24hour strike causes Alitalia to rebook 90 of passengers

first_imgTags: Alitalia, Travel Alert Share Source: The Associated Press 24-hour strike causes Alitalia to rebook 90% of passengers MILAN — Alitalia unions are mounting a 24-hour strike to protest job and salary cuts that are part of the new plan to relaunch the struggling Italian airline.The carrier, which is controlled by Emirates-based Etihad Airways, said the strike Wednesday was forcing the cancellation of 60% of flights. It said it was using bigger aircraft on its busiest routes and that more than 90% of passengers had been rebooked.Unions say the plan announced last month lacks credibility with a view to short-term savings without a longer-term growth plans.The Italian news agency ANSA says the government has been meeting with the Italian shareholders, which control 51 per cent of the airline, to come up with an investment to help the airline return to health. << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, April 5, 2017 last_img read more

Income and age have little impact on cruisers says latest CLIA Travel

first_img Travelweek Group Income and age have little impact on cruisers, says latest CLIA Travel Report Posted by Tags: CLIA Sharecenter_img WASHINGTON, DC — Millennials are seeking out luxury cruises at a record pace, says CLIA in its newly released 2018 Cruise Travel Report.Among its key findings, the report found that almost a quarter of millennials surveyed (24%) have sailed on a luxury cruise line within the past three years, while 70% (up from 63% last year) said they will “definitely” book a cruise for their next trip.This year, almost all income brackets are cruising; 33% of cruisers surveyed have a household income of less than $80,000, while 50% have a household income of at least $100,000 or more. In conclusion, when compared to land-based options, income has little impact when choosing cruising as better of the two options.“Industry research efforts, like the 2018 Cruise Travel Report, offer valuable insight to how and why cruise vacations are on the rise and becoming the vacation choice for millions by charting changes in the preferences and behaviours of both cruisers and non-cruisers,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “The study confirms, cruise travel continues to break down income and generational barriers, proving that today there is a cruise for every travel preference, style and budget.”More news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyOther findings include:Cruisers are loyal to cruising. More than half of cruisers (58%) believe a cruise is the best type of vacation, finding high satisfaction in river cruises (81%) and ocean cruises (73%), followed by land-based hotels and resorts (62%). Nine out of 10 say they “probably or definitely will” cruise again.On average, about 41% of cruisers say they are interested in childcare services, including babysitting and programs for children and teens. But only 13% are reporting that they use these services. In contrast, only 32% say they want onboard entertainment, while 70% attend once onboard. Overall, entertainment, including shows, musicals and comedy, is the most used feature on cruises.Travel agents are the most likely influencers of vacation planning and decision-making for cruisers, who are twice as likely (70%) to use a travel agent when booking a vacation than non-cruisers (37%). Friday, January 26, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Public Security Ministry destroys record number of guns

first_imgRelated posts:Explainer: Why is Costa Rica’s former President Laura Chinchilla suing a hotelier over a Facebook post? Court throws out ex-President Chinchilla’s social media defamation lawsuit Former Judicial Investigation Police official named Costa Rica’s new public security minister US anti-drug trafficking review arrives in Costa Rica as lawmakers debate permissions President Laura Chinchilla and Public Security Minister Mario Zamora donned safety glasses to bring a circular saw down on the last two firearms destroyed out of tens of thousands Wednesday in what authorities say was the largest single destruction of weapons in Costa Rican history.In total, authorities destroyed 21,318 firearms and incinerated 872,882 small-caliber ammunitions.“One of the most important blows to violence and crime has to do with the destruction of firearms,” Chinchilla said.The president added that the policy of dismantling firearms has successfully prevented violence in the small Central American country, and she hoped the next administration would stay the course. Costa Rica has the one of the region’s lowest homicide rates and was recently named the safest country in Latin America by FTI Consulting.The Organization of American States’ Assistance Program for the Control of Weapons and Munitions Destruction in Central America verified the event at the ministry’s Armament Administration in Dulce Nombre de Coronado, San José. According to OAS, Costa Rica has dismantled more weapons than any other country in Central America and is the country that has destroyed the most weapons used in a crime.OAS representative Carl Case said that Costa Rica has destroyed nearly 32,000 weapons during the last two years. The Public Security Ministry claimed it has seized nearly 38,000 weapons during the Chinchilla administration.The ministry destroyed 3,054 weapons in 2012. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Trial of pizzeria owner Costa Rican doctors begins in organ trafficking case

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica prosecutors charge 5 members of alleged organ trafficking ring Doctor, pizzeria owner sentenced in Costa Rica for organ trafficking Costa Ricans report increasing safety concerns; 2016 is set to become most violent year on record UPDATED: Police capture suspect in Liberia murders of five students, find key evidence in raids A trial of four Costa Rican doctors and a Greek pizzeria owner accused of running an illegal organ trafficking ring in Costa Rica began on Monday in San José.The five members of the ring allegedly sought out people with financial problems who were willing to sell their kidneys for between $6,000 and $20,000, mostly to Israelis but also to European clients willing to pay as much as $100,000 each. Surgeries to remove the organs were allegedly carried out in private clinics in San José.The trial is expected to run through November 30, with a bench of three judges deciding the verdict.Read more: Prosecutors charge 5 in organ trafficking ringAccording to the prosecution, the ring was led by Francisco José Mora Palma, head of the nephrology unit dealing with kidney diseases at the public Calderón Guardia Hospital in the capital.The other three doctors accused are urologists Fabian Fonseca Guzmán and Massimiliano Anunzia Mauro Stamati, and peripheral vascular specialist Victor Hugo Monge.The Greek man, Dimosthenis Katsigiannis Karkasi, was accused of using his pizzeria near the hospital as the place to find and meet with potential organ sellers and linking them up with the doctors in exchange for money. The New York Times took an in-depth look at the international and local aspects of the ring in a 2014 feature.The five men were arrested in 2013 and are suspected of having illegally carried out 14 kidney transplants. The investigation into the case ended in 2014, and preliminary hearings for the trial started in July 2015.Prosecutors are set to call on 25 witnesses to substantiate their case, including a former policewoman who is said to have worked with the ring after selling her own kidney, and who agreed to testify against the defendants.If convicted, the doctors and Katsigiannis Karkasi risk prison. Selling an organ is illegal in Costa Rica. Living organ donations are legal, but only without monetary or other compensation or under duress. The traffic of persons for the purpose of organ harvesting is punishable in Costa Rica by up to 10 years in prison under Article 172 of the Penal Code.The pizzeria owner could face six to 10 years behind bars if convicted. For the doctors, because the charges involve abusing their professional status to commit a crime, the sentences could be eight to 16 years. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

VIDEO A look inside Costa Ricas Good Friday processions

first_img Facebook Comments Costa Rica’s solemn Holy Week processions are a sight to behold, no matter what your religion. Never attended a Good Friday procession – or have a few years gone by since you last took one in? Andrés Madrigal captures the sights, sounds and elaborate pageantry of the 2016 downtown San José event in the video below.Most Costa Rican dioceses will hold processions on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday. Related posts:VIDEO: A look inside Costa Rica’s Good Friday processions The colors of Good Friday VIDEO: Check out the epicenter of Costa Rica’s annual Romería Great food for local causes: ‘Festival de Vida’ begins in Atenaslast_img read more

Off the eaten path Fritos Comida Coreana

first_img Beef bulgogi at Fritos Beef bulgogi (William Ayre / The Tico Times) If you’re walking on Calle 11 near Avenida Central, you might get a whiff of freshly cooked, spicy food. The source is easy to pinpoint, a Korean man behind a window toiling over five gas burners. Above him, there is an orange sign with Korean symbols on top of the entrance, and coiled barbed prison wire lining the roof.It’s no prison though, it’s Fritos Comida Coreana.Here, for nearly four years, Pablo and Gabriela, the husband-and-wife owners, have been serving authentic Korean food to curious Costa Rican diners. I suspect those are not their real names, but rather are easier for locals to pronounce. Fritos Comida Coreana is on Calle 11 near Avenida Central. Fritos Comida Coreana is on Calle 11 near Avenida Central in San José. (William Ayre / The Tico Times)Their establishment is real though, and small. Despite that, they’ve still managed to cram 34 seats into it. I imagine it could fill up quickly, but it was quite empty when I had lunch on Monday at 2 p.m., so we were able to enjoy a comfortable meal.There seems to be a kitchen in the back, but the real action happens towards the front, near the open window where Pablo cooks over a handful of burners. This area is the definition of an open kitchen, and so, there are no secrets here.Perhaps this is smart business on their part. The aromas of gochujang chili paste and grilled meats have surely enticed many people who would have otherwise passed right by. Pablo’s kitchen has no secretsOr perhaps it’s for ventilation purposes, a sneaky way to get around having to install an expensive exhaust hood in the rear kitchen.Either way, it works.If the Korean man preparing your meal in front of the world isn’t enough to show this place’s authenticity, there’s a pile of fresh Napa cabbage against one wall to remind you.This is a key ingredient in their house-made kimchi, a staple in Korean cuisine, which they ferment on location.For those unfamiliar, kimchi is a sort of pickled side dish. It’s a mix of salted vegetables, generally cabbage, with a variety of seasonings including spicy chili powder, garlic, and fish sauce.Thanks to the natural fermentation process, it’s full of vitamins, probiotic, and healthy bacteria. Some people actually consider it to be a “super food”.Many of the dishes on the menu include kimchi and you can even buy some to take home. I highly recommend it.Anyways, back to their main dishes. The menu is a simple, one page document, with about 25 different items on it. Items are split into sections such as meats, noodles, soups, rices and specialties. There are also options for vegetarians, like tofu.When in doubt, you can use the photos on the walls as a reference guide when ordering. Of these, I have tried four different dishes: the beef bulgogi, dakgalbi (spicy chicken stir fry), kimchi bokkubab (kimchi fried rice with sliced of hot dog wieners and a fried egg on tap) and mandu (which are crispy fried dumplings filled with meat and vegetables).The beef bulgogi is probably one of the more popular items at any Korean restaurant. It consists of thin, stir-fried slices of beef that have been marinated in a mix of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and black pepper; making it tender and deliciously sweet. The mandu was a similar version of what they serve in Japan as gyoza; a crispy dumpling with filling, to be dipped in soy sauce before eating. Then there was the fried rice. It was good, but strange, thanks to the hot dogs. Hot dogs are used in a lot of Korean comfort food dishes after they were leftover in the country at U.S. Army bases around the 1950s. After wartime, there was food rationing in Korea and hot dogs were an excellent source of cheaply available protein.On the side, my table received complimentary dishes of kimchi, pickled daikon, and some sort of leafy greens in sesame oil. They were all absolutely delicious. Our group of three people finished every plate, paid happily and left with full stomachs.The average price per main course is around 5,000 colones (about $10), including the 13% sales tax, and an additional 200 colones will be added on for takeaway orders. Diners also get bowls of white rice to go with their dishes. You get an assortment of side dishes to go with your main dishes. (William Ayre / The Tico Times)Want a drink to go with your meal? They don’t have permits to sell alcohol at Fritos, but do offer a small selection of bottled soft drinks and iced teas. Go for the aloe vera drink, instead.I can safely recommend everything that we tried. The flavors were a welcome change from the normal, it was really an adventure for the tastebuds, and the food was unique enough that I am looking forward to going back to try more of what they offer.The man cooking at the window is the owner, but it’s something he originally denied. He jokingly pointed at his wife, implying she’s the real boss at Fritos. And of course, she is. She waits tables during the week and on weekends their son helps out. I assume that’s when they’re busiest. The couple speaks Korean and Spanish, but no English.There are no English menus, but there are photos of most of the dishes on all four walls around the restaurant. So it’s still easy to order even if the names are all totally foreign. These are the traditional Korean classics, comfort foods, after all.Fritos is open six days a week, from Monday to Saturday. They open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. most days and close at 7 p.m on Wednesdays. The restaurant doesn’t have parking, but there is street parking and a public pay-parking lot in the surrounding area. Major credit cards are accepted. Search “Comida Coreana Fritos” in Uber or Waze and stop when you smell the man in the window. Crispy mandu (William Ayre / The Tico Times)William Ayre is a Canadian born chef and restaurateur who has spent the last half of his life doing business in Costa Rica, where he now considers to be home. Inspired by Anthony Bourdain, Ayre’s passion of experiencing different cultures through food has taken him to 35 different countries over five continents. Whether it’s a 20-course meal at a fine dining restaurant in Toronto, or cantina hopping in search for the best chifrijo here in San José, he fits in just fine. Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Off the eaten path: Soda Lima Off the eaten path: Cantina X Off the eaten path: Pad Thai Off the eaten path: Holidaylast_img read more

Correction Hacking Victims story

first_img Comments   Share   LONDON (AP) – In some versions of a July 24 story about alleged victims of phone hacking, The Associated Press reported erroneously that former British Cabinet minister David Blunkett’s resignation in 2004 was forced by the discovery that he had fast-tracked a visa application. Blunkett denied doing so, and a formal inquiry was inconclusive.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Parents, stop beating yourself up Sponsored Stories Top Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familylast_img read more

Rival forces fight over key sites in Burundis capital

first_imgBUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — Gunfire and explosions rang out Thursday as military forces backing an attempted coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza battled troops loyal to him over key sites in Burundi’s capital, while his office reported he had returned to the country.Weeks of turmoil in this impoverished Central African country boiled over Wednesday when an army general announced that Nkurunziza was being ousted. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Comments   Share   Hutus are the majority ethnic group in Burundi, making up about 85 percent of the population, while Tutsis make up the other 15 percent.Burundi erupted into civil war in 1993 following the assassination of the country’s first ethnic Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye. That conflict, which underscored longstanding ethnic tensions between the Hutu and the Tutsi people, lasted until 2005.Nkurunziza, a Hutu, took over as president and embarked on a campaign of ethnic reconciliation and economic rehabilitation. In 2009, his government signed a peace agreement with Burundi’s last rebel group.___Associated Press reporter Elias Meseret in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Cara Anna in New York contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center The U.N. Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned leaders of the attempted coup for trying to oust the elected government.The council also condemned those facilitating violence against civilians, an apparent reference to government supporters, and called for “the swift return of the rule of law and the holding of credible elections.”Both the council and the U.N. chief, in separate statements, called for an urgent halt to all fighting and the restoration of peace. Ban stressed that anyone responsible for ordering or committing human rights violations will be held accountable, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.The U.N. special envoy on Burundi Said Djinnit has been in touch with various parties on the ground, and calls have been made to regional leaders, Dujarric added. He briefed the Security Council by videoconference.Djinnit was in Nairobi and was trying to get back to Bujumbura, Dujarric said.Burundi’s Constitution states a president can be popularly elected to two five-year terms. Nkurunziza maintains he is eligible for a third because parliament elected him to his first term, leaving him open to be popularly elected to two terms.The U.S. government urged all sides in Burundi to end the violence and expressed full support for the ongoing work by regional leaders. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The military is divided between supporters of Nkurunziza and Niyombare, who was fired in February as intelligence chief. The army chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Prime Niyongabo, said on state radio late Wednesday that he was against Niyombare.A grenade attack Wednesday night seriously damaged the building of private broadcaster Renaissance TV, where Niyombare made his coup statement, said the station’s director, Innocent Muhozi, who added that one of his offices was also burned overnight.Police withdrew from the streets of Bujumbura after Niyombare’s coup statement, and people thronged Bujumbura’s streets and applauded soldiers who rode by in tanks and trucks.At least 15 people have been killed in demonstrations since April 26 over Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term. Protesters say his candidacy violated the Constitution as well as peace accords that ended a civil war.During the unrest, the military acted as a buffer between police and protesters.Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, who chaired the summit on the Burundi crisis, said the region’s leaders condemned the coup and called for return to constitutional order.Following an emergency meeting Thursday, the African Union Peace and Security Council condemned any attempts to seize power through violence in Burundi and urged talks between the warring factions. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories The president was in Tanzania at the time for a meeting with regional leaders about the political crisis. Late Thursday, his office announced on Twitter that Nkurunziza was back in Burundi, although the report could not be independently verified.The report also said Nkurunziza saluted the patriotism of the police and the patience of the Burundian people. His office had earlier said he had urged calm and said the situation was under control.Shooting and explosions could be heard in central Bujumbura as loyalist troops guarding the national broadcaster RTNB exchanged fire with forces believed to support Maj. Gen. Godefroid Niyombare, the senior army officer leading the coup attempt.The RTNB building and its surroundings were under attack for about 25 minutes, presidential communication adviser Willy Nyamitwe said on Twitter. State radio was playing music after going briefly off the air amid the fighting.Following one of the clashes, the body of one of the soldiers who supported the coup lay on the edge of a road near the state radio station as troops loyal to Nkurunziza looked on. Police patrolled a deserted major road and some civilians walked timidly down another street, carrying a cross to show neutrality.last_img read more

EU agrees to help Tunisia fight terror boost economy

first_img—Corrects spelling of Tunisian prime minister’s first name to Habib.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said it was in Europeans’ own interest to assist Tunisia and its democratically elected government.Mogherini said “we have to keep hope alive in a region that faces so many difficulties.”At the meeting, EU ministers also reviewed the situation in Libya, where many armed radicals active in Tunisia were reportedly trained in jihadi camps. The EU has been hoping for establishment of a national government in Libya so it can conclude agreements to stem the exodus of migrants leaving from its shores for Europe.On July 11, some Libyan political leaders met in Morocco to initial an agreement designed to bring their country’s civil war to an end. But one major faction, the General National Conference, balked, demanding a greater share of power.The EU is seeking a “government of national unity” in Libya, and is ready to wield both carrots and sticks to make it a reality, Mogherini made clear.The bloc has a 100-million euro ($108 million) aid package ready as soon as a new Libyan government can been formed, she said. And, without naming names or revealing a timetable, she said the EU ministers also discussed imposing economic sanctions on Libyans who have become “spoilers” of the effort to forge national unity. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, welcomes Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid upon his arrival at EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert) Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Top Stories center_img BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Monday agreed to help Tunisia combat violent Islamic extremism and boost its economy, including by raising quotas on how much olive oil it can sell in EU markets.Several cooperative measures were agreed upon Monday by EU foreign ministers in Brussels during a visit by Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid. In a statement, the EU ministers expressed solidarity with the North African country following the attack last month at a Mediterranean beach resort that killed 38 tourists, many of them EU nationals. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society Comments   Share   How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

British tourism operators stepup

first_imgThe tourism industry of Britain has been encouraged, by the Prime Minister and government, to step up their efforts in promoting tourism, in light of upcoming major events and fundraising.The British Government has pledged £50 million of public money to aid in boosting tourism over the next four years, provided this could be matched by private funding.Companies such as British Airways, DFDS (ferries), lastminute.com, P&O and Radisson Edwardian have all contributed donations. Chief executive VisitBritain Sandie Dawe was thrilled with the support the tourism body has received.“The excellent response we have received already shows the huge appetite that British companies have for working together to grow our overseas tourism business,” she said.The upcoming Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton this year will have all eyes focused on the United Kingdom, and VisitBritain plan on capitalising.“Our research indicates that in a typical year the places, events and history associated with Monarchy generate well over £500 million ($700 million) in revenue for the British tourism industry. “We would expect that in a royal wedding year we would do even better than that,” said Ms Dawe.2012 will also feature some well-documented events, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.Prime Minister David Cameron was excited about the possibilities these events will generate.“A royal wedding, Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and, of course, the London Olympic and Paralympic Games offer us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not just for national pride and celebration, but also to promote this country as the perfect tourist destination,” he said.VisitBritain recently had its government funding cut by 34 percent and is working on developing firmer partnerships with a variety of brands and businesses to help cover the deficit. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.Alast_img read more

ATAB last chance to get involved

first_imgThe ATAB has been created to better understand the concerns and issues individuals have in regards to the future of the Australian travel industry. “Some agents feel strongly that there should be more effective promotion by buying groups as well as industry associations, as to the value travel agents add for consumers,” Mr Bernardi said. ETB News will announce the winners of the prizes offered for completing the survey in the next two weeks. Qantas Airways has been identified as the most important supplier in the marketplace, with travel agents perceiving the airline as having the greatest impact on their business, especially domestically. “What is interesting is that there are few businesses that have a robust strategy in place to combat this competition… this is particularly true in the leisure space,” ATAB creator Simon Bernardi said. Source = ETB News: P.T. The ATAB will finalise all entries on Saturday 12 October 2013, with the research being presented to the public via ETB News and the Australian Travel Agent Barometer website.  However, most owners and consultants feel that travel agents are just as competitive as their online competitors and can offer better value add-ons for their customers. This weekend is the final opportunity for industry members to participate in the inaugural Australian Travel Agent Barometer (ATAB) research survey, as entries close this weekend. Click here to complete the survey now! The research has already revealed that the majority of owner managers surveyed cite the growth of online travel booking websites as the major threat to their business, with over 55 percent of respondents admitting these sites are having a direct impact on their operations.last_img read more

Etihad head rejects royal backing claim

first_imgEtihad Airways chief executive James Hogan is continuing his strong defence of the airline’s commercial operations, saying that they do not receive Abu Dhabi government or royal support. Etihad recently lifted its stake in Virgin Australia and now it owns 21 per cent of the local carrier. Mr Hogan said that rather than operating like normal state owned entity, the Etihad Airways business model is like a start-up – building its brand, customer satisfaction and the results speak for themselves.  Source = ETB News: Tom Neale Mr Hogan has reiterated that the airline works on a commercial basis after being confronted with documents received by Fairfax Media that show that the state-owned airline received US$3 billion loan interest free until 2027, the AFR reported.last_img read more

Product Managers visit Kyushu the Land of Fire

first_img JNTOdiscover more here Product Managers visit Kyushu, the Land of FireLast month, eight product managers from Australia were invited on a 7-day familiarisation trip of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands. The trip was fully-hosted and escorted by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office.The group visited Oita, Kumamoto, Kagoshima and Fukuoka prefectures in Kyushu. During their stay, they saw two active volcanoes, experienced outdoor baths, footbaths and even sand baths, visited two landscape gardens, walked across Japan’s highest pedestrian suspension bridge, climbed up the keep of ancient Kumamoto Castle and ate a meal similar to what the samurai-class royalty would have eaten.“As Japan’s popularity as a tourist destination continues to soar, repeat travellers from Australia are looking for authentic travel experiences off-the-beaten-path. In addition to great food, hot-springs and warm Japanese hospitality, regional destinations like those found in Kyushu can certainly provide this,” said Stephanie Sng, Business Development and Marketing Manager of JNTO Sydney Office.Fukuoka, the largest and most developed city on Kyushu is directly connected to Japan’s main island of Honshu by bullet-train. It takes just over an hour to travel by bullet-train to Fukuoka from Hiroshima, a city already well-visited by Australian travellers and the Japan Rail (JR) Pass can be used on this route. Alternatively, visitors can fly from Tokyo to Fukuoka in 1.5 hours. JNTO recommends a combination of rail, bus and rental car to get the most out of your trip to Kyushu.Sand baths of Ibusuki, Kagoshima – photo courtesy of Lisa Mather (Saizen Tours) Top L-R: Angela Ferres (Insider Journeys), Alan Gibson (Trans Orbit), Haydn Thompson (Japan Package Tours) Bottom L-R: Stephanie Sng (Japan National Tourism Organization), Kate Harper (World Expeditions), Lisa Mather (Saizen Tours), Amy Rae (China Travel Service) and Noriko Yoshioka (guide) Source = JNTO – Sydneycenter_img Japan National Tourism Organizationlast_img read more

Aeroflot Trumps Americas airline brands

first_imgAbout Brand FinanceBrand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy, with offices in over 15 countries. We provide clarity to marketers, brand owners and investors by quantifying the financial value of brands. Drawing on expertise in strategy, branding, market research, visual identity, finance, tax and intellectual property, Brand Finance helps clients make the right decisions to maximise brand and business value and bridges the gap between marketing and finance.MethodologyDefinition of BrandWhen looking at brands as business assets that can be bought, sold and licensed, a technical definition is required. Brand Finance helped to craft the internationally recognised standard on Brand Valuation, ISO 10668. That defines a brand as “a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos and designs, or a combination of these, intended to identify goods, services or entities, or a combination of these, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits/value.”However, a brand makes a contribution to a company beyond that which can be sold to a third party. ‘Brand Contribution’ refers to the total economic benefit that a business derives from its brand, from volume and price premiums over generic products to cost savings over less well-branded competitors.Brand StrengthBrand Strength is the part of our analysis most directly and easily influenced by those responsible for marketing and brand management. In order to determine the strength of a brand we have developed the Brand Strength Index (BSI). We analyse marketing investment, brand equity (the goodwill accumulated with customers, staff and other stakeholders) and finally the impact of those on business performance. Following this analysis, each brand is assigned a BSI score out of 100, which is fed into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand in the league table is assigned a rating between AAA+ and D in a format similar to a credit rating. AAA+ brands are exceptionally strong and well managed while a failing brand would be assigned a D grade.ApproachBrand Finance calculates the values of the brands in its league tables using the ‘Royalty Relief approach’. This approach involves estimating the likely future sales that are attributable to a brand and calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for the use of the brand, i.e. what the owner would have to pay for the use of the brand—assuming it were not already owned.The steps in this process are as follows:1 Calculate brand strength on a scale of 0 to 100 based on a number of attributes such as emotional connection, financial performance and sustainability, among others. This score is known as the Brand Strength Index, and is calculated using brand data from the BrandAsset® Valuator database, the world’s largest database of brands, which measures brand equity, consideration and emotional imagery attributes to assess brand personality in a category agnostic manner.2 Determine the royalty rate range for the respective brand sectors. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database of license agreements and other online databases.3 Calculate royalty rate. The brand strength score is applied to the royalty rate range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty rate range in a brand’s sector is 0-5% and a brand has a brand strength score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.4 Determine brand specific revenues estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a specific brand.5 Determine forecast brand specific revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts and economic growth rates.6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.7 Brand revenues are discounted post tax to a net present value which equals the brand value.Source = Brand Finance Aeroflot Trumps America’s airline brandsEvery year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the brands of thousands of the world’s biggest companies. Brands are first evaluated to determine their power / strength (based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation) and given a corresponding letter grade up to AAA+. Brand strength is used to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand, which is projected into perpetuity to determine the brand’s value. The world’s 50 most valuable airline brands are then ranked and included in the Brand Finance Airlines 50.Aeroflot is the world’s most powerful airline brand, with an AAA brand rating. The news may come as a surprise to those in Europe and North America more familiar with Western or Gulf flag carriers. Aeroflot’s brand strength stems in part from dominance of its domestic market. Its brand equity scores for metrics such as familiarity, consideration, preference and loyalty are formidable, both when compared against other Russian airlines and against foreign ones within their home markets. This is all the more impressive given that there are no air routes for which Aeroflot has exclusive access, demonstrating that its strength is underpinned by competitive advantage rather than monopoly.Vitaly Saveliev, CEO of Aeroflot, said: “Aeroflot is honoured to be named the world’s strongest airline brand. This recognition reflects not just our 93-year legacy as the No.1 air carrier in the world’s biggest country, but also our best-in-class service offering on domestic and international routes, the youngest fleet of any major carrier globally, and of course our marketing efforts. Our current focus is on digitising Aeroflot – whether the customer experience or the behind-the-scenes management of logistics. As we continue to deliver on these goals and others, we are confident that the Aeroflot brand will grow ever stronger and both passengers and the industry will continue to recognise it as synonymous with excellence.”Investment in the brand, which lays the foundations for future resilience and growth, is another key component of brand strength in which Aeroflot excels. It has the youngest fleet of any major airline and is investing heavily in marketing promotion, particularly in Asia. This is reinforced by its sponsorship of Manchester United (the world’s most valuable football brand), which helps Aeroflot reach a vast audience across East Asia in particular. The approach is clearly paying off.President Donald Trump may find it somewhat difficult to reconcile his desire to ‘Make America Great Again’ with Aeroflot’s success, however he will be consoled by the performance of America’s top airline brands based on brand value.The top three most valuable airline brands are now all American. For the last five years Emirates, had held the title of world’s most valuable airline brand, but 2017 sees a dramatic shift. Last year, Emirates’ half-year profits plunged 75%. The lower oil price might have been expected to help all airlines, however it has worked against the Gulf carriers, reducing demand from its home region. The lower oil price has also levelled the playing field for international rivals, leading to increased competition, driving down fares. The discount rate applied to all Gulf airlines has increased in tandem with this less favourable environment, reducing long term value. Finally, the strength of the dollar has increased operating costs and also had a negative FX impact on all non-US domiciled brands.As a consequence, Emirates’ brand value is down 21% to US$6.1 billion, Etihad’s value is flat (staying at US$1.56bn) while Qatar Airways has been most strongly affected, with brand value falling 38% from 2016 to US$2.16bn. Despite these brand value falls, brand strength has not been affected. Etihad and Qatar Airways retain their AA and AA+ brand ratings while Emirates continues to challenge for the title of world’s strongest airline brand, with an AAA rating.Meanwhile all US airlines have soared in value. The average year to year growth rate of the seven US brands in the table is 68%. The challenges that the Gulf carriers have faced have been to the advantage of America’s major airlines. The lower oil price and a rebounding US economy see United, Delta and American all overtake Emirates with 60%, 47% and 59% growth respectively. With a brand value of US$9.8 billion, American is now the world’s most valuable airline brand for the first time since 2007.last_img read more

Discover These Five Wintery Wonders With Collette

first_img5.    Antarctica featuring the Antarctic CircleFrom winter wonderland to the “White Continent”, travellers can explore Antarctica in all its vastness and splendour with Collette’s Antarctica featuring the Antarctic Circle tour. Visitors will embark their voyage in exotic Buenos Aires, where they can turn up the heat and tango through the cobblestoned streets of San Telmo, or take a more scenic route to Tigre y Delta. From flamenco to flippers, Collette’s guests will set off from Ushuaia, Argentina, and be in awe of the majestic whales, seals, penguins and albatross frolicking amongst the incredible glaciers. On board the PolarCirkel boats to secret locations, including Deception Island, featuring black volcanic sand and beach waters warmed by geothermal vents, to Petermann Island, with breathtaking views across the channel to the Antarctic Peninsula. Guests on this tour will discover the magic and wonder of winter in one of the most exotic and remote destinations in the world. 3.    Spotlight on New York City HolidayCollette’s Spotlight series offers guests an in-depth stay in some of the world’s most iconic destinations. For travellers who are short on time yet still want to see the very best of The Big Apple, Collette’s 5-day Spotlight on New York City Holiday tour is ideal.  From visiting the Rockefeller Centre to ice-skating in Central Park, to seeing an exciting live Broadway show in Times Square, guests on this tour will experience a true New York City white Christmas. Other highlights of this tour include the chance to explore the spectacularly decorated locations and landmarks, including the Wall Street district, the grand Empire State Building and Chinatown. Guided by one of Collette’s experienced tour guides, guests will also get to know the local haunts and hot spots of New York City like never before.For more information: http://www.gocollette.com/en-au/tours/north-america/usa/spotlight-on-new-york-holiday 4.    Canada’s Winter WonderlandFor nature lovers, Collette’s Canada’s Winter Wonderland tour allows visitors to immerse themselves into a scene clipped straight from a Christmas card in the splendid province of Alberta. Travellers will stay at two of its most spectacular, historic hotels – the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, a Victorian style lodge, and the Fairmont Banff Springs, otherwise known as the “Castle in the Mountains”. To revel in the powdery panorama of Maligne Canyon, guests can take a scenic ice walk or an exhilarating snow shoe walk. Collette offers visitors the chance to set off on a horse-drawn sleigh ride overlooking the mighty Canadian Rockies, and gondola rides to the summit of Banff’s Sulphur Mountain, where a picture-perfect view will be unveiled. Collette’s clients wanting to discover Canada’s snow-covered treasures can save $250 per person by booking before 31/7/2017.For more information: http://www.gocollette.com/en/tours/north-america/canada/canada-winter-wonderland Source = Collette 2.      Winter in YellowstoneFor adventurers wanting to take a walk on the wild side, Collette’s Winter in Yellowstone tour is ideal. This snow-covered wonderland transports travellers as if through the magical Narnian wardrobe to a place where native elk, badgers, wolves, foxes and bears roam free. Visitors will be met with exhilarating wildlife encounters including a sleigh ride through the wintery snow-scape and the chance to spot some of these magnificent beasts. More active travellers can hit the slopes for some cross-country skiing. Collette is currently offering guests the chance to experience the majesty of Yellowstone with discounts of $450 per person for all bookings made by 31/7/2017.For more information: http://www.gocollette.com/en-au/tours/north-america/usa/winter-in-yellowstone 1.    Northern Lights of Finland – new for 2018Travellers wanting to get in early should start planning for Collette’s brand new Northern Lights of Finland tour, with departure dates beginning from October 2018. This small group tour will offer the chance to catch a glimpse of the shimmering Aurora Borealis, one of nature’s most exquisite phenomena, or discover the rich Finnish culture and history on a tour of Helsinki with a local expert. Guests can lead their very own dog sled team, traversing forests and meadows at high-speed in the company of adorable speedy Huskies.  An overnight stay in a glass igloo amid the Lappish wilderness will be one of the many highlights of the tour, allowing travellers to be amazed by the dancing colours in the sky above. Collette’s clients can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime adventure featuring northern lights, reindeer encounters, and Arctic treasures.For more information: http://www.gocollette.com/en/tours/europe/finland/the-northern-lights-of-finland For more information: http://www.gocollette.com/en-au/tours/south-america/argentina/antarcticalast_img read more

Etihad Airways launches New Economy Space

first_imgEtihad Airways launches New Economy SpaceEtihad Airways launches New Economy SpaceEtihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, is introducing Economy Space, a new seating option across its wide-body fleet, to enhance its product offering and to provide more choice to its customers on longer flights.By December 2018, Etihad Airways will have retrofitted its 10 Airbus A380s with Economy Space seats, which feature an increased seat pitch of up to 36 inches. The redesign increases the number of extra legroom seats in Economy from 20 to 80 on this aircraft type.Jamal Ahmed Al Awadhi, Etihad Airways Head of Guest Experience, said: “We recognise that no two travellers are alike, and today’s customers demand more choice and personalisation during their travels.In response to the popularity and demand for extra legroom seats, we have reconfigured our Economy cabin to allow travellers to enhance their overall travel experience.”In addition to modifying its A380s, Etihad Airways will have also added additional Economy Space seats to 12 Boeing 777s and 21 Boeing 787 Dreamliners by the end of 2019, increasing the total number of extra legroom seats by 560 per cent.“While many airlines have been squeezing more seats into economy class, we continue to focus on providing our guests with exceptional products and services that meet and exceed the demands and budgets of different types of travellers,” adds Mr. Al Awadhi.Families with small children, elderly travellers and those requiring wheelchair assistance can now purchase and benefit from the extra available room available in Economy Space.Economy Space complements Etihad Airways’ existing ancillary products to provide customers with greater opportunities to personalise their journey, including the Neighbour-free seating option in Economy and a range of ‘buy-on-board’ products.Irrespective of which seating option is selected, customers will continue to receive the Etihad’s complimentary core dining service and inflight entertainment. Source = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more

Monaco provides nofee production for filmmakers

first_imgMonaco has been ranked as a desirable shooting location for international and despite lacking a tax shelter, in the past two decades Monaco has hosted films such as Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Ocean’s Twelve’, Robert Downey Jr starrer ‘Iron Man 2’, Pascal Chaumeil’s ‘Heartbreaker’ and Pierre Salvadori’s ‘Priceless’.Charles III, the Prince of Monaco and a film lover, understands public image awareness and the power of media. As a result, films and TV shows are reviewed by a committee and if they are judged beneficial to the state they can shoot for free in Monaco.Since Monaco isn’t part of France, it does not offer the same attractive tax incentives — a 20% tax rebate capped for foreign productions — but it boasts low business taxes (and no income taxes for individuals).Responsibility for attracting foreign films and TV rests with the Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority’s topper Guillaume Rose, its Head of Marketing and Sales Christophe Brico, as well as Laurent Puons, the CEO of Monte Carlo TV Festival.Overseas producers who wish to shoot both in France and Monaco can deduct some spending (such as equipment rental) made in Monaco so it is taken into account under France’s tax rebate, which will rise to 30% and be capped at Euro 30 million in 2016.last_img read more

Singapore Tourism Board appoints TRAC Representations as marketing representative

first_imgThe Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has appointed TRAC Representations as their marketing representative for the South India market to strengthen trade relations and execute marketing initiatives in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, and Kerala.  Apart from the two existing offices operating out of Delhi and Mumbai, TRAC will be operating offices in Bengaluru and Chennai.The marketing representatives will focus on enhancing the positioning of Singapore as a favoured travel destination for leisure and business among the travellers in the South Indian market.Chang Chee Pey, Executive Director for South Asia, Middle East and Africa, STB, said, “We are pleased to have appointed TRAC as STB marketing representative for the South India market and confident that they can support our quality tourism strategies. We look forward to working with TRAC to further strengthen our presence in South India and seek out new growth opportunities in the metro cities as well as Tier-II markets”.Meenakshi Gupta and Shreekala Sukumaran have been appointed as the respective marketing representatives for the Bengaluru and Chennai offices. Sukumaran is a customer service consultant in the Tamil Nadu travel industry while Gupta has been working closely with the South Indian travel trade.Visitor arrivals from India to Singapore reached more than 520,000 in the first half of 2015 with a six percent year-on-year growth. South India contributed nearly 30% of Indian visitor arrivals to the country in 2014.last_img read more

Shoumo Mukherjee

first_imgI have been attending OTM for quite a few years and I think it’s a very productive show where the right people attend. It is the perfect platform to meet a large number of decision makers at one go without needing to travel all over the country. OTM 2016 has been extremely productive for us as we got to do some serious business in these three days.last_img