Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Gowns, glamour and glitz filled the Westin Hotel on Saturday night as a record 950 travel industry professionals dolled up to celebrate this year’s National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA).The highly anticipated evening, hosted by Getaway presenter Jules Lund – who threatened potential winners with a cow prod should their ‘thank you’ speeches run over time – saw some surprise winners take the stage.Accepting “the award we should always win” NTIA major sponsor Qantas Airways won Best Domestic Airline over last year’s winner, Virgin Blue.Creative Holidays’ reign as Best International Wholesaler, came to an end as Qantas Holidays, preferred partners of the Jetset Travelworld Group, snatched their crown.The hard to predict award for Best Tourist Office – International was nabbed by Las Vegas Convention & Visitor Authority.Fittingly, sponsors of the first ever ‘afta’ party, Singapore Airlines won Best Online International Airline.The awards winners were:Rookie of the Year – Agent – Rebecca Duthler, Australia Zoo TravelBest Travel Consultant – Retail – Paul Rickard, Harvey World Travel CaloundraBest Travel Agency Retail – Single Store – Jetset NorwoodBest Travel Agency Retail – Multi Location – Concierge TravellerBest Travel Consultant – Corporate – Carol Chapman, World Travel ProfessionalsBest Travel Agency Corporate – Multi Location – World Travel ProfessionalsBest Travel Agency Corporate – Single Store – Spencer TravelBest National Corporate Travel Management Company – Corporate Travel ManagementBest Innovation in Marketing – Retail Agency – RACT TravelworldBest Travel Writer – Justin Wastnage, Travel WeeklyBest Registered Travel Industry Training Institution – Brisbane North Institute of TAFEBest Hotel/Resort – Australian Property – HaymanBest Hotel/Resort Group – Mantra Hotels and ResortsBest Agency Support Service – Air TicketsBest Tourist Office – National – Tourism QueenslandBest Tourist Office – International – Las Vegas Convention & Visitors AuthorityRookie of the Year – Supplier – Tenille Hunt, Gap AdventuresBest Sales Executive – Industry Supplier – Kim Knight, Qantas HolidaysBest Car/Campervan Rental Operator – Hertz AustraliaBest Tour Operator – International – Insight VacationsBest Tour Operator – Domestic – AAT KingsBest Cruise Operator – International – Holland America LineBest Cruise Operator – Australian – Princess CruisesBest Wholesaler – International Product – Qantas HolidaysBest Wholesaler – Australian Product – Sunlover HolidaysBest Airline Domestic – Qantas AirwaysBest Airline International – Offline – Lufthansa German AirlinesBest Airline International – Online – Singapore AirlinesBest Travel Agency Group (100 outlets or more) – Jetset Travelworld GroupHall of Fame WinnersBest Airline International – Online – Singapore AirlinesBest Tourist Office – National – Tourism QueenslandBest National Travel Management Company – Corporate Travel ManagementCheck out the pictures in today’s Photo GalleryNTIA AwardsNTIA AFTA Party
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Tourism Holding Limited (THL) is concerned recent natural disasters could prevent the group from fulfilling its banking covenants for the March 2011 quarter. “Due to the quantum of the profit downturn THL is now forecasting that it will not be in compliance with banking covenants for the… quarter,” THL chairman Keith Smith said in a statement. Despite confirming its half year results to 31 December 2010 were in line with forecasted revenue, the drop in bookings over January could prevent the group from reaching its revenue intake for the financial year. “Natural disasters including the recent Queensland floods, a greater than anticipated decline from the United Kingdom market and poor January domestic tourism in both countries are considered the causal factors in the decline,” the statement read. The group has entered discussion with its bankers Westpac and ANZ and said it will update the market once the banks have reviewed the updated forecasts. The company expects Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) of -$4 million, a depreciation from the previous $2.5 million forecasted profit.THL is hoping to release new figures towards the end of February.
Source = Gippsland Inspiring Gippsland WalksDestination Gippsland and its ‘Inspired by Gippsland’ marketing campaign won the Tourism Marketing category at the 26th Qantas Australian Tourism Awards held by the National Tourism Alliance (NTA) in Perth on March 11, 2011.The awards recognise tourism industry businesses and organisations who demonstrate excellence in the tourism industry. Finalists must win their state award to qualify for the prestigious national title. Andrew McEvoy, Managing Director of Tourism Australia presented the award to Destination Gippsland’s Chief Executive, Terry Robinson and Chairman Sheila O’Sullivan in recognition for the results achieved by the marketing campaign. “It is great result for the Gippsland tourism industry to win this award. Marketing our region is a real team effort that includes businesses, Tourism Associations and Local Councils as we co-operatively promote our ‘Inspired by Gippsland’ brand. Visitor numbers over the past 18 months have been very strong and that contributes significantly to the local economy,” Mr Robinson said. Destination Gippsland is the peak tourism organisation for the region and is supported by Bass Coast Shire, Baw Baw Shire, South Gippsland Shire, Latrobe City, Wellington Shire, East Gippsland Shire, Parks Victoria and Tourism Victoria. The ‘Inspired by Gippsland’ marketing campaign focused on working with industry partners to promote Gippsland’s nature based strengths and package great accommodation with food and wine, arts and culture and events. The award recognises the great work of Marketing Manager, James Archibald with the strong support of Elysa Sorahan and the Marketing Committee Chaired by Pearl Findlay-James.The award caps off a successful year for Destination Gippsland. The organisation also won the Victorian Tourism Award for Marketing for the third year in a row and was inducted into the Victorian Tourism Hall of Fame.Gippsland was also represented by David and Melinda Wilson of Montfort Manor after they won the state award for the Best Hosted Accommodation.
Cameron Matthews Source = Spicers Retreats Hotels & Lodges STR Restaurant Head Chef Daniel Jarrett Luxury hotel group Spicers Retreats Hotels & Lodges has again been recognised for culinary excellence, walking away with four accolades in the Queensland Good Food Guide awards.The Long Apron restaurant at Spicers Clovelly Estate in Montville was awarded Two Hats as well as the Regional Restaurant of the Year in the prestigious awards which were announced last night.The restaurants at Spicers Peak Lodge in the Scenic Rim and Spicers Tamarind Retreat in Maleny were also each awarded One Hat.Headed by acclaimed chef Cameron Matthews, The Long Apron was the only regional restaurant to be hatted twice – with a total of 42 Queensland restaurants wining one hat, four winning two hats and one winning three hats. “Despite the luxury country house feel, The Long Apron’s menu is totally contemporary,” the judges said. “Using both the prodigious local produce and his classical training, Cameron Matthews creates a whimsical degustation menu that will put a smile on the face of even the most jaded diner. Five star service and stunning views complete the picture.”The Long Apron specialises in personalised service with an innovative European-inspired degustation menu paired with a selective wine list. The restaurant’s award-winning menu includes innovative creations such as their signature Hervey Bay Scallops with local fresh scallops, Kenilworth yoghurt, Maleny cream, Mooloolaba squid and herbs from the restaurant’s kitchen garden. “At the Long Apron we love using fresh, local produce and unusual ingredients to deliver a deconstructed degustation menu,” Cameron Matthews said.“Our whole team is extremely passionate about creating a unique gourmet experience for our guests,” Matthews said. “As a result, we’re finding that The Long Apron restaurant and Spicers Clovelly Estate is becoming a gourmet destination for foodies from around Australia.”Awarded a star in Gourmet Traveller’s 2011 Restaurant Guide and votedBest Prestige Restaurant at the 2011 Queensland Hotels Association Awards and Best New Tourism Development at the 2010 Queensland Tourism Awards, Spicers Clovelly Estate in the Sunshine Coast hinterland is fast becoming a worst-kept secret amongst foodies. Budding chefs can also learn the restaurant’s award-winning culinary secrets with French, Italian and market food-themed cooking classes on offer each month.Spicers’ other award-winning restaurant, The Tamarind at Spicers Tamarind Retreat, also in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, is headed by executive chef Daniel Jarrett and brings a taste of Thailand to the foothills of Maleny.Specialising in innovative Modern Asian cuisine, The Tamarind has cemented its reputation as an iconic south-east Queensland restaurant, with numerous accolades including Best New Restaurant on the Sunshine Coast in the 2011 HOSTPLUS Restaurant & Catering Awards.Spicers Peak Lodge Restaurant, at Spicers Peak Lodge two hours’ drive south west of Brisbane, also offers an award-winning degustation menu based on locally-sourced ingredients, grown in the rich Scenic Rim soil, as well as internationally-sourced delicacies. With head chef Ashley Martin at the helm, the restaurant team provides an unforgettable dining experience and, as the highest non-alpine lodge in Australia, the Peak Lodge dining room boasts spectacular views over Main Range National Park.The restaurant has received numerous awards including two stars in the Queensland Food and Wine Guide 2010 and Best Fine Dining Restaurant Brisbane region in the 2011 Restaurant & Catering Awards.Spicers Retreats Hotels & Lodges co-owner Jude Turner said the awards were an honour for all three properties and the Spicers group.“We’re so thrilled to receive these prestigious awards and so proud of our chefs and restaurant teams,” Ms Turner said. “Great food and wine is definitely at the heart of the Spicers experience and these achievements reinforce the high standards we set for ourselves.Spicers is also a strong supporter of regional and national culinary events. Cameron Matthews and Daniel Jarrett will showcase their talents at the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival later this month, and Spicers’ chefs will also appear at the Regional Flavours food festival at Brisbane’s South Bank in July.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Australia’s Regional Tourism Organisation is still “up in the air” following the release of the Government’s Visitor Economy Taskforce (VET) report, according to Tourism Industry Council NSW general manager Andrew Jefferies.The New South Wales Government revealed the results of its VET report earlier this month; comprising strategic recommendations and action plans. Last year the Tourism Industry Council NSW requested the reduction and amalgamation of the Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) network.“The release of the VET report clearly leaves the future of the regional tourism network up in the air and we are keen to learn more from the Government about its future plans in this area, including the establishment of the five visitor economy zones across NSW,” Mr Jefferies said.While the TIC was supportive of the need for tourism infrastructure developments, it was troubled by the lack of industry independence.“We are concerned that an over reliance on the decisions made by the elected body of a Local Government Authority may not deliver the necessary results… to support rate increases over and above the present rate pegging methods,” Mr Jefferies said.“We agree with calls for greater leadership and collaboration between like minded Councils with a strong interest in the tourism space, however, we are also keenly aware of the competing priorities and challenges that many Local Government Authorities around the state face to remain sustainable, coupled with regular changes to political cycles and the changeover in representatives every four years.”The TIC have shown support for a “definitive future direction” aimed at bringing together and galvanising the industry “in order to achieve the objectives of the plan to double overnight visitor expenditure into New South Wales by 2020,” Mr Jefferies added.The New South Wales Government will consider the recommendations of the VET report and release a response this October; the Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan 2012. Regional Australia
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T The Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) has attributed the slowdown in tourist spending habits to the current strength of the Australian dollar and a lack of industry investment.According to figures released in the latest International Visitor Survey, international visitors to Australia increased in the first half of the year but there was a downturn in spending.“This will challenge the tourism industry’s goal of doubling visitor expenditure by 2020,” said TTF chief executive John Lee.“The low yield is further proof that investment is needed in product, service and experience.”International visitor arrivals for the year to June 2012 increased 1.4 percent to 5.5 million.“It is good news that arrivals grew by 3.8 percent from January to June, but it’s worrying that visitor spend grew four times slower at only 0.8 percent,” Mr Lee said.However, Mr Lee was quick to recognise positives drawn from respondents’ results.“There are some encouraging leisure signals contained within the survey, with markets like Taiwan recording strong growth partly as a result of Tourism Australia active marketing.”
When choosing airplane seats, it is safe to say that the hardest question most people have to answer their travel agent or computer is whether they prefer the window or the aisle seat, yet British Airways went one step further and pinpointed the seats that travellers are vying for.It seems that those who want to get out as quickly as possible, follow through with their intentions as those who choose to sit at the front part of economy, also wanted to sit on the aisle.Conversely, those who sat at the back preferred the window seat.Overall travellers preferred the window seat and opted to sit on the right hand side of the aircraft, when given the choice.The most popular seats on British Airways Boeing 747 were the ones where pairs of travellers had the row to themselves, which includes twin seats 51/52B, 51/52C, 51/52H and 51/52J.First Class travellers were more likely to pick front row seats 1A and 1K as their favourites, whilst Club World (business class) passengers liked to travel in the upper deck toward the back of the aircraft in seats 62A and K and 64A and K.What’s your favourite seat on a plane? Source = e-Travel Blackboard: A.N. I prefer the right hand side, front section, window seat. How about you? Image: British Airways
“It’s not for me to announce these things, but we are mindful of it, we are looking carefully. And the fourth thing is the business has to do its own heavy lifting on its own reform.” Joyce also mentioned the AUD $72 million in marketing arrangements Qantas has with state governments. “Number one is existing restrictions on the business imposed by the parliament. Number two is if it’s an essential national service, and number three is if it is in an environment where other sovereigns are engaging in direct competition to the massive disadvantage of an Australian business, then you need to take that into account,’’ Abbott Government Treasurer, Joe Hockey said. In talking about how Qantas needs to change its business model, Joyce said that Qantas needs to continue to decerease its unit costs as well as invest in fuel efficient aircraft and mentioned that there would be more unpopular cuts going ahead while restrictions on the airline had to be removed. “The Qantas Sale Act limits our financial options, it adds cost to our business, and it influences our actions as a publicly listed company,” Joyce said. Joyce argued that Qantas passengers are still the biggest supporters of local tourism in Australia, spending AUD $28 billion in local economies. UPDATE: The Treasurer Joe Hockey said today that he inclined to give Qantas goverment assistance, given because its situation meets four preconditions: The Abbott Government has reiterated that it wants to help Qantas make a level playing field which may take the form of debt guarantee or repeal of some or parts of the Qantas Sales Act. Joyce outlined three future challenges for Qantas – the role of Qantas as the national carrier, change in how Qantas does business and the competitive environment in aviation. Source = ETB News: T.N. Qantas chief executive officer, Alan Joyce spoke to the Coalition of Friends of Tourism in Canberra today about the role of Qantas. “Over the long term, repealing it is essential to remove the distortions in our aviation system.”
In addition, a Bank of America-Merrill Lynch study found that 12 per cent of Malaysia’s tourists were from China and that the treatment of Chinese families by the Malaysian government could affect tourist flows to the country. China has taken issue with Malaysia’s off the cuff conclusion that MH370 definitely crashed into the southern Indian Ocean, even demanding evidence that of such a crash. New footage showing families being separated from public protest has become a public relations problem for Malaysia as well as make the government look cruel. A recent poll by accommodation search website Trivago, found that of the 500,000 Australians that visit Malaysia each year, many are reconsidering visiting again and some who planned it have cancelled their trips. Malaysia’s reputation as a tourist hotspot has taken a beating from the Malaysian government’s ham fisted approach to managing the search and releasing timely information, News reported. The events sector in Malaysia is also suffering due to the debacle, with only 50 tickets sold to the Malaysian F1 Concert, despite selling 1000 tickets last year. Source = ETB News: Tom Neale Tourism to Malaysia is likely to be affected in many ways because of the MH370 debacle.
Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman Qantas Frequent Flyers now have another way to request an upgrade, with the launch of a new online invitation-only bidding system and is set to be gradually introduced across the Qantas network from this week. Bid Now Upgrades allows invited Frequent Flyers booked in Economy and Premium Economy to make an offer for a Business upgrade using a combination of money and Qantas Points. The system will be allocated after all Classic Upgrade Rewards have been processed, and it ranks below Classic Upgrade Rewards in terms of priority and value, but gives members the flexibility to supplement points with a cash payment. Qantas Loyalty chief executive officer Lesley Grant, said Bid Now Upgrades will provide greater opportunity for customers to travel in Qantas’ premium cabins. “As Australia’s leading loyalty program we are always exploring new ways for our Frequent Flyers to redeem their Qantas Points and we know that upgrading to a more premium cabin is something that many of our members aspire to,” Ms Grant said. While many other airlines offer similar upgrade bidding processes, Qantas’ Bid Now Upgrades is unique in the market being the only system to offer customers an upgrade option using a combination of points and money. The new upgrade option follows other changes by Qantas to unlock revenue opportunities, including a significant increase in aircraft utilisation that has seen new routes and extra services added to its network.
Sydney Airport has announced Mantra Group will be the manager of the airport’s new 136- room, limited service hotel at 3 Ross Smith Avenue, due to commence construction in April 2016.“Sydney Airport aims to provide customers with more choice and value by offering a diverse range of hotel products close to our terminals,” Sydney Airport Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kerrie Mather said.“With 39 million passengers a year and growing, our Hotel Development Strategy seeks to address strong demand for quality accommodation options at Sydney Airport.“We are excited to be partnering with Mantra Group who are well known for their modern, lifestyle product and we look forward to working with them to further enhance the passenger experience at Sydney Airport.”Mantra Group Chief Executive Officer Bob East said the company is delighted to be chosen as the operator for Sydney Airport’s newest hotel.“The new Mantra hotel is a superbly located property within close proximity and easy walking distance to Sydney Airport’s T2 and T3 domestic terminals for business and leisure travellers alike,” Mr East said.“Mantra Group is well placed to enhance the travel experience with a dedicated airport hotel at Australia’s busiest airport, Sydney Airport.“We design hotels to go beyond the traditional, with teams who understand that guest expectations are evolving and the experiences we create set our brand apart.“We expect our loyal Mantra guests will readily embrace this new Sydney Airport hotel and we have plans to create a dynamic food and beverage offering that will distinguish it as a standout in the area.”The proposed new Mantra hotel will be located adjacent to the Ibis Budget Hotel, conveniently located within walking distance of the T2/T3 Domestic precinct. The hotel will offer the latest design features, a bar and high quality room furnishings catering to the modern traveller.The new hotel will complement Sydney Airport’s existing on-airport hotels, the 318-room Rydges hotel at T1 and the 199-room Ibis Budget Hotel at T2/T3.There has been significant interest from hotel operators in hotel development opportunities at Sydney Airport, which have historically performed strongly.Sydney Airport appointed Mantra Group following international requests for proposals. Mantra Group now offers 127 properties and has grown throughout Australia, NZ and Asia since listing in 2014.Source = Sydney Airport
Growing the Chinese inbound market to over one million visitors is a triumph for Australian tourism, says Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) Chair, Martin Ferguson, but the industry will need to be able to access higher-levels of skilled workers if Australia is to continue growing the market.In figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), China increased its visitor numbers to Australia by 21.6 per cent (177,900) to 1,001,200 in the year ending November 2015.Mr Ferguson, a former Federal Tourism Minister, said the Australian tourism and hospitality industry had stepped up to the mark to attract greater numbers of Chinese visitors, with Tourism Australia and the Government providing support through proactive marketing, free trade agreements and facilitation of bilateral airline agreements.However, with international competitors increasingly targeting China for their tourism business, Australia would need to offer the highest levels of service to maintain and grow its market position.“The Federal Government has rightfully identified tourism as one of five major National Investment Priorities, but a recent report on the Australian Tourism Labour Force identified that the industry would need some 123,000 additional workers, including over 60,000 skilled positions, by 2020 if we are to keep up with demand,” said Mr Ferguson.“The hotel industry is undertaking its largest expansionary phase in decades, which will provide the quality of accommodation needed by the Chinese market, but staffing and service standards are equally important, and the industry has reached a bottle neck in terms of skilled workers.“While hotel groups are doing their best to recruit and train, a combination of outdated industrial relations conditions and restrictions on temporary skilled migration is holding back the industry’s potential to grow employment and enhance service standards.“Current Minister for Tourism, Senator Colbeck, stated yesterday that ‘there is still more work to be done to ensure we can cater for the increased demand into the future and to encourage tourists to visit our unique rural and regional areas’. He is very correct in this view, with labour shortages one of the most critical factors affecting regional and remote performance.“We would call on the Government to act urgently to address these issues to ensure operators can access skilled staff to provide high quality service standards.“When international visitors come to this country they – just like Australians – expect to see restaurants, shops and attractions open across weekends and on public holidays, but with 1950s industrial relations conditions still in place, it is a disincentive for businesses to open.“We hope that the Fair Work Commission will follow the lead of the Productivity Commission and accept that IR provisions need to be updated to the 21st century to benefit both tourism businesses and workers.” Tourism AccommodationSource = Tourism Accommodation Australia
Source = Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre Oman secures international medical congressOman secures international medical congressThe Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman has announced it will host the 2019 SICOT (International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology) Orthopaedic World Congress in association with the Pan Arab Orthopaedic Society (PAOS).The SICOT World Congress is held annually and attracts up to 3000 delegates including leading surgeons, clinicians and researchers from all over the world. Since its inception in 1929, the SICOT World Congress has organised 37 international congresses across the world. Oman successfully competed against Budapest, Brussels and Belgrade at a bid presentation during this year’s congress in Rome.The bid presentation was presented by Dr. Mohammed Darwish from Oman and was supported by the Ministry of Health with a video interview by the Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Saidi.Dr. Mohammed Darwish, President of the Pan Arab Orthopaedic Association said: “We are honoured that Oman has been chosen to host the 2019 World Congress of the International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery. We look forward to warmly welcoming our international colleagues from around the world, showcasing our recent regional research developments and industry insights within orthopaedics and traumatology. We’re excited to meet with medical stakeholders to exchange valuable ideas and strengthen our scientific skills and knowledge. Oman’s submission through the Pan Arab Orthopaedic Society’s collaboration with OCEC provides a truly unique offering for what will be an exceptional 2019 World Congress.”Professor Jochen Eulert, SICOT Secretary General, commented: “On behalf of the 2019 World Congress of the International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery, I welcome Oman’s submission, which is the first time the Sultanate has placed a bid to host our annual congress. I personally visited Oman during the bid process and believe the delegates will enjoy experiencing the rich authentic heritage and culture that Oman has to offer.”Trevor McCartney, General Manager, OCEC added: “We are delighted that SICOT has chosen Oman and OCEC as the host venue for the 2019 World Congress. With OCEC, Oman has a contemporary venue that provides an array of meeting and exhibition possibilities, which surpass the needs and demands of the world’s biggest and most prestigious events – all framed within Omani culture and traditions. OCEC is part of the new Madinat al Irfan urban centre in Muscat, which is a mixed-use development owned by Omran, Oman’s master developer in the tourism sector.”Upcoming congresses leading up to the 2019 edition in Oman are in Cape Town (2017) and Montreal (2018). The previous congresses took place in Rome (2016) and Guangzhou, China (2015).
Singapore Airlines and Silkair to codeshare with Fiji AirwaysSingapore Airlines and Silkair to codeshare with Fiji AirwaysSingapore Airlines, SilkAir and Fiji Airways have today announced the signing of a codeshare agreement that will provide more convenient connections for customers travelling to Fiji from 10 destinations in Asia and Europe through the Singapore hub.Under the agreement, Singapore Airlines and SilkAir customers can access Fiji Airways’ non-stop flights between Singapore and Nadi, including the airline’s third weekly seasonal service that was launched on 4 April 2018. Customers can also travel on codeshare flights between Nadi and three domestic destinations, including the Fijian capital Suva, Labasa, and Savusavu.In turn, Fiji Airways customers will be able to access Singapore Airlines and SilkAir-operated flights to destinations in, China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the United Kingdom.Mr Tan Kai Ping, Singapore Airlines Senior Vice President Marketing Planning said: “We are delighted with the new agreement with Fiji Airways, which will add the beautiful destination of Fiji to the Singapore Airlines and SilkAir codeshare network. This is another example of how we are continuously looking to expand our reach to provide our customers more travel options.”Mr Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways’ Managing Director and CEO added: “We’re pleased to sign this codeshare agreement with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, which leverages the airline group’s impressive global distribution network and significantly grows our footprint across Asia and Europe, with some of these cities appearing on the Fiji Airways network for the very first time.“We are confident that this codeshare agreement will allow more international travellers to experience the beauty of Fiji and the wider South Pacific region,” said Mr Viljoen.The codeshare flights are subject to regulatory approvals. Tickets will be progressively made available for sale through the various booking channels following the approvals.Source = Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Fiji Airways
Air China is set launch direct international flight from Mumbai to Beijing, China from October 25, 2015. The strategic move by Air China is a step to strengthen its existing route network in India.In the last couple of years, there has been a significant increase in people travelling to China from Mumbai and Air China is extremely proud to have their network reach expanded to Mumbai, which is an important destination in India. India is one of the top emerging countries in the world and by 2023 the country is estimated to become the second largest economy in the world in terms of GDP. With fast economic growth, India as a country also offers significant opportunities for air travel growth.The new flight to Mumbai would operate four times in a week, i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, while the return would operate on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The Airbus A330-300, which will be deployed on the route, has a seating capacity of 301 passengers with 30 seats in Business Class, 16 seats in Premium Economy and 255 seats in Economy Class.Through the launch of this new route Air China is confident about new business relations in India and strengthening of economic as well as political relations of both the nations. Air China would also offer good and seamless connectivity to all destinations in Mainland China, USA, Canada, Korea, Japan and Far East Asia.
The PATA Annual Summit 2016 will take place at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort in Tumon, Guam in May. The summit, hosted by the Guam Visitors Bureau, will include a one-day conference, the PATA Youth Symposium, the PATA Executive Board and Committee meetings, and Annual General Meeting 2016. Governor of Guam, Eddie Baza Calvo and PATA CEO Mario Hardy announced the summit at a press conference in Adelup, Guam.PATA CEO Mario Hardy added, “Founded in 1951, PATA will be holding its 65th Anniversary next year and with Guam as one of its founding members, I am delighted that we have the opportunity to host the event in this island paradise. We have plans to add more value to this event for our delegates and we are excited to be working with the wonderful people at the Guam Visitors Bureau, who I know will help deliver a truly successful event.”Governor Calvo welcomed PATA representatives and shared the importance of holding the summit in Guam. “We are glad to support PATA and its anniversary celebration. This event will precede the Festival of Pacific Arts, which will be held in May 2016. It will be another opportunity for Guam to demonstrate its ability to host international, multi-level conferences,” said Governor Calvo. “As the gateway between Asia and America, Guam’s geographic location, its perfect blend of Pacific islander, Asian and American community, and it’s beautiful beaches all come together to provide a unique experience.”Guam is ‘Where America’s Day Begins’. As the largest and southernmost island in the Marianas, this unincorporated territory of the United States has a rich 4,000 year old history and culture based on its indigenous Chamorro people. Guam is about 8 miles wide and 32 miles long, and is located 900 miles north of the equator in the Western Pacific. Commonly referred to as ‘America in Asia’, its capital city is Hagåtña (formerly Agana). With pristine beaches, friendly people and wholesome island hospitality, this unique world-class destination has tropical weather conditions year-round. Guam also has a plethora of activities to keep visitors from all over the world entertained since tourism is its top economic driver. Dusit Thani Guam Resort, the island’s newest and only 5-star luxury hotel, is home to Guam’s first convention center. United Airlines is the official airline for the PATA Annual Summit 2016.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid, was on a three-day working visit to India to boost bilateral ties between the two countries. Tourism was amongst the matters discussed with his Indian counterparts.At a high level gathering in New Delhi, the Deputy PM officially launched the Electronic Travel Authorisation Visa (e-visa) for tourists from India to Malaysia. The facility was introduced in April this year and the immigration authorities have reported a steady rise in numbers since then.The e-visa facility is available to Indians residing in India only and is valid for a single journey for a stay of maximum 30 days in Malaysia. The Malaysia e-visa comes at a fee of USD25 and can be obtained within 48 hours with a validity of three months.Last year as many as 722,141 Indian tourists visited Malaysia making it the 6th largest contributor to tourist arrivals. Zahid said, “India is a major contributor to the tourism industry of Malaysia. We are always trying to make travel to Malaysia convenient and the introduction of e-visa is a major step in that direction. We are confident that this development will keep Malaysia as the top-of-the-mind tourist destination, encouraging more Indian tourists to visit and enjoy their holidays in Malaysia.”In 2015, Malaysia received a total of 25.7 million tourists and RM69.1 billion in tourism receipts. This year, the country is expected to welcome 30.5 million tourists and earn RM103 billion in receipts.
With the government’s move towards a cashless society announcing demonetisation over two months back, there has been a big push towards digitisation. Being one of the leading omni channel travel, retail & fintech company, Via.com is facilitating digital transactions for its partners.Aiming to change the landscape of electronic payments to enable its agents, VIA has tied up with various mobile payment solutions start-ups to connect small towns and villages in India with businesses through its mobile Point of Sale (mPoS) services.Talking about the new development, Sanjay Gupta, Business Head – India & Middle East, Via.com, said, “Our endeavour is to develop cost-effective and affordable solutions for our agents that can not only help to spread financial inclusion, but also provide avenues to their other businesses across India. VIA is giving agents options to sell varied products and services through a digital platform. This has helped VIA agents remain unscathed whereas normal retail business saw close to a 50% drop in sales.”The move has also seen an overwhelming response from the agents. “We have deployed 1000-odd new stores on POS machines. The number of transactions has increased to over 2000 a day in the last one month while earlier this number was almost negligible. The worth of transactions is about Rs 1 crore a day,” he added.
Hilton announced the opening of Hilton Bogota Corferias, representing Hilton’s 20th property in the country. As the first full-service hotel in the city’s Fair & Convention District, the 410-room property features more than 13,000 sq ft of flexible meetings and events space, including the largest terrace in the area that offers both indoor & outdoor space and spectacular mountain views.“Colombia’s tourism industry continues to set records with a 9% growth in visitor arrivals last year, maintaining a positive year over year momentum,” said Jorge Giannattasio, Senior Vice President and Head of Operations, Caribbean and Latin America, Hilton. “The market’s consistent growth paves the way for further tourism development and we are proud to play a significant role in this boom with the opening of our 20th hotel in the destination – Hilton Bogota Corferias. Hilton has been welcoming guests for nearly 100 years and we are thrilled to continue extending our mission to be the world’s most hospitable company throughout this incredible country.”Redefining business travel with first-of-its-kind meeting spaces in the area, Hilton Bogota Corferias forms a part of the Corferias complex, spearheaded by the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá to promote industrial, commercial, social and cultural development in the region.Overlooking the 10,341-foot Monserrate Hill, the hotel’s spacious guest rooms each contain floor-to-ceiling windows, offering unparalleled views of the city and natural light throughout the room. Guests can use amenities including a work desk with adjustable lamp, 50-inch HD TV, a pillow menu and complimentary Wi-Fi. Suites also offer a separate living area for those seeking more spacious accommodations, particularly the presidential suite, which features a large living and cocktail area as well as a dining room, two bathrooms and a king guestroom.Meeting professionals have access to a 5,815 sq ft main ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows, a capacity hosting of up to 720 people and seven breakout rooms totalling 13,200 sq ft. Planners can also opt to host their events on a 6,500 sq ft terrace, celebrated as the largest in the city. Within walking distance, business travellers also have access to Agora Convention Center, which was recently completed in late 2017. The five-story glass structure offers nearly 65,000 sq ft of events space, ideal for major summits.“Transformed into a global business hub, Bogotá has been a key market in our brand’s expansion plans due to the rise in tourism,” said Vera Manoukian, Senior Vice President and Global Head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts. “With the debut of Hilton Bogota Corferias as the Fairs & Conventions district’s first full-service hotel, our goal is to introduce guests to the brand’s intuitive service and world-class amenities while providing them with a memorable travel experience.”Located adjacent to the Corferias Bogota Fairground, the hotel offers a privileged location in the town’s main commercial area within close proximity to La Candelaria colonial neighbourhood, Gold Museum and the Art Museum of the National University of Colombia. Those looking for adventure can hike up Monserrate Hill or indulge in Colombian cuisine as Bogotá is the country’s gastronomic epicentre.