Τρίτη, 30 Απριλίου 2013

ICTP applauds Peru Smart Visa initiative

The Internation of Coalition of Tourism Partners today expressed it's strong support for the Ministerial initiative of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia to create a common smart visa regime.
Speaking during the World Economic Forum Latin America's Tourism Summit, ICTP President Prof Geoffrey Lipman said " This is a much needed practical action to implement the industry call for smarter ways to move travellers across international borders without compromising security.
I have watched Minister Silva of Peru conceive and implement this initiative over the past 6 months and can only express admiration for his commitment to action rather than talk. ICTP will support this program as it expands across the region and opefully elsewhere on the continent".

Smart Businesses Are Embracing the Youth Travel Segment

Next Gen travel industry professionals shared their forthright views with over 150 travel industry students and young professionals at the PATA Youth Forum on April 25 at Thammasat University in Bangkok.
Interactive sessions debated on how new generations are finding, searching and connecting to travel and tourism industry now and in the future.
Peter Jordan, International Relations Officer, WYSE Travel Confederation, the Netherlands, told the audience: "When businesses and destinations are looking for the next best thing in travel and tourism, it's no coincidence that they go straight for the youth market. Youth, student and educational travel is worth US$182bn annually and is attracting attention from beyond the traditional travel and tourism stakeholders.”
He added: “Besides the impressive economic impact that youth travel has on the world's destinations, the social impact is no less important.”
He told the audience that young people cite their number one motivation for travel as the possibility to "explore other cultures…The capacity to enhance global understanding by encouraging young people to travel is considerable too.”
Assistant Prof Dr Glenn McCartney, Hospitality and Gaming Management, University of Macau and Author of “Event Management: An Asian Perspective” addressed the audience on the subject “Experience – Making Events Happen.” He emphasized that successful modern events need a compelling idea from the inception. The best events are highly responsive to the audience, environment, community and the venue, he said.
Ariya Banomyong, Country Manager, Google Thailand said there were five stages that Thai travellers go through in the travel process: dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing and sharing.
The Forum commenced one day prior to the 2013 PATA Annual Summit and was hosted by the College of Innovation at Thammasat University in Bangkok.
The Forum had the theme, “Search, Connect, Experience – The Future of Tourism.” Participants were from 12 destinations including Bangladesh, Canada, China, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Macau SAR, Malaysia, Maldives, Sweden, Thailand, Netherlands and USA.
The Forum opened with a welcome statement by Prof Dr Somkit Lertpaithoon, Rector, Thammasat University and Prof Dr Walter Jamieson, Programme Director, College of Innovation at Thammasat University.
Arrut Navaraj, Managing Director, Sampran Riverside, Thailand made the case for sustainable growth during the forum but said it needed a lot of coordinating forces behind it to make it work properly.
James Mabey, PATA Face of the Future 2013, Senior Director of Development, Marco Polo Hotels said: “In today's fast paced and increasingly interconnected world, young professionals must embrace the spirit of cross-cultural understanding and creative problem solving. Globalisation is a powerful force that will inevitably bring confrontation, but also drive innovation through the disbursement and proliferation of pioneering ideas. The future belongs to those young professionals who will boldly challenge tradition and capitalize on the opportunities of our new interdependent global society.”
The PATA CEO Martin Craigs told the audience that PATA was “walking the talk” on its next gen commitments. Positive proof was the association's support for young professionals and student chapters.
The Youth Forum theme and content was developed by Prof Dr J S Perry Hobson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, Taylor's University, Malaysia.
Peter Jordan summed up the day: “I congratulate the PATA Youth Forum for making a valuable contribution to the discussion on how to improve the complete visitor economy. We look forward to working with PATA and its members to maximise the positive impacts of youth travel in the future."
The PATA Youth Forum concluded with a cocktail party at Siam Center in Bangkok. The party was hosted by Siam Center and supported by Thai Bev.

Royal Cliff Hotels Group Ready for the 2nd annual Asia Golf Tourism Convention

The 2nd Asia Golf Tourism Convention (AGTC) will take place at the Royal Cliff Hotels Group and its prominent flagship PEACH (Pattaya Exhibition And Convention Hall) from Monday 29 April to Thursday 2 May 2013.
Over 150 golf tour operators, all selling golf Asia Pacific golf destinations, are expected to attend the 2013 AGTC at Royal Cliff.
IAGTO’s President, Peter Walton, said “The response from buyers and suppliers who attended the first AGTC in Malaysia has been fantastic and we have every reason to believe that even more business will be conducted at our next event in Pattaya.”
Royal Cliff Hotels Group Executive Director Mr. Vitanart Vathanakul said “The Royal Cliff is honoured to host and be an intricate component of AGTC. Our team is ready to execute an unforgettable convention. This exciting event will help propel Pattaya into the international spotlight as a major golf destination in Thailand and Southeast Asia.”
Suppliers have the opportunity introduce themselves to all buyers during 2 hours of speed-dating at the beginning of the first business day. This is followed 9.5 hours of meetings over two days where golf resorts, golf clubs, hotels and other suppliers can have up to 38 appointments of 15 minutes each with tour operators that they wish to see.
There are also seminars on the golf tourism industry and presentations on golf destinations along with some fantastic functions courtesy of the Pattaya City Hall, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau, Chonburi Province, East Coast Golf Association and the Royal Cliff Hotel Group.
For more information on the Royal Cliff Hotels Group and PEACH, please visit www.royalcliff.com andwww.peachthailand.com.
For more information on the Asia Golf Tourism Convention and how to register as a delegate please visit,http://www.iagto.com/agtc

Flying start for SAS app

On April 9, SAS launched its new app which can be used to book trips to all its destinations directly on a smart phone or tablet device.
SAS customers can now easily book, check in, choose a seat on board and receive their mobile boarding pass on their phone or device. The SAS app has already been downloaded nearly
100,000 times and is ranked as the no 1 free app in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
This is just one of the ways in which SAS is continuing to create innovative solutions that make traveling easier for its customers.
"We are really pleased about the positive feedback we received on the app. It has now been downloaded nearly 100,000 times and has been given top marks by our customers, so we are very happy," says Christina Ericsson, VP Global Digital Sales at SAS.
The app allows users to book and pay for flights in three easy steps, with payment accepted in currencies such as Euros, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Kronor. In addition, customers can easily:
Check in and select a seat (available from many places)
Receive a mobile boarding pass (available from many places)
View the status of flights booked
Pay in full or in part using EuroBonus points
Access their EuroBonus account
Change flights
Find recent social media info and travel ideas
Read information about passenger rights
"We will continue to have a strong focus on the development of digital services, particularly mobile, as part of our efforts to simplify travel for our customers," says Christina Ericsson, VP Global Digital Sales at SAS.
The app is available to all EuroBonus members, which is currently over three million people. It also gives non-members the opportunity to apply for EuroBonus membership. The app is available for both iPhone and Android in the majority of countries to which SAS flies and can be downloaded free from the App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/sas-scandinavian-airlines/id605727126?mt=8 ) or Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=se.sas.android).

PATA Launches Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2013-2017

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University's School of Hotel and Tourism Management (PolyU) released their joint publication, the Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2013-2017.
The new forecasts on the complete visitor economy will make it easier for tourism organisations to anticipate demand trends and manage supply.
For the first time, PATA's Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2013-2017 have been produced in collaboration with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University's School of Hotel and Tourism Management. The annual and quarterly forecasts cover a five-year horizon (up from three) and include price elasticity variables for most of the destinations covered.
High-level snapshots from the forecasts show that:
•           Visitor arrivals to the Asia Pacific region will continue to grow with an average annual growth rate of 4.1% over the period 2013-2017 and reach 581 million by 2017
•           Northeast Asia will maintain a dominant position in the inbound market of Asia Pacific, and its market share will reach 53.52% by 2017
•           China will continue to be the top inbound destination in the Asia Pacific, peaking at 147.4 million visitors in 2017
•           Hong Kong SAR will surpass the USA to be the second largest inbound destination in Asia Pacific in 2015
•           Visitor arrivals to the Asia Pacific from China will exceed 100 million by 2015
•           Cambodia, the Maldives, Chinese Taipei, Bhutan and Mongolia are the top five fastest growing destinations in terms of visitor arrivals over the period 2013-2017.
Taken together these projections provide essential information for tourism planners and operators alike.
The forecasts aim to help destinations set strategy for the coming years by supporting the complete visitor economy in both long-term decision and policy making by predicting arrivals, tourism receipts and departures according to country/region of origins for 41 destinations.
I am delighted to recommend these next generation forecasts to PATA members and associates. The scope and quality of the forecasts will add value to our many different members across 17 time zones and many different functional groups,” said Mr Martin J Craigs, PATA CEO.
We are very pleased to be part of the new PATA NextGen forecasting initiative, as transferring our knowledge to practice has been high on our school's research agenda,” said Professor Kaye Chon, Dean of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Published annually with a quarterly breakdown, the Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2013-2017 will include information about visitor arrivals to select PATA member economies from key source markets, visitor expenditures in PATA member economies, and visitor departures of member economies. The annual edition of the forecasts will also feature reports analysing the forecasts and their implications, taking into account particular trends for certain regions.
Though it is clear that demand for inbound and outbound travel in Asia Pacific is growing, it is the details shown by forecasts of travel demand that will guide the visitor economy in the measurement of tourist arrivals and expenditure. Forecasts can help justify decision-making in terms of planning investments in visitor infrastructure, human resource management, marketing resource allocation decisions and new product development.
The forecasts have been created using a combination of statistical and judgmental methodologies, with a view to generating more accurate and reliable forecasts. In other words, this forecasting system incorporates advanced econometric techniques as well as expert opinion in forecasting the demand for travel from various source markets to destinations within the Asia Pacific region. The outputs of this forecasting system will provide useful information on the future trends of the complete visitor economy (measured by tourist arrivals, departures and tourist expenditures).
PATA government members and Premier Partners will have access to the forecasts included in their membership benefits through PATA's insights tool, PATAmPOWER. Other members may purchase the forecasts. Customized forecasts are also available upon request, for an additional fee.

Marmaray rail line to connect Beijing and London

Eskisehir-Istanbul high-speed train line will be completed by end of 2013, connecting Asia and Europe continents with Marmaray, travelling 60 metres below the sea.
Suleyman Karaman, chairman of the Board of Turkish State Railways (TCDD), stated that Turkish rail transport corridor would connect Beijing to London with the Marmaray project.
Evaluating the developments in the Turkish railway sector to Anadolu Agency, Karaman said $26 billion investment was made to railways in the last decade in Turkey.
Reminding that Turkey ranked 6th in Europe and 8th in the world in having a high-speed train line, Karaman stated that once the Eskisehir-Istanbul high-speed train line was established it would connect Asia and Europe continents with Marmaray, travelling 60 metres below the sea. Marmaray is expected to be complete by September 30, 2013 and Ankara Istanbul travel time would be reduced to three hours, Karaman said.
Karaman also stated that Ankara-Sivas, Ankara-Bursa and Ankara-Izmir high-speed train lines were under construction, expected to be completed by 2023, adding that ten thousand kilometres of high-speed train lines were planned to be built in Turkey by 2023.
"'Iron Silk Road' will be established with the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku Railway Project with the cooperation of Turkey, Azarbaijan and Georgia. This project will allow to reach as far as Middle Asia and China. Kars-Tbilisi-Baku Railway Project will serve as a railway corridor and it is aimed to carry 6.5 million tonnes of load between Europe and Asia in the first year.
Turkey will not only make a revolution in the transport system but it will also provide an alternative route to Middle East, Middle Asia and Far East, considered as the heart of world economy and energy sources. Railway transport corridor will connect Beijing to London with the Marmaray Project," Karaman said.
Also touching on the Silk Wind Block Train Project, Karaman said the block train implementation would make railway an important alternative for domestic and foreign carriage of goods.
Source: AA

IMEX launches new education event for corporate planners

IMEX in Frankfurt 2013 will see the launch of a new education and networking event designed specifically for corporate meeting planners and senior corporate executives.
The pre-show event is attracting considerable interest with over 50 buyers expected to take part and participants from Amway, Estee Lauder, Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co already confirmed. Attendance at the new event is open to both hosted buyers and visitors from the corporate sector.
IMEX has offered special events for corporate buyers in the past but, using its experience from the successful Association Day programme combined with focus group research, the company has developed this brand new format. “Exclusively Corporate @ IMEX” uses the Association Day as its model to allow corporate buyers to attend the award-winning trade show whilst also taking part in expertly facilitated education and networking.
The Exclusively Corporate educational programme officially begins at midday on Monday 20 May – the day before the trade show opens - with a networking lunch. This is followed by a mix of general sessions, open space discussions and case studies.
The post-lunch general session will feature three short TED-Style presentations from senior corporate executives, followed by facilitated discussion with the audience. Leading the panel will be Des Duggan, Manager Education and Staffing IBM Inside Sales Europe and Meredith Smith, Director Travel and Meetings Asia Pacific and Japan for Merck & Co. Thereafter the group will split, with senior executives joining a 4-hour facilitated discussion and benchmarking programme, led by Terri Breining and Kimberly Meyer, who also facilitate the IMEX America Executive Meetings Forum.
Meanwhile corporate meeting planners will take part in two consecutive sessions. First, Steph Pfeilsticker, Virtual Strategy Manager of Event Planning and Field Recognition at Thrivent Financial will present her peer-led case study: “Hybrid Meetings and the Art of Career Development.” Second, Alise Long, Corporate Events and Meetings Manager at DSM will reveal how her company launched a new corporate branding and strategy to its 25,000 strong global workforce over 149 events within 48 hours. This session will be facilitated by Roger Long, Owner and Founder of Blue Ox Consulting.
The day is rounded off with a high energy Open Space session, where participants choose the discussion topics during the course of the day.
The new event programme has been carefully designed to fit around the work commitments of its corporate audience. Participants are being flown into Frankfurt on Sunday evening for a networking dinner sponsored by Fairmont, Raffles, Swissotel. They will stay at the prestigious Villa Kennedy Hotel where Monday morning has been left free for them to catch up on work, do Frankfurt city tours, site visits or undertake business meetings before education and networking begin at midday.
At the close of Monday, the group will be invited to attend the annual SiteNite Europe reception or be otherwise entertained. All of the corporate executives will stay on for the IMEX trade show on Tuesday 21st May with long-haul participants attending the show until Thursday 23rd May.
Says Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group: “We know that the needs of corporate meeting executives are very different to those of other planners attending the show. This new programme is designed to address their need for a private environment in which to learn from each other through case studies and open dialogue. The sessions are intended to be very interactive and provoke forward-thinking discussions with actionable strategies for them to take back to the office. The private and exclusive nature of the event makes it very unique and will provide great added value to those buyers taking part.”

Aeroflot is in Forbes Global 2000 List

Aeroflot – Russian Airlines” is in the List of Global 2000 Leading Companies.
Two thousand biggest public companies from 63 countries are shown in one of the most prestigious business ratings annually published by Forbes since 2004.
Aeroflot’s place among “the biggest, most powerful listed companies in the world” was determined by a combination of market indicators such as “sales, profits, assets and market value”.
Aeroflot is the only air carrier among Russian companies in this Forbes list. Totally there are 23 air companies from different countries in the rating.
Russia’s flagship air carrier is now forming an aviation holding which will be able to successfully compete with the top global air carriers. One of the primary goals of Aeroflot Development Strategy is to secure the air company’s place in World’s Top-20 airlines by passenger traffic and revenue by 2025. Aeroflot’s position among Forbes Global Leading Companies once again proved that the company has chosen the right development way.  
Celebrating its 90-th anniversary in 2013, Aeroflot is Russia’s flagship airline and the largest national air company.

New Holiday Inn Express at the Louis Armstrong International Airport


IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) announces the recent opening of the new Holiday Inn Express® Hotel & Suites New Orleans Airport South, conveniently located adjacent to the Louis Armstrong International Airport and just minutes away from New Orleans businesses, restaurants and attractions.
Featuring a complimentary airport shuttle, the new Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites is located just off Airline Drive, and a short distance from Interstate Highway 10, providing easy access to the surrounding areas of Kenner, Metairie and downtown New Orleans.
The Holiday Inn brand family’s $1 billion global brand relaunch, the largest project of its kind in hospitality history, continues to drive increased quality and consistency across the global portfolio. The new hotel features a contemporary image with emphasis on arrival and welcome services, guestroom and guest bath comfort and a redesigned logo and signage.
The new Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites New Orleans Airport South recently underwent a complete renovation, and boasts of a fresh new look throughout the 134-room, three-story hotel. Located at 110 James Drive E. Street in St. Rose, business travelers will enjoy proximity to offices of major corporations. The hotel is also less than a 30-minute drive from both Loyola and Tulane universities.
With 3,800 square feet of meeting space, and three separate rooms, the hotel can hold meetings of up to 200 participants. There is also a 24-business center and free wireless Internet access throughout, and guests can also enjoy a spacious and well-equipped fitness center and outdoor pool. For leisure travelers, the hotel is just a short drive from the nationally acclaimed Audubon Zoo, the Superdome, the New Orleans Aquarium, and of course, the outstanding music and restaurants of New Orleans’ French Quarter and downtown.
The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites offers guests a comfortable, yet affordable, business or leisure stay with innovative, preferred-guest upgrades to ensure a pleasurable experience. The complimentary Express Start® breakfast bar features a full range of breakfast items, including a rotation of egg and meat selections, biscuits, yogurt, fruit, pancakes, the brand's proprietary cinnamon roll, and Smart Roast® coffee.

Hilton Worldwide extends Carbon Offset Program in Southeast Asia

Hilton Worldwide announced the extension of its Carbon Offset Program in Southeast Asia with the inclusion of Conrad Bali and Hilton Bandung in Indonesia.
They join 11 existing properties in Southeast Asia already offsetting carbon emissions from events and meetings. Since its introduction on 1 October, 2012, the Hilton Worldwide Carbon Offset Program in Southeast Asia has successfully offset more than 4,500 tonnes of carbon emissions. The amount of carbon offset is equivalent to taking over 470 economy class flights around the world.
At no additional cost to customers, the program measures carbon generated by events and meetings and offsets these through the purchase of carbon credits. The credits are used to fund projects in Borneo and Cambodia that have strong community and environmental benefits beyond carbon. From 1 April, 2013, 13 Hilton Worldwide properties in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are part of the program.
Hilton Worldwide is the first and only major multi-brand hospitality company to make sustainability measurement and corrective action a brand standard at each of its over 3,900 hotels globally.
The program has been well received by customers including large multinational companies that put a premium on sustainability. In the first six months of the Hilton Worldwide Carbon Offset Program in Southeast Asia, around 70 percent of events and meetings offset were from corporate customers.
The Carbon Offset Program has definitely drawn great interest from our customers, and there is a growing trend for companies to conduct events, and other aspects of their business, in environmentally responsible ways. The program offers a competitive edge for clients that take sustainability seriously and provides them with an avenue to give back to the environment,” said Heinrich Grafe, general manager, Conrad Centennial Singapore.
Global event management company and Hilton Worldwide client, MCI, takes environmental impact into consideration when selecting venues for events and meetings.  
Working with Climate Friendly, a carbon offset solutions provider, Hilton Worldwide identified two initial beneficiaries of the carbon offset program in Southeast Asia. They are the Borneo Rainforest Rehabilitation Project and Cambodia Cookstove Project.
Participating hotels in the Hilton Worldwide Carbon Offset Program in Southeast Asia are:
•           Conrad Centennial Singapore
•           Hilton Singapore
•           Hilton Kuala Lumpur
•           DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur
•           Hilton Petaling Jaya
•           Hilton Kuching
•           Millennium Hilton Bangkok
•           Conrad Bangkok
•           Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa
•           Hilton Pattaya
•           Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa
•           Conrad Bali
•           Hilton Bandung

onefinestay celebrates 200 homes in New York

onefinestay announced the addition of the 200th home in New York to its carefully curated collection of homes, letting guests live like a local while the owner is out of town, with all the comforts and conveniences of a hotel service.
onefinestay redefines the experience of city travel: guests live like a local by staying in a distinctive home, which is paired with amenities including 5* hotel linens, fluffy towels, toiletries, and even an iPhone for the duration of their stay. Meanwhile, members earn a hassle-free income at times when their house or apartment would otherwise stand vacant. Explore onefinestay’s landmark homes in New York so far.
London-born onefinestay expanded to New York in May 2012, and the first home, Sullivan Street, set the tone for those to follow. This Soho townhouse is deemed so significant that it has been declared a New York City landmark - and being the first home to join onefinestay in New York, it's a landmark for the company too.
The 50th home to join the company was Bond Street 2, a former electrical factory in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Like every home listed with onefinestay in New York, it is paired with 5* linens, fluffy towels, Kiehl's toiletries and an iPhone stocked with local recommendations for exploring Brooklyn and beyond for the duration of each guest’s stay.
Fewer than six months on from launch, onefinestay celebrated the addition of the 100th New York home, State Street 2, in November 2012. This quintessential brownstone in Brooklyn Heights has been lovingly restored to its former glory by the current owners.
onefinestay’s 150th home was 14th Street, a decadent Park Slope home with all the trappings of Victorian opulence. Its addition marked accelerated growth for onefinestay in New York, with membership there growing three times more quickly than initially in London.  
And so to the landmark 200th home to join onefinestay in New York, East 12th Street. This colourful and eclectic East Village townhouse is quite something. Its dramatic archways and original mouldings are canvas to delicate antiques, mid-century Danish furniture, bohemian textiles - and everything in between.
With over 1,000 homes already listed exclusively with the company across London and New York, plans to continue onefinestay's international roll-out to further major world cities are afoot.

Doubletree by Hilton to Debut in Portugal

Following a succession of recent brand introductions in the Iberian Peninsula, Hilton Worldwide has announced that its DoubleTree by Hilton brand is set to arrive in Portugal.
The signing of a management agreement with Turismadeira SA will see Lisbon's Fontana Park Hotel convert to DoubleTree by Hilton Lisbon - Fontana Park in summer 2013, as Hilton's first hotel in the Portuguese capital.
The agreement sees DoubleTree enter its thirteenth European country, having only recently opened its first Spanish property, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Emporda. In Portugal itself, the Lisbon property will join Conrad Algarve, which opened in autumn 2012, near to the existing Hilton Vilamoura as Cascatas Golf Resort and Spa, while Hilton Bom Sucesso Obidos Resort opens next winter.
Located on Rua Engenheiro Vieira da Silva, in the northern district of the city centre, the hotel benefits from excellent public transport links and is only 15 minutes from Lisbon Portela Airport. Its proximity to one of the city's main roads connects it to the historical tourist and shopping districts of Baixa, Chiado, Bairro Alto, Avenida da Liberdade and Alfama.
As one of the oldest cities in the world, Lisbon offers a variety of cultural, architectural and historical attractions. The Park of Nations, set out along the banks of the Tagus River, is an urban space that brings together contemporary architecture, theme gardens, exhibition centers, and is a venue for various shows and events. It also houses Lisbon Oceanarium, one of the largest marine mammal parks of its kind in Europe.
The coast to the west of Lisbon offers further leisure destinations, including the resorts of Estoril and Cascais, plus the historic and cultural town of Sintra.
Once converted, the hotel will feature the brand's signature welcome with a warm chocolate chip cookie presented to every guest at check-in; an array of upscale amenities and guest services, and a unique and caring team member commitment to the local community.

Δευτέρα, 29 Απριλίου 2013

Windstar Cruises Announces Name of First Power Yacht as Star Pride

Seattle, April 29, 2013 – Windstar Cruises, a market leader in small ship cruising, has announced the name for the first of its three new, all-suite, power yachts as Star PrideStar Pride, launching in May of 2014, will spend its first season in Europe offering exciting new voyages which open for bookings on May 14, 2013. The names of the additional two yachts will be announced in the coming weeks.

Star Pride and the additional two yachts will fit perfectly into Windstar’s intimate, yacht-style cruising by offering a small-ship luxury cruise with 300 passengers or less in a casually elegant style going to places bigger ships cannot go,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises’ chief executive officer. “We are thrilled to now be able to offer even more intriguing choices in Europe for the 2014 season.”

The addition of the three new yachts is part of Global Windstar, the line’s fleet expansion and new product development initiative. Increasing the size of the fleet enables Windstar to cruise a global set of itineraries to new destinations, such as Wind Spirit’s much anticipated return to Tahiti and Star Pride’s European voyage collection which will include new places in Europe such as a voyage in the Black Sea, to be announced in May. In the future, Global Windstar will provide opportunities to visit Asia and South America.

The new power yachts are identical, with a guest capacity of 212 each in 106 suites. At 10,000 gross tons, each yacht is 440 feet long with a breadth of 63 feet and six passenger decks. As the three yachts enter the fleet, they will all undergo a Windstar branded renovation. The new power yachts will showcase many signature Windstar experiences, including the line’s famous deck barbecue, the open Bridge policy, and the celebrated sail-away party. 

Earlier this year, Windstar Cruises announced its owner, Xanterra Parks & Resorts®, reached an agreement to purchase the three power yachts. The expansion doubles the size of Windstar’s fleet, making the company the market leader in small-ship cruising with 300 or fewer passengers, with a total of 1,230 berths.
Following the May 2014 introduction of Star Pride, Windstar Cruises will take possession of the additional two yachts in in April and May 2015. These two yachts are scheduled to start sailing in May of 2015 following their dry-dock period.

DMC Network Announces New Hawaii Affiliate


The DMC Network officially announced that "DeSilva Meeting Consultants", has been selected as the newest Affiliate DMC of the DMC Network.
DeSilva Meeting Consultants (DMC) is a full-service Destination Management Company based on Maui and serving all the Islands of Hawaii. They offer a wide variety of services catered to in-bound incentive, association and corporate group travel.
President of DeSilva Meeting Consultants, Josh DeSilva, shares, “Our model for success is based on a simple formula: Planning / Execution / Continuous Improvement. We strive to exceed our customer’s expectations through effective listening, superior knowledge, detailed planning, friendly service and flawless execution while maintaining a strong sense of integrity and commitment in all that we do. We take pride in our jobs with the intention of making each and every program a complete success. We believe the DMC Network represents these same principles and are honored to be a part of the DMC Network ohana (family).”
"We are excited to join the DMC Network and represent such a well-respected global company. We are passionate about what we do and look forward to working with our planner partners to help produce first class, well-run and memorable Hawaiian programs for their guests." says Josh DeSilva.
DeSilva Meetings Consultants (DMC) is a 10 year-old company. Josh has been in the industry for 20 years and was raised in Hawaii. Many of those on the DeSilva team also have deep roots in the islands, giving them a rich, deep and authentic ability to bring the very best of Hawaii to their clients. They are experts on the destination with a local’s mentality to maximize their client’s unique Hawaiian experience. They are the preferred partner for many of the Hawaiian Resorts and incentive travel firms.
DeSilva Meeting Consultants reputation for personal service and creativity, have made them a top performing company. Their integrity and stringent standards are a perfect complement to our organization. We are proud to have them join the DMC Network as an Affiliate DMC and look forward to a wonderful partnership,” stated, Dan Tavrytzky, Managing Director of the DMC Network.

Importance of gay-friendliness

US Gay and lesbian hotel guests spend an average 57 per cent more on their travels than their heterosexual counterparts.
That is the result of the latest survey by Community Marketing Inc., a partner of ITB Berlin. Rika Jean-Francois, ITB Berlin’s CSR officer and member of the board of the International Gay & Travel Association (IGLTA) presented the findings at the ITB Berlin Convention and at the recently held strategy conference of Wien Tourismus in Vienna.
Late last year, in a survey conducted in the USA by Community Marketing Inc., 5,700 interviewees were asked about their travel habits. According to the survey, it is not only hotels but entire destinations that benefit from LGBT travellers (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).
According to the survey, 40 per cent of gays and close to the same number of lesbians in the USA said a destination’s degree of gay-friendliness was the main factor influencing their choice of destination. As regarded holiday needs 67 per cent of gays and 66 per cent of lesbian travellers said warm weather was their first requirement, followed by cultural attractions, beaches and cuisine. More than 50 per cent of the respondents said one of their main holiday interests was relaxation. For 35 per cent of gays the second-most important aspect was visiting friends and family, while for 32 per cent of lesbian couples it was spending time with their partners. 33 per cent of gay and 30 per cent of lesbian respondents said the location of a hotel significantly influenced their choice of destination. For 30 per cent of both groups the second-most important aspect was the price.
LGBT travellers are comfortable using the internet. When searching for travel information 59 per cent of lesbian and 54 per cent of gay travellers in the US said they relied on the recommendations of friends and families, after which they preferred travel websites. 41 per cent of gay and 36 per cent of lesbian travellers said they responded to advertising that targeted LGBT audiences.
Over many years, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) concept, ITB Berlin has committed itself to supporting human rights in tourism, including tolerance and diversity, and for example is a committed member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA). Exhibitors representing the LBGT market first took part in the world’s largest travel trade show in 2003. For the last three years lectures and discussions on this subject as well as on LGBT travel topics have been taking place at the ITB Berlin Convention. It has become one of the 15 officially recognized travel segments of the world’s largest travel trade show and since then has witnessed constantly rising demand. Currently, ITB Berlin has the largest range of LGBT travel products and destinations of any tourism trade show in the world. With its large Gay & Lesbian Travel Pavilion, the ITB TomOnTour Party and various other supporting LGBT events ITB Berlin has made a stand for tolerance and equal rights. With its seminars on LGBT tourism in India in 2011, an information stand at ITB Asia 2012 in Singapore, an LGBT information booth at ABAV 2013 in Rio de Janeiro and international seminars and symposiums around the world the ITB Academy is also showing its support for dismantling taboos and the development of this important market segment worldwide. At ITB Berlin 2013 a strategic partnership between Wien Tourismus (Vienna Tourism) and ITB Berlin on LGBT Travel was agreed, in a bid to jointly support and further its aims in the future.

Medical Tourism grows rapidly in Israel

According to the Israel’s Health Ministry, revenues from medical tourism in state hospitals doubled in last years.
Revenues from medical tourism in state hospitals were NIS 54 million in 2009, however by 2011, they were 2.2 times higher, at NIS 119 million.
Medical tourism revenues at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa rose from NIS 7 million in 2009 to NIS 18 million in 2011. At Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, the figures were NIS 37 million in 2009 and NIS 84 million in 2011. The results are published at a new report prepared by the Israel’s Health Ministry.
The information in the report is based on only partial reporting by the hospitals. Moreover, the ministry did not collect information on medical tourism from hospitals that are not state-owned.
Source: Haaretz

Future of China in global travel industry discussed at GBTA China Conference

More than 150 business leaders and travel industry professionals from across China, Asia Pacific and the US gathered at the Jin Jiang Tower Hotel in Shanghai for the inaugural GBTA China Conference from April 15-17, 2013.
The three-day event featured a programme of educational seminars about the fast-growing Chinese business travel industry, and was a chance for delegates to network with industry peers and forge new business relationships.
GBTA China Conference attendees were the first to hear Michael W. McCormick, GBTA Executive Director and COO, present the key findings from the GBTA BTI™ China Outlook, Spring 2013 report, a semi-annual analysis of the world’s most dynamic business travel market. The report predicts that business travel spending will increase by 15 percent in 2013 as China remains on track to become the world’s largest business travel market by 2015. McCormick also announced an exciting new initiative, the founding of the GBTA China Chapter.
Throughout the three days of the conference, GBTA delegates shared best practices and explored emerging trends that generate savings and better utilization of resources in China. Alongside this, expert speakers and panelists discussed the unique challenges and opportunities that corporate travel management is facing due to the rapid growth of business travel expenditure in China and the Asia Pacific region.
The Keynote Speech at the 2013 GBTA China Conference was delivered by Professor Weng Jin, Vice Dean of the Department of Tourism at Fudan University in Shanghai, who spoke on the theme of “China’s Travel Industry: Future Trends and Policies.” George Cao, CEO of Dragon Trail and Tripshow.com, gave a presentation about connecting with Chinese travellers by digital and social media.
Conference panels brought together Chinese and global travel industry leaders to discuss key business travel topics, including China’s new policy on international distribution companies, the role of TMCs in China, factors influencing the evolving Chinese airline industry, cultural differences of doing business in China, and the increasingly diverse landscape of China’s business hotel industry.
As a result of the success of the 2013 GBTA China Conference, the GBTA and Jin Jiang International Hotels have confirmed a commitment to continue their partnership, and will work together on the next conference, which will take place in Shanghai in April 2014.

Another Celebrity Chef Heads to Sea

photo: Cat Cora

This summer Celebrity Chef Cat Cora will demonstrate how to whip up her favorite dishes as part of Holland America Line’s Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food & Wine magazine. Cora is scheduled to sail on ms Nieuw Amsterdam’s 12-day Mediterranean Empires cruise departing July 2, 2013.
In addition to Cora, the lineup for the Culinary Arts Center fleet-wide enrichment program includes other celebrated chefs, cookbook authors and television personalities from the culinary world who sail throughout the year. Also sailing this year are the Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star” finalist Michele Ragussis and Danny Grant, executive chef at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, who was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs of 2012.”
The Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine enables cruisers aboard the line’s 15 ships to experience cooking shows, wine tastings and question-and-answer sessions in a full show kitchen. Also offered are hands-on classes conducted by top chefs, wine experts, noted culinary specialists and leading cookbook authors.
Source: HAL

Pacific Northwest Cruises Kick Off with American Cruise Lines

Recently, American Cruise Lines introduced their upcoming Puget Sound and San Juan Islands itinerary to the American Spirit.  This is the company’s newest addition to a growing portfolio of cruises in the Pacific Northwest which includes Alaska and Columbia & Snake River itineraries.
The eight-day roundtrip voyage from Seattle explores the hundreds of islands, many of which are uninhabited, nestled between Canada’s Vancouver Island and the U.S. mainland. While aboard, guests enjoy elegant accommodations, personalized service, fine dining, nightly entertainment and daily lectures and seminars from local experts on the region’s rich history. The Puget Sound itinerary will run from April 2013 through October 2013 and then again from March 2014 through November 2014.
The Puget Sound and San Juan Islands cruise will feature a variety of excursions:
  • Victoria, Canada: This adventurous day begins with a ferry ride to Victoria, Canada from Port Angeles, WA. On a guided tour guests can visit Butchart Gardens – one of Victoria’s most famous and popular attractions. After the gardens, guests can participate in a narrated tour of the city before taking the ferry back to Port Angeles.
  • Anacortes, WA: Located between Seattle and Vancouver, on beautiful Fidalgo Island, Anacortes is known as the gateway to the San Juan. A thriving seaside town with a past that mirrors the fascinating boom and busy history and entrepreneurial spirit of the area, a walking tour is a great way to get a true feel for the town. Guests can admire the extensive, colorful murals depicting the history of the city while taking in the town center and the W.T. Preston stern wheeler.
  • Friday Harbor: Guests can visit The Whale Museum and learn about the natural history of marine mammals in the museum’s Gallery of the Whales, with a special focus on orcas that live in the surrounding area.
  • Olympic National Park and Hurricane Ridge: Known as a land of beauty and variety, guests can explore the home of some of the largest remnants of ancient forests left in this country while at Olympic National Park. While at Olympic National Park, guests can marvel at the spectacular view at Hurricane Ridge.
  • Port Townsend, WA: Guests can experience the 19th century Victorian buildings, historic charm and striking natural setting in Port Townsend by taking part in a guided walking tour through the town.
The American Spirit carries 100 guests in 200 square foot staterooms, which feature large opening picture windows and hotel-style bathrooms, various unique panoramic lounges and amenities including an exercise area and putting green.
Source: ACL

United Airlines Launches Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative

United Airlines is launching a Sustainable Supply Chain (SSC) initiative in an effort to better understand the environmental performance of its suppliers and deepen relationships with its key supply chain partners. The initiative underscores United’s effort to lead commercial aviation as an environmentally responsible company and builds on the airline’s actions and commitment to environmental sustainability.
We work with hundreds of suppliers so it’s important for us to understand the environmental impact on our supply chain, and this new initiative allows us to be proactive,” said Katrina Manning, United’s vice president of technical procurement. “Focusing on our supply chain presents us with an opportunity to make responsible decisions to further strengthen our commitment to the environment.”
The SSC program involves measuring and evaluating the sustainability of United’s current suppliers’ products and operations through a comprehensive survey, starting with those suppliers in traditionally high-risk industries as well as members of the airline’s strategic supplier community. United will also integrate the environmentally focused questions into its request for proposal (RFP) process. Through implementation of the SSC program, United will evaluate whether the use of its suppliers’ product or services would reduce the airline’s impact on the environment.
We are pleased to launch this program that demonstrates our commitment to working with key supply chain partners on environmental issues,” said Jimmy Samartzis, United’s managing director of global environmental affairs and sustainability. “We will not only incorporate environmental considerations into our purchasing decisions, but will also seek to identify opportunities to collaborate with our suppliers to improve the environmental profile of the products and services we use.”
In 2014, United will seek to establish targets for improvement and begin to communicate those expectations to its suppliers.
The SSC initiative is aligned with the airline’s participation in the United Nations Global Compact, which encourages its signatories to promote environmental practices throughout their supply chain. United was the first U.S. airline to join the Global Compact. For more information on United’s commitment to environmental sustainability, visit  www.united.com/ecoskies.

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia launch direct link between Christchurch and Perth

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia announced today that they will become the first airlines to offer a direct service between Christchurch and the West Australian capital of Perth in over 20 years.
The twice weekly non-stop service will operate through the peak demand period from December 2013 until late April 2014.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon announced the new route, on behalf of the alliance partners, at the official opening this evening of Christchurch International Airport Limited’s new terminal facilities. Mr Luxon highlighted Christchurch and Perth as the two largest trans-Tasman destinations without a current direct alliance service. 
This is a great time to be linking these two destinations. The West Australian economy continues to grow at a faster rate than the rest of Australia and rebuilding activity is poised to stimulate travel demand within Christchurch and Canterbury.”
Mr Luxon says “Christchurch is also a convenient hub for the whole South Island – particularly now the airport company is providing world class terminal facilities.”
Virgin Australia Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton said Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand have been working together for around two years now to ensure that they offer the best possible network and service across the Tasman.
We have been very pleased with the recovery we have seen on Christchurch routes in recent times and we expect traffic to continue to increase as a result of the new airport facilities. Linking Christchurch with Perth, which has long had the highest growth rate of all Australian capital city airports, will provide an attractive service for business and leisure travellers alike.
The hard work and cooperation of Perth Airport and Christchurch International Airport has been integral to the formation of this new route and we look forward to working with them in future for the benefit of our customers,” Ms Crompton said.
The new service has been made possible by the trans-Tasman alliance, for which reauthorisation is currently being sought. It will be operated by an Air New Zealand Boeing 767 aircraft and Virgin Australia will codeshare on the service, so customers can book with either Air New Zealand or Virgin Australia and earn frequent flyer points and status credits in the process.
The new service will also provide convenient onward connections on the two airlines’ extensive networks from both Christchurch and Perth.
Flights depart Christchurch at 1540 and Perth at 1910 on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Please note that schedules are subject to change.

Lufthansa A380 new on Frankfurt – Shanghai route

New on offer to Lufthansa passengers are five flights weekly from 26 September 2013 with the Airbus A380 from Frankfurt to Shanghai. Shanghai is the second Lufthansa A380 destination in China after Beijing. Flight LH 728 leaves Frankfurt at 17.20 hours and arrives in Shanghai at 09.55 hours. The LH 729 return flight takes off at 13.15 hours, arriving in Frankfurt at 18.55 hours (local time). During the ten-hour 35 minute air journey, passengers in the cabin enjoy all amenities of the world’s biggest passenger aircraft.  

The travel experience with the Lufthansa A380 is unique. Passengers travel in the world’s quietest First Class with a host of exclusive privileges. Passengers in Business and Economy Class also enjoy the highest standards of comfort. In-flight entertainment, including a choice of the latest movies, offers a varied and optimum programme for passengers to relax. The Lufthansa A380 seats a total of 526 passengers: eight in First Class, 98 in Business Class and 420 in Economy Class. Besides Shanghai and Beijing, Lufthansa is operating A380 flights to Houston, Johannesburg, San Francisco, Singapore and Tokyo in the 2013 summer flight schedules.   

Initially, Shanghai flights are available five times weekly in the A380 timetable. Together with the services on the route operated by an Airbus A340-600, Lufthansa passengers have a choice of flying twice-daily from Frankfurt to Shanghai. Furthermore, Lufthansa offers a daily connection between Munich and Shanghai. SWISS also flies to the Chinese metropolis from Zurich. 

Round-trip flights Shanghai can be booked at www.lufthansa.com or through the Lufthansa Call Center in Germany 01805 805 805 (€0.14/min: maximum cell phone rates €0.42/min). Reservations can also be made at Lufthansa travel agency partners or at Lufthansa sales counters at airports. All the details about the A380 are available for download at  www.lufthansa.com/A380 .