Contiki pulls out all the stops in Asia with 5 brand new

Contiki pulls out all the stops in Asia with 5 brand new

first_img Posted by Contiki “pulls out all the stops” in Asia with 5 brand new trips Share Travelweek Group TORONTO – Contiki is ramping up its 2017 Asia program with the addition of five new itineraries, including trips to Singapore and India for the very first time.“Asia has been, and continues to be a key destination for young Canadian travellers looking for an adventure. As a youth focused brand, we recognized the need for an Asia product that delivers an adventurous, immersive and culturally authentic experience,” said Sheralyn Berry, Director of Sales at Contiki Holidays Canada. “I’m proud to say that we’ve pulled out all the stops for our Asia 2017 program, adding five new trips and five improved itineraries, including expanding our Thailand and Bali offerings with more departures. Not to mention the No Regrets Experiences and Me Time Optionals, which are all unparalleled in terms of diversity and memorability!”The five new trips include ‘Cambodia & Laos Uncovered’, which visits Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap over nine action-packed days. This package includes internal flights, licenced local guides and a Contiki Trip Manager throughout, plus the chance to see Angkor Wat Temple at dawn. The first departure is on April 8, 2017.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growth‘Bangkok to Singapore’ first departs on April 2 and is labelled as a ‘Discoverer’ itinerary that takes in the sights of Bangkok, Krabi, Langkawi, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore over 14 days. In addition to private air conditioned coaches, this itinerary includes an overnight train from Bangkok to Khao Sok, an overnight stay at a Thai jungle treehouse hotel as well as a night onboard a floating lake raft.‘Northern Thai Highlights’ first departs on April 1 and follows Contiki’s ‘In Depth Explorer’ style. This new eight-day trip journeys through northern Thailand and visits Chiang Mai, Kanchanburi, Ayutthaya and Bangkok. Highlights include a cruise on a traditional longtail boat, guided bike tour of Ayutthaya, a guided tour of Ayutthaya and a trip on the River Kwai. Also, guests have the option to visit an elephant sanctuary or Pai hot springs, or participate in a Thai cooking class.Also new is ‘Japan – City to Slopes’, a 12-day voyage that visits Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo and the Hakuba ski fields. This ‘Winter & Ski’ style sibling of last year’s hugely popular ‘Japan Unrivalled’ itinerary includes private coach travel and a three-day lift pass, and also includes optional experiences like a sushi-making class and a Japanese Tapas dinner. First departure runs on Jan. 7.More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemLastly, ‘Eternal India’, which first departs on Dec. 4, 2016, returns to the region after a 40-year hiatus. This 12-day trip follows Contiki’s ‘In-Depth Explorer’ style and visits Delhi, Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai and Goa. Highlights include the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Delhi’s old town and optional experiences like a visit to the famous cricket ground, Maiden Oval, and chapatti making lessons.Clients who pay in full on or before December 22nd, 2016 can save up to 10% off as part of Contiki’s “Early Payment Discount” program. For more information go to contiki.com.center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, October 25, 2016 Tags: Asia, Contikilast_img read more

Heres where MSC Cruises will sail in winter of 20192020

Heres where MSC Cruises will sail in winter of 20192020

first_img GENEVA — MSC Cruises is setting sail for the 2019/2020 winter season with 17 modern ships and an array of destinations, all of which go on sale starting March 5, 2018.MSC Grandiosa is one of two ships to come into service next year and will spend its inaugural winter season in the Western Mediterranean. MSC Sinfonia, meanwhile, will offer longer cruises of 11, 12 and 14 nights in the Mediterranean, including two new itineraries: a 14-night cruise that calls in Haifa, Israel along with Mediterranean favourites, and a 12-night cruise from Genoa to destinations across the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.Other highlights of the season include:NORTH AMERICAMSC Cruises has introduced new itineraries from New York. MSC Meraviglia will offer two 10-night roundtrip sailings from NYC calling at Bar Harbor, Boston and Portland before moving onto Canadian ports like Charlottetown, Corner Brook, Halifax, Quebec, St. John and Sydney.CARIBBEANOcean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is scheduled to open in winter 2019 as a new private island exclusively for MSC guests. Located in the Bahamas, it offers 40 acres of golden beaches split into six areas, each with its own atmosphere. MSC Seaside, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Divina and MSC Armonia will all call at the island.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoFrom its new homeport of Miami, MSC Meraviglia will offer two different itineraries out of PortMiami in the West Caribbean.MSC Divina will return from the Mediterranean in November 2019 to offer two long cruises from Miami: an 11-night cruise to Jamaica, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico and Ocean Cay; and a 10-night cruise to Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Maarten, Tortola and Ocean Cay.MSC Preziosa will offer two embarkation ports in the French Antilles, setting sail from Fort de France in Martinique and Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe. The two seven-night, seven-ports itineraries can be combined in a 14-night cruise that visits Tortola, St. Maarten, Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad and more.MIDDLE EASTMSC is introducing one of its newest ships to the United Arab Emirates. MSC Bellissima will come into service in March 2019 in the Mediterranean and will then move to the Middle East for winter, with two seven-night itineraries sailing to Sir Bani Yas Island, Khasab and Muscat in Oman, or Bahrain and Qatar. MSC Lirica will also join Bellissima in this region with a 14-night itinerary calling in Mumbai and Goa, and an 11-night cruise featuring a stop in Muscat and an overnight in Oman.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaWORLD CRUISEWith a brand new itinerary, MSC’s second World Cruise will commence onboard MSC Magnifica from Civitavecchia, Genoa, Barcelona and Marseilles in January 2020. With more than 40 destinations and 23 countries, guests will cross five continents on a three-month voyage.To learn more about these sailings and current promotions go to msccruises.com. Share Posted by Tags: MSC Cruises Here’s where MSC Cruises will sail in winter of 2019/2020center_img Travelweek Group Monday, February 26, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Royal Caribbean targets Millennials with multibillion dollar initiatives

Royal Caribbean targets Millennials with multibillion dollar initiatives

first_imgRoyal Caribbean targets Millennials with multibillion dollar initiatives Share MIAMI — Royal Caribbean is investing billions of dollars into new ships, new onboard experiences and a new global private island collection that includes a US$200 million transformation of CocoCay in The Bahamas.As part of the initiative Royal Caribbean has launched its new Perfect Day Island Collection, a series of what the cruise line says are “unrivaled and exclusive” private island destinations around the world.The first in the collection, Perfect Day at CocoCay, is a US$200 million transformation of the cruise line’s private island in The Bahamas.Royal Caribbean ships departing from New York, Maryland and Florida will call at Perfect Day at CocoCay.The island transformation will roll out in phases beginning September 2018 with the completion of a new pier, and by spring 2019 the majority of the island’s experiences will be open. Coco Beach Club, the final phase, is set to open November 2019. Highlights include:Thrill Waterpark, featuring two water towers with 13 slides – the most slides found in any waterpark in the Caribbean – and including the 135-foot-tall Daredevil’s Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America. The waterpark will also feature the Caribbean’s largest wave pool and a kid-friendly obstacle course pool.Oasis Lagoon, the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool, with a swim-up bar and in-pool loungers.A 1,600-foot zip line that crisscrosses the island at up to 50 feet high and features the only water landing in the Caribbean.A helium balloon, known as Up, Up and Away, floats up to 450 feet above the ground providing for the highest vantage point in The Bahamas.Two specially designed beaches – Chill Island for the ultimate beach escape, complete with crystal-clear tropical waters and white powder-like sand – and plentiful cabanas and daybeds for relaxation; and the action-packed South Beach with volleyball, beachside basketball, soccer, paddle boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and zorbing in an inflatable zorb ball.The exclusive Coco Beach Club, will offer an upscale island experience that will feature the first overwater cabanas in The Bahamas.More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaAdditional Perfect Day Island Collection destinations in Asia, Australia and the Caribbean will be announced at a later date.“It’s true that our ships are technological and engineering marvels in their own right and offer a multitude of unexpected experiences; but our destinations are an equally important part of the cruise vacation,” says Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.“We are introducing the Perfect Day Island Collection to deliver the most memorable vacation for adventure seekers on land and on board our ships. Once completed Perfect Day at CocoCay will be the ultimate family destination in the Caribbean.”Adding to recently announced digital innovations, including frictionless check-in, stateroom technology and a new mobile app, the cruise line has committed $900 million to reimagining its fleet through a new modernization effort called Royal Amplified.Spanning 10 ships in four years, the program will introduce specialized pool spaces, experiential dining and nightlife concepts, and first-of-its-kind attractions like Sky Pad, a VR bungee trampoline experience.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionRoyal Caribbean is also answering the call for shorter vacations – especially in demand from Millennials – by boosting its short Caribbean getaways lineup.In summer 2018 Mariner of the Seas will undergo a $90 million modernization adding Sky Pad and a glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience; The Bamboo Room, a retro lounge with tiki-chic décor; and the Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. Mariner will sail 3- and 4-night cruises from Miami.Sister ship Navigator of the Seas will follow in 2019, and receive an even more extensive modernization before joining Mariner of the Seas to offer short sailings.In 2019 both ships will call extensively on Perfect Day at CocoCay.Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Symphony of the Seas is set to debut this spring. Royal Caribbean’s other new ships on the horizon including the Quantum Ultra Class Spectrum of the Seas, an evolution of the Quantum Class of ships set to debut in 2019; a second Quantum Ultra Class ship in 2020, a fifth Oasis Class ship in 2021 and a new class known as Icon, with ships delivered in 2022 and 2024. << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group center_img Posted by Thursday, March 15, 2018 Tags: Millennial Travel, Royal Caribbean Internationallast_img read more

Regional investment is key to Central American security say foreign ministers

Regional investment is key to Central American security say foreign ministers

first_imgRelated posts:Central American child migrant crisis ‘one of the greatest tragedies,’ says Costa Rica’s Solís ‘Writing was on the wall’ for child immigrant crisis, says new study Obama to request $1 billion from Congress to help Central America Guatemala has no idea how many of its undocumented citizens live in the United States WASHINGTON, D. C. – The influx of immigrants to the United States from the three countries of Central America’s “Northern Triangle” region won’t see significant reduction until those nations can stand on their own economically.Hugo Martínez Bonilla, foreign minister of El Salvador, and his Guatemalan counterpart, Carlos Raúl Morales Moscoso, attempted to drive this message home during a Nov. 13 event at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C.The seminar, “Re-envisioning the Future: A Discussion with Central American Foreign Ministers,” was moderated by Jason Marczak, deputy director at the council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. It preceded by one day a meeting at the Inter-American Development Bank’s Washington headquarters with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and three heads of state: Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador, Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala, and Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras.The three presidents had traveled to Washington in order to unveil their “Alliance for Prosperity” plan, which will largely be financed by the IDB, the U.S. government and other sources. Billed as a sort of “Plan Colombia” for Central America, the proposal aims for a total economic and social transformation of the region, including dramatic investments in job creation, crime reduction and physical infrastructure.“You need to judge us by what we’re doing now, now what happened in our countries before,” said Martínez, alluding to the civil wars and political upheavals of the 1980s and early 1990s. We are very committed to this plan.”A third panelist, Honduran Foreign Minister Mireya Agüero, had been scheduled to join her Salvadoran and Guatemalan counterparts on the podium, but she unexpectedly resigned the week before.Among other things, the Alianza para la Prosperidad del Triángulo Norte – as it’s known in Spanish – calls for an overhaul of tax systems and their management in the three countries, as well as the “creation of special economic zones” that would grant preferential treatment to new investment.“Unfortunately, even though we’re taking measures to strengthen immigration laws or have stronger border patrols, if no one tries to fix the economic situation, there will always be people moving toward the border,” said El Salvador’s Martínez. “Since there are not enough opportunities in their countries, they view immigration almost as an obligation. If we created economic opportunities in the countries where these people are coming from, then immigration would become an option, not an obligation.”Added Guatemala’s Morales: “The lack of development forces people to emigrate. Our immigrants are very nostalgic. When I meet them here, eight out of 10 tell me they want to save money and go back home. If most of them had opportunities in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, they would not emigrate.”See also: Immigrants find themselves torn between hope, defeat on Obama’s plans From left, Jason Marczak, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center in Washington, D.C., moderates a discussion about Central America with Hugo Martínez Bonilla, foreign minister of El Salvador, and Carlos Raúl Morales Moscoco, foreign minister of Guatemala, on Nov. 13, 2014. Larry Luxner/The Tico TimesSome 180 people packed the Atlantic Council’s auditorium for the event, including representatives of think tanks, U.S. government agencies, NGOs and 12 foreign embassies in Washington. Among ambassadors in the audience: Costa Rica’s Román Macaya and Nicaragua’s Francisco Campbell.“When I was 5 years old, I used to play with a child across the street. His name was Felipe,” recalled Martínez. “One day, all of a sudden, I didn’t see him anymore. That was in 1975. I asked my parents where Felipe was, and they told me his family had moved to the States. This was all about a lack of opportunity.”This summer was dominated by news headlines describing the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S. from Mexico. That prompted President Barack Obama to speak out and helped bring the child migrant issue – as well as the tightening of border enforcement – to the forefront of the national immigration debate.However, as Martínez said, “it’s much better to invest in our countries than to add 1,000 more border guards. Our people are hard workers, and are valued for their hard work. We want to develop our countries so that people will want to stay.”Added Morales: “You can have a million soldiers at the border, and you’ll be shocked how many people will still get into the United States. That’s why investing in our economy is better than concentrating exclusively on security. The more we develop Central America, the better it’ll be for the United States. That’s the idea we’re looking for with this alliance.”See also: For Central America’s migrant women, life can change in a secondThe plan presented to the IDB has four basic pillars, said Martínez: economic development and entrepreneurship, safety and security, capital investment and human resources, and the development of capacities at the local level.“If we do not develop all four pillars, we will not have a complete plan,” he stressed. “For example, we can make great strides in entrepreneurship with small- and medium-sized enterprises, but if we don’t concentrate on safety and security, we won’t be able to develop at the local level. Likewise, if we are able to attract investment but the human resources aren’t available, we will be taking a huge risk, because investors would then have to bring people from abroad – which is not what we’re looking for. So we have to work hand-in-hand with investors and the private sector.”Both men stressed the need for business-friendly policies that would lure foreign companies to Central America, which would in turn bring greater stability to the region.“The first thing we must offer is inexpensive energy. That’s something we’re pushing for right now,” said Morales, estimating that electricity costs 15 times as much in Central America as in Mexico, making operating costs prohibitively high.He noted that Guatemala is now in discussions with Belize to connect their national grids, allowing the two neighbors to buy and sell electricity from each other; also in the works is a gas pipeline from Mexico.“We want to improve our ports and roads. How can we tell investors to come if we don’t have the proper roads or ports for them to move their products? Human capital is essential, but we also have to keep in mind ports, so the country can develop itself. If we don’t have competitive energy prices, then investors will go to other countries where electricity is cheaper.”Marczak asked the two foreign ministers how the Alliance for Prosperity is different from the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), a U.S. government initiative that has spent $642 million on assistance to the region since 2008.“There’s a very big difference between CARSI and what we’re proposing,” Morales replied. “CARSI was designed for law enforcement, but our plan seeks development in the region to increase economic opportunities. CARSI was designed by the U.S. government, and our plan was designed by our governments.”Both Mexico and Colombia are viewed by Central American leaders as success stories. Yet the Guatemalan diplomat said the stark difference between his country and Mexico is immediately apparent to anyone who crosses their shared 960-kilometer border.“When we cross into Mexico, we see that all their communities have roads, water, electricity, schools, medical facilities. You feel the government’s presence. On our side of the border, there’s not even water or toilets. Mexico today is completely different from what it used to be.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Government predicts end to blockades following agreement with transportation sector

Government predicts end to blockades following agreement with transportation sector

first_imgRelated posts:President Alvarado addresses Costa Rican protests, urges peace and dialogue Authorities clear roads overnight after President Alvarado’s address President Alvarado visits Germany, meets with Chancellor Angela Merkel Tourism Board launches hotline for visitors affected by protests; Education Minister resigns President Carlos Alvarado said Tuesday night that his administration has reached an agreement with the transportation sector to end road blockades throughout Costa Rica.The announcement came a day after Alvarado authorized a Public Security Ministry operative to act against groups blocking important national throughways.President Alvarado’s statement read as follows:We reached an agreement: the blockades in the different parts of the country are lifted and a dialogue forum will be established to deal exclusively with issues of the transport sector.We are a country of peace, where dialogue has always been and remains the way in which we solve the problems we face. Costa Rica is capable and today, especially, we verify that.“We apologize to the people of Costa Rica and the productive sector for the damage caused,” said Marvin Castillo, spokesperson for the Cargo Transporters Union.Though a Tuesday morning operativo had cleared a majority of the blockades, a few were recreated later that afternoon and evening.In San Carlos, the Security Ministry says a bridge that had been closed by protesters with a pile of gravel caused delays for an ambulance transporting an infant in critical condition.And in San José on Tuesday night, a University of Costa Rica (UCR) student group organized a protest that backed up traffic on Route 39, known as Carretera de Circunvalación.  (Jacob Spetzler / The Tico Times)According to Carolina Funes, one of the organizers, the blockade was set up primarily in solidarity with the demonstrators whose own protests had been shut down by police. It’s unclear whether ¡Ya Basta!, the UCR student group, or other sectors will continue roadblocks Wednesday.Footage from Repretel at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday showed continued disturbances in Limón 2000, though initial reports suggested these were not related to previous protests.Costa Rican truck drivers had been objecting to a new value-added tax, which applies a 13% duty to services that had previously been excluded.Jacob Spetzler contributed to this report. This story was updated at 11:35 p.m. Tuesday.  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Putins first week sees wave of challenges

first_imgPutin’s decision not to go to the G-8 summit _ instead sending his predecessor and now prime minister Dmitry Medvedev _ was explained as necessary for Putin to form his Cabinet. That raised eyebrow since Putin’s return to the presidency had been all but certain since he announced his intention to run last September. Some observers suggested it gave Putin a convenient excuse to avoid a highly visible international forum where his tough line against dissent could come under criticism.The harsh measures against protesters on the day before the inauguration and subsequent arrests at smaller protests in the following days were a harsh contrast to Russia’s winter of discontent, during which demonstrators fastidiously stayed within the limits sanctioned by authorities and police in turn kept close watch but did not interfere.But the opposition now is raising the stakes, even setting up a small round-the-clock demonstration in a Moscow square. That puts Putin in a bind. Either he invites international opprobrium with tough police action or risks allowing the opposition to expand its actions to something resembling the 2004 Orange Revolution tent-camp in Kiev. Putin denounced both the Orange Revolution and the similar Rose Revolution in Georgia _ and allowing similar actions in Moscow could be seen as blinking first in a staring match. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories One of Putin’s strong suits against the opposition has been Russia’s remarkable prosperity during his presidency and premiership. That has come mostly because of Russia’s vast reserves of oil, gas and minerals, but the country has sought to move beyond its natural-resources economy to become a manufacturing power.The new Superjet-100 regional airliner is a key piece of that strategy, and Russia is energetically seeking customers for it worldwide. The crash in Indonesia occurred during an Asian sales trip for the plane.No cause has yet been determined, but either mechanical failure or pilot error would be a blow to Russia’s image. If the plane itself was at fault, orders almost certainly would dry up. The plane’s pilot was described as one of Russia’s most experienced, and if his error caused the crash it would follow a run of Russian airline disasters blamed on poorly trained or inattentive crews.The announcement of the foiled plot against the Sochi games hit at two of Putin’s other traditional strong points.Putin drove Russia’s campaign to win the right to host the event and his success was not only a personal victory but a strong endorsement of Russia’s aspirations to be seen as a country that is modern, welcoming _ and secure. Sochi’s location on the fringe of Russia’s insurgency-plagued North Caucasus raised concerns about terrorist attacks, fears that were countered with Putin’s strong record in the fight against Chechen rebels. But the reported plot, blamed on insurgents, underlined that the militants, although less active than in recent years, have not been vanquished _ a fact grimly underscored by the May 3 car bombs in Dagestan. A further embarrassment to the Kremlin could be seen in the claim that the plot was organized in Abkhazia, the Georgian separatist region adjacent to Sochi.Putin, amid his difficult first week in office, did find time to reinforce his image as a strong leader beloved by salt-of-the-earth Russians. On Thursday, he made a well-publicized visit to a tank manufacturing plant in the scruffy city of Nizhny Tagil. The plant became a potent symbol for Putin in January, when a cadre of workers promised him on national television that they would come to Moscow, if needed, to battle the rising protest movement.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories A corps of the most determined has occupied a Moscow square since Wednesday. Although small in number, the defiance is significant in a country where unauthorized rallies are routinely dispersed with force.Putin has also taken hits on other fronts.An airliner that is the pride of Russia’s campaign to regain a foothold in the civilian aviation industry crashed Wednesday under mysterious circumstances in Indonesia. The next day, a project of even greater national significance _ the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, appeared vulnerable: Authorities said they had uncovered an elaborate and heavily armed plot to attack the games in the Black Sea resort.Putin meanwhile baffled the world by announcing that he would not attend next week’s Group of Eight summit in Camp David _ a startling absence for a man who appears to relish the world spotlight.Nor did the days leading up to the inauguration augur smooth sailing for at least the early part of Putin’s new, six-year term. Tensions with the United States got a very public viewing when the military chief of staff threatened pre-emptive strikes if Washington moves ahead with a European missile-defense program. An inauguration eve protest attracted tens of thousands, well more than expected, and vivid scenes of police beating and dragging demonstrators played worldwide. Two car bombs in Dagestan killed 13 and wounded scores. Comments   Share   Associated PressMOSCOW (AP) – Vladimir Putin appeared to shed tears of joy the night he won back the presidency in March. After less than a week in office, he may be tempted to shed some in frustration.Since his inauguration on Monday, the man whose 2000-2008 presidency was characterized by steely control and a cowed opposition has faced a wave of confrontations and misfortunes.Opposition activists, energized by this winter’s unprecedented wave of massive protest rallies and angered by Putin’s March 4 re-election, which they claim was riddled with vote fraud, are showing new willingness to risk arrest and police beatings. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Haiti PM appeals for emergency aid following Sandy

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Officials say that as many as 54 people died. The United Nations said that 1.6 million people were affected.The office of prime minister Laurent Lamothe announced the appeal on Sunday.The Caribbean country is still struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake nearly two years ago.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – The Haitian government is calling on other countries and international organizations to provide emergency humanitarian aid after Hurricane Sandy caused major damage to the impoverished nation.The eye of the storm passed west of Haiti the night of Oct. 24. But its rain-heavy outer bands soaked the southern coast and capital for much of that week, causing many rivers to overflow. Authorities say the storm destroyed 70 percent of the crops in Haiti’s south and caused widespread deaths of livestock. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistlast_img read more

2 killed in clash at terrorlinked Kenyan mosque

first_img Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Quick workouts for men Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober “We condemn strongly the move by police to cause violence inside a place of worship,” Hussein said.Kenyan police have linked the Masjid Musa mosque to recruitment of militants for Somalia’s al-Shabab terrorist organization, which claimed responsibility for an attack last year on an upscale shopping mall in which up to 67 people were killed in Nairobi, the capital. The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group said that attack was in retaliation for Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia.Rights campaigners say the Kenyan government’s harsh counterterrorism measures are pushing some Muslim youths toward extremism.A Human Rights Watch researcher reported last year that many Somalis who have fled to Kenya because of al-Shabab violence have sometimes faced “serious abuses” at the hands of security forces who wrongfully accuse them of supporting al-Shabab.Last October, following the mall attack, gunmen killed a Muslim cleric and three others in a hail of bullets in Mombasa, sparking street violence by youths who accused the police of targeted killings of Muslim leaders.The Masjid Musa mosque has produced terror-linked Muslim preachers including Aboud Rogo Mohammed, who was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in Mombasa as he drove his wife to a hospital in Aug. 2012. The death sparked two days of rioting in which four people, including three members of the security forces, were killed and three churches were damaged in Mombasa. Hundreds of angry young Muslims who took to the streets blamed police for the killing of Mohammed, who had been sanctioned by the U.N. and U.S. for supporting al-Shabab. A Kenyan government task force did not establish who killed Mohammed. A police officer who was stabbed in the face died of his wounds, said Mombasa police commander Robert Kitur. Another officer was stabbed in the stomach and is being treated at the hospital, he said.Police later occupied the mosque and its precincts, Kitur said.“We have arrested dozens of youths who attacked our officers while on duty at the mosque and they are under interrogation,” he said. They also recovered a gun stolen from an officer.Kitur said the officers were “on a mission to remove radical paraphernalia from the mosque when they faced resistance.”Henry Ondieki, the Mombasa chief of criminal investigations, said police forcibly entered the mosque after getting intelligence that a meeting to recruit militants was underway. “This was not a normal day of prayers,” he said. “Their intention was clear: they were planning to recruit and attack innocent Kenyan civilians.”But the head of a Mombasa-based rights group criticized the police.“There was no need for excessive force and the police should have restrained themselves to avoid bloodshed,” said Khalid Hussein, executive director of Haki Africa. He said it came the day after they asked police to avoid violence and talk to the youth. (Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) – Police opened fire on Muslim youths wielding daggers at a mosque linked to recruiting Islamic extremists, and at least one officer and a young man were killed Sunday, witnesses and officials said in the coastal resort and port city of Mombasa.Police said they raided the Masjid Musa mosque acting on intelligence that a meeting to recruit militants was going on.A reporter at the scene saw police shoot and kill one person as they tried to disperse a growing crowd screaming “Allahu Akbar” or “God is Great” outside the mosque, which has been the recent site of violent confrontations between young Muslims and police. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Slovenia detains Kosovo expremier on Serbia arrest warrant

first_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Avni Arifi, a senior official in Haradinaj’s party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, said on Facebook that Haradinaj was refusing to appear in front of a Slovenian judge.“This attitude and act by the Slovenian state is unacceptable and very offensive for me and for Kosovo,” Arifi’s Facebook posting quoted Haradinaj as saying.Haradinaj himself could not be reached by phone.The former guerrilla fighter was cleared of war crimes charges in two lengthy trials by a U.N. war crimes tribunal. But Serbia accuses Haradinaj, a senior rebel commander in western Kosovo, of committing war crimes against Serb civilians during the 1998-99 war, including kidnappings, torture and killings.His detention was met with condemnation in Kosovo, where he is widely considered a hero for his role in steering Kosovo to statehood. Several dozen ethnic Albanians gathered outside the Slovenian embassy in the capital of Pristina to voice their discontent.Kosovo seceded from Serbia in 2008. Slovenia, once part of the now-defunct Yugoslavia together with Kosovo, is among over 100 countries that have recognized Kosovo’s independence.But Serbia, which considers Kosovo part of its territory, has vowed never to recognize the separation. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist ___Ali Zerdin contributed from Ljubljana, SloveniaCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — A former prime minister of Kosovo has been detained by Slovenian authorities on a 2006 international arrest warrant issued by Serbia.Ramush Haradinaj, now an opposition leader, was on his way back home from an official visit to Germany when he was blocked from boarding a flight leaving Ljubljana Airport, his party said in a statement Wednesday.Kranj police department spokesman Bojan Kos, whose agency is responsible for the airport, confirmed that a Kosovar citizen was stopped based on a Serbian Interpol warrant but declined to identify the person, citing privacy laws. He said legal procedures were ongoing. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The vital role family plays in society Top Stories last_img read more

Greece defends harsh reforms it promised creditors

Greece defends harsh reforms it promised creditors

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s government on Tuesday defended the billions worth of “harsh” new budget savings it has offered in talks with creditors, as some of the governing party’s own lawmakers spoke out against them.Greece has proposed measures worth 8 billion euros ($9 billion), including increases to company and consumer taxes, to persuade the country’s bailout creditors to release new loans it needs to avoid defaulting on its debts next week. Another lawmaker, Dimitris Kodelas, echoed the sentiment.“Such an agreement cannot be voted on,” he told To Vima radio. “The deal toward which we are moving is a deal which, by common admission, has nothing to do with our program.”Labor Minister Panos Skourletis insisted the proposal, if accepted by the creditors, was a good one for Greece that included beneficial measures for workers.A deal that will ensure Greece remains in the eurozone is likely to have enough parliamentary votes to pass, as some opposition lawmakers will almost certainly vote in favor. But significant losses from the governing coalition of Syriza and its coalition partner, the small ANEL nationalist party, would be a blow to Tsipras and could lead to early elections.ANEL said Tuesday that any agreement with Greece’s creditors should be linked with some form of debt relief.“Clearly a government that doesn’t have the confidence of its deputies can’t stand up. But I don’t think we’ll get to this point,” Sakellaridis said.The uncertainty of the past few months has further hammered the Greek economy, while worried Greeks have pulled billions out of domestic banks for fear of restrictions being imposed on banking transactions, or of the country leaving the euro. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall ____Nicholas Paphitis in Athens and Greg Keller in Paris contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober A decision is expected this week: eurozone finance ministers are to meet Wednesday evening, followed by a European Union summit Thursday and Friday.Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will also travel to Brussels Wednesday, for midday talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde, his office said.Greece needs a decision before June 30, when its current bailout expires and it also faces a 1.6 billion-euro ($1.8 billion) loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund.The government is also under pressure from other left wing parties and trade unions, who say its proposals will place further burdens on austerity-weary Greeks. Late Tuesday, 7,000 members of a Communist Party-affiliated trade union and 3,000 pensioners held a peaceful protest march through Athens, demanding that the government withdraws its proposals and restore pensions to pre-crisis levels.Tsipras’ radical left Syriza party won in January on a promise to repeal the harsh budget cuts and tax increases that previous governments had imposed since 2010 in return for bailout loans.Tsipras says such measures have been focusing too closely on healing public finances while worsening the economic plight of Greeks. Sponsored Stories The government’s proposal “is clearly moving in the right direction” to ensure the country can maintain international funding “and avert a disorderly path towards bankruptcy,” said Simos Anastasopoulos, the head of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce.“On the other hand the proposed measures put the burden on the private economy,” he said, adding that the new taxes are certain to “lead to recession and an increase in unemployment.”After a series of meetings in Brussels on Monday, European creditors say Greece’s new reforms proposals offer a good basis to break a nearly five-month deadlock in talks over new loans.Greece’s new proposals “are tangible elements we can work with in an efficient way to reach an agreement,” French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said. “We need one last push (Wednesday) night so that the heads of state can sign off on the agreement.”The IMF sounded less optimistic, with Lagarde describing the proposals as “still short of everything that we expected.”Hopes that a deal was at hand nevertheless boosted markets. The Stoxx 50 index of European shares was up 1.1 percent, adding to the previous day’s big gains of 4.1 percent. In Athens, the stock exchange closed up 6.1 percent, after closing up 9 percent on Monday. Pro-Euro demonstrators drop fake Euro notes during a rally outside the Greek Parliament in Athens, Monday, June 22, 2015. Thousands of people gather to show support for the country’s future in the eurozone and the European Union. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) Top Stories But with creditors withholding 7.2 billion euros ($8 billion) worth of rescue loans and Greece’s state coffers running dry, Tsipras has been forced to backtrack on many pledges. A debt default by Greece could result in much greater economic pain for the country — a potential run on the banks and even an exit from the 19-nation euro currency union.On Tuesday, Tsipras’ government found it had some explaining to do to its own party and backers.“There is full comprehension that there are measures in the proposal that are harsh, and they are measures that under different circumstances, if it was up to us, there was no way we would have taken,” government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told the private Greek television station Antenna.Sakellaridis noted the proposed measures seek to increase taxes on those with higher incomes rather than on low-income families, salaried employees and pensioners.But some party members were not swayed.The proposals “cannot be supported, cannot be voted for,” Syriza party lawmaker Eleni Sotiriou was quoted as telling the weekly Dromos tis Aristeras. “The responsibility for the political developments regarding the submission of such measures will lie with those who made these choices.”last_img read more

US job openings stay high but actual hiring falters in May

US job openings stay high but actual hiring falters in May

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies “These data add yet more weight to the idea that labor demand is rising very strongly, and that the biggest constraint on employers now is finding suitably qualified staff,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.Job gains have been solid since February 2014, yet many Americans are still confronting financial uncertainties because of limited wage growth. On Friday, the government said employers added a robust 223,000 jobs in June. But average hourly wages have risen just 2 percent over the past 12 months, slightly ahead of core inflation.The unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent last month from 5.5 percent. However, the seemingly positive sign actually reflected a negative for the economy: More people became discouraged and gave up searching for work, causing the government to no longer count these people as jobless.The figures reported in last Friday’s jobs report are a net total: Jobs gained minus jobs lost. The data reported Tuesday, in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, are more detailed. They calculate total hires, as well as quits and layoffs. Tuesday’s JOLTS data contain figures for May, and are a month behind last week’s jobs report. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Comments   Share   WASHINGTON (AP) — Job openings stayed close to a 15-year high in May. It’s a sign that companies are expecting continued economic growth, but the level of advertised jobs hasn’t driven the same kind of increase in actual hiring.The Labor Department said Tuesday that the number of open jobs rose 0.5 percent to 5.36 million in May. April’s total was revised down to 5.33 million from 5.38 million, which had been the highest total during the 15 years that the government has tracked the data Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Employers may be posting more job openings, but many have been slow to hire. Total hiring in May fell to 5 million from 5.03 million in April and 5.09 million in March.Quits fell in May to 2.70 million from 2.71 million in April, after having reached a seven-year high in January.An increase in both hiring and people quitting can cause wage growth to accelerate. That’s because people typically quit when they have a new job lined up, usually for higher pay. And when firms move to fill more open jobs, particularly as the unemployment rate declines, they often need to offer more pay to attract workers.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The stronger confidence among employers has yet to boost an even stronger level of hiring and pay raises that would fuel faster economic growth. The number of new hires slipped somewhat in May for the second straight month, while the number of workers who chose to leave their jobs — a sign of strength since quits are generally associated with people finding better jobs — was basically unchanged.The challenge may be that employers are struggling to find skilled workers at the salaries being offered. But they also may be hesitant to increase pay to attract more talented applicants. Companies could be vetting applicants more carefully, causing a lag between job postings and hiring.“Measures of job turnover, which tend to lead wage acceleration, were disappointing,” said Jeremy Schwartz, an analyst at Credit Suisse. Hiring and job quits “have generally been stagnant since last autumn.”The rate of workers quitting remains 9.2 percent lower than it was in 2007, shortly before the Great Recession started, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank.Still, the additional job openings hint at the possibility that job growth and wages will eventually improve. The Federal Reserve is monitoring these factors for evidence of economic stability so that it can begin to raise interest rates from historic lows, a process that Fed officials have indicated could begin this year. In this photo taken Wednesday, June 10, 2015, Mario Polo, of Boston Market, left, talks to job seekers Herby Joseph, right, and Kingsly Jose, center, at a job fair in Sunrise, Fla. The Labor Department issues its May report on job openings and labor turnover on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) Sponsored Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona How do cataracts affect your vision? Top Stories last_img read more

EU task force seeks mental exams drug tests for pilots

first_img Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies “Key players in aviation and medical science worked closely together within the task force,” Patrick Ky, EASA’s executive director, said in a statement. “This report is the result of a thorough analysis with practical recommendations, so that such a tragic event does not happen again.”The group’s recommendations, published by the EU, include ensuring the presence of “two persons in the cockpit at all times.” The panel also said airline pilots should have to undergo psychological evaluation before they are allowed to enter service, and that their employers should institute random testing for drug and alcohol use.Airlines should also create “support systems” to help pilots who need it, the task force said.The panel also called for a “robust program” to oversee medical personnel responsible for the physical and mental health of airline crews, and the creation of a Europe-wide depository of “aeromedical data”– a recommendation that may clash with long-standing traditions of medical confidentiality.The task force’s proposals will now be reviewed by the EU’s executive Commission. If changes in EU legislation are needed, the European Aviation Safety Agency will be asked to submit specific proposals for updating existing EU-wide safety regulations. Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Men’s health affects baby’s health too Sponsored Stories “EASA is ready to take the next necessary steps, applying the lessons learned,” Ky said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall BRUSSELS (AP) — A European Union task force on Friday recommended pre-employment psychological evaluations and random drug and alcohol testing for pilots to prevent a repeat of the Germanwings disaster.The panel, led by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), was formed in response to the March 24 crash of a German airliner in France that killed all 150 people onboard.Experts say the plane’s co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, who reportedly had a history of mental illness, deliberately flew the jet into a mountain after locking the pilot out of the cockpit. 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more

IS militants kill Turkish soldier near Syria border

first_img Check your body, save your life Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The soldiers were attacked by five militants, the Turkish military said in a statement, adding one IS militant was “captured dead” along with a rocket launcher and an AK-47 automatic rifle.The attack comes amid a surge of violence in Turkey following a suicide bombing Monday near Turkey’s border with Syria that killed 32 people and wounded scores. The attack has been blamed on militants linked to the Islamic State group and came amid a clampdown by Turkey on the extremist group.Turkish officials say they have detained more than 500 people suspected of working with IS in the last six months.Turkey had reinforced its border at Kilis a day earlier, deploying elite special forces units there, a government official told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations that bar civil servants from speaking to reporters without authorization.Earlier Thursday, unknown assailants ambushed traffic police in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast, killing one officer and seriously wounding a second.Police Chief Halis Bogurcu said the officers were gunned down after they were called to a street in Diyarbakir, the region’s largest city, by people who reported a hoax traffic accident. There was no immediate claim of responsibility and an operation was launched to catch the assailants. Comments   Share   How men can have a healthy 2019 Top Stories Kurdish militants on Wednesday claimed responsibility for killing two other policemen in retaliation for Monday’s suicide bombing, which killed many Kurds. Members of the minority group say the Turkish government did not do enough to prevent the attack.The state-run Anadolu news agency said the youth wing of the Kurdish rebel group claimed responsibility Wednesday for killing a 45-year-old man in Istanbul. The report said the group falsely accused the man, identified as Mursel Gul, of being an IS member.__Butler reported from Istanbul.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Islamic State militants fired at a Turkish military outpost from Syrian territory on Thursday, killing one Turkish soldier and wounding two others, Turkish officials said. Turkish troops retaliated, killing at least one IS militant.Suleyman Tapsiz, the governor for Kilis province, said the border outpost was attacked from a region in Syria under IS control. He said the two injured sergeants were not in serious condition. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

Crowne Plaza Darling Harbour Named One of Worlds Best Value Hot

first_imgSource = Crowne Plaza It seems that luxury can come at a great price.Crowne Plaza Darling Harbour has been recognised as the second best value hotel in the world, in a reader’s poll conducted by Travel + Leisure US.The magazine’s World’s Best Awards 2009, published in the March 2010 issue, revealed Crowne Plaza Darling Harbour as number two in the category of World’s Best Hotel Values, $250 or less a night.The hotel also scored within the overall top 20 city hotels in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, coming in at number 19.To celebrate the win, Crowne Plaza Darling Harbour is offering corporate travellers staying at the hotel a “free breakfast and internet” special, including complimentary high-speed internet access and complimentary buffet breakfast. Terms and conditions apply. Bookings must be made three days in advance and a deposit equal to one night’s stay to be made at time of booking.CROWNE PLAZA DARLING HARBOURCrowne Plaza Darling Harbour features 345 spacious guest rooms with sweeping views of Darling Harbour or the glittering lights of Sydney’s city skyline, complimentary 24-hour gymnasium, business centre, concierge services, a Body and Soul in-room dining menu designed by leading nutritionists, Redsalt Restaurant and Bar, Connections Bar and Lounge, and Darling Harbour’s only Club lounge.With Sydney’s CBD and famous Darling Harbour precinct at its doorstep, the hotel is just minutes walk to the city’s top attractions, such as the Sydney Aquarium, Star City Casino, Cockle Bay Wharf, Chinatown and the Queen Victoria Building. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2608d/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Unveiled Air New Zealands new Hobbitcraft

Unveiled Air New Zealands new Hobbitcraft

first_imgA Boeing 777-300ER splayed with images from the soon-to-be released movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, rolled out of an Auckland hangar last weekend, and according to Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe, will “excite” passengers flying on its services between Auckland, Los Angeles and London.Work on the aircraft commenced last week, and reportedly took six days and 400 man-hours to complete.  Characters seen on the exterior of the aircraft include the popular wizard, Gandalf and the movie’s lead hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. As well as bringing the Middle-Earth journey to life, the plane is also expected to make a brief appearance at the movie’s premiere in Wellington on 28 November this year. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img

Cruise vision spans the next decade

Cruise vision spans the next decade

first_imgThe NSW government’s events and tourism planning body, Destination NSW, has hired private consultancy MI Associates to work in collaboration to build a 10 year vision for cruising in NSW.The 10 year cruise initiative, which is a recommendation of the NSW government’s Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan, comes after the Australian cruise industry was identified as the number one industry in the world by growth and penetration by the Cruise Lines International Association Australasia.Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister Andrew Stoner said that the plan would help set up the cruise industry for the future.“The plan, to be developed in consultation with industry, will forecast the growth in cruise ship arrivals and passenger numbers to ensure NSW is equipped to capture a larger share of the economic benefits, including providing food and other supplies to cruise ships, pre and post-cruise tours for passengers and developing financial models to identify capacity and infrastructure needs,” Deputy Premier Stoner said.Deputy Premier Stoner also said that the government would help ensure the NSW cruise industry has the infrastructure, stevedoring and ground touring arrangements it needs so it can exploit the massive growth in interest in cruise travel.Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

Carnival kicks off in Lucerne

Carnival kicks off in Lucerne

first_imgCarnival kicks off in Lucerne! Carnival kicks off in Lucerne!The next carnival in Lucerne (“Fasnacht”) will begin in a few days on 4 February and ends on 9 February. The festivities will not only be in the city of Lucerne, but in the entire region surrounding Lake Lucerne. Visitors to the region will see strange characters in masks and costumes parade along the narrow streets along to music performed by groups of carnival musicians (“Guggenmusigen”) blowing their instruments. This is how the people of Lucerne dance away the spirits of winter, a fun tradition that begun in the 1950s.The origins of the Lucerne Carnival, the celebration of which practically rules the town for a few days, are marked by the figure of Fritschi, an elderly man with his wife known as the Fritschene, and the Fritschikind, or Fritschi’s child.Carnival kicks off in Lucerne!There are three highlights to the Luzern Carnival:1. The Fritschi Parade, which starts from the Hotel Luzernerhof at 14:00 on 4 February, the day known locally as “Schmutziger Donnerstag” (“Dirty Thursday”).2. The Wey Parade, which starts from the Hotel Luzernerhof at 14:00 on 8 February, the day known locally as “Güdismontag“ (“Fat Monday”).  3. 9 February (Shrove Tuesday) is the day of the Monstercorso Parade, which starts from the Bahnhofstrasse at 19:30. Agents should note that the best way for their clients to see and experience this carnival, be it this year or next year, is with a Snow Card. With an all-inclusive Snow Card package, travellers can take advantage of a wide range of benefits in the historical city of Lucerne as well as many winter sport areas in the immediate vicinity around the Lake Lucerne Region.They can conveniently acquaint themselves with the slopes in one of 14 selected winter sports areas; indulge in some of the country’s culinary delights; shop; attend musical performances; and enjoy discounted winter packages at selected hotels. The Snow Card package starts at AUD249.00 per person in a double room and is valid until 31 March 2016.For more information on the Lucerne Carnival or Switzerland, agents and travellers can visit www.myswitzerland.com.  Switzerland Tourismdiscover more here Source = Switzerland Tourismlast_img read more

World class tourism marketing makes NSW number 1

World class tourism marketing makes NSW number 1

first_imgWorld class tourism marketing makes NSW number 1World-class tourism marketing campaigns, attractions and events have pushed international visitor numbers to a record high in NSW, with 3.4 million overseas visitors spending $8.45 billion in 2015.Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the data shows the results of the NSW Government’s ongoing investment in tourism and major events and promotion of our State to attract even more international visitors.“NSW has achieved its highest volumes of international visitors, number of nights stayed, and visitor expenditure on record, and as a result of our hard work we continue to see our great State attract far more visitors than our rivals,” Mr Ayres said.NSW achieved a significant increase in international visitors to 3.4 million (up 6.6 per cent), number of nights stayed rose to 85.8 million (up 12.9 per cent) and expenditure was up 19.2 per cent to $8.45 billion, according to the International Visitor Survey released by Tourism Research Australia today.NSW leads Victoria by almost one million visitors, and nearly $2 billion in expenditure, and is ahead of Queensland by 1.1 million visitors, and $3.5 billion in spending.Mr Ayres said the number of international visitors to Regional NSW again rose significantly with 689,700 visitors (up 8.5 per cent) staying 14 million nights (a rise of 15.1 per cent) and spending $914 million (up 30.2 per cent).“These results are fantastic as they represent the dollars that are being spent in our regions which in turn create jobs and provide an economic boost,” Mr Ayres added.Four regions posted significant growth in visitor numbers: North Coast (up 21,900 visitors or 8 per cent), South Coast (up 15,000 or 13.2 per cent), Blue Mountains (up 12,000 visitors or 13.3 per cent) and Riverina (up 5,500 or 29 per cent). Destination NSWSource = Destination NSWlast_img read more

Hangzhou gears up to host 2016 G20 Summit

Hangzhou gears up to host 2016 G20 Summit

first_imgHangzhou. Image credit: Hangzhou M.I.C.E. AssociationIt has been more than a decade since the government of Hangzhou set the goal of turning the Zhejiang Province capital into an international meetings hub.With the news of G20 combined with the announcement that Hangzhou will host the 2022 Asian Games, the city is poised to take its place on the world stage.Hangzhou, a centuries-old city with a population of nearly 8.9 million, is the first China city to host the G20 Summit, which is slated to take place on September 4 and 5.The G20 is the main forum for global economic and financial cooperation that brings together the world’s most advanced and emerging economies, representing around 85 percent of global GDP, 80 percent of world trade, and two-thirds of the world population.Started in 1999, G20 was a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. The members included 19 individual countries – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain, the United States, along with the European Union.“This is brilliant news for Hangzhou,” says Mr. Li Hong, Director-General, Hangzhou Tourism Commission (HTC).“It is an empirical reflection of growing confidence in Hangzhou and a confident indication that we may expect our share of the global market to grow. The hosting of the G20 Leaders Summit would place Hangzhou at the centre of world events.“The economic benefits of hosting the Summit cannot be underestimated. Beyond the immediate need for construction jobs, an increase in awareness of the destination will attract business from all over the world.”The local government is determined to leverage on the G20 Summit and named 2015 as the “international convention year” for Hangzhou, by strengthening the connection between the city and international agencies to bring in more high-end international conventions before and after the Summit, aligned with the city’s goal to establish itself as an international conference destination.Hangzhou boasts more than 250 star hotels, including 23 five-star properties, listing No. 3 in China, behind Beijing and Shanghai. Many new hotels are set to open in Hangzhou within the next few years as the city attracts significant attention from international hotel flags such as Shangri-La, Conrad, Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt, who are expanding their footprints in the city in tandem with the G20 buzz.Moreover, the Hangzhou International Expo Center in Binjiang District is about to open in this October, which willbe the largest MICE venue with 61 conference rooms and the city’s largest conference hall which spans 10,000 sqm.The city has recently gained acclaim as an important technology center with a number of entrepreneurs, including Jack Ma of Alibaba, located there as well as the West Lake Apple Store, arguably the largest Apple store in Asia, which opened in January 2015. The city is now known as the “Silicon Valley of China”, and is all set to welcome the world with “a unique style, a combination of history and modernity”, in China’s President Xi Jinping’s words.Mr. Roger Shu, MICE Manager, Business Events Hangzhou, China, echoes the sentiment.“In 2014, Hangzhou was the 3rd Convention City for the 4th consecutive year in ICCA rankings among all mainland cities, just behind Beijing and Shanghai,” Mr Shu said.“Hangzhou has been regarded throughout China as a national cultural and leisure capital, but the G20 Summit is set to be a big leap forward for the city’s meetings industry. I have no doubt this is a unique opportunity to showcase Hangzhou’s credentials as an international business destination as well as the world class facilities of the Convention Centre and the city’s infrastructure.“Therefore, Hangzhou will launch a global marketing operation through which hot topics of the specific fields are brought in, so as a more prominent image of the World MICE destination inspected by global professionals. Hangzhou is right on track for more global conferences and incentive activities, earning itself business reputation renowned worldwide.” MICE in HangzhouSource = Hangzhou Tourism Commissionlast_img read more

Norwegian Joy begins her journey to China

Norwegian Joy begins her journey to China

first_imgNorwegian Joy begins her journey to ChinaNorwegian Joy, Norwegian Cruise Line’s first custom-designed ship for the Chinese cruise market, began her journey to her home port of Shanghai, China this week, as she departed the MEYER WERFT shipyard in Papenburg, Germany on Sunday, March 26 for her approximately 14-hour long conveyance along the Ems River.Norwegian Joy’s river conveyance marks another key milestone in the ship’s highly anticipated delivery. Measuring 1,094 feet long and 136 feet wide, the ship is the second in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class and the first that was purpose-built for China.“We are thrilled Norwegian Joy has officially begun her journey to China,” said David Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China. “As the first custom-built ship for the Chinese cruise market, she will offer a First Class at Sea experience for our guests and we cannot wait to officially welcome her to the fleet this June.”The 168,800–gross-ton Norwegian Joy departed MEYER WERFT at approximately 9:00 pm local time, making a narrow passage in reverse through the shipyard’s locks, passing the structure with just 1.2 meters separating the ship from the “bumpers” installed along the locks. The ship’s navigation team, led by experienced yard captains and River Ems pilots, included several navigation officers in charge of overseeing the bow maneuvers and others overseeing the movement of the stern. Several local authorities and other partners were also involved in supporting this precise maneuver.After passing through the sea lock in Papenburg, Norwegian Joy continued along the river, stern first. Due to the strong propulsion in the aft section of the vessel, traveling stern first helps with maneuverability, which is a key component when navigating the vessel through such narrow passages.Before reaching her final destination in Eemshaven, Netherlands on Monday evening, March 27, Norwegian Joy passed through additional narrow passages including a railway Bridge in Weener; Jann-Berghaus Bridge in Leer and Ems-Barrier in Gandersum. Upon arrival in the Dutch port of Eemshaven, Norwegian Joy will take on additional provisions and further crew members, before heading toward the North Sea for sea trials later this month.Following her delivery on April 27, Norwegian Joy sets sail for China, where she will be showcased through a grand inaugural port tour featuring one-day events at the ports of Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s home-ports of Shanghai and Tianjin. This unique showcase tour will give travel agents and valued partners across the region the special opportunity to experience all that Norwegian Joy has to offer leading up to the ship’s christening ceremony on June 27, led by her Godfather, ‘King of Chinese Pop’, Wang Leehom. The spectacular inaugural celebration in Shanghai will include an exclusive concert and overnight cruise for honored guests.Norwegian JoyBuilt at MEYER WERFT shipyard in Germany, Norwegian Joy is Norwegian Cruise Line’s first purpose-built ship customized for the Chinese cruise market. The name Norwegian Joy emphasizes the experience that the ship will offer, a promise that guests will ‘Experience Paradise on the Sea.’ Accommodating 3,850 guests with luxurious suites in the exclusive ship-within-a-ship complex, the new Breakaway-Plus Class Ship will debut in China in summer 2017.Designed to provide First Class at Sea experiences with onboard amenities that cater to the unique vacation desires of Chinese guests, Norwegian Joy will provide a multitude of VIP accommodations including The Haven by Norwegian®, the line’s exclusive, ship-within-a-ship suite luxury complex, which will also include an all-new Observation Deck that features 180 degree views, and a Concierge level, an all-new accommodations category which will provide a VIP experience and feature larger balcony staterooms. Accommodation offerings will also include staterooms designed specifically for families and a multitude of connecting staterooms, for extended families traveling together, as well as a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies.Norwegian Joy will offer engaging and innovative activities including a first at sea two-level competitive racetrack, an open-air laser tag course, thrilling simulator rides and interactive video walls at the Galaxy Pavilion as well as hover craft bumper cars, a state-of-the-art racing simulator and two multi-story waterslides. In addition, Norwegian Joy will house a tranquil open space park as well as the line’s largest upscale shopping district, complete with everything from exceptional duty-free shops to world-renowned global luxury brands.Source = Norwegian Cruise Linelast_img read more