Πέμπτη, 31 Ιανουαρίου 2019

World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage Launched to Combat Overtourism

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage Launched to Combat Overtourism

THE World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage (WTACH) has been formed to protect local cultures, heritage and historical sites that are in peril from overtourism.

The new association will promote ethical practices and better management relating to culture and heritage destinations that are now buckling due to unrestricted visitor growth. WTACH will also encourage the implementation of sustainable practices at locations that are still in a honeymoon phase of tourism development.

The creation of WTACH comes at a time when the UNWTO reports that international tourism arrivals hit 1.4 billion in 2018, two years ahead of its previous forecast of 2020. The global economy grew 3.7% in 2018, says UNWTO, propelling international tourism arrivals growth to 6% for the year.

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage Launched to Combat Overtourism

To advance its agenda, WTACH has been launched with 15 
specialist advisors from diverse backgrounds relating to the culture and heritage tourism sector. They will work with destinations that need help now or want to put plans in place before running into trouble.

Chris Flynn and Carolyn ChildsWTACH is the brainchild of its founder and CEO, Chris Flynn, a former director for the Pacific region at the Pacific Asia Travel Association, a role he held for 15 years.

He says emerging tourism destinations need more help. While there are overtourism abuses in economically developed, highly regulated destinations, Flynn argues that it is in lesser economically developed destinations where overtourism has disproportionately greater negative impact.

Tourism meltdown locations
“WTACH works with destinations to provide development strategies and policy framework recommendations to avoid the kind of tourism meltdown we are seeing at Angkor Wat, Phi Phi Island and Mt Everest,” says Flynn.

WTACH’s position is that tourism needs to respect host communities and their cultural and heritage assets by adhering to a framework that has the host community at its heart.

“It’s time for the tourism industry to take step back and look at the long term impact of its decision making,” says Flynn.

Social media and mobile devices aren’t helping. Carolyn Childs, CEO of MyTravelResearch.com, and a member of the WTACH advisory specialising in analysing data and trends, says it is no coincidence that WTACH is being born at a time when ‘selfie’ culture and the promotion of ‘Instagramable’ travel is sweeping the world.

“A unique image can ‘create’ a destination in moments – often leaving it unprepared or wrong-footed,” says Childs. “This is particularly true if the image runs counter to cultural values. It risks tourism losing its ‘social licence’ with host communities. Ironically, these ‘instadestinations’ risk destroying the very thing travellers are seeking,” she warns.

The desire for ‘authenticity’ in travel is also problematic. Childs cites an AirBnB survey which found that over 80% of millennial travellers (and 93% of Chinese millennials) seek a “unique” experience and want to “live like locals” while on holiday.

Monetising authenticity
“The pressure on destinations and tour operators to find and monetise ‘unique’ and ‘authentic’ experiences will only increase as both millennial and mature travellers work through their ‘been there done that’ bucket lists,” she says.

“Having the right frameworks in place help communities and tourists. They build a more sustainable destination that delivers truly rewarding experiences,” she says.

On the supply side, WTACH believes that destinations should no longer make arrival numbers their holy grail.

The new association is deeply concerned that Turkey, for example, has decided to expand tourism arrivals from 40 million in 2018 to 70 million by 2023 – less than four years away.

“What interpretive and cultural safeguards have been put in place?” asks Flynn. “Have local communities been consulted? Is there an actual plan that involves a holistic government approach and key stakeholder and community engagement?”

Says Flynn: “At WTACH we know there’s a better way. We are now seeking like-minded organisations and individuals to help us advance responsible tourism in culturally sensitive host communities.”

Further information: 

Tags:World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage

Benchmark announces the “Top Ten Meeting Trends for 2019”

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Benchmark announces the “Top Ten Meeting Trends for 2019”

THE WOODLANDS (HOUSTON), TEXAS - Benchmark, a global hospitality company, announces the "Top Meeting Trends for 2019" as observed by its diverse portfolio of properties. Benchmark is a leading U.S.-based global independent hospitality management company, operating 80 award-winning hotels, resorts, and conference centers within its Benchmark Resorts & Hotels, Gemstone Collection and etc. venues brands in locations coast to coast, off shore, and internationally. Benchmark’s top meeting trends were announced by Ted Davis, Benchmark’s chief sales and marketing officer.
“We learn a lot from our guests, often by observation in addition to their direct feedback,” says Ted Davis. “The speed of life and business is laser fast today, communication devices intrude constantly, and lifestyles have adjusted accordingly. This includes when in meeting environments. But we’ve also learned that moments of togetherness, where the pace slows a bit maybe over cocktails or dinner, are genuinely treasured and this is where successful relationships are forged and strengthened, lasting long after the conference comes to an end.”
Trend 1 Privacy is the #1 Technology Requirement of Planners today!
Yes, super-fast and reliable WiFi throughout a property is a must and every planner hammers hard at this in contract discussions as it can make or break a productive meeting. But it must be secure WiFi! Privacy and security of information for conference guests is paramount to planners. Not just the content of the meeting--the content of participants personal communications too. Privacy and security is at the top of every planners list!
Trend 2 Food for the Soul
Food brings people together, whether they know each other already or are just getting acquainted. It’s about engaging and savoring the moment. Since conference guests tend to be curious and concerned with wellness, learning what food they are putting into their bodies is essential, and they come to the table well informed. Here's what they want in 2019: Food that is fresh and locally sourced, in-season when flavor is most robust, presented in small bites, and enjoyed interactively-family style. With informed consumers comes increased demand for growing dietary restrictions or preferences well beyond vegetarian and gluten free. Paleo, keto, pescetarian, vegan and religious dietary requests are just the beginning of specialized conference dining this year, and chefs have taken note!
Trend 3 Don't Facebook me. Don't Tweet me!
It's not that professional meetings planners aren't sociable. They are. It's just that email by far continues to be the most preferred method of communication-it's their preferred choice! What’s new, though, is that they don’t want to be contacted for business by social media, period! So, don't Facebook them, or tweet, or Instagram. Be respectful of a planner’s time and aware of how they prefer to communicate, including those who may or may not welcome a personal phone call. A simple and personal hand-written note will go a long way in making a memorable impression too!
Trend 4 Preference for Independents
Flexibility, customization, authentic and unscripted experiences all rank high in the minds of planners today, as does the feeling that independent properties excel in providing these for groups needing to create memorable and highly productive meetings. Another issue is also at hand with planning professionals relating to independent properties: Commissions, which are generally higher with independents. As more meetings involve 3rd-party planners, this is of significant importance to meeting planners going forward.
Trend 5 What Millennials Want from Meeting Venues.
State of the art technology, multiple plug-ins and USB ports for their myriad of devises in the meeting room, public spaces and in their guest room, entertaining and fun activities on property and outside, non-traditional seating and meeting arrangements to enhance engagement in meetings during the day - this is what millennials are demanding today. It's a sharing economy and this extends to millennials sharing guest rooms, resulting in fewer single room requests. The big reveal, though, is millennials want Privacy Rooms for personal conversions, sensitive phone calls and for personal needs.
Trend 6 Curated Travel
Curated travel for groups (and their spouses/partners) on or off property is of very high importance. Even corporate executive leadership is weighing in with a growing desire for a trained and diverse workforce, and at the same time their younger work force is valuing unique experiences. So even though groups may want to huddle on property after a day of intense meetings, companies are urging their employees to get out into the destination for a broader experience. Cabaret show in town anyone? Groups are requesting activities just like this.
Trend 7 Millennials Team Build Differently!
Culinary teambuilding just gets hotter every year! Whether in the kitchen with the chefs learning about flavor balancing and fermentation, at the bar with mixologists, in the dining room at table, or outside for a picnic-like experience. Bringing groups together interactively and family-style as a culinary team is red hot. But planners are also looking for entertainment to be included in teambuilding so learning is not only instructive and flavorful but great fun to enhance learning. Examples are lip sync battles, live interactive dinner shows, wildlife tours, hiking excursions, skiing, mountain biking, petting zoos and go-cart races on property ... anything that in an entertaining way teaches new life skills that can be used at the office and home. Planners today increasingly desire to enhance the lives -- and life skills - of the "whole" person.
Trend 8 Cocktails, S'mores and Barges
Believe it or not, the most popular after-hours meetings group scene is gathering around an outdoor fire pit on property, kicking back and relaxing with colleagues over cocktails and s'mores. Absent fire pits, doing something - anything - outdoors and nearby is how today's meeting participants want to ease into their evening.  River and lake barges anyone? Groups love the relaxed pace on a body of water. So whether chilling at the venue or out for the evening, the key thing for groups is relaxing together and getting the know colleagues as people and not just as co-workers.
Trend 9 Speedy Response and Pay Commissions Promptly
Lightning fast response to RFPs is essential to winning business with planners today. A request that comes in in the morning better be responded to by early afternoon or the venue may lose that business opportunity to a competitor. Want to gain an edge over the competition, beyond rapid response? Pay commissions promptly, maybe immediately. Today many more meetings are being managed by 3rd party planners with accompanying commission demands. Respond swiftly and generously and win!
Trend 10 Work/Life Balance
Wellness is huge with professional meeting planners today. Diet and healthy menu planning remain an active focus in negotiations. But wellness today is so much more than a proper diet - it's about work/life balance. Planners believe a healthy mind and body helps enable productive participants. So yoga, meditation and breathing classes for meeting breaks are in growing demand, as is spiritual exploration.


The e-visa on arrival in Thailand to cost Baht 2,600

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για The e-visa on arrival in Thailand to cost Baht 2,600

The Thailand e-visa on arrival (VoA) will be introduced to shun the long VoA queues at the airports. However, it will cost more than the regular visa. As the standard eVoA will cost Thai Baht 2,600 (about Rs 5,900 at Wednesday exchange rate), the regular VoA fees after landing in Thailand is to be paid Baht 2,000 (about Rs 4,540) — a difference of around Rs 1,360 per passenger.

VFS settled the rates for the eVoA service that will be effective from February 14, on Wednesday, a day after the same was announced. “The total fee payable for standard eVoA service is Thai Baht 2,600. The eVOA (official standard travel authorisation from Immigration Bureau of Thailand) is received before startithe journey within 24 to 72 hours,” said a VFS spokesperson.

In an attempt to boost up tourism, Thailand agreed to ignore VoA fees for tourists from 20 countries, including Indians, from November 13. However, it has extended the waiver fee for VoA for these 20 countries up to April 30, 2019, who are going for tourism there for up to 15 days.

Hyatt Place Calgary Airport Celebrates Official Opening

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Hyatt Place Calgary Airport Celebrates Official Opening

Hyatt Hotels Corporation today announced Hyatt Place Calgary Airport, the second Hyatt Place hotel in Alberta, and the ninth Hyatt-branded hotel in Canada, is officially open. The new hotel features the Hyatt Place brand’s intuitive, innovative design, upscale-casual atmosphere and practical amenities, such as free Wi-Fi and 24-hour food offerings.

Nestled in the heart of the Calgary Airport business sector, Hyatt Place Calgary Airport allows guests to exit the terminal, hop aboard the free airport shuttle and arrive at the hotel within five minutes, making the hotel the perfect destination for both business and leisure travelers staying near the airport.
 Î‘ποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Hyatt Place Calgary Airport Celebrates Official Opening
“As Calgary continues to grow and thrive economically, we are so excited to add to the momentum by welcoming the Hyatt Place Calgary Airport,” said Director of Sales and Marketing Jenna Lambert. “With social spaces and guestrooms designed with the travelers needs in mind, this new property really brings something fresh and innovative to the Northeast sector of the city.”

Hyatt Place Calgary Airport offers:

  • 127 spacious guestrooms and suites with separate spaces to sleep, work and play, as well as a Cozy Corner sofa-sleeper.
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel and guestrooms
  • Gallery Kitchen Breakfast, a hot breakfast available daily in the Gallery Kitchen features hot breakfast items, fresh fruit, steel cut oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and more.
  • 24/7 Gallery Menu & Market serves freshly prepared meals anytime, day or night and perfectly packaged sandwiches and salads
  • Coffee to Cocktails Bar featuring specialty coffees and premium beers, as well as wines and cocktails.
  • Odds & Ends program for forgotten items that guests can buy, borrow or enjoy for free.
  • Meetings Spaces offering just over 3,000 square feet of flexible, high-tech meeting/function space
  • 24-hour Gym featuring cardio equipment with LCD touchscreens and free ear buds

“Calgary is a vibrant city, filled with amazing people, great neighborhoods, and an ever-expanding list of fantastic places to visit and things to see,” said General Manager Lisa Wigg. “Our hotel is central to all of them and we are confident that the Hyatt Place Calgary Airport will exceed guest expectations and provide them with everything they need while visiting our area.”

Source:- Hyatt

STR releases consumer travel insights report on OTAs, rental platforms

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - STR's Consumer Travel Insights 2019 report series revealed several key findings regarding traveller motivations and budgeting, emphasis on online-travel-agency (OTA) services, and use of rental platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway.  
The five-report series, compiled by STR’s Tourism Consumer Insights team, examined each stage of the traveller journey - planning, booking, budgeting and how technology and travel brands interact with travelling. Independent research was conducted in October 2018 using STR’s Traveller Panel - a unique community of approximately 28,000 engaged travellers from across the globe. Overall, 2,228 panelists took part in the research and were asked about their behaviour and experiences regarding their most recent international holiday. 
“We are very excited to launch our latest Consumer Travel Insights report series,” said Sean Morgan, STR’s director of research. “The rapid advent of new technologies and the continuous shifting of consumer perceptions pose both opportunities and challenges for the travel and tourism sector. Be it examining the role of exchange rates on holiday choices or the usage of OTAs or views on over-tourism, this compact reports series identifies key traveller trends and provides actionable intelligence for tourism professionals.”
Key findings included:
  • 69% of travellers used online review sites. TripAdvisor was a particularly popular planning resource used by 40% of travellers. However, word of mouth was still very important with 51% of travellers using personal recommendations to help plan their trip.
  • Of those who booked their holiday through an OTA, 55% used the service because it enabled comparison of multiple accommodation options. Only 29% of travellers utilised the service because it offered the best deal.
  • Perceptions of value for money heavily influenced accommodation decisions. This finding was especially pronounced among millennial travellers, as 77% chose their accommodation because it offered value for money. 
  • 52% of travellers set a budget for their most recent trip, but 29% of budgetters overspent their allotted amount. 
  • 41% of travellers have at some point used Airbnb, with 92% being aware of the property sharing service. These results indicate that Airbnb usage is greater than awareness of its next-closest home-sharing competitor - HomeAway was used by 9% of travellers and 35% were aware of the platform.

Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras Opens for Sale as Company Announces Inaugural Season Itineraries

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras Opens for Sale as Company Announces Inaugural Season Itineraries

MIAMI (Jan. 30, 2019) – Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras – already creating buzz among cruise fans – is now open for sale of its inaugural schedule for 2020.

Mardi Gras will offer a diverse schedule with six- to 15-day sailings visiting top destinations throughout Europe and the Caribbean beginning in summer 2020.

          Guests can choose from more than 20 different stateroom categories and multiple levels of spacious and luxurious suites, more than on any other Carnival ship.  A range of stateroom options provides guests the opportunity to further personalize their vacation experiences and includes special staterooms and suites such as Family Harbor, Havana Cabana and Cloud 9 Spa accommodations, as well as a wide selection of suites, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms. 

“For Mardi Gras, we’ve developed some truly exciting and diverse itineraries that will provide our guests with opportunities to experience and explore top destinations in Europe and the Caribbean,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “These itineraries will serve as the perfect complement to the unique shipboard experience that Mardi Gras will offer. We’ve begun releasing some of the new stateroom designs to our guests and travel agency partners as part of today’s announcement and plan to share additional details over the coming weeks.”
Σχετική εικόνα

Exciting Inaugural Season

Mardi Gras will offer an exciting inaugural schedule providing guests with myriad opportunities to experience and explore stunning and historic destinations. The schedule includes:

·       A nine-day maiden voyage from Copenhagen to Southampton Aug. 31 – Sept. 9, 2020 calling at Kiel (Hamburg), Germany; Gothenburg, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium; and Le Havre (Paris), France. 

·       A 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Southampton to New York Sept. 9-23, 2020, with stops at Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain; and Funchal (Madeira) and Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal.

·       A six-day cruise round-trip from New York to Portland, Maine and Saint John, New Brunswick Sept. 24-30.

·       A 15-day Carnival Journeys voyage departing New York Sept. 30, 2020 and arriving in Port Canaveral, Fla., on Oct. 15, 2020, calling at Amber Cove, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Aruba, Curacao, and Grand Turk, positioning the vessel for year-round voyages to the Caribbean.

Year-Round Caribbean Departures from Port Canaveral

Following a special eight-day Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral on Oct. 16, 2020, Mardi Gras will kick off its seven-day program from the Space Coast Oct. 24, 2020, offering two different three-port, seven-day itineraries, alternating weekly to the eastern and western Caribbean featuring some of the region’s most beautiful and popular ports.

·       Eastern Caribbean cruises will visit San Juan, Amber Cove and Grand Turk.

·       Western Caribbean sailings will stop in Cozumel, Costa Maya and Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan).

Additional Informative and Reservations

Additional details on the six themed zones that will provide Mardi Gras guests with scores of ways to Choose Fun and have a great Carnival cruise vacation are scheduled to be announced over the coming weeks.

To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line, visit Carnival.com  

Tags:Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras 

Red Planet Japan Further Expands Hotel Portfolio With The Acquisition Of Thailand Hotel Portfolio

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Red Planet Japan Further Expands Hotel Portfolio With The Acquisition Of Thailand Hotel Portfolio

TOKYOJan. 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Red Planet Japan Inc. (3350:JP) today announced that it will acquire the Thailand-based hotel operations from its parent company Red Planet Hotels Limited. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
Red Planet Japan will acquire six hotel-owning companies in Thailand from its parent company for a total acquisition consideration of 6,585,130,000 yen. The acquisition includes five operating hotels, located in Surawong (Bangkok), Patong (Phuket), Asoke (Bangkok), Pattaya, and Hat Yai, and a sixth property under development in Sukhumvit Soi 8 (Bangkok). The operating hotels being acquired in Thailand recorded sales equating to 692,960,064 Japanese yen in 2017 and 787,122,058 Japanese yen in 2018.
As a result of this acquisition, Red Planet Japan's portfolio will increase to a total of 15 hotels in JapanThailand, and the Philippines, including five hotels under development.

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Red Planet Japan Further Expands Hotel Portfolio With The Acquisition Of Thailand Hotel Portfolio

"We are delighted to announce the significant expansion of Red Planet Japan's hotel portfolio across Asia. Bilateral tourism is showing sustained growth, particularly among millennial customers who are Red Planet's core customer base," said Red Planet Japan's Chief Executive Officer, Tim Hansing. "This acquisition allows us to spread our geographical coverage and, in particular, penetrate key source markets for inbound visitation to Japan," Hansing added.
With the expansion of low-cost carrier routes, the liberalisation of visa requirements, and a growing affinity for Japanese culture, there has been a substantial increase in the number of tourists travelling from Southeast Asiato Japan in recent years, especially from Thailand. Thai visitors to Japanhave more than doubled over the last five years to 1.13 million in 2018. Correspondingly, the number of Japanese visitors to Thailand continues to rise, exceeding 1.4 million visitors in 2016, 1.5 million in 2017, and 1.6 million in 2018.
The acquisition of Red Planet's Thailand hotels follows a series of expansion announcements by Red Planet Japan, including the planned opening of Red Planet Hiroshima Nagarekawa in the summer of 2020 and acquisition of two flagship properties in Manila in June 2018. Further, the fast-growing brand opened Red Planet Sapporo Susukino South, its fifth hotel in Japan, in June 2018, and expects to open its second property in Sapporo, Red Planet Sapporo Susukino Central, in October 2019.
Simon Gerovich, Chairman of Red Planet Japan, added, "Red Planet Japan is now a regional leader in the Asian budget hotel space with properties in Japanthe Philippines, and Thailand. Not only does this expanded network drive revenues and profit margins due to the economies of scale, but also underlines our regional operational expertise. As witnessed by our recently-announced joint venture which enables us to invest up to 22 billion yen in six new hotels over the next two years, we have the scale to attract new growth drivers such as franchising, management contracts, and joint ventures in both existing and new markets."
About Red Planet Japan, Inc.
Red Planet Japan, Inc. is the JASDAQ-listed Japanese operation of Red Planet Hotels Limited. The company commenced operations in Japan in August 2013 with the opening of Red Planet Okinawa Naha, followed by the opening of Red Planet Tokyo Asakusa in 2015. Red Planet Nagoya Nishiki subsequently opened in October 2017. In June 2018Red Planet opened Red Planet Sapporo Susukino South, its first property in Sapporo. Red Planet Sapporo Susukino Central and Red Planet Hiroshima Nagarekawa are currently under development and are expected to open by 2019 and 2020, respectively. The company's newly established joint venture intends to acquire another 5 development sites by mid-2019. Red Planet Japan has also acquired development sites in Manila, Philippines, with two hotels sequenced to open by 2020. The Company is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol 3350.
About Red Planet Hotels
Red Planet Hotels, founded in 2010, is a privately-owned regional hotel group focused on Asia's expanding budget hotel sector. The company owns and operates 30 hotels in Indonesia (7), Japan (5), the Philippines (13), and Thailand (5) for a total of 4,779 rooms. 14 additional hotels, comprising 2,669 rooms, will open across JapanThailand, and the Philippines in 2019 and 2020. These hotels will open using Red Planet's robust and scalable technology platform, providing both advanced reservation software, ensuring a fast and efficient booking process, and local attraction guides for customers. Red Planet comprises a stylish budget hotel offering, with all its properties centrally located and equipped with high-speed Wi-Fi. Red Planet's companies based in Jakarta (Red Planet Indonesia - PSKT:IJ) and Tokyo (Red Planet Japan - 3350:JP) are listed on the Indonesian and Japanese stock exchanges, respectively. For more information, please visit: www.redplanethotels.com
SOURCE Red Planet Japan Inc.

ICAO Council President: Aviation investments needed in strategic infrastructure

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για ICAO Council President: Aviation investments needed in strategic infrastructure

MONTREAL and DUBAI – In his keynote address to the Global Aviation Investment Summit in Dubai, the President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, reminded the many dignitaries and participants in attendance that “aviation is essential to States as they seek to access regional and global markets, and these connections in turn enhance consumer benefits and choices, create jobs, and significantly stimulate tourism and trade.”
Last year, some 4.3 billion passengers and 58 million tonnes of freight were carried by global commercial operators, on 38 million flights. President Aliu underscored that “with this massive volume of operations, and noting air transport’s important access and connectivity benefits, it is not difficult to appreciate why our sector is responsible today for providing meaningful employment and sustainable careers to over 65 million men and women worldwide, while contributing more than 2.7 trillion dollars to global GDP.”
He also highlighted that both air passenger traffic and air freight traffic globally should more than double by 2035, and that “the countries which make the needed investments required now in national and regional infrastructure, capacity, and technologies, will also be the ones which will benefit the most in the coming decades from aviation’s rapidly accelerating global connectivity.”
Dr. Aliu stressed the importance of developing and implementing national and regional aviation infrastructure programmes and plans in full cooperation with the investment stakeholder community, noting as well that State planning must also have strategic infrastructure targets and performance ambitions that are guided by and consistent with ICAO’s Global Plans.
“This facilitates compliance with the ICAO standards and recommended practices which underpin the safe, secure, and sustainable development of the international civil aviation network,” he commented.
In terms of suggested solutions, he stressed that States must determine strategic infrastructure targets by conducting national and regional gap-analyses between forecasted demand and current capacity. Dr. Aliu further noted that business case analyses should also be conducted to accurately delineate all requirements, reduce investor risk, and evaluate projected returns, and that this in turn requires the establishment of institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks, together with monitoring and evaluation frameworks.
Finally, he made a very strong recommendation that primary focus should be placed by all concerned on investments earmarked toward educating and training the next generation of aviation professionals.
“Infrastructure development absolutely requires aligned financial investments and enhancements in human capacity development, which are completely co-dependent. There is no point in upgrading technologies and facilities to the latest performance specifications if the personnel are not on hand to professionally operate them or provide appropriate oversight,” Dr. Aliu remarked.
“Additionally, States should take pragmatic measures to build a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate to support aviation development, for example, by engaging multi-stakeholders, diversifying funding sources, and fully considering all options relating to private investment, business reform, private finance initiatives, public-private partnerships (PPPs) and incentive schemes as appropriate.”
His remarks reflected ICAO’s concerns regarding the limited volume of international public finance and assistance currently earmarked or available for aviation infrastructure projects, despite air transport’s cross-cutting nature and multiple links to other economic sectors.
“It is critical that we, as an industry sector, advocate together for major aviation infrastructure projects to be included in the lists of prioritized opportunities relating to international public finance and assistance for development,” Dr. Aliu said. “ICAO is strengthening its dialogue to achieve the common understanding of all players, assess and respond to related business imperatives, and seek increases in all forms of international public finance and assistance for development, including official development assistance (ODA) and South-South cooperation.”
ICAO plays a key role in fostering effective partnerships between donors, investors and States and facilitating the mobilization of resources. Under its No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative, the UN aviation agency also identifies and provides assistance to those States in need.
“Together, we should emphasize that investments are not the same as costs,” Dr. Aliu remarked in his conclusion. “An investment in aviation is not only a commitment to the safe, secure and efficient management of air transport operations, but also to national and regional economic growth and profitability, and ultimately to the international connectivity that is so critical to fostering peace and understanding among the nations and peoples of the world.”
While in Dubai for the Summit, Dr. Aliu held discussions on local civil aviation development and ICAO cooperation matters with His Excellency Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, and with H.E Sheikh Salman Al Sobah, the President and Chairman of Kuwait’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
President Aliu also had an opportunity to visit the Sheik Mohamed Ben Rashed Space Centre in Dubai, and later he received a joint presentation on the city’s Autonomous Air Taxi project from the Dubai Road Transport Agency(RTA) and UAE CAA. He was received on this occasion by H.E. Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA.
Dr. Aliu was accompanied during his visits and presentations by Captain Aysha Mohammed Al Hamili, Representative of the UAE on the ICAO Council, and by Mr. Mohamed Khalifa Rahma, ICAO’s Middle East Regional Director.

Tags: ICAO Council

About 65.1 million tourists arrived in Hong Kong last year

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για About 65.1 million tourists arrived in Hong Kong last year

The tourist arrivals to Hong Kong soared to a record high of 65.1 million last year, up 11.4 per cent on 2017, as the Tourism Board rolled out a series of initiatives to counter what it expected to be a “bumpy and unpredictable” year.

The growth in tourist arrivals was mainly driven by mainland Chinese tourists, with about 51 million of them visiting the city last year, a rise of 14.8 per cent on the previous year. Overnight Chinese visitors saw an increase of 7.4 per cent, while Chinese day trippers rose by 20.1 per cent. The cruise passenger throughput unexpectedly dropped 3 per cent to 875,000. The number of cruises that docked at the city also went down from 245 in 2017 to just 210 last year.

Anthony Lau Chun-hon, the board’s executive director said that they are expecting 2019 to be a bumpy and unpredictable year because there are many factors that can affect tourism. The mainland Chinese economy has shown signs of a slowdown. That means Chinese tourists could be spending less money when they travel.

Anthony Lau Chun-hon added that other factors included uncertainty surrounding the global economy, as well as the strong US currency, which renders the Chinese renminbi less valuable. The Chinese tourists have also been increasingly travelling to Southeast Asian countries, which Lau described as “fierce competitors”. As the tourism industry celebrated the record growth, the influx of Chinese tourists has caused unease among Hongkongers. The concern groups have called on the Hong Kong government to cap the number of Chinese tourists allowed to visit the city, saying that residents’ lives have been disrupted by them.

The groups have complained that the disruption has become more intense since the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which connects the city to mainland China, opened in October. The overnight visitors from Japan rose 4.8 per cent last year to 852,000. For overnight Thai visitors, the increase was 4.5 per cent, to 450,000.

But there was a drop of 5.9 per cent for overnight Taiwanese visitors to 807,000. Overnight tourists from South Korea, Indonesia and Singapore also fell, by 3.8 per cent to 1.1 million, 11.1 per cent to 343,000, and 1.8 per cent to 481,000, respectively. For long-haul visitors, overnight American visitors rose 7.1 per cent to 932,000; followed by a 3.6 per cent increase of overnight German visitors to 165,000. Overnight French visitors dropped 0.5 per cent to 150,000.

The total overnight visitors’ per capita spending for the first three quarters last year was HK$6,537, up 4.3 per cent. The increase for Chinese visitors was smaller at just 2.5 per cent, to HK$6,961. On the drop in cruise passengers, Lau said since the cruise business started in Asia in 2014, there has been an “oversupply” of cruises selling substandard services. As a result, travellers have started to have second thoughts about cruises, Lau added. Looking ahead, the board said Chinese tourists craved “in-depth” travels in Hong Kong, rather than just going to the usual tourist spots. One of the board’s strategies this year will be to get mainlanders to visit places such as the Geopark, the Ha Pak Nai mudflat in Yuen Long, and Lau Fau Shan.

Chef Eyck Zimmer to Prepare Special Dining Experience at Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort for Easter 2019

chef Eyck Zimmer

Acclaimed chef Eyck Zimmer will be guest chef at the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort at Easter 2019.

Zimmer will host two five-course dinners in the resort’s Driftwood restaurant on Sunday 20th April and Monday 21st April. He will be joined by a sommelier who will pair wines with each course.

One of the truly great talents in modern haute cuisine, Zimmer, a German national, has won accolades such as Portuguese Chef of the Year 2008, British Chef of the Year 2006, Meilleur Ouvrier de Grande Bretagne 2000, and Ordre Du Merite Agricole, to name a few.

Along the way, Zimmer has worked in some of the best kitchens in the UK: Claridge’s, The Dorchester and The Ritz. He worked with current Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort general manager John Allanson at the Lowry in Manchester 2005-07.

Zimmer is currently culinary director at the Square Nine Hotel in Belgrade, Serbia.

This will be the chef’s second outing at the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort, following a successful guest chef visit in 2017.

“Eyck’s first session at the Outrigger in the Maldives was wonderfully received by all our international guests,” said Allanson. “Eyck is a consummate professional and works really well with our kitchen team, led by executive chef Chris Long. Our lucky guests can expect more culinary magic this Easter.”

The menus for the two Easter 2019 special dinners are a work in progress. Zimmer expects the final creations to be a celebration of Maldivian influences matched with over 30 years of culinary expertise from across Europe.

This Easter, guests at the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort will once again be able to savour the unique culinary creations of Eyck Zimmer – one of the great talents of modern European haute cuisine.

For information and bookings contact Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort directly. Email:reservation.konotta@outrigger.mv. Tel: +960 684 7770.

Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort   Eyck Zimmer

Travelport completes onboarding of first wave of New Distribution Capability (NDC) customers

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Travelport completes onboarding of first wave of New Distribution Capability (NDC) customers

LANGLEY, UK - Following the successful implementation of its NDC roadmap during 2018, Travelport, a leading travel commerce platform, has completed the onboarding of the first group of travel agencies to receive access to NDC content.  
In October 2018, UK-based travel agency Meon Valley completed the first live booking using NDC content through Travelport’s Smartpoint desktop. The next phase of Travelport’s NDC roadmap involved onboarding a larger group of travel agencies. To ensure NDC works for all parts of the travel ecosystem, Travelport has implemented its booking solution with a wide variety of agencies of different sizes, including; American Express Global Business TravelDNATAGray Dawes Group, Global Travel Management, Meon Valley Travel, Premier Holidays, TAG, Travel Counsellors and Travel & Transport Statesman
Commenting on this milestone in Travelport’s NDC delivery, Nick Dagg, SVP Global Agency Sales said: “We work at the heart of the travel industry and our agency customers rely on us to provide them with choice through access to the broadest range of travel content. NDC is no exception and we’ve taken great care in managing the roll out of our NDC booking capability through Smartpoint to our agency customers. This has allowed us to learn as we go, listen to the important feedback from our customers as they operate in this new distribution era and refine our NDC solution to ensure it provides seamless, integrated travel choice. I’d like to thank all our customers for collaborating with us as we deliver an NDC solution which works for everyone.” 
John Bukowski, Director, Content and Distribution, American Express Global Business Travel said: “We are working with key parties to ensure we continue to deliver access to all content, with a focus on improving traveler experience, controlling cost, maintaining full end to end servicing, as well as transparent fares, pricing and comparison shopping.  NDC is an important step in advancing airline offers and fare options, which we believe should remain focused on delivering value to corporate clients and not as a means to limit access to content, add cost, or force new and costly airline connectivity.  We look forward to continuing to engage with Travelport, airline partners, and others to continue to progress NDC capabilities while maintaining a focus on delivering a scalable, cost effective way to access content for our clients.”
David Bishop, Commercial Director, Gray Dawes said: “NDC is a major shift in air content distribution so it’s been great to be part of the initial group of agencies with access to NDC content through Travelport Smartpoint. We’ve provided feedback to Travelport as we work together to refine the NDC work-flow so it best serves the agents who will use it day-to-day and have appreciated Travelport’s collaborative approach.” 
Mervyn Williamson, Managing Director, Travel and Transport Statesman said: “If you’re involved in travel, you’ve probably had a conversation in the last few months on NDC. It’s having a major impact on all of us as we work through the best way to be ready for the new era of content distribution, maintaining at the same time optimum fulfillment service for our clients. Having access to NDC content as soon as possible was of vital importance to us and our travelers so we were pleased to have been part of the initial group of NDC-connected agencies through Travelport Smartpoint.” 
Travelport recently shared insights from the first phase of implementation of its NDC booking solution, as part of its commitment to ensure NDC works for all parts of the travel industry. These learnings highlighted the importance of agent familiarity, workflow integration, a considered roadmap, the demand for NDC content and the need for broad industry collaboration.
Following the successful onboarding of the current agency partners Travelport will continue to refine its NDC booking solutions. Travelport will follow up with further Smartpoint enhancements along with an API NDC connection channel through Travelport’s Trip Service API mid-year.

TUI Blue plans third hotel in Austria

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για TUI Blue plans third hotel in Austria

TUI expects another record year for winter sports in the Alps, and mountains are also becoming increasingly popular in the summer.
Against that background, TUI Group is expanding the portfolio of its TUI Blue lifestyle hotel brand, planning its third hotel in Austria. With TUI Blue Fieberbrunn, the portfolio of the hotel brand, that is placing the experience at the core, will grow to a total of 12 hotels for the Winter 2019/2020 season.
TUI Blue Fieberbrunn is the perfect location for winter sports enthusiasts wishing to explore Skicircus Saalbach / Hinterglemm / Leogang / Fieberbrunn. For the summer, the valley alone offers around 400 km of hiking and mountain biking trails for sports lovers. The mountain hotel, located directly near the ski slope, will feature 144 double rooms, a restaurant and bar with outdoor terrace and a meeting room and spa area. It is scheduled to open at the end of 2019. The hallmarks of TUI Blue are its modern technology concept and the innovative Bluef!t concept for fitness, wellness and nutrition. The hotel brand focuses on authentic holiday experiences in the respective region.
“For TUI Blue Fieberbrunn, we will reposition an existing hotel in the style of our lifestyle brand this summer,” says TUI Blue Managing Director Artur Gerber. “Tyrol’s unique mountain landscape offers the perfect environment for our experience-centred brand. With the opening of our third hotel in the Alps, Austria, alongside Turkey, is one of the destinations in which TUI Blue has delivered its strongest growth.”
TUI Group celebrated the ground-breaking ceremony for the brand’s second hotel in Austria at the end of September 2018. The future TUI Blue Montafon hotel, also perfectly located for skiers and hikers, will feature 149 double rooms. The new hotel is scheduled to open in the Winter 2019/2020 season.
Alongside the two new TUI Blue hotels in Vorarlberg and Tyrol, TUI operates another TUI Blue hotel in Styria and four Robinson Clubs in Vorarlberg, Salzburgerland and Carinthia.