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Sneak Peek savings in the UK Europe with BackRoads Touring

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first_img Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Back-Roads Touring Thursday, May 25, 2017 ‘Sneak Peek’ savings in the U.K. & Europe with Back-Roads Touringcenter_img LONDON — Back-Roads Touring has announced its Exclusive Sneak Peek Special, which includes savings of up to $1,080 per couple on some of its most popular tours in the U.K. and Europe.Unveiled ahead of the company’s full 2018 UK & Europe product launch later this summer, the Special will be available from now until Aug. 21. A total of nine tours will receive 10% off as part of the pre-release special, including the popular ‘Corners of Cornwall’, ‘Italian Indulgence’, ‘Iberian Inspiration’ and more.James Tedesco, Vice President of Sales – North America, said now is the perfect time for holidaymakers to book the U.K. and Europe. “Back-Roads tours are purpose built to deliver authentic experiences off the traditional tourist track that feed the mature traveller’s sense of discovery, and we’re excited to be providing our customers with the opportunity to make great savings on select 2018 tours to beat the rush,” he said.More news:  Venice to ban cruise ships from city centre starting next monthTours included in the Exclusive Sneak Peek Special include: ‘Corners of Cornwall’; ‘A Scottish Journey’; ‘Ireland – the Emerald Isle’; ‘Discover Portugal’; ‘Iberian Inspiration’; ‘Italian Indulgence’; ‘Highlights of England’; ‘Corners of Southern Ireland’; and ‘Tuscan Treats’.“From wine tastings and cooking classes in the Tuscan countryside to savouring Scotland’s scenic highlands or exploring the old haunts of England’s literary greats, each itinerary is brimful with unique local experiences and led by passionate and knowledgeable tour leaders that mark the Back-Roads difference,” added Tedesco.For more details go to backroadstouring.com/sneak-peek Share Posted bylast_img read more

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Clients have until Nov 30 to save on Le Boats selfdrive boating

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first_img Tuesday, November 7, 2017 Share Travelweek Group Tags: FIT, Le Boat Posted bycenter_img Clients have until Nov. 30 to save on Le Boat’s self-drive boating trips TORONTO — Le Boat wants agents to know that its best early booking bonus deals expire Nov. 30, 2017 for travel in 2018.“Don’t forget to remind your clients to book before November 30, 2017 for the best 2018 availability and to take advantage of our early booking offers,” says the company.The deals include:Save 20% on budget and comfort boats departing April 2 – 7 and May 12 – 17.Save 15% on budget and comfort boats, at all other timesSave 10% on Comfort pus boats + Visions (combinable with Le Boat’s 5% family discount; seven night minimum duration)Save 5% on Horizon boatsThe early booking bonus offers are valid on all 2018 durations, including short breaks. New bookings only.The company made a splash in the Canadian market this past summer when it announced it was relocating its North American headquarters from Florida to Smiths Falls, Ontario, right on the Rideau Canal where Le Boat will introduce brand new boat vacation rentals starting in May 2018.More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamLe Boat says it is eager to work with the travel trade here in Canada, looking to make waves in this market now that it has conquered Europe. Billed as Europe’s number one boating vacation company, Le Boat just launched its 2018 brochure featuring the latest cruising experiences both in Europe and, starting next year, Canada.Vacationers have been doing the self-drive boating thing along Europe’s waterways with Le Boat for years now, discovering France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Germany, England, Ireland and Scotland from their own sundeck.More than half – about 55% – of Le Boat’s bookings are generated by travel agents.For a full list of discounts and more information see leboat.com or call 1-800-734-5491. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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ACV has more capacity and a brand new route for Winter 201819

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first_img Monday, July 9, 2018 ACV has more capacity and a brand new route for Winter 2018/19 Posted by Tags: Air Canada Vacations, New Routes Travelweek Group center_img Share MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations has revealed its new lineup for winter 2018/19 sun destination flights onboard Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge.The schedule includes a new route, new 737-MAX aircraft, increased frequency on most-requested routes and increased capacity in the fall.Here’s a look at what ACV will be offering for winter 2018/2019:NEW ROUTEACV’s brand new route, between Vancouver and Lihue, Hawaii, starts Dec. 15, 2018 and operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and SaturdaysNEW 737-MAX AIRCRAFTAir Canada says its new 737 MAX aircraft feature technological advances for quiet, efficient and environmentally-friendly air travel. The following flights will be flown on the new aircraft: Vancouver and Calgary flights to Hawaii, Vancouver flights to Mexico and Calgary flights to CancunMORE FLIGHTS TO THE SUNFor winter 2018/2019 ACV will offer 58 new flights to the sun.From the West:29 additional flights per week, consisting of 20 to Hawaii (including double daily flights from Vancouver to each of Honolulu and Maui), three new flights from Vancouver to Lihue, two additional flights from Vancouver to Kona and one additional flight from Calgary to Maui.There are nine additional flights to Mexico including three additional flights from Calgary to Puerto Vallarta (now four flights weekly), two additional flights from Calgary to Los Cabos (now three times weekly) and 2 additional flights from Vancouver to each of Ixtapa (now three times weekly) and Cancun (now four times weekly).More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesFrom Ontario:19 additional flights per week including three additional flights from Toronto to Liberia (now daily service), three additional flights from Toronto to Cancun (now 17 flights per week), two additional flights from Toronto to Los Cabos and one additional flight from Toronto to each of Cartagena, Curacao, Grenada, St. Vincent, Belize City, Honolulu, Aruba, Bermuda and Kingston.From Ottawa, Air Canada will feature an additional flight to each of Punta Cana and Cancun.ACV will also be resuming service from Toronto to St. Maarten on Dec. 15 and San Juan on Oct. 28.From Quebec:10 additional flights per week including 2 additional flights from Montreal to each of Cancun (now 14 flights per week) and Liberia (now three times per week) and one additional flight from Montreal to each of Curacao, Montego Bay, San Jose, Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel and Martinique. Air Canada Vacations will be resuming service from Montreal to San Juan on Dec. 15.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTEARLY FALL PROGRAM:Three routes will commence in November this year, rather than mid-December:Montreal to Liberia will start Nov. 3Vancouver to Ixtapa will start Nov. 1Toronto to St. Kitts will begin Nov. 3In addition, nine flights will start in late October (Oct. 28 or 29) including:Vancouver to Cancun & Los CabosCalgary to Los CabosMontreal to Cayo Coco, Cozumel & Puerto VallartaToronto to Cozumel, Liberia & Los Cabos“Air Canada Vacations is pleased to demonstrate its commitment to the travel trade by offering consumers the ability to access our packaged vacations with so many more flight options from our top gateways across the country,” says Nino Montagnese, Managing Director, Air Canada Vacations. “We know the travelling public wants options, and we are excited to be able to provide them.” << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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How much do tourists spend each day in the worlds 10 most

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first_img Travelweek Group TORONTO — If your clients want to visit the world’s most popular places, it’s going to cost them – or not.Mastercard has revealed its latest Global Destination Cities Index, which identifies the top 10 cities that saw the most travellers in 2017. The index accumulated the number of overnight visitors in 162 cities last year, as well as the average amount of money travellers spent in-destination on accommodation, food, shopping, tours, transport and more.Some cities proved to be quite affordable, while others (you can probably guess which ones) will set your clients back a pretty penny.Here are the top 10:1. Bangkok: 20.05 million overnight visitors, US$173 average daily spend2. London: 19.83 visitors, $153 average daily spend3. Paris: 17.44 million visitors, $301 average daily spend4. Dubai: 15.79 million visitors, $537 average daily spend5. Singapore: 13.91 million visitors, $286 average daily spend6. New York City: 13.13 million visitors, $147 average daily spendMore news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reported7. Kuala Lumpur: 12.58 million visitors, $124 average daily spend8. Tokyo: 11.93 million visitors, $154 average daily spend9. Istanbul: 10.70 million visitors, $108 average daily spend10. Seoul: 9.54 million visitors, $181 average daily spend Share How much do tourists spend each day in the world’s 10 most popular cities? Tags: Tourists, Travelcenter_img Posted by Friday, September 28, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Oprah Winfrey christens Holland Americas most luxurious ship yet

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first_imgTags: Holland America Line, New Ship, Nieuw Statendam, Openings & Renovations Oprah Winfrey christens Holland America’s most luxurious ship yet Monday, February 4, 2019 Francesca Spizzirri FORT LAUDERDALE — The 2,666-passenger Nieuw Statendam, second in the Pinnacle Class line after 2016’s Koningsdam, is Holland America Line’s newest, largest and most modern vessel to date.On a seven-day voyage through the eastern Caribbean in January 2019, Travelweek discovered why the ship is also making waves as the fleet’s most luxurious ship.Taking on the role of ship godmother for her first time this past weekend was none other than Oprah Winfrey, who presided over the new ship’s gala celebration and who celebrated Nieuw Statendam’s inaugural cruise by hosting a sold-out three-day ‘Girls’ Getaway’.Oprah WinfreyHolland America Line’s partnership with Oprah Magazine continues onboard through its programming which includes workshops, morning meditation and book clubs.As Travelweek found out on a January 2019 sailing on Nieuw Statendam, though many of the preferred features from Koningsdam have been carried over, there are a few subtle differences between the two sister ships that reflect the ongoing evolution of the Holland America experience.The Nieuw Statendam features eight additional cabins bringing the total stateroom count to 1,339, while a redesign of the ship’s ocean-view family cabins provides more living space. Fan favourites including cabins for solo travellers, the two-tier Lido Deck with outdoor movie screen, Blend wine-making venue, and a compressive kids’ club are back, as is an expanded and interactive Explorations Central & Café.Lido PoolMusic and art continue to influence the Pinnacle Class in bold ways. Nieuw Statendam’s curated collection of art by ArtLink includes 2,000 pieces and is the largest collection to grace any of Holland America’s ships, quickly turning it into a topic of conversation among guests.The multi-venue ‘Music Walk’ hits all the notes. “The Pinnacle Class fleet is the only one to feature all four of HAL’s open lounge music venues,” says Vice President of Entertainment & Enrichment, Bill Prince.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upLincoln Center Stage and B.B. King’s Blues Club (which share the same stage), Billboard Onboard, and the Rolling Stone Rock Room – the line’s newest venue, developed in partnership with Rolling Stone – will have guests singing and dancing the night away.“Music Walk has changed the entire dynamic of how the ship works and has become more of an overall concept,” added Prince. With various combinations of these clubs slated to appear fleet-wide over the next couple of years and more guests on the floor exploring other venues, the World Stage is shifting its focus towards partnerships with touring units such as Step One Dance Company and the internet phenomenon Postmodern Jukebox, that are also attracting younger guests.A noticeable difference between the sister ships is the change to the Culinary Arts Center. “We’ve found that America’s Test Kitchen is a bigger success now that we have moved it to the World Stage,” says Prince. “We can accommodate a larger audience and give them the full TV show experience in a way we could not in the Culinary Arts Center.”Pinnacle SuiteThe World Stage boasts an additional 100 seats holding a total of 800 passengers.The new Club Orange restaurant, which replaces the Culinary Arts Center, is a private dining venue for breakfast and lunch, offering an expanded menu to suite-class passengers and a limited number of guests who pay the US$50 per person per day up-charge for the full Club Orange premium experience.Club Orange is slated to roll out across the fleet throughout 2019. Some other perks include priority boarding and tendering, deluxe room service menu at breakfast and a dedicated concierge.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionNieuw Statendam takes luxury dining at sea to new horizons with over a dozen venues, including five speciality restaurants that appeal to cruisers with a finer palate. Rudi’s Sel de Mer has a permanent home onboard; Tamarind became the first restaurant in Holland America’s history to offer alfresco dining and has added a space for the brand new Nami Sushi Bar; the Lido Market is no longer self-serve to provide guests with a first-rate dining experience throughout.Dining RoomWine connoisseurs will celebrate the ship’s new wine list that has been restructured and recategorized by James Suckling, one of the world’s most influential wine critics. While over at the Ocean Bar, guests can savour a seafaring selection of cocktails created by one of the world’s foremost cocktail experts, Dale DeGroff.“There are new technological advances as well,” says Hotel Director, Don Habets. “We have faster Internet, a new version of tablets in the dining rooms, a descending sphered dome in the World Stage, a call button at tables in the Lido Market, and there is a new interface for TV and video-on-demand.”With the majority of cruisers booking their cruises through a travel agent, cruises remain a lucrative business and the 99,500-ton Nieuw Statendam is one of the year’s most anticipated additions.The ship will spend its inaugural season on roundtrip Fort Lauderdale cruises to the western and eastern Caribbean that will include a stop at Half Moon Cay. Come April, the ship will reposition to Europe sailing Norway and the Mediterranean, before returning to the Caribbean in October.Agents can also keep an eye out for the third and final Pinnacle Class ship to debut in 2021.center_img Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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UN dispatches top official to Syria seeks access to site of alleged

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first_imgA handout image released by the Syrian opposition’s Shaam News Network shows a man taking the body of a child wrapped in shrouds from a line of victims that Syrian rebels claim were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces. The allegation of chemical weapons being used in the heavily populated areas came on the second day of a mission to Syria by U.N. inspectors. AFP/HO/Shaam News Network/Daya al-Deen “This still remains very much a discussion between the Syrian government on the one hand and Sellstrom’s team on the other,” the diplomat said, referring to inspection team leader Ake Sellstrom, a Swedish arms expert with a specialty in chemical weapons. “It’s hard to foresee how much time it will take.”Opposition groups are still giving vastly different estimates of the number of people killed on Wednesday. While an activist from the Revolutionary Command Council said more than 1,700 may have perished, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has gained a reputation for putting out some of the most accurate figures on deaths during the 2 1/2-year-old civil war, put the number vastly lower, at 136.Witnesses said the attack began when Russian-made Grad rockets began falling at around 2 a.m. Wednesday in neighborhoods east of the capital, where rebels have had some recent success in repelling government forces.Sama Masoud, an opposition activist who lives in one of the targeted neighborhoods, said panicked residents did not know whether to stay in their homes or flee. “The fiance of my sister has died,” she said. “My friend, her husband and her husband’s uncle — all dead while asleep.”More than 130 videos were posted online showing the victims. In some, children lay on tiled floors, vomiting, convulsing and struggling to breathe as they were treated with hand-held respirators or as medics desperately administered chest compressions.In others, men sprawled on the floor of a makeshift hospital were hosed down with water in what appeared to be a desperate attempt to wash off the remnants of the poisonous gases.Majed Abu Ali, a medic in nearby Douma, said his team had treated 600 patients with symptoms that included reddened eyes with constricted pupils, vomiting, skin rashes, loose bowels and extreme difficulty in breathing. He said 65 people had died.Some experts questioned the video evidence. “It strikes me as odd that the people who are treating the infected victims are not undressing them,” said Raymond Zilinskas, a biologist and former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq. “When you’re dealing with a chemical event, there is always a ‘red zone’ and a ‘green zone’ — always,” to protect medical providers.But others said the symptoms exhibited by victims were far more convincing than in any of the previous alleged chemical incidents.Amy Smithson, a senior fellow at the James C. Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said the photographic evidence “clearly indicates exposure to a toxic chemical,” citing a combination of telltale symptoms such as respiratory problems and twitching, and the near-absence of wounds that would be associated with conventional explosives. But she acknowledged that it was impossible to tell whether the apparent poisoning was caused by sarin or one of the other known toxins in Syria’s arsenal.“Regardless of whether this was a classic warfare agent like sarin, the Chemical Weapons Convention outlaws use of any toxic chemical for military purposes,” Smithson said.Jean Pascal Zanders, an expert on chemical and biological weapons at the European Union Institute for Security Studies in Paris, said in a blog posting that the photographs appeared to confirm “exposure to toxin,” but not necessarily nerve gas. He added, “It is clear that something terrible has happened. These scenes could not have been stage-managed.”© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Comments No related posts.center_img BEIRUT — U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday dispatched his top disarmament official to Syria to seek permission for U.N. investigators to visit a Damascus suburb where the Syrian opposition claims chemical weapons were used against civilians.Ban instructed Germany’s Angela Kane, the U.N. high representative for disarmament affairs, to fly to Damascus to try to persuade the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to grant the U.N. team access to the site of Wednesday’s alleged chemical attack.“The secretary general believes that the incidents reported yesterday need to be investigated without delay,” according to a statement from his office.It said Ban wants the U.N. mission members “to be granted permission and access to swiftly investigate the incident.” The statement added: “A formal request is being sent by the United Nations to the government of Syria in this regard. He expects to receive a positive response without delay.”The statement was issued after France on Thursday raised the possibility of international intervention in Syria if there is solid proof that Assad’s forces used chemical weapons against his people.Activists, meanwhile, struggled to confirm that more than 1,000 people had perished, as experts warned that vital physical evidence could dissipate unless a U.N. investigative team — already in the country to investigate previous claims of poisonous gas use — was given permission to visit the site.Although the United States, France, Britain and others have specifically requested that the inspection team proceed, “there is a requirement of consent in situations like this,” Deputy U.N. Secretary General Jan Eliasson said, “and also that the security situation will allow them to enter the area. It is a very dramatic situation and the security situation right now does not allow such access.”The Syrian government on Wednesday strongly denied that there had been an attack. But widely circulated images of children in spasms and vomiting added to the pressure on the United States and the international community to take robust action.The alleged attack came almost exactly a year after U.S. President Barack Obama said the use of chemical weapons by Assad’s forces would be a “red line” for his administration.“There would have to be reaction with force in Syria from the international community,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told French television network BFM, when asked about action that should be taken if the allegations are proven. He added, however, that “there is no question of sending troops on the ground.”Fabius alluded to the possibility that the international community might need to circumvent the United Nations Security Council, which has been stymied in acting on Syria by veto-wielding Russia, a long-time ally of Assad’s.During an emergency meeting on Wednesday, the council’s members failed to agree on a strongly worded statement condemning the attack, simply calling for a “thorough, impartial and prompt investigation.”Britain, France and the United States were pushing for a stronger statement, but Russia and China objected, the Associated Press reported. The Russian government, Assad’s strongest supporter, suggested that the opposition itself had staged the attack in a “pre-planned provocation.”After a two-hour closed door session, the council emerged with a “call for investigation” of the new allegations. The request does not refer specifically to the team currently on the ground, instead speaking of the need to “clarify” what happened.Under its current mandate and agreement with Syrian government, the U.N. team that is now inside Syria is authorized to examine only three sites of the 13 that various other governments and the Syrian opposition had identified as suspicious before the Wednesday attack.One Security Council diplomat said that Wednesday’s letter was intended to “increase political pressure on Syria” to permit the inspection team currently in the country access to the site of the latest incident.The problem, the official said, is that there “is no fixed time” for such an investigation to take place.last_img read more

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Mexico bids farewell to García Márquez

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first_imgMEXICO CITY – Mexico bid farewell Monday to its beloved adopted son, Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, in a national tribute filled with the late Nobel winner’s favorite roses and music.A coffee-colored urn containing his ashes was placed on a podium, surrounded by yellow roses, in Mexico City’s domed Fine Arts Palace as a string quartet played classical music.Dozens of guests applauded when his widow, Mercedes Barcha, and other relatives dressed in black arrived at the ornate cultural center, where Mexico pays tribute to its late artistic icons.Hundreds of people lined up outside the palace to pay their last respects to the author of “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”Known affectionately as “Gabo,” García Márquez died Thursday in the Mexico City house where he lived for decades with his wife and two sons. He was 87.Visiting Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was to deliver remarks later with Mexican leader Enrique Peña Nieto.“I want to thank him for the pleasure he gave me in reading books,” said Joseline López, a 21-year-old Venezuelan medical student who queued outside the palace.“‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ will survive 100 more years in our hearts,” she said, clutching three yellow roses.García Márquez first moved to Mexico in 1961 and it was there that the veteran journalist wrote his seminal novel, a family and historical saga that was published in 1967.He was a leading exponent of “magical realism,” a style of story-telling that blends fantasy and realistic elements.The cause of his death has not been disclosed but he died a week after a bout of pneumonia. Relatives of Gabriel García Márquez stand next to the urn containing his ashes, during a tribute to him at the Fine Arts Palace in Mexico City on April 21, 2014. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFPHe ‘loved’ Mexico The palace was bedecked with his favorite flower, the yellow rose that he so often wore on his lapel for good luck.Many mourners wore the rose as violins played Haydn and Handel. A large portrait of García Márquez hung on a wall.“He loved this country. He was very grateful and felt as Mexican as any other person,” Jaime Abello, director of the Ibero-American New Journalism Foundation founded by García Márquez, told MVS Radio.His biographer, British writer Gerald Martin, said he understood the secular nature of the ceremony because García Márquez was not a religious man.“But he was a man who respected other people’s beliefs, like his mother. Almost his entire family was very Catholic,” Martin told Colombia’s Caracol radio.“He joked that he didn’t believe in God but feared him a lot,” said the author of “Gabriel García Márquez: A Life.”His native Colombia will hold its own ceremony at Bogotá’s cathedral on Tuesday for the man Santos hailed as “the greatest Colombian of all time.”Then on Wednesday, to mark World Book Day, Colombians will have readings of García Márquez’s novel “No One Writes to the Colonel” in more than 1,000 libraries, parks and universities.The family has not said where the author’s final resting place will be, but Colombia hopes that the family will divide García Márquez’s ashes between his homeland and Mexico.His wife Barcha “says that it is a very difficult decision that will be taken in due time,” said Rafael Tovar, president of Mexico’s National Culture and Arts Council. Facebook Comments Related posts:Nobel writer Gabriel García Márquez hospitalized in Mexico Legendary novelist Gabriel García Márquez leaves hospital, in ‘delicate’ condition The great and magical Gabo Texas university acquires Gabriel García Márquez’s personal archivelast_img read more

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At least 17 dead as tornadoes strike southern US

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first_imgRelated posts:Hurricane Arthur puts a damper on July 4 celebrations in US California fires expected to continue El Niño intensifying, could rival strongest in recorded history El Niño in Costa Rica: We haven’t seen the worst of it yet, say experts WASHINGTON, D.C. – Powerful tornadoes killed at least 17 people as they flipped cars, ripped up homes and uprooted trees across south-central United States, emergency officials reported Monday.The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said that 15 people were killed when tornadoes touched down on Sunday, while an official with the Oklahoma Emergency Management Agency said there were at least two tornado victims in the state.“It’s chaos right now,” the mayor of the Arkansas town of Velonia, James Firestone, told CNN late Sunday as emergency crews used searchlights to comb through the debris overnight in some of the hardest-hit areas.The central part of the town of 4,000 “seems like it’s completely leveled. There’s a few buildings partially standing, gas lines spewing. Fire lines down. We’ve had some casualties.”The twisters tore through the region Sunday and overnight into Monday, and are forecast to threaten much of the region through Tuesday.Homes reduced to rubbleFirestone said that police and firefighters from nearby cities as well as National Guard troops were heading to Velonia.Twisters also devastated large sections of the town of Mayflower, population 2,300, just northwest of the Arkansas state capital Little Rock.Pictures of tornado damage posted by Arkansas TV station THV 11 showed smashed cars, homes ripped in half, and whole residential blocks reduced to rubble.Officials said that parts of Interstate 40, a major east-west highway across the United States, was closed due to debris and overturned vehicles in the Mayflower area.Two regional utility companies, Entergy and First Electric Cooprative, said that more than 15,000 customers were in the dark.“It’s been a truly awful night for many families, neighborhoods and communities, but Arkansans always step up to help each other recover,” Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe wrote on Twitter.The full impact of the storm and its toll will likely not be known until after sunrise at around 11:30 GMT.In Oklahoma, a powerful twister struck the town of Quapaw.“There have been numerous homes and buildings damaged and some destroyed,” Keli Cain of the Oklahoma Emergency Management Agency told AFP.She cited local emergency officials as saying that a fire station was destroyed and there was damage to the northern part of the town.Dozens of homes were also reported destroyed in nearby Kansas, though state officials have reported no fatalities.The National Weather Service warned of a severe weather threat across the central and southern United States over the next days. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Unregistered illegal health products sold online delivered to Costa Rica

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first_imgThe large number of online sources of illegal and counterfeit medicine with Costa Rica delivery has local health officials concerned.Public Health Ministry officials reported that they have found a total of 69 websites, including social media profiles and online pharmacies, that offer to deliver medication and other health products that don’t comply with Costa Rica’s sanitary regulations.Health officials last year seized 5,920 units of these products illegally brought into the country.Health Vice Minister María Anchía Angulo said Tuesday that officials have noticed “a continuous entry of a considerable amount of illegal and unregistered medicines, dietary supplements and natural medicines through the country’s customs and parcel delivery services.”Anchía said officials had detected an increase in deliveries of such products purchased through the Internet and that most of them are illegal or counterfeited.Public Health Ministry officials and international experts are discussing the problem this week in a training seminar. Specialists of the Swedish National Police and the Organization of American States are in charge of the four-day training.“We have found weaknesses in the system and in agencies responsible for handling complaints related to online commerce,” the Vice Minister said.Ministry officials are asking citizens to avoid buying medications online without first consulting a professional.To confirm the origin of a drug or to report the sale of unauthorized medicine, send an email to: denuncias@ministeriodesalud.go.cr Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica approves regulations to restart medical research on humans Pigeon overpopulation in San José threatens human health, historic monuments Costa Rica health officials confirm 2 new cases of H1N1 flu virus Health officials testing first two cases of Ticos who could have the chikungunya viruslast_img read more

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Venezuela officially joins Mercosur trade bloc

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first_img Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sponsored Stories Associated PressBRASILIA, Brazil (AP) – Venezuela was officially welcomed into the Mercosur trade bloc Tuesday, giving that nation’s leader Hugo Chavez a long-awaited political prize and strengthening links among the region’s agricultural and energy powerhouses.The inclusion of Venezuela also deepens a political rift within the South American trade group. Paraguay, which long blocked Venezuela’s entry, remains temporarily suspended from the bloc in response to the congressional ouster of that nation’s president. Comments   Share   “Venezuela’s entry increases the potential of the bloc, giving it greater geopolitical and global economic dimensions,” said Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, noting that Venezuela’s has one of the globe’s largest proven oil reserves, adding energy might to the trade union. “Mercosur is beginning a phase, now we’ve expanded from Patagonia to the Caribbean.”Chavez said Mercosur “is without a doubt the biggest engine that exists to preserve our independence and accelerate our overall development.”Rousseff hosted Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez and Uruguay’s Jose Mujica along with Chavez for the one-day Mercosur meeting in Brasilia.Venezuela had been an associate member of Mercosur, like Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Peru. Chavez had been trying to get full status for years, but was blocked because Paraguay’s legislature wouldn’t vote to allow Venezuela in.The full members of Mercosur have veto rights over decisions the bloc makes.Paraguay’s former leader Fernando Lugo was impeached by the country’s Congress in June in a fast-track trial triggered by a land eviction that killed 17 people in clashes between police and landless peasants. At a Mercosur summit in Argentina last month, Fernandez told other heads of state that the “democratic order was broken” in Paraguay because it carried out a two-hour trial where Lugo was not allowed a proper defense.The full members then decided to suspend Paraguay from Mercosur until it holds presidential elections next year.Mercosur has barred Lugo’s replacement, former Vice President Federico Franco, from attending meetings of the trade bloc. Franco has said the transition of power in Paraguay was carried out according to the law.With Paraguay suspended, Kirchner and Rousseff quickly moved to push Venezuela’s entry into the Mercosur.Kirchner lauded the addition of Venezuela and its oil riches to the trade bloc.“The addition of Venezuela completes the equation of what will be the 21st century _ energy, minerals, food, science and technology,” said the Argentine leader.While in Brazil, Chavez and Rousseff formalized an airplane deal that was previously announced but not detailed.Venezuela’s state-run Conviasa airlines will purchase up to 20 Brazilian-made Embraer planes in a deal that could be worth $900 million.The contract calls for Conviasa to purchase outright six E-190 planes for $270 million. The deal includes options to buy 14 more of the same model later. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories center_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Embraer said in a statement that the first planes to be delivered to Conviasa will be configured to carry 104 passengers.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 4 must play golf courses in Arizonalast_img read more

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2 Egyptian fishermen killed by Tunisian navy

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first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   Patients with chronic pain give advice Tunisia says the Egyptian vessels failed to comply with orders to stop and so were fired upon.The Monday statement said Tunisian authorities have repeatedly warned Egypt against the “infiltration” of Egyptian fishing boats in Tunisian territorial waters.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) – Authorities say a Tunisian naval vessel fired upon Egyptian fishermen who were illegally in Tunisian waters, killing two and wounding two others.The Tunisian defense ministry says the incident occurred Sunday, after 10 Egyptian boats were intercepted off Tunisia’s southern Kerkennah islands.The ministry’s statement, released via the official news agency TAP, said the Egyptian boats were engaged in “dangerous maneuvers” but did not specify what type of maneuvers. Sponsored Stories Top Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

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Rebels step up attacks on Colombia energy targets

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first_img“After $8 billion of investment,” said Restrepo, “we’re staying.”___Associated Press writer Cesar Garcia in Bogota contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressBOGOTA (AP) – The port town of Tumaco on Colombia’s Pacific coast went dark for more than a week in early August after guerrillas toppled three electricity towers in the remote area.Rebel-planted land mines did even more damage, delaying the restoration of power while killing at least five people, including two workers trying to repair the towers, local authorities said.Such attacks on electricity infrastructure, gas pipelines and trains transporting coal occurred almost daily in the 1990s, and into the 2000s, as Colombia’s rebel groups targeted the energy industry either to extort funds or attack foreign companies considered to be exploiting the nation’s riches. Four benefits of having a wireless security system Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Similar security has accompanied construction of a new pipeline called Bicentenario, which is being guarded meter by meter, even from above with military drones, Cardenas said. The proposed pipeline is set to be the country’s longest, at 960 kilometers (597 miles), capable of carrying 450,000 barrels daily from the oil fields in Colombia’s west to the Caribbean port of Convenas, according to Ecopetrol, a majority partner in the project.Despite the patrols, the ELN in July briefly kidnapped two women working on the pipeline, releasing them 20 days later to the International Red Cross Committee.Nationwide, at least 5,000 uniformed security forces guard Colombia’s oil pipeline network, energy towers and even convoys of trucks transporting petroleum to refineries, said Cardenas.Pinzon announced Wednesday that the Defense Ministry is creating eight new battalions to shore up security of the nation’s infrastructure. A high-ranking official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly about national security issues said each battalion will be comprised of at least 1,200 troops, and three battalions are already operating.Despite the attacks and the mounting security burden, the companies say they have no intention of leaving the country. Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   The number of energy towers targeted by rebels rose from 39 in 2010 to 73 last year.Carbones del Cerrejon Limited’s rail line from its primary coal mine has suffered at least six attacks since January of this year, up from two in 2011, said Julian Gonzalez, the company’s vice president of public affairs. The 150-kilometer (93-mile) track stretches to Puerto Bolivar on the Caribbean, where coal is loaded onto ships bound for the United States and Europe.Alfredo Rangel of Colombia’s Security and Democracy Foundation, which studies internal conflicts, said the increase in attacks began about two years ago, spiking this year as the military reduced its offensive actions. Rangel said that according to his own calculations and press reports, there were as many as 1,800 such military operations in 2003, plunging to about 360 last year.Both Santos and Pinzon insist that the government has not let down its guard. According to Pinzon, 70 percent of the rebel activity occurs in just 50 of about 1,000 municipalities in the country.Still, energy companies are beefing up security to protect their facilities.The country’s largest crude oil field, Puerto Gaitan, is guarded by at least 800 soldiers located inside the vast complex where 14,000 people work, said Federico Restrepo, vice president of corporate relations for the Toronto-based company Pacific Rubiales Energy. The firm holds a 35 percent stake in Puerto Gaitan, which produces about 20 percent of the country’s daily production, set at an average of 918,000 barrels in August. Restrepo said none of the company’s Colombia operations have suffered attacks.center_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 4 must play golf courses in Arizona No estimates exist on how much damage the sabotage causes annually, but if a peace agreement is signed, Colombia’s gross domestic product could grow an additional one or two percentage points, helping the country reach annual economic growth of 5 to 6 percent, according to Treasury Minister Mauricio Cardenas, a former minister of energy and mining.Cardenas downplayed the impact of the attacks but still acknowledged they have had a cost, preventing the production of at least 15,000 barrels of crude daily. He denied they were a key reason for Colombia’s failure to reach its production goal of a million barrels daily, saying bureaucratic delays in issuing environmental permits for oil projects were more to blame.Neither the ELN nor the FARC has commented on the recent increase of attacks.So far, the guerrillas have focused on infrastructure such as cargo trains and pipelines, leaving untouched facilities used to extract coal or pump oil from the ground. That’s still hurt overall petroleum production, slowed exports and delayed plans to bring electricity to entire communities.The attacks on pipelines have mushroomed by 253 percent, from 19 in the first half of 2011 to 67 in the same period this year, according to Defense Ministry data. There were 84 pipeline attacks last year, two less than the 86 recorded in 2002 when the FARC’s armed strength was unquestioned. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The attacks by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the largest rebel force in the country, and the smaller National Liberation Front, or ELN, eventually fell off. But such rebel sabotage has been on the upswing again _ a sign to some that the guerrillas have grown desperate as their armed strength has waned. The attacks have also hit as Colombia tries to build its economic future around increased oil production.“The terrorists are still keeping it up to remain visible, undertaking certain limited, isolated actions that attempt to demonstrate a force that the country understands they do not have,” Defense Minister Jose Carlos Pinzon said Wednesday of the most recent attacks.Meanwhile, FARC representatives prepare for peace talks with Colombian authorities next month in Oslo, Norway, and have proposed a cease fire that could end the attacks on energy targets. President Juan Manuel Santos, however, has ruled out such a cease-fire, saying he has asked the military to instead step up their actions.“We’re not going to give up until we have a final accord, and that’s clear,” Santos said.The energy and mining sector represents about 70 percent of the country’s exports, with petroleum sales alone totaling at least $32 billion annually. The sector generates 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, money that’s key for development projects ranging from the construction of highways and bridges to low-income housing. Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img read more

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After suicide Israel lawmakers discuss online shaming

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first_img Comments   Share   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 Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Dozens of people reacted to the post, overwhelmingly with messages of support. “Sad! Disgusting! You should have turned over a table,” said one respondent.In a statement issued before the suicide, the Interior Ministry told Channel 10 TV that Yurista had demanded immediate attention when there were others before her in line. It said it was looking into the incident.Before taking his own life last weekend, Runis, 47, wrote a Facebook post rejecting the claim of racism and saying he could not bear the public shame.“Up until two days ago my life looked rosy,” he wrote. “Each (Facebook share) was a sharpened arrow driven into my flesh.”“My name, which I worked for years to build, is now synonymous with the worst description that could be linked to me — racism,” he added.The issue of racism has been on the public agenda in recent weeks since Ethiopian immigrants launched a campaign against alleged discrimination.At a discussion on the incident Wednesday, Israeli lawmakers called for Internet anti-defamation laws.“Legislation today, not just here… around the world, lags greatly behind the advances of technology,” Cabinet minister Yariv Levin told Israel Radio on Thursday. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli lawmakers are looking to take steps to prevent online defamation after a public servant killed himself over an accusatory Facebook post.An African-American immigrant to Israel wrote a Facebook post last week accusing an Interior Ministry official of racism.In her post, which was shared more than 6,000 times, Lee Lenoir Yurista wrote that she arrived to ministry offices with her three children to get a passport for one of them. Yurista said she was denied access to a shorter line for mothers with children, while other mothers were not. When she complained to the Interior Ministry official, Ariel Runis, that she was being discriminated against based on her race, he told her to “get out of my face,” she wrote. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

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Gitmo veteran now steering Europes youths away from jihad

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first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Quick workouts for men Benchellali meets with young audiences at least once a week in France, Belgium and Switzerland to persuade them of the folly of flying off to join the Islamic State or other groups waging holy war in Syria and Iraq.“There are kids who are tempted, who’ve been approached,” Benchellali told The Associated Press. “They come to listen, they are curious and the fact that I’m a former Guantanamo (prisoner), that speaks to them. … I give them tools to understand.”A practicing Muslim, Benchellali above all strives to take the glamour out of jihad. As a 19-year-old, he viewed the voyage to al-Qaida’s training camp in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a romantic adventure. The reality, he tells youths, was a shock: grinding physical exercises in blazing heat, weapons training and propaganda videos in the evening, along with mind-numbing organization rigorously enforced — and a compulsory 60-day minimum stay.Then came the Sept. 11 attacks, followed by U.S. bombings in Afghanistan and mass flight from Kandahar. He escaped through the mountains to Pakistan, only to be arrested and turned over to American forces — and sent to the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There, he languished for 2 1/2 years in a small cage. He filed a lawsuit against the United States for torture and sequestration. In his meetings with youth, Benchellali does not preach against jihad, saying that would discredit him with his young audience. He claims he was not a real jihadi because he never took up arms in a conflict.European officials are creating parental hotlines and other tools to stem the flow of hundreds of youth to Syria, but lack the know-how to contain the exodus. Yet they remain suspicious of men like Benchellali, fearing returnees may have a secret mission to pull youths into extremism rather than steer them away.Hamid Benichou, a Belgian police officer in contact with a group of mothers whose children went to Syria, worries that former jihadis may “carry within them the germ of Islamization.” And Lassouri Ben Hamouda, whose 15-year-old son went briefly to Syria, claimed that Benchellali is just trying “to buy himself back” into society.But many analysts say these men — dubbed “formers” — are just what is needed to counter the attraction of jihad. Returnees have street credibility that officials and mainstream counsellors cannot offer.Benchellali clearly had the ear of some Muslim youths at a recent meeting in the immigrant-heavy Paris suburb of Gennevilliers. “Hearing that, I knew I had to explain,” Benchellali said. “Explain that this was a mistake.”___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. Benchellali is perhaps the only returnee in France now offering a reality check to those tempted by jihad, a stark story of misguided youth that may mirror the naive impulses of those setting off for Syria today.More than 1,200 French have traveled or are planning to travel to Syria to wage jihad, the largest group among Western nations. But in the eyes of French officialdom, Benchellali says, a checkered past makes the former militant more of a threat than a resource.Benchellali’s parents and two brothers were convicted in 2006 on terrorism-linked charges, suspects in an alleged plot to attack Russian interests in France in support of fighters in Chechnya. At one point, his older brother Menad, considered the group’s chemicals expert, was mixing toxic potions containing ricin in his mother’s face-cream jars. His mother and father, an imam in a makeshift mosque in a grim Lyon suburb, were expelled to their homeland in Algeria. The brothers served time in prison and are now free in France.John G. Horgan, head of the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, said officials should overcome their fear of tapping people like Benchellali. “There’s fear that, well maybe, if we invite people in … they may inadvertently serve as a beacon for radicalization or recruitment to others, may actually have a reverse effect,” said Horgan. But “the tales of disillusionment (among returnees) are very real, and we seem to be unable to harness them with any kind of momentum.”Still, Horgan said, not everyone back from the battlefields is a good candidate for prevention work. He and other experts said candidates must be vetted, protected and supported financially — but with as small a government footprint as possible.“You may face reprisals from your community for doing this kind of work,” said Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish National Defense College.Yet he, too, emphasized the importance of teaching by example: “If you really want to reach youth, prevent them from taking drugs, the best person you can put out there is a former drug addict.”For Benchellali, lending a hand at a critical time is a “collective responsibility.”He recalled an encounter with a cellmate at France’s Fleury-Merogis prison who told him it was cool that he had been a jihadi — and said he wanted to become one, too. Comments   Share   PARIS (AP) — He learned warfare in an al-Qaida training camp, did time at Guantanamo and more time in a French prison. With such a resume, Mourad Benchellali may seem an unlikely youth counsellor — but he is telling his story to young Europeans, warning them against the lure of jihad.The 33-year-old Frenchman is one of a small number of Europeans presenting their jihadi past as an example for others not to follow. Many see men like him as a powerful tool to deter youth from heading to Syria — while Western governments are wary of them. Sponsored Stories center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories “You are loaded into a machine, a very organized system,” he told his rapt audience. “You are thrown into another dimension.”After the meeting, one 18-year-old said he had thought last year about going to Syria with a friend, after being contacted on Facebook, and hadn’t fully buried the idea. He said he paid heed to Benchellali’s message because he “has lived it” and “is advising against it.” The young man spoke on condition he not be identified by name because he did not want authorities to know he had toyed with the idea of jihad.Britain has small projects using “formers,” including an online global network, Against Violent Extremism, open to former radical extremists, survivors of terrorist attacks and anyone else who wishes to join. The network grew out of the 2011 Summit Against Violent Extremism launched by Google Ideas.Despite concerns about returnees, there is general agreement that an alternate narrative to the Islamic State siren calls is needed to keep kids at home.“Right now it’s only Islamic State who is telling a story, and I think to have a counter-story being told by a former fighter itself would be potentially very powerful,” Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at London’s King’s College, told The Associated Press. In this May 13, 2015 photo, former Guantanamo detainee and al-Qaida trainee Mourad Benchellali talks during an interview with the Associated Press in Gennevilliers, suburban Paris, France. With thousands of young Europeans joining the ranks of radical Islamists in Syria, some people have stepped forward to offer to deter them. But most governments and groups trying to prevent the exodus of vulnerable youths are cautious about accepting such services _ since the volunteers were once radicals themselves. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The vital role family plays in society How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

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Select Star Alliance fares discontinued

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first_imgStar Alliance has announced it will remove Brazil Airpass, Japan Airpass, Micronesia Airpass, Middle East Airpass, South Pacific Airpass, Thailand Airpass, Circle Asia Fare and Circle North Asia Fare from its listing as of midnight 17 February 2013.The alliance group explained, after 17 February 2013 the selected fares will no longer be sold, however, tickets already issued can be used to travel as planned.Star Alliance spokesperson said the group was focusing on producing products which are “genuinely multi-carrier alliance fare products”.Meanwhile, commencing 18 February 2013, the Star Alliance network will offer seven products; Round the World Fare,  Africa Airpass, China Airpass, Europe Airpass, North America Airpass, Circle Pacific Fare and Asia Airpass (which will expand to include Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, all Star Alliance destinations in Japan, and more flights to India).Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Airline network focuses on multi-carrier alliance products. Image: Star Alliancelast_img read more

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TravelManagers 2013 takes off

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first_imgTravelmanagers Conference 2013 has kicked off in Sydney with incredible enthusiasm and a focus on technology, brand and relationships. “The future of our industry is in personal travel management and a genuine engagement with customers… this conference helps to build and develop the necessary skills to succeed.” Stay tuned to eTravel Business News for more updates and news over the next few days. This is the sixth annual conference and this year’s theme is ‘Get on Board – The Future is Personal’. Over the next few days the conference will continue aboard Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas, which is most appropriate given TravelManagers’ new membership with cruise holiday specialists, Cruiseco. This year’s conference has attracted 39 partner suppliers and will consist of compelling challenges, team-building exercises and educational seminars, culminating in a Gala Awards Dinner.center_img “Relationships build trust and that’s what drives repeat business,” Travelmanagers chief executive Joe Araullo told attendees during his welcome address. The national skills and networking meeting has gathered more than 150 personal travel managers from across Australia at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth to hear from keynote speakers and participate in practical workshop sessions. ETB News is reporting live from the Travelmanagers Conference 2013. Source = ETB News: P.T.last_img read more

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Firm friendship built on Personal Travel Managers technical difficult

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first_imgTravelManagers’ Tanya Patterson (on right) and Andrea Friend: professional “buddies” and good friendsFirm friendship built on Personal Travel Manager’s technical difficultiesPersonal travel managers (PTMs) relish the freedom and flexibility of being able to dictate their own work hours, location and areas of specialisation.  TravelManagers is focused on providing its 480-plus PTMs with a strong support network so that assistance is readily available to them as and when it is required. Andrea Friend, representative for Cranbourne East in Victoria, has only been with TravelManagers for four months, but she recently discovered first-hand just how important that support network really is.  What’s surprising about this story is that it was Friend as a relative newcomer to the company who was able to come to the assistance of a long established PTM, via the company’s “buddy system”.Tanya Patterson is TravelManagers’ representative for Clyde North, approximately three kilometres from Friend’s location.  Because of their close proximity to each other, the two PTMs had paired as buddies, although they had only met briefly in person.“My computer crashed and I needed to book some clients to go to Port Douglas later that afternoon,” Patterson explains.  “Andrea gave me amazing support: she helped with back office, then let me borrow her office, her phone, her computer… I sincerely and gratefully appreciate her friendship, camaraderie, support and generosity.”Even more importantly, the support that Patterson received from Friend meant that she was still able to provide great service to her customers despite the technological difficulties she was facing.“They didn’t have a clue what was going on at my end!”For Friend, the experience reinforced her belief that she had chosen the right company to work for.“Another PTM had told me that my colleagues would be willing to help out whenever needed.  This experience demonstrated just how true that was – it really made me feel that I’m not on my own, and that we are definitely one big happy family.”TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, agrees.“We have a strong focus on creating a family culture and spirit of mutual help, where the sharing of information and provision of assistance between our PTMs is made simple,” he explains.  “The buddy system means each PTM has someone they can call on for support at any time, without making judgements.  Regardless of the different levels of experience, the relationship works both ways so that either one can call on the other and ask for help, or even just a chat when they are sick of their own company.”According to Gazal, the company also offer PTM-led webinars, intranet forums and closed user Facebook pages.“The buddy system is just one of the ways we put our co-operative philosophy into practice, so that our PTMs feel connected and supported, regardless of how geographically separate they may be.”It may seem more likely that two PTMs working in such close proximity might tend to view one another as competitors rather than allies, but Patterson says the opposite is true: the experience has allowed to their buddy relationship to grow into a genuine friendship.“This experience has shown me once again that I’m not alone.  Although we are potential competition for each other, we are not working against each other, but we can work together to achieve our goals.  Establishing this buddy relationship has been very easy given the positive nature we both share.”Friend agrees wholeheartedly with this statement.“Wonderful friendships can be built on the back of a small crisis.  I have always been willing to help out whenever I can and I know how much Tanya appreciated my help.  She gave me back my belief that there really are appreciative people out there.  Getting to know Tanya better over the last couple of months, I definitely know that this is a friendship that will last a very long time.”“She won’t get rid of me now!”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599. meet Andrea Friend here meet Tanya Patterson here become a Personal Travel Manager herecenter_img Source = TravelManagers Australialast_img read more

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Khiri Travel appoints Richard Brouwer as CEO

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first_img Khiri Traveldiscover more here Source = Khiri Travel Richard Brouwer CEO Khiri TravelKhiri Travel appoints Richard Brouwer as CEOFormer Diethelm Travel Group CEO Richard Brouwer will become CEO of Khiri Travel, effective 4 January 2016. The appointment was made by Willem Niemeijer, former CEO of Khiri Travel who will now become the Chairman of the company.“Richard’s appointment is a major statement by Khiri Travel. It underscores Khiri Travel’s ambition to grow while staying true to its commitment to responsible tourism,” said Niemeijer.The Khiri Travel Chairman added: “Under Richard’s leadership, Khiri Travel’s mission and vision will remain the same – to be the best DMC in Asia and the champion of the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.”Brouwer brings to Khiri a comprehensive regional and global network of contacts and over 25 years of professional experience in the travel industry, most of it in the C-suite of leading travel and hospitality brands in Asia.On his new CEO post at Khiri Travel, Brouwer said: “I have admired Khiri Travel’s achievements in responsible tourism over the last few years. I aim to work closely with the Khiri Travel country teams to help them grow their business. We will do this by staying true to Khiri Travel’s commitment to responsible tourism.” Brouwer was COO of Diethelm Travel, the largest DMC in Southeast Asia, for six years to 2012, then CEO 2012-2015. Prior to joining Diethelm Travel in 2000, he had an 11-year executive career at Amari Hotels and Resorts as Corporate Director Sales & Marketing and Group Marketing Manager.Khiri Travel’s new CEO is a graduate of the Hotel Management School (The Hague) and has additional qualifications from Cornell University (New York), the Hotel School Lausanne (Switzerland) and the Advanced Management Programme at INSEAD (Paris).Brouwer, a native Dutch speaker, is fluent in English and German and proficient in French and Thai. He is married, has a daughter and lives in Bangkok.About Khiri TravelKhiri Travel, established in 1993, is an independent destination management company with its own regional network. The group has 16 offices in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Maldives as well as a sales office in the USA. The company’s detailed knowledge of the world shows in its unusual destinations, innovative itineraries and in its commitment to responsible travel throughout Southeast Asia and the world.last_img read more

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Valero Grand Suites by SwissBelhotel in Manila

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first_imgSource = Swiss-Belhotel International Valero Grand Suites by Swiss-Belhotel in ManilaValero Grand Suites by Swiss-Belhotel in ManilaNew CBD property by Swiss-Belhotel International is fast becoming the go-to destination for short-term and long-term business travellers just seven months after launchWith incentives offered throughout 2018 to secure its growing appeal as a corporate city stay, Valero Grand Suites by Swiss-Belhotel is fast-becoming a go-to destination in the heart of Metro Manila’s business and financial hub, Makati.Located in the vibrant neighbourhood of Salcedo Village, in the centre of Makati, Valero Grand Suites by Swiss-Belhotel is already becoming a favourite with business travellers to Manila. According to Mr. Gavin M. Faull, Chairman and President of Swiss-Belhotel International, “Makati is Manila’s most cosmopolitan district with a dynamic community as well as major banking and multinational corporations in the Philippines, with lots of local business activity too. Valero Grand Suites by Swiss-Belhotel provides a home-away-from-home for our business guests and its success, as well as the growth of the Philippine economy and Southeast Asia as a whole, bodes well for further investment in the region in the future for Swiss-Belhotel International.”The 271-room Valero Grand Suites by Swiss-Belhotel had its soft opening last year (2017), reinforcing Swiss-Belhotel International’s position as one of the leading hospitality brands in Southeast Asia for business and leisure guests. The hotel, which also offers one, two and three-bedroom suites with separate living and dining areas, is designed to appeal to short-term and longer-stay business guests as well as tourists visiting the region. Facilities include well-equipped meeting and function rooms, a choice of restaurants, in-room dining and a coffee shop, plus a gym, spa and rooftop swimming pool – all just over 6kms from Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport.Just a short walk to the Makati Stock Exchange and within walking distance of several embassies, Valero Grand Suites by Swiss-Belhotel is close to the landmark GT International Tower office skyscraper, one of the tallest buildings in the Philippines and the financial and residential district of Bonifacio Global City. With a large expatriate community, Makati is also home to an incredible array of restaurants, green spaces, culture and entertainment making it an attractive lifestyle hub for leisure visitors and business guests alike.The four-star hotel is offering guests on business trips to the region a special Business Package for stays of seven nights or longer, as well as an Advance Purchase deal with savings up to 35 percent on flexible rates, including breakfast, on all room types for bookings made at least 30 days prior to arrival.The Business Package includes a Premier Room stay with breakfast for one guest from PHP 4,355 per night in a room that features a kitchenette with stove, dining table and full-size refrigerator. The offer also includes one airport transfer, complimentary daily laundry for three items, daily mini-bar setup and WiFi, making it the perfect solution for business travellers looking for a modern hotel to enjoy a comfortable and convenient stay.To find out more or to make a reservation, click herelast_img read more

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Grand Mercure debuts in Myanmar

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first_imgSource = Grand Mercure Grand Mercure debuts in MyanmarGrand Mercure debuts in MyanmarGrand Mercure announces the opening of its first property in Myanmar. One of Southeast Asia’s largest and most diverse countries, Myanmar remains one of the most mysterious and undiscovered destinations in the world. A land of breathtaking beauty and charm yet only recently emerging into the modern world.Myanmar has seen its emergence as a popular travel destination. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the country welcomed just 21,000 international arrivals in 1990, that rose to 120,000 in 1995, 660,000 in 2005 and 790,000 in 2010. Last year, Myanmar welcomed 3.44 million visitors up from 2.9 million in 2016 which saw an 18% increase.Overlooking the famed Schwedagon Pagoda, Grand Mercure Yangon Golden Empire boasts 175 guest rooms and suites designed by local artist Pyar Dade. Featuring detailed hand-painted ceilings inspired by colourful sapphire, emerald, gold and ruby gemstones, the rooms ranged from 30 sqm for superior rooms to 340 sqm two-bedroom suite.“This is our first Grand Mercure in Myanmar and the opening of Grand Mercure Yangon Golden Empire encapsulates the cultural touchstone of the destination and heritage in bringing local stories to life,” said Patrick Basset, Chief Operating officer of AccorHotels, Upper Southeast and Northeast Asia and the Maldives.“As Myanmar develops as a popular destination for tourists, business and corporate visitors, we expect to see significant development within the years to come. Renowned for its lush tropical trees, beautiful lakes and one of the ancient wonders of the world, Yangon is definitely poised to lead further growth in the country”Culinary offerings are spread across its restaurant, deli, and pool bar. Flavours Restaurant offers diners a nostalgic selection of diverse international and Asian cuisine, as well as halal food. Specialty cakes and fresh pastries are available at Mahura Deli, where guests can enjoy a casual meal along with a selection of gourmet coffees, teas or a glass of wine. A selection of light snacks, finger foods and cocktails are available at Ken pool bar beside the outdoor swimming pool surrounded by a tropical lush garden.One unique feature at Grand Mercure Yangon Golden Empire is the well-equipped wellness area complete with an outdoor swimming pool, children’s pool, and a fitness centre. For relaxation, there is a spa complete with open-air Jacuzzi, sauna and steam bath, while a nearby golf course completes the suite of leisure facilities.For meetings, private parties and weddings, the hotel boasts two state-of-the-art ballrooms that can host up to 400 guests with a large pre-event function area and seven meeting rooms that feature natural daylight overlooking the beautiful Yangon skyline.“We look forward to welcoming business and leisure travellers to this urban garden, where our staff aims to bring captivating stories of the destination to life,” said Vinoth Kumar, General Manager of Grand Mercure Yangon Golden Empire.Grand Mercure is a portfolio of charming upscale hotels that embody the authenticity of each local culture. With attentive guest service at its core, each and every Grand Mercure location promises to be an inviting place where guests feel welcomed and cared for, and where a rich destination narrative both captivates and captures the imagination and adventurous spirit of travelers. With its origins in Asia Pacific, and further expansion planned for Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, the Grand Mercure brand now boasts more than 45 hotels worldwide.For a weekend getaway, enjoy a Superior room night stay at USD 100 nett with breakfast for two or a Deluxe room night stay at USD 120 nett with breakfast for two from now until 30 September 2018.For more information, please visit www.accorhotels.com, email h17w5@accor.com, contact +95 1 2330 288 for general enquires or +95 1 2339 298 for reservations.About Grand MercureGrand Mercure Hotels & Resorts tempts travelers with a charming and inviting hotel experience that appeals to their imagination and insatiable sense of discovery. With its debut in Asia Pacific nearly 20 years ago, the Grand Mercure network consists of more than 45 hotels that embrace cultural tradition, locally influenced cuisine and inspired artistic expression. Flagship hotels include Grand Mercure Mysuru in India, Grand Mercure Belem Do Para in Brazil and Grand Mercure Rio de Janeiro Riocentro in Brazil. Grand Mercure is part of AccorHotels, a world-leading travel and lifestyle group which invites travelers to feel welcome at more than 4,500 hotels, resorts and residences, along with some 10,000 of the finest private homes around the globe.last_img read more

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