’t charge the client sales tax and Bokas doesn’t report the income for taxation. “I’ve got a receipt for everything I sell in my shop,” Bokas said. But tax officials “don’t know what my hands do.” Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona This kind of tax dodging is a Greek national pastime, costing the state billions of euros in revenue. Greece promised last week to get tough on tax evasion in return for a third European bailout expected to be negotiated over the next month. The talks, expected to last four weeks, will start if Parliament agrees by Wednesday to eurozone demands including tax hikes and pension cuts.But experts say Greece has largely failed in previous crackdowns on tax evasion, which has been rampant for generations. An estimated 10 billion euros in taxes never makes it into government coffers annually — a significant factor in the country’s inability to pay its roughly 320 billion euros in national debt.Tax dodging among Greeks started as a sign of patriotism during nearly four centuries of Ottoman rule that ended in 1821. It continues today amid mistrust over government spending and disdain over how the country’s various administrations have handled Greece’s financial mess after the economy imploded in 2009.“A lot of Greeks believe it’s not only a way to cheat the inefficient Greek government, but a way to exert small time resistance to the bailout agreement and tax hikes,” said Aristidis Hatzis, a professor of law and economics at Athens University. “They do not perceive this as a kind of corruption.” Mesa family survives lightning strike to home He said would prefer to do all of his work legally but doubted there will be much change in Greece unless the entire country changes its habits. Unlike Greeks who distrust the government’s ability to effectively spend tax money, Bokas thinks officials should be given a chance to prove they can.“Paying all the taxes we owe would be the right thing to do and it would help us have a healthier country,” he said. “If the tax were paid, the rich wouldn’t be able to get richer by evading taxes and the poor wouldn’t have to evade taxes so they can just get by.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img In this photo taken on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 a woman pays at Varvakios market in central Athens. The experts say Greece has largely failed in previous crackdowns on tax evasion, which has been rampant for generations. An estimated euro10 billion in taxes never makes it into government coffers annually. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

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Travel Innovators Award sparks response

first_imgSource = Travelscene <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/29bf3/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Travelscene Corporate members are thrilled with the announcement of the Inagural Travelscene Corporate Innovators Award – and the accompanying $5000 prize.The winner will be revealed at this year’s Corporate Symposium to be held in Hong Kong this coming Friday and Saturday (May 14 and 15).“In the ever-changing landscape we operate in, it is innovation that truly makes the difference and our members are amongst the most innovative in the business,” Travelscene Corporate General Manager David Padman said“Whilst any innovative idea should bring increased profit in the long term, we are also looking for initiatives that it bring ‘positive change’ and helps our Members’ clients  conduct their business travel and day-to-day tasks in a more efficient and beneficial manner.”To be eligible, Members must have executed the idea within the last 12 months.  last_img read more

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Virgin Galactic opens first commercial spaceport

first_imgConceptual image of Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport America, the world’s first commercial spaceport (Photo source: Foxnews.com) Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Virgin Galactic celebrated the completion of Spaceport America, the first commercial purpose-built space port in Upham, New Mexico. Virgin Group CEO Sir Richard Branson proudly watched the ceremonial flypass of SpaceShipTwo over the spaceport on 22 October, 2010. The spaceport includes a two-mile (3.2-kilometre) long runway called the “Governor BIll Richardson Spaceway” – 42 inches (1.07 metres) thick and capable of supporting every existing type of space craft currently in existence, PC Mag reported.”New Mexico is not only helping to launch the commercial spaceflight industry, but we are launching new jobs and opportunities for the people of southern NM,” Governor Richardson said. The celebration included Sir Richard, Governor Richardson, and 30 of the 380 Virgin Galactic future astronauts. The gathering watched Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo jet carry SpaceShipTwo in a landing and flyover. The commercial space flights have been extremely popular, with the USD$200,000-dollar per flight deposits totalling more than USD$50 million already taken by Virgin Galactic.”The last few weeks have been some of the most exciting in Virgin Galactic’s development,” Sir Richard said in a press release.”Our spaceship is flying beautifully and will soon be making powered flights, propelled by our new hybrid rocket motor, which is also making excellent progress in its own test program.”Branson said that he plans to be taking passengers into space in nine to 18 months.last_img read more

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Tourists evacuated from strifetorn Tunisia

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H A wave of civil unrest in Tunisia has forced the evacuation of thousands of visitors, leaving the popular North African tourist destination reeling.According to The Australian, European tour companies have been the most affected, with French tour operator Ceto warning that it could be days before an estimated 8,000 French visitors are brought home. Europe’s biggest tour operator, London-based Thomas Cook, along with rival First Choice are hoping to bring back nearly all of their 1500 clients by Monday, the newspaper reported. The British tour operators association ABTA have estimated as many as 3000 Britons were in Tunisia. Australians have been advised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to postpone or cancel travel to Tunisia unless absolutely necessary. According to the newspaper, a group of 14 Australian students were trapped in the country early last week.Tunisia reopened all airports on the weekend after they were apparently closed as deposed president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali prepared to flee the country – although a civil aviation official later denied there was any temporary closure.last_img read more

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Plans to rebuild Christchurch city

first_imgChristchurch needs to take steps to rebuild central city hotels and the convention centre in order to continue to attract the 900,000 visitors who would usually pass through Canterbury a recent submission indicates. The submission by Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism and the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) has been given to the Christchurch City Council for their urgent attention. Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism Chief Executive Tim Hunter said the success of the tourism sectors recovery will depend on the speed of which accommodations, tourism infrastructure and conference facilities are built. “It is critical that we expedite the re-instatement of hotels and hostels in the CBD because we’re desperately short of commercial accommodation,’’ says Mr Hunter “We  think the council needs to concentrate on establishing what we call ‘an area of normality’ within the heart of the city, that area could encompass the Restart retail area, the visitor zone, the Hagley Park events village, and hotels within the CBD that can quickly reopen. “We want to see construction of a new convention centre given priority because that is the key to restoring business tourism in the city and a catalyst for hotel reinvestment,’’ Mr Hunter says. The Tourism Industry is also proposing a city icon or attraction be constructed to impress international visitors who travel to Christchurch.TIA chief executive Tim Cossar said he is open to suggestions to what nature the icon will take and believes such an icon could become a unique symbol for the rebuilt city, making it a must see destination. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

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Indonesian tourism businesses growing online

first_imgLocal payments, increased inventories and familiar brands assist in development. The number of high-profile companies partnering with localised Wego Indonesia continues to increase in numbers. “New providers are offering local payment options such as bank transfers and internet banking which has historically impacted the business given the low credit card penetration,” Mr Hills said. “While Wego’s inventory includes diverse travel options globally, the continuing build of local content featuring familiar Indonesian brands resonates very effectively with our market.” “The quantity of domestic bookings is significant and outbound searches are up 90 percent.” Metasearch website Wego recently released an overview of the country’s current tourism climate. Airlines are also appreciating Indonesia’s online growth including Malindo Air (owned by Lion Air), Malaysia’s premium budget priced carrier, who just signed a partnership agreement with Wego. This year booking leads were valued at US$28.5 million, a 7.1 percent rise on the same period 2012. Source = ETB News: PT Wego’s accommodation inventory in Indonesia consists of over 10,500 properties and in the last six months 797 unique flight searches were performed. More travel businesses are growing and developing in reaction to the rise in visitor arrivals. Indonesia’s tourism industry continues to grow at a rapid pace with the assistance of local payment options, greater inventory and familiar local brands, according to an industry snapshot. “More Indonesian travel companies are recognising the trusted relationship that Wego has built with travellers in this country,” Wego Indonesia managing director Graham Hills said.last_img read more

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Etihad Airways launches US preclearance

first_imgUnited States preclearance at Abu Dhabi Airport set to operate for all US-bound Etihad flights.Travellers on Etihad Airways flights to the United States from this week will be able to utilise the benefits of arriving in the US having precleared US Customs and Border Protection.As of 15 January, US preclearance will open for the early morning flight to New York JFK and San Francisco flights.In addition to the early morning US preclearance operation, customers will be able to use the mid-morning one which caters for Etihad Airways passengers on flights to Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York JFK, and Washington, D.C., who all proceed through the facility.Etihad Airways’ chief commercial officer Peter Baumgartner, said that Etihad is delighted that from this Thursday all flights to the United States will use preclearance offers.“Since its opening in January last year, the US preclearance has been extremely popular with air travellers, particularly those from the Indian Subcontinent and Middle East region. More than 325,000 people have passed through the facility, arriving in the United States as domestic passengers,” Mr Baumgartner said.The preclearance process provides passengers with the unique opportunity to pass through all required checks including US customs, immigration and security conveniently while in Abu Dhabi before they board their flight to the US.US preclearance at Abu Dhabi Airport is the only one of its kind in the Middle East, and the United Arab Emirates’ capital is one of a small group of airports around the world to offer passengers preclearance into the US.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

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Emirates increases services to Seattle with second daily flight

first_imgEmirates increases services to Seattle with second daily flightEmirates, a global connector of people, places and economies, today announced its second daily service from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA).The new service, EK227, which began on 7th July and is operated by a Boeing 777-200LR, will depart Dubai at 3:15 a.m. and arrives in Seattle at 6:55 a.m. The return flight, EK228, departs Seattle at 9:40 a.m. and arrives in Dubai at 10:55 a.m. the following day. The new service will supplement the current EK 230 Boeing 777-300ER flight departing Seattle at 5:40 p.m. and landing in Dubai the following day at 6:55 p.m.“This new service will provide passengers with the convenience of both a morning and evening departure from both Dubai as well as Seattle,” said Hubert Frach, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, West. “This second daily service will provide our passengers in the Seattle area even more choices when flying with Emirates and satisfy their demand for more flights from this gateway. Corporate travelers will also appreciate the ease of conducting business as a result of the improved connectivity between Seattle and a number of international destinations. So when corporate travelers are headed to an Emirates’ destination in the Middle East, Africa, or the Far East or when they require one of Emirates’ frequent daily connections to Hyderabad, Mumbai, or Delhi, the global business community will now seem much more closer to Seattle.”Passengers coming from Dubai and beyond can connect to other US cities through Emirates’ partner agreement with Alaska Airlines (AS). Members of Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan and Emirates’ Skywards programs have been able to earn and redeem miles for travel on either carrier since March 2012. These flights offer connectivity to points across the United States such as Portland, Anchorage, Honolulu, Billings, and Boise as well as into Canada including cities such as Vancouver, Edmonton, Victoria, and Calgary.Passengers flying into Seattle will spot the iconic Space Needle from the sky. Much like the souks in Old Dubai, Seattle visitors can taste the local flavors at a day spent at Pike Place Market. Ride along the Puget Sound on Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry or zip from the Seattle Aquarium to Chinatown on the Seattle Center Monorail, a World’s Fair legacy.The second Seattle flight will be operated with one of Emirates’ Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, which will create a 75% jump in seating capacity with 4,340 weekly seats on offer to Dubai. This second flight will effectively move Seattle into the number two position in the US market in terms of seat capacity, behind New York John F. Kennedy International Airport. Emirates’ Boeing 777-200LR features eight First Class suites, 42 Business Class lie-flat beds and 216 Economy Class seats.The increased number of flights will also provide more connections to Emirates’ vast and growing network of destinations in Africa, the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, Asia and beyond. The additional service will also allow Emirates SkyCargo to carry an additional 15 tons of cargo per trip including locally grown cherries, electrical equipment and machinery, as well as medical equipment and aircraft parts.Emirates launched service to Seattle just over three years ago in March 2012 and has since flown more than 600,000 passengers on the route. Emirates has a deeply rooted history with Seattle based company Boeing and was the launch customer of Boeing’s 777X. Fly EmiratesSource = Emirateslast_img read more

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Jetstar optsin to travel tricks

first_imgJetstar opts-in to travel tricksA trans-Tasman alliance of consumer groups is taking aim at the airlines over automatic opt-ins that can see travellers paying up to 67% more than the advertised price when booking flights.Consumer advocacy groups CHOICE and Consumer NZ have joined forces to campaign against the practice, inviting consumers to send a message to the CEO of one of the worst offenders – Jetstar.“We think Jetstar’s CEO David Hall needs to hear from consumers. No matter what side of the Tasman you’re on, this practice is shonky,” says Matt Levey, Director of Campaigns & Communications at CHOICE.“Websites shouldn’t be designed to trick consumers into paying for extras that they don’t want or need. From pricey travel insurance to $5 seat selection fees and sky high baggage tariffs, Jetstar has you cornered.”“Jetstar’s auto options will leave you travelling $36 lighter on a typical flight from Sydney to Melbourne – hardly a great start to your holiday. Making matters worse, the insurance Jetstar auto selects is far from the best value in the market,” says Mr Levey.“It is time that Jetstar follows Qantas and Air New Zealand and puts a stop to this dodgy practice.”Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin says “Jetstar is now the only major domestic carrier in New Zealand that still has optional extras preselected, with Air Zealand bowing to pressure from the New Zealand Commerce Commission earlier this year to remove its preselected travel insurance.”“Jetstar’s practice of pre-ticking boxes for optional extras risked misleading customers on both sides of the Tasman into paying for services they didn’t want.“Jetstar’s booking process marks it out as a prime offender in New Zealand and Australia for pre-selecting optional services. In both markets, it uses the same sneaky practice of ticking boxes for travel insurance, seat selection and extra bags. It’s high time Jetstar stopped confusing its Kiwi and Aussie customers and ditched the ticks.”The campaign comes on the back of research from CHOICE showing that over 26% of travellers have experienced problems with booking travel online. Problems include unexpected fees, difficulties booking and wrong preferences delivered. View the report hereSource = CHOICElast_img read more

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Travellers Choice celebrates 40 years of success

first_imgTravellers Choice celebrates 40 years of successTravellers Choice celebrates 40 years of successTravellers Choice today celebrates its 40th year of operation with a nod to its rich past and an eye to a prosperous future.Formed in 1977 as a modest cooperative by a handful of travel agents in Western Australia, the award-winning network now operates as an unlisted public company owned entirely by 140 members, who are distributed across the country.In 2016 the company delivered its 39th consecutive pre-tax profit, with 95% of funds returned to its member shareholders.Managing Director Christian Hunter says the qualities that have defined Travellers Choice since it began life four decades ago, now uniquely position the national network of independent agents for ongoing success.“The cooperative philosophy allows independent businesses of various sizes, strengths and skills to be treated as equals and to operate with total freedom while enjoying the benefits of scale,” says Hunter. “Every member knows that the success of the group is paramount, because the economic benefits flow directly back to them.“Over the past 40 years Travellers Choice has changed enormously, and today we are a sophisticated national marketing group that supports its members with a wide range of innovative and cost-effective services.“But we remain wholly-owned by our travel agent members, with a cooperative culture that still lies at the very heart of our organisation.“In today’s hyper-competitive trading environment, that ability to work together for aSource = Travellers Choicelast_img read more

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North Island road trips tempting Aussies across the ditch

first_imgNorth Island road trips tempting Aussies across the ditchRoad trips showing off large parts of the central and upper North Island are the latest adventures tempting Australians across the ditch.A partnership between Tourism New Zealand, regional tourism organisations (RTOs) and key trade partners has produced sample itineraries highlighting the attractions centred on and around four main routes.Tony Saunders, Tourism New Zealand’s Manager, Australia says: “This is about encouraging Australians to explore more of the North Island, to see different places and to travel in the off-peak months. It’s a perfect time to enjoy outdoor holiday experiences.“Australians don’t have the depth of understanding of New Zealand to know the differences between the regions so we have done a lot of the work for them developing sample itineraries to help them plan their journey. We want to show that although New Zealand is just on their doorstep and they can visit any time, there is more to see and do than they think, with activities and experiences that are different to their everyday life.”The four routes being promoted are Twin Coast Discovery Highway between Auckland and Northland, the Pacific Coast Highway taking in the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty, the Thermal Explorer Highway through Rotorua, Hamilton and Waikato and the Volcanic Loop around Ruapehu and Lake Taupō.Tourism New Zealand has worked with eight regional tourism organisations to shape up the four sample itineraries. The RTOs involved are: Northland, Auckland, Hamilton–Waikato, Rotorua, Taupō, Bay of Plenty, Ruapehu and The Coromandel. The three operators are the Hobbiton™Movie Set, THL (Waitomo Caves) and Te Puia.The eight week North Island touring campaign will feature across digital channels and include extensive out-of-home media placements, with advertising at outdoor spots including bus sides and train stations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.The key trade partners for the campaign are Flight Centre, providing regional product offers and Air New Zealand which will run promotions to boost the campaign.As part of the campaign, Tourism New Zealand has included a safer driving element providing information visitors need to know before embarking on a road trip in New Zealand.Source = Tourism New Zealandlast_img read more

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