6 die in Italy when train slams into car on tracks

first_imgItalian news reports said most of those killed were Romanian farm workers.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) ROME (AP) – Italian authorities say six people have died when a regional train slammed into a car that crossed the tracks.Marco Mancini, spokesman for the Italian state railways, says all those killed were riding in the car, which was struck Saturday afternoon. No one aboard the train was injured.The incident occurred near Cosenza, a southern city in Reggio Calabria, in the “toe” of boot-shaped Italy. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Quick workouts for mencenter_img Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

Romania turns hacking crisis into advantage helping Ukraine

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement In this picture taken on March 5, 2015, a map of the United States displayed on a computer screen shows cyber attacks in real time at the headquarters of Bitdefender, a leading Romanian cyber security company, in Bucharest, Romania. Romania, the eastern European country, known more for economic disarray than technological prowess, has become one of the leading nations in Europe in the fight against hacking. The reason: the country’s own battle against Internet renegades and a legacy of computing excellence stemming from Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s regime. (AP Photo/Octav Ganea, Mediafax) ROMANIA OUT Romania’s tradition of computer skills dates back to the communist era when Ceausescu decided to make engineering and math education priorities at top universities.Microsoft, Google and Oracle all have businesses in Romania and there are 93,000 employed in the industry with 6,500 graduating in IT every year, according to Anis, the Romanian software industry association.Romanians also have computer success abroad. Gabriel Marcu has worked at Apple since 1996 and is a senior scientist there, responsible for color calibration on all Apple products.In 2008, Razvan Olosu , the former CEO of Nokia Germany, founded Novero, a company making Telematics products for automotive clients which he ran until 2013.One industry expert said Romania’s success relies on teaching IT from a young age.“Faculties are turning out very good specialists who are highly sought after by big companies,” said Rasirom general manager Aurelian Tolescu.___Peter Leonard in Kiev, Ukraine, Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and John-Thor Dahlburg in Brussels contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories If Romania is a leader in cyber policing today, it can perhaps thank a string of high-profile cases of Romanian hackers attacking the United States in 2011. That year, Romanian cyber criminals stole $1 billion from victims in the U.S., and an unemployed Romanian taxi driver calling himself “Guccifer” hacked the emails of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and former President George W. Bush. Marcel Lehel Lazar accessed and published private Bush family photos, including selfies of Bush who appeared to be shaving in the shower and soaking his feet in a bathtub.The security breaches so alarmed Washington that the FBI launched a program to train 600 Romanian law enforcement officers on fighting cybercrime.Last month, Romanian police broke up an alleged cybercrime ring and arrested 25 Romanians. The Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism said that between February and December 2013, a group of 52 Romanians and foreign citizens carried out more than 34,000 fraudulent cash withdrawals in 24 countries, netting more than euros 15 million ($17 million).The gang targeted banks in Puerto Rico and Oman. Romanian police said the group broke IT firewalls to obtain the details of corporate clients which were used to clone credit cards. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   center_img ErrorOK ErrorOKBoth historic twists have ironically turned Romanian cyber sleuths into some of Europe’s best. So much so that NATO tapped Bucharest to defend Ukraine from Russian digital espionage by sending experts to monitor Kiev government institutes and train Ukrainian IT specialists.Ukraine says Russia’s Federal Security Service is coordinating attacks on government offices as part of a proxy war against Ukraine’s government, amid real fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels in the east. Ukrainian security operatives say that, with Romania’s help, they have foiled attempts to spread malicious software intended to disable the government’s computer network or steal intelligence.At NATO’s summit last year in Wales, President Barack Obama and other leaders decided to create five “trust funds” — or narrowly focused programs funded by NATO member counties that are meant to help Ukraine reform and modernize its defense capabilities. — including one for cyber defense to help Ukraine’s military modernize.Romania, a member of NATO’s cyber coalition exercises, volunteered to lead the Ukraine Cyber Defense Trust Fund — and tapped the state-owned Rasirom company. The alliance notes the Rasirom, the cyber-security provider for Romania’s top state institutions, has “a rich experience in cyber defense.” “We are trying to be a regional leader,” Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta said in e meeting with foreign media outlets. “That is why Romania … has been appointed by NATO to be in charge of (Ukraine’s) cyber security and preventing cyber warfare.”At the opening of a regional conference on cyber security, U.S deputy Secretary for Commerce Bruce Andrews on Monday praised Romanian company Bitdefender which created “Bitdefender Box.” one of the first security products made specifically for home networks. It protects devices by scanning network traffic to detect and block potential security threats and noted that Romanian was the second language spoken at Microsoft in offices around the world, after English.Ukraine itself had no say on which country NATO tapped to provide its cyber security. But since 2013 it has cooperated with Romania on fighting hacking, phishing, child porn and DDoS attacks, which attempt to disable a website by swamping it with traffic.Europol is also tapping into Romania’s cyber savvy. The European police agency’s chief, Ron Wainright, said 20 percent of Europol’s cyber defense experts are Romanian police officers. “The expertise that Romanian specialists bring in their daily fight against this threat is extraordinary,” he said on a recent visit to Bucharest. BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Ukraine is turning to an unlikely partner in its struggle to defend itself against Russian cyber warfare: Romania.The eastern European country known more for economic disarray than technological prowess has become one of the leading nations in Europe in the fight against hacking. The reason: the country’s own battle against Internet renegades and a legacy of computing excellence stemming from Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s regime. Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous oflast_img read more

Apple CEO meets with Chinese vice premier in Beijing

first_img Top Stories BEIJING (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook met with a top Chinese official in Beijing while touring a country that has become the tech giant’s biggest driver of sales growth, state media reported.Cook met with Vice Premier Liu Yandong in the Zhongnanhai leadership compound Tuesday, the official Xinhua News Agency said. They reportedly discussed how to promote greater scientific and educational cooperation between China and the U.S. Xinhua said Cook also visited an elementary school in Beijing earlier Tuesday to talk about innovation. A day earlier, Cook announced cooperation between Apple and the environmental group the World Wildlife Fund to responsibly manage Chinese forests and minimize the company’s environmental impact.After trying to break into the Chinese market, Apple has seen spectacular success over the past year, particularly with iPhone sales in the country. China accounts for 30 percent of total Apple revenue, with Chinese sales growing by 71 percent in the last quarter.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Sponsored Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Greeks worry about impact of refugee crisis on tourism

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk From there, they head to the mainland. Last week, about 2,000 boarded ferries for the mainland with papers allowing them to remain in Greece for up to six months. Most are trying to make their way to more prosperous EU countries, heading overland by foot across Greece’s northern border into Macedonia or trying to sneak onto Italy-bound ferries from western Greek ports.Lesbos’ mayor, who has set up a refugee camp and appealed directly to the European Union for help, said the impact on tourism has so far been limited. Spyros Galinos noted that the port area is no longer full of migrants and ripped up inflatable dinghies.“Today the cruise ship came. The port is clean. It has order and it can receive these visitors,” he said last week. “The blows we could have sustained so far we have managed to avoid.”But just a few days later, local media said a cruise ship refused to dock at Lesbos and changed course for the more northern island of Lemnos, citing concerns over the refugee crisis.Molyvos is one of Lesbos’ top tourist attractions. Located on the island’s northern shore, it is also the closest point to Turkey, making it equally attractive to desperate refugees and migrants from war-ravaged or impoverished countries hoping for a better life in the European Union. The vast majority of those landing in Lesbos are refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and to a smaller degree from some African countries. Many come with their families, with hundreds of children and babies among the arrivals.“This is a new thing for us. We always had migrants here, but never in these numbers,” said Komninos Kalpakis, taking a break while working at his brother’s fish restaurant on the Molyvos waterfront. “I never imagined we would be rescuing thousands from the sea.”The businesses in the harbor “haven’t generally been affected by this issue of the migrants,” Kalpakis said. “Most tourists see them with compassion, with a desire to help if they can.”Not everyone agrees the impact on tourism has been minimal. The main port of Mytilene, which has borne the brunt of the influx, has frequently been packed with refugees sleeping outside while waiting to be processed.Giorgos Papageorgiou owns a hotel opposite the port’s entrance. He said his clients are usually vacationing Turks who arrive by ferry, and that many have stopped coming.“We have a big problem. … They’re causing a lot of damage to the hotel because the clients see this situation, they speak of disease, they speak of dirt … and they’re right. And they say they won’t come back to this place again,” he said. “We’re suffering a lot of losses. We have cancellations.” Sponsored Stories MOLYVOS, Greece (AP) — On the waterfront beneath this village of stone houses cascading down a castle-topped hill, two worlds collide. Tourists saunter along the pier, gazing at the fishing boats bobbing in the harbor. A group of Afghan children who risked their lives to get here on an overloaded dinghy play in the shallow water.Greece’s island of Lesbos, a popular holiday destination for Europeans and Greeks alike, has found itself at the center of a migration crisis. Tens of thousands of people from the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia have traveled to the country’s eastern Aegean islands this year, using them as a gateway to mainland Greece and from there northward to new lives in more prosperous European Union countries. “It is very sad. It goes through my heart for those people and the children who are hungry,” said Dutch tourist Marianna Kuipers. “On the other hand, it’s my vacation and that’s not nice to see.”The refugees “need help very quickly,” she said, before wading into the water to talk to the young Afghans.Tourism is just about the only industry doing well as Greece reels from a vicious financial crisis, and locals and officials are worried about what will happen if the arrivals continue to increase.“There are hundreds of people arriving every day. Soon it won’t be manageable,” said Periklis Antoniou, the head of the Lesvos Hoteliers Association, which uses an alternative spelling for the island’s name. He said that while few tourists are complaining, and some are even helping the refugees, immediate measures are needed.“The summer will pass and the damage to the country will be huge,” he warned.So far this year, nearly half of the 55,000 migrants who have reached Greece by sea from Turkey have arrived in Lesbos, Greece’s third-largest island. More than 25,000 have landed along its northern and eastern coastline, a staggering 620 percent increase over the number that had arrived at this point last year, according to the island’s coast guard. In all of 2014, it said, 11,000 migrants landed on Lesbos. The vital role family plays in society New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img In this photo taken on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 tourists with a scooter pass by Afghan migrants, at the port of Molyvos, also known by its official name Mithymna, on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos. More than 25,000 migrants have arrived this year in Greece’s third largest island as many locals and officials say the crisis has not yet severely impacted the island’s lucrative tourist industry, a major source of income, and visitors have shown compassion and understanding. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) Top Stories But back in Molyvos, Dimitris Tekes, who owns a small hotel and bustling cafe near the fish restaurant, said none of his clients have said they’ll stay away because of the situation.The refugees “have never bothered anyone,” said Tekes, who is also the general secretary of the island’s hoteliers’ association. But, he added, “it would better if the migrants weren’t so visible among the people here.”There is one thing everyone agrees on: Lesbos cannot cope alone, and desperately needs assistance from the government and from other EU countries, which Greece says must share the burden.“We have no help from anywhere,” said Antoniou, the hotel association head. “They’ve left an island of a few thousand residents to deal with a problem of the whole European Union.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 0 Comments   Share   Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more

Fallen Egypt archaeologist wants international Grand Museum

first_imgHawass insisted during the interview that he is focused on writing and has no desire to return to his previous position as head of the country’s antiquities. “People come here every day and ask me to come back… I think I did my duty, and it’s time for me now to publish all that I discovered.”But at the glitzy launch of his latest book earlier this month at a ceremony at a five-star hotel attended by hundreds of Cairo’s elite, he was less guarded about possible ambitions to return.“Maybe,” he said, as a torrent of fans pressed to take photos next to him.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility His trademark wide-brimmed hat and safari vest may be hung up for now, but he is brimming with ideas on how to revive Egypt’s antiquities and bring back tourists after years of unrest.A long-planned new facility out by the pyramids, called the Grand Egyptian Museum, was intended to open this year, but the government says it is short the one billion dollars needed to complete the project.“Government routine cannot work for museums,” Hawass said in an interview in his office, asserting that state bureaucracy is one of the main reasons the current Egyptian Museum has fallen into disrepair. For the new museum, “the directorship, the curatorship, it can be from America, from Germany, from England, from any place in the world. You need this museum to be international.”He also says private, international sponsorship is needed.“If you pay $10,000, I put your name, written on the wall of the museum. If you pay $100,000, I put your name on the facade of the museum. If you build a whole gallery, I will name (the gallery after you),” he said, adding that the government should announce that Egyptian monuments belong to the entire world, not just Egyptians. Four benefits of having a wireless security system In this June 18, 2015 photo, Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former head of antiquities, stands next to his new book, “The legend of Tutankhamun,” as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office in Cairo. For more than a decade, he was the self-styled Indiana Jones of Egypt, presiding over its antiquities and striding through temples and tombs as the star of TV documentaries that made him an international celebrity. But four years after the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak and nearly ended his own career, Hawass can be found in a cramped office, lamenting the state of the antiquities bureaucracy he once ruled like a pharaoh and dreaming of a new museum whose fate lies in limbo. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Mesa family survives lightning strike to home His name is still associated with many of Egypt’s most famous digs, including grand discoveries such as the Valley of the Golden Mummies in Bahariya Oasis in 1999 and the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut almost a decade later. He has long campaigned to bring home ancient artifacts spirited out of Egypt during colonial times, and once said he had managed to recover 5,000 pieces.Zahi was an outspoken supporter of his longtime patron Mubarak, and has praised President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who led the military overthrow of an Islamist president in 2013 and was elected last year. But that support has not translated into an official role other than promotional work for tourism in Egypt.When asked about the state of antiquities today, Hawass says things have improved over the last year, carefully avoiding direct criticism of anyone in particular. But he points out that there is still theft, mismanagement and corruption — noting two incidents in recent months in which artifacts were found to have been replaced with replicas.“This did not happen before,” he said, adding that in order to prevent such abuses, “we need to restore the people before we restore antiquities,” by boosting employees’ salaries and providing them with health insurance.center_img As to the challenge of moving artifacts from the current museum in downtown Cairo over bumpy roads to the site of the new facility on the city’s outskirts, Hawass says “any TV channel” would pick up the tab in return for exclusive rights to document the artifacts’ restoration and transport. “They will run in competition to do this,” he said.Hawass knows TV. He was once a staple on the Discovery Channel and had his own reality show on the History Channel called “Chasing Mummies,” the promo for which introduced him by saying “100,000 years of history belong to one man… Only he holds the key to the world’s greatest ruins.”The productions earned him droves of fans abroad but led to accusations of grandstanding in Egypt, where he was seen by many as a self-promoter who mistreated subordinates and abused his position for personal gain. He lost his job as head of antiquities after the 2011 uprising and faced corruption charges, of which he was later cleared.But his swashbuckling antics gave a boost to Egyptian archaeology, with fundraising efforts and international tours of King Tut artifacts generating tens of millions of dollars. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help CAIRO (AP) — For more than a decade, he was the self-styled Indiana Jones of Egypt, presiding over its antiquities and striding through temples and tombs as the star of TV documentaries that made him an international celebrity.But four years after the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak and nearly ended his own career, Zahi Hawass can be found in a cramped Cairo office, lamenting the state of the antiquities bureaucracy he once ruled like a pharaoh and dreaming of a new museum whose fate lies in limbo.last_img read more

Greater China drives IHGs half year results

first_imgThe InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has released its financial results for the half year to 30 June 2010, with solid performance due to their leadership position in Greater China.”Trading strengthened as the first half progressed with global Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) up 3.9 percent overall and 7.4 percent in the second quarter. Asia is leading the recovery with Greater China reporting RevPAR up 29.4 percent in the half,” Chief Executive of IHG, Andrew Cosslett said. Greater China’s strong regional performance was boosted by the Global Expo in Shanghai where RevPAR grew 48.4 percent. “Rates are now stabilising across the world, with most markets seeing rate growth towards the end of the first half. The economic environment does remain uncertain, however, with short booking windows and limited visibility,” Mr Cosslett said. The growth was driven by strong occupancy rates, with business travellers returning in greater number. Efforts during the economic downturn to reduce costs, drive revenue and build the strength of IHG’s system and brands helped to accommodate this growth, according to Mr Cosslett. “In the first half we signed 130 hotels and opened 148, despite the tough financing environment. The quality of these new hotels is exceptionally high, particularly in China where both our pipeline and system of open hotels are skewed towards more upscale developments.” Total gross revenue from all hotels in IHG’s system was $8.9bn, up nine percent at constant currency.Recent additions bring IHG’s total system to 656,661 rooms across 4,503 hotels, an increase of four percent. IHG also signed a further 19,126 rooms over 130 hotels, taking the pipeline to 197,431 rooms across 1,302 hotels. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Clast_img read more

UAL Continental shareholders approve merger

first_imgThe shareholders of United Airlines (UAL) and Continental Airlines approved the merger of the two companies on Friday 17 September, with the new entity due to become the world’s largest air carrier. More than 98 per cent of Continental’s shareholders approved UAL’s US$3.17 billion all-stock purchase of the airline at a meeting in Houston, Airwise reported.”We are grateful for our stockholders’ strong vote of confidence in this merger,” Continental’s chairman, president and CEO, Jeff Smisek said.”In approving the transaction, our stockholders recognised the value of bringing together Continental and United to create a platform for increased profitability and sustainable long-term value.” Similarly, UAL’s shareholder’s voted in favour of the merger with a 98 per cent margin at their Chicago meeting.The merger is set to be completed within the next 18 months, realising between US$1 billion and US$1.2 billion in annual revenue and cost benefits by 2013.”We would have a company that would be an investable company, a leading company and we’ve created what has every opportunity by almost every imaginable measure to be the best company in the industry,” UAL’s CEO, Glenn Tilton said. Plans for the merger were announced in May, before it received clearance from the European Commission in July and gained antitrust approval from the US government in August. The merged entity will be based in Chicago and headed by Continental CEO Mr Smisek. UAL’s Mr Tilton will become non-executive chairman of the carrier.The UAL/Continental deal is the first major US airline merger since Delta Air Lines acquired Northwest Airlines in 2008. UAL,Continental tail Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Clast_img read more

Americas economies led by tourism WTTC

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Tourism to the Americas is worth a total $1.9 trillion dollars, says WTTC Highlighting the significance of tourism to the area, a new study has found that the travel and tourism industry in the Americas region is three times the size of automotive manufacturing and a third larger than the global chemicals and mining industries. Released at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) inaugural Regional Summit of the Americas in Riviera Maya, Mexico, the WTTC study revealed that the sector’s direct contribution to the Americas GDP in 2011 was US$666 billion, while its total contribution to GDP was valued at around $1.9 trillion. This compares favorably to the automotive, mining and chemicals industries, which contributed six, six and seven per cent to GDP respectively. In addition to this, the research found that travel and tourism’s contribution to GDP was increasing more rapidly than most other sectors in the region – according to the survey, the industry will grow by 3.6 per cent over the next ten years, compared to the growth rates of mining (1.5%), education (2%), chemicals (2.5%) and financial services (3.4%).  On the jobs front, the research undertaken by Oxford Economics, found that travel and tourism directly employed some 15 million people, easily surpassing the job creation of mining (2.5m), chemicals manufacturing (2.5m), automotive (4m) and financial services (10m). Proving that expenditure on travel was “more powerful” than that of most other sectors, the study showed that for every US$1 million spent on tourism and hospitality in Mexico, the industry generated a further $1.5 million to the overall national economy as well as 66 jobs (compared to an average of 42 for all sectors).Case studies on the United States, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil and Argentina drew similar conclusions. WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill said the findings were “extraordinary”.“These figures prove that it is time that the governments really sit up and take notice of the travel and tourism industry,” he remarked. “As a driver of economic recovery and growth in a very turbulent time, the industry stands apart for the sheer scale of its ability to create jobs and growth in every part of the globe and especially in the Americas as shown by this study.”In related news, research by UNWTO and WTTC presented at the T20 Ministers’ Meeting in Merida, Mexico, has revealed that improving international visa processes may create an additional five million jobs in G20 economies by 2015.According to the study, better visa processing could see G20 economies boost their international tourist numbers by around 122 million in three years, generating an extra $206 billion in tourism exports.last_img read more

WW2 bomb forces closure of Japanese airport

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J. Japan may be far from the winds of Hurricane Sandy, but all flights to and from Sendai Airport were cancelled this week after a World War II bomb was found near a runway.The undetonated weapon was found on Monday night by construction workers drilling in the area, The Japan Daily Press reported.Self-Defence Force were called in to remove the 110 centimetres long and 35 centimetres in diameter bomb and identified it as being made in the US and a potential dud from World War II.Resting for more than 60 years, authorities said the explosive appeared rusty, which can make bombs prone to detonation when moved.According to the report, finding an undetonated bomb in Japan is not unusual, with many cities across the country targeted by American bombers during the 1940s.    last_img read more

qualia Hamilton Island Tops Off 2012 With Two Additional Accolades

first_imgqualia, Hamilton Island’s luxury resort situated on the edge of the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, has enjoyed a multitude of awards in 2012; with two additional accolades announced just this week.On Tuesday evening at the second annualAustralian TravellerReaders’ Choice Awards, qualia was named the Best Resort in Australia. The Readers’ Choice Awards are the only consumer awards for tourism in Australia, with over 1000 Australian Traveller magazine readers nominating their all-time favourite travel destinations and experiences throughout the country. This award comes less than two months after qualia was named the Best in the World and Best Resort in the Oceania region in international readers’ choice awards, the 2012 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.Hamilton Island’s luxury resort was also this week named in HotelsCombined’s inaugural list of Top 10 Hotels for 2012. With over 350,000 hotels in its global database, HotelsCombined recognises that there is a small handful of properties that continually stand out for their amazing amenities and breathtaking views, leading them to create the inaugural Top 10 Hotels for 2012 list.Michael Shah, qualia’s General Manager, said: “We have had an incredibly successful year at qualia, and it’s immensely rewarding for the Oatley family and all our staff to receive these esteemed accolades, particularly those voted personally by our guests.’qualia is idyllically located on Hamilton Island’s sun-drenched northern-most tip. A member of Relais & Châteaux and Luxury Lodges of Australia, the multi-award winning resort is set amongst native Eucalypts, with breathtaking views of the surrounding Whitsunday Islands and tranquil Coral Sea. qualia’s 60 luxurious guest pavilions are an indulgent space to unwind in, with either a sundeck or private infinity edge plunge pool. The resort boasts two exclusive bars and restaurants, a private dining room, two infinity-edged pools, library, fitness centre and Spa qualia, an award-winning retreat unto itself. qualia also hosts several special events for its guests each year, including the popular Australian Ballet’s ‘Pas de Deux in Paradise’ performance under the stars, and the Great Barrier Feast gourmet culinary weekends.Guests of qualia also have full access to Hamilton Island’s Yacht Club and marina, and the world-class 18-hole championship golf course on neighbouring Dent Island, accessible via private helicopter direct from qualia or short boat ride.In 2012 alone, qualia has been awarded the following accolades: Australian Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards: Best Resort in AustraliaHotelsCombined: Top 10 Hotels for 2012Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards: Best in the World and Best Resort in the Oceania regionUK Condé Nast Traveller Gold List – Best for Leisure Facilities WISH Magazine’s Travel Top 50 – Best Australian Hotel2012 Hotel Management Awards: Best Resort, Best Spa and Best Hotel ChefLuxury Travel magazine Gold List – Best Australian Boutique Property, Villa or LodgeAustralian Gourmet Traveller Magazine – 2012 Travel Awards, Best Spa and Best Australian Island ResortTripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice List 2012: Luxury Hotel’s in Australia, Luxury Hotel’s in the South Pacific, Relaxation/Spa Hotels in Australia and Relaxation/Spa Hotels in the South Pacific Source = qualialast_img read more

Air Astana adds Vietnam to Asia network

first_imgAsian network has been a “high priority” for the carrier. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Kazakhstan’s flag carrier, Air Astana has expanded its reach across Asia, with the launch of services from Almaty to Ho Chi Minh City.Taking off this week, the carrier will fly to Ho Chi Minh via Bangkok for a total flight time of nine hours and return to Almaty non-stop in only seven hours. Flights will initially be operated on Wednesdays and Fridays using a Boeing 757 configured in a 16 business class / 150 economy class layout. Air Astana president Peter Foster said increasing the airline’s Asian network has been a “high priority” and expects Ho Chi Minh to serve as a “popular” destination for tourists from Kazakhstan and neighbouring countries. The carrier currently operates flights to 50 international and domestic services, including seven Asian destinations; Bangkok, Beijing, Delhi, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Ho Chi Minh City.last_img read more

helloworld building momentum

first_img“We’re delighted with our new store design… it’s a comfortable and friendly environment where customers can seek expert travel advice about researching, planning and booking their holiday,” helloworld Waverly Gardens owner Debbie Wilkie said. Following a successful consumer launch, travel retailer helloworld continues to grow, with more than 650 locations reportedly signed on to switch to the helloworld brand. Branded agents can opt to upgrade their locations to become ‘Ambassador’ stores, featuring new collaborative spaces and interactive technologies. helloworld have signed up over 225 locations and already refreshed more than 60 stores with new branding, while a further 425 locations are due to transition over before the end of the year.  The new travel retailer’s chief executive Rob Gurney said the agent uptake of the new travel brand continues to exceed expectations. Source = ETB News: P.T. helloworld recently revealed the layout of their concept store to media and partners in Melbourne and have also launched their new consumer website, powered by Orbitz Worldwide technology.last_img read more

SwissBelhotel brings SwissSupersuites to Sydney

first_imgGlobal hospitality management chain, Swiss-Belhotel International, has added even more luxury to The York by Swiss-Belhotel in Sydney with the introduction of stunning new suites.The Swiss-SuperSuites range from studios to a three-bedroom penthouse and have been designed with the hotel’s special guests in mind, giving the upscale property greater appeal to leisure or business travellers. Swiss-Belhotel International chairman and president Gavin Faull, said the new suites will add a lot of appeal to the property. “From the busy senior executive to the guest looking for an inner city oasis of relaxation, the Swiss-SuperSuites are a luxury experience to remember,” Mr Faull said.The York by Swiss-Belhotel is a serviced residence with 150 suites, with spacious rooms ranging from 60 square metres to 165 square metres.It offers studios, one, two and three-bedroom suites, with some boasting stunning Sydney Harbour views.Swiss-Belhotel International currently has more than 125 hotels, resort and projects in its global portfolio.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Accommodation sector driving tourism growth

first_imgAccommodation sector driving tourism growthFigures released in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Tourism Satellite Account show that growth in the accommodation sector has been a major contributor to the impressive performance of the tourism industry in 2014-15.The ABS figures showed that tourism contributed $47.5 billion to the economy, representing 5.3% growth for the year and delivering 3% of Gross Domestic Product, three times the growth for the total economy.The accommodation sector led the way, with growth of 7% to $7 billion.Tourism continues to drive employment growth across Australia.  In 2014-15, the number of people directly employed in the tourism industry reached 580,800, an increase of 6.3 per cent on 2013-14.Direct employment in the accommodation sector grew by 10,500 to 87,500 in 2014-15, making accommodation the third largest contributor to tourism jobs.Overall, tourism supports close to one million jobs, representing about 10 per cent of Australia’s total employment.Tourism is now one of Australia’s largest export earners, with international visitors contributing $30.7 billion (an increase of 9%) in 2014-15, making up 9.6% of total Australian exports.Commenting on the figures, CEO of Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), Carol Giuseppi, said that rapid growth in hotel development, coupled with major upgrading of existing hotel stock, was having a significant impact on the tourism industry’s expansion.“We have up to 100 new hotels scheduled to come on stream over the next five years, and this is fuelling major growth in leisure, business, conference and events related travel,” said Ms Giuseppi.“New hotel development is a vital component of tourism infrastructure and helps ensure that Australia is competitive with other destinations.“The Government is to be congratulated for its elevation of the tourism industry’s importance and for making tourism infrastructure a national investment priority.“A Government sponsored report identified that the tourism industry would need 123,000 workers, including over 60,000 skilled workers, over the next five years, which highlights the industry’s pre-eminent potential to drive jobs growth.“To deliver its full potential we still need the Government to provide support through proactive policies to drive demand and reduce impediments to growth.” Tourism Accommodation Australiaclick here for special offersSource = Tourism Accommodation Australialast_img read more

Amadeus delivers a game changer for corporate travel

first_imgAmadeus delivers a game changer for corporate travelThe fundamental mechanics of corporate travel haven’t changed for around half a century: flight-taxi-hotel-meeting. What has changed dramatically is the power of the traveller: they are more demanding, mobile and have access to more information than ever before.Employees generally want to be good corporate citizens, but struggle to work with limited content, inflexible policy and antiquated technology – why should they when innovative OTAs give them a brilliant experience for their leisure travel?That’s why Amadeus is investing in the next big thing: the most innovative technology platform that will offer a world of benefits to Travel Management Companies (TMCs), corporations and corporate travellers. Highly customisable and scalable, Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense is based on open and flexible architecture that enables it to be adapted to each customers’ needs.Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense is an integrated solution that allows corporations to manage their travel programmes effortlessly from trip planning, to booking, accounting and reimbursement – all in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. It means employees won’t need to look anywhere else, and that means they stay in policy.Tony Carter, Managing Director, Amadeus IT Pacific, said, “Like most of us, I’m a compulsive business traveller and travel enthusiast, and we all know what a great travel experience should look like. We’ve been delivering that with our best-in-breed AeTM online booking technology, but we’re not resting on our laurels and it’s time to step up the game. We’re going to put corporations in the driving seat by giving them control and visibility over their travel spend, as well as flexibility to their travellers.”Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense will be available in Australia later in 2016, alongside AeTM. Amadeus is working towards a one solution offering, combining the best features of AeTM and Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense to meet customer demands.Amadeus will engage with AeTM resellers to study their needs and help them assess how Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense would best meet their requirements, and those of their customers.Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense will also be available via our agency and channel partners. AmadeusFor ticket bookings and more informationSource = Amadeuslast_img read more

TravelManagers consistent nomination in Travel Industry Awards

first_imgTravelManagers consistent nomination in Travel Industry AwardsTravelManagers has been named a finalist for the ninth consecutive year in the ‘Best Travel Agency Retail – Multi Location’ category in the 2017 National Travel Industry Awards.TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager Michael Gazal is quick to recognise the support of its partner suppliers.“We are extremely grateful for the support of our partner suppliers. It is testimony to how highly TravelManagers is regarded by these suppliers, to be consistently nominated in NTIA’s, prestigious ‘Best Travel Agency Retail – Multi Location’ category again this year.”TravelManagers has clearly matured as Australia’s largest and most experienced home-based travel consultant brand.“We are extremely proud that our personal travel managers on average, have 21 years of industry experience. It is this knowledge and expertise, combined with their genuine love and passion for travel that ensures their clients receive tailor made and co-created itineraries the majority of which are based around personal experience which we attribute to being a key to our success,” says Gazal.TravelManagers state of the art technology is also a critical to company’s success.“With our personal travel managers having full 24/7 access to all systems including mid and back office, this enables them to process every aspect of their client’s booking at any time that suits them. Our personal travel managers can then focus on the tailoring of travel arrangements to suit their individual client’s tastes and needs and deliver on our promise of providing exceptional client service.  With our continued advanced technology focus and personal travel manager knowledge and experience, our clients receive the best travel experiences and value for money holidays that is unrivalled in the industry,” says Gazal.Gazal highlights TravelManagers consistent service delivery is backed by the local support of state-based business partnership managers.“TravelManagers is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year business. We recognize that behind the scenes central and local state-based support is crucial to the success of our personal travel managers. The locally based business partnership managers combined with the national partnership office providing technology, training, marketing, ticketing and fares and all round support which adds huge value and make that extra difference when it comes to service standards.”Whilst some may view the personal travel manager concept as a unique distribution channel, there is no doubting its place and growing importance in the industry as a whole.“With more than 510 personal travel managers throughout the country in every state and territory TravelManagers as the only truly national home-based host agency is a model that clearly works and this is further vindicated with our ninth nomination in the NTIA travel agent awards. We regard our finalist nomination as success in itself – nine really is a charm!” says Gazal. TravelManagersSource = Travel Managerslast_img read more

Qantas Business Rewards and American Express launch new card

first_imgQantas Business Rewards and American Express launch new cardQantas Business Rewards and American Express launch new cardQantas Business Rewards and American Express have launched the first charge card where Australian small and medium businesses can earn Qantas Points directly on their everyday business spending.The American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card will allow card members to earn up to two Qantas Points per dollar spent on card purchases.Key benefits include:Triple Qantas Points on eligible Qantas flights. That is in addition to points earned when using the card to pay forflights and the points earned by the individual Qantas Frequent Flyer member travelling.Two Qantas Points per $1 spent on Qantas products and services, such as flights, Qantas Club membership, andpurchases through the Qantas Store (uncapped).1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on everyday business purchases (uncapped).0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on utilities, insurance and with government organisations including the AustralianTaxation Office (uncapped).Two complimentary Qantas Club lounge passes per card membership year.Complimentary domestic and international travel insurance for the card member, their partner, dependents and anyemployees with supplementary cards when travel is paid for with the card.Launch offer of 100,000 bonus Qantas Points for new card members approved by 31 December 2017 who spend$3,000 within first two months.Qantas Loyalty CEO Lesley Grant said the new card will make business spend more rewarding for small businesses.“Consumers can already earn Qantas Points using a points-earning card so we want to make it just as easy for small businesses to do that too,” Ms Grant said.“Using this card for their everyday business expenses means companies can quickly boost their Qantas Points balance and use their points to help save on costs by booking flights, rewarding employees or redeeming them for a new office item through the Qantas Store.“The card is a great way for Qantas Business Rewards members to ‘triple-dip’ on the Qantas Points they’re earning when they fly and ‘double-dip’ on spend on the ground with our Qantas Business Rewards program partners.”Martin Seward, Vice President, Global Commercial Payments, American Express said, “Who doesn’t want to earn Qantas Points for business expenditures you were making anyway?”“Recent American Express research found that nearly half (48 percent) of Australian small business travellers said the ability to earn and redeem points was a key contributing factor to their satisfaction with their card1. We know that American Express’ and Qantas’ reward programs are the most popular of their kind amongst Australian consumers and we’re pleased to offer Qantas Points along with a host of other benefits to small and medium businesses through the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card.”The American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card offers up to 51 interest free days on purchases and no pre-set spending limit, giving greater flexibility for businesses. The product offers up to 99 Supplementary Cards for employees at no additional cost, making it easier for businesses to accumulate Qantas Points quickly.Source = Qantas Business Rewardslast_img read more

Vietjet introduces first A321neo

first_imgVietjet introduces first A321neoVietjet introduces first A321neo “new-engine option” aircraft to Southeast AsiaNew-age carrier Vietjet has become the first airline in Southeast Asia to take delivery of an A321neo (new engine option) after the Airbus aircraft landed at Tan Son Nhat International Airport from Hamburg, Germany. The A321neo, registered as VN-646, is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation GTF engines.Fitted out with 230 comfy leather-covered seats and high-quality carpeting, the first five rows of Vietjet’s spacious new A321neo have been especially designed to accommodate passengers flying Skyboss, the airline’s premium service. The aircraft’s interior also features a unique color-changing LED light system and striking décor to create a comfortable and refreshing ambience through the whole cabin.The brand new A321neo incorporates the latest in engine design, advanced aerodynamics and cabin innovations. According to the aircraft manufacturer, its GTF engines offer a significant reduction in fuel consumption — at least 16 percent from day one and 20 percent by 2020 — as well 75% reduction in noise and 50% in emissions. The engines were first introduced by Pratt & Whitney in 2016. Vietjet is one of the very first airlines in the world to incorporate the engines to its aircraft. The A321neo is also the 17th aircraft delivered to Vietjet from Airbus in 2017.The new aircraft will begin operating on domestic and international routes to and from Vietnam in January 2018. On receiving the aircraft, Vietjet also announced its decision to upgrade an existing order for 42 A320neo aircraft to the superior, and larger, A321neo models. Accordingly, the airline now has a total of 73 A321neo and 11 A321ceo on order for future delivery.“We are proud when a dynamic airline like Vietjet endorses our products,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus Chief Operating Officer and President Commercial Aircraft. “The A321neo combines higher capacity with the lowest operating costs in its class, offering unbeatable efficiency. This aircraft will be a real asset in Vietjet’s expansion plans in such a competitive market. We look forward to seeing the A321neo flying in Vietjet colours.”“The A320 family aircraft has greatly contributed to Vietjet’s impressive operation performances with the airline’s technical reliability rate standing at 99.6% in 2017. The aircraft have also helped us maintain some of the lowest operating costs in the airline world,” said Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, Vietjet President and CEO. “The upgraded A321neo deal once again emphazises Vietjet’s ceaseless efforts to modernize our fleet. We believe that the technical reliability rate and other operation and safety indexes will continue to go up in order to bring maximum comfort, joy and safety to our valued passengers.”The A320 Family is the world’s best-selling single-aisle product line and comprises four models (A318, A319, A320, A321) seating from 100 to 240 seats. With more than 5,300 orders received from 95 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo family has captured some 60 percent share of the market.Source = Vietjetlast_img read more

MoT takes steps to ensure Safety Security to Foreign Tourists

first_imgThe Ministry of Tourism, to ensure safety and security for tourists, including foreign tourists has undertaken certain safety steps to provide a safe and peaceful tourism experience.These steps which ensure safety and security are as below:i) The Ministry of Tourism, on a pilot basis, has set up the ‘Incredible India Help Line’ to guide the tourists.ii) Adoption of code of conduct for Safe and Hon’ble Tourism, which contains a set of guidelines to encourage tourism activities to be undertaken with respect to basic rights like dignity, safety and freedom from exploitation of both tourists and local residents, in particular women and children.iii) All the Chief Ministers of the State Governments and Administrators of Union Territory Administrations have been asked to take immediate effective steps for ensuring a conducive and friendly environment for all tourists and also request them to publicize the steps being taken/proposed to be taken to increase the sense of security amongst the present/prospective visitors and also to counter the negative publicity, if any.iv) In the wake of some unfortunate incidents involving foreign tourists, Ministry of Tourism has also posted an advisory on its website www.incredibleindia.org.v) Guidelines on Safety & Security of Tourist for State Governments/Union Territories and Tips for Travellers have been formulated in August 2014 and circulated to all State Governments and Union Territories. These guidelines have been issued with an objective to help/provide direction to the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations in formulating guidelines for tourists’ safety and security.The guidelines also include ‘tips for travellers’ and cover the following:> Precautions to be taken during pre-travel arrangements.> Travel information on calamities/situations by the State Government.> Identifying, locating tourists in times of emergency.> Government communication and inter agency coordination.> Regulations of service providers (Transport Services, Accommodation Sector).> Regulating leisure and recreational services including adventure sports.> Address insolvencies and dispute settlement.> Enforcement.last_img read more

New Tourism Policy in Maharashtra promises complete industry status plus incentives

first_imgDevendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, has approved the new Tourism Policy 2016, granting complete industry status to the sector along with the financial incentives accorded to investments for the same in the state.Tourism had enjoyed industry status in the state since 1999 but was deprived of the financial incentives.Under the new policy, tourism projects will be categorised as mega, ultramega, large, medium, small and micro. The policy will provide benefits like reimbursement of VAT, concession in luxury taxes, power and stamp duty.Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary Tourism and Culture, Government of Maharashtra, said, “With the new Tourism Policy, we shall witness high growth in tourists coming to Maharashtra. The fiscal incentives are highly encouraging…the policy lays a road map for the niche segments of the industry.”To ensure seamless business activity in the state, the new policy will provide a five-yearly renewal of licenses instead of an annual renewal. This has been a long drawn demand of the hotel and restaurant industry in the state.With the new policy in operation, the state now expects an increase in investments in the sector to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore, generating approximately 10,000 new jobs. The policy also envisages doubling of tourism revenue in the next five years.A new tourism directorate will be set up to monitor the implementation of the policy.last_img read more