Up to 40% commission on select expedition cruises, for limited time Wednesday, October 5, 2016 SYDNEY — Adventure cruise specialist Aurora Expeditions is offering 30% to 40% in commission on three of its Antarctic expedition sailings, for bookings made by Oct. 13.“Normally commission for our international agents is 20%,” says Sales Executive, Talia Schwartzman. “In the case of the higher commission … agents can keep 20% for themselves and pass on 10% to the customer as a discount or keep all 30% for their agency. Please note that any optional activities are non-commissionable.”The bonus commission offer applies to three voyages: ‘Weddell Sea & Antarctic Explorer’ (trip code ANP114, at 30% commission); ‘Photographer’s First Light – Antarctica & South Georgia’ (trip code ASG66, at 40% commission); and ‘In Shackleton’s Footsteps’ (trip code ASG69, at 30% commission).There is still availability on each trip, however some categories have sold out. “It would be great for the agents to contact me directly with enquiries,” said Schwartzman. The commission deal applies until the trips are sold out or the offer expires, whichever comes first.More news: TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamAgents are asked to complete the form on this link to receive a welcome package with information on Aurora, selling tips and more: auroraexpeditions.com.au/find-out-more/agents. Tags: Commission Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Posted by
TORONTO — Not only can agents now earn 20% commission on select sailings with Silversea, the price tags on many of those cruises might be a pleasant surprise for clients. “People think Silversea is $1,000 a day, but we’re not. At these prices you can get your clients to move up to luxury,” said Silversea’s Regional Sales Director, Canada, Derek Lloyd, at last night’s ‘Evening with Silversea’ travel agent event at Vaughan Estate in Toronto.Silversea is offering its 20% commission incentive on 2018 Caribbean, Canada & New England and Asia sailings booked by April 30. Here’s the catch: you have to ask for it. “When you book the cruise for your client, you need to ask the Silversea res agent about the 20% commission deal. It’s an ‘ask for’ promotion,” says Lloyd.Silversea also has plenty of deals on the table for Canadians, not least of which is the new Canadian dollar pricing that came into effect starting last month. At an exchange rate of 1.13 (compared to the bank rate of 1.32), Silversea’s new Canadian dollar pricing policy “represents a significant savings for Canadians.”Silver MuseBest of all, the Canadian dollar pricing can be combined with Silversea’s many other consumer incentives, including the air promo and an early booking bonus that offers savings of 10% for passengers who book and pay in full by April 30 for sailings Sept. 1 onwards.Lloyd pulled up some prices for upcoming Silversea sailings, to show that contrary to popular perception, Silversea is not an out-of-reach product for many clients. Sample sailings include the Aug. 5 Barcelona to Rome sailing on Silver Muse, for Can$4,800. “That’s in peak season for seven days and that price includes airfare and US$1,000 in shipboard credit. And the single supplement is only 25%,” said Lloyd.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesAnother option, a 10-day Copenhagen to Stockholm trip, is Can$5,200 and again includes airfare and the shipboard credit. Or how about a 14-day Bangkok to Singapore sailing on Silver Shadow, for Can$6,030, or Can$6,400 for a Galapagos cruise? “People think Silversea is more expensive than it actually is,” says Lloyd, adding: “People aren’t buying six Rolex watches anymore. They’re buying these experiences.”Silver Shadow in SydneyIncreasingly those experiences include expedition cruises. Silversea is marking its 10th anniversary in expedition cruising in 2018, making the cruise line something of a veteran in an increasingly crowded field, with more and more expedition ships coming from a growing number of cruise lines.Silversea has four expedition ships now (Silver Cloud Expedition, Silver Discoverer, Silver Explorer and Silver Galapagos) as well as five cruise ships (Silver Muse, Silver Shadow, Silver Spirit, Silver Whisper and Silver Wind). “We’re almost like two cruise lines,” said Lloyd. “We don’t take our cruise ships to expedition destinations. And with Silversea, clients don’t have to choose between an expedition ship and a luxury cruise ship.”Every cruise line has a strategy and Silversea is no different. “We made the decision to have a large number of small ships,” says Lloyd, adding that the benefits to passengers include a very high guest-to-staff ratio. “It’s the service that really defines what luxury is these days.” Plus, every single suite has access to Silversea’s butler service. “A steward looks after the room, and the butler looks after your clients.”Silver DiscovererOther Silversea perks range from included gratuities, to free unlimited WiFi as of April 1, spacious verandah suites and high quality amenities.Silversea does not include shore excursions in its prices, and that was a conscious decision, says Joe Leon, Silversea’s Vice President, Field Sales, who came up to Toronto for Miami for last night’s event. “We think it’s important to allow your clients to experience the destination the way they want to experience it,” said Leon.More news: Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTLeon had some selling tips for agents in the audience: “Clients are going to make a choice to pay more, more often than you think. And they will spend out of their means for landmark occasions like anniversaries and birthdays. But value does play into the equation. Value is a word most people don’t associate with the luxury market. Your clients are calling you because there’s something in these destinations that they want to experience. The price just makes it easier for them.”Destinations are one of Silversea’s strong suits: the cruise line is sailing to 965 ports of call, a third more than its nearest competitor, says Lloyd. Adds Leon: “What makes Silversea different is the destinations, and not just the number but how we get there.”With nine ships, Silversea can take passengers around the world, literally, with the announcement of a new 2020 world cruise onboard Silver Whisper that will visit all seven continents.Also coming in 2020, Silver Moon will join the Silversea fleet, a sister ship to the very popular Silver Muse. Silver Moon itineraries should be available by fall 2018, says Lloyd.Silver Muse is heading to Asia and agents should watch for some good values for clients looking to sail through Asia, he adds. Other ship news includes the lengthening of Silver Spirit. The massive undertaking will make Silver Spirit “almost a sister ship to the Muse, with dining options and more connecting rooms.” Travelweek Group Wednesday, April 11, 2018 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Silversea Cruises Posted by Bonus 20% commission, surprising prices and the latest ship news, all from Silversea
<< Previous PostNext Post >> Celebrity Edge sails home to T25 following first transatlantic journey Tags: Celebrity Cruises, New Ship Travelweek Group Tuesday, November 20, 2018 MIAMI – Celebrity Cruises’ new ship, Celebrity Edge, was greeted with much fanfare yesterday as it arrived at Port Everglades’ Terminal 25 following its first-ever transatlantic crossing.More than 1,400 crew members stood on the decks as the ship entered the channel for the first time, waving to a sea of shoreside colleagues who gathered to welcome the Edge to its new home.Celebrity Edge is the cruise line’s first new ship in six years, and the first of a new class in more than a decade.“The arrival of Celebrity Edge today bookends a major chapter in the growth of Celebrity Cruises,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “It’s the culmination of years of dreaming, designing and dedication to bring this magnificent ship to life. A new era is truly upon us.”After the ship’s arrival at T25, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises hosted a grand opening ceremony in the new terminal. Attended by brand executive and Broward County and City of Hollywood officials, the ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official grand opening of the first terminal designed exclusively for the Celebrity brand.More news: Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckT25 features cutting-edge technology such as Expedited Arrival, which will make the check-in process seamless, as well as an interactive light wall art installation. It will also offer The Retreat guests an exclusive lounge called The Retreat featuring elevator lobbies, screening areas and a private rooftop terrace.While on its 4,000-mile transatlantic voyage from the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, Celebrity Edge carried more than 1,400 crew members onboard and visited ports in both Azores, Portugal and Freeport, Bahamas.It will begin its inaugural season with alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruises, with its Maiden Western Caribbean voyage departing on Dec. 9, 2018, and its Maiden Eastern Caribbean voyage departing on Dec. 16, 2018. Then, in spring 2019, the ship will cross the Atlantic again to offer a range of seven- to 11-night Mediterranean sailings that visit Barcelona, Rome and more.Calling the completion of its first-ever transatlantic crossing a “historic moment” for Celebrity Cruises, Lutoff-Perlo also added: “This has been more than four years in the making. The collaboration and effort between teams across the world all comes together in this incredible moment. I can think of no better place to be than with Captain Costas and the crew of Celebrity Edge knowing that we are sailing into the future, literally and figuratively, with this beautiful ship.”More news: Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?Bookings for Celebrity Edge are now open. Celebrity Edge will be joined by its sister ship, Celebrity Apex, in 2020, and two additional ships in the Edge Series will following in 2021 and 2022. Share Posted by
Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Edge stars of JetSet3 fam Share Tuesday, April 23, 2019 Waheeda Harris Tags: Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Edge, Openings & Renovations FORT LAUDERDALE — Agents got a double dose of Celebrity Cruises on the cruise line’s JetSet Fam3, with tours of Celebrity Equinox at PortMiami and the buzzworthy Celebrity Edge at Port Everglades.Chartering a First Air 737-400, Celebrity Cruises Canada’s sales and marketing team, 122 travel agents and travel trade media recently headed south to sunny Fort Lauderdale for the third edition of the JetSet fam.Andrea Arkell with Arkell Travel“We get the opportunity to showcase our ships in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere,” explained Ken Brooks, Director of Market Sales for Celebrity Cruises Canada. “We can give the agents the ability to feel and touch the product during a weekend as many don’t have the time to sail with us on a seven-day seminar at sea.”Celebrity Equinox offers many unexpected ‘green’ sights on board, like a tree growing in the center of the ship and the top deck’s surprise – an expansive lawn to enjoy cloud gazing or a sundowner cocktail. Additional perks include Canyon Ranch at Sea Fitness and Spa, 40 brews on tap at Craft Social, the Den 7 interactive entertainment zone featuring Xbox gaming pods, performances by the American Ballet Theatre and the Movable Feast dining experience in June with Chefs Michelle Bernstein and Buddy Valastro.Celebrity Edge Rooftop GardenBrenda Yeomans, Strategic Sales and Market Manager for Celebrity Cruises CanadaGabriel Martinez, International Tourism Sales for Greater Fort Lauderdale welcomed JetSet Fam3 attendees, happy to show off his part of Florida. “We’re always excited to welcome Canadians to sunny Greater Fort Lauderdale,” said Martinez. “More and more visitors are taking advantage of our many benefits and we welcome those who will get to experience the new cruise terminal for Celebrity Edge at Port Everglades.”Celebrity Cruises invested US$120 million for Celebrity’s Edge’s T25, offering a streamlined experience for cruise passengers to set sail within a contemporary styled terminal with décor usually seen in boutique hotels.More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”The star attraction of the weekend was Celebrity Edge, the 2900 passenger ship leading Celebrity Cruises “revolution” (a US$500 million fleet-wide modernization), offering amenities pushing the bar higher within the luxury cruise market. “Being on Celebrity Edge is all about bragging rights,” explained Brenda Yeomans, Strategic Sales and Market Manager for Celebrity Cruises Canada. “Hipster guests who want champagne will be right at home on Edge.”Relaxing on Celebrity EdgeEdge Top DeckThe ship’s colourful contemporary design is thanks to a team of interior designers who were novices to luxury cruise ships, explained Yeomans. The work was overseen by Celebrity Cruises Edge Ambassador, designer Nate Berkus. Celebrity Edge features staterooms with Infinite Veranda, allowing guests with the touch of a button to have 175 square feet open to the sea air.Using the latest technology, passengers can download the Edge Access Tour app, available for iPhone and Google Pixel phones, which offers details of the ship, ability to make reservations for dining and spa, communicate with on-board customer service and control their stateroom from door access to lighting, without the need for WiFi. It’s important to note that suite guests receive complimentary WiFi onboard Edge.Another marked difference on Celebrity Edge is the Magic Carpet: a cantilevered floating orange platform that can rise and lower 13 storeys above the sea. This area – the size of a tennis court – can accommodate 100 guests to enjoy the bar, soak in the sun or listen to live music. Other Edge benefits include five complimentary dining venues, seven specialty restaurants, 11 bars and lounges and Eden, a lush multi-purpose space, featuring fast casual dining, bar/lounge, seating areas with living walls and a dining area that is also performance space, offering an interactive and theatrical experience.The famous Magic Carpet on Celebrity EdgeDesigned by British designer Kelly Hoppen, The Retreat is exclusive for suite guests, with spacious indoor and outdoor lounges, cabanas, pool, hot tub and bar areas spread over two decks of Celebrity Edge, and access to fine dining at Luminae at The Retreat. The Retreat also includes a second new suite category on this ship, the Edge Villas. Found within The Retreat, there are six 950 square foot two-storey suites, which include one bedroom, two bathrooms, private patio and plunge pool.More news: Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesFrom the expansive pool deck surrounded by a running track and featuring martini-shaped hot tubs to the spa’s Sea Thermal Suite featuring eight therapies, guests can indulge in a welcome dose of wellness on Celebrity Edge, as much as fun at the nightly entertainment offerings in the theatre, night club and casino.“Celebrity Edge is a real game changer – from the design of the ship to eating at Le Petit Chef – everything is unique on this ship,” said Brooks.For pre or post stays, Greater Fort Lauderdale, home to Port Everglades, has welcomed several new hotels in 2018 and 2019 including the CIRC Boutique Hotel (111 rooms), Costa Hollywood Beach Resort (307 rooms), Wyndham Garden Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port (142 rooms) and The Dalmar: A Tribute Portfolio Hotel (209 rooms). Later in 2019 and in 2020, Fort Lauderdale will welcome the Gale Boutique Hotel (96 rooms) 23 storey Four Seasons Hotel (150 rooms) and Tru by Hilton/Home2 Suites by Hilton, a dual hotel with 112 Tru rooms and 106 Home2 rooms. << Previous PostNext Post >> About Latest Posts Waheeda HarrisA traveller from a young age, Travelweek contributor Waheeda Harris is pop culture obsessed, loves spicy food and is happy to wander around our planet with her camera in hand. Latest posts by Waheeda Harris (see all) Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Edge stars of JetSet3 fam – April 23, 2019 Unleash the power of cross-company digital transformation to revolutionize your CX – February 8, 2019 On location: Cabo San Lucas welcomes the stylish Riu Palace Baja California – December 20, 2018 Posted by
No related posts. This weekend, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will play in the final of Europe’s most prestigious soccer competition, and for the first time it’s an all-German affair. There’s something a little too apt about Germany’s domination of Europe’s favorite sport this year. As goes football, so goes the European economy? Bear with me. There could be something to it.This weekend’s match, the 58th UEFA Champions League soccer final, marks the culmination of the steady rise of the German football league in recent seasons. The finalists underlined the point by each eliminating clubs recently seen as the game’s most glittering stars: Barcelona and Real Madrid. German engineering prevails over Spanish flair. The success of German clubs against more glamorous counterparts, not just in Spain but also in Italy and the U.K., seems to say something about backbone and strength in depth.But that’s not all. Dortmund and Munich are two very different sorts of club. Dortmund represents Germany’s old industrial heartland. Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is the modern center of a remarkably prosperous region. Germany’s economic resilience owes a lot to the diffusion of its strength across a strikingly diverse range of big cities. This is uncommon in the rest of Europe. In addition to well-known economic hubs such as Munich, Stuttgart and many others, Germany has cities like Hamburg — once written off in the same way many northern English cities have been, it is now a booming economic center, thanks to Germany’s success as an exporter to the big emerging-market economies, China in particular.Fiscal rectitude, as you might guess, comes into it as well. German football has built its success this year on the biggest match-day attendances of the top European leagues, even moving ahead of the British Premier League — solid revenue. Its clubs, which by the way have to be majority-owned by Germans, operate under tight restrictions on the use of debt for acquisitions — prudent finance. By global industry standards, wages consume a small share of receipts — cost control.By contrast, look at the news from some of the gaudier leagues. Strength in depth? Madrid and Barcelona dominate the Spanish game so completely that La Liga almost resembles the Scottish league these days, with about the same degree of boredom over which club might upset the standings. As for fiscal control, I used to joke that you would know the euro crisis was serious once Spanish banks stopped doling out cash so readily to the country’s football clubs. Actually, that moment has arrived.Once-almighty Italian football isn’t remotely what it was. Concerning the English Premiership, where to begin? It has enjoyed stunning revenue growth thanks to a global following — but the money disappears into outlandish pay for far too many ordinary players. Where’s the discipline? The percentage of revenue spent on wages is far higher in the English Premiership than in Germany’s Bundesliga — and in many clubs it exceeds 100 percent.Not unlike their finance-sector equivalents, English football regulators prefer a light touch: They are open to all comers in the market for clubs, irrespective of financial standing or commitment to the local community. Strategy seems lacking. Foreign players predominate at the top of the English game, so the talent pool for the national team grows ever smaller. Despite having a lot of foreign players, Germany has a national team that remains one of the world’s best. Somehow, Germany is better at developing its national assets.An English soccer star of the 1980s, Gary Lineker, once defined the sport in a way that still makes sense to Englishmen. Football: a simple game in which 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end the Germans win. Must we accept the corollary? European monetary union: a currency system in which 17 countries strive to stay competitive and at the end the Germans win.We will see, though the latest data suggest that the German economy isn’t quite as unstoppable as its footballers. Exports to Germany’s struggling neighbors are depressed. China’s growth is slowing as well, shrinking another market vital to German success. With domestic demand, as usual, weaker than it might be — the ethic of austerity prevails in Berlin and in households across the land — the German economy has been faltering of late. People forget, but the term “eurosclerosis” was applied to Germany and its inability to adapt in the 1990s. Things move in cycles, so who knows?Unconvinced? I will leave you with another consoling thought that is going around before the big game. This one you can take to the bank. It’s certain that the loser this weekend will be a team from Germany.Jim O’Neill, the outgoing chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, is a Bloomberg View columnist.© 2013, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments
A₡5 increase in the per-liter price of fuels approved in July will take effect in coming days, but a recent drop in international oil prices could mean gas prices will go down in September.The National Oil Refinery (RECOPE) on Friday will ask the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) to lower gas prices, likely by ₡30 per liter, RECOPE said on Wednesday. The official notification is expected to take place on Friday, allowing ARESEP to calculate international fuel prices and dollar exchange rates for this week. ARESEP updates fuel prices the second Friday of each month.A liter of “Super” gasoline currently costs ₡810 ($1.52). A liter of “Plus” gas costs ₡782 ($1.46), while diesel costs ₡667 ($1.25).A change in fuel prices takes up to three weeks on average, making it likely lower gas prices will apply starting next month.After receiving a price-change request, ARESEP is required to grant a 10-day period for citizens to opine, which the agency evaluates for five days before issuing a final ruling. A decree setting new prices then is sent for publication in the official newspaper La Gaceta.If the price decrease moves forward, it would be the second this year. ARESEP has approved seven gas price increases during the same period. Facebook Comments Related posts:Regulatory authority approves drop in fuel prices Costa Rica (still) has the most expensive gas prices in Central America Fuel prices to drop for third consecutive month Gas prices to drop again this week in Costa Rica
Facebook Comments Related posts:Arcadio’s World Arcadio’s World Arcadio’s World Arcadio’s World
Encircled by a ring of several dozen young men, a woman in tight shorts wielding a yellow cape takes two determined steps towards an angry black bull. At first the bull doesn’t take the bait; it twists its head from side to side, eyeing the other people within reach, agitated. But just when the bull seems to have lost interest, the woman wags her cape and the bull launches forward, bringing her to the ground.“What a brave soul!” booms the announcer’s voice over the loudspeakers. “Who will be next? Which of these improvisados wants to make history?”Welcome to Zapote, San José’s giant end-of-year festival where Tico-style bullfights are the main event.Unlike the unabashedly gory Spanish and Mexican bullfights, Costa Rican bullfighting combines a rodeo with a massive human-toro game of chicken. A bull enters the ring through a door on the side of the arena, sometimes with a rider whom it quickly sheds before unleashing its fury onto a crowd of taunting “improvised bullfighters,” or improvisados in Spanish.As untold numbers of improvisados are tossed, pinned, kicked and gored, the fights are sometimes terrifying, but more often the fiestas de Zapote are simply hilarious. Event organizers offer small cash prizes to the improvisados able to get closest to the bull, or devise sadistic games that put the unprotected rodeo clowns within goring distance of their bull nemesis. Outside the ring, festival-goers can enjoy carnival rides, greasy Chinese food and buckets full of cerveza.The origins of Tico-style bullfights are a mystery even to the country’s foremost bull aficionados, but talk to anyone at Zapote and it is clear that bullfighting rivals soccer as the national pastime.“It just gets your blood pumping,” said Renzo Retana, who has worked as a professional improvisado (yes, those exist) for six years. “I do it all for the excitement, the passion.”Retana explained his love for “Toros a la Tica” shortly after returning to the ring from the Red Cross station, where he was treated after a nasty bull named Pijamudo lifted him into the air, jabbed him with its horns and kicked him around on the ground for good measure.Retana is not alone with his injuries. In the previous seven Zapote festivals, the Red Cross has treated 4.070 people mostly for bull-related injuries, and in the first four days of this year’s festival the Red Cross saw 154 patients.Despite the dangers, improvisados continue pouring in through the arena gates year after year. Some do it for pride or as a machista display, but most it seems just do it because it’s tradition.“It’s just the Tico thing to do,” said Jon Carlos Cattano, 28. “It’s important to do it at least one time in your life.” Alberto Font/The Tico Times Facebook Comments Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Related posts:Sheena the sloth predicts the 2014 World Cup winner 18 photos from Costa Rica’s big time city rodeo Bullfighter gored at Zapote festival remains in serious condition VIDEO: Festivities wrap up in Zapote Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Related posts:Costa Rica businesses want more moderately-skilled workers Employment outlook among industrial sector shows no improvement President Solís announces goal to create 217,000 jobs during his term Hiring expectations low for Costa Rican employers in first months of 2015 Costa Rican entrepreneurs expect hiring to stagnate while the number of private-sector companies considering staff cuts has increased in recent months.Two separate studies presented Thursday by the Chamber of Industries of Costa Rica (CICR) and the Costa Rican Union of Private-Sector Chambers and Associations (UCCAEP) concluded that the business sector is not optimistic about performance for the remaining months of this year.Both studies show a downward trend in hiring expectations that has been consistent for the past nine months, according to chamber experts.The UCCAEP study shows that while 34 percent of private-sector employers in late 2014 planned to expand staff, the figure for the second quarter of this year dropped to 25 percent. The number is even lower in the CICR study as only 23 percent of industrial companies plan new hiring in coming months.The percentage of companies that instead are considering layoffs in coming months actually rose two points in both studies.UCCAEP’s study found that 16 percent of employers said they would cut staff this year, up from 14 percent in late 2014.Results from the CICR study show that 11.5 percent of employers are planning staff cuts, while the figure was 9.4 percent in 2014.“Our survey’s results indicate that we have a negative outlook for business development in the country. This will not be a year for job creation in the industrial sector, instead it will be a year of stagnation and reduction,” CICR President Enrique Egloff said Thursday.“Industrial companies make up just 5 percent of the business sector, but they employ 55 percent of the sector’s total workers and they contribute more than 65 percent of the country’s industrial gross domestic product,” he said.President’s performanceThe CICR study also shows that industrial employers are pessimistic about President Luis Guillermo Solís’ efforts, giving him 4.9 out of 10 points for his performance during his first year.Industrial employers said Solís “has poor control over public expenditures” and rated him 3.8 points on that subject, while they believe government efforts related to prices stabilization (6.3) and Central Bank measures to control the exchange rate of the dollar (6.5) were the president’s highlights in recent months.UCCAEP members also were critical about President Solís’ performance, with 54 percent of them calling his administration “bad or very bad,” 24 percent saying it is “the same” as the previous administration, and 21 percent saying it is “good or very good.”The Chamber of Industries surveyed a total of 141 business owners between March 15 and May 22. The study has a confidence level of 95 percent with a margin of error of 3 percent.UCCAEP conducted their study among 462 entrepreneurs during the last three weeks of April. It has a confidence level of 95 percent with a margin of error of 5.6 percent. Facebook Comments
Related posts:PHOTOS: Carlos Alvarado is sworn in as Costa Rica’s 48th president More of our favorite pics from Costa Rica’s inauguration Legislative assembly president bikes to Costa Rica’s inauguration ceremony Evangelicals make up quarter of Costa Rica’s new assembly Preparations are almost complete for tomorrow’s presidential inauguration in Costa Rica. Unlike recent inaugurations in the country’s National Stadium, tomorrow’s event will take place in the heart of the city at the open-air Plaza de la Democracia, a public space next to the National Museum in downtown San José.Carlos Alvarado – who, at 38, will become the youngest president in modern Costa Rican history tomorrow – chose the location for the ceremony, which will begin at 9 am. Alvarado, known for his love of rock music (and in particular, the Canadian band “Rush”) also chose to close his Inauguration Day with a concert that will start at 4 pm at the Plaza de la Democracia and feature groups from around the country including Malpaís and Masterkey.Alvarado will travel to the ceremony from the Museum of Costa Rican Art in La Sabana Park in a hydrogen-powered bus designed by Ad Astra Rocket Company, founded by Costa Rican-U.S. astronaut Franklin Chang.While May 8 is not a national holiday, josefinos should plan as if it were one: the government has given the day off to all its employees for the occasion, and some private businesses have followed suit because downtown streets will be shut down. Call ahead before attempting, well, much of anything in the capital, and avoid travel to the city center.As always, stay tuned to ticotimes.net for the latest tomorrow. Facebook Comments President ‘Carlitos’ and Costa Rica’s generational shift
Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates News of the warrant, initially revealed by the daily Le Monde, came on the same day that UNESCO, the U.N. cultural arm, announced that it will go ahead with presenting a controversial $3 million research prize from Equatorial Guinea next week that pitted nations against each other at the institution dedicated to world harmony through education and culture.The prize has drawn condemnation from scholars, human rights groups and Western and other nations because of the poor human rights record of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea and corruption within the ruling clan.The head of the Paris-based U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Irina Bokova, had herself called the award divisive and tried to pressure Equatorial Guinea to withdraw it. With the board’s passage of the prize despite the controversy, she had said she would seek legal counsel about how to proceed and was apparently left with no choice.The name of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema was removed from the prize, first approved by UNESCO in 2008, to make it less objectionable to detractors, but that failed to calm the fires.“We condemn UNESCO’s decision to award this prize against the wishes of many of its own member states and international human rights community,” the U.S. ambassador to UNESCO David Killion said in a strongly worded statement. “We simply cannot promote this award given the concerns regarding the questionable source of the prize funds.” Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments Share Associated PressPARIS (AP) – France has issued an arrest warrant for the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, a suspect in an investigation into the alleged misspending of public funds, a judicial official said Friday.The warrant followed Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue’s failure to show up for questioning, and eventual preliminary charges, on Wednesday by investigative judges handling the probe, which targets the acquisition of properties in France by the leaders of Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Republic of Congo, the official said. The UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences will be awarded Tuesday to Egypt’s Maged Al-Sherbiny who heads his country’s Academy of Scientific Research and Technology; South Africa’s Felix Dapare Dakora, of Tshwane University of Technology; and Mexico’s Rossana Arroyo, who teaches at National Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Research and Advanced Studies.It was not immediately clear whether the timing of the two developments was linked.The warrant seeks the arrest of Obiang, the president’s son, for money laundering and misappropriation of public funds among other things _ charges that would have been leveled at the missed hearing as part of the probe, the official said. The judicial official is not authorized to speak publicly about the case and asked not to be identified.The son’s lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, contended that the arrest warrant is worthless because his client, recently named second vice president of his country, is covered by immunity.“You can think what you want about the Obiang family, but Equatorial Guinea is a sovereign state and he (Obiang, the son) is vice-president and recognized as such,” Marsigny said in an interview. Last September, French police seized 16 luxury cars of the son, including a Bugatti whose value was estimated at more than (EURO)1 million, expenditures suspected of being looted from the country whose population livesThat was followed by a search in mid-February of his vast and luxurious Paris apartment building _ a move considered illegal by Equatorial Guinea on the grounds, it said, that the building was part of its diplomatic mission.The U.S. also has zoned in on Obiang, the son, who is the subject of a U.S. criminal investigation after he moved many millions of dollars of money into the country and, among other things, bought a $30 million home in Malibu, California.The French arrest warrant “is excellent news which sanctions the flagrant bad faith of Mr. Obiang,” said Joseph Breham, a lawyer with Sherpa, the anti-corruption association at the origin of the French complaint.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean How do cataracts affect your vision?
“It was a very bad situation,” said Wahidullah, who was a teenager when he was wounded in the 1992-1996 civil war. “All these streets around here were full of bullet shells, burned tanks and vehicles,” he added, squinting into a setting sun that cast a golden glow on the bombed-out Darulaman Palace still standing in west Kabul not far from where he was wounded.“People could not find bread or water, but rockets were everywhere,” said Wahidullah, who now hobbles around on red-handled crutches. He goes by one name only, as do many Afghans.The dilapidated palace is a reminder of the horror of the civil war when rival factions _ who had joined forces against Soviet fighters before they left in early 1989 _ turned their guns on each other. Tens of thousands of civilians were killed.Fed up with the bloodletting, the Afghan people longed for someone _ anyone _ who would restore peace and order. The Taliban did so.But once in power, they imposed harsh Islamic laws that repressed women and they publicly executed, stoned and lashed people for alleged crimes and sexual misconduct. The Taliban also gave sanctuary to al-Qaida in the run-up to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. When the Taliban refused to give up the al-Qaida leaders who orchestrated 9/11, the U.S. invaded on Oct. 7, 2001. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Coalition officials claim they have battered the Taliban and that while they are capable of staging suicide bombings and insider attacks, the insurgents cannot defeat the Afghan forces on the battlefield. They contend that keeping up the pressure on insurgents will push Taliban leaders to the negotiating table and that the international community’s pledge to bankroll the Afghan army and police force in coming years will support the Afghan government as it works to provide better governance.The more pessimistic view is that the Afghan forces won’t be up to the task.The joint international and Afghan force is fighting a losing battle, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement marking the 11th anniversary of the start of the war. Mujahid claims the Taliban have infiltrated the Afghan forces and are responsible for the rash of insider attacks that have left more than 50 U.S. and NATO forces dead at the hands of their would-be Afghan partners so far this year.“Right now, the foreigners are in a position where they are just trying to escape,” Mujahid said.___Associated Press Writer Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Pakistan, contributed to this report. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix “Maybe if there is a deal between America, Pakistan and the Taliban, the Taliban might come with the tie instead of the turban,” Ghafel, a round-faced military man with a small black mustache, said snacking on green grapes and melon in his office. “If the foreign troops leave, there will not be a good result. I am not confident about the future. I’m not optimistic.”Karzai has called for national unity and has tried to reassure his people that Afghanistan will not collapse when the troops leave.“If the foreigners are not here, we are nothing?” he asked sarcastically at a news conference last week: “We were not a nation before NATO and the Americans came?”Karzai claims there has been a decline in violence in areas where Afghan troops are taking over from U.S. and NATO forces and that Afghan policemen and soldiers will be strong enough to provide security in the future. He blames the media for scaring Afghans into thinking they have no future once the international coalition leaves. Those who share Karzai’s optimism argue that despite reports of drug use and unprofessionalism, Afghan security forces _ now 352,000 strong _ will be capable of securing the nation by international troops leave. “Unfortunately in Afghanistan, we do not have any political unity,” said Gen. Sayed Hussain Anwari, a former governor of Kabul and Herat provinces who led fighters during the civil war.Speaking in emotional, rapid-fire sentences at his home in Kabul, Anwari says that the Taliban have a right to participate in the political process.“But if the scenario changes and they come to power by force, there will be groups that won’t go with the Taliban and the fighting will continue,” he said.Ghairat Baheer offers an even gloomier prediction. Baheer is a representative and son-in-law of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a key civil war leader in the 1990s whose fighters attack foreign troops today. He warns that the current Afghan government will collapse with the international troop withdrawal and says civil war is likely without a peace agreement.“The realties are that the government is not sustainable,” he said in a telephone interview. “Anti-Americanism and anti-western sentiment is increasing daily in Afghanistan and the resistance is spreading day-by-day across the country.”Fahim Dashti was with Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Tajik leader who commanded the Northern Alliance of minority groups, when he was fatally wounded by two terrorists posing as journalists two days before the Sept. 11 attacks. Dashti’s face and hands were burned when one of the journalists blew himself up as the interview began. Even now, Dashti’s hands are not strong enough to twist the cap off a bottle of water. Despite his experience, Dashti, who now directs the National Journalists’ Union in Afghanistan, doesn’t think his country is headed toward a civil war.“I do share the concerns of the people, no doubt. But there are some positive points such as the (growing) capability and the ability of the Afghan security forces,” he said in his office.Donor nations have pledged to continue supporting the Afghan forces, which will avoid civil war and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a sanctuary for international terrorists again, Dashti said. He’s more worried about the upcoming presidential race.“There is no one-man solution,” he said, adding that a team of leaders from all ethnic factions needs to be assembled to lead the nation forward.Gen. Majid Rouzi, who also commanded fighters in the civil war and is now an adviser at the Afghan Interior Ministry, agrees.“Nobody has any justification for rearming,” he said, sitting cross-legged on a rug in his home in Kabul. “The Taliban coming again? It is not possible. A factional war is not coming.”However, Gen. Sahki Dad Ghafel, who led 1,500 troops fighting under Hazara commander Abdul Ali Mazari during the civil war, says civil strife is inevitable unless a peace can be reached with the Taliban before 2014. And he’s not optimistic that the Taliban will renounce violence, moderate their hardline ways and participate in the political process. Eleven years later, Afghanistan remains divided and ethnic tension still simmers.The Taliban, dominated by the ethnic Pashtun majority, have strongholds in the south. Ethnic minorities such as Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks live predominantly in central and northern Afghanistan. The fear is that when international forces leave, minority groups will take up arms to prevent another Taliban takeover and that members of the Afghan security forces could walk off the government force and fight with their ethnic leaders.Anxiety and confusion about what will happen after the foreign forces leave permeates every aspect of society. Political debate about an Afghanistan post-2014 is getting more vocal. Some political leaders threaten to take up arms while others preach progress, development and peace. Young Afghans with money and connections are trying to flee the country before 2014.There also is mounting uncertainty about the upcoming transfer of power. At the same time that foreign troops are scheduled to complete their withdrawal in 2014, Afghans will go to the polls to elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai, who is barred by the constitution from running for a third term.The Afghan people already view their government as weak and corrupt and those doubtful of a peaceful future say that if the upcoming presidential election is rigged and yields an illegitimate leader, civil war could erupt between ethnic groups backed by neighboring countries trying to influence Afghanistan’s future. Sponsored Stories Top Stories Top holiday drink recipes Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Comments Share Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Associated PressKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Nobody wants a repeat of the bloody ethnic fighting that followed the Soviet exit from Afghanistan in the 1990s _ least of all 32-year-old Wahidullah who was crippled by a bullet that pierced his spine during the civil war.Yet as the Afghan war began its 12th year on Sunday, fears loom that the country will again fracture along ethnic lines once international combat forces leave by the end of 2014. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches
Business Traveller, the prestigious international business magazine, has recognised LAN Airlines in the “Best Business Class of Latin America” category. The award is given to airlines offering passengers the highest quality business travel experience, and is assessed by readers on factors including onboard service, cuisine, and the comfort of seats and space. The Business Traveller awards are known as the industry’s leading recognition in the area of business travel, enabling readers to reward airlines, airports, hotels and car rental companies that deliver added value in their products and services. LAN Business Class is focused on passenger care with features such as: a fully flat bed; a menu designed by a panel of top chefs from the region; a wine list selected by Latin America’s only Master Sommelier and luxurious amenity kits. Source = LAN Airlines
(L-R) Cramer Ball, Jet Airways Chief Executive Officer Designate, Naresh Goyal, Jet Airways Chairman and James Hogan, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer. India’s Jet Airways together with the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways, have announced plans to strengthen their long-term commitment to the growth of India’s economy and aviation sectors, including a three-year business plan for Jet Airways to return to profitability.The strategy will aim to reshape Jet Airways, return it to profitability and secure its long term future, through integrating a number of measures such as long-term network.These will see Jet Airways’ fleet and product developed to enhance its operations, including new international services to Europe, China, Australia and Southeast Asia, as well as expanded frequencies to existing routes and additional codeshares.Meanwhile, Jet Airways’ domestic product will improve connectivity across India, and worldwide, while streamlining its Boeing 737 fleet.The airline’s two and three class aircraft, including seat count, will be enhanced with the wide-body Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft.With India reporting more than 42 million international travellers last year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is predicting impressive future growth rates, offering significant opportunity for airlines worldwide.“The challenge is ensuring that our industry is efficiently catering to rising demand, not only in India’s major destinations, but also smaller cities that remain largely unconnected and undeserved,” Etihad Airways president and chief executive officer James Hogan said.Etihad and Jet Airways, which have been codeshare partners since 2008, solidified their partnership late last year after Etihad acquired a 24 percent share in Jet Airways, making it the first foreign airline to invest in India’s airline industry.Since then, the wide-ranging partnership has offered a number of benefits to travellers, including enhanced connections and reciprocal rights across the two airlines’ frequent flyer programs, with the airlines themselves benefitting from cost savings and collaborations on fleet acquisition, maintenance, product development and a number of other areas.“Our partnership with Jet Airways partnership has significantly improved connectivity between India and the UAE, and through our combined network and codeshare partnerships with other airlines, the Indian public has convenient access to destinations across the Gulf region, Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America and we are also bringing more travellers from these destinations to India, supporting the country’s aviation industry and economy,” Mr Hogan said.“The partnership has already proved a success for the two airlines, it has been beneficial for travellers and will also bring significant to the Indian economy, both in terms of growth, job creation, trade and tourism,” Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal said.“However, the market has been challenged by factors such as a difficult economic climate, volatile fuel prices, and the rapid growth of low-cost carriers in India and tough measures were needed to ensure Jet Airways’ long-term future, maximise its partnership with Etihad Airways and enhance the benefits this partnership offers to passengers.”Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovich
The Stanley Hotel & SuitesThe Stanley Hotel and Suites – open for businessHeralding a new era for Papua New Guinea’s accommodation and conference facilities and taking the destination’s first-class offering to levels previously unseen, The Stanley Hotel & Suites in Port Moresby has officially opened its doors for business.Dominating the landscape and standing 18-storeys high in the heart of the PNG capital close to Parliament House, government offices and many foreign embassies and consulates, this brand new luxury facility offers 433-rooms, including 99 serviced apartments and a 340-square-metre Presidential Suite located on the 18th floor.State of the art facilities include a 60-seat, fine dining grill-style restaurant, a split level executive club lounge, more than 2,000 square metres of function space and the largest ballroom in PNG at 1,600 square meters.Add to this a lobby level, cafe-style restaurant and a lounge bar offering all-day dining, a 3,000-square-metre outdoor area and pool deck on level four, a gym and a full day spa with five large treatment rooms and a hot tub.Hardly surprising a very excited General Manager, Geoff Haigh has positioned the hotel as comparable with any five-star hotel in the world and “one that has changed the Port Moresby hotel landscape forever.”“Officially we are still in our soft opening period, but both local and international demand is already strong and interest levels are very high,” Mr Haigh said.Located just three kilometres from Jackson International Airport and six kilometres from Port Moresby’s main downtown area, The Stanley Hotel & Suites conveniently adjoins the city’s biggest shopping complex, the Vision City Mega-Mall. The Stanley Hotel & Suitesbook your rooms here Source = The Stanley Hotel & Suites
Source = Wilpena Pound Resort Wilpena Pound Resort designs first ever Aboriginal Accommodation AppWilpena Pound Resort designs first ever Aboriginal Accommodation AppWilpena Pound Resort has released an app for visitors to South Australia’s spectacular Flinders Ranges, a first for an Australian Indigenous accommodation business.The Wilpena Pound Resort Guide is free and available on Google Play and in the App Store.Fully developed in-house, the new app is a welcome to Indigenous Adnyamathanha Country and comprehensive, pocket-sized guide to the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, Wilpena Pound Resort, Ikara Safari Camp and Wilpena Pound Campground.The app includes tips on making the most of a stay in Adnyamathanha Country with an introduction to local Indigenous culture, history and stories, as well as maps for self-guided walks and drives, weather updates and useful resort information and contacts.Guests planning their stay in the Flinders Ranges can book tours and activities in advance using the app, including Aboriginal guided walks and 4WD tours as well as scenic flights over Wilpena Pound and the Flinders Ranges, extending to the mesmerising Lake Eyre which is currently in flood.Wilpena Pound Resort General Manager Sean Casey said the Wilpena Pound Resort Guide would be an invaluable resource for visitors to discover more about the Ikara-Flinders Ranges and its Indigenous heritage – all while on the go.“We think the app will be really useful for visitors to be able to search for information on the spot, offering a chance to learn more about the destination and its heritage,” Mr Casey said.“Having the Adnyamathanha stories and history so readily available and linked to each place means this precious knowledge is easily shared with a large number of travellers and also ensures the stories are preserved over time.”Wilpena Pound Resort is located around 430km north of Adelaide in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. Wilpena Pound is a spectacular natural amphitheatre spanning 17km in length and 7km in width, shaped by the weathering and uplifting of land over time and holding important cultural significance for the Indigenous Adnyamathanha people. The resort comprises a 52-room hotel, Ikara Safari Camp with 15 tented pavilions including two designed for families and large campground with state-of-the-art facilities. For more information and bookings, visit www.wilpenapound.com.au or call 1800 805 802.
Hilton Garden Inn AlbanyHilton signs first Hilton Garden Inn property in AustraliaOne week after celebrating its 100th Anniversary, Hilton (NYSE: HLT) today announced the signing of the 108-room Hilton Garden Inn Albany, Western Australia. Hilton Garden Inn Albany is the first Hilton Garden Inn signing in Australia joining Hilton’s existing portfolio of Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and Curio Collection by Hilton branded hotels across Australia.Under a management agreement with Foreshore Investments Albany Pty Ltd, Hilton will manage the new-build hotel upon completion in late 2020.“Hilton Garden Inn has been focused on penetrating new markets and expanding its presence around the globe, so we are thrilled to announce our entry into Australia in partnership with Foreshore Investments Albany Pty Ltd.,” said John Greenleaf, Senior Vice President, Global Head, Hilton Garden Inn.Greenleaf added, “With the rise of the middle-class traveller, we believe that the Hilton Garden Inn brand will be extremely well-received in Australia and we look forward to bringing our bright and warm hospitality to travellers visiting the region.”An award winning mid-market brand, Hilton Garden Inn offers affordable and comfortable accommodations, as well as thoughtful touches and amenities, to both business and leisure travellers.Hilton Garden Inn Albany will offer 108-rooms, including eight superior rooms and four corner suites. It will also incorporate a restaurant and bar, a fitness centre, and three meeting rooms totaling 165 sq m of space.Albany, in southern West Australia, is a region known for its rugged natural coastal beauty, beaches, abundance of wildlife and national parks. As the oldest colonial settlement in Western Australia, the region also offers multiple heritage attractions including the Museum of Great Southern and Old Gaol Museum.Hilton Garden Inn Albany will be located on the waterfront next to the new Albany Entertainment Centre and offer stunning views over the harbour and ocean.Paul Lionetti, sole director, Foreshore Investments Albany Pty Ltd (FIA), said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Hilton on this project. Hilton Garden Inn Albany will be a fantastic addition to the Albany region, further enhancing the foreshore development area – bringing wonderful economic benefit through employment, increased tourism and business travel.”Hilton Garden Inn Albany will join 27 operating and 11 pipeline Hilton properties throughout Australasia.About Hilton Garden InnThe award-winning Hilton Garden Inn brand provides business and leisure guests upscale, affordable accommodations and unexpected amenities for an experience that is ‘Simply on Another Level.’ The Hilton Garden Inn Promise affirms the brand’s goal to make each guest’s stay better and brighter. Guaranteed. Team Members at more than 820 hotels in 42 countries around the world ensure today’s busy travelers have a bright and satisfying experience, starting with the first hello. As a recognized F&B leader, Hilton Garden Inn serves locally-sourced food and beverage at its full-service restaurants and bars, featuring cooked-to-order breakfast, handcrafted cocktails, and on-trend small plates. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. For more information about Hilton Garden Inn, visit www.hgi.com or newsroom.hilton.com/hgi, and connect on Facebook,Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.About HiltonHilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 17 world-class brands comprising more than 5,700 properties with more than 923,000 rooms, in 113 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company, Hilton earned a spot on the 2018 world’s best workplaces list, and has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its 100-year history. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, more than 89 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can’t buy, plus enjoy instant benefits, including digital check-in with room selection, Digital Key, and Connected Room. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.Source = Hilton Garden Inn
Ethiopian Airlines recently announced its plan to introduce a Platinum tier level in its frequent flyer loyalty program, ShebaMiles.The Platinum tier level offers extra benefits to frequent flyers that accrue 75, 000 status miles or 60 qualifying segments within one calendar year, January 1–December 31 within the validity period of two years, in addition to the remaining months in the qualification year.Group CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam, said, “In our continuous effort of improving the special benefits to our high value and loyal customers, we have now launched a Platinum Tier level, offering our ShebaMiles members enormous privileges. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for their continued patronage and for their strong vote of confidence in choosing Ethiopian Airlines as their carrier of choice.”
Guyana has been named the #1 ‘Best of Ecotourism’ destination in the world. The award was presented to Guyana at ITB Berlin. The second annual ‘Best of Top 100’ Awards is a selection of the finest top 100 destinations selected by a panel of experts who reviewed sustainability success stories submitted by destinations worldwide. The newly created ‘Best of Ecotourism’ category was added in 2019 and put Guyana up against very well-known and experienced ecotourism destinations like Sierra Gorda in Mexico, Tmatboey in Cambodia and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.The announcement was made this evening at Berlin’s Messe Berlin exhibition grounds by Albert Salman, President of Green Destinations Foundation. Brian T Mullis, Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority was in attendance to accept the award on behalf of Guyana.“Guyana has expended considerable effort in recent years not only to develop new and innovative eco-friendly tourism products as a part of the national Green State Development Strategy, but also to incorporate sustainable tourism best practice into all aspects of its strategy, planning and programming while educating the world about its deep commitment to maximising the positive socio-economic and conservation outcomes from tourism,” said Brian T Mullis, Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority. He continued, “It is a tremendous honour for us to be recognised globally alongside our fellow leaders in eco and sustainable tourism.”When asked about Guyana’s selection as #1 in the ‘Best of Ecotourism’ category, Albert Salman, President of the Green Destinations Foundation said, “The Top 100 Awards Jury was impressed by the dossier prepared by Guyana Tourism Authority for the Top 100-nomination and by the success stories submitted of Surama and Rewa. Both these eco-lodges have ambitious and admirable goals and successes, are community-owned and led, and aim at preserving Guyana’s ecosystems and indigenous traditions. The Jury also liked that Guyana has a policy of a ‘Green, Inclusive and Prosperous Guyana’ that provides a good quality of life for all its citizens based on a sound education and social protection, low-carbon resilient development, green and decent jobs, economic opportunities, individual equality, justice, and political empowerment.”
The 8th annual Taiwan International Balloon Festival is taking place in Taitung on Taiwan’s east coast from June 29 to August 12. Directed by Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) and organised by Taitung County Government, the festival usually runs for 38 days, but this year it has been granted a week-long extension of 45 days.Hot air balloons from around the world are in attendance with over 40 eye-catching balloons. Some new faces also made an appearance at the 2019 festival including Sponge from Brazil, Peg Leg Pete from the USA, the world-famous McDonald balloon and the penguins Splash and Puddles from the UK, Smurf from Belgium, two pig-shaped balloons and so many more.Founded in 2011, this event has gone from strength-to-strength, with more hot air balloons participating each year. Last year saw 39 balloons from Taiwan and around the world launching into the heavens and cruise above some of the most striking landscapes in the world, while the Travel Channel listed the Taiwan International Balloon Festival in Taitung among ‘The Top 12 Amazing Hot Air Balloon Festivals in the World’.Adding to the attractions, this year also features a carousel, grass skiing, VR experience and other facilities. The central theme this year is ‘Endless Happiness, Playground of Dreams’ and will continue with all the grandeur as previous years – transforming Luye Highlands into a magical dreamland.Accompanying the marvellous aerial spectacle, nine-night glow concerts will add to the festivities and light up the skies of Taitung. These concerts present an incredible visual and audio experience and bring the night sky to life. Some hotspots have been selected throughout Taitung as venues for these incredible shows, such as Luye Highlands, Sanxiantai, Dapo Lake, Taimali Dawn Park, Zhiben Hot Springs and for the first time, Green Island.Additionally, magistrate April Yao stated that Taitung is one of the top places in Taiwan for stargazing. Seven Starry Night Concerts have been added to the agenda this year. It’s a chance for the whole family to enjoy live music accompanied by the beautiful night sky of Taitung. The concerts will be hosted at some of the top tourist destinations in Taitung such as King Kong Avenue, Sanxiantai, Guanshan Waterfront Park, Jialulan Recreation Area and more.