Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Republicans have accused Obama of putting his interest in the Iran nuclear talks above supporting Ukraine. GOP White House hopeful Jeb Bush is set to arrive in Europe just as Obama departs, with stops in Germany, Poland and Estonia. Bush is expected to pledge broader U.S. backing for the region if elected president.White House officials defend the engagement with Russia on Iran and other matters, and say the U.S. can work with Moscow on issues of mutual interest while also confronting Putin over Ukraine.But experts say Secretary of State John Kerry’s meetings with Putin in Russia last month raised questions in Europe about whether Washington might be pursuing a new policy toward the Kremlin. Kerry’s trip was the first time a senior U.S. official has traveled to Russia since Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.“It created this cloud of controversy around what is the U.S. strategy: Why did he go?” said Julianne Smith, a former Obama White House official who is now a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security. “So I think there’ll be a little bit of mopping up from that trip.”European nations are watching whether the U.S. commitment to isolating and penalizing Russia is weakening. Europe has far stronger ties to Russia than the U.S. and some leaders face pressure from the business community to ease off penalties that have affected their finances. WASHINGTON (AP) — Behind the tough talk on Russia expected from President Barack Obama and other leaders gathering in Germany this weekend is a stark reality.None of the world powers believes the economic and diplomatic punishments levied on Russia for its alleged aggression in Ukraine are changing President Vladimir Putin’s calculus, yet there are no plans to shift strategies.At most, leaders hope to emerge from two days of talks in the Bavarian Alps with an agreement to keep U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia in place, and perhaps a pledge to enact deeper economic penalties if the crisis escalates. While there is little expectation that a show of unity will lead to a quick resolution in Ukraine, officials hope it will at least give Putin pause if he is considering ratcheting up Russia’s moves. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Sponsored Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 In this photo taken June 1, 2015, President Barack Obama speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Beneath the tough talk on Russia expected from President Barack Obama and other leaders gathering in Germany this weekend is a stark reality. None of the world powers believes the economic and diplomatic punishments levied on Russia for its alleged aggression in Ukraine are changing President Vladimir Putin’s calculus, yet there are no plans to shift strategies. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Also on Obama’s schedule was a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose party is coming off an unexpectedly strong election victory. The president also planned to see Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who was invited to the G-7 meeting to discuss the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State in his country, as well as in Syria.___Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.___Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDCCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments Share Still, the European Union is expected to renew expiring sanctions later this summer.Thousands of people gathered Saturday in a town a few miles from the summit venue to protest a range of causes, including a proposed trans-Atlantic trade deal, before the leaders’ arrival.Obama departed Washington Saturday evening after delivering an emotional eulogy at the funeral service for Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau. Joining Obama on Air Force One for the trip to Germany were four House Democrats who support his efforts to win special authority to negotiate a Pacific Rim trade deal.The trade debate on Capitol Hill is being closely watched by G-7 leaders. While Obama has Senate backing to seek fast-track authority of the Trans Pacific Partnership pact, he faces a steep challenge in getting his own party’s support in the House. Japan and Canada are both part of TPP.European nations are not part of the pact, but the congressional debate could affect whether Obama has the political capital left to pursue a trans-Atlantic trade deal with the EU before leaving office.After his overnight flight to Munich, Obama was to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, then join other leaders for talks at Schloss Elmau, a one-time Bavarian artist retreat turned luxury spa. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility A fresh outbreak of violence between government troops and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine is threatening to derail an already tenuous cease-fire.The fact that sanctions have not altered Putin’s military posture is “a sign of how heedless the Russian government seems to be about the long-term welfare of its own people that it has not yet resulted in a change, in a reversal at least, of course, which is what we want out of Russia,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters after a Friday meeting in Germany with American military and diplomatic leaders.The Group of Seven summit marks the second year in a row that leaders from the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan will assemble without Putin. After Russia annexed territory from Ukraine last year, the world powers kicked Russia out of what had been called the Group of Eight, a move aimed at isolating Putin and signaling the West’s united opposition to his provocative actions.Yet Putin remains a major player on pressing issues.Russia is a partner of the U.S. and other nations in the nuclear talks with Iran, an Obama priority. Putin is a linchpin in any discussions on resolving the civil war in Syria, given Russia’s status as President Bashar Assad’s biggest benefactor. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall
Days after Qantas launched its inaugural flight from Sydney to Santiago, Aerolíneas Argentinas has announced new non-stop direct flights between Sydney and Buenos Aires. Effective 1 July 2012, the airline will operate three weekly frequencies between Australia and South America with two additional frequencies commencing in December of this year. The carrier said it made the decision to commission these direct flights after careful assessment of their long-haul network, and according to the airline’s president Mariano Recalde, the new routes will play an important role in the airline’s engagement in the South Pacific. “Aerolíneas Argentinas is committed to continue serving the South Pacific, becoming the best option for passengers flying to Argentina and other South American destinations, focusing our main efforts in increasing nonstop frequencies,” the carrier’s head said. Aerolíneas is also seeking to capitalise by reallocating capacity to markets that have been garnering immense traffic figure increases in recent years, such as the Latin American markets. Qantas Airlines Group executive commercial Rob Gurney said Santiago is one of the region’s most dynamic business centres and acts as a perfect hub for connecting Australians to the rest of the continent.“There are strong ties between Australia and South America, with growing visitor numbers, mutual investment and an Australia-Chile free trade agreement in place,” Mr Gurney said.What do you consider to be the best option for air travel to South America? Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T
What’s the difference between a night out in London and a night out in Hanoi? Around $377, says a recent survey.Comparing the cost of an evening on the town for two people in popular tourist cities throughout the US and the world, the TripAdvisor TripIndex 2012 found London to be the most expensive destination for travelers, with an after dark sojourn in the Olympic city costing US$518.Vietnamese capital Hanoi was considered to be the best value international city, with an index cost of $141. The TripAdvisor TripIndex was based on the combined costs for two of an overnight stay in a four-star hotel, one cocktail per person, a two-course dinner with a bottle of wine, and round-trip taxi transportation (two journeys of two miles). The dates applied to this summer. According to the index, Europe is the most expensive continent for US travelers, with seven of the world’s priciest cities appearing on the index (London, Oslo, Zurich, Paris, Stockholm, Moscow and Copenhagen), while Asia was deemed the most affordable region, boasting six of the ten cheapest cities (Hanoi, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Taipei, Jakarta).Among American cities, Las Vegas was found to be the least expensive town, costing $263, while unsurprisingly, New York edged Boston as the dearest US city, with a TripIndex tally of $457.Featuring four of the top ten most affordable cities (Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta and Orlando), the Southern US ranked as the top region for travelers looking for domestic deals.The international TripIndex destination list comprises cities from 48 of the 50 countries that receive the largest number of international visitor arrivals (according to data compiled by the UNWTO). The U.S. TripIndex list comprises 15 highly visited US cities, focusing on large and popular tourism markets.Best Value International Cities:-Hanoi, Vietnam ($141.12), Beijing, China ($159.05), Bangkok, Thailand ($161.90), Budapest, Hungary ($193.78), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ($194.43)Most Expensive International Cities: -London, UK ($518.01), Oslo, Norway ($499.91), Zurich, Switzerland ($485.82), Paris, France ($480.76), Stockholm, Sweden ($472.36)Best Value US Cities: -Las Vegas ($263.46), Dallas ($283.10), New Orleans ($283.44), Atlanta ($289.80), Orlando ($309.10)Most Expensive US Cities:-New York City ($456.50), Boston ($450.27), San Francisco ($429.28), Washington, DC ($413.66), Honolulu ($398.23) Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H
Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders exterior Honoured as a Highly Rated Hotel as Reviewed by Travellers on the World’s Largest Travel SiteMelbourne, Victoria – Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders is proud to announce that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistentlyachieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Approximately 10 percent of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, usinesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.“Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders is honoured to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Garry Beadel, Hotel Manager. “We strive to offer our guests a welcoming and memorable experience, and this accolade is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive guest experiences which they feel proud to share on TripAdvisor for everyone to see.”“TripAdvisor is pleased to honour exceptional businesses for consistent excellence, as reviewed by travellers on the site,” said Christine Petersen, president of TripAdvisor for Business. “The Certificate of Excellence award gives highly rated establishments around the world the recognition they deserve. We want to applaud these businesses for offering TripAdvisor travellers a great customer experience.” Source = Holiday Inn
The stalled train link project between Laos and China will commence next year after receiving a financial lifeline from a Chinese bank.Initially agreeing to jointly fund the link, Beijing pulled out earlier this year, citing concerns of profitability, The Malaysian Insider reported. However, receiving the necessary funding earlier this week, the US$7 billion link is expected to be up and running within five year and will run from the Chinese border to Vientiane, according to The Malaysian Insider. A Chinese firm has been called in to carry out construction, which will link Chinese city, Kunming to Singapore. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Malaysia Airlines has launched a new codeshare agreement with American Airlines on flights between Kuala Lumpur and several Eastern cities in the USA.Effective 25 March 2013, the agreement will spread across 136 weekly connection options between Kuala Lumpur and the US Cities of Chicago, Dallas, New York, Miami and Raleigh through any one of the its 3 European stations namely London, Paris and Frankfurt.Malaysia Airlines Group chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the agreement was in line with the airline’s cooperation as a oneworld alliance member, and expects it to be an “excellent opportunity” for the carrier’s to expand its business across the US “without having to mount” its own flights.“As one of the most affordable tourist destinations in the Asia Pacific region, we are confident that more tourists from other parts of the US will use this code share and visit Malaysia,” Mr Yahya added.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The two airlines share codes between KualaLumpur and Eastern cities in the US.
The September quarter International Visitor Survey (IVS) results released today show another year of double digit growth for Australia’s tourism industry and reveal its enormous contribution to our national economy.“This is another great result for our industry, and the Australian economy, showing our export tourism industry is in a very positive place,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said today.“There are few industries in our economy which are measuring such fantastic year on year results, with export tourism now contributing more than $34.8 billion to Australia’s export income, a growth of 13% on the previous year.“Clearly Australia’s export tourism industry is going from strength to strength and it is important we are not complacent, but recognise we are in a positive zone and it is time to work hard to maximise our success.”Mr Shelley said it was very important for the government and industry to work in partnership. Finding ways to do this is part of the agenda at today’s ATEC Meeting Place conference being held in Sydney.“Our focus today is on Raising the Stakes, because while international demand for Australia as a tourism destination grows, we must also continue to invest in our product offering and focus on delivering quality experiences for a broad range of international visitors.“There has never been a better time to invest in growing the number of international visitors to Australia, to maintain the momentum, and continue to build on the wonderful results we have seen today.“Our priority must be to work in partnership with government and remove the impediments that restrict our opportunities to compete which, I believe, is a challenge our industry is ready for.” ATECSource = Australian Tourism Export Council,
Dream Cruises launches in Australia and New ZealandDream Cruises, the first-ever Asian luxury cruise line, is now officially on sale in Australia and New Zealand.Dream Cruises, is the newest addition to the Genting Hong Kong fleet. Catering to upscale consumers, the cruise line offers inspirational luxury, which is ‘Asian at heart and international in spirit’, and will deliver the highest level of guest service and spacious comfort in the region.Genting Dream the inaugural ship of Dream Cruises is currently undergoing fit-out at shipbuilders Meyer Werft in Papenburg will enter service on 6 November 2016, with a 6-night repositioning cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong, offering an in-depth itinerary through Vietnam, calling in at Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang and Da Nang beforecommencing her regular weekly 7-night itineraries ex Hong Kong.From 12 November 2016 to 31 December 2016, the 7-night itinerary will provide a great opportunity to explore Vietnam’s scenic Da Nang and Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), along with calls into China’s Pearl River Delta.From 31 December 2016 to 31 March 2017, the 7-night itinerary will then offer the delights of the vibrant side of Vietnam, with calls at Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City.“We are delighted to launch Genting Dream in Australia and New Zealand and feature popular destinations such as Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong,” said Brigita Devries, Assistant Vice President, Australia and New Zealand, Dream Cruises.“Dream Cruises aims to be a pacesetter in the cruise industry in the region, with the finest dining options, exceptional service, enthralling entertainment and inspirational experiences, Dream cruises aims to redefine vacation travel with a transformational journey at sea.”Genting Dream will accommodate some 3,400 guests, attended by 2,000 crew members, forming the leading crew to guest ratio in Asia-based cruising. Conceived by pop-artist Jacky Tsai, the hull of Genting Dream is adorned by the art piece entitled “Voyage of a Lover’s Dream”, which envisages ethereal and fantastical journey of love between a mermaid and and astronaut. The artist’s ‘East-meets’ West’ artistic aesthetic and vivid, dream inspired, creative work, embodying the boundless, elements of space and water, has been brilliantly translated to the canvas of Genting Dream.A range of comfortable guest options are offered, with over 70 per cent of staterooms containing private balconies. 100 connecting rooms will ensure that family and larger group vacations have never been more convenient. Guests also can experience the ultimate luxury in the exclusive ‘Dream Mansion’, a ‘ship-within-a-ship’ with two floors of lavish suites featuring European-style butler service and special guest privileges.Foodies will delight in 35 restaurant and bar concepts capturing the flavours of Asia and the world and a 610-metre wraparound promenade which will allow for dramatic sea-side dining and lounging from sunrise-to-sunset in a multitude of themed venues.Inspirational onboard experiences will include a comprehensive and ever-changing program of opportunities for self-discovery, including guest speakers on a multitude of topics; wine and whisky appreciation; together with a myriad of educational activities and happenings, enriching guests’ time at sea.Source = Star Cruises
POP is set to become not just a new airline, not just the only airline currently to fly non-stop from the UK to two of India’s key secondary cities – Amritsar (Punjab) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat) – but an airline with a new unique business model.POP is a new, low-cost, long-haul airline with a social conscience that will meet the demand of the growing visiting friends and relatives (VFR) market as well as the expanding leisure-tourism and business sectors.Being established as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) business, POP will enhance the lives of those in the communities it serves by donating a minimum of 51% of its profits to fund social projects in the UK and India.Passengers will be consulted when booking as to their preferences in terms of the ‘community causes’ they wish POP to support. POP’s philanthropic-giving will enhance the unquantifiable assets of reputation and trustworthiness while gaining a competitive advantage as research illustrates that consumers consider businesses to have an obligation to support the local communities in which they operate.In the first instance, all of POP’s charitable giving will be made through the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), although a dedicated charitable foundation may be established in due course. In addition, POP will always seek to advance airline industry best practice in neutralizing its carbon footprint in ways that can be aligned with the enhancement of its community projects.Rewards-based crowdfunding to raise £5m for POP will start in early June 2016 in association with Trillion Fund Ltd, and will continue for 60 days. The crowdfunding campaign involves raising start-up funds for the company via the pre-sale of POP Gold Passes, each priced at £500, to supporters who are attracted by a different kind of rewards package.The first 10,000 Gold Pass holders will win one free off-peak return seat to any POP destination and will, for the following five years when flying with POP, be entitled to a range of VIP benefits both on the ground and in the air, including, for example, extra luggage, and free and unlimited ticket name changes.“My vision is to create an airline that, unlike any other before it, serves not just the passengers travelling between the UK and the developing world but, just as importantly, delivers tangible benefits to the communities they are visiting. POP will provide an ‘Enhanced-Value’ in the air and in the community,” POP chairman and principal (Nino) Navdip Singh Judge said.POP will offer family and business-convenient schedules, thus reversing the trend of middle-of-the-night international movements into and out of India. In every way, POP wishes to be known for giving a fair deal – with significant reductions in journey times, highly competitive fares, self-selected on-board and ground services, excellent customer service and convenient point-to-point flights.At present, there are few direct flights from the UK to any of India’s important secondary cities and there is a fast-growing VFR, leisure/tourism and business market for such flights amongst India’s rapidly expanding middle class. POP’s CSR model will resonate particularly strongly with this target market.The Air Services Agreement (ASA) between the UK and India permits seven scheduled services per week on any route between the UK and India, other than Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. No UK airlines are currently operating non-stop services to Amritsar and/or Ahmedabad.It is anticipated that the first POP flight will depart from Stansted Airport this year in Q4 (2016) to Amritsar using a 378-seat all-economy Airbus A330-300 aircraft in POP livery. POP initially plans to operate three services weekly to each of Amritsar and Ahmedabad.The aircraft will be on a full charter basis and will move towards an ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, Insurance) arrangement over time, but all other organizational aspects will be managed by POP. The company has provisional plans to apply for its own full Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) but will continue to lease its aircraft, probably on an aircraft-only basis, which should yield greater financial returns to POP and to its supported causes. POPSource = POP
Sunshine Coast’s business events sector to be boosted by $6 million redevelopmentSunshine Coast’s premier performing arts and conference centre, The Events Centre at Caloundra, will undergo a $6 million redevelopment as part of a dollar-for-dollar funding partnership between Sunshine Coast Council and the Federal Government.Mayor Mark Jamieson welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement that the council’s application for $3 million under the Building Better Regions Fund had been successful.“With council’s $3 million contribution, this $6 million The Events Centre redevelopment will include upgrades and enhancements to the existing building to ensure the venue continues to offer a premium level of service,” Mayor Jamieson said.“It has certainly added to our celebrations this month to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Naming of the Sunshine Coast.“I thank the Federal Government for this commitment and commend the Federal Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace, for his support of this important project for our community.“The Events Centre is one of the Sunshine Coast’s largest venues and it welcomes national and international performing artists.“The proposed redevelopment will enable The Events Centre to continue to attract top end entertainment and performances, whilst offering our residents access to an array of cultural opportunities and business events that are an incredibly important part of the economic and social fabric of our region.“Our tourism offer on the Sunshine Coast must also continue to be diverse and attractive to a wide variety of interests.“The opportunity to attend a major business expo or conference is increasingly a part of what our visitors are looking to experience and this will be supported by the redevelopment of The Events Centre. In fact, the fivenational conferences held at The Events Centre last financial year injected almost $2 million to our regional economy.”The Events Centre chairperson and Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer said that over the past few years, the venue had been building on its reputation as the region’s premier performing arts venue and the number of top level touring artists choosing to perform there was on the increase.“A premium showcase venue will attract new visitors to the region, visitors who would most likely extend their length of stay and generate a substantial economic boost,” Cr Dwyer said.“A redeveloped Events Centre will also enhance Caloundra’s cultural precinct, integrated as it is with the nearby Caloundra Art Gallery.”The Events Centre, Caloundra $6 million redevelopment project will include:Main entrance (Porte Cochere and covered link)Foyer refurbishment upgradeBox office, bar counters and function room upgradesAcoustic upgrades to theatre walls and ceilingDividing walls between main theatre and Glasshouse RoomBeausang Room refurbishmentVeranda café upgradeMain theatre and foyer heating ventilation and air conditioningCentral and playhouse heating ventilation and air conditioning plantPlayhouse reef plantation air handling unitsNew people with disability (PWD) toiletsPWD lift from carpark to foyer level Source = Visit Sunshine Coast
MSC Cruises, enjoy our home ‘the Mediterranean’A family owned business, with a history spanning 300 years, nobody knows the Mediterranean like MSC Cruises. With 11 elegant ships sailing the region year round, we invite you to explore our home. European Summer 2018 will welcome a family member, MSC Seaview, who will spend her inaugural season in the balmy Western Mediterranean.MSC Seaview will have three historic Mediterranean homeports: Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona and will also call at popular destinations including Naples, Messina and Valetta. MSC Seaview will bring guests and the sea closer. An impressive 360°promenade, with glass balustrades that run around the entire ship, means guests can stroll in the open air, eat and drink al fresco from a variety of bars and restaurants or shop in the boutiques while making most of the Mediterranean weather and enjoying spectacular views as far as the eye can see.With MSC Cruises explore unique ports of call as well as the unique ships that take you there. Over seven nights discover the charm of Italy, Sicily and Malta to the excitement of Spain and France on board MSC Meraviglia.MSC Meraviglia offers out-of-this-world entertainment, including the exclusive Cirque du Soliel at Sea, an innovative ocean-view aft lounge, a two-deck “inside promenade” with a 480 square metre LED dome and a spectacular amusement area connected to an outdoor water park.MSC Cruises‘ popular Grand Mediterranean combines East and West Mediterranean itineraries. With a choice of four Mediterranean itinerary combinations departing every Saturday and two combinations departing every Sunday, from Genoa or Venice, guests can enjoy 14 or 21 nights.MSC Cruises will also look after transfers from Genoa to Venice (or vice versa) complementary for two adults and $150pp for additional persons travelling together. Luggage will be transferred direct to the ship, allowing guests to explore Genoa for the day before setting sail in the evening!MSC Cruises’ expertise in the Mediterranean is unparalleled;Weekly departures every Saturday or SundayFree transfer between Venice and Genoa for 14 or 21 nightsChoice of itinerariesChoice of ships, cruise year round in comfortFlexible embarkation portsMSC Cruises Mediterranean Super Saver SALE is now on with prices starting from $647* per person twin share for a 7-night cruise visiting Italy, Malta, Spain and France on board MSC Meraviglia. 17 or 24 November 2018 departure. Grand Mediterranean 14 night cruise departing 28 April 2018, ex Genoa from $1,927 per person twin share.*Conditions apply Book now call 1300 028 502, online at www.msccruises.com.au or visit your travel agent.Source = MSC Cruises
The travel industry loses a luminaryVirtuoso® sadly reports the February 26 passing of former Chairman Jesse Upchurch, the visionary leader who not only helped found one of luxury travel’s most successful organisations, but also left an indelible mark on the broader travel industry, changing the way many experience destinations from Mexico to Africa to India. Mr. Upchurch, 93, who co-founded Virtuoso in 1986 with his son, current Chairman and CEO Matthew D. Upchurch, relished a career in travel that spanned more than 50 years.“My father was a pioneer in this business, and I am forever grateful that he introduced me to the world and this industry at such an early age,” said Matthew Upchurch. “He had a nose for knowing what the luxury traveler wanted, and it wasn’t necessarily the traditional refinement found in five-star hotels or transatlantic cruise liners. He knew the world offered more than that. His insatiable curiosity about the unknown, his passion for other people and their cultures, and his tendency to question conventional wisdom with a simple ‘why not?’ opened the door for others to experience countries that were not considered tourism-friendly yet. He left his mark on this industry that he loved so much.”The elder Upchurch’s entry into the travel industry began when he invested in Vagabond Cruises, a yacht-chartering company in the Caribbean’s West Indies islands. Realising a market existed for both adventure and luxury travel, he turned his attention to Mexico, building the first timeshare resort in Acapulco and purchasing Turismo Antonio Perez and Hoteles S.A. de S.V., a travel company and international hotel representation group.With the purchase of Percival Tours in 1962, Upchurch expanded operations into more exotic locales such as the South Pacific and Asia, quickly augmenting beyond more traditional European destinations. As chairman and CEO of Percival Tours, he opened up tourism in markets previously considered only for the most intrepid traveler, such as Africa and India. Understanding the luxury consumer’s mindset, he introduced the first air-conditioned motor coaches so that his upscale guests could tour the areas in comfort.A founding member of World Wildlife Fund’s 1001 Club, Upchurch was an ardent supporter of conservation. In an effort to help protect the endangered Rothschild giraffes, he bought land in Kenya and donated it to the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife for what is now known as the grounds surrounding Giraffe Manor.Upchurch also was a co-founder of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, where he served as chairman, CEO and president. He also held the chairmanship of the African Travel Association. Travel Weekly recognized him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.Outside of travel he held the chairmanship of the Executive Committee of Tandy Corporation for decades and was inducted into the United States Polo Association’s Hall of Fame.In 2000, Matthew Upchurch was named CEO of Virtuoso and he assumed the role of chairman in 2010.The family will honour Jesse Upchurch’s memory privately, and celebrations of his life in various communities will take place in the months ahead. Details for in-memoriam gifts will follow soon.Source = Virtuoso®
The uncrowded world class beach front at Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & SpaMauritius famil wows TravelManagersThe island of Mauritius sits in the Indian Ocean, roughly 6,000 kilometres or an eight-hour direct flight west of Perth. As a destination, it has much to offer, from its stunning beaches to its luxury resorts and its wealth of land- and water-based activities. It’s no surprise then that Journeys Africa had no problem finding eight travel agents and personal travel managers (PTMs) to join a six-night famil that covered all the main highlights and a few hidden gems.TravelManagers’ Nicole Ginger, who is representative for Doncaster, VIC, was part of the group, and describes the opportunity to see and experience the Mauritian resorts first hand as invaluable, as it allowed her to gain a true understanding of what makes each of them unique.“I also learned a lot about the geography of Mauritius and the different weather patterns that affect where you would recommend for certain times of the year for the best experience,” she adds.Ginger was one of three PTMs to represent TravelManagers on the famil, along with Vikki Southern and Lauren Compton, representatives for Mount Pleasant, WA, and Townsville, QLD, respectively. Southern agrees that her time in Mauritius gave her greater insight into all that the island as to offer, rather than just thinking of it as a beach paradise.PTMs Lauren Compton, Nicole Ginger and Vikki Southern (5th, 7th and 9th from left) end their time in Mauritius with a farewell drink with fellow famil participants at Lux* Belle Mare Hotel.“I can happily recommend this destination to families, couples, travellers of all ages and sporting enthusiasts,” she says. “It offers white sandy beaches, an exquisitely blue calm ocean and tropical sunshine on almost every day, plus an outstanding array of water sports (glass bottomed boats, diving and snorkelling, catamarans or even a flight in a seaplane).”Compton agrees that gaining personal experience of the destination has made it much easier to sell to clients: “the sights, smells and overall ‘feel’ of a country is what makes famils so important -there’s no better way to get a deep understanding of a place than by visiting it.”Southern says Mauritius has a lot more to offer than a simple ‘flop and drop’ holiday and describes the cultural diversity that has resulted from its colourful (and at times, difficult) past as one of the features that sets it apart from other beach destinations.“Mauritius is a foodie’s dream: fresh tropical food in a blend of styles including Indian, French, Creole and Mauritian. There’s even an array of homemade rums in all sorts of flavours!” she enthuses.Anahita Golf & Spa Resorts picture postcard beach on Ile Aux Cerfs Island in Mauritius’ Flacq districtFor sporting groups, Southern says the world-class golf courses and the brilliant diving sites that are dotted around the extensive coastline are a big hit.“Mauritius has something to offer everyone, but whatever their interests, I will encourage my clients to try a bit of everything the country has to offer. Foodies shouldn’t be blinded by the culinary experiences, or the golfers by the sporting pursuits. If they are prepared to mix up their holiday and sample a bit of everything that Mauritius offers, I’m sure that any group will have a fabulous time.”The famil included the most visited areas of the island, from Grand Baie in the north to Baie du Cap in the south, and experiences that ranged from a golf lesson to an exquisite Indian meal.“The Ile aux Cerfs was fabulous too,” says Southern. “We were on a private beach, but locals can take a ferry or boat across from the mainland as well to enjoy the fun of the little island. Our day in Port Louis was also excellent, and the markets were a big hit too.”Just another lovely Mauritian sunset for TravelManagers’ Nicole Ginger, Lauren Compton and Vikki Southern (from left to right), pictured with Michelle Swan – Journeys & Africa (2nd from left).TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says opportunities for personal travel managers to experience niche destinations like Mauritius are always welcomed, as their new-found knowledge can be shared across the entire network.“Our PTMs are generally very experienced travellers but they are constantly looking to grow their product knowledge so that they can provide the best possible advice and service to their clients,” he explains. “They are also encouraged on their return to share that knowledge with their colleagues, so that the entire group benefits from the famil.”Southern says that she would happily make a return trip to Mauritius one day, ideally with her husband and family in tow as well.“The weather, the food, the beaches, the blue ocean and skies, the history and culture – they were all incredible, and all that was made even better because the people were so welcoming.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.Source = TravelManagers
PONANT commences construction of polar exploration vessel, Le Commandant CharcotPONANT, the only French-owned cruise line and the world leader in luxury expeditions, is building an exceptional polar exploration vessel. Delivery of the new flagship, the most ambitious ever designed both in terms of travel experience and respect for the environment, is scheduled for 2021.The vessel will bear the name of a great French explorer: Le Commandant Charcot. An explorer by vocation with a true passion for sailing, Jean-Baptiste Charcot is one of the emblematic figures of French polar expeditions. By naming its forthcoming polar exploration vessel after him, PONANT is paying tribute to this “pioneer of the poles”, a man respected by all. The choice of name is even more meaningful given that this new ship will be fitted with the latest technology for minimising environmental impact, as well as a scientific laboratory to be used by operational and research missions on oceanographic research.Thus, at Tulcea in Romania, home of the Vard shipyard, the Norwegian subsidiary of Fincantieri, PONANT is pioneering a new era in polar travel. Designed to be a new type of cruise ship, the vessel will incorporate all the latest innovations in environmental protection, making PONANT a world leader in responsible tourism.Indeed, Le Commandant Charcot will be the first exploration vessel to surpass the ecological standards set out in international regulations. An electric hybrid vessel, it will be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Designed for intense polar explorations, and with PC2 Polar Class certification, Le Commandant Charcot will push back the boundaries of imagination, by sailing to the Geographic North Pole.“I am proud to be involved in the inception of a project that marks the culmination of 30 years of effort. Exploring little-known lands and sharing and transmitting our passion for the sea and for nature have always been our driving forces. Our fervent desire is that our guests, being in daily contact with scientists and experts, and meeting with the local populations, become ambassadors for the protection of these regions”, says Jean Emmanuel Sauvée CEO and Co-Founder of PONANT.ABOUT PONANTThe only French-owned cruise line and the world leader in luxury expeditions, PONANT was created in 1988 by Jean Emmanuel Sauvée and a dozen officers of the French Merchant Navy. Today, PONANT is leading the way with a new style of luxury cruising through a unique conception of sea travel which combines exceptional itineraries and luxury hotel services, aboard luxurious smaller-scale ships. ponant.comSource = PONANT
The National Institute of Tourism Promotion of Argentina (INPROTUR), the Argentina Tourism Board,organised ‘Buy Argentina 2015’, an event that invites tour operators from across the world to experience the destination and to engage in business networking. They are hosting 10-12 travel agents from India. This is the second edition of Buy Argentina, and it is held at Sofitel Buenos Aires from April 12-19.Pablo Cagnoni, Market Coordinator – Asia, Oceania and Africa, INPROTUR said, “Last year, the tourism board hosted five travel agents from India at Buy Argentina. This year, we are hosting 10-12 travel agents (a mix of FITs and MICE agents) and conducting post-event FAM trips to Patagonia, Salta, and Misiones.”“We have noted an increase in tourist arrivals from the Indian market. In 2014, Argentina received 5,600 Indian visitors and we expect the number to increase 10-15% this year. We are educating the travel trade partners by conducting training programmes, participating in trade fairs, and one-on-one meetings,” he added.
Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare has officially launched a key National Tourism Development Strategy (SINTDS), which is funded by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation and the European Union, to see tourism become a major economic contributor within the next five years.The strategy sets out the Solomon Islands government’s commitment to developing the country into a unique tourist destination within the five year timeframe, a key tenet of which is to increase tourism sector development and encourage international visitor growth.The Prime Minister cautioned that even with relatively modest growth at the levels proposed in the SINTDS – a nine percent growth within the next five years – achieving targets will require sustained commitment to the strategy backed by strong leadership, increased investment and additional government and donor resourcing.Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto has played a key role in helping shape the SINTDS in tandem with his Department of Tourism counterparts headed by Director of Tourism, Barney Sivoro.“Given the Solomon Islands’ traditional sources of wealth are now well into ‘sunset’ mode, tourism growth has become a priority area for the economic and social well-being of the country,” Tuamoto said.“For us as industry players, having the government make this major commitment to tourism tell us where we want to go…The SINTDS has been extremely well researched with key drivers identified. It is now time for the Solomon Islands to take the next step and make those aspirations a reality.”
Formed in June 2014, the Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation (TSTDC) has achieved one of the highest growth rates in the country’s tourism sector. The state has attracted double the number of pilgrims from all parts of the country and the world in 2015, as compared to that of 2014.As many as 1.2 crore tourists visited the state last year, which includes 36 lakh tourists who visited the popular Buddhist, Jain and other religious sites spread across the state’s 10 districts.A major chunk of the tourist footfall last year owes credit to the Godavari Maha Pushkaram, which is observed once in 12 years and thus observed plenty of pilgrims and travellers alike. About 10 lakh domestic and international tourists had taken a dip in the Godavari during the Pushkaram.Right from the green belt to the lakes to the pilgrimages, Telangana has it all. Besides promoting the famous attractions, the state’s tourism board has been promoting some of the most lesser-known places also.The other religious sites that contributed to the boost in Religious Tourism include Nagarjunakonda, Nagarjuna Sagar, Bijgir Sharif Dargah in Karimnagar, Kazipet Dargah, the three-foot idol cut out of a single jade stone in Kolanupaka and a few other popular Buddhist and Jain destinations spread across the state.
OTM 2017 has been fantastic for us as we had a bigger participation this time. We also got positive response in terms of groups and tie-ups. It has been nice to see such professionalism coming into the Indian travel industry through this exhibition. OTM team should keep doing such fair, which is very important for the people who need more experience and exposure within the industry that keeps evolving.
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2011-08-16 Abby Gregory in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology “”WFG National Title Insurance Company””:http://www.wfgnationaltitle.com/ has a new vice president of sales and marketing, with the hiring of Wendy Lunt. Lunt’s appointment is WFG’s most recent step in growing its newly acquired Puget Sound division.[IMAGE]WFG is entrusting Lunt to expand the reach of the national underwriter within its Puget Sound region, which includes the Seattle and Tacoma markets. [COLUMN_BREAK]Lunt is also expected to service and maintain existing relationships, and her 10 years of experience in the industry should serve her well in the new role.Previously, Lunt worked with one of the nation’s largest underwriters in Pierce County, and her expertise in title, escrow, and real estate services is bolstered by her prior career as a realtor in Tacoma.””Wendy personifies WFG’s approach to collaborating with our customers, and she will be a strong presence in our market”” said Lynn Riedel, President and manager of the Puget Sound division.├âÔÇÜ├é┬á “”She has a knack for hearing what the customer needs, and working within the customer’s framework to fulfill those requests.””WFG is based in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and the company currently operates in more than 40 jurisdictions around the U.S., offering title insurance and real estate settlement services for lender, commercial, and residential transactions. WFG Welcomes New VP August 16, 2011 452 Views Share