TICO Board approves compensation to assist consumers

first_imgTags: TICO Thursday, March 30, 2017 TORONTO — A group of consumers who did not receive travel services for which they had paid will receive compensation courtesy of TICO.On March 28, the organization’s Board of Directors approved payment of $6,848 to assist the eight consumers. Payment was due to the closure of Akkiratourz Ltd. In Toronto ($5,950) and SkyGreece Airlines S.A. ($898).The Board denied one claim as the travel services being claimed were available, but were not received due to an act or a failure to act on the part of the customer or of another person for whom the travel services were purchased. Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img TICO Board approves compensation to assist consumers << Previous PostNext Post >> Sharelast_img read more

French trains widely disrupted as rolling strikes resume

first_imgFrench trains widely disrupted as rolling strikes resume PARIS – French train traffic is widely disrupted as rail workers prepare to hold a union vote on the government’s plan to revamp the national railway company SNCF.Rail workers resumed Monday rolling strikes that are planned through June to protest against proposed changes at SNCF.The company’s four main unions called on a “zero train” day Monday and organized an internal discussion and vote among workers on the government plan this week.The SNCF management said two out of three high-speed and regional trains were cancelled Monday. Paris’ suburban trains were also disrupted.The government’s plan, aimed at preparing the company to open up to competition, would revoke rail drivers’ special right to retain jobs and other benefits for life. The changes would apply to newly-hired employees from 2020. Share Monday, May 14, 2018 center_img By: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Sunwing inaugurates SudburyMoBay and Thunder BayPunta Cana

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Share Sunwing inaugurates Sudbury-MoBay and Thunder Bay-Punta Cana Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img TORONTO — Sunwing’s flight inaugurations roll on, with Sudbury-Montego Bay and Thunder Bay-Punta Cana launching yesterday.The company’s first-ever Sunwing flight from Sudbury, Ontario to MoBay marks the first of this season’s new weekly direct flight service between the two cities, which departs every Thursday until April 11, 2019, inclusive.Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing, said: “Our seasonal flight service from Sudbury has been well-received in past seasons and we are excited to be offering travellers in the Greater Sudbury region with even more ways to Vacation Better this winter by offering two popular vacation destinations for the first time. Sudbury residents can now easily explore all that Montego Bay has to offer with this convenient direct flight service, including its pristine beaches, world-famous tours and excursions and warm Caribbean hospitality.”In Montego Bay, Sunwing offers a range of resorts for all ages, including the recently-renovated Riu Palace Tropical Bay and the popular, family-friendly Royalton Blue Waters.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesMeanwhile, Sunwing’s new weekly direct flight service from Thunder Bay International Airport to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic also kicked off yesterday. Flights depart from Thunder Bay every Wednesday until March 27, 2019, inclusive.“We are very excited about the additional route this season,” said Ed Schmidtke, President & CEO of Thunder Bay International Airports Authority. “We are delighted by Sunwing’s confidence in our market and we look forward to another successful winter charter season.Punta CanaIn Punta Cana, Sunwing offers the newly opened Grand Memories Splash, a modern resort that offers a water park and stylish rooms, as well as the beachfront Riu Republica, home to the only adults-only water park in the Caribbean and eight swimming pools.All Sunwing packages include return flights on Sunwing Airlines. Thursday, December 20, 2018 Tags: Montego Bay, Punta Cana, Sunwinglast_img read more

Costa Rica and Colombia sign free trade deal

first_imgCALI, Colombia – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla on Wednesday evening penned a bilateral free trade agreement that will help pave the way for Costa Rica to become a full member of the Pacific Alliance, a Latin American trade bloc launched in 2012. The signing of the trade deal took place on the eve of seventh Pacific Alliance Summit, set to take place on Thursday in Cali.Current members of the alliance include Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Peru. Membership requires Costa Rica to have bilateral free trade agreements with each alliance member country. With Wednesday’s signing, Costa Rica – currently an observing member – is in compliance with that requirement.Santos called the Pacific Alliance “the most important integration process that Latin America has undertaken in history.” “These are four economies that are growing at higher rates than the rest of Latin America, and these economies bring the most investment and are creating the most jobs. Our aim is to maintain that growth,” Santos added.“We’re laying the foundation for an even better relationship [between Costa Rica and Colombia], Chinchilla said in a brief speech at the signing ceremony. “We share a vision that is increasingly solidifying in the region, which is the understanding that free trade is the motor of growth.” Seventy percent of the negotiated tariff items in the trade agreement will be eliminated immediately, while 26 percent of tariffs will be phased in over of a period of three to 15 years. Trade between Costa Rica and Colombia reached $500 million in 2011. For Santos, the agreement “will help generate more confidence among Colombian investors” looking to do business in the Central American neighbor to the northwest.“What’s ahead are more trade, more investment, more prosperity for Costa Rica and more prosperity for Costa Rica,” the Colombian president said. “If we don’t grow, if we don’t open markets, we’ll become stagnant as has happened to practically every country that does not believe in free trade.”  Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Central America Snapshot For Guatemalas Rigoberta Menchú votes arent everything

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY – The Nobel Peace Prize is no stranger to controversy. Since its inception more than 100 years ago, the $1.2 million accolade has sparked debate throughout the world.In 1973, Henry Kissinger was awarded the prize for his work to end the Vietnam War, but was later accused of war crimes and conducting a secret war in Cambodia. When Yasser Arafat stepped forward to receive the award in 1994, his opponents called him an “unrepentant terrorist with a long legacy of promoting violence,” and the day before Wangari Maathai was due to collect the Nobel, a Kenyan newspaper claimed she said HIV/Aids was originally developed by the West to depopulate Africa.When a former coffee-picking Mayan woman became the first Guatemalan to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, a light was momentarily cast upon indigenous people throughout the world. However, shortly after, the decision once again became clouded in controversy.Rigoberta Menchú Tum, 54, who was living in self-imposed exile at the time, was awarded the prize in recognition of her work to highlight the exploitation and persecution of her country’s indigenous Mayan people during Guatemala’s brutal 36-year civil war, in which more than 200,000 people lost their lives.She had risen to fame a decade earlier for her ghostwritten autobiography, “I, Rigoberta Menchú,” but was criticized in 1999 when she was accused of fabricating and exaggerating parts of it. Ever a controversial figure, Menchú has remained in the limelight for the past 20 years. But, despite what Guatemala’s non-indigenous population think of her, has she managed to improve the rights of the people she was fighting for?With two unsuccessful presidential campaigns under her belt, where she failed on both occasions to garner more than 3 percent of the national vote, it may seem like her work has fallen short of bettering the lives of Guatemala’s indigenous people. But her success may be larger than the polls suggest.“I’ve really enjoyed the last two elections,” Menchú told The Tico Times in a recent conversation. “I haven’t reached 30 percent of the vote, but I’ve reached 95 percent of the country.”In 2007, the Mayan activist became the first indigenous person to run for Guatemala’s top political post, and four years later she founded the country’s first Mayan political party, WINAQ.“We were never interested in winning the elections. You can’t win without money, and no multimillionaire would support us,” she said.Recounting an anecdote from her last campaign, she described addressing a rural town when an opposition party’s bus drove by announcing it was handing out packets of rice. Her audience disappeared.“Elections here are a carnival, they’re not democratic. Parties use poverty, giving the poor hope by handing them food.”Despite the irony that the majority of the people she campaigns for do not vote for her, Menchú said her political career has been a success.“I’ve opened a door to Mayans and to women. Not only do we now have a party, but we also have one person in Congress,” she said, referring to Mayan lawyer Amílcar Pop.But it’s not all politics.In the same year she won the Nobel Peace Prize, the indigenous activist founded the Rigoberta Menchú Tum Foundation, dedicated to the pursuit of peace and the promotion of indigenous people’s rights.In the past two decades the organization has campaigned for justice for the victims of the war: exhuming mass graves, legislating new crimes, fighting for usurped ancestral lands to be returned to Mayan communities and legally documenting some 36,000 women. Menchú even travelled to Spain to bring genocide cases against Guatemala’s war criminals.The foundation recently implemented a multicultural education program at one of the country’s universities aimed at training students from rural communities to become teachers.While she continues with her original cause, the plight of the people she represented in Oslo 20 years ago – indigenous people – remain on the bottom rung of Guatemala’s socioeconomic ladder. They account for the majority of the country’s population, but are poorly educated and poorly provided for, and their plight is unlikely to change through Menchú’s work alone. Facebook Comments Related posts:Atelier de Arte: Spreading artistic realism in Guatemala A city girl from the Netherlands packs up and moves to the Guatemalan jungle Guatemala high court orders arrest warrant for former leader Serrano reinstated Guatemalan ex-dictator Ríos Montt denies being ‘genocidal’ as historic trial wraps uplast_img read more

Siemens Q3 profit disappoints caution on outlook

first_img Top Stories Munich-based Siemens reported net earnings of (EURO)823 million ($996 million) for its fiscal third quarter _ up from (EURO)462 million a year earlier.Analysts surveyed by FactSet, however, had expected a much more robust increase to (EURO)1.29 billion; in the equivalent quarter last year, earnings were hit by a charge related to its withdrawal from pulling out of a nuclear joint venture with Areva and a writedown on new cancer treatment technology.Siemens, whose wide range of products includes everything from trams to power-station turbines, said revenues rose to (EURO)19.54 billion from (EURO)17.84 billion, a 10 percent increase, helped by a solid order backlog and by positive currency-translation effects. The euro has declined lately amid worries about the eurozone debt crisis, even as growth in the wider global economy cools.New orders fell off 23 percent to (EURO)17.77 billion from (EURO)22.94 billion _ depressed by a lower number of large-scale orders like one from Germany’s national railway last year for a new fleet of long-distance trains. The company said it had an order backlog totaling (EURO)100 billion in the quarter.“The deceleration of the world economy has increased in the past few months,” CEO Peter Loescher said. “We see growing reluctance among our customers regarding capital expenditures and stronger economic headwinds, especially in our industrial short-cycle businesses.” “Given the deteriorating environment, it is becoming more difficult to achieve our guidance for the fiscal year,” he added.Loescher said that the company’s main focus is currently on increasing its productivity and efficiency, and it would draw up a new program to address that in the coming months.Siemens said it still expects “moderate organic revenue growth” for the full fiscal year but cautioned that reaching its target of (EURO)5.2 billion to (EURO)5.4 billion in income from continuing operations “has become clearly more ambitious” in view of results in the first nine months.Siemens lowered that target in April from the previous (EURO)6 billion because of expected charges at its energy transmission business.The company said that, “given the difficult capital market environment,” it now plans to publicly list light bulb maker Osram via a spinoff to Siemens shareholders. Under accounting rules, the change meant that Osram could no longer be listed as a discontinued operation, putting (EURO)443 million in writedowns on Siemens’ books.The chief financial officer, Joe Kaeser, said that the company aims to seek shareholders’ approval for the spinoff plan to Siemens’ annual general meeting early next year. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Siemens was one of the worst performers on Frankfurt’s DAX index of blue chip stocks on Thursday morning. Its shares dropped 3.5 percent to (EURO)64.96.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Associated PressBERLIN (AP) – Industrial conglomerate Siemens AG cautioned Thursday that the global economic slowdown will make it harder to reach its full-year targets as it reported worse-than-expected second-quarter earnings and a fall in new orders.The company also said that it has scrapped plans to list its Osram light bulb division on the stock market and will instead spin the division off to its existing shareholders _ a move that impacted its earnings figures. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Patients with chronic pain give advice Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Zimbabwe appeal on property seizure dismissed

first_imgSpies, attorney for South African rights group AfriForum and for many Zimbabwean farmers, said the dismissal will bring solace “to the many Zimbabweans who affected by the atrocities.”He added: “I think it’s probably the first time in legal history internationally that a judicial failure in execution of property will go on after a country is found to be in contravention of certain human rights laws. We’re making legal history.”He said human rights lawyers the world over often succeed before human rights courts and tribunals but that those rulings do not normally have any teeth if a country chooses to ignore them.He is proud to have developed a legal mechanism to punish the government of Zimbabwe, he said.Farms seized in Zimbabwe often have landed up in the hands of Mugabe’s cronies and inner circle and have been left to lie fallow, turning the country that once was the breadbasket of the region into a net food-importer where the poor often go hungry.___Associated Press writer Gillian Gotora contributed from Harare, Zimbabwe(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) The Zimbabwe government dismissed the ruling.“That’s wrong. That property belongs to the government of Zimbabwe and that farmer has no right to sell it,” said Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Didymus Mutasa in Harare.A tribunal of the Southern African Development Community in 2008 ruled that the takeovers of white-owned farmland in Zimbabwe were illegal and racist. President Robert Mugabe’s government argued it was part of a land reform process to redress colonial wrongs. Hundreds of farmers were forced off their property in often violent government-sponsored seizures.Zimbabwe refused to act on the tribunal’s order to restore the farms to their owners, and the Southern African community dissolved the tribunal earlier this year.In 2010, a South African High Court attached a Zimbabwe government property in Cape Town to satisfy the tribunal’s order for punitive costs to pay for farmer Mike Campbell’s legal expenses.Thursday’s dismissal upholds that ruling.Campbell, who was brutally beaten on his farm by activists trying to force him to drop the case at the tribunal, suffered a rapid deterioration of his health and died last year, aged 78. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Asssociated PressJOHANNESBURG (AP) – South Africa’s Supreme Court on Thursday said that a white Zimbabwean farmer can take possession of a Zimbabwe government property to compensate for the seizure of his farm.The South African court dismissed a Zimbabwe government appeal against seizure of its property in Cape Town by the farmer, in a ruling that a lawyer said makes legal history.Attorney Willie Spies called it “a great success … a symbolic victory that makes it possible for the government of Zimbabwe to be effectively punished.” Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milklast_img read more

Alleged member of Nigeria sect offers peace talks

first_img 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The violence caused by Boko Haram, and the heavy handed response by Nigerian security forces, has drawn increasing international scrutiny. A Human Rights Watch report in October accused Nigerian security forces and Boko Haram of likely committing crimes against humanity in their fighting. An Amnesty International report released Thursday made a similar claim and alleged that the Nigerian government is illegally holding hundreds of people suspected of participation in Boko Haram violence in inhumane conditions and without access to lawyers.___Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Lagos, Nigeria, contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories It is also unexpected for the sect to ask specifically for Buhari as a negotiator. Buhari, who came to power in January 1984 and was deposed in August 1985, ruled Nigeria country with an iron fist. However, he is popularly viewed across Nigeria’s north as an honest man and has been a perennial presidential candidate since the country became a democracy. Yinka Odumakin, a spokesman for Buhari, could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday.Rumors about indirect peace talks between Nigeria’s government and the sect have floated around for some time. In March, the government thought a possible mediator could be Datti Ahmed, a Kano physician who heads a prominent Muslim group, the Supreme Council for Shariah in Nigeria. However, Ahmed publicly backed away from the suggestion that he be a mediator out of security concerns.Officials representing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan have claimed several times in recent weeks that the government is in indirect talks with Boko Haram. However, a Sept. 30 Internet video featuring Shekau shows him repeatedly denying that the group is in peace talks with Nigeria’s weak central government and promising more attacks.Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s Muslim north, has been attacking government buildings and security forces heavily over the last year and a half. This year alone, the sect is blamed for killing more than 720 people, according to an Associated Press count. The man, who identified himself as Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulaziz, said the peace talks must be held in Saudi Arabia and involve former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The man said those were conditions set by Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader.“We are not actually challenging the state, as people are saying, but the security (forces) who are killing our members, children and wives,” the man said in the call. “We are highly offended but if this government is sincere, everything (the attacks) will come to an end. We want to dialogue but government must show sincerity in its handling of the situation.”The man also said that authorities also must arrest former Borno state Gov. Ali Modu Sheriff as a precondition for talks, as well as compensate sect members whose family members have been killed. Imprisoned sect members also must be immediately released, the man said.The call came through the channels that Boko Haram usually communicates with journalists, who gathered at the local office of the Nigeria Union of Journalists to listen. However, Abdulaziz spoke entirely in English, which is unusual for the sect. Also, journalists ordinarily hear from a spokesman who uses the nom de guerre Abul Qaqa in such calls. The man also did not call for the implementation of Shariah law across Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people. That long has been a demand of the sect.center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Comments   Share   Associated PressMAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) – An alleged member of the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram set conditions Thursday for peace talks with Nigeria’s government, asking that negotiations to end its bloody guerrilla fight be held outside of the nation and that a former military ruler be involved.The demands came during a telephone conference call with local journalists in Maiduguri, the city in northeast Nigeria that once held the sect’s main mosque and has suffered the brunt of its violence over several years of shootings and bombings. However, whether the offer represents a clear call for peace from the group remains unclear, as its command and control structure remains a mystery and the call for talks came from a member unknown by the media until Thursday. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img read more

Kenya grenade attack wounds 10 near Mombasa

first_imgAchoki said it was not clear who was responsible.Police were investigating and that no details had been given about the type of grenade used in the attack, he said.At least one of the victims was seriously wounded and had undergone surgery at a nearby hospital, Achoki said.Kenya has been the scene of multiple terrorist attacks since the country sent its military to Somalia in 2011 to fight the al-Qaida-allied Islamic rebels of al-Shabab. In September, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on the Westgate Mall in the capital, Nairobi. At least 67 people were killed in that attack.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Men’s health affects baby’s health too Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories center_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) – At least 10 people were wounded Thursday in a grenade attack at a restaurant south of Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa, the latest attack in the East African nation that is frequently targeted by militants in neighboring Somalia.Kwale County Commissioner Evans Achoki said two men riding on a motorcycle approached a crowded eatery called Tandoori in the Diani area. One of them hurled a grenade toward customers before the motorcycle sped away. Parents, stop beating yourself up New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   last_img read more

StellaJetset Travelworld merger seen as a positive step

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Current Stella CEO Peter Lacaze told e-Travel Blackboard that the proposed merger between Jetset Travelworld Group (JTG) and the Stella Travel Group is a “positive step for both companies.”Mr Lacaze said that JTG and Stella Travel were “highly complementary businesses” and he believed the merger would be “in the best interests of all franchisees and members, staff, key suppliers, business partners and shareholders.”Mr Lacaze said the merger was subject to approval by regulatory bodies including the ASX, ACCC, ASIC and FIRB as well as an Extraordinary General Meeting with JTG shareholders.Mr Lacaze will be CEO of the merged entity and current Stella Group CFO, Elizabeth Gaines will stay on as CFO. Peter Collins, who has been CEO of JTG since the merger with Qantas Holidays and Qantas Business Travel will return to the Qantas Group. Mr Lacaze recognised the achievements of Collins and his senior management team, “They have done a good job during their stewardship of Jetset and I am confident of a smooth and successful transition.”Mr Lacaze said once the various approvals have been given the merger will be finalised at the end of August. Post-merger, the company will have nine directors on its new board, with current JTG chairman Tom Dery continuing on as chairman of the merged entity and current Stella owners nominating three of the directors. According to Mr Dery the proposed merger presents a number of unique opportunities and it will “generate efficiency benefits for the combines group”.“The merged entity will be well positioned to explore further growth opportunities in Australia, New Zealand and the international travel market.”Andrew Cummins, Chairman of Stella said, “Both Jetset and Stella have emerged strongly through recent years and this transaction creates an opportunity to build a business of genuine scale, providing long-term benefits and stability for the merged entity’s franchisees and members, staff, suppliers and other trading partners.“Consumers will enjoy enhanced innovative and competitive products and services currently offered by both companies.” The proposed industry consolidation will see CVC, UBS and Stella staff issued with 219.6 million Jetset shares, which will represent 50 per cent of the combined group.At Jetset’s last trading price of $1 on Monday, before it reported a trading halt on the ASX pending the announcement, the merged company will have a market capitalisation of $439.2m. CVC, which also controls Nine Network owner PBL Media, would have 27 per cent of the new company and UBS would have 18 per cent, while JTG’s current largest shareholder Qantas (58 percent) will have its stake diluted to 29 percent.  Spiros Alysandratos, the CEO of airline ticket distributor Consolidated Travel Group, will hold 12.6 percent of the company (diluted from 24.7 percent), which will continue to be listed on the ASX. A Qantas spokesperson told e-Travel Blackboard that the airline will support the merger: “ [Qantas] believe it will create a business that will be able to successfully compete in an increasingly robust market, with a greater ability to protect and grow market share.   The spokesperson added, “As far as the impact on Qantas goes, we will remain a major shareholder in the merged company and take a close interest in its strategic direction.  “Operationally, there will be little change in the short to medium term for Qantas Business Travel and Qantas Holidays – both will continue to operate under their current branding.  “We are working to ensure that appropriate commercial, shared services and human resources agreements are put in place with all parties associated with the new entity.” last_img read more

Boeing still cautious despite IATA forecast

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2a127/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Boeing Co. has not shown the same optimism as IATA, with the aircraft manufacturer saying that it can’t see a rebound in wide-body aircraft demand until 2012.”I hope IATA is right but I am not quite as optimistic,” Boeing’s chief executive Jim Albaugh told Reuters on the sidelines of IATA’s annual meeting in Berlin.”I continue to see airlines returning to profitability in 2011, and 2012 will be the year we see them really stepping up to wide-body orders”Albaugh said the aircraft manufacturer was now working on deals to sell 777 and 787 long-haul aircraft to a number of airlines.It is also considering whether to further boost production of its 737 narrow-body aircraft, which Boeing is currently making 34 a month.Albaugh added that testing on the 787 Dreamliner, which has been delayed for more than two years, is going well.Airlines are expected to return to the black this year, with IATA upgrading its global industry forecast on Tuesday to a full year profit of 2.5 billion dollars, the first profit for airlines since 2007.last_img read more

Four Valencia Group Hotels named Best in the Country by US News

first_imgHotel Valencia Santana RowFour Valencia Group Hotels named Best in the Country by U.S. News and World ReportValencia Group is proud to announce that all of their urban properties, including Hotel Valencia Santana Row, Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE and Hotel Sorella Country Club Plaza, were recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hotels in the USA 2017 lists as top luxury hotel offerings in their respective cities. The annual U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on an analysis of expert and user opinions.Hotel Valencia Santana Row was named the #1 hotel in San Jose, CA for the second year in a row. While acclaimed for its chic, trendy accommodations, travelers also describe this boutique hotel as cozy and romantic. Visitors enjoy the pedestrian-oriented location in close proximity to restaurants, drinks at the “swanky” Vbar and spending the day lounging by the outdoor pool.Hotel Valencia Riverwalk was rated #5 in San Antonio and among the top 25 hotels in Texas. U.S. News & World Report noted that Hotel Valencia Riverwalk is the “see-and-be-seen enclave on the River Walk” with Vbar and Citrus attracting “beautiful people in beautiful clothes sipping beautiful cocktails”.  The hotel’s elegant guestrooms are also a major draw.Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE landed at #10 on the list for Houston. “It’s easy to see why this West Houston hotel is so popular” Property standouts included its well-equipped rooms, rooftop infinity pool, sleek and modern design, as well as striking Monnalisa bar with its starlit ceiling and central fire pit.Hotel Sorella Country Club Plaza took the #3 spot in Kansas City and earned the #8 ranking of best hotels in Missouri. The property’s location amidst premium retail and dining, rooftop pool, Rosso restaurant, complimentary European breakfast, modern and stylish design and friendly customer service were among the elements that earned it merit.Roy Kretschmer, VP of Operations for Valencia Group said, “Valencia Group hotels are specifically designed to create natural social gathering spaces with great food and beverage programming central to that goal. We also strive for exceptional locations with a lifestyle living component, putting travelers steps from an array of complementary restaurant, retail and entertainment offerings.”About Valencia GroupHouston-based Valencia Group is a fully integrated hospitality company that provides management, development, branding and repositioning services for independent, full-service hotels owned by the company, in addition to third parties. Exceptional service, style and location have become brand trademarks.  Earning both national and international recognition for their distinctive designs, amenities and settings, Valencia Group properties are destinations and gathering places within their respective communities, some further benefitting from and enriching their space within the cultural heart of a city.  The company continues to forge a niche with hotels that anchor and add value to urban, mixed-use environments, which further support or enhance the guest experience with superior residential, restaurant, retail and office components.  The Valencia Group portfolio currently includes Hotel Valencia Santana Row in San Jose, CA; Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX; Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE in Houston, TX; and Hotel Sorella Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO.  Its newest concept, Lone Star Court, is a reinterpretation of the nostalgic motor court.  The recently opened flagship is located at The Domain in Austin, TX, and a second, Cavalry Court, is underway in College Station, TX.  Also in the development and construction phase are The George™, which will debut in tandem with Calvary Court in fall 2016, plus Valencia Group’s first five-star property, Hotel Alessandra Houston – anticipated to become a downtown landmark in winter 2016.Source = Valencia Grouplast_img read more

SALA Hospitality celebrates Thailand Boutique Awards Hattrick

first_imgSALA Hospitality celebrates Thailand Boutique Awards Hat-trickIn celebration of SALA Hospitality Group’s triple win at the Thailand Boutique Awards Season 4 (2016-2017), the group is celebrating in style with “Best of Boutique” promotions at its three winning properties – sala rattanakosin Bangkok, sala ayutthaya, and SALA Phuket Resort and Spa.The Best of Boutique offers are valid for bookings made directly with the hotels from 1 – 31 May 2017 for stays between 1 May – 31 July 2017.sala rattanakosin BangkokReceive a third complimentary night for every two-night booking. Located on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River across from the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), sala rattanakosin Bangkok – comprising 15 stylish guest rooms – is surrounded by numerous sites of historical significance, including the Grand Palace and Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Po).sala ayutthayaReceive a third complimentary night for every two-night booking. Upriver from sala rattanakosin and located in the heart of Ayutthaya, sala ayutthaya sits on the banks of the river across from Wat Phuttaisawan, surrounded by archaeological sites dating back to the historical Ayutthaya kingdom, now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.SALA Phuket Resort and SpaReceive a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine for every three-night booking. Situated on the northwestern shores of Phuket, SALA Phuket Resort and Spa pays homage to the island’s historical Sino-Portuguese heritage through architecture and design. Of the property’s 79 guest rooms, villas, and suites, 63 feature private swimming pools.This latest Thailand Boutique Awards Season 4 (2016-2017) event was organized by Krungthai Card PCL, Bangkok Airways, and MasterCard to help shine a spotlight on the kingdom’s standout small- and medium-sized boutique properties. The theme this year was “Colours of Thai”, highlighting hotels of distinction across the Kingdom and their links to local culture.At the awards ceremony in Bangkok, the three H.E. Prayuth Chan-ocha Prime Minister Design Awards were presented to sala ayutthaya for M Collection – River Hotel; sala rattanakosin Bangkok for S Collection – River Hotel; and SALA Phuket Resort and Spa for L Collection – Sea.“We are extremely proud to be recognized for another year as one of Thailand’s best boutique hospitality brands. The ‘Colours of Thai’ concept is particularly fitting as our SALA Resorts and Spas, and even more so our sala boutique properties, offer culturally inspired windows into some of Thailand’s most fascinating destinations,” said SALA Hospitality Group Chief Operating Officer, Brian Moodie. SALA Hospitality Source = SALA Hospitalitylast_img read more

Increasing security concerns present challenges and opportunities for

first_imgIncreasing security concerns present challenges and opportunities for industryWith global travel facing an ever-growing number of security threats, corporate travel buyers are dealing with a growing number of traveller concerns, and struggling to adopt the tools necessary to address them. But according to new research from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), underwritten by American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), travel managers increasingly recognise they have a central role to play in fulfilling their company’s duty of care obligations to travelling employees. ACTE and American Express GBT collaborated to identify research questions and key themes, seeking to take a comprehensive look at the most pressing issues facing the corporate travel industry.The study, Take the Lead on Duty of Care for the Modern Business Traveller, conducted as the third instalment of ACTE and American Express GBT’s Meet the Modern Business Traveller research series, showed more than a third (37 per cent) of travel managers saw a rise in enquiries relating to traveller safety. Another 35 per cent said enquiries have remained stable—after a majority had already reported increased concern in April 2017.But it appears that a significant number of organisations do not have the systems required to quickly address these concerns. More than a quarter (27 per cent) of travel managers claim not to have had a detailed emergency plan in place in the six months up to June 2017. The absence of these plans may be connected to the fact that planning meetings are uncommon in many organisations. Some 39 per cent of travel managers report that meetings do not take place, have happened just once or occur only irregularly. Only 14 per cent of organisations convene key stakeholders for planning meetings once or more per month.“Travel managers cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to worst-case scenario planning,” said Greeley Koch, executive director of ACTE. “The status quo for many organisations is to react to a crisis—but this leaves travellers in danger and ultimately does not lead to replicable procedures for the future. Proactive planning is an absolute necessity in an evolving global threat environment.”Moreover, the changing security environment has yet to lead to widespread changes in corporate travel policies. The September 2016 Modern Business Traveller survey revealed that more than half (54 per cent) of travel managers had tightened policy in response to traveller safety concerns.  The most recent data, however, tells a different story: Today, 58 per cent of travel managers have not made any changes to policy in the last six months as a direct response to safety concerns.“Travel is changing at an accelerated rate, but corporate policymaking moves much slower,” said Evan Konwiser, vice president, Digital Traveller with American Express GBT. “Organisations of all sizes must identify ways that travel policies can be nimbler and adapt to new challenges. Having the right partners and tools in place can be a huge advantage when new disruptions emerge.”Travel Managers Seek to Right the ShipDespite the slow pace of corporate policy change, many travel managers have already started to act, introducing or enhancing several measures intended to alleviate traveller anxieties. The vast majority (83 per cent)  leverage traveller locating technology, and 79 per cent  provide proactive safety communication to travellers. Additional tools used by most travel managers include safety training, emergency check-in technology, safety and security services from their travel management company (TMC) and detailed emergency action plans.Cost and Awareness of Offerings Pose Significant ChallengesThree areas emerged where a significant proportion of travel managers would like to do more: Almost half (45 per cent) want more support from their TMC, 40 per cent would like to provide more safety training, and 38 per cent want to implement emergency check-in technology. However, respondents said the cost of increased support from TMCs and implementing emergency check-in systems was holding them back, as was their own lack of knowledge about available products and services.  Travel managers should remain in close dialogue with TMCs to mitigate these challenges.One area where travel managers encounter fewer barriers is proactive safety communication. Here, 60 per cent believe they deliver adequate communication to travellers today; a further 27 per cent are working to improve in this area.Source = American Express Global Business Travellast_img read more

Create your own masterpiece

first_imgCreate your own masterpiece with Collette’s new Painted Canyons of the West TourAmerica’s stunning scenery is on show with Collette’s new nine-day ‘Painted Canyons of the West’ tour across Colorado, Utah and Nevada, visiting five national parks and exploring some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the country.The tour starts in Denver, Colorado – known as the ‘mile high city’ because its official elevation is exactly one mile above sea level – and journeys through the Rocky Mountains and along the Colorado River into Utah.  Travellers will then experience the arid beauty of Utah’s five national parks including: Arches, Canyonlands (Utah’s largest national park), Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.Highlights include a wine tasting in Colorado wine country, the majestic sandstone cliffs of the aptly named Dead Horse Point, once used by cowboys to corral wild mustangs that roamed the mesa; the amazing spires (also known as fairy chimneys and earth pyramids) of Bryce Canyon National Park, and hiking through Zion National Park’s half-mile wide canyon.In complete contrast to the natural vistas explored, the tour finishes amongst the bright lights and neon culture of ‘sin city’ Las Vegas, Nevada“The Painted Canyons of the West tour allows travellers to access some of the most remote and untouched landscapes across North America. We are proud to offer our customers the opportunity to experience this unique region with this exciting new tour,” said James Hewlett, Head of Marketing, Collette Australia.The ‘Painted Canyons of the West’ tour starts from $3,999* per person for nine days and includes 11 meals and accommodation in 4 and 5 star hotels. For bookings or further information visit www.gocollette.com.auThe ‘Painted Canyons of the West’ tour is the latest addition to Collette’s choice of over 50 itineraries across the USA and Canada.*Rate is per person, land only, double occupancy, tour inclusions and available options may vary based on departure date. Source = Collettelast_img read more

TravelManagers Achieves 550 PTM Milestone

first_imgNSW-based Caroline Rutherford is one of three new personal travel managers to have joined TravelManagers recentlyTravelManagers Achieves 550 PTM MilestoneA new milestone has been achieved for TravelManagers with the arrival of three new personal travel managers (PTMs), boosting the company’s total number past 550 for the first time in its twelve-year history.Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says it’s taken just eighteen months to grow from 500 to 550 PTMs: an achievement which he accredits to the company’s excellence in providing support in the form of product training, technology support, accounts and business mentoring.“The strongest endorsements for our business model are the rate at which we’ve grown the number of PTMs and the fact that we have a number of long-serving PTMs who have been with us since the beginning,” he adds.Having briefly dabbled with retirement, new PTM Elaine Taylor is excited about the opportunities offered by her newly-restarted travel careerThe three new PTMs together have more than 50 years’ travel industry experience between them. Coupled with the intensive, three-day induction programme at the National Partnership Office (NPO) in Sydney which they have just completed, Gazal says all three are now ready to hit the ground running and are excited about the opportunities offered by their new business ventures.Caroline Rutherford, who joins TravelManagers as representative for Forestville, NSW, was impressed by the extensive network of existing PTMs, the ability for clients to access their personal travel APP and the high quality of the marketing material.“I’m really impressed by how friendly everyone has been, both at the induction and via social media on the PTM Facebook pages. My initial impression is that the company-wide culture is inclusive, collaborative and fun.”Rutherford says she was initially apprehensive about working alone and building her customer base but believes that her previous experience at a business development manager has given her the confidence and skills to introduce herself to new clients.“I’m really impressed by the marketing material and support that’s made available by the NPO, which I think will particularly appeal to my corporate clients.”Rutherford is joined by Elaine Taylor, who is representative for Bethania, QLD. Taylor, who has spent the past two years caring for her elderly mother after twenty years in travel, says she is excited by the prospect of returning to the industry she loves and encouraged by the level of support offered by the NPO.“I also like the financial structure and the flexibility offered by the TravelManagers business model,” Taylor explains. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge of learning new processes and building a new business – it’s time to put my brain to use again!”Taylor says she had been in touch with other PTMs during her brief period of retirement and was impressed by the progress they had made in their careers and the famils in which they were participating.“Both women have had great success in their businesses, but for me, the deal-breaker was the support offered by the NPO, compared with other home-based competitors.”The third new PTM is Victoria-based industry veteran Stacey Farnham, who joins TravelManagers with fourteen years of travel industry experience under her belt.As representative for Mount Duneed, Farnham says she is excited to be working for herself, using the flexibility and support offered by TravelManagers to balance building a successful business and raising her young family.“The first thing that attracted me to TravelManagers was the fact that I’m in control of how much I want to work or not work – I love having the flexibility to work around my children,” she explains. “I’ve been amazed by the resources and technology provided, and I never in a million years thought that running my own business would be this achievable.”Having completed their three-day induction, all three newly-minted PTMs agree that the process has been seamless, and they’re excited to be already capitalising on their new brand identity.“It’s early days yet,” adds Taylor, “but I’m really happy with the level of interest I’m already receiving from potential clients, including exploring the possibility of hosting a group of English football enthusiasts.”“The marketing, the tech support and general support that TravelManagers provides makes me realise that taking the leap wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be,” adds Farnham. “I’m now confident that I have the tools to build what I hope will be a successful business.”When asked what she would say to anyone else considering a career change, Taylor is adamant: “It’s a great model for parents who are trying to juggle their day-to-day routine and their careers, or anyone else who’s looking to achieve better work-life balance. Go for it – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.About TravelManagersTravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.8 billion for 2018. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 550 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in adedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are secure and only used for client purchases.Source = TravelManagerslast_img read more

Radisson brings world class hospitality

first_imgSource = Radisson Radisson brings world class hospitalityRadisson brings world class hospitality and extensive event space to MedanRadisson, the upscale brand that delivers delightful and balanced experiences, continues to expand its footprint in Indonesia with the opening of Radisson Medan, a stylish upscale hotel with world-class meeting facilities.Perfectly positioned on Jalan H. Adam Malik in downtown Medan, surrounded by corporate offices and retail malls, Radisson Medan is suitable for all guests, especially local and international business travelers. Its extensive facilities include two floors of flexible function space, making this hotel one of the city’s top destinations for meetings and events.Radisson Medan officially opened on 26 February 2019, becoming the second Radisson-branded hotel in Indonesia following Radisson Golf & Convention Center Batam. A third hotel, Radisson Lampung, is scheduled to open next year.“With its huge population, a buoyant economy and its position at the heart of South East Asia, Indonesia one of the world’s most dynamic countries and an important hotel market. Radisson, our international upscale brand, is a perfect fit for many of Indonesia’s fast-growing cities, including Medan. We look forward to introducing local and international travelers to a new era of hospitality in downtown Medan,” said Andre de Jong, Vice President, Operations, South East Asia and Pacific, Radisson Hotel Group.Radisson Medan features 215 rooms and suites, all designed in a contemporary style and equipped with complimentary Wi-Fi, LCD TVs with cable channels, and working areas with international power sockets. The majority of rooms feature spectacular views of Medan’s rising skyline. Guests booking any of the hotel’s 32 suites will also enjoy additional space and access to the Executive Lounge, with services including private check-in/out, breakfast, daily snacks and evening cocktails and canapés.The new hotel is also an ideal venue for corporate and social events, with more than 1,500 square meters of meeting space, including a ballroom, nine meeting rooms and a large pre-function area. Supported by professional event planners and audio-visual flair, this is set to become one of Medan’s leading venues for large-scale company conferences, social occasions and weddings.Guests can also take advantage of the hotel’s modern business center, work out at the fully equipped fitness center, or cool off in the outdoor pool. Located on the seventh floor, the Seven R Restaurant serves exquisite local and international dishes, including buffet breakfast and all-day à la carte dining, while the lobby lounge offers light snacks and drinks throughout the day.“I am delighted to welcome our first guests to Radisson Medan. Our contemporary rooms, suites and facilities are perfect for all types of guest, including solo business travelers, couples, families and groups. Meanwhile, our extensive MICE facilities give us the flexibility to host a broad range of events, from small boardroom meetings to major events and weddings, putting the hotel in the heart of the local community,” said Frank Mayland, General Manager, Radisson Medan.Medan is the fourth largest city in Indonesia and the main international gateway to North Sumatra, including major tourist attractions such as Lake Toba. The city’s Kualanamu International Airport is one of Indonesia’s largest air hubs, with international connections to cities including Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.Guests can now experience Radisson Medan with a special opening promotion. Book and stay between 26 February and 31 March 2019 and enjoy a 35 percent discount on all room categories. During the same period, organize a meeting or event and enjoy 20 percent discount on meeting packages. Reservations can be made directly with the hotel at reservations.medan@radisson.comlast_img read more

Qantas launches Joey Club to inspire young frequent flyers

first_imgQantas’ youngest flyers will enjoy a range of new benefits when travelling with Qantas, with the unveiling of ‘The Joey Club’.The world’s most successful children’s entertainment group the Wiggles joined Qantas to make the announcement, treating guests to a pop-up performance at Sydney’s Qantas Club.The program recognises Qantas’ youngest customers and aims to create memorable and engaging travel experiences for them and their families.Qantas Group Executive, Brand, Marketing and Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth said travel is an exciting experience, particularly for children, and the airline wants to make sure that it is as enjoyable as possible for the whole family.“Looking after our loyal customers, including our tiny travellers, is incredibly important to Qantas. We have always had initiatives in place for children travelling with us but the Joey Club takes it to the next level with a formal program and a number of new benefits that will make flying with Qantas more fun for kids,” she said.“Many of our pilots, engineers and cabin crew chose careers in aviation after taking their first flight with Qantas so we want to further inspire a new generation of Qantas customers and employees.”Children are currently the fastest growing segment of the Qantas Frequent Flyer membership base, with some parents signing up their children from birth.Joey Club initiatives include:A Qantas Joey Club novelty passport for new Australian-based Frequent Flyer members (aged 3-10 years old) where they can record details of their flight.Special dedicated kids menus in domestic lounges, including made to order sandwiches in animal shapes, fresh fruit and snacks such as popcorn and sultanas.Larger investment in the children’s in-flight entertainment channels. There is a dedicated children’s movie channel with 21 hours of content (with latest releases screening on board shortly after their cinema release, as will happen with the upcoming Frozen 2) and a dedicated TV channel with 28 hours of TV shows, with The Wiggles and Peppa Pig the most popular.The Joey Club comes on top of existing family friendly services offered by the national carrier, including dedicated kids zones across the Qantas domestic and international lounge network complete with iMac computers, children’s furniture, toys and books. A new Family Zone has also opened in the recently refurbished Los Angeles Business Lounge.Qantas’ Frequent Flyer Program also offers Family Transfers, a points transfer feature where parents can transfer or gift Qantas Points to their children or other family members up to four times within a 12-month period.last_img read more

Inbound tourism in Peru likely to expand up to 7 in 2016

first_imgPeru’s inbound tourism is likely to expand between six to seven percent in 2016, boosted by the international promotion of the country’s tourist attractions, affirmed Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister, Magali Silva.During the presentation of ‘Millennials 2014: Domestic Tourism’ and ‘Millennials 2014: Receptive Tourism’ reports, the official noted meetings with regional authorities are being strengthened to enhance the promotion of tourist zones.Silva underlined that coordination between the Ministry and Regional Directorates of Foreign Trade and Tourism will be reinforced in an effort to keep the agencies ‘permanently connected’.“Kuelap cable-cars (in Amazonas region), that will be inaugurated on July 19, are the fruit of these efforts,” she added.last_img read more

FirstTime Jobless Claims Plunge To 5Year Low

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Labor Statistics Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2013-01-17 Mark Lieberman in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing First-Time Jobless Claims Plunge To 5-Year Low January 17, 2013 418 Views center_img First-time claims for unemployment insurance plunged 37,000 for the week ending January 12 to 335,000, the lowest level since January 2008, the “”Labor Department””:http://www.ows.doleta.gov/press/2013/011713.asp reported Thursday. Economists expected claims to drop to 368,000 from the prior week. [IMAGE]The previous week’s report was revised upward to 372,000 from the originally reported 371,000.The weekly drop in claims was the steepest since February 2010, but volatility at the beginning of a year is not unusual as companies shed workers who had been added to meet a hoped-for flurry of holiday-related activity. In the equivalent week in 2012, claims dropped 26,000.Continuing claims–reported on a one-week lag–rose 87,000 for the week ended January 5 to 3,214,000 after dropping 109,000 the week before. The previous week’s initial report of 3,109,000 continuing claims was revised upward to 3,127,000. The continuing claims data series tracks the number of longer term unemployed who qualify for regular state jobless benefits. The sharp drop in continuing claims reflected both a relatively steep decline in first time claims since months ago and that fewer states qualify for emergency benefits.The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending December 29 was 5,821,966, an increase of 465,547 from the previous week. There were 7,826,846 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2011.The Labor Department said states reported 2,059,438 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending December 29, an increase of 67,984 from the prior week. There were 3,026,855 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2011.Both the extended and emergency benefit programs were tied up in the “”fiscal cliff”” negotiations.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 12,248,000 persons were officially considered unemployed in December, which means that of those individuals counted as unemployed, 6.46 million were not receiving any form of government unemployment insurance, down from 6.89 million one week earlier.States continue to borrow from the federal government to cover shortfalls in those funds which will eventually have to be repaid–unless Congress intervenes–with higher assessments on employers. Since those assessments are a percentage of payrolls, they discourage employers from adding new workers. As of January 15, 22 states–up from 21 states one week earlier–have an aggregate $27.9 billion in outstanding loans to cover shortfalls, up from $27.4 billion one week earlier. California accounted for 37.8 percent of the borrowing.According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag. the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending January 5 were in New York (+37,189), Georgia (+15,354), North Carolina (+13,606), California (+8,691), and Texas (+8,669), while the largest decreases were in Michigan (-12,536), New Jersey (-5,530), Oregon (-5,471), Ohio (-4,915), and Kentucky (4,257)._Hear Mark Lieberman ever Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:40 a.m. Eastern time and at 9:40 a.m._ Sharelast_img read more