Παρασκευή, 28 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Outrigger Offers 'March Magic' in Thailand

Three Outrigger resorts in Thailand are offering special "March Magic" offers for hotel stays from now until 31 March, 2014. The value packages are aimed at couples, groups and families seeking absolute beachfront resort luxury or mega-spacious accommodation. Two properties are in Phuket. The third is in Phi Phi Island, midway between Phuket and Krabi.
The absolute beachfront Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort on Bang Tao beach is offering best available rates for a Deluxe Lagoon Room for a minimum two-night stay. The deal includes daily breakfast for two adults, food and beverage credit of THB1,000 per paying adult per night, free wi-fi (in room), and access to the fitness centre. The resort is part of Laguna Phuket and is a 15-minute drive from Phuket International Airport. Full offer details.

On Phi Phi Island, the absolute beachfront Outrigger Phi Phi Island Resort and Spa is available at best available rates for a minimum two-night stay in a Deluxe Seaview Bungalow. The rate includes daily breakfast for two adults, a THB1,000 food credit per paying adult per night and free wi-fi (in communal areas). The all-bungalow resort is a spectacular 90-minute boat ride from Phuket. Full offer details.
At the very spacious Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort and Villas, guests can stay three nights in a luxury Three-Bedroom Villa at best available rates and receive one more night for free. The offer includes daily breakfast for up to six adults, in-room wi-fi, use of bicycles, and access to the fitness centre. Full offer details.

All three March Magic special rates require a minimum two-night stay and are subject to a total of 18.7% service charge and government taxes.
Additional services such as spa treatments, round-trip airport transfers and baby-sitting services can be added at extra cost.

Kenya Focuses on South Korea’s Tourism Market

Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) has extended its promotion to South Korea to attract tourists as it receives more visitors from promising markets. KTB, which is Kenya’s top tourism marketer, led eight companies for a two-day, two-city road show on February 26 and 27 in Seoul and Busan.

Muriithi Ndegwa, Managing Director of KTB said that Kenya as a destination is riding on its recent upgrading as the World’s leading safari destination — as voted at the World Travel Awards (WTA) — to showcase tourism. He also said that the road show would provide a business-networking forum for both the Korean and Kenyan trade to increase penetration, awareness, and distribution of Kenya’s diverse tourism products.

Kenya has recorded a notable development from the Korean market in the past few years with a growth of 28 per cent recorded in 2012, with 9,422 arrivals compared to 2011, which posted 7,351 tourists. The launch of Korean Air flying to Kenya three times a week has added drive to the growth of the Korean market.

Bombardier to Premiere its new Learjet 75 aircraft on a Tour of Latin America

Bombardier Aerospace  announced that its new Learjet 75 aircraft will be showcased for the first time in Latin America during a special demonstration tour. The aircraft will touch down in select cities in Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Guatemala, Brazil and Chile from March 4 to March 28.

The new Learjet 75 aircraft will be on static display during Aero Expo in Toluca, Mexico, from March 5-8 and FIDAE in Santiago, Chile, from March 25-31. The redesigned Learjet business jet will also be showcased at several events and stops in Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil and Chile, among others.

“We are very proud to bring our new Learjet 75 jet to the region for the first time,” said Stéphane Leroy, Regional Vice President, Sales, Latin America, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “This aircraft, with its fusion of modern design, Learjet heritage and top performance, was developed with the needs of our customers in mind.” he added. “We are convinced that this new Learjet aircraft will not only maintain, but grow our market share in the region.”

The first deliveries of the Learjet 70 and Learjet 75 aircraft were completed in December 2013.

Expansion of Bombardier Business Aircraft Sales Team in Latin America
To further support the growing Latin American business aviation market, Bombardier Business Aircraft also announced the appointment of a new Regional Vice-President for Sales and two new Sales Directors in Latin America.

Stéphane Leroy, previously Sales Director for South America and the Carribean, is appointed Regional Vice-President, Sales, Bombardier Business Aircraft. Stéphane will be supported by Nicolas Aliaga, Sales Director for Latin and Central America. Nicolas recently held the role of Sales Manager for Pre-Owned aircraft in Latin America. Michael Anckner, Sales Director for South America and Carribean, previously held the role of Sales Manager for Latin America. The new sales directors will join the current sales team, Fernando Lacerda, Sales Director for Brazil and Saul Arceo, Sales Director for Mexico.

Learjet 75 aircraft: Based on the Learjet 85 aircraft interior design and technology, the Learjet 70 and Learjet 75 aircraft offer improved comfort and styling of the seats; cabin management system featuring individual touchscreen monitors with full audio and video control; LED lighting throughout the entire aircraft; a generous baggage suite and a spacious galley to optimize catering, work and storage space. With a maximum range greater than 2,000 nautical miles at cruise speeds up to Mach 0.81, the Learjet 75 aircraft will be able to fly four passengers and two crew members non-stop from Toluca to Toronto and São Paulo to Santiago.* Additionally, its powerful engines and new winglet design allow it to carry eight passengers with full fuel.

Worldhotels Boosts Portugal Portfolio

Worldhotels, one of the leading groups for independent upscale hotels, is proud to expand its longstanding partnership with Portuguese Tivoli Hotels & Resorts. Four additional hotels in Portugal have joined the group’s portfolio, bringing the total number of Tivoli Hotels in the Worldhotels network to twelve.

The successful partnership began as early as 1978, when the first Tivoli hotel in Lisbon joined the group. Reflecting back on the 35-year relationship, Filipe Santiago, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of Tivoli Hotels & Resorts, says: “Worldhotels has served us as a reliable partner during our longstanding partnership, offering us the best possible support, especially during economically challenging times. Taking our agreement to the next level was a logical step for us in our ambition to maximise international business for our hotels.”

Tivoli Hotels & Resorts operates elegantly furnished four and five star hotels in attractive locations in Portugal and Brazil. With over 80 years of history in the hotel industry, the Tivoli brand focuses on providing traditional hospitality, combined with excellent service and first-class quality.

“Tivoli Hotels & Resorts is an internationally renowned luxury brand and perfectly complements our portfolio of independent upscale hotels”, comments Worldhotels’ Chief Marketing Officer, Paulo Salvador. “Working with the Tivoli group for many years, we take pride in now representing the group’s entire Portuguese portfolio, offering our guests a greater selection of unique luxury hotels.”

The four new Tivoli Hotels are:
Tivoli Lisboa, Lisbon
Situated on the Avenida da Liberdade in the historic heart of Lisbon, the Tivoli Lisboa offers luxury brand shopping right on its doorstep, traditional Portuguese cuisine in its Terraco Restaurant, fifteen meeting rooms, its own Conference and Events centre as well as over 300 individually designed guest rooms.

Tivoli Palácio de Seteais, Sintra
Situated on the hillside of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site close to Lisbon, this 18th century palace hotel boasts 30 exclusively decorated rooms, period furniture, frescos and paintings throughout and sophisticated cuisine in its Seteais Restaurant.

Tivoli Victoria, Vilamoura
A new retreat in the Algarve region, this hotel offers 280 rooms with views over the Oceânico Victoria golf course and is only a ten minute drive from the Praia da Falésia beach. A full conference and meetings centre for up to 800 delegates, an award-winning Banyan Tree Elements Spa and its trend-setting gourmet Emo Restaurant complete the hotel’s offerings.

The Residences at Victoria Clube de Golfe, Vilamoura
Ideally located close to five championship golf courses in Vilamoura, the luxurious residence is only ten minutes drive from the Algarve beaches and the marina. It features 145 stylish two or three bedroom apartments, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, full /TKids facility and access to the next door Tivoli Victoria’s restaurants and Banyan Tree spa.

Hotels.com Is ‘The Obvious Choice’ For Hotel Bookings In New Ad Campaign

Hotels.com®, the online accommodation site that’s always been clear about what it does and what it stands for, has launched a clever new creative campaign to show why it is the obvious choice for booking hotels.

The new campaign – ‘The Obvious Choice™’ – light-heartedly brings to life a funny character that has existed in pop culture for decades. Through the creative execution, Hotels.com debuts a fictional world traveler and the brand’s new biggest fan, Captain Obvious™.

The launch spot broke on February 23rd during popular cable programming and will continue to run on major networks and adjacent to hit TV shows in the US and Canada. The campaign, which will also include Captain Obvious social media activations, email marketing, radio spots, cinema, and online banners and video, represents the biggest creative launch in the 23-year history of Hotels.com.

“When ‘Hotels.com, The Obvious Choice’ idea came to us, it seemed so… obvious! It’s in our name, but not only that, it’s in everything we do,” said Neha Parikh, vice president and general manager, Hotels.com North America. “We are a company full of fun, hardworking and entrepreneurial travel lovers and this new campaign really helps to take our internal culture out to our customers, which is really important to us.”

The first TV spot features Captain Obvious walking through a hotel and offering obvious observations before proclaiming that Hotels.com is the best dot com to book hotels and that Hotels.com is on the internet. Future spots will focus on additional obvious differentiators, such as the Hotels.com award-winning mobile app, hotel deals, the brand’s more than 10 million genuine guest reviews, and the Welcome Rewards® loyalty program.

Neha Parikh adds: “The launch spot is meant to introduce Captain Obvious to the world and the feedback has been great. For example, people are saying, ‘Captain Obvious is their new favorite character,’ and some have asked us where they can purchase his swimsuit! As the campaign unfolds, we will show customers exactly why Hotels.com is the obvious choice — from rewarding people with a free night for every 10 they collect, to our genuine guest reviews, to our award-winning customer service.”

‘The Obvious Choice’ campaign was created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky out of Boulder, Co. The “Hotels” spot was directed by Imperial Woodpecker’s Stacy Wall, whose directorial credits include projects for brands such as Nike, T Mobile and Geico. Media planning and buying for the campaign is being overseen by TargetCast.

“Hotels.com is a great brand,” said Dan Donovan Executive Creative Director, CP+B, Boulder. “We wanted to tell their story in a very clear and fun way, and we think Captain Obvious gives us a terrific vehicle to do that.”

Luxury Re-Defined In Sun-Drenched Southern California as The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage Welcomes Guests To Palm Springs In May 2014

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. will beckon guests to re-discover one of Southern California’s most scenic havens in Rancho Mirage, opening on May 15, 2014. Less than two hours from the world-renowned destinations of Los Angeles and San Diego – with direct flights from the East Coast – the luxury desert resort is beautifully enveloped by the Santa Rosa Mountain range, on a 650-foot bluff overlooking Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.

The prominently-situated Palm Springs hotel will feature 244 resort rooms and suites, residences, a two-story luxury spa, more than 30,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space and destination dining with sweeping valley views.
“A seamless luxury experience in this iconic area of California has not only been greatly anticipated by The Ritz-Carlton – but even more so by brand loyalists around the world,” shared Chris Gabaldon, area vice president for the Western region. “This storied property will deliver a highly sensory respite that is culturally and generationally relevant, offering rich experiences for the leisure and business traveler, alike.”

The stunning architectural approach translates to an aesthetic that springs from the region, celebrates the spectacular site and honors the area’s cultural history. Designed to complement its desert setting by featuring natural elements of stone, wood and fire to reflect the local landscape, colors and culture — the result is contemporary, contextual luxury.

Throughout the resort, there is an embrace of indoor/outdoor living, an emphasis on muted natural hues and tactile materials, and a stylized interpretation of the desert environment will create a more harmonious transition between the luxury hotel and its surroundings. Dining venues will include a visually dynamic exhibition kitchen at State Fare Bar + Kitchen and a restaurant specializing in steak, seafood and fine wine, The Edge. Perched bluff-side with unparalleled views of the Palm Springs valley, The Edge will offer the perfect gathering place for year-round cocktails, celebrations and stargazing.

“As a long-time resident of this city, I am among the many who are thrilled for the return of The Ritz-Carlton,” offered Doug Watson, general manager of the resort. “Our Ladies and Gentlemen are truly honored to represent the community of Rancho Mirage and become the desired destination for establishing new traditions and memory making.”

Inviting resort amenities will offer cliff-side swimming and serenity pools and an alluring, artfully-designed destination spa unrivaled in the Palm Springs Valley. Guests will also be availed access to the desert’s finest curated golf and tennis experiences with exclusive arrangements at premier courses and clubs, accentuated by close proximity to a wide array of cultural and recreational activities – including more than 20 miles of hiking/biking trails, polo grounds, world-class shopping and more.

Lose yourself in a good book with Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains will be giving away free books on World Book Day (Wednesday 6 March 2014), courtesy of Legend Press.

Most of us look forward to a long train journey as a chance to get stuck in a good book. Whether it’s a whirlwind romance, a scary thriller or a swashbuckling adventure, there is nothing better than devouring pages while travelling at 125mph to your destination.

And with World Book Day just around the corner, Virgin Trains’ customers are being spoilt as we will be giving away free books at all our stations.

The books were generously donated by Legend Press, and include titles such as: ‘Nutmeg’ by Maria Goodin, ‘Letters from Yelena’ by Guy Mankowski and ‘The Summer we all ran away’ by Cassandra Parkin.

Graham Leech, Executive Director, Commercial for Virgin Trains said: “At Virgin Trains we all enjoy a good read. By letting the train take the strain, there is no better time to indulge in a book than when you are travelling with no worries on your mind. We are delighted that Legend Press Publishing is giving our customers the opportunity to enjoy World Book Day while on the move.”

Lucy Chamberlain, Publicity Director for Legend Press, says: “We are delighted to be working with Virgin Trains on this project for World Book Day and to share some fantastic novels with their customers. We want to remind everyone there is no better time to read an unforgettable book than when travelling. We are also thrilled to be working with one of the most innovative brands in the UK and hope that Virgin Trains’customers will help us spread the word that great books can not only take you on a journey but stay with you forever.”

AM Airlines will launch nonstop service between Miami and Fortaleza on May 31, 2014

TAM Airlines, member of LATAM Airlines Group, announces its nonstop service between Miami and Fortaleza, the capital of Ceara, that will launch on May 31, 2014 and operate on Saturdays. Tickets are available for purchase as of today, February 26, 2014. With this nonstop flight, Fortaleza will serve as a strategic location in TAM’s network for passengers traveling to Northeastern Brazil.

Tourism travel is strong in Fortaleza and caters to different types of travelers – from those who prefer to relax on the beach and explore the local markets, to those seeking adventure and extreme sports, such as kite surfing and hang gliding, or those who want to discover the beautiful landscapes of the state’s countryside. The new flight is also expected to stimulate Fortaleza’s economic development, which today is known for the production of fruits, wines and fabrics, as well as for its shrimp farming, fishing, and lobster fishing.

TAM connects Miami to six Brazilian cities: Belem, Belo Horizonte/Confins, Brasilia, Manaus, Rio de Janeiro/Galeão and São Paulo/Guarulhos. TAM passengers can travel to Brazil from Miami, Orlando and New York (JFK) and many other cities in the US through a codeshare agreement with partner airlines.

Lufthansa simplifies online booking at www.lufthansa.com

Lufthansa is making it easier to book tickets and a wide range of other services on its website www.lufthansa.com. The individual booking steps have been fundamentally changed, and the layout has been redesigned and the menu prompts simplified. From now on, customers can add flights and other optional flight-related services to their virtual shopping cart. This includes seat reservations, travel insurance packages and rail&fly tickets of Deutsche Bahn for international flights. The shopping basket provides online customers with an overview of all the selected services as well as the total price calculated for these. Details such as destination or date can now also be changed during the individual booking steps – the available flight connections and the shopping cart will automatically be updated accordingly. Up until now, customers had to repeat the booking steps if they made any changes.

New icons on the booking interface help customers to find their way around when selecting the optimal fare. Using brief descriptions, these icons provide customers with a quick overview of the details of the fares on offer such as whether the ticket can be rebooked, refunded or upgraded as well as information about air miles and free luggage. This will make it possible to compare price and services at a glance. Flight times and the number of stopovers are also displayed more clearly in the new booking interface.

For the first time, customers are also able to reserve seats online at www.lufthansa.com for a charge. Customers can reserve their preferred seat from a newly designed seating chart when booking. Seats with more leg-room are specially marked on the chart.

The new booking function can also be used to add other services to existing bookings at a later time. Existing bookings will be clearly listed in the new “Lufthansa Service Cockpit” under the category “My Bookings” and can be amended there (e.g. ordering special meals, rebooking). Passengers wishing to go away with family or friends can simply send their travel itinerary in future at any time by email or via facebook. They also have the option of holding their reservation for 48 hours at a guaranteed price. If they confirm the booking afterwards, this service is free. Otherwise, EUR 30 will be charged. The process for booking tickets for third parties has also been greatly simplified.

Online customers can obtain personal support if required at www.lufthansa.com. Personal, online help by telephone can be accessed during the booking process and is available from all around the world. In addition, the customer support team can offer solutions via Live Chat in German and English.

At present, around 20 per cent of Lufthansa’s passengers worldwide book their tickets via the Lufthansa website www.lufthansa.com. In Germany, this figure is almost 30 per cent. This website is displayed in 98 different country versions, with twelve languages and is visited by about 450,000 users daily.

Embassy Suites Anaheim-Orange Opens After Twelve Million Dollar Conversion and Redesign

Embassy Suites Hotels, the Hilton Worldwide brand of upscale all-suite hotels, opened Embassy Suites Anaheim-Orange today after a $12 million renovation including a complete makeover of suites, meeting space and indoor and outdoor pool facilities. The hotel, formerly a Hilton Suites, is managed by Crescent Hotels & Resorts, and it will serve as a hub for both business and leisure travelers due to its proximity to major airports, convention centers, stadiums and theme parks.

“We are excited to welcome this Anaheim hotel as we grow our portfolio in Southern California,” said John Rogers, global head, Embassy Suites Hotels.  “Along with the hotel team, we look forward to showcasing our new hotel and delivering superior guest service to our loyal guests as well as future guests traveling to the area.”

Guests will be welcomed to a redesigned contemporary lobby featuring an atrium restaurant and bar, Cloud 9, that has been completely reimagined creating a gathering place for guests to enjoy daily, complimentary, cooked-to-order breakfast and a complimentary evening reception*. The hotel’s suites have been redesigned to feature luxurious bathrooms with a separate shower and tub as well as a separate living room with sofa bed, microwave, refrigerator, work desk and ergonomic chair. Eighteen of the 230 suites are two-bedroom family suites, offering the same updated amenities as standard one-bedroom suites but with a full size bed next to the den and 200 sq. ft. more space.

The hotel will accommodate an intimate meeting and event atmosphere for up to 100 people.  Four thousand sq. ft. of meeting and banquet space is available including breakout rooms for up to 50 people and a boardroom with executive-style chairs for up to 10 people.  The atrium provides reserved seating for a relaxing lunch venue as well as a 24-hour complimentary business center-all the amenities needed to help the smart business traveler get the job done comfortably while on the road. Guests can also enjoy the complimentary 24-hour fitness center, which features state-of-the-art Precor® fitness equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines and free weights.

“This was a much-needed renovation to enhance our guest experience and showcase our unparalleled convenience and outstanding services,” said Markus Kohn, general manager, Embassy Suites Anaheim-Orange.  “Our hotel has always been home to frequent business travelers and vacationing families, but with new renovations to our suites, meeting spaces, lobby and restaurant, the hotel will be that much more of an attractive choice for our visitors.”

Sports fans, families and other leisure travelers will enjoy the hotel’s proximity to various stadiums, theme parks and white sandy beaches.  The hotel is within walking distance of the MLB’s Angel Stadium and only one mile from the Honda Center, a major concert venue and home of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.  Just a shuttle away is the Disneyland® Resort and The Outlets of Orange, featuring more than 120 shops, restaurants and a spa.  John Wayne/Orange County Airport is just 11 miles away and guests can enjoy easy access to freeways 57 and 22, numerous Orange County beaches and the cities of San Diego and Los Angeles.  The hotel is also a few minutes from Chapman University, UCI Medical Center and major corporations in the Anaheim/Orange County.

Earn Unlimited Free Nights This Spring

Choice Privileges, the guest-loyalty program for Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), announced today that, this Spring, members of the Choice Privileges rewards program can earn a free night after completing two separate qualifying trips with arrival between February 27 and May 14, 2014 at participating Choice hotels worldwide.*

To participate in the promotion, guests must register on ChoiceHotels.com prior to their first trip and book their reservations at ChoiceHotels.com, via their mobile device or by calling 800.4CHOICE. After completing two separate qualifying trips, guests can earn enough Choice Privileges points to redeem for a free night at over 1,500 hotels at brands including Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, Ascend Hotel Collection, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, and MainStay Suites. Guests can earn an unlimited amount of free nights during the promotion period.

“A new picture of Choice is taking shape and we enjoy offering this Spring promotion to reward our valuable customers for their loyalty and dedication to our portfolio of hotels,” commented Greg Brown vice president of Loyalty, Promotions and Relationship Marketing for Choice Hotels. “This is also a perfect opportunity for our guests to experience the sweeping refreshes we have implemented with the Comfort brands and U.S.-based Sleep Inn properties.”

Asia Pacific Airlines Traffic Results – January 2014

Preliminary traffic figures for the month of January released today by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed a continuation of steady growth in international passenger traffic, whilst air cargo markets were also relatively firm in the lead up to the Chinese New Year holidays.

Collectively, the region’s airlines carried 21.1 million international passengers in January, 8.7% more than the same month last year, reflecting healthy travel demand linked to the Chinese New Year holiday season. In revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms, international passenger traffic grew by 8.1%, reflecting particularly strong regional demand.
Combined with a 7.2% expansion in available seat capacity, the average international passenger load factor edged 0.7 percentage points higher to 79.0% for the month.

International air cargo demand in freight tonne kilometre (FTK) terms registered a 3.9% increase compared to the same month last year, slightly boosted by the earlier timing of the Chinese New Year holidays this year. Offered freight capacity expanded by 5.3%, resulting in a 0.7 percentage point decline in the average international freight load factor to 61.3%.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Andrew Herdman, AAPA Director General said, “The year started on an encouraging note for Asian carriers, with solid increases in passenger numbers maintaining the established growth trend. Nevertheless, Asian carriers face a number of headwinds including recent stock market and currency volatility in emerging markets, and widespread competitive pressures holding down yields. Furthermore, the situation in the air cargo market remains quite difficult, with little evidence of any sustained pickup in demand given sluggish international trade growth, whilst freight rates remain pressured by an overhang of excess freighter capacity.”

World Committee on Tourism Ethics to focus on the exploitation of children

The protection of children from all forms of exploitation, the fight against trafficking, anti-poaching and accessible tourism for all are among the work priorities defined by the newly formed World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE). The Committee met at UNWTO headquarters to identify the major challenges facing responsible tourism and define its Action Plan for the coming four years (Madrid, Spain, 26 February 2014).

Under the chairmanship of Pascal Lamy (former Director-General of World Trade Organization - WTO), the World Committee on Tourism Ethics met for the first time in its new constitution as appointed by the UNWTO General Assembly in August 2013.

“The World Committee on Tourism Ethics is not destined to solve major political and economic issues at the global level; it will be a useful instrument in interpreting a frontier area, which is tourism ethics, by binding people together in an operational way”, said Pascal Lamy.

“One billion tourists crossing international borders every year can mean one billion opportunities but also one billion catastrophes; it is up to us to decide. Governments, companies and tourists themselves need to ensure tourism works as a force of good and I am convinced that the new Committee on Tourism Ethics will assist greatly in this endeavor”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

The Action Plan of the Committee for the coming four years will focus on:

  • the exploitation of children in all its forms;
  • trafficking;
  • poaching and the illegal trading of wildlife;
  • accessible tourism for all;
  • promotion of fair models of all inclusive holidays; and
  • unfounded ratings on travel portals which may impact the reputation of companies  and destinations.

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics is an impartial body responsible for interpreting, applying and evaluating the provisions of the the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.

Record 14.2m. overnight visitors to greater Miami and the beaches in 2013

MIAMI - Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) President & CEO William D. Talbert, III, CDME announced that Travel and Tourism's overnight visitors to Greater Miami and the Beaches for calendar year 2013 surpassed another benchmark with a record-breaking 14.2 million overnight visitors, a +2.2% increase over 2012.

"This is the first time the destination has welcomed more than 14 million overnight visitors and marks the fourth consecutive year of record-breaking overnight visitors to the destination," says Talbert. In 2013, Greater Miami and the Beaches welcomed a record 7.13 million International overnight visitors, an increase of +4.4% over the previous year and a record 7.09 million Domestic overnight visitors, a +0.2% increase over the previous year. A record $22.8 billion in visitor expenditures for 2013 represents an increase of +4.6% over 2012. 

"For the fourth year in a row, the strength of the Miami brand continues to attract record overnight visitors from around the world, generating record expenditures and supporting ongoing increases in the number of jobs in our industry," says Steven Haas, GMCVB Board Chair. Greater Miami and the Beaches' Accommodations and Food Services Employment reached a record 110,800 industry jobs, which is a +4.3% increase over the previous year and 48 consecutive months of industry employment increases.

In 2013, Greater Miami and the Beaches ranked #4 in all three categories of revenue per available hotel room (RevPar), hotel room rate, and occupancy among the Top 25 U.S. Hotel Markets. The destination achieved new records in 2013 for RevPar of $137.60, an increase of +10.1% over the previous year. Average daily room rate reached a record (ADR) $176.66, an increase of +8.1% over the previous year and hotel room occupancy climbed to a record 77.9%, a +1.8% increase over 2012.

Business and leisure travel stable nationally, business travel down in Ontario

OTTAWA – Latest results from the 2014 HAC Canadian Travel Intentions Survey show that business and leisure travel is projected to remain the same as last year. Eighty-one per cent of business travellers will be travelling more or the same for business in 2014. The exception is Ontario, where business travel is projected to be down four per cent over last year’s numbers. The highest increase for business travel in 2014 is in the Prairies and BC at 27 per cent, 3 per cent more than the national average.

“While business travel numbers remain stable for 2014, there is some worry about the down turn in Ontario,” said Tony Pollard, HAC President. “This information, on the heels of the federal budget cuts to provincial transfer payments is not good news for Ontario properties catering to domestic business travellers.”

Eighty-three per cent of leisure travellers will travel more or the same as last year and 11 per cent will travel less. Overall, leisure travel intentions are the same as 2013 and 2012 results. While leisure travel is static nationally, 36 per cent of BCers said they would be travelling more for leisure, 14 per cent more than the national average and up two per cent over 2013. Respondents from the Prairies expressed the most uncertainty regarding leisure travel with 17 per cent indicating they will travel less than 2013 and 8 per cent undecided.

Business travelers who said they would be travelling less this year said they would be doing so for two main reasons, the price of gas/energy (20%) and the cost of air fare (20%). The economy, not as much of a concern in 2013, has jumped back into the top three reasons for travelling less for business in 2014 (17%). The Canadian dollar, for the first time in four years, is again a concern with 16 per cent of business respondents. Worries about the economy, the Canadian dollar and the price of gas are highest with Ontario business travellers.

Canadians Travelling to the United States
Twenty-nine per cent of Canadian travellers said they would be doing more travel to the US in 2014 than 2013, up 3 per cent over last year’s numbers.

Seventeen per cent of 2014 respondents said they travelled to the U.S. for cheaper airline tickets in 2013, with the highest number of cross border ticket buyers from Ontario and British Columbia. A further 23 per cent said they plan on cross border shopping for cheaper air fares in 2014. An alarming 60 per cent of respondents also said they knew people who travelled to the U.S. in 2013 to purchase cheaper airline tickets.

“Canada’s aviation cost structure is one of the highest in the world. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Canada ranks 136th out of 139 countries,” says Pollard. “Aviation and airport fees and charges make Canada’s aviation costs almost 30% higher than other jurisdictions. It is no wonder Canadians continue to flock to the US to purchase less expensive airline tickets”.

Influence of Technology
More Canadian travellers are looking to the web and social media for travel information. Social media, while not influential for business travellers four years ago, now has almost a quarter of business travellers saying they use information from this medium to help make their hotel selections with on-line testimonials having the most impact on accommodation selection (58%). Seventy two per cent of leisure travellers said ratings on internet booking services and other sites have a great deal of influence on where they choose to stay. Fifty-one per cent of leisure travellers in the 18-24 year old category and 34 per cent of those in the 25-34 year old category are most influenced by social media, while leisure travellers in the 55+ category are the least influenced.

“More and more Canadians are using social media to post pictures, load videos and make comments about places they have stayed, and it’s having quite the influence on other travellers’ decisions,” says Pollard. “Hotels know they are being scrutinized like never before and are rising up to the challenge.”

Smartphones – Travellers are Connected
Seventy per cent of travellers (up 11% over 2013) use smart phones when they travel. The majority use their phones to get in touch with family/friends (52%), particularly those from the Prairies (59%). As always, Canadian travellers are weather-obsessed, with 48 per cent (up 7% over 2013) saying they use their smart phones to check the weather. Again those from the Prairies check the weather the most at 58 per cent. Forty per cent said they use GPS and/or get directions on their smart phones, an increase of eight per cent since 2011. Facebook is becoming more popular with all age groups with 29 per cent of travellers (up 5% from 2013) using their smart phones to check Facebook.

For the first time, HAC asked about hailing a cab with a smart phone and 13 per cent of travellers said they have. Fourteen per cent book hotels (almost same as 2013) and seven per cent buy air, train, or bus tickets on their smart phones. Ten per cent use their smart and mobile phones to Tweet, up three per cent from 2013.

“Almost 60 per cent of 18-34 year old travellers are using their smart phones for GPS or directions, 20 per cent more than the rest of the Canadian population. The days of reading a map are long gone for this young adult crowd,” said Mr. Pollard.

Green Key Program - Important to Both Business and Leisure Travellers
The importance of hotel environmental certification such as the HAC Green Key program took a dramatic leap this year with 44 per cent of Canadian business travellers, up 18 per cent over 2013 numbers. Those from the Atlantic (53%) found it the most important, followed by BC (48%). Three per cent more leisure travellers over last year said environmental certification programs are important to them. This is up 7 per cent over the past five years.

Crystal Cruises is women's choice for "America's Best in Travel"

HONG KONG – Crystal Cruises has been chosen ‘America’s Best in Travel’ in the Luxury Cruising category of the 2013 Women’s Choice Awards - the only award recognizing brands and companies recommended by women, to women. Based on a national poll of more than 1,300 female consumers and travel agents, the award not only reflects the priorities and preferences of female consumers, but also praises Crystal’s dedication to excellence in service, spacious and elegant atmosphere, luxurious details, and genuine care shown by crew and officers. The awards were created by leading research company and female consumer advocate, WomenCertified.   

“Our guests have always been our biggest cheerleaders, but the Women’s Choice Award represents a significant stamp of approval from our female quotient, as women continue to play the primary role in planning and booking family travel,” says Edie Bornstein, the line’s recently-appointed, and first-ever, female president. 

The ease, luxury, and comfort of the Crystal experience has long made the line a preferred vacation choice for women.  Women traveling alone can find low solo fares; Ambassador Hosts escorts; group shore excursions; and assigned dinner seating. Highly accomplished female speakers, such as political consultant Mary Matalin and counter-terrorism expert Farhani Ali, are also regularly featured in Crystal’s enrichment program.

With a mission of providing guests the finest experience possible in not just the luxury cruise industry, but the entire luxury service industry, Crystal Cruises has earned some of the most prestigious praise in the business for the past two decades, including more “World’s Best” awards more than any other cruise line, hotel, or resort in history.

Events Forum 2014 discusses business opportunities, impacts and improvements in the organization of events

Various events of all sizes occur annually worldwide. The numbers of shares in events, news and the objectives achieved grow day by day. Specializing in the production of content for event planners in Brazil, Expo Events Publisher, created a forum to discuss best practices for national and international events.

The Second Forum Events happening this year on 24 and 25 March in Sao Paulo and has confirmed the participation of Brazilian experts and expressive leaders in the production chain of events in several countries.

According to data from the Brazilian Union of Prosecutors of Fairs (Ubrafe), the city of Sao Paulo 300 000 events per year are being performed: meetings, 22%; sociocultural events, 21%; conventions, 20%; Congress, 15%, exhibitions / auctions, 8%, tradeshows, 8%, sporting events, 5%.  The industry trade shows held in the state capital generates an economic impact of R$ 16.29.684.338 - survey conducted in late 2013.

The IEVC - Cheap Corporate Travel Index, conducted by the Latin American Association of Event Managers and Travel (Alagev) indicates that corporate travel generated R$ 69.5 billion in 2013.

The 10 panels Events Forum 2014 proposes to give an overview on the various types of organized events , their impacts and economic drive, with space for reflection on what needs to be improved and not only for the success of the event, but also for the benefit of society.

Topics include security, technology, return on investment, governance, transparency, deals with mega events, sectorial policy, knowledge management and regulation, sustainability, volunteering, creativity and future projections.

"We live in a growing importance of events in the business of small, medium and large company’s strategy scenario. However, its realization requires high-performance cultures, well-structured evaluation processes from concrete goals and targets that demonstrate the values and reputation of company. In this process governance, advocacy, sustainability, regulation, creativity and volunteering can be the difference between success and failure of an event", says the director of Expo Events Publisher, Junqueira Sergio Arantes, responsible for organizing the Forum.

The meeting will be attended by Brazilian and international lecturers, heads of organizations and associations that promote major conferences and exhibitions, agencies, promoters and event organizers, suppliers of equipment and services, representatives of destinations, hotels, convention center, among other. In its first edition, the Forum was considered excellent and great for 98.56% of the participants.

In 2014, and to discuss news and trends in the sector, are among the main objectives of the Forum to professional training, the presentation of national and international cases, the expansion of opportunities for events and business generation and networking between agencies, suppliers and executives events.

This year's Forum will take place in Area Events Rosa Rosarum, one of the best holiday events in the capital city.

British cruisers name favourite cruise ships in 2014 Cruise Critic U.K. Cruisers' Choice Awards

LONDON - Cruise Critic, leading cruise reviews site and world's largest online cruise community, has released its 2014 Cruise Critic U.K. Cruisers' Choice Awards - the cruise awards based entirely on reviews submitted by cruisers.

Royal Caribbean rode the waves in the awards for the Large Ship class, with Serenade of the Seas, the third ship in the Radiance-class fleet, named Best Overall ship, Best Value-for-Money and Best Dining. Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas took Best for Embarkation.

British cruisers identified Celebrity ships as the top in 10 categories. In the Mid-Size ship awards, Celebrity Century won Best Overall ship, Best Dining, Best Fitness, Best Service and Best Value-for-Money.  Within the Large Ship category, Celebrity Eclipse was commended for Best Cabins and Best from the UK, whilst Celebrity Equinox won Best Public Rooms and Best Service.

Azamara Club Cruises sailed away with 7 awards in the Small Ship class, with Azamara Journey taking Best Overall Small Ship, Best for Dining, Best Fitness, Best Entertainment and Best Public Rooms. Azamara Quest took two awards; Best Service and Best Value-for-Money.

The U.K. Cruise Critic Cruisers' Choice Awards are based on reviews submitted by U.K.-based cruisers for cruises taken during 2013. They are awarded in three ship classes, according to passenger capacity – small (1,199 passengers or fewer), mid-sized (1,200 to 1,999) and large (2,000+). The top 10 ships in each class are named in the following categories:  Overall, Cabins, Dining, Embarkation, Entertainment, Fitness, Public Rooms, Service, Shore Excursions and Value-for-Money.  Awards are also given to the top-ranked ships in popular cruise regions; Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

This year's U.K. winners include:

Best Large Ships
Best Overall Ship: Serenade of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
Best Dining: Serenade of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
Best Value-for:Money: Serenade of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
Best for Embarkation: Adventure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
Best Fitness: P&O Cruises' Ventura
Best Shore Excursions: Queen Elizabeth (Cunard)
Best Cabins: Celebrity Eclipse
Best Public Rooms, Best Service: Celebrity Equinox
Best Entertainment: Carnival Sunshine
Top 10 Large Ships in Each Category

Best Mid-Sized Ships
Best Overall Ship: Celebrity Century
Best Dining: Celebrity Century
Best Fitness: Celebrity Century
Best Service: Celebrity Century
Best Value-for-Money: Celebrity Century
Best Entertainment: Thomson Spirit
Best Shore Excursions: Thomson Island Escape
Best Embarkation: Norwegian Spirit (Norwegian Cruise Line)
Best Cabins: Riviera (Oceania)
Best Public Rooms: Riviera (Oceania)
Top 10 Mid-Size Ships in Each Category

Best Small Ships
Best Overall Ship: Azamara Journey
Best Dining: Azamara Journey
Best Entertainment: Azamara Journey
Best Fitness: Azamara Journey
Best Public Rooms: Azamara Journey
Best Service: Azamara Quest
Best Value-for-Money: Azamara Quest
Best Embarkation: Braemer (Fred. Olsen Cruise Line)
Best Shore Excursions: Black Watch (Fred. Olsen Cruise Line)
Best Cabins: P&O Cruises' Adonia
Top 10 Small-Size Ships in Each Category

Best for Families (all ship sizes): P&O Cruises' Azura
Top 10 Cruises for Families

Best Destination Cruises (based on global ratings)
Best Cruise to Alaska: Rhapsody of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
Best Cruise to the Bahamas: Disney Dream
Best Cruise to the Caribbean: Disney Fantasy
Best Cruise to the Mediterranean: Celebrity Silhouette
Best from the U.K: Celebrity Eclipse
"Winning a Cruisers' Choice Award is a fantastic accolade for cruise lines, particularly as they're based entirely on review ratings submitted by cruisers over the course of the past year, rather than votes. These awards offer a great insight into British consumers' first-hand experiences and feedback of the cruises they have been on," explained Adam Coulter, UK editor at Cruise Critic.

Cruise Critic boasts the largest online cruise community in the world with more than 100,000 cruise reviews, covering approximately 400 of the most popular cruise ships. Awards are based on reviews submitted for cruises taken in 2013. Visit Cruise Critic for a complete list of the 2013 U.K. Cruisers' Choice Awards winners.

Πέμπτη, 27 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Swan Hellenic welcomes aboard Sir Trevor McDonald OBE on the D-Day anniversary cruise

On June 4 2014, Minerva will set sail to commemorate the 70th D-Day anniversary and welcomes aboard celebrated news anchor, Sir Trevor McDonald OBE.

A unique experience to tempt a cruise booking from even a ‘new-to-cruise’ customer, Sir Trevor will be both speaking on board and taking part in ‘An Audience with Sir Trevor MacDonald’, a Question and Answer session hosted by Minerva’s Cruise Director.

Colin Wilson, Group Sales Director at All Leisure Group, said ‘We are thrilled to have such an enigmatic speaker join us on board this cruise and hope agents agree that Sir Trevor will provide a unique insight on what is set to be a very special cruise’.

Travelling aboard the ‘D-Day 70th Anniversary’ cruise, Sir Trevor will offer an intellectually stimulating contrast to the powerful sights of this commemorative cruise.

A journey around some of the most notable sites of the First and Second World Wars in Northern France including Dunkirk, Ypres and St Mere Eglise, the D-Day 70th Anniversary cruise, sails alongside the Normandy Beaches on 6th June and will host a Service of Remembrance. Prices for this cruise startfrom £2,435 per person and departs 4th June 2014. Sir Trevor will be joined by battlefield historian Dr Peter Caddick-Adams who will also be able to offer insightful talks on the D-Day landings.

Sir Trevor is the infamous anchor of ITN News and has conducted some of the most important interviews of his time. Along with interviewing Libyan President Colonel Gadaffi and President Bill Clinton, he conducted the first British television interview with Nelson Mandela upon his release and the only British television interview with Saddam Hussein.

Khiri Travel Launches Lux Tent Stays at Khmer Temples

Bangkok, 27 February 2014 -- Khiri Travel has introduced luxury tented accommodation right alongside the Banteay Chhmar temples in a remote corner of Cambodia. The initiative is being done with cooperation from the local community who are involved with tent setup, maintenance and providing hospitality.
It also has the support of the Global Heritage Fund (GHF) and the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. The aim of GHF's Banteay Chhmar Conservation Training Project is to save the last great Angkorian temple complex in Cambodia that remains largely unstudied and unprotected. Banteay Chhmar temples were built in the late 12th or early 13th century.
Khiri Travel has entered a partnership with the local community and is working to build a sustainable business for the local villagers. The aim is to help them learn additional skills, which bring much needed extra income. The initiative is fully supported by the villagers.
The Banteay Chhmar temples are listed for potential inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The custom-designed tents are high quality Gore-Tex and allow substantial comfort including toilet facilities. There are two tents. Each one can sleep two people in comfort. Villagers cook on site using as many local ingredients as possible.
Download image here

"The tents are erected right alongside the temple ruins," said Jack Bartholomew, General Manager of Khiri Travel Cambodia. "Guests get an authentic, away-from-it-all Khmer cultural experience. I think it's a very peaceful, low impact and rewarding way to enjoy Khmer heritage and give back to the local community," he said.
Banteay Chhmar is a 3.5 hour 4WD drive from Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. Khiri recommends the tented camp as an ideal stopover on an overland journey from Bangkok or Khao Yai national park in Thailand to Siem Reap, or vice versa.
Training of the local community is ongoing. Travel agents wishing to book the tents for guests with a slightly adventurous streak should email sales.cambodia@khiri.com.

Seatrade announces Gala Dinner on Sugar Loaf Mountain for Seatrade Latin America.

Seatrade Communications have announced that the Gala Dinner for the Seatrade Latin America Cruise Convention (2-3 September 2014) will take place on the world-famous Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro.
Each conference delegate place purchased before 31 March 2014 will receive a VIP ticket for this spectacular event, plus the option to travel by cable car to the summit (time permitting), giving guests the opportunity to enjoy a panoramic view of one of the most spectacular cities in the world at night from one of Brazil's most famous land marks.

The conference package will give delegate access to two-full days of debate and discussion with industry leaders, entrance to the exhibition and networking lunches on both days, plus, exclusive early bird discounted rates if booked by the same date.

The two day conference, exhibition and social programme will focus on the development of the cruise industry in Latin America addressing opportunities and challenges including increasing both source and international passenger numbers

Health issues on the rise for business travellers: Increased risk in a changing world

A growing number of business travellers and expatriates are being sent to countries with higher medical risks, and more of them are requiring medical assistance than ever before.

International SOS Medical Director - Medical Information, Dr Irene Lai said: “Our message is clear. If you haven’t thought about preparing your travellers and don’t already have programmes in place to do so, the time to act is now.

Many hospitalisations and medical evacuations are due to preventable causes such as injuries and cardiovascular problems and the risk of evacuation is related to the medical risk at the destination. Preparation of travellers, including a risk assessment, education and health check programme for staff, will reduce the need for intervention after travel. This is especially important for those travelling to high and extreme risk countries.

Potentially such preparation can have a positive impact on business continuity. If companies are not proactively managing the health of their travelling staff prior to deployment, they are running the risk of failed assignments, preventable costs, litigation, or even a tragic outcome.”

Key findings from 2013 – data from approximately 600,000 medical cases in 2013 Global

  • Over 40% of medical cases occurred in countries classed as ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ risk - a sharp increase from less than 25% in 2010.
  • Looking at medical cases by type, heart disease ranks number 5 for men but isn’t in the top ten for women.
  • 11% of medical cases in extreme countries are due to cardiovascular disease, while another 11% can be attributed to infectious illnesses including malaria and dengue fever. Many of these cases could be prevented through pre-deployment programmes such as screening for heart disease, or education on preventing mosquito-borne infections.
  • As in previous years, injuries, respiratory and gastrointestinal problems are the three most common reasons that our members will contact us for medical assistance.

Asia and Middle East

  • 50% of cases in Asia and the Middle East are in ‘high’ risk countries with assistance most commonly required in Indonesia, India, China and Vietnam. This compares with 29% in 2010.
  • Other regions
  • Africa continues to be without any countries classed as ‘low risk’. The combined share of medical cases in high and extreme risk countries has increased since 2010, from 78% to 85%.
  • In medical terms Europe remains a largely low risk continent. Nevertheless, members still require medical assistance in low risk areas. A greater proportion of people (87%) are contacting us from low risk locations, whereas in 2010 the figure was 59%.
  • Medical cases by risk category in the Americas are generally at similar levels to 2010. The number of cases in extreme risk countries has decreased slightly.
  • The number of medical cases in higher risk Oceania countries has increased over the last 4 years, from 14% in 2010 to 25% in 2013.

Our travellers
The number of male and female adults under 40 who seek our help prior to, or during, travel is the same. However over the age of 40, the number of men who call us for medical assistance is more than double the number of women.
Men are more likely to be injured than women whilst overseas. They are also more likely to have a cardiovascular event (such as a heart attack) or suffer from insect-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.
The data analysis mirrors recent research from International SOS which shows:
Nearly 50% of travellers and expatriates hospitalised in a high risk country will require a medical evacuation.
In an extreme risk country, that figure rises to nearly 80%.
Only 32% of the 628 organisations surveyed by the International SOS Foundation conduct person/location risk assessments prior to expatriate assignments.