New tower with 92 rooms coming to Occidental Nuevo Vallarta

first_img MIAMI — Occidental Nuevo Vallarta will boost its capacity with a brand new guestroom tower with 92 new rooms, set to debut in the first quarter of 2020.The US$8 million project will bring Occidental Nuevo Vallarta’s key count to 366 rooms and suites. Located in the Riviera Nayarit, Occidental Nuevo Vallarta is part of the Barceló Hotel Group.The pool at Occidental Nuevo VallartaEach new room will feature Pacific Coast views of Bahía de Banderas, says the company.“Our number one priority at Occidental Nuevo Vallarta is the satisfaction of our guests,” says Juan Luis Sampol, Director of Barceló Hotel Group’s Pacific region. “Occidental Nuevo Vallarta’s new tower will improve our guest experience offering by providing travelers with more exclusive options when selecting their rooms. We’re confident that this will be a great success for the brand.” Tags: Occidental Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> New tower with 92 rooms coming to Occidental Nuevo Vallartacenter_img Travelweek Group Friday, June 21, 2019 Sharelast_img read more

Sculpture shows San Josés black lung

first_imgAs cars honked and trucks rumbled down the road that borders the Antigua Aduana gallery and museum in the San José neighborhood of La California, environmental leaders and advocates agreed that vehicle traffic was the greatest source of air pollution in Costa Rica’s capital.On Monday morning, Environment Minister René Castro, Riteve SyC Environmental Consultant Rosario Alfaro and Riteve General Manager Fernando Mayorga presented the results from an “Urban Lung” installation, a giant wireframe sculpture designed to raise awareness about air pollution in San José. Installed on June 5, the concave, white-fabric sculpture collected particulate matter from car exhaust and other sources of air pollution for two months. Scientists from the National University’s Quality Analysis Laboratory examined the cloth — turned black from exposure to the city’s air — and discovered levels of sulfur, chlorine and manganese that exceeded safe limits determined by the World Health Organization.Alfaro told the crowd that the levels of manganese, a neurotoxin in high doses that is sometimes added to gasoline, were especially troubling.The general manager of Riteve – the Spanish-Costa Rican company in charge of mandatory technical vehicle inspections – also highlighted the organization’s progress in reducing air pollution, but noted that the emissions agency’s gains have stalled.Government environmental agencies blamed inefficient, older vehicles for the city’s air pollution. According to Alfaro, 70 percent of the city’s air pollution is created by 50 percent of vehicles, which are over 15 years old.In response to the environmental effects of the aging fleet, Castro announced that operating permits for taxis and buses over 10 years old will not be renewed. Public transportation vehicles exceeding 10 years will need to convert to cleaner fuel sources, like natural gas, or transition to hybrid or electric models under the new guidelines. Banco Costa Rica and Banco Nacional will offer bus and taxi drivers credit at under 5 percent to finance the upgrade thanks to a $200 million donation from China, Japan and South Korea, according to a press released from MINAE. In July, the Finance, Public Works and Transport and Environment ministries signed an agreement dropping the sales tax on hybrid vehicles to 10 percent from 30 percent. Besides incentivizing sales, the decree orders government ministries to modernize their fleets by purchasing vehicles that use hybrid technology or alternative fuels like natural gas or electric models.Some doubted the government’s commitment to reducing pollution from older vehicles, as the news came on the heels of the Finance Ministry’s decision to reduce taxes on used imported cars.“Sustainability means balancing the social with the economy and the environment,” Castro said.Costa Rican sculptor Francesco Bracci told The Tico Times that the piece was motivated, in part, by the white face masks that have become recognizable symbols of urban air pollution in many developing countries.Latin America registers the highest rates of urbanization in the world, according to the World Bank, heightening the need to address urban air pollution.“The rest of Central America needs to catch up,” Castro said, referring to the isthmus’ otherwise lax air pollution laws. “It’s obvious that improving health coincides with these changes.”             Update Tuesday, 12:35 p.m.: This post was updated to include more information on the efforts to finance the upgrade to the public transportation fleet. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

US Coast Guard faces a new spike in Cuban boat people

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S.diplomatic opening with Cuba has spurred a seemingly unintended consequence: A flood of Cubans taking to makeshift rafts to get to the United States illegally due to concerns that a quick path to legal residency may end.The U.S. Coast Guard said Monday that it stopped 481 Cuban migrants in 37 events in December. That’s up 117 percent from December 2013, with most of them attempting to come after the governments in Washington and Havana announced they would renew diplomatic relations for the first time since January 1961.The Coast Guard sent 121 Cuba migrants it stopped in the last week to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, the service said on Monday. In the first five days of 2015, a total of 96 Cuban migrants have been interdicted at sea in seven separate events in the Florida Straits, U.S. officials said.The surge is prompted by concerns that the United States may end its “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy with Cuban migrants, officials said. The policy says that Cubans who are intercepted at sea trying to get the United States illegally will be sent back to Cuba or a third country, while those who make it to U.S. soil are allowed to stay and apply for a change in immigration status after one year.“U.S. Coast Guard missions and operations in the Caribbean, Straits of Florida and Gulf of Mexico remain unchanged,” said Rear Adm. Jake Korn, the Coast Guard’s 7th District commander, in a statement. “The Coast Guard strongly discourages attempts to illegally enter the United States by taking to the sea. The Coast Guard is aggressively maintaining a presence in the region and discourages these dangerous and deadly voyages. Individuals must have a visa or other permission to travel to the States and anyone located at sea will be returned to Cuba in accordance with immigration laws.”Other countries in the region — including Haiti and the Dominican Republic — do not have similar “wet-foot, dry-foot” policies with the United States. Marine Gen. John Kelly, the chief of U.S. Southern Command, said in an interview last month, before the announcement about Cuba, that illegal immigration in the region frequently spikes based on rumors.The Coast Guard and Navy frequently rescue migrants attempting to flee poverty in countries like Haiti, the general said. Smugglers known as “snakeheads” take money to help them leave the country on rafts, but they are often overcrowded and struggle to stay afloat.The Coast Guard said it intercepted 3,378 migrants in fiscal year 2014, up from 2,094 the year before. Of those 3,378 migrants, 2,059 came from Cuba. Other leading countries included Haiti (949), the Dominican Republic (293) and Mexico (48), where immigrants sometimes use boats instead of making their way across the U.S.-Mexico land border.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:US officials in Cuba to discuss embassies Cuba, US see good first day of historic talks In Havana, Pelosi delegation promotes Obama’s Cuba thaw US, Cuba resume talks amid Venezuela tensionslast_img read more

Costa Rica says it will support new shark protections despite agreements with

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s shark conservation record is a ‘mixed bag,’ observers say Costa Rica declines to vote on shark protections at international convention Victim testifies in Jairo Mora murder retrial Winners of Costa Rica Fishackathon create tool to help track fuel subsidies for fishing Wildlife experts from all over the world will converge on San José Monday to discuss international protections for shark and ray species. The meeting comes on the heels of scathing critiques from environmentalists of Costa Rica’s recent record on shark conservation.Attendees at this second Meeting of Signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding of Migratory Sharks will consider protecting an additional 22 species of sharks and rays under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). The CMS aims to protect migratory species throughout their range, across international boundaries.Costa Rica was chosen to host the shark meeting after successfully lobbying for international protections for hammerhead sharks at past conventions. But the country’s role as a leader in shark conservation has come into question.Last year, the Solís administration came under fire from conservation groups for green-lighting shipments of hammerhead shark fins to Hong Kong.Then, in January, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís received the dishonorable Shark Enemy of the Year Award, which he earned after promising fishing groups that Costa Rica would no longer support international protections for additional shark species considered of commercial interest.The Solís administration has been outspoken in its rejection of the Shark Enemy award, insisting that the country has not backtracked on shark protections.To prove it, the government recently came out in support of protecting additional species of sharks found in Costa Rica under the CMS. The government’s support for new protections directly contradicts the written agreements that members of the Solís administration signed last year with fishing groups.The three species now on the table — hammerhead, silky and thresher sharks — are regularly fished in Costa Rican waters and are listed as “threatened” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.Conservationists applauded the government’s apparent return to its original support for new shark protections.“Listing of these species under the Memorandum will provide Costa Rica with better tools to promote the regional conservation of these highly migratory species,” said Randall Arauz, president of the Costa Rican conservation organization PRETOMA and a vocal critic of the Solís administration’s previous actions on shark conservation.The Tico Times was unable to reach fishing industry leaders over the weekend for comment.On Monday, the government released a statement saying that the fishing sector will not face any restrictions for sustainable fishing of the shark species that it is proposing for international conservation measures.“The country’s position achieves the necessary equilibrium between conservation, investigation and sustainable fishing of the species,” Environment Minister Edgar Gutíerrez said in the statement. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Tacos4Ticos gives back through football

first_imgRelated posts:La Sele announces 23-man roster for Copa América tournament Costa Rican Noelia Bermúdez named best goalkeeper in Spain’s La Liga Photos of new La Sele jerseys leak amid New Balance bribery accusations Costa Rican footballer Álvaro Saborío suddenly retires due to ‘unfair insults’ When Adam Baker and his colleague Richard Bexon began their community outreach program that donates football equipment to impoverished kids in the western San José district of Pavas, Baker admits the first practices and donation sessions were complete chaos.“At first it was a free-for-all,” Baker said. “It was a bit mad with everyone grabbing for the equipment and not wanting to share or having bad attitudes during our practices.”The two England natives work in the Pavas area as travel agents with Namu Travel Group and wanted to give back to the community through a passion they share with their adopted country: football.In February, they began the nonprofit Tacos4Ticos, which provides football gear, coaching and games to kids from the largely destitute Lomas neighborhood of Pavas. Adam Baker, left, doles out new gear to kids in the Tacos4Ticos program. (Courtesy of Namu Travel Group)The name “Tacos” comes from the Costa Rican slang word for football cleats. As the nonprofit continues to grow, there are more and more tacos to go around for the kids.Baker said the group has received 12 donations from travel agency clients since March, when they put up a small advertisement on the Namu website.“And it’s not just a few cleats we’re talking about, we’ve had clients drop off whole sports bags of equipment,” he said.Baker and Bexon make up part of the Namu team that plays against the youth team, known as the Pavas Pumas. Last week, the kids beat their elders from the travel agency 5-2 in a match held at Ernesto Rohrmoser Stadium, where the group practices every Thursday.Before the game, Baker and company gave four duffle bags full of football gear to the more than 25 kids in attendance. Though it’s been a tough process, Baker said, he sees positive growth in the children.“I’ve seen this respect begin to grow in them,” he said. “They’re very grateful. They know that we’re not getting paid for this and that we’re taking time out for them, so they’ve begun to give respect back.” Practice sessions are held at Ernesto Rohrmoser Stadium in Pavas every Thursday at 4 p.m. (Courtesy of Namu Travel Group)Tacos4Ticos works directly under the local charity Educación Plus, a much larger nonprofit that has worked with at-risk children all over San José since 1994. The Namu Travel Group has donated $3,000 towards the Tacos4Ticos program. Baker and Bexon also provide the spaces for English classes for the players through Idioma Internacional.Baker said that in the short time since they’ve started the football-centric charity, the kids’ attitudes and confidence levels have improved dramatically through the medium of a team sport.“The kids have improved on the field as well as off it,” Baker said. “These are good kids but they grow up in a neighborhood that’s in violence constantly. It’s about getting them out of that area. And we try to treat them as equals.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

German mailorder firm Neckermann in bankruptcy

first_imgBERLIN (AP) – German mail-order company Neckermann says it is applying for bankruptcy protection from creditors after failing to satisfy its owner that cost-cutting plans would produce a viable business.Neckermann said the application was being filed Wednesday at a court in Frankfurt.The struggling company planned to cut 1,380 of its roughly 2,400 jobs in Germany in order to secure financing for the future. Earlier Wednesday, it agreed with employee and union representatives on a compromise that would have seen “limited” payoffs and other aid for laid-off employees. 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, family Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories center_img 0 Comments   Share   5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates But Neckermann said its owner decided the result wasn’t sustainable and refused to provide further financing. It said it would examine all options to keep the business going.Private investment firm Sun Capital Partners owns 100 percent of Neckermann.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

Decade after attack tears for dead hope for Bali

first_imgHotel rooms were hard to come by Friday, even as security alerts were raised to the highest level following a potential unspecific threat.“There is peace in this island, and the knowledge that millions still come here for the same reasons you and your loved ones did,” Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard told victims’ loved ones at a memorial service. “And perhaps there is a grim reassurance in knowing that the terrorists did not achieve what they set out to do. They did not undermine Indonesian democracy, which has only grown stronger across the passage of a decade.”Australia suffered more deaths in the attacks than any other country, with 88 of its citizens dead. Bali, with its lively nightlife and warm pristine waters, has long been a favorite getaway for Australians, and Gillard herself had returned home from a family holiday a day before the Oct. 12, 2002, attacks.The Australian government paid for more than 600 survivors and victims’ family members to attend the ceremony. Some gathered for the memorial in shorts and T-shirts, fanning themselves in the blazing morning heat.Danny Hanley, one of the speakers, lost two daughters in bombings: Renee died immediately and Simone became the last victim after 58 days in a Perth burn unit. “When I hear of the 88 Australians that died, I always shed a tear that my beautiful daughter, Simone, was number 88,” he said. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Tourism, meanwhile, has bounced back. More than 1.8 million foreigners arrived in Bali prior to the attacks, and last year 2.7 million came to the island where Julia Roberts filmed part of the movie “Eat, Pray, Love.”“It was a big thing for Australia because this is … like our second home to come to. It was pretty devastating but you know, it happens all over the world,” Mitch O’Brian said while enjoying a holiday in Bali. “I’m not afraid to come here because it’s a great place.”Security was tight at Friday’s memorial with more than 2,000 police and military deployed, including snipers. Two days earlier, police said they had received information about a potential terrorist threat. Bali deputy police chief Brig. Gen. Ketut Untung Yoga Ana said new intelligence indicates the threat may have weakened, but he added that security forces would remain vigilant and continue to closely monitor movement in and out of the island.Last month police arrested 10 Islamic militants and seized a dozen homemade bombs from a group suspected of planning suicide attacks, but to Bali hotel operator Gde Wiratha, that was in part a sign that the threat remains. Sponsored Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Top Stories “Bali was very safe before the bombing … but now no one knows,” he said. “I, myself, still have fears that radical groups like Jemaah Islamiyah are still far from being defeated.”____Associated Press writers Kristen Gelineau in Sydney and Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Associated PressBALI, Indonesia (AP) – A decade after bombs ripped through two Bali nightclubs, Friday was filled with reminders of what was lost in this tropical paradise, and what was not. Tears fell as victims’ names were read at a memorial, but not far away, surfers paddled for world-class waves and vacationing shoppers lined busy sidewalks haggling for souvenirs.Suicide bombers killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists, when one blew himself up inside and another set off a car bomb at the popular Sari Club and Paddy’s Pub in Kuta that sultry Saturday night in 2002. But radicalism did not take over this moderate Muslim nation, and the visitors terrorists once scared away from the resort island have come flooding back. Other Balinese suffer still more intensely from the attacks, which killed 38 Indonesians and injured many more.Tumini, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, was a bartender getting ready to serve her first customer that night at Paddy’s Pub. She was thrown outside the bar and knocked unconscious. The only thing she remembers is waking up in the hospital with burns covering her face and body.Today, the mother of three still struggles to understand why she survived when so many others died. She was forced to find lower-paying work and cannot afford the medical care she needs.“I feel my life is still miserable. I am not 100 percent normal,” she said. “I often think and ask why God still allows me to live if I have to endure this pain.”Most of Indonesia’s 210 million Muslims practice a moderate style of Islam that condemns violence, and the government has worked to root out militants, arresting more than 700 of them since the bombings and killing dozens more. Terrorist attacks aimed at foreigners have been largely replaced in recent years by smaller, less deadly strikes mostly targeting police and anti-terrorism forces.“Instead of spreading the seeds of hatred, that heinous attack has prompted governments and peoples of different backgrounds, of different nationalities and religions, to reach out to one another,” said Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa. “To stand united.” Many attending the memorial in Jimbaran walked past photos of the victims, posted on large black boards; some stopped to touch the faces of those they knew. Others sat in white chairs with their heads bowed as they listened to the speeches encouraging remembrance and healing. Meanwhile, others laid flowers and paused to hug at the bombing site in Kuta known as “ground zero.”Remembrances were also held across Australia to mark the anniversary. In the capital, Canberra, dignitaries and family members of those killed gathered at Parliament House to mourn.The attack, carried out by suicide bombers from the al-Qaida-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah, started a wave of violence in the world’s most populous Muslim nation, hitting an embassy, hotels and restaurants. Three years later, another bomb attack killed 20 people.Many visitors later shied away from the popular Hindu-dominated island, which survives on tourist dollars. Hotel occupancy plummeted 80 percent a year after the attacks, and foreign tourist arrivals fell by 70 percent. It was hit so hard the Indonesian government encouraged locals to visit Bali instead of traveling abroad.The 2002 attacks were “like a tsunami disaster for us here,” said Wayan Gota, a handicraft trader in Bali. “The attack not only killed hundreds of people, but also destroyed every sector of our lives and led to prolonged economic difficulties. … It took several years for us to recover from the paralysis.” New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Japan boosts security near isles in China dispute

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Sponsored Stories Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said surveillance had been increased in the area for the anniversary, but did provide details. No incidents were reported as of early Wednesday afternoon.The standoff, which shows no sign of abating, has deeply damaged diplomatic relations between the two Asian powers and heightened concerns of a possible military clash.Japan lodged a protest after eight Chinese vessels on Tuesday briefly entered waters Tokyo claims near the islands. On Monday, Japanese fighter jets were scrambled when a Chinese military aircraft believed to be a drone was spotted. Though the drone remained in international airspace, Japanese officials expressed concern about the increased activity.So far, Tokyo and Beijing have been careful to calibrate their actions to avoid a direct military conflict.But with neither side backing down or wanting to look weak, the dispute continues to simmer. In a statement that appeared to up the ante, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday that Tokyo considered deploying personnel to the islands an option.No one currently lives on the islands, and China immediately slammed the remarks as provocative.“If they do provoke, they must be prepared to take the consequences,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Tuesday in Beijing. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How men can have a healthy 2019 TOKYO (AP) – Japan has increased security around a group of disputed islands it nationalized one year ago Wednesday amid strong protests from China, which also claims them and has been stepping up patrols of its own.Tokyo and Beijing are at odds over the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyutai in Chinese.Wednesday marks the first anniversary of Japan’s purchase of several of the islands from their private owners _ a sale China says was invalid. Both countries have since regularly sent coast guard vessels and aircraft to the area to assert their competing claims. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Stationing public servants on the islands was a campaign promise made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s hawkish ruling party, which is also pushing to give Japan’s military a more assertive role in international peacekeeping and in stepping up territorial defenses.The islands, also claimed by Taiwan, are about 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) southwest of Tokyo.Japan’ coast guard said there have been more than 200 intrusions by foreign vessels into Japanese-claimed waters near the islands in the past year.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Quick workouts for men Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

Myanmars government accuses newspaper of contempt of court

first_img Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society Top Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar’s Information Ministry has filed a contempt of court complaint against the publisher and 16 editorial employees of a newspaper it is already suing for defamation, an action critics charge is an attempt at intimidation ahead of elections set for later this year.The editor-in-chief of the Daily Eleven newspaper, Wai Phyo, said Friday the ministry accused the newspaper of reporting unfairly on the defamation case. He and three other executives of the newspaper are on trial for defamation after being sued by the ministry over a report alleging irregularities in its purchase of a printing press.Earlier this week, the human rights group Amnesty International accused Myanmar’s government of using threats and harassment to intimidate the media ahead of the polls. The London-based group said efforts to restrict freedom of expression have intensified over the past year, with at least 10 media workers now being held in prison, all of them jailed in the last 12 months.The Daily Eleven, taking advantage of new press freedoms after a military regime was replaced by a civilian elected government in 2011, has published a series of stories on alleged corruption, abuse of power and inefficiency in the judicial system.The new complaint by the Information Ministry’s managing director says the newspaper’s reporting on his testimony in March at the defamation trial could unfairly prejudice the judges in its favor. Disseminating information that could interfere or disturb a trial, or affect its fairness, is punishable by up to six months in jail. Defamation carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Aung Thein, a prominent lawyer who was charged with contempt of court under military rule, said he could not comprehend how such a large group of people could face contempt charges.“This indicates that the government wants to pressure the media before elections,” he said.Amnesty International said authorities often drag the media through lengthy and costly legal processes, or seek collective punishment in response to one critical story by prosecuting several people from the same outlet to effectively shut it down.The Information Ministry last year sued 11 staff members of the Myanmar Herald weekly journal for printing an article referring to President Thein Sein as a fool.“This is the first time in newspaper history that such a large group of newspaper men were summoned to court,” veteran journalist Khin Maung Lay, who was jailed several times by the military, said about the action against Daily Eleven. “This is done with vengeance and it is a very bad precedent.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top holiday drink recipes Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

Jetset Travelworld announces trading halt

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Following on from yesterday’s exclusive e-Travel Blackboard report , Jetset Travelworld Group (JTG) has had its shares placed into a trading halt to permit it to “finalise the terms of a material merger.”The proposed deal between the Stella Group and JTG is currently being pitched as a merger; however sources expect that it will eventuate in the takeover of JTG by Stella. JTG said the trading halt would let it manage its disclosure obligations and ensure that the negotiation of the proposed transaction does not create an uncertain or uninformed market for trading,The trading halt will last until an announcement is made regarding the negotiations or the opening of trading on Thursday (13 May), whichever comes first.last_img read more

The Fairmont Banff Springs wins environmental hotel of the year

first_imgFairmont Hotels & Resorts has announced The Fairmont Banff Springs as ‘Environmental Hotel of the Year’, beating out more than 60 other hotels in the Fairmont portfolio around the globe.  Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a global leader in responsible tourism and through its award-winning Green Partnership program; the company strives to reduce its ecological footprint by focusing on key areas such asenergy management, water conservation, waste diversion, and innovative community outreach programs.  “Being located in both a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site means our commitment to the environment is at the core of our values and in line withFairmont Hotels & Resorts enduring connection to the land and communities where we do business” says Francisco Gomez, Regional Vice President and General Manager of The Fairmont Banff Springs. “Our ongoing efforts support our mandate for responsible tourism and we are proud that our colleagues are taking positive steps to preserving our precious natural resources by continually thinking of innovative ways to be environmentally responsible.” Fairmont Hotels & Resorts environmental programs have charted the course on sustainable environmentally sound hotel operations.  At the heart of its success have been its employees, a passionate and dedicated group who continue to advance the program with innovation, enthusiasm and above all else a firm belief that their contributions and environmental activities do make a difference.  The Fairmont Banff Springs has a dedicated Green Teamand Environmental Champions Jennifer Heim and Chris Chidlow, who are the voice and personality behind our green initiatives, programs and ideas. The Fairmont Banff Springs has become an exemplary leader within the portfolio by encouraging colleagues to participate in enviro events throughout the year. Popular staff events include Highway Clean-up Days, International Mountain Day, Month of Giving, Bike or Walk to Work Days, Hotel Grounds Clean-up and Lakeshore Clean-ups. In addition to proactive environmentalmeasures throughout the hotel, The Fairmont Banff Springs has found a way to connect with the community to share these values and goals. This year The Fairmont Banff Springs and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts announced a $30,000, three year grant to The Banff Community Foundation. In 2012, $10,000 of thegrant will be used to fund  the Banff Elementary School and Banff Community High School for a project focusing on environmental stewardship by enhancing school curriculums to help youth of Banff National Park develop asense of place and understanding of the unique park and environment in which they live. This will be done through field trips and hands on experiential learning to understand the human impact and to become stewards in protecting and sustaining the ecosystems. The Fairmont Banff Springs holds steadfast in their commitment to preserving the environment by implementing practices on property examples include: Waste Management, energy conservation and water conservation programs are in place and monitored Local, organic, or sustainable menus items are used whenever possible Carbon Management Program is in place and allows us to monitor, track, and report on our progress toward achieving significant CO2 reductions The Fairmont Banff Springs golf course is enrolled and certified with Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuaries, an organization which sets guidelines for an international system of wildlife and environmental conservation. Recyclables are sorted in reusable plastic trays, eliminating the purchase of large plastic bags; this has resulted in an estimated savings of more than $10,500 annually, and the diversion of 41,000 bags annually from landfill Purchasing green initiatives when considering product sources, and packaging Recycling Bins in place throughout hotel, including all guest and meeting rooms Biodegradable and compost food containers have replaced some plastic food containers Gently used hotel items and bathroom amenities are donated to local charities Electronic equipment is taken to the Town of Banff’s Resource Recovery Centre and recycled Kitchen grease is 100% recycled. Use for biodiesel fuel and sent to local feed mills as an energy source for pigs and poultry Lighting Retrofit in 1991 Exterior Christmas lighting has been changed to energy efficient LED All colleagues complete environmental training during orientation and sign a sustainability promise. Expedia has packages to the Fairmont Banff Springs from $307 per night on selected dates.  Pricing is accurate as at 29 Feb.   For bookings see or call 13 38 10. Source = Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Fairmont Banff Springslast_img read more

No scan no flight Melb Airport launches body scanners

first_imgIn conjunction with the walk through metal detectors, Melbourne Airport has introduced body scanners at its international departures terminal.As part of the Federal Government’s $200 million Strengthening Aviation Security Initiative, the new scanners can detect both metallic and non-metallic items.Despite implementing a random selection process for passengers requested to pass through, the airport stressed those who refuse to undergo the body scan, and do not have a valid medical or physical condition, will not be permitted to board their flight. The airport is utilising the same scanners currently used in the US, UK, Canada and Thailand, which are said to emit 10,000 times less radio frequency energy than an average mobile phone call. Those who refuse to undergo the body scan, and do not have a valid medical or physical condition, will not be permitted to board their flight. Image: The Age Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Highspeed rail encouraging Chinese to Hong Kong

first_imgConvenient high-speed connections between Hong Kong and several Chinese border cities assist the facilitation and drive the increase of mainland tourists.Transport is becoming more efficient and accessible for Chinese travellers to Hong Kong, the Hindu Business Line reported.Increasingly fast rail connections between Hong Kong and Shenzhen run every 10 minutes, with similar connections from other major Chinese cities, such as Guangzhou.Hong Kong Tourist Board spokesperson Alice Chu said the hi-speed train link with China will be operational by 2016, with travel time between Hong Kong and Shanghai significantly reduced.With an absence of sales taxes and strict regulations enforcing the sale of genuine brand-name products, Hong Kong has also become a popular shopping destination for many Chinese tourists.Ms Chu said some Chinese travellers make the journey to Hong Kong for their weekly groceries.Source = ETB News: P.T. Convenient transport links and shopping boost mainland arrivals.last_img read more

Air New Zealand takes viewers on a Surfing Safari

first_imgAir New Zealand takes viewers on a Surfing SafariAir New Zealand has assembled some of the greatest surfers of all time to deliver its latest on board safety video, filmed at legendary surf breaks across three countries.Surfing Safari features 2014 world champion Brazilian Gabriel Medina, three time world champion Australian Mick Fanning, American big wave legend Laird Hamilton, popular American surfers Alana Blanchard and Anastasia Ashley plus some of the greatest surfing talent from Asia and New Zealand.The safety video was shot in Malibu in the United States, the Gold Coast of Australia and at Raglan and Piha in New Zealand, three of the world’s most beautiful and iconic surf destinations.Air New Zealand’s Head of Global Brand Development Jodi Williams says the all-star global surfing cast for the latest video will put the airline and the three destinations featured in the consideration set for travelers while doing an excellent job of engaging customers on board the aircraft in the key safety messages.“Previous safety videos have done a fantastic job in selling seats and driving tourism flows whether it be to New Zealand off the back of the two Hobbit inspired videos and Bear Grylls experiencing one of New Zealand’s Great Walks or the collaboration with Sports Illustrated that boosted tourism to the Cook Islands,” says Ms Williams.Reigning men’s surfing world champion Gabriel Medina praised Air New Zealand for choosing surfing as the theme for its next safety video.“Surfing is bigger than ever globally and I am keen to do all I can to interest more people in the sport.  Air New Zealand operates to some of the most amazing surf destinations around the world.  It has been terrific to showcase a handful of these with some of the greatest surfers of all time. It’s been an epic experience,” Medina says. Source = Air New Zealandlast_img read more

Canadian Tourism Commission rebranded

first_imgCanada’s Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism and Agriculture, used the platform of Rendez-Vous Canada in Niagara Falls last week to unveil the new operating name of the former Canadian Tourism Commission, as Destination Canada.The new corporate identity, effective immediately, was created to reflect the vision of Canada’s government tourism body, where advocacy and content have become the new marketing mandate.The re-branding exercise will clearly define Destination Canada in the international marketplace as a significant global tourist board.  The following months will see a full re-branding overhaul to Destination Canada’s corporate websites, social media handles, assets and collateral materials to reflect the new name.The well-known consumer brand identity, “Canada, Keep Exploring”, will remain in use as Destination Canada continues to connect with travellers through media, social and content marketing campaigns.The transition to the new brand identity will complete by 1 November 2015, heralding an exciting new chapter for the industry.Source = Destination Canadalast_img read more

Collette announces new Head of Marketing for Australia

first_imgJames Hewlett Collette announces new Head of Marketing for AustraliaCollette announces new Head of Marketing for AustraliaCollette continues to expand with the appointment of James Hewlett in the newly created role of Head of Marketing for Australia.  A results-driven marketing and communications specialist with more than 14 years travel experience, James has extensive commercial marketing experience to deliver enhancements to the customer journey and grow the awareness of the Collette brand.James has successfully overseen profitable revenue and passenger growth in previous roles.  Most recently James was with Wendy Wu in Sydney, back in his native England he held marketing roles at Titan and spent five years with Hurtigruten.  James, with his Aussie wife and family, moved to Australia in 2010, his local travel marketing knowledge is invaluable as is his previous coach touring experience and he brings a real passion for the travel business and marketing to the Sydney based team. Collettelearn more about Collette here Go ColletteSource = Collettelast_img read more

Travel Boating Lifestyle Joins Dometic Global Social Media Campaign

first_imgTravel Boating Lifestyle Joins Dometic Global Social Media CampaignTravel Boating Lifestyle is excited to announce they’ve been engaged to feature in a world-wide Mobile Living Traveler social media campaign. Global company Dometic have chosen ten travelers around the globe to feature in a digital influencer initiative known as Mobile Living Stories. Images, videos and stories produced by the ten travelers will be promoted to Dometic’s 150,000 social media followers and world-wide customer base during the year-long campaign.Fiona Harper, an Australian travel writer, and David Hartman, a Canadian photographer, are the team behind Travel Boating Lifestyle to be featured. Based on their yacht (currently in Fiji) they are uniquely positioned as Dometic’s inaugural travelers living a mobile lifestyle afloat.Fiona and David are professional storytellers living a lifestyle of endless horizons. Both independently successful writers and photographers whose words and images have been published and exhibited around the globe, they have almost 50 years’ experience between them.  As a content creation team they are formidable.Fiona and David utilise their wide-ranging skills and experience as the creative team behind the successful Travel Boating Lifestyle website, established by Fiona almost ten years ago. Documenting their travels on Travel Boating Lifestyle enables them to share the personal stories that engage with their readers. Additionally, they contribute words and images to travel and marine publications world-wide.‘As storytellers, David and I are passionate about tracking down interesting stories and capturing wonderful photos from our travels. We’re excited to share our adventures with a global audience of enthusiastic travellers, and hope that our stories encourage curiosity about our planet, ultimately enticing others to travel,’ said Fiona Harper.‘It’s such a thrill to work with a market leader like Dometic, who really ‘get’ what mobile travellers need. By eliminating many of the challenges of a mobile lifestyle, we’re able to get off-road and offshore yet enjoy modern conveniences.’Travelling by air, land or sea to research stories, Fiona and David bring a combined passion for adventure and sailing with their love for words and images. They are currently sailing the South Pacific onboard their 42’ yacht ANAHATA. In late 2017 they will transfer their storytelling platform to a 4WD vehicle, continuing their travels in Australia before returning to ANAHATA at the end of the 2018 cyclone season. They intend to spend each year divided between 6 months onboard the yacht and 6 months travelling by land.‘I’m thrilled with this unique opportunity to share with a worldwide audience the excitement and wonder that we have for the world, through our images and stories of people and their cultures,’ David Hartman said.‘Dometic’s integrated technology enables people like ourselves to live, work and play off the grid in remote and exotic locations for extended periods of time.’Sharing their Mobile Living Stories with Dometic is a natural collaboration between skilled content creators and a market leader. Dometic is a global company that makes mobile living easy by providing solutions to satisfy people’s essential needs whether travelling by boat, motorhome, car or truck. They create smart and reliable products with outstanding design. With headquarters in Solna, Sweden, Dometic products are sold in approximately 100 countries, operates 22 manufacturing plants in nine countries, employs 6,500 people and had net sales in 2016 of SEK12.4 billion (approx. AUD1.9billion).Dometic’s Mobile Living Stories campaign is being promoted on digital platforms across Dometic’s global network. Follow the campaign via the hashtags on Facebook and Instagram #DometicFollowsTravelBoatingLifestyle and #MobileLivingStories.Source = Travel Boating Lifestylelast_img read more

What international travellers love most about Australia

first_imgWhat international travellers love most about AustraliaWhat international travellers love most about AustraliaWorld-first #TravelBrag AI analysis from reveals travellers’ top social media bragsMelbourne Cricket Ground and Sydney’s art galleries bragged about the most by international travellers Over 5 million brags analysed through social media mentions and latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology‘Travel bragging’ posts that are filling up your social feeds show no sign of slowing down but now thanks to the world’s first #TravelBrag Artificial Intelligence (AI) analysis,™ reveals what’s topping the brag charts in destinations around the world, so you can choose your next trip wisely.Brags about Melbourne and Sydney show that international travellers are flocking to our shores for Aussie famous sport, culture and landmarks.TOP 5 MELBOURNE BRAGS1. Art galleries2. Mrs Macquarie’s Chair3. Sydney Kings4. Circular Quay5. Sydney HarbourTOP 5 SYDNEY BRAGS1. Melbourne Cricket Ground2. Seasons (relating to the weather)3. Rooftop bars4. St Paul’s Cathedral5. National Gallery of VictoriaTOP 10 GLOBAL BRAGS1. Museum2. Rooftop bar3. Old Town4. Modern Art5. Opera6. Sunshine7. Olympic Games8. Cathedral9. Gallery10. BalletMore than five million brags globally were analysed by an Artificial Intelligence tool. Using a combination of Tweet data that included links to Instagram posts and innovative AI technology, the tool identified and grouped brag types based on travel keywords anddestination mentions to give an overview of what people show off about on social media while on holiday.This travel bragging trend echoes the findings from the recent Mobile Travel Tracker* report, which revealed that one in six travellers search social media before their trip to plan the photos they’ll take #inspo. And the average holidaymaker spends more than 66 minutes a day on social media.While travellers naturally brag about taking in the tourist hotspots and cultural offerings, more people than ever are sharing foodie ’grams, weather updates and sporting snaps.#FoodpornYou’re never more than an Insta-scroll away from #FoodPorn and the brag lists are brimming with culinary treats. Cakes in Stockholm and curry in Toronto spice up the brag lists, and New York steak and pizza both made the cut. Perhaps more surprisingly, enchiladas proved twice as popular as modern art in Mexico City, ice cream scooped 10 percent of all San Francisco brags and Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant in Hong Kong took second place in the Hong Kong chart, with more than 20,000 brags.Shop ‘til you dropShopping is a must do for most travellers. Those visiting Paris brag more about the Rue Vieille du Temple, famous for its boutiques, than Le Louvre! Other top shop-spots included Bal Harbour in Miami, the Harbour City mall in Hong Kong, vintage shops in Melbourne, and the stylish Cecile Copenhagen fashion brand made the Danish capital’s top 10.Bragging come rain and shineThe weather gets travellers debating like nothing else and when travellers soak up the sun they want to brag about it, with sunshine coming in at number six on the global brag list. Some cities have four seasons in one day, with Vancouver visitors bragging about the sun and the rain, with both making the top 10. But in Stockholm visitors love to celebrate the snow, with over 10,000 mentions of it, and the shock of the sun coming out in London saw almost 10,000 brags mention the British sunshine.Five-star luxuryWhen travellers check into a posh, luxury hotel they naturally want the world to know. The stunning 5-star Ritz Carlton in San Francisco topped the city’s brag list, the Four Seasons in Singapore proved brag-worthy and the Park Hyatt came in at number one in Seoul – most likely for its awe-inspiring rooftop pool.Sporting Show OffsThe Olympics are loved around the globe and travellers flock to the iconic sporting venues from host cities, including Sydney, Tokyo, Rio, Barcelona, Vancouver and Beijing. In Australia, the Sydney Kings basketball team were more popular than the harbour bridge and the Melbourne Cricket Ground was the number one brag for the city. In the football capital of Barcelona, it’s also no surprise that Lionel Messi made it into the Catalonian top 10.David Spasovic, Marketing Manager Australia & New Zealand at, said; “Bragging on social media has become the norm – if you didn’t get social kudos out of it, it didn’t happen! With travel posts being so plentiful on social media, travellers are checking out what others are bragging about, and from where, to get tips for their next trip.“This #TravelBrag analysis shows just how diverse travellers are. Whether its enjoying rooftop cocktails in Bangkok, checking out Camden Town in London or visiting the mob museum in Vegas, social bragging is out in full force.”Start planning your next adventure now and head to the Blog to check out the biggest brags from more than 30 destinations. Download the mobile app to choose from hundreds of thousands of places to stay, and brag, around the world.Source = launches world-first #TravelBrag analysis, showing what travellers are shouting about on social media in cities around the globelast_img read more

Rolls Royce to break speed record

first_imgRolls Royce to break speed recordRolls Royce to break speed record with world’s fastest all electric aircraftRolls-Royce is leading a highly specialised challenge to build the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft. This zero-emissions plane is expected to make a run for the record books with a target speed of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH).Inside a bustling hangar bay at the far end of Gloucestershire airport in South West England, a team of British engineers, designers, and data specialists recruited from across Rolls-Royce and beyond have set out to make history. They’re building a high-performance electric aeroplane unlike anything the world has ever seen. Scheduled to take to the skies over Great Britain in 2020, the aircraft will reach a speed of 300 mph – and quite likely more – making it the fastest all-electric plane in history.This run for the record books is no stunt. It’s part of a Rolls-Royce initiative called ACCEL – short for “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight” – that’s intended to pioneer a third wave of aviation in support of Rolls-Royce’s strategy to champion electrification.ACCEL is partly funded by the UK government and involves a host of partners including electric motor and controller manufacturer YASA and the aviation start-up Electroflight. The team brings together some of the top minds from the world of Formula E racing to help design the e-racer.“ACCEL is nothing less than a revolutionary step change in aviation,” says Matheu Parr, manager of the ACCEL project for Rolls-Royce. “This plane will be powered by a state-of-the-art electrical system and the most powerful battery ever built for flight. In the year ahead, we’re going to demonstrate its abilities in demanding test environments before going for gold in 2020 from a landing strip on the Welsh coastline.”With a heritage rich in innovation and world-firsts, Rolls-Royce is no stranger to such competitions. The company was instrumental in helping Britain win the prestigious Schneider Trophy in 1931, a victory that established Rolls-Royce as a leader in aerospace. The British racing seaplane that established the record was known as the Supermarine S.6B. Powered by a Rolls-Royce “R” engine, it maxed out at 343 mph that day. By comparison, the current record for an all-electric plane, set by Siemens in 2017, is 210 mph. Parr and his team want to blow the doors off the modern e-flight mark – and they even have their eyes on the Supermarine record.Doing so will require overcoming a series of unique challenges. They’ll need to build an immense battery that’s powerful enough to beat a series of speed and performance records, light enough to fly, and stable enough not to overheat. “We’re monitoring more than 20,000 data points per second, measuring battery voltage, temperature, and overall health of the powertrain, which is responsible for powering the propellers and generating thrust. We’ve already drawn a series of insights from the unique design and integration challenges,” says Parr. “And we’re gaining the knowhow to not only pioneer the field of electric-powered, zero-emissions aviation – but to lead it. At this point, our confidence is sky high.”Rolls-Royce announced the ACCEL project at Farnborough Air Show. Source = Rolls Roycelast_img read more

Kakadu looks to Top End Wedding to provide a Croc Dundee boost

first_imgSource = Kakadu Tourism Kakadu looks to Top End Wedding to provide a Croc Dundee boost to tourismKakadu looks to Top End Wedding to provide a Croc Dundee boost to tourismMiranda Tapsell’s new movie Top End Wedding, which debuted recently at the renowned Sundance Film Festival, is set to once again put the spotlight on some of Australia’s most spectacular outback landscapes.The film features a number of Top End locations, including Kakadu, which rose to international tourism prominence thirty years ago as a result of Paul Hogan’s Crocodile Dundee becoming a smash global hit.Two of the locations that first came to prominence in Crocodile Dundee make a reprise in Top End Wedding: Gunlom (a stunning natural infinity pool and waterfall) and Nourlangie, home to Indigenous rock art dating back thousands of years.The township of Jabiru and its iconic Crocodile Hotel also feature in the film. The cast and crew stayed at the ‘Croc’ for a number of days during the shooting of the film, and a special screening of the film will be staged on the lawns of the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel on Saturday, 1 June, as part of the Northern Territory Travelling Film Festival. The film is also expected to be screened at The Croc during A Taste of Kakadu (10 – 19 May).As with Crocodile Dundee, Top End Wedding is a crowd-pleasing adventure romantic comedy full of colourful characters and spectacular outback scenery that is likely to appeal to both Australian and international audiences.Miranda Tapsell brought an outstanding production team and group of actors to put together the story of a Sydney couple Lauren and Ned who spend a desperate – but funny – 10 days in the Top End of Northern territory trying to find Lauren’s missing mother so that she can be invited to the wedding reception.The film was co-written by Tapsell and Joshua Tyler and is directed by Wayne Blair.  Tapsell came to prominence in Wayne Blair’s debut feature, The Sapphires.General Manager of the Mercure Crocodile Kakadu Hotel, Chris Chaffe, said it was fantastic that Kakadu was once again featuring on the big screen.“Kakadu was made for Hollywood,” said Chaffe.“Crocodile Dundee introduced a world of travellers to Kakadu, and I’m sure that Top End Wedding will attract a new audience.“It is a great way to follow up the announcement of Federal support for upgrading Kakadu infrastructure last month, and also the announcement of best visitor numbers to Kakadu National Park in ten years.”As with Crocodile Dundee, we think that when people see Top End Wedding it could well be the catalyst for converting interest in the destination into bookings. And undoubtedly the best idea for potential visitors is to book for the 1 June weekend and see the film ‘on location’ in the heart of Kakadu.”last_img read more