SAN FRANCISCO – After making strategic moves in recent months that included a new deal in Cuba and a groundbreaking agreement with American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), Airbnb is on track to become the world’s fourth largest online travel company by the end of 2016.As reported by Travel Weekly, the peer-to-peer accommodations service, which doesn’t disclose bookings or revenue figures, is expected to surpass the annual bookings of European juggernaut eDreams Odigeo this year. eDreams Odigeo is comprised of five brands, including OPodo, Travelink and Go Voyages, and generated 10.7 billion euros in bookings for the year ended March 31.According to research firm Phocuswright, Airbnb likely generated approximately US$7.5 billion in gross bookings in 2015. After this year, the company will trail only Expedia Inc., Priceline Group and China-based Ctrip in annual gross bookings.Earlier this summer, Airbnb filed documentation that indicated it will be raising $850 million in funding, which would put the company’s value at approximately $90 billion, reports Bloomberg News. More news: Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyAlmost one in three U.S. travellers stayed at a home-based unit in 2015, up from one in 10 in 2011, Phocuswright said. Posted by Share Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Airbnb on track to become 4th largest OTA Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>
Tags: Collette << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Share Cindy Sosroutomo TORONTO — Travel is an industry based on relationships, and few are more important than the one between Travel Agent and Supplier. Ask any agent and they’ll tell you that working with a reputable, honest and loyal tour operator is paramount to their business, and they’ll easily fire off names of companies they regard as preferred and trusted.So when this valued relationship breaks down for any number of reasons, the damage can be irreparable. But Collette, which has a reputation for slighting travel agents in the past, is hoping this isn’t the case. After a short period in its nearly 100-year-old history during which it often poached group business from agencies, the family-owned company is now doing its best to right its wrongs and reverse the damage it has done to its retail relationships.“We are aware of the perception that Collette has taken groups from agencies in the past. I want to make very clear that this is not our policy. In the past we may have brought a larger percentage of groups directly to Collette, but now we are really focused on working through the travel agent,” said Doug Patterson, who was appointed President, Canada of Collette earlier this year.Patterson tells Travelweek that groups at one time brought in the vast majority of Collette’s business (it’s just shy of 50% today), thanks in large part to BDMs who sought them out. This, however, sometimes led them to bring groups directly to the company, essentially cutting out agents in the process. It was never an official company policy, says Patterson, who also noted that the last incidence of ‘poaching’ he has found dates back to 2008. “Since then, our commitment to the retail channel has been significantly enhanced. Agents are vital to our success – 98% of our bookings come from agents.”But are Patterson’s assurances a case of too little, too late? Absolutely not. Collette is proving that it’s not just talking the talk, but also walking the walk to the tune of agent-specific directives. He says that although the company is still searching out groups, when it does find them it now takes the necessary steps to match them with local agents.“If it’s an independent booking or a group, we will make a concerted effort to recognize if they’ve worked with an agent in the past, and if they’re planning on doing so, we will make a recommendation of somebody in their particular area,” he says. “We believe in the agent community. They provide a great service and we believe they should be rewarded for that.”More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Even more, Collette’s commitment to agents can be measured in dollars; according to Patterson, over the past five years, the company has brought over $10 million worth of group business back to agents. “I would say that’s a strong commitment,” he adds.To hammer home the message even further, Collette made the decision to not participate in the discount arena and work with agencies that slash its product prices.“If a retailer wants to discount our product, we will not work with them, whether they’re OTA or bricks and mortar. It was an expensive move walking away from accounts like this, but we believe our product stands on its own and our customers deserve the level of service provided by a dedicated travel professional,” Patterson says.Agents, so it seems, has started to take notice and are putting their faith back in Collette. One Ontario agent, who wished to remain anonymous, tells Travelweek that she’s willing to give the company another chance after it directly email marketed all members of a group her agency had booked a few years ago.“I know that the Collette rep we have here has been trying to push the fact that they are changing their ways and that things have been on an upswing,” she says. “They have been pushing everything back to the travel agent and are trying to rebrand themselves in a favourable light to agents.”On Collette’s direct marketing efforts, Pablo Keselman of Milton, Ontario, who has over 30 years of experience as a travel agent, chalks it up to simply a difference in culture.“Unlike here in Canada, American-based companies tend to bombard you with emails and are very aggressive as far as sales go, either by sending things directly to clients or sending too many emails to agents. This overloading of direct mail and brochures is a cultural thing; that’s just the way they operate in the U.S.,” he says.Keselman, who has a $20,000 group booking with Collette that’s ready for payment soon, says that he’s never had a negative impression of Collette. In fact, he’s always appreciated how the company has been upfront about their marketing tactics.“Collette certainly uses the database of my clients, who will get direct mail from them from time to time. However, when they send direct mailing to clients with a discount number or coupon attached, if they’re loyal to their agent, the assumption is they’ll call their agent to book,” he says. “I have absolute respect for Collette’s product and this has always been the case. They have a BDM that’s proactive, they will hold space for groups, and they will print your logo on marketing materials to send to clients. They’re a lot more trustworthy than they were in the past because they’ve made it clear that they want to work with us.”More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesPatterson, who confirms that the call-to-action on all Collette marketing materials today directs consumers back to agents, knows that misperceptions are hard to overcome and that people have long memories. So when asked what reassurances the company can give to agents that they won’t repeat ‘sins’ of the past, he is unequivocal in his answer.“Let me put it as clearly as possible – Collette will not attempt to take any group from your agency. In fact, if unfortunate circumstances arise and a direct relationship exists where an agency partner is no longer involved, we will pay the agency partner 100% of its commission due on that group and take any necessary corrective actions,” he says.And to those who are still skeptical despite his reassurances?“Call us on it. Mystery shop us. If an agent feels like this is happening let us know about it. We will always make it right.”Doug Patterson is also the star of Travelweek’s latest video series. See how else Collette is looking to work with agents: Collette’s Doug Patterson says poaching groups from agents is in the past Thursday, November 10, 2016 About Latest Posts Cindy SosroutomoDeputy Editor at TravelweekCindy is Deputy Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 2007. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Kenya, Morocco, Thailand and Turkey among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Cindy Sosroutomo (see all) Frustrations mount over elusive consumer-pay model: Will it ever happen? – July 16, 2019 “It’s in everyone’s best interest to stay open”: Beaches Turks & Caicos will not close in 2021 – May 15, 2019 Putting “Partners First”: NCL’s CEO lauds agents and the new Norwegian Joy – April 29, 2019
Travelweek Group Share Tuesday, May 23, 2017 Posted by Horror in Manchester; 22 confirmed dead in terror attack Tags: Travel Alert With file from The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> WASHINGTON — The United States’ top intelligence official says the U.S. government has not yet verified that the Islamic State group is responsible for the attack in Manchester, England Monday night, but called the deadly incident a reminder of how serious the terror threat remains.“This threat is real, it’s not going away, and it needs significant attention,”Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said during testimony Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Coats said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.Coats appeared before the panel following a suicide attack at an Ariana Grande show in England that left 22 people dead and dozens more wounded. The Islamic State claimed it was behind the attack. The Islamic State group said one of its members planted bombs in crowds at the concert. The group warned in a statement posted on social media that more attacks are to come.An 8-year-old girl was among the 22 confirmed dead – the youngest known victim – and the child’s mother and sister were among 59 people wounded in what British Prime Minister Theresa May called “a callous terrorist attack.”The wounded included 12 children under 16.More news: Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perks“We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage,”May said as campaigning for Britain’s June 8 national election was suspended.May and police said the bomber died in the attack – something that went unmentioned in Islamic State’s claim of responsibility, which gave no name for the attacker. British police announced Tuesday they had arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the bombing and raided two locations, carrying out a controlled explosion at one of them.May said authorities believe they have identified the attacker, but did not release his name. She said authorities were trying to determine if he had an accomplice.The attack was the deadliest in Britain since four suicide bombers killed 52 London commuters on subway trains and a bus in July 2005.Some concert-goers said security was haphazard before the show, with some people being searched and others allowed inside unhindered. The bombing took place at the end of the concert, when the audience was streaming toward the exits of Manchester Arena, one of the largest indoor concert venues in the world.More news: Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?As police shut down public transport shut down, Manchester residents opened their hearts. Taxis offered to give stranded people free rides home while some residents opened their homes to provide lodging.Grande, who was not injured in the blast, tweeted hours later: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”The U.N. Security Council has condemned “the atrocious terrorist attack perpetrated against young innocent people.”Uruguay’s U.N. Ambassador Elbio Rosselli, the current council president, delivered the condemnation at the start of a meeting Tuesday on chemical weapons in Syria and asked for a moment of silence.Britain’s queen also marked a moment of silence to honour the victims of the Manchester suicide bombing. Accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the queen , who was attending a garden party on palace grounds Tuesday afternoon, stood at the top of the steps leading down from Buckingham Palace. The national anthem was then played.
More AMRewards perks to come in 2018 following a record-breaking 2017 Travelweek Group Monday, January 15, 2018 Posted by NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA — It was a record-breaking third consecutive year for AMResorts’ agent loyalty program, with over 30,000 travel agents registered and millions of dollars’ worth of rewards redeemed.According to the company, AMRewards experienced unprecedented growth in Canada and the U.S. last year, having its highest participation to date with a 65% increase in total bookings entered in the program year over year.Looking ahead, the company says agents will experience even more AMRewards contests and benefits in 2018, plus enhanced platforms and programs featuring an improved user experience and more educational opportunities.Starting this month, AMRewards newly launched Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa campaign allows agents to receive double points in January when entering bookings for this family-friendly property in the Riviera Maya.Additionally, there are two major relaunches planned for the travel agent community in 2018. In the first quarter, the all-new AMRAgents.com will make its debut with new content, sales tools and personalized options for agents. In the second quarter, agents can expect the new and improved Master Agent Program, which will be re-platformed with enhanced content and gamified testing, as well as new certifications for agents. In addition to the standard AMResorts Master Agent certification, agents may choose to become a Brand Specialist or an AMResorts Master Wedding Agent.More news: ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthOver the past year, AMRewards has received several enhancements, including a new online booking engine that allows agents to redeem points for stays, discounts on transfers and excursions when booked in conjunction with stays, and new branded tote bags and redemption items. Plus, agents enjoyed 5% cash back on select retailers with new AMRewards Visa prepaid cards, as well as a new landing page on AMRAgents.com.“Following the incredible success of 2017, AMResorts will be investing more in its loyal agent community with a commitment to continue to raise the bar even higher for the AMRewards program,” said Jan LaPointe, Vice President of Strategic Planning Retail Sales North America, AMRewards and Sales & Marketing for Canada. “Beyond providing agents with tools to help their sales and even more opportunities to reap the rewards, AMRewards continues to evolve and support agents in delivering personalized and customized travel experiences to their clients.” Share Tags: Agent Incentives << Previous PostNext Post >>
<< Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, February 23, 2018 Michael Smith Tags: Hong Kong, Trend Watch TORONTO — The Hong Kong Tourism Board celebrated the Year of the Dog at Susur Lee’s Luckee last night with plenty of good news, like the 58.4 million visitor arrivals in 2017. That includes 370,000 arrivals from Canada.The HKTB is looking to keep up the forward momentum with its ‘Best of All, It’s in Hong Kong’ campaign which encourages visitors to discover Hong Kong like a local.“We have identified various experiences to feature under the best campaign,” says Michael Lim, Director-Canada, Central & South America, Hong Kong Tourism Board.Susur Lee shows how to make his famous slawFor Canadians visiting Hong Kong, those experiences are culture, dining, attractions, Chinese festivals and the great outdoors, he adds.The city is also seeing new hotels with an additional 34 hotels being developed by the end of the year, taking the capacity to over 85,000 rooms.There’s also a new initiative to promote Hong Kong neighbourhoods with the launch of Old Town Central, positioned as a melting pot of arts, culture and entertainment.More news: Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaPart of the Old Town Central messaging includes five themed walking routes for clients looking to explore the neighbourhoods at their own pace. The next neighbourhood is Sham Shui Po and will be launched in late March. Sham Shui Po is home to multiple historic sites, characteristic architecture, religious buildings, local diners, hawker stalls, shopping malls and bazaars.In other news, the famous ‘A Symphony of Lights’ light and sound show, performed daily at Victoria Harbour, has gotten a refresh, with a new edition making its debut in December 2017 with even more dazzling elements and a new soundtrack performed by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.The most revealing statistic from last night’s reception was the destination’s popularity as part of a multi-destination trip for clients.“Over 90% of Canadian visitors [to Hong Kong] are on a multi-destination itinerary,” said Lim. “We’ll be leveraging on this to accelerate our co-ops with China, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam. New multi-destination itineraries will be developed with our airlines and tour operator partners.”With 14 direct flights daily from Canada to Hong Kong, the destination is definitely a hub to Asia for Canadians. This is how the tourism board is looking to leverage itself with other destinations:More news: Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaChinaWorking with the China National Tourist Office, they are focused on ensuring Hong Kong is included on the itinerary when consumers are thinking of visiting the rest of China. They will be continuing a digital campaign with the micro-site china-hongkong.ca.ThailandAnother partner is the Tourism Authority of Thailand, with two campaigns. The first is a 20-page feature in Fashion Magazine’s summer issue and a hub on fashionmagazine.com. They will also be working with OTA Travelzoo on an eight-week campaign.TaiwanHaving seen success working with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau on B2B initiatives, they will continue to work with the destination through the website 2storiesonetrip.com, offering various packages from tour operators.VietnamThey feel the destination is gaining interest this year and will be working on new initiatives this year and exploring various tactical opportunities with trade partners.For more information, go to partnernet.hktb.com. Posted by Share Hong Kong is part of a multi-destination itinerary and they know it
Lindsay Fendt By Hops McAleIs there anything better than a spending a warm Saturday afternoon sipping on a myriad of microbrews with friends? The answer to that question, in the humble opinion of Hops McAle, is no.So when granted the opportunity to attend the second annual Craft Beer Festival at Avenida Escazú, Hops and his misfit clan of drinking mates arrived in hopes of slaking their collective thirst on the best microbrews offered in Costa Rica. They did not leave disappointed. Nor did they leave with all facilities intact. Though one friend actually left with an adopted baby goat. I wish I was kidding, for the goat’s sake.Beginning at 11 a.m., the festival gates opened and patrons poured into the tented beer garden erected in the back parking lot of Avenida Escazú. Beneath the tents surrounding the perimeter of the festival, brewers from across the country served up their tastiest microbrews to hundreds of beer enthusiasts equipped with small sampling glasses and stomachs ready for the original recipes of hops, barley and yeast. Mmmm, yeast. By the looks of things at the festival, which included presentations and lessons on how to make your own homebrews, Costa Rica’s burgeoning craft beer culture has officially arrived. Related posts:The beer revolution comes to Costa Rica 3rd annual Craft Beer Festival happening Saturday 3rd annual Craft Beer Fest offers a taste of the future in Costa Rica Beer is a way of life at local microbrewery “Last year was a great time, though this year there is so much more variety and so many more beers available,” said Heredia resident Matthew Beerett, who was spotted around 6 p.m. alone in the Avenida Escazú food court devouring a plate of fried chicken from Popeye’s, or Pop-ehh-yes, as pronounced in Spanish. “It’s awesome to see the continued growth of good beer in this country.”Good beer flowed liked a freestyle rapper at Avenida Escazú on Saturday, as local microbrewers, most of whom are yet to sell their brews commercially, gave revelers a sample of their concocted libations. The offerings were diverse in presentation and flavor, ranging from a coffee-based porter produced by Cervecería Pezuña Negra, to a honey wine served up by the Alajuela-based Costa Rica Meadery. “We are all part of a growing beer community in Costa Rica,” said Josemaría Mora, who runs the La Bodega de Chema, a beer vendor that sells national microbrews in the eastern San José neighborhood of Los Yoses. “There are more and more people all over the country brewing their own beers. This is their opportunity to showcase what they created.”Ticketed beer enthusiasts were given samples of each of the 22 brews on tap and were required to show their passport, a small booklet with descriptions of the beers served, at each brewer’s station.Working through the 22 tastings proved more challenging than some anticipated. While all beverages were tasty and distinct, the 22-station menu staggered even the strongest of beer aficionados. After the eighth sample, some of the mates were noted as having heightened voice and fun levels. By round 14, one of the crew had gone missing while another pestered the bagpiper to for a chance to play a jig. When our passports were finally expired around 7 p.m., one amigo was spotted entering a cab with an adopted baby goat. And a t-shirt.And the Winner is?Much conversation among attendees debated their favorite beers of the day. All had different takes on what pleasured their palate, though several people surveyed during the day mentioned the Zaguate IPA, produced by Cervecería Perro Vida, Oso’s Honey Mango Brown Ale, brewed Bribri Springs Brewery in Puerto Viejo, and Jack Daniel’s Old Ale, a beer with a subtle whisky flavor, made by the TicoBirra Homebrew Shop.The event was anchored and organized by the Club de Cerveceros Artesanalas de Costa Rica, a nonprofit organization made up of beer enthusiasts and homebrewers, in conjunction with restaurant Product-C. Also in attendance was the grandaddy of the craft beer movement, Costa Rica Craft Brewing, which handed out samples of its two flagship brews, Libertas Tropical Golden Ale and Segua Red Ale, as well as their Oatmeal Stout and Barleywine. Costa Rica’s other increasingly popular microbrewer, the Tilarán-based Volcano Brewing Company, was also doling out savory samplings of their Witch’s Rock American Pale Ale and Gato Malo Nut Brown Ale. If it were required to pick a favorite brew or winner, it seems the obvious choice would be those in attendance. “Growing up in Costa Rica, we’ve always been used to the same beers and flavors,” said Veronica Soto, who successfully completed the entire menu of beers. “It’s so nice to finally see the arrival of new, good beers here. Hopefully in the future most of these brews will be sold all over the country.”The only loser? Lola, the adopted goat. Facebook Comments Lola the goat.
Related posts:Poet Ernesto Cardenal on Gran Canal project: ‘We should denounce to the world what is happening in Nicaragua’ Activists visiting Washington blast Nicaragua’s $50 billion canal project as ‘illegitimate’ US concerns grow over possible Nicaragua Canal land expropriation, ambassador says Secrecy still prevails as Nicaragua gets set to break ground on $50 billion interoceanic canal In an unexpected move at the start of the Third Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held last month in Costa Rica, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega had a surprise for participants.Just before closing his speech – during which he strongly criticized the United States for its decades-long embargo on Cuba and for what he described as U.S. colonization of Puerto Rico – Ortega said leaders of the Puerto Rican independence movement were part of the Nicaraguan delegation at the summit.He told the region’s leaders that independentista leader Rubén Berríos, sitting behind him, would finish his participation.Ortega left Costa Rica shortly after his evening speech, placing Berríos at the head of the Nicaraguan delegation.The following week, criticism from the Nicaraguan opposition of Ortega’s decisions resounded in Managua.While Edwin Castro, head of the ruling Sandinista (FSLN) bloc in the National Assembly – Nicaragua’s single-chamber parliament – praised Ortega as “a man who uses international forums to defend the people from the colonization imposed by the empire,” opposition lawmaker Eliseo Núñez said the president believes he owns Nicaragua.“Ortega supposes he’s the owner of the country and can do anything with Nicaragua, even giving a passport and an identity card to someone who wasn’t even born here, nor applied for Nicaraguan citizenship, and who is really asking for another country’s independence,” Núñez told reporters.“And adding the issue of giving a passport to someone who belongs to an organization that at one moment was accused of terrorism, Nicaragua could see itself on the famous list of countries promoting terrorism,” he warned, referring to the Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (PIP), whose president is Berríos.On PIP membership, Núñez, of the center-right Partido Liberal Independiente (PLI), said, “there are a couple of them who are in jail precisely for terrorist acts within the United States. They wanted to plant bombs, they wanted to commit massive attacks.”In separate statements to local media, Víctor Hugo Tinoco, a former foreign vice minister during the Revolución Popular Sandinista (1979-1990) and now an opposition legislator with the Movimiento de Renovación Sandinista (MRS), said, “It’s common to see Ortega trying to steal the show.”“He likes to draw attention,” added Tinoco, a member of the FSLN splinter group founded in 1996 by Nicaraguan writer and former Vice President (1985-1990) Sergio Ramírez and other former FSLN leaders.“Puerto Rico wasn’t a topic of discussion, even more so when its citizens have already decided to be in alliance with the United States,” he said.According to Muaricio Díaz, a Nicaraguan opposition member of the Central American Parliament and former ambassador to Costa Rica, Ortega’s attitude at the CELAC summit “violated international regulations and the practice of international law.”The president’s main message is: “I do as I please inside Nicaragua, and now I do as I please at the international level,” Díaz said.“This is a smoke screen to hide the fact that he’s turning Nicaragua into a colony of the Chinese, and on the other hand, to hide the dramatic social and economic situation we’re living in Nicaragua, which has nothing to do with the official discourse,” he added.Díaz referred to the awarding of construction of an interoceanic canal in Nicaragua to a Chinese company.“The international community is realizing that Nicaragua is turning into tyranny. I don’t remember a president abusing power so much,” he stated.Recommended: Driving the Nicaraguan riot policeIn his speech at the CELAC meeting in Belén, some 11 kilometers west of San José, Ortega said the summit was being held with “an absent Puerto Rico.”Later, he told attendees that, “We, dear Latin American and Caribbean brothers, have included in the Nicaraguan delegation, … patriots from Puerto Rico.”Introducing Berríos as “a great fighter [and] defender of our peoples’ sovereignty,” Ortega made the surprise announcement that, “to conclude my intervention, my words, I want to ask Rubén to conclude my words.” Ortega then offered Berríos his chair.With the Nicaraguan president standing behind him, Berríos, a leader of PIP, told the summit that, “it’s time for CELAC to go from words to action.”“CELAC must demand that the United States government release the [Puerto Rican] patriot Oscar López, the world’s oldest political prisoner, who’s been in jail for 34 years,” he said. “CELAC must keep a close watch on any attempt at perpetuating colonialism, with whatever new disguise, in Puerto Rico.”Berríos continued: “Reaching independence is up to Puerto Ricans. But it is up to Latin America and the Caribbean to be supportive of our right to independence, and of our demand that the United States put an end to colonialism.”Immediately after, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís – who was about to pass on to Ecuadorean counterpart Rafael Correa the bloc’s yearly rotating presidency – said, “We take note of the friendly suggestions” made by Berríos, but the forum must follow established procedures regarding resolutions.Ortega’s immediate reaction was to tell Solís, “You’re talking about procedure, and you’ve implemented procedure here at the start of this assembly when you decided to give the floor to the OAS, the Yankees’ colonial instrument, … and you decided to give the floor to the European Union.“And here, Nicaragua is speaking as a state, as a nation, and the voice of Puerto Rico is the voice of Nicaragua. So, I ask some respect from you, Mr. President,” Ortega added.The argument ended when Solís told Ortega, “If you’ve felt … offended, I apologize, because that wasn’t the presidency’s intention.”At a joint press conference with Correa after the closing session the next afternoon, the Costa Rican president said that after his evening speech, Ortega had left the country, “appointing Berríos as head of his delegation, and, later, as a member of his delegation.”When Berríos arrived before the summit’s closing session at a private meeting of heads of state and foreign ministers, he was told he could not take part in the gathering, Solís added.Several leaders “objected to the participation of a person who was not part of the participating states,” but “the intransigence of Nicaragua’s delegation was absolute,” he added.“They were told Mr. Berríos’ presence would not be accepted, … and it was very respectfully pointed out that it was not possible for him to participate; whereas the head of Nicaragua’s delegation at that moment, the vice minister of foreign affairs, could participate,” Solís said.“We gave him the opportunity to talk with President Ortega, who maintained his position that Mr. Berríos was the representative,” he said. “We did everything possible.”“And, since it was impossible to change the point of view of Nicaragua’s delegation –as we understand, with instructions from Managua and President Ortega – I had to make the decision to end the meeting and go on to the plenary [session],” he added.A Spanish colony since 1493, Puerto Rico – and other colonies including Cuba and the Philippines – was ceded in 1899 to the United States, the year after the end of a three-month war between both countries.The Spanish- and English-speaking Caribbean island’s political status is that of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Estado Libre Asociado, or Associated Free State).Founded in 1949, the PIP, one of six major political parties in Puerto Rico, is a Social Democratic organization that proposes the island become a sovereign nation.In the political struggle to reach its goal, PIP has resorted to civil disobedience such as a protest staged in 1999 by Berríos and other PIP leaders on U.S. Navy coastal grounds against the Navy’s use of the island of Vieques, some 15 kilometers east of the Puerto Rican mainland, as a bombing range.Berríos and the other members of the group were arrested, but other groups continued the protest until the U.S. Navy withdrew from Vieques in 2003. Most of the island is now a national wildlife refuge.See also: Will the Nicaragua Canal ruin the ‘Galapagos of Central America’? Facebook Comments
WASHINGTON D.C. — More Americans living outside the United States gave up their citizenship in the first quarter of 2015 than ever before, according to data released Thursday by the U.S.Internal Revenue Service.The 1,335 expatriations topped the previous record by 18 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Those Americans are driven to turn in their passports in part because of laws that have expanded bank reporting and tax compliance requirements for expatriates.The increase in early 2015 follows an annual record in 2014, when 3,415 Americans gave up their citizenship.An estimated 6 million U.S. citizens are living abroad, and the U.S. is the only country within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that taxes citizens wherever they reside.In many cases, those choosing to give up their citizenship have limited connections to the U.S. and have lived outside of the country for most of their lives. Anyone born in the U.S. automatically receives citizenship, and people born abroad to U.S. parents are typically citizens as well.Recommended: It’s getting more expensive to give up your US citizenshipFor some the decision is easy, because they perceive little benefit from holding U.S. citizenship. For others, the choice is more complicated.“The cost of compliance with the complex tax treatment of non-resident U.S. citizens and the potential penalties I face for incorrect filings and for holding non-U.S. securities forces me to consider whether it would be more advantageous to give up my U.S. citizenship,” Stephanos Orestis, a U.S. citizen living in Oslo, wrote in a March 23 letter to the Senate Finance Committee. “The thought of doing so is highly distressing for me since I am a born and bred American with a love for my country.”London Mayor Boris Johnson, who had a tax dispute with the IRS, said earlier this year that he would give up the U.S. citizenship he received because he was born in New York. His name isn’t on the IRS list. Eduardo Saverin, a Brazilian-born co-founder of Facebook, gave up his U.S. citizenship in 2012.U.S. citizens who live abroad can exclude as much as $100,800 in earned income and in many cases can receive tax credits for payments to foreign governments.The U.S. has increased efforts to catch tax cheats after the Swiss bank UBS AG paid a $780 million penalty in 2009 and handed over data on about 4,700 accounts. That has led some banks to forgo doing business with people who have ties to the U.S.One of the primary U.S. moves took effect last year as asset-disclosure rules under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act kicked in. The measure, known as Fatca, requires U.S. financial institutions to impose a 30 percent withholding tax on payments made to foreign banks that don’t agree to identify and provide information on U.S. account holders.It allows the U.S. to scoop up data from more than 77,000 institutions and 80 governments about its citizens’ overseas financial activities.In establishing the 2010 law, Congress and President Barack Obama in effect threatened to cut off banks and other companies from easy access to the U.S. market if they didn’t pass along such information. It was projected to generate $8.7 billion over 10 years, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.© 2015, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:The 2013 tax return extension deadline is approaching for US expats. Are you ready? Nearly one-quarter of car owners fail to pay marchamo on time US taxes are due April 15, are you ready? Collection of ‘marchamo,’ vehicle circulation fee, starts Monday
MONTERREY, Mexico — Theattack that burned 52 people to death at a casino in an upscale neighborhood was bad. But what really scared Idalia Villafana’s customers away were the body parts once strewn across the plaza near her restaurant.Villafana, 41, says she still can’t believe that the barbarism wrought by the Zetas drug cartel has largely subsided here near Monterrey, Mexico’s third-biggest metropolis, just a few years after she’d almost given up hope for peace.For that, she can thank local business leaders who got fed up with the penetration of the legal system by criminal syndicates and helped create and fund a unique program to take back the streets. The result: Murders in this industrial hub on the steps of the Sierra Madre are at a five-year low and commerce is once again thriving.A bustling symbol of the turnaround is the factory South Korea’s Kia Motors is building for more than $1 billion not far from where the Zetas once operated a paramilitary base. That’s helped push the wider Nuevo León region, which touches Texas, past Mexico City as the national leader in pledged foreign direct investment, with another $6 billion expected this year, state officials say. The vice president of global strategy at Kia Motors, Hyung-Kun Lee, delivers a speech during an announcement in Mexico City, of the installation of a vehicle assembly plant in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, on Aug. 27, 2014. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFPThe money is trickling down the way it should for small-business owners like Villafana, who has a contract to feed 190 of the workers from the Kia project at her modest, white-washed eatery. Villafana says she struggled to pay a single employee at the height of the violence in 2011, when the casino attack occurred. Now she has six and is struggling to keep up with demand.“We thought this would become a ghost town if things stayed the same,” Villafana says as she dips a ladle into a steaming pot of zucchini, her fingernails painted light blue. “Instead, there’s lots of work. The plant has really helped.”Mexico has been wracked by drug-related violence that’s left more than 22,000 people missing and 70,000 dead in the past eight years, including 49 headless corpses dumped en masse on the highway linking Monterrey to the United States. While the murder rate has begun to fall, President Enrique Peña Nieto has faced criticism for surges of violence in some regions, such as the abduction of 43 students in western Mexico last year by corrupt cops who allegedly handed them over to a drug gang to be killed.Monterrey, the hub of a metropolitan region of 4.2 million people, is a linchpin of Mexico’s economy, with output per capita of about $20,000 a year almost double the national average.The city’s transformation would never have been possible without wholesale changes to the law-enforcement system, which was widely seen as infested with drug money, according to Guillermo Dillón, who runs the state’s industrial chamber, a lobby group whose members include cement maker Cemex SAB and the Alfa SAB conglomerate.The tipping point came in 2008, when kidnappings reached epidemic proportions, prompting the chamber to organize a media event to urge officials to act, Dillón said in an interview.“We said we were receiving very troubling complaints from many members who were threatened by kidnappers,” Dillón said.That event helped galvanize the public and embolden other business leaders to join the charge for change, including the late Lorenzo Zambrano of Cemex and Fomento Economico Mexicano SAB’s José Antonio Fernández. As popular support for a thorough cleansing of the state police department swelled, a group of politicians, businessmen, educators and non-governmental organizations was assembled and tasked with an overriding objective: build a brand new force. Members of the Civil Police Force watch screens at the Integral Coordination Center of Control, Command, Communications and State Count (C-5) in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, on Dec. 18, 2014. Julio César Aguilar/AFPBusinesses contributed about 50 specialists in public relations and human resources to create recruitment campaigns to attract the ideal officer — anyone who’s never been a cop. They set pay and benefits that far outstrip those in other states, such as private health insurance and scholarships for kids. Professors were brought in to help write the training manuals for the new police academy. They ran market studies to design a name and uniforms that inspire trust.Thus, Fuerza Civil, or Civil Force, was born.“It was important to have this collaboration between the private and public sectors,” Javier Trevino, a deputy education minister who was lieutenant governor of Nuevo León from 2009 to 2012, said by phone from Mexico City. “It was a good way to earn the trust of the community.”Four years on, the state’s Fuerza Civil is more than 4,000 members strong and 70 percent of Monterrey’s municipal cops have been purged. An alliance of cartels that teamed up to repel the Zetas in the state may also have helped reduce violence, according to political scientist Javier Oliva at Mexico’s National Autonomous University.The drop in crime — homicides have plunged 76 percent and car thefts 86 percent — has been so steep that violence is no longer the public’s single greatest concern, according to Pedro Torres, a security and law analyst at the Tecnologico de Monterrey university’s school of government. Spanish singer Joaquín Sabina performs during a concert in Monterrey, on May 8, 2015. Julio César Aguilar/AFPThe success of Nuevo León’s security revamp may serve as a blueprint for other states such as Jalisco, home of the country’s second-largest metropolis, Guadalajara. There, cartel gunmen recently shot down a military helicopter and erected roadblocks from burning buses and debris amid clashes with police that left at least seven people dead.As voters in Nuevo León prepare to elect a new governor next month, a rare independent candidate in a region with an entrenched two-party system, Jaime Rodríguez, is polling second. “El Bronco,” as he is known, survived two assassination attempts during the height of the violence, when he was mayor of a Monterrey suburb, and is now pledging to root out old- fashioned cronyism and graft.“Security isn’t my priority anymore,” said Osmar Dávila, a 19-year-old criminology student with a vivid memory of the shootout between cops and gang members that erupted outside his house three years ago. “It’s cleaning up the government.”With assistance from Thomas Black in Dallas.© 2015, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:Mexico’s Peña Nieto wants expert debate on marijuana legalization Mexico horrified by suspected massacre, incineration of 43 students Outrage at likely Mexico massacre spreads to Acapulco Military helicopter shot down as drug violence surges in western Mexico
New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The conditions are cramped among the tombs. Children play with toys alongside gravestones that double as makeshift tables and shelves. Residents have sealed over graves to make kitchen or bedroom floors. Laundry hangs from clotheslines stretched between two tombstones.“I have spent 25 years in cemeteries. No one checks on us and I live on only 200 pounds ($30) a month,” said local resident Nadera Samir.For some, living among the dead is a source of anxiety and nightmares.“When one sleeps next to or on top of the dead he feels like he is in a twister, he feels like he is drowning in the sea,” said one resident, Fekry Masoud.Those living in the district expressed mixed feelings about the presidential election, which concluded Thursday.Some backed veterans of ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, believing only they can ensure security and stability.“Regardless of the fact that Mubarak was corrupt, life was easier, life was a lot cheaper,” said one woman.Others are horrified by the thought of a return to the regime.Whatever the case, most have a simple request for the new president _ not to forget them.“What will be helpful is getting good food and a good place to live,” said resident Sayeda Mohammed. Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Comments Share More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Check your body, save your life Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – As Egyptians took part in the country’s first free presidential election, residents of one of Cairo’s poorest quarters expressed hope that a new leader would help them with a simple request _ finding a new home.Thousands of Cairo’s poor live in the City of the Dead, a centuries-old necropolis replete with tombs and mausoleums that spreads out in a vast patchwork at the foot of the Mokattam Hills. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology
The vital role family plays in society More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family BEIJING (AP) – The European Union and China say they will begin to hold regular talks on defense and security and are looking at boosting their cooperation on anti-piracy missions off the coast of Somalia.The agreement was made Tuesday during the third session of the EU-China Strategic Dialogue in Beijing, a two-day forum meant to minimize disputes and deepen ties between China and its biggest trading partner.EU efforts to grapple with its debt crisis were also on the agenda of the two-day talks that kicked off Monday. Top Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Comments Share Check your body, save your life EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement Tuesday that her Chinese counterpart, Dai Bingguo, noted Europe’s “firm determination” in dealing with the debt problem.China’s stake in Europe’s economic health has increased as Chinese companies step up investment there.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths
Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies JUBA, South Sudan (AP) – The presidents of South Sudan and Sudan met face-to-face Tuesday and said they are working to maintain peace between the two countries.South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, who met in South Sudan’s capital, said in a joint statement they agreed to expedite the establishment of a joint or independent governing body in the contested border region of Abyei. Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility They also agreed to start coordinating on ways to help people and goods move across border points, and to stop supporting and harboring rebel movements in either country.An African Union panel mediating talks between the countries last year proposed a referendum to be held in Abyei this month to determine which country the region would join.South Sudan voted to break away from Sudan in 2011.In a statement, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the summit between the two presidents and their decision to accelerate the full establishment of a Safe Demilitarized Border Zone by mid-November.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Top Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Sponsored Stories
“The Cold-War mentality, which is prone to the use of force to resolve disputes, is already outdated,” Cui said.It’s not clear whether or when the U.S. might begin sending planes and ships within the 12 nautical mile (22.2-kilometer) territorial limit surrounding China’s island claims — or how exactly Beijing might respond.However, the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth and its MH-60R Seahawk helicopter conducted patrols in seas and airspace near the Spratlys this month, a first for a ship of that class, the Navy said in a report on its website.During the patrols, the ship encountered several Chinese navy warships and communicated with them using an agreed set of protocols to avoid misunderstandings, it said.The Fort Worth’s encounters with Chinese ships “continue to be professional,” commanding officer Cmdr. Matt Kawas was quoted as saying.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments Share Sponsored Stories BEIJING (AP) — China on Friday reaffirmed that it will defend its territorial claims in the South China Sea, on the eve of a visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is expected to raise America’s objections to Beijing’s actions.Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters China won’t remain passive if its interests come under attack.“I would like to stress again that China’s determination to defend national sovereignty and its legitimate rights and interests is unswerving,” Hua said. “We will adopt stern measures to counter any acts that will pose provocations and threats against China.” Four benefits of having a wireless security system New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Beijing this week responded angrily to a Wall Street Journal report which cited anonymous U.S. officials saying that Washington is considering sending military ships and planes to challenge Chinese claims to islands it is building in the South China Sea.China has rattled the region with its assertive claims in the South China Sea, where islands and reefs are contested by China and five other Asian governments. China has reclaimed about 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of dry land in the Spratly island groups since 2014 that could be used as airstrips or for military purposes, according to U.S. officials.American officials say Kerry will carry a message that China’s large-scale land reclamation and general behavior in the South China Sea will hurt China’s image and foreign relations, including with the U.S.His visit on Saturday will also set the stage for annual U.S.-China economic and strategic talks this summer and a trip to the U.S. by Chinese President Xi Jinping in the fall.Also Friday, state broadcaster CCTV ran an interview with China’s ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, in which he lashed out what he described as Washington’s hypocrisy and confrontational attitude. China says the U.S. ignores improvements it says other claimants are also making on their island holdings. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober
Top Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Suzanne Boswell Rudham, a Saving the Survivors spokeswoman, said donations from overseas were increasing as Hope’s story spreads. But the South African response has been lackluster, she added, citing possible “rhino fatigue” among people numbed by dire reports about African poaching, which sometimes include allegations of state corruption.Police in neighboring Mozambique arrested 11 people, including police officers, who were suspected of illegally poaching 12 rhino horns, the Mozambique News Agency reported Monday. The horns were part of a massive seizure of 340 elephant tusks and 65 rhino horns in a raid in which two Chinese nationals were arrested, the agency said. South Africa is assessing whether the horns came from rhinos poached from its own parks.Poachers who dart rhinos, a method that is stealthier than firearms and less likely to draw rangers’ attention, have used a tranquilizer that only veterinarians can legally acquire, Fowlds said. He said that reflected corruption “either on the pharmaceutical side or through the veterinary supply chain.”Thandi, a South African rhino whose horns were hacked off in 2012, recovered and gave birth in January after treatment, and veterinarians hope this rhino will do the same. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall “You just can’t believe that somebody from our own species can do that to an animal,” Marais said of the gaping wound that exposed part of the rhino’s skull and narrowly missed her eyes.On Monday, a team of veterinarians cleaned and dressed the injury before securing a fiberglass shield on what remained of the rhino’s face with wire stitches and steel screws drilled into the skull. An Associated Press team witnessed the operation on the sedated, 1.8-ton animal in a muddy enclosure on the edge of Shamwari Game Reserve, near the South African city of Port Elizabeth.Hope’s caregivers seek to rally support for a story of survival amid the escalating poaching in South Africa, which harbors about 20,000 rhinos, roughly 90 percent of the world’s population.The South African government recorded more than 1,200 poached rhinos last year, reflecting growing demand in parts of Asia, where rhino horn is believed to have medicinal benefits. There is no scientific evidence to support that: The horn is made of keratin, a protein also found in human fingernails.The rhino being treated on Monday was darted by poachers, who severed her horns while she was sedated, fracturing her nasal bone and exposing the sinus cavities and nasal passage. The attack happened in Lombardini, a wildlife park where poachers recently killed several other rhinos. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility SHAMWARI GAME RESERVE, South Africa (AP) — The horns and a large section of the rhino’s face were hacked off by poachers, a horrific injury that exposed flesh and bone. One South African veterinarian treating the mutilated animal was so distressed by the suffering that he had to step away, his eyes glassy with tears.Then Dr. Johan Marais, an equine and wildlife surgeon at the University of Pretoria, rejoined the extraordinary effort to save the life of the 4-year-old rhino, now named Hope. “This is going to be a marathon,” Steenkamp said of Hope’s treatment. “We are being pushed by these poachers to push our boundaries.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Hope, a rhino survivor, is turned during surgery Monday, June 8, 2015 at Shamwari Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Hope was darted by poachers recently at a nearby reserve and had her horns hacked off while she was sedated, fracturing her nasal bone and exposing the sinus cavities and nasal passages. (AP Photo/Courtney Quirin) Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Discovered alive days later, the rhino was given the name Hope by rescuers. She was moved to the nearby Shamwari reserve, where an initial surgery occurred on May 18.She is “a voice for what the species is going through,” said Dr. William Fowlds, a wildlife veterinarian who was the anesthesiologist on Monday.The delicate task required monitoring the rhino’s temperature and blood pressure and periodically administering drugs that briefly revived the animal, who groggily got to her feet as park staff swarmed around, steadying her immense bulk. A rhino can suffer potentially fatal muscle damage if it lies or sits too long in one position because its tremendous weight reduces blood flow.Fowlds, Marais and another vet, Dr. Gerhard Steenkamp, belong to Saving the Survivors, a group that treats rhinos with gunshot wounds, facial gouges and other poaching injuries. The group has treated 10 injured rhinos in the last few years, nine of whom survived. Hope’s wound, measuring 50 by 28 centimeters (20 by 11 inches), is among the worst the doctors have seen.Because there is little medical research on rhinos, the vets have been mapping bone structure and learning what painkillers, antibiotics and other drugs to use as they go along. Hope’s treatment is expected to cost tens of thousands of dollars and last about a year and a half. She faces an estimated two dozen medical procedures, including periodic replacement of the facial shield, before the wound is fully healed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments Share How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Some 50 Christian families fleeing war in Syria have arrived in Poland to begin new lives.A chartered plane from Beirut carrying about 150 refugees landed in Warsaw late Friday. The Syrians are being taken to a hotel, and within days they will begin the process of requesting asylum and being placed in housing.A few spoke to reporters, but they refused to be photographed or filmed, fearful of putting loved ones back home at more risk. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Poland’s decision to take in the refugees, who hail mostly from Damascus and other cities, is a humanitarian gesture by predominantly Catholic Poland in the face of a massive humanitarian crisis in Syria.However, the decision to accept only Christians for now has faced some criticism as being discriminatory against Muslims.Separately, Poland is also considering accepting 2,000 refugees from Africa and the Middle East as part of a larger European Union resettlement plan.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Sponsored Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Top Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments Share Patients with chronic pain give advice Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Corporate Travel Management (CTM) has announced its intention to become a listed company on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). CTM has also lodged a prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) for the initial public offering of its shares to raise $21.7 million. The company revealed that 21.78 million shares are being offered under the prospectus of which 20.98 million shares will be offered to new investors at $1.00 per share, while a maximum of 800 000 shares will be issued to eligible employees under the Employee Priority Offer at 90 cents per share. CTM Chairman Tony Bellas said, “The CTM IPO comes at an opportune time for new investors given the recovery being experienced in the corporate travel spend post GFC. Mr Bellas believes CTM Founder, Major Shareholder and Managing Director Jamie Pherous and the management team are committed to CTM’s ultimate success. “This commitment is demonstrated by the fact that Jamie Pherous is not selling any CTM shares,” he said.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Asia booked out the highest number of scheduled seats this month, leading worldwide air services by one third. According to an OAG Frequency and Capacity Trend Statistics report the region scheduled up to 93 million seats in January and increased seat capacity by 11 percent to 15.2 million.”Emergent markets are rapidly catching up with established regions in terms of size,” OAG parent company UBM Aviation chief executive Peter von Moltke said. “One significant example is the strong and continued growth within the Chinese market; with future expectations of growth in demand, it is likely that this market will be larger than the total North American market within the decade.” The report highlighted travel to and from the US increased by three percent to 17.4 million while the Middle East experienced a hike in seat numbers, increasing by 12 percent to 11.7 million. “Growth in this region is largely due to the development of three major hub airports in the Middle East, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha,” UBM Aviation company airport strategy and marketing senior vice president John Grant said. “Year-over-year capacity to and from the region increased 12 percent through a combination of increasing hub capacity, and more importantly, the emergence of new low cost airlines in the region.”
Despite the challenges it continues to face in the aftermath missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Tourism Malaysia is putting on a brave face and staying positive as it remains confident about reaching its 28 million international visitors target for 2014. Australia, which continues to be an important market in terms of growth for Malaysia, and the most significant outside the ASEAN, has also shown a decline since the tragic occurrence, with troubled Malaysia Airlines reporting a 15 percent decrease in flight bookings from Australia. The event was last featured in Malaysia in 2002, and is expected to draw tourists from the Southeast Asia region with an estimated tourist expenditure of around AUD $11 million over the two days the event is on. Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovich Created to promote tourism to Malaysia and support its target of reaching 36 million annual visitors by 2020, the Visit Malaysia 2014 initiative is now approaching its halfway mark with the disappearance of MH370 and the management of the situation having a significant effect on tourism. In related news, Malaysia Major Events, a division of Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau which falls under the Tourism and Culture Ministry, is proud to announce the return of the famous World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) LIVE to the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil. However, despite the setbacks, Tourism Malaysia officials remain optimistic about the country’s tourism opportunities, expressing confidence that Visit Malaysia Year 2014’s promotions will overcome the challenges, such as the “We Are the Host” campaign which aims get all Malaysians to come together in offering their support. Due to resume the international promotion of Visit Malaysia 2014, after it was placed on hold out of respect to the MH370 tragedy, Tourism Malaysia is remaining focused to stay on track in achieving its goals, with the implementation of more strategic promotions. Tourism operators have reported a decrease in the in the amount of enquiries for Malaysia since the tragedy, with the Chinese market proving to be the most hesitant in visiting the country as many Chinese continue to cancel or re-consider their plans to travel to the destination.
Today Amadeus announced that Lufthansa is the first to select Amadeus’ patent-pending Altéa Corporate Recognition, a tool which allows the airline to better recognise corporate customers at the time of booking.This ensures strategic tailor-made offers can then be provided to the corporate customer as well as to the individual business traveller across all stages of their journey.For Lufthansa this means a choice of selected services can be easily offered to boost demand and drive customer loyalty and retention, as the airline continues to actively focus its service to the corporate client’s needs.Lufthansa vice president global sales and key account management Christian Tillmans, said that corporate travellers remain the core customer group for global network carriers such as Lufthansa. “Amadeus Altéa Corporate Recognition allows us to both retain and increase the value delivered to corporate customers and business travellers alike. This development is a key milestone on our journey to offering an even more personalised and differentiated experience,” Mr Tillmans said.Amadeus senior vice president airline IT Julia Sattel, said that corporate travellers of today expect even higher levels of personalisation than passengers travelling for leisure.“This solution benefits the individual traveller, it also allows airlines to boost their relationship with key corporations as a whole – meaning airlines’ loyalty divisions can use the solution in a strategic manner,” Ms Sattel said.Altéa Corporate Recognition allows Lufthansa to offer its corporate customers more personalisation as the individual and predefined corporate level benefits will be prompted during the booking process.Amadeus Altéa Corporate Recognition is complemented by Amadeus’ existing loyalty and personalisation solutions, Amadeus Loyalty Management Suite and Amadeus Awards Suite.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman
ATF Philippines 2016 Travex program starts strongThe 2016 Travex program at the ASEAN Tourism Forum kicked off yesterday amidst a lovely atmosphere in Manila.Hundreds of delegates from all over the world arrived at the SMX Conference Centre in the morning, ready for a full day of meetings.The Department of Tourism Philippines Secretary Ramon R Jimenez began proceedings, stating that he and his team are extremely excited that the Philippines are hosting the event.“The department of Philippines Tourism is delighted to be hosting this event, it will promote the region as a single tourism destination, which will help push economic growth in the region,” Mr Jimenez said.In 2015 the Philippines had over five million inbound tourists in total and interestingly Australia was the fifth highest provider of inbound tourists to the country.Tourism is a huge part of the Philippines economy and employment, providing 4.99 million jobs. One in every 10 jobs is a job in the tourism industry.For the event, the Department of Tourism has brought on a large workforce of over a thousand staff members.The first day had a good night program as well with the ATF 2016 Opening Ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Centre, at which the President of the Republic of the Philippines, H.E. Benigno S. Aquino was in attendance.After the opening ceremony the Philippines Department of Tourism hosted the first dinner and also put a fantastic show, highlighting the different nations of ASEAN.To finish off the day, TTG Asia Media hosted a late night function at Chaos, City of Dreams, here delegates were able to dance the night away. Learn more here!Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman