Warren says there have been no other incidents. He says the U.S. warships remain in the area and will respond to any requests for assistance.Iran officials have said the MV Maersk Tigris likely will be released in two days after a fine is paid.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Sponsored Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says that U.S. Navy warships are no longer accompanying American and British-flagged commercial vessels through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, says the order to accompany the vessels through the narrow strait along Iranian territorial waters expired Tuesday. Warships began accompanying the commercial ships last Thursday, two days after Iranian naval vessels detained a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship and its crew. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The difference between men and women when it comes to pain 0 Comments Share 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement
The difference between men and women when it comes to pain MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Andrea Sastre doesn’t mince words when it comes to the four former Guantanamo detainees camping in front of the U.S. Embassy in an increasingly bitter protest. Their grievances run the gamut, from demands that America compensate them to frustration over not being able to subscribe to Netflix in their adopted home.“As a Uruguayan, I’m annoyed at these men,” said Sastre, a real estate agent. “They want a house. They want food. And they want it all to come from on high. It’s a pipe dream.” Top Stories The men are among six who were released from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in December after nearly 13 years in detention for alleged ties to al-Qaida. Uruguay’s then president, Jose Mujica, a former leftist rebel who himself spent 13 years in prison in his homeland, invited them to resettle in this South American nation.But the men have failed to thrive in Uruguay, unhappy about their circumstances and the amount of aid the government has extended.Their protest, which began April 23, has turned many residents against them. And as the country’s welcome appears to be wearing thin, questions are growing about what the troubled experiment means for dozens of remaining detainees at the U.S.-run prison that President Barack Obama has vowed to close.The four Syrians, a Tunisian and a Palestinian in Uruguay argue that Washington is obligated to help because it held them so long, disrupting their lives, without ever convicting them of a crime, and they say the Uruguayan government made promises it hasn’t kept.“We were told we would spend a few weeks in a hotel and then they would give us houses,” former detainee Ali Husain Shaaban said in English from a campsite of tents pitched on grass next to the embassy near the Rio de la Plata. “But we have been talking for five months and they haven’t given us anything.” The latest dustup began when the men were asked to sign an agreement stipulating their free housing would expire after next February and that, going forward, they would pay taxes on their stipends.Palestinian Mohammed Abdullah Taha Mattan signed but the other five balked. Last week, Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa declared that if the men don’t sign, they’ll lose their financial help.The men, who range in age from early 30s to 50, say the money is not enough to live on their own, much less bring relatives or start a family. They also complain that their financial situation doesn’t allow them to get credit cards, which would enable them to get Netflix subscriptions to watch movies in their native Arabic.Christian Mirza, an Egyptian-born Uruguayan appointed by the government to mediate, said the men are discussing the amount of the stipend, housing, health care and conditions to bring family.“This is logical and normal if you take into account that they arrived in a country they only knew by name,” he said.Nightly newscasts feature the latest on the situation. Some Uruguayans continue to support them. When they began camping, friends brought blankets and food. However, an increasingly common theme is that the men should not be this country’s problem. The embassy has rebuffed their demands to meet with the U.S. ambassador. There is little chance the U.S. would give them financial help, as federal courts have thrown out similar claims by other former detainees. A local lawyer for the men says the men have not filed lawsuits but could if they choose to do so.Uruguay provides the men with housing and a monthly stipend of 15,000 pesos, about $600, which is more than what 40 percent of full-time Uruguayan workers earn each month, according to official estimates.A local union involved in their resettlement says the men have declined several offers to work in construction, cooking and other manual labor jobs.The men say they want to work but suffer from lingering health issues related to their detainment, such as depression, anxiety and digestive problems. They also say they first need to learn Spanish, though by their own admission they are not formally studying the language.“It’s become very clear that these former prisoners don’t like to work,” said a recent editorial in newspaper La Prensa, which has sharply criticized Mujica’s decision to invite them. “Today the country has an unnecessary problem that didn’t originate here.” Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Hundreds of men have been released from Guantanamo since it opened in 2002. Some who are unable to return to their home countries for various reasons have been resettled in countries such as Estonia, Oman, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Slovakia and Afghanistan.The men in Uruguay are the only released detainees living in Latin America.The very public nature of the trouble with Uruguay’s resettlement effort has some activists worried that it might discourage countries from accepting former detainees and that U.S. lawmakers wary of resettlements will further restrict the process.Last week, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, a California Republican, wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry asserting that the release of the six men to Uruguay was “inconsistent” with U.S. laws because the local government had not sufficiently restricted their movement.“Uruguay has not taken steps to mitigate the risk that these detainees pose to the United States, including the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo,” he wrote.Uruguay is known for progressive laws, such as the legalization of marijuana and universal health care, and many citizens initially were proud to help people they saw as victims of unjust imprisonment. However, the smiles, photo ops and colorful declarations about bonding over a love for soccer have turned to frustration and finger-pointing. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments Share “The Americans always have a cold war going and now they have brought a simmering war to us,” said Graciano Terra, who lives near the embassy.Even current President Tabare Vazquez, who has declared Uruguay will not take in any more Guantanamo detainees, has suggested the United States should help.U.S. officials have rejected that idea. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said last week there was no obligation to compensate the men because their detainment in Afghanistan in 2002 came during war.“We remain grateful to the Uruguayan government for the humanitarian gesture of resettling these six individuals,” said Ian Moss, who works on detainee transfers at the State Department. “We continue to work together to reach our mutual goal of making this resettlement a long-term success.”___Associated Press writer Leonardo Haberkorn reported this story in Montevideo and Peter Prengaman reported from Buenos Aires, Argentina.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies In this Wednesday, May 6, 2015 photo, freed Guantanamo Bay detainee Adel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi, of Tunisia, back, order his notes, as Omar Abdelahdi Faraj, from Syria, opens the tent in front of the U.S. embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay. The men are among six who were released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after nearly 13 years in detention for alleged ties to al-Qaida. Uruguay’s then-President Jose Mujica, a former leftist rebel who himself spent 13 years in prison in his homeland, invited them to resettle in this South American nation. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico) How do cataracts affect your vision?
How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Residents still left in Ramadi told The Associated Press by telephone Wednesday that Islamic State militants were urging them over loudspeakers not to be afraid and to stay in the city. However, they were not preventing those wanting to leave the city to go, the residents said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear for their safety.It is still unknown when the Iraqi government’s expected wide-scale operation to recapture Ramadi and other cities will start. Baghdad officials and leaders of the so-called Popular Mobilization Units, Shiite militias who are fighting on the side of the Iraqi military and security forces, have repeatedly said they need time for a military buildup and reconnaissance.___Yacoub reported from Baghdad. Associated Press writers Sinan Salaheddin in Baghdad and Albert Aji in Damascus contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The fall of Palmyra just days after Islamic State fighters seized the strategic Iraqi city of Ramadi showed the extremists’ ability to advance on multiple fronts at opposite ends of a sprawling battlefield that spans the two countries — and erased any sense that recent IS losses in Tikrit and elsewhere had dealt a major blow to the militants.The Syrian Observatory for human rights reported that government forces collapsed in the face of IS attacks and withdrew from the town late Wednesday. Beibares Tellawi, an activist in Homs province, also confirmed IS was in control of the town.He said the militants had reached the notorious Tadmur prison, where thousands of Syrian dissidents have been imprisoned and tortured over the years. The fate of the prisoners, believed to number around 1,000, was not immediately known.Syrian state TV acknowledged that pro-government forces had withdrawn from Palmyra, and the IS-affiliated Aaamaq News Agency reported the town was “under the complete control of the Islamic State fighters.” IS fighters had also seized control of the Jazl oil field in the Homs countryside, the Aaamaq report said.Earlier Wednesday, Homs governor Talal Barazzi said Islamic State militants had infiltrated overnight into some districts in the northern part of Palmyra and were engaged in fierce gun battles with government forces as snipers roamed the streets. He said at least 19 people had died by early Wednesday, including seven civilians and 12 from the pro-government militia known as the National Defense Forces. It was not immediately known how many people died as fighting continued throughout the day. The Islamic State group’s advance in Syria followed a major military victory in neighboring Iraq, where the militants’ captured the strategic city of Ramadi, capital of the country’s largest Sunni province, over the weekend.Thousands of displaced people fleeing the violence in Ramadi and western Anbar province poured into Baghdad on Wednesday after the central government waived restrictions and granted them conditional entry.The exodus is the latest in the aftermath of the fall of Ramadi. The Shiite-led government in Baghdad is struggling to come up with a plan to reverse the astonishing loss, pledging a counter-offensive and relying on Iranian-backed Shiite militiamen to join the battle.Athal al-Fahdawi, an Anbar councilman, said that thousands of civilians from Ramadi who were stranded on open land for days, are now being allowed to cross a bridge spanning the Euphrates River and enter Baghdad province.On Tuesday, Anbar officials said five of the displaced residents had died from exhaustion in the Bzebiz region, where the displaced had been forced to stay while they were kept away from Baghdad.According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 40,000 people have been displaced from Anbar since Friday when the militants began their final push for Ramadi. In the past, people fleeing the Sunni province have been prevented from entering Baghdad due to fears that militants might mingle in with the crowds and sneak into the Iraqi capital. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State extremists captured the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra after government defense lines there collapsed Wednesday, a stunning triumph for the group only days after it captured the strategic city of Ramadi in Iraq.It was unclear by nightfall how close to Palmyra’s famed archaeological site the militants had advanced, activists said, adding that Syrian soldiers were seen fleeing the area. Abdulkarim said workers were able to save hundreds of statues and masterpieces from Palmyra that were transported to safe houses in Damascus. “But how do you save colonnades that weigh a ton? How do you save temples and cemeteries and, and, and?” he asked.He appealed to the international community to declare “a red line” around Palmyra and called on the U.S.-led coalition to “at least prevent IS convoys from reaching it.”Until now, U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria have focused on areas outside Syrian government control so as not to appear to be aiding President Bashar Assad.Syrian antiquities expert and opposition figure Amr Al-Azm noted the irony of anti-Assad activists having to call on the U.S.-led coalition to support Assad’s forces in the city against the Islamic State militants.“We are trapped in a sickening paradox where, to save the world heritage site of Palmyra we are forced to call on the international community and the coalition to attack ISIS forces in support of the Syrian regime, which is defending the city,” he wrote in a Facebook posting this week.The majority of the ruins are located in Palmyra’s south, and the militants entered Wednesday from the north after seizing the state security building from government forces. But their presence has sparked concerns they would destroy the ruins as they have done with major archaeological sites in neighboring Iraq. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Comments Share The ruins at Palmyra are one of the world’s most renowned historic sites and there were fears the extremists would destroy them as they did major archaeological sites in Iraq. The UNESCO world heritage site is famous for its 2,000-year-old towering Roman-era colonnades and other ruins and priceless artifacts. Before the war, thousands of tourists a year visited the remote desert outpost, a cherished landmark referred to by Syrians as the “Bride of the Desert.”The fall of the town to the Islamic State group after a week of fighting was an enormous loss to the government, not only because of its cultural significance, but because it opens the way for the extremists to advance to key government-held areas, including Damascus and the Syrian coast to the south and southwest, as well as the contested eastern city of Deir el-Zour to the east.Next to it are also important gas and oil fields in the country’s central region.It was not immediately clear how close the militants were to the ruins, which are just southwest of the town.“I am terrified,” said Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria’s director-general of antiquities and museums. “This is a PR battle for Daesh, and they will insist on scoring victory against civilization by destroying” the ancient ruins, he said, using the Arabic acronym for the group. The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober
The idea comes as the cash-strapped country is struggling to complete negotiations with bailout creditors over reforms required for it to get a vital 7.2 billion euro ($7.9 billion) rescue loan payment. The new, radical left-led government in Athens says that without the money it can’t make a debt payment to the International Monetary Fund on June 5.Varoufakis insisted that the payment will be made because a deal will be struck by then. “That is my new dogma,” he told a press conference , chuckling.The four-month talks have been slow-moving and at times acrimonious, as both sides have accused each other of intransigence and time-wasting.Varoufakis said Greek officials were also discussing imposing a small charge on cash withdrawals from bank ATMs and on over-the-counter transactions, to encourage electronic banking and fight widespread tax evasion. But in a sign of how fluid the talks are, Varoufakis’ ministry shortly later issued a statement saying the idea of the charges — floated by the creditors — was no longer being considered.Greece has managed so far to pay its creditors — the IMF, other eurozone countries and the European Central Bank — as well as pensioners and state employees every month by emptying its cash reserves. It has tapped a special emergency account for IMF payments and forced local authorities, hospitals and universities to make their funds available to the state. ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece is proposing to legalize tax-dodgers’ undeclared money for a fee, a way to raise money as the country tries to reach a deal with creditors to get more bailout money and avoid default.Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Tuesday he is considering a 15 percent levy on undeclared foreign deposits, and double that rate on undeclared deposits in domestic banks, as an enticement for tax-dodgers to legalize their assets. But failure to honor its scheduled payments could launch the country on a downward slope, forcing it to impose limits on the free movement on money, and even adopt a new, devalued version of its old drachma currency. That, exeperts say, would throw Greece into a financial Stone Age and destabilize the rest of Europe and world markets.Varoufakis said representatives of Greece and its creditors were meeting again in Brussels on Tuesday to complete the groundwork for an agreement.“We are starting again the process of recording our agreements and disagreements, so that afterwards there can be an agreement at a higher level,” he said.Varoufakis added that Greece is negotiating with Swiss officials on getting Greek depositors to voluntarily declare their secret deposits there, paying a proposed 15 percent tax in return for a tax amnesty on the sums involved, and whatever rate is agreed will apply to all undeclared Greek deposits abroad.He said a similar policy on undeclared domestic deposits would carry a 30 percent levy, but played down the risk of that prompting a large outflow of Greek deposits.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology 0 Comments Share Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories A man lowers the Greek flag on the roof of an office block, as an ornamental lamppost base from the neoclassical National Library building in central Athens is seen in the foreground, on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Greece’s finance minister insisted Tuesday that the cash-strapped country will soon reach an agreement with bailout creditors, that will enable it to make a debt payment to the International Monetary Fund on June 5 _ which it would be otherwise unable to pay. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The difference between men and women when it comes to pain
Top holiday drink recipes Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Yellen said low oil prices and an improving job market are likely to boost the U.S. economy and easy money policies by the world’s central banks will help the global economy.In a report Thursday, chief economist Nariman Behravesh and senior research director Sara Johnson of IHS predicted the world economy will grow 2.6 percent this year and 3.3 percent in 2016. “The recent political turmoil in Europe and financial convulsions in China will not do serious damage to global growth_unless they get a lot worse,” they wrote.After peaking June 12, Chinese stocks have plunged around 30 percent, raising more doubts about China’s decelerating economy. And Greece is locked in contentious negotiations with its creditors that have put its future in the eurozone in jeopardy.Yellen said this week that the Fed might reconsider a 2015 rate hike if the tumult in China or Greece threatened to spread. But for now, the Fed is on track this year to raise the short-term rate it controls from near zero, where it’s been since December 2008.The American economy has been improving since getting off to a terrible start this year.After shrinking at an annual rate of 0.2 percent from January through April — a dip blamed largely on bad winter weather and other temporary factors — the U.S. economy is picking up momentum. It is expected to register a modest 2 percent to 2.5 percent growth for the year. In the labor market, employers have added more than 2.9 million jobs the past year. Unemployment tumbled last month to a seven-year low 5.3 percent. WASHINGTON (AP) — The Chinese stock market is experiencing a terrifying freefall, and Greece is teetering on the brink of financial collapse.But the top central bankers in the United States and Europe see no reason for panic.European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi told reporters Thursday that the European economy is showing modest signs of improvement.And in congressional testimony this week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that the U.S. economy has proven resilient so far in the face tumultuous world events. The Fed, she said, is still likely to raise short-term interest rates later this year. Comments Share ___AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The difference between men and women when it comes to pain 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Still, some are cautious about the U.S. economic outlook.International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has urged the Fed to delay a rate increase until 2016, arguing that the risk that a premature hike will damage growth outweighs the risk that a tardy hike will unleash inflation or swell a dangerous bubble in the price of stocks, real estate and other assets. Yellen herself remains worried that American wage growth is subpar.Europe continues an agonizing economic recovery. The collective economy of the 19 countries that use the euro currency grew modestly from January through March. Prices across the eurozone rose in June for the third straight month, easing fears that the region was at risk of sinking into a destructive deflationary spiral.Draghi took part of the credit, noting that the ECB’s 60 billion euros in monthly bond purchases have supported eurozone growth. Draghi repeated his pledge to do everything within his power to prevent fallout from the Greek crisis from damaging the broader European economy. And he did his part for Greece, too: The ECB on Thursday agreed to increase financial support for Greece’s banks, which have been closed since June 29 and were in danger of collapsing entirely. Sponsored Stories
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Cruise West announced that it would cease all operations effective immediately over the weekend. The Seattle-based small-ship operator has struggled to stay afloat over the past 12 months by aggressively pursuing a number of options to maintain operations. These different options, which have not managed to come to fruition, included investment, selling assets and selling the company. “I have never given up hope that we might be able to find a way to survive by working with the various interested parties.“I am absolutely heartbroken that this family legacy has come to an end,” said Dick West, Cruise West’s Chairman and Managing Director. “We have a product that appeals to the type of traveler who wants to experience the destination, not the inside of a ship.“We have a passionate following of repeat guests and I am particularly distressed that our most loyal guests who booked with us will now not be able to travel. “We have done absolutely everything to maintain operations, but with limited resources and current tight financial market, we simply cannot continue.” Cruise West has cancelled all future cruises in 2010 and beyond with the exception of this week’s Danube Cruise (Wednesday, September 22).The company has now in the process of contacting guests via phone, email, and through media outlets. “It is with a heavy heart that we close our doors, knowing that guests, travel agents, and partners will not receive the personal attention that they have grown to expect from us,” said Mr West. “I want to extend my most sincere thanks to our local employees, many of which have been here for decades.“I am devastated that, though they have given abundantly of their time and energy, we will unable to continue delivering memorable experience,” continued Mr West. Cruise West’s Galapagos partner, Canodros, operator of the Galapagos II, is working with the operator to provide an alternate program for booked guests. Director of the Small Ship Adventure Company, Maryann Anderson said the future of Small ship cruising worldwide is optimistic despite the end of Cruise West. “It is sad to see a family company like Cruise West collapse after nearly 64 years. “Cruise West forged the way for small ship cruising in Alaska and should be credited for being true pioneers in developing and defining the small ship cruise market as it is today.” She continued, “We have seen the Small Ship Cruise Market grow to become an important niche market for cruise specialist travel agencies over the past decade and we want to urge travel agents to feel confident in the positive outlook of the small ship cruise market.” Ms. Anderson said her company would work with agents to find an alternative small ship cruise to replace any Cruise West cruise in 2010 / 11.
IMEX – the worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events – and its Chairman Mr. Ray Bloom were awarded the Corporate Order of Skål Merit by the former President of Skål International, Mr. Nik Racic, Director of the Croatian Congress and Incentive Bureau, during the recent Skål World Congress which was held in Sydney, Australia, last month. In announcing the award, Nik Racic wanted to recognise Mr. Ray Bloom and the IMEX Trade Show for their pivotal role in developing a close cooperation with Skål International which is an IMEX Supporting Association. Source = Skal
Source = Constellation Hotels Constellation Hotels is toasting their success after winning the Silver award for Hotel Chain of the Year at the Accommodation Association of Australia’s 2011 National Accommodation Industry Awards for Excellence which took place at the Hilton Sydney on Friday 24th June.The black-tie event was attended by over 300 leaders and representatives from the tourism and accommodation industries.“The National Accommodation Industry Awards for Excellence are all about achieving and maintaining the highest standards in the accommodation industry,” said the Chief Executive of the Accommodation Association of Australia, Lorraine Duffy. “The awards represent a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the thousands of businesses that make up our accommodation industry and provide great service to millions of domestic and overseas visitors.”Constellation Hotels Managing Director, Jonathan Wooller said, “Bringing home the Silver Award for Hotel Chain of the Year shows our commitment to innovation, excellence and leadership within the vibrant accommodation sector”. “It provides magnificent recognition for all of the properties within Constellation Hotels’ extensive network, across Australia and New Zealand”.Constellation Hotels was also well represented across a wide range of individual hotel award categories, with Chifley Apartments Newcastle winning Bronze for 4 ½ Star Luxury Accommodation, Chifley Penrith taking up Bronze in the 3 ½ Star Superior Hotel Accommodation category, and Australis Mariners North Holiday Apartments winning Bronze for Self Contained 4 Star or Deluxe Accommodation.The following hotels have also been recognized as finalists in Accommodation Award Categories; Australis Diamond Beach and Spa (4 ½ Star Luxury Self Contained Accommodation), Chifley Eastern Creek and Chifley Wollongong (4 ½ Star Luxury Hotel Accommodation). In addition restaurants were recognized in the Restaurant or Catering Service of the Year category including; C Grill – Chifley Wollongong (finalist), and The Three Nippers Restaurant – Australis Diamond Beach and Spa, who took home the Bronze.Properties were judged in equal parts by a written submission and a mystery assessment. The Accommodation Association of Australia’s Awards for Excellence are one of the only annual accommodation awards to incorporate a true mystery guest component in their judging process. Constellation Hotels – AAAAwards Director of Operations Cameron Stewart Managing Director Jonathan Wooller
Convenient high-speed connections between Hong Kong and several Chinese border cities assist the facilitation and drive the increase of mainland tourists. Transport is becoming more efficient and accessible for Chinese travellers to Hong Kong, the Hindu Business Line reported. Convenient transport links and shopping boost mainland arrivals. With an absence of sales taxes and strict regulations enforcing the sale of genuine brand-name products, Hong Kong has also become a popular shopping destination for many Chinese tourists. Increasingly fast rail connections between Hong Kong and Shenzhen run every 10 minutes, with similar connections from other major Chinese cities, such as Guangzhou. Hong Kong Tourist Board spokesperson Alice Chu said the hi-speed train link with China will be operational by 2016, with travel time between Hong Kong and Shanghai significantly reduced. Ms Chu said some Chinese travellers make the journey to Hong Kong for their weekly groceries. Source = ETB News: P.T.
Youth Hostels Australia (YHA) celebrates 75 years since it was established in Australia, today.The milestone celebrates the same day in 1939 when a group of young people established the youth hostel movement in Australia at the Warrandyte, on Melbourne’s fringe.YHA runs a network of Youth Hostels across Australia -from the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland to eco-lodges on the Great Ocean Road.The first permanent youth hostel begun in Germany in 1912 at Altena Castle and still operates today.YHA is membership based, not-for-profit and is part of Hostelling International.Source = ETB News: Tom Neale
Technology provider Amadeus IT Holding has released its financial results for the first quarter of 2015, revealing a strong start to the year.The company’s revenue saw an increase of 14 per cent to €989.4 million and its EBITDA grew by 10.9 per cent to €389.6 million.As a result, Amadeus’ adjusted profit grew 9.7 per cent over the period to €209.9 million.Amadeus president and chief executive officer Luis Maroto said several changes attributed to the growth.“Our consistent market share growth and successful entry into new areas, combined with organic growth and contributions from recent successful acquisitions, has allowed us to report further increases in revenue and profitability,” Mr Maroto said.In the Distribution aspect of the company, revenue increased 10.7 per cent to €721.6 million and air travel agency bookings grew by 11.4 per cent.In the IT Solutions business, revenue grew by 24 per cent to €267.7 million and Passengers Boarded, the number of passengers boarded onto flights using Amadeus technology, increased by 8.4 per cent.Mr Maroto said he is confident this growth will continue.“We remain confident that our portfolio of innovative travel solutions and strong customer relationships will allow steady growth across our business throughout the remainder of 2015,” Mr Maroto said.In the New Businesses area, the company took a step forward with the recent announcement of their partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group to build its Guest Reservation System.In Airport IT, Amadeus contributed to reducing runway waiting time at Munich Airport by 50 per cent and inbound delays were reduced by 24 per cent.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson
Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (Public Organisation) or TCEB today signed a partnership agreement with Amsterdam Light Festival to create a world-class light festival in Thailand.The partnership is tipped to impart new vigour to the Thai economy and restore the confidence in high level of safety that international visitors and event organisers can expect from Thailand as a top destination for tourism and events.Mr Rogier van der Heide, a world-renowned lighting designer and the Artistic Director of Amsterdam Light Festival, also surveyed Ratchaprasong as the first area to be lit up under this new partnership.Mr. Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, Director of Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) said, “TCEB has a mission to promote and facilitate development of international events, mega events and world-class festivals in Thailand. Strategically, we are focused on pooling in events from our bidding targets and increasing arrivals of international visitors by hosting international events and mega events, as well as profiling Thailand as the destination of international events and mega events through strong exposure in international media, and developing a network of public-private partnerships that will reinforce supportive role of TCEB in every step to increase Thai chances to win in world-class events.”“By positioning Thailand as Asia’s premier destination for international events within our strategic direction to drive Thailand as the hub of mega events, we are paving way for more arrivals of quality visitors and event-goers,” he continued. “In our most recent move, TCEB and Amsterdam Light Festival have entered a partnership for knowledge sharing and collaborative creation of a world-class light festival in Thailand. The partnership not only enables an interchange of knowledge in lighting innovations, light arts, as well as public relations, marketing and promotion planning for light festivals, etc., but will also bring magnificent artworks of Amsterdam Light Festival on show in Thailand for the first time.”Mr Rogier van der Heide said, “My Thai visit this time is for the signing between TCEB and Amsterdam Light Festival, which will set about a long-term partnership for exchange of information and collaborative development of international light festivals. In addition, I had a chance to deliver a talk on “How to Create Impact for International Light Festival – Trends & Sustainability”.”Mr Rogier van der Heide has previously completed numerous lighting design projects for well-known places all over the world, including Louis Vuitton World Wide Lighting Design, Swarovski Crystal Palace (Milan – German), Forcefield (London), YAS Marina Hotel (Abu Dhabi), Library Boekenberg (MVRDV, Rotterdam), Beijing Olympic Stadium, Herzog & De Meuron (China), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam – Netherland), Het Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Amsterdam – Netherland) and The Amsterdam Light Festival 2013.The light festival to be held late this year is an important project to drive forward Thai MICE industry in 2015. It will expectedly attract interested visitors around the world to Bangkok and Thailand about 1,036,300 international MICE visitors and generate a turnover of 106,780 million baht. Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau Source = Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau
Bangkok claims top spot in MasterCard’s Asia Pacific Destinations IndexBangkok has increased its lead over the pack as the region’s most popular destination, with international overnight visitors breaking the 20 million mark for the first time, according to the results of the inaugural MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index released today. Second place was a close fight between Singapore and Tokyo.The inaugural index provides a ranking of 167 destinations across Asia Pacific.Thailand dominated the top ten destinations, taking three of the top ten rankings, with Phuket securing fifth place (9.3 million) and the coastal city of Pattaya coming in at eighth place (8.1 million).Half of the top 10 destinations saw 10 percent growth or more in international overnight visitor numbers between 2014 and 2015 – Osaka (54.0 percent), Tokyo (53.2 percent), Bangkok (28.6 percent), Phuket (15.5 percent) and Pattaya (10.0 percent).The top 20 destinations of Asia Pacific represent around half of all international overnight arrivals to the 167 Asia Pacific destinations covered by the Index.The top ten Asia Pacific destinations ranked by international overnight visitor numbers:Bangkok – 21.9 millionSingapore – 11.8 millionTokyo – 11.8 millionKuala Lumpur – 11.3 millionPhuket – 9.3 millionSeoul – 9.2 millionHong Kong – 8.3 millionPattaya – 8.1 millionBali – 7.2 millionOsaka – 6.5 million.Asia Pacific’s tourism industry is the largest in the world by total contribution to GDP, having overtaken Europe in 2014.Tourism contributed US$2.27 trillion to Asia Pacific economies and 153.7 million jobs in 20152.Bangkok also ranked number one in total expenditure at US$15.2 billion, with Seoul (US$14.4 billion) coming in second place, followed by Singapore (US$14.1 billion), Tokyo (US$11.9 billion) and Kuala Lumpur (US$10.5 billion).The top ten Asia Pacific destinations by total expenditure:Bangkok – US$15.2 billionSeoul – US$14.4 billionSingapore – US$14.1 billionTokyo – US$11.9 billionKuala Lumpur – US$10.5 billionBali – US$10.3 billionTaipei – US$9.5 billionPhuket – US$8.0 billionHong Kong – US$6.7 billionSydney – US$6.0 billion.Of the top 20 destinations by total expenditure per day, Shanghai (US$269 per day) welcomed the biggest spenders,followed by Beijing (US$262 per day), Seoul (US$258 per day), Singapore (US$255 per day) and Hong Kong (US$240 per day).Matthew Driver, Group Executive, Global Products & Solutions, Asia Pacific, MasterCard, commented, “The tourism industry in Asia Pacific is continuing to show robust growth with an increasing number of destinations receivingwell over five million visitors a year, driven by increased consumer wealth, particularly from China.Our Asia Pacific Destinations Index (APDI) 2015 reveals the continued resilience of the Thailand market for tourism led by a resurgent Bangkok, as well as the return to popularity of Japan for visitors as demonstrated by the more than 50 percent growth year on year in its top four destinations.Providing in-depth analysis of overnight arrivals in 167 Asia Pacific destinations, the APDI can help businesses and governments better understand the underlying components of in-bound tourism demand, so they can plan investment to ensure the sustainable development of the tourism industry.This is becoming increasingly important as tourist numbers continue to rise, as at current growth rates, Asia Pacific will have more than 500 million tourist arrivals by 2020.” Download the full report hereSource = MasterCard
New York City forecasts 59.7 million visitors in 2016New York City is expected to welcome a high of 59.7 million visitors in 2016, making it the seventh consecutive year for record-breaking tourism. The announcement was made by NYC & Company at ITB Berlin.“Every corner of New York City is full of diverse cultures, art, entertainment and performing arts,” said New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio. “It is not surprising – but still exciting – to know that 2016 will be yet another record breaking year for tourism. I thank the businesses, artists and all New Yorkers who continue to make our city an attractive place for people around the world to continue visiting.”“New York City is experiencing an exciting moment in its history, with unprecedented developments and openings debuting across the five boroughs this year and beyond,” said Fred Dixon, NYC & Company president and CEO. “We are pleased to announce during ITB Berlin that 2016 is slated to be another record year for tourism in New York City, its seventh consecutive year of growth, with 59.7 million visitors anticipated by year’s end.”Visitation for 2016 is forecasted to comprise of 47 million domestic and 12.7 million international visitors, both all-time highs.New York City has the nation’s most active hotel development pipeline, with 107,000 hotel rooms this year, and a total inventory of 133,000+ rooms expected by the end of 2019. Noteworthy hotel openings in 2016 include Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel (April 2016); The William Vale (May 2016); InterContinental New York Barclay (Spring 2016); The Beekman(Spring 2016); Four Seasons New York Downtown (Mid 2016); Whitby Hotel (Fall 2016); and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge (Late 2016).New York City is more accessible than ever, with extensive infrastructure improvements throughout the five boroughs. From the recent opening of the 34 St-Hudson Yards subway station on Manhattan’s Far West Side; to the Summer 2016 debut of theWorld Trade Center Transportation Hub (whose Santiago Calatrava-designed ‘Oculus’ opened last week); to the December 2016 opening of the Second Avenue Subway’s first phase; it is easier than ever to get around the City. By July 2016, 500 state-of-the-art LinkNYC kiosks will come to New York City’s five boroughs, offering free high-speed Internet, phone calls, and device charging for residents and visitors, with another 4,500 coming online by mid-2019.On March 18, the City will see the opening of The Met Breuer, The Met Museum’s new contemporary art wing in the former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.The City’s retail industry is thriving, with the recently-opened Barneys New York Downtown flagship in Chelsea; Westfield World Trade Center debuting in Lower Manhattan this summer; CityPoint opening in Brooklyn this year; and Nordstrom, expected to open in 2019. In years to come, New York City will see the openings of the New York Wheel and Empire Outlets in St. George, Staten Island (2017); Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport (2017); and extensive upgrades on Manhattan’s Far West Side, with the Hudson Yards development (2018).In 2015, New York City welcomed a record 58.3 million visitors, the City’s sixth consecutive year for record-breaking tourism. Visitation for 2015 comprised 46 million domestic and 12.3 million international visitors, both all-time highs. NYC & CompanySource = NYC & Company
Source = HotelsPro HotelsPro announced the most preferred destinations for New Year’s EveHotelsPro announced the most preferred destinations for New Year’s EveHotelspro, a global travel wholesaler which offers tailor-made technologies and booking solutions for travel professionals, announced the most preferred cities for the New Year’s Eve.Paris is the favorite city for New Year’s EveAccording to HotelsPro’s insights, Paris ranked first among the cities that travellers all over the world prefer this year for New Year’s Eve. While London is the second most preferred city, the capital of Czech Republic, Prague followed London in the list. “Big Apple” New York and the “Eternal City” Rome is following Prague according to traveller choices.“New Year comes once a year, so travelers all around the world wants to get most out of it. Some prefer to celebrate it where they live, while some prefer travelling to interesting and joyful destinations. Speaking of travelling, Paris ranked first when we were looking at the most prefered destinations for New Year’s Eve. London, Prague, New York and Rome followed Paris on the list. Wherever people are celebrating the New Year, as HotelsPro family we wish everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful 2017!” said Nevgul Bilsel Safkan, Managing Director of HotelsPro.About HotelsProHotelsPro, one of the strong players of tourism industry in global market, offers attractive options for the most exclusive demands of its customers with more than 342.000 hotels in more than 205 countries. Aiming to continue to expand its hotel inventory worldwide, HotelsPro has local offices in more than 40 countries.
Expedia India has launched its loyalty programme, Expedia+, where members of Expedia+ can join the programme for free and will earn points on all of their hotel or holiday activities bookings. The loyalty programme provides additional benefits such as exclusive member-only deals and bonus offers. Expedia+ has three tiers: +blue, +silver and +gold.Manmeet Ahluwalia, Marketing Head, Expedia India said, “With the growing acceptance of e-commerce and evolution of the Indian travellers, the consumer has now started looking for value based programmes that not only offer them great rewards but also exclusive benefits. Our survey on loyalty programme discovered that 47% Indians are a part of 2-3 travel loyalty programs while 38% participate in at least one programme. This clearly reflects that there is an appetite for loyalty programmes as the Indian consumer is growing smarter and wants to accumulate and avail benefits on every purchase. The Expedia+ programme offers exclusive deals for its consumers not only in India, but across the globe.”Expedia+ focuses on the needs of the Indian consumer when considering a travel loyalty programme. Members will be able to redeem their points whenever they want, with no blackout dates for high season holidays and space capacity. Free membership automatically gives the consumers a +blue status, followed by +silver status after staying seven qualifying hotel room nights and +gold status after staying 15 qualifying hotel room nights. The +gold and +silver members enjoy additional benefits such as extra bonus points on every booking, plus free amenities or room upgrades if they book one of Expedia’s 1,800 VIP hotels in over 200 destinations globally. Travellers also get triple the amount of points for booking via Expedia‘s mobile application.
Over 2000 appointments scheduled between the Sellers and Buyers prior to the show– 50 Seller Booths and Destination Pavilions with 150 Individual Sellers– 150 qualified Hosted Buyers from all over India– 150+ Invitees from travel trade associations and members of the media– India’s first MICE CLUB to be unveiledBusiness & Luxury Travel Mart (BLTM) at Hyatt Regency Gurgaon on 24-25 October 2016 is all set to change the face of MICE-focused travel shows in India. BLTM has been very well received as India’s first full-fledged travel mart focused on Sellers from Business, MICE and Luxury Travel all over the world, in its first year itself.There are over 150 qualified Hosted Buyers attending the BLTM from all over India. In addition, international Hosted Buyers are also being flown in from countries like South Africa, Thailand, USA, Taiwan, France and Malaysia.Each Hosted Buyer is committed to conduct 30 meetings with Sellers every day. The 1:1 Hosted Buyer to Seller ratio at BLTM is in line with global standards of shows in this category.There are 150 individual Sellers from 50 organisations from India and abroad, in their colourful booths and pavilions.Nepal, Taiwan and Korea are the largest international participants, while China, Fiji, Dubai and South Africa are participating as the Feature Countries. There are Sellers from Liberia, Thailand, Turkey and United Kingdom as well.Byungsun Lee, Director of Korea Tourism Organisation- India Office, said, “The main reason for our participation is to capture the MICE business from North India. BLTM belongs to a reputed travel trade brand and KTO expects a good first inaugural show. We are positive that the event will have healthy participants of buyers and sellers.”Among Indian states, Bengal Tourism has supported BLTM in a big way, by hosting the networking lunches and dinners for the Buyers and Sellers. Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Jammu & Kashmir are Feature States participating in a big way. Sellers from all parts of India are represented.Premium hotel chains at BLTM include FRHI Hotels & Resorts showcasing Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel, Ottila International, Royal Orchid Hotels and InterContinental Hotels Group. Other leading hotel brands like Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Radisson, Lemon Tree, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and several others are present.Hyatt Regency Gurgaon is the Venue Partner for BLTM and Hyatt Hotels has a corporate pavilion at the BLTM, with participation from several properties.“At BLTM, we are looking forward to good networking opportunities with the large hospitality, travel and MICE brands in the sector. It will be worthwhile to know international trends being followed by global MNCs in MICE,” mentioned Kaushik Sinha, Hosted Buyer from Magma Fincorp Ltd.Hosted Buyer Gary Pillai, CEO, Africa Vision Tours, said, “What attracted me to BLTM was its focus on Business and Luxury Travel, which I am keen to explore and implement in our business.”The online meeting diary of BLTM for making appointments between the Buyers and Sellers has registered over 2000 confirmed appointments prior to the show and an additional 1400 meeting requests have been received.Tanmay Khare, Hosted Buyer from Infrastructure & Services division of Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Ltd, said that BLTM is a single stop solution provider with a forum which is highly interactive and market oriented.Amol Prasadi, Hosted Buyer from Red Bull commented, “Our participation at BLTM is motivated by an ongoing search to provide new destinations and experience to internal & external stakeholders. With many of the decision makers confined to their offices mostly, such platforms as BLTM offers opportunities to explore the world around plus the changing dynamics of travel and MICE industry.”Hosted Buyer Jayesh Ashar, Managing Director, Pearl Travels is expecting something different at BLTM in comparison to other popular trade shows that happen in India. While Ali Ankleshwaria, Administration, Adani Wilmar Ltd, feels that it is a privilege to be associated with India’s first full-fledged business travel mart, BLTM.“Our expectations from BLTM are very high as Fairfest Media is very well known for its TTF and OTM which are the biggest platforms for travel agencies to market their products,” said Arjun R Doshi, Hosted Buyer from Classic Holidays.In addition to the Hosted Buyers, there are an equal number of invitees from travel trade associations like Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) India, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), Network of Indian MICE Agents (NIMA), Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), Enterprising Travel Agent’s Association (ETAA), Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) and members of the media.Anup Nair, President, SITE India Chapter, said, “The SITE India Chapter is very pleased to have been asked to be the Knowledge Partner of BLTM in October 2016. SITE has curated an interesting discussion, which we hope will encourage and help more of our fraternity.”Akbar Holidays is the official Travel Partner of BLTM and Eco Rent A Car is the Transportation Partner.Institutional Partners include SITE, OTOAI, NIMA, IATO, TAAI, TAFI, ETAA, ADTOI, The Film & Television Producers Guild of India Ltd and WedWise.Gajesh Girdhar, Founder Member and National Coordinator, NIMA, commented, “BLTM is a MICE oriented event and therefore supported by NIMA. We expect India to be in Top 5 MICE markets by 2020 and we anticipate BLTM to raise the bar to next level in terms of a quality and productive business networking. NIMA strongly believes that BLTM will be the most sought MICE show parallel to any other MICE event in the world.”“The concept of BLTM, being organised by Fairfest Media Ltd is very important. India’s business and luxury travel industry is maturing and increasingly seen as a specialised market with differentiated needs, in keeping with global trends,” said Rajan Sehgal, Chairman, TAAI Northern Region.In another first, the MICE CLUB is being launched at BLTM, with an objective to facilitate interaction and networking among a community of Buyers and Sellers from Business Travel and MICE segments. The missions and objectives of the club include organising the Buyer and Seller communities serving the Business Travel and MICE markets in India, facilitating ongoing interaction and networking, sharing knowledge and creating standards and accreditations.In addition to buying and selling opportunities at the show floor, there is an equally interesting line up of Panel Discussions (details enclosed), to be conducted on the sidelines of the exhibition. The eminent panelists at the sessions will deliberate on the latest issues related to Incentive Travel, MICE, Luxury, Wedding and destination promotion through films and film shoots.The session on Incentive Travel is being organised by SITE, followed by that on MICE by NIMA. Back-to-back discussions will be conducted on the emerging opportunities and destinations in the wedding market by WedWise. Another interesting session will be dedicated to destination promotions through film shoots, to be curated by The Film & Television Producers Guild of India.“BLTM fills a vacuum in the evolution of travel trade shows in India, by introducing a sustainable large-format show focused on Business Travel and MICE Buyers in a format where fully Hosted Buyers meet Sellers based on pre scheduled appointments. Smaller table-top shows have been organised in the past,” remarked Sanjiv Agarwal, Chairman of Fairfest Media Ltd.The show dates of 2017 have already been announced as enquiries have started pouring in. There are plans to replicate this show in other major markets of West and South India.For more information on BLTM 2016, visit http://bltm.co.in/
Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts has launched its much-awaited service ‘Cinnamon Island Weddings’, specially curated luxury wedding experiences for destination weddings in Sri Lanka. This announcement was made at the World Travel Market 2017, a leading global event for the travel industry that took place earlier in London.As part of the campaign, Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts has launched a contest with Sri Lankan Airlines wherein the winning couple will get an all expense paid dream wedding for 50 people including the couple and their friends and family in Sri Lanka organised by Cinnamon Island Weddings.Applicants can participate in the competition by sending across an image, written piece or a one-minute video clip that creatively describes why they should be the winners of Cinnamon Island Weddings competition.The lucky couple will receive two business class air tickets and 48 economy class tickets for their friends and family, end-to-end local transportation covered in Sri Lanka, full board accommodation at 4 and 5 star Cinnamon resorts in Sri Lanka, a wedding reception with complete décor, entertainment, bridal attire, a 5-karat sapphire ring and an exotic location to host the wedding.Photography for the entire wedding will be done by award-winning wedding photographer David Stanbury. The couple will also have an opportunity to explore more of Sri Lanka’s diversity with a 7 nights honeymoon package courtesy of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts.Commenting on the initiative, Dileep Mudadeniya – Head of Brand Marketing, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts stated, “Cinnamon Island Weddings is a novel online concept that will help to create immense hype and excitement around Sri Lanka and strengthen the island’s position as a world-class wedding destination. The wedding tourism industry is a high potential market that is on a rapid growth trajectory as travel trends show that more and more travellers are leaning towards romantic destination weddings. This initiative will help to showcase Sri Lanka’s offering as a vibrant, beautiful and captivating destination for weddings and will highlight how well the islandand its hotels are geared to host tailor-made weddings, receptions and honeymoons.”
In a bid to showcase the potentiality of the state as an ecotourism destination, Kadakampally Surendran, Tourism Minister of Kerala recently unveiled a microsite on ecotourism. The website contains details of about 47 popular ecotourism spots, 75 videos, 200 photographs, 10 e-brochures and information on 100 ecotourism programmes, a release said. The site also contains information about the packages for the travellers who love to explore nature.Some of the ecotourism spots are Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (north Kerala), Silent Valley National Park (Palakkad), Parambikulam Tiger Reserve (Palakkad), Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (Idukki), Periyar Tiger Reserve (Idukki), Shenduruney Ecotourism (Kollam), Eravikulam National Park (Munnar) and Chembra Peak (Wayanad), it said. PP Pramod, Director of Ecotourism was also present during the launch of the microsite.
October 9, 2012 409 Views Hayden Christensen, most famous for his role in the modern interpretation of the _Star_ _Wars_ films, is selling his Los Angeles abode. The actor’s posh pad, located in the Studio City area, sits on three-quarters of an acre and is listed for $2.65 million.The _Los_ _Angeles_ _Times_ “”reports””:http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-hotprop-hayden-christensen-20121004,0,48335.story that Christensen’s 6,302-square-foot “”modern-style house features . . . three fireplaces, five bedrooms, and five bathrooms.”” The newspaper went on to note that the mansion includes an elevator, saltwater pool, and a three-car garage. Christensen is believed to have purchased the property in 2003 for $1.425 million.[COLUMN_BREAK][IMAGE] Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Celebrity Homes Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-10-09 Abby Gregory Star Wars Actor Lists Studio City Estate for $2.65M