Vale Do Lobo Portugal Travel Guide

The luxurious beachside resort of Vale do Lobo is located between Quinta do Lago and Vilamoura on the Algarve in the south of Portugal. Vale do Lobo is just a 20 minute drive from Faro Airport, 15 minutes from Vilamoura and 25 minutes from Albufeira.

This purpose built luxury resort runs down through a beautiful pine and fig tree clad valley, dotted with magnificent lagoons, to the Atlantic Ocean on Portugals Algarve coast. The Moorish style buildings with their red roofs and latticed balconies add to the character and beauty of this exclusive village. Accommodation here is mainly luxury villas and up-market apartments but there are a few luxury hotels here which cater for couples, families and groups on their golfing holidays. For sports enthusiasts there are two excellent golf courses, a first-class tennis academy with 14 courts, health club and riding school. For those who just want to relax and soak up the sun there is a three mile stretch of pristine golden sandy beaches backed by low red sandstone cliffs.

Vale do Lobo has two excellent 18-hole golf courses. The Royal is famous for its 16th hole where golfers have to drive across two ravines on the cliff. The Ocean Course was designed by the late Sir Henry Cotton and is far less challenging than the Royal but still an exciting course. There is also a large driving range to practice your swing before trying your hand at the 18-hole courses. Golfers will love the palm and almond tree lined fairways that wind their way towards the sea.

Right in the heart of the resort is Barringtons Health Club, often used by international football teams and cricket teams. The club offers excellent facilities including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, childrens pool, health and fitness centre, gym, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room, squash courts, snooker, table tennis, restaurant and bars.

The restaurants and bars come into action in the evening with live music and discos on the beach in the summer. The restaurants serve a good variety of cuisine including local and international dishes. Many of the restaurants are on the seafront, offering magnificent views across the Atlantic.

Golf is the main activity for most people on their direct holidays to Vale do Lobo but there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy.

Whether you are looking for a golf break, an active sports break, summer holidays, an Easter break or a romantic getaway there are always plenty of travel deals available to Portugals Algarve throughout the interne

Golf Vacations Are Great Stress Relievers

Ever feel like you need an extended getaway with your golf clubs and your buddies? Ever wanted to just drop everything right now and leave town for nothing but two solid weeks of golf?

Yeah, it kind of seems unrealistic that you could sneak away for so long doing something you love so much.

Well, think no more. If you are single then what's stopping you? If you are married, then beg, plead and grovel! Go with the angle of "This is a once in a lifetime experience.!" Or just ask forgiveness later than permission now.

Herd up a few of your best friends, pack up the clubs and hit the road! But where?

How about Alabama. What! ? Huh? Alabama. You say "No way". Well, let's take a look at something you probably did not know about.

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

The RTJ Golf Trail, is an amazing trail of world class golf courses designed by the legend himself, Robert Trent Jones. Spanning 10 cities and 432 holes it would take 2 solid weeks to conquer this once in a lifetime quest.

All the way from Huntsville to Point Clear you will find yourself immersed in golf that was made for the gods. With some courses of yardage over 8,000 yards you might need a rocket launcher rather than a titanium driver. Regardless, your pocket book with breathe easy with the reasonable green fees (Avg. approx. $57).

Trump International Golf Course in Rio Grande

When one wants a good game of unique Puerto Rico golf, it matters very much where it is played. Hence, it is not so much how the game is played but the location. No other golf course can be as distinct as the prestigious Trump International Golf Club in Rio Grande.


This world class golf resort is only 30 minutes away from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport. The quaint Rio Grande town is only 30 minutes away from San Juan with the El Yunque National Rainforest at the foothills. The Trump International Golf Club at Puerto Rico offers a spectacular vacation where one can mix stay and play with luxury. This prestigious golf resort spans over a thousand acres with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.


This impressive golf course was designed to be a challenging 36-hole course that befits any golf championship. It boasts four very unique nines that are set in the midst of Puerto Rico's spectacular tropical grandeur.

The Trump International Golf Course has hosted many prestigious golf competitions such as the Puerto Rico Open, which is part of the PGA Tour. It boasts two legendary courses of not one but two 18-hole golf courses - the Championship course and the International course.

Each of these spectacular courses winds across lush groves and lakes with inspiring tropical flora and scenic landscapes. There are four distinct landscapes comprising man-made lakes, the ocean, waterways, beautiful hills and mangroves. Each of these golf landscapes proves to be a great challenge for any golfer.

The Puerto Rico Trump International Golf Course is the only course that features silica sand bunkers.

Golf Membership

The prestigious Trump International Golf Club resort offers great membership deals, and first-class service on its golf facility.

There are many benefits that go with a Trump International Golf Club membership. Members are allowed to use all locker, lounge, massage, saunas and jacuzzi facilities. Membership includes special clubhouse rates and benefits on purchases, events and dining.

It is easy to apply for a Trump International Golf Club membership. One only needs to submit a membership form with an initiation fee together with an annual subscription. When one becomes a member, the full membership benefits are available which include using the club's facilities according to the membership category and current club policies. There are membership byelaws, which a Trump International Golf Club membership is subject to. Compliance with these regulations will ensure a good game of Puerto Rico golf at the prestigious premises.

Holiday Inn Resorts adds two locations in Oregon » Hotel News

Holiday Inn Resorts adds two locations in Oregon » Hotel News

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) announced it will add Eagle Crest Resort and Running Y Ranch in Oregon to its growing portfolio of Holiday Inn Resorts. The resorts are expected to join the IHG system in February and will mark the 16th and 17th Holiday Inn Resort locations in the Americas and the only Holiday Inn Resort locations in the contiguous western U.S.

“These two resorts are the result of our strategy to grow Holiday Inn Resorts in markets that are convenient for our guests to get to,” said Gina LaBarre, vice president, Brand Management, the Americas, IHG. “We know our guests value taking vacations, but they may not want to spend the whole day on the road or on a long flight. By growing our resorts in key leisure destinations across the U.S., we’re giving families the option to take a reasonable drive or a short flight and still have a special vacation.”

The Lodge at Eagle Crest, a Holiday Inn Resort, is a full-service destination resort located on 1,700 acres along the Deschutes River, five miles from Redmond, Ore., and eighteen miles from Bend, Ore. The Lodge at Eagle Crest Resort received a $3m renovation in the summer of 2011 and features 100 guestrooms, 10,000 sq. ft. of conference space and the new Aerie Café. The resort also features three golf courses, The Spa at Eagle Crest, three sport centers, four pools, six tennis courts, a volleyball court, and 14 miles of hiking and biking trails. Outside Magazine has repeatedly ranked Central Oregon as one of the top outdoor recreation destinations in the U.S., and guests of The Lodge at Eagle Crest are in the middle of it all.

The Lodge at Running Y Ranch, a Holiday Inn Resort, is a full-service destination resort located on 3,600 acres along Klamath Lake in southern Oregon’s Cascade mountain range, just across the California border in Klamath Falls, Ore. The Lodge at Running Y Ranch received a $3m renovation in the summer of 2011 and features 82 guestrooms, 7,500 sq. ft. of conference space and a new restaurant, The Ruddy Duck. The resort also features the only Arnold Palmer designed golf course in Oregon, ranked by Golf Digest as a Top 100 U.S. Public Golf Course and Top 5 U.S. Golf Course for Women, The Sandhill Spa, a sports center, pool, tennis and volleyball courts, ice skating arena, and 12 miles of hiking and biking trails. Running Y Ranch Resort guides are available to take guests on highly personalized, professional trips to explore what Sunset Magazine deems the best birding destination in the West. Seven wildlife refuges surround the resort, along with world-class fly fishing, rafting, cycling, hiking and more.

“Since assuming ownership of Eagle Crest Resort and Running Y Ranch in November 2010, we have invested more than $6 million into the properties, completing a full renovation of all guest rooms, public areas, meeting rooms, restaurants and bars,” said David Zeuske, Northview Partner and President of NVHG Management. “Partnering with the world’s most recognized hotel brand allows us to connect to the industry’s largest distribution systems and welcome the millions of Priority Club Rewards members from around the world. We are very excited to be part of the growing Holiday Inn Resorts brand, and are looking forward to the positive effects this will have on our lodge and resort communities.”

The Lodge at Eagle Crest, a Holiday Inn Resort and The Lodge at Running Y Ranch, a Holiday Inn Resort are owned by Northview Hotel Group (NVHG) and a subsidiary of a fund owned by Oaktree Capital Management, LP. The resorts are managed by NVHG under a license agreement with a company in the InterContinental Hotels Group.

With the addition of these two properties, Holiday Inn Resorts will have 17 locations in the Americas. Resorts in the pipeline include Big Bear, Calif.; Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; Bridgetown, Barbados; and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Put a Leap in your Step at The Spa at Four Seasons Philadelphia » Spa News

Put a Leap in your Step at The Spa at Four Seasons Philadelphia » Spa News

A new year means new beginnings and new opportunities. And in 2012, it means an extra day in the calendar as we celebrate a leap year. The question is – how will you spend the extra day?

The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia has the answer: with a relaxing Total Tranquility Massage. And for one day only, The Spa is offering this revitalising treatment at a special price for a 50 minute treatment, which includes a special gift from Aromatherapy Associates.

The Total Tranquility offers a deep and peaceful massage with vetivert, patchouli sandalwood and chamomile oils used to intoxicate the central nervous system. A variety of relaxing techniques are used to create the ultimate relaxing treatment.

The special price is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other discounts or offers. Services from The Spa are available daily from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm.

Annual Seychelles BENELUX Tourism Roadshow going from strength to strength » Tourism News

Annual Seychelles BENELUX Tourism Roadshow going from strength to strength » Tourism News

After completing its successful week, taking the Seychelles destination and its selective products through various parts of Benelux in the form of luxurious presentations provided by the Seychelles Tourism Board and hotel partners, the Seychelles continues to be a firm favorite among the Belgian, Dutch, and Luxembourg travel professionals.

This was clearly seen in the successful turnout of travel agents during the events in the different cities strategically chosen by the Seychelles Tourism Board in France.
The events were held in a “train and dine” format proving most popular among the attendees – both faithful and potential partners.

The success of this 2nd Escapades Benelux – the dedicated Seychelles road show organized by the Seychelles Tourism Board in France - has been a popular and possible event, just like the one held in France for the last 8 years due to the continuous support and efforts of its faithful trade partners. This strong partnership between the local partners and the Seychelles Tourism Board in France has contributed to the overall awareness of the destination, and for the past 2 years, Seychelles has seen an increase in figures from those three countries – Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

The sixteen-strong member delegations after that market were led by the Seychelles Tourism Board European Director in France, Bernadette Willemin, and her Benelux Account Manager, Ms. Karen Confait. The various partners were: Banyan Tree Seychelles – Tinaz Wadia; Hotel Coco de Mer and Black Parrot Suites – Ash Behari; Indian Ocean Lodge and Denis Island Private – Ravinia Larue and Anna Pothin; Ste. Anne Beachcomber Resort and Spa – Sandra Ober; Le Domaine de l’Orangeraie and Cat Cocos – Apolline Schreck; Constance Hotels Experience – Laetitia Martin; Hilton Seychelles – Devis Pentamah and Etienne Galiez; Kempinski Seychelles – Eric Fiat; Four Seasons Seychelles – Maud Licari and Rachael Pialat; Bird Island Lodge – Nicholas Savy; and Bat O Bleu - Kristof Van der Schueren .

Attendance was enhanced due to the presence and support of the various Belgian and Dutch tour operators and their representatives.

The rendezvous is set for the next escapades Benelux, January 21-24, 2013. In the meantime, the Seychelles Tourism Board in France continues its geographical footprint further into Benelux through the various activities planned for the year, bringing the Seychelles destination into greater focus. The next appointment with both the trade and the consumer is the Salons de Vacances in Brussels.

Emirates quickly upgrades Dublin Aircraft to cope with demand » Airline News

Emirates quickly upgrades Dublin Aircraft to cope with demand » Airline News

Just three weeks after the launch of flights to Dublin, Emirates has announced a larger aircraft will be deployed on the route from 1st July.

The new passenger service, launched on 9th January, has already become one of the airline’s most successful route launches with load factors driving through 90% for many of the flights.

The daily Dubai-Dublin service is currently operated with a 237-seat Airbus A330-200, arranged in a three class configuration.

“Normally, this would provide enough capacity for the first 2-3 years of a new route operation, said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation. “However, Dublin is exceeding our expectations much faster than was predicted and we need more seats to satisfy demand.”

From July onwards, the replacement Boeing 777-300ER provides a total of 360 seats, representing an increase in capacity of 52%. The Boeing offers 310 seats in Economy Class, 42 in Business Class and 8 First Class Private Suites.

“A bigger aircraft means more good news for the Irish economy. We can bring extra visitors to the country and carry additional cargo,” said Mr Obaidalla. “The A330-200 can carry up to 15 tonnes of cargo in the belly hold – this figure rises to 25 tonnes with the introduction of the 777.”

Throughout all cabin classes of the 777, passengers will be able to enjoy the 1000-plus channels of the ice entertainment system, thoroughly enjoyed by travellers, especially those connecting through Dubai on longer journeys, or those with children.

Emirates’ passengers departing Dublin can conveniently connect to more than 100 destinations, such as India, Thailand and Australia, with just one stop in Dubai.

While Dublin has been Emirates’ first passenger service into Ireland, the airline has been serving the market through its air freight division for many years, transferring cargo through UK gateways, such as Manchester.

Emirates Holidays, Emirates’ tour operating arm, will feature Dublin in its 2012 A World of Choice brochure. Nine hotels and resorts – including six Dublin City hotels and three resorts outside Dublin – will be carried in the publication.

Return fares from Dubai to Dublin start from AED 2,880 in Economy, AED 14,660 in Business Class and AED 23,820 when travelling in a First Class Private Suite.

Already this year, the airline has launched new routes to Rio and Buenos Aires and will start flights to Lusaka and Harare on 1st February. Dallas will follow from 2nd February, Seattle as of 1st March, Ho Chi Minh City from 4th June and Barcelona effective 3rd July.
Current Dublin flight times:

EK 0161 leaves Dubai at 0700hrs daily and arrives in Dublin at 1130hrs. EK 0162 departs Dublin at 1255hrs and lands in Dubai at 0025hrs the next day.

Summer timings - effective 25th March 2012:

EK 0161 leaves Dubai at 0700hrs daily and arrives in Dublin at 1215hrs. EK 0162 departs Dublin at 1350hrs and lands in Dubai at 0025hrs the next day.

Marula Festival set to boost cultural tourism in Swaziland » Travel Event News

Marula Festival set to boost cultural tourism in Swaziland » Travel Event News

Celebrating one of Southern Africa’s botanical treasures, the Marula Festival is one of Swaziland’s most spectacular cultural events. A tribute to the riches of Mother Nature, the Marula festival is an annual royal celebration. Every year festivities are initiated by King Mswati III and Her Majesty the ‘Indlovukazi’ the Queen Mother, who travel all over the kingdom leading the nation’s celebrations.

The Marula festival, known locally as ‘Emaganwini’, begins in February when the fruit is harvested by women and children and continues until March. The unripe green fruit falls from the tree and is stored until it ripens to a creamy yellow colour, it is then soaked with water and sugar to ferment and make Marula beer, the traditional toast of the festival.

The royal family is the first to sample the brew and only after they take the first drink is the rest of the nation permitted to drink and celebrations begin. The largest single celebration is held at the royal residence of Ebuhleni, where the royal family join the nation in traditional song and dance.

The Marula tree (sclerocarya birrea) is indigenous to Southern Africa, and has been a central part of the Southern African way of life for thousands of years. In Swaziland, about 2 million Marula trees grow in forests and bush, grazing lands, fields and homesteads and are protected from felling by traditional laws which are enforced by local chiefs.

Not just used for beer, Swazi people use every part of the Marula tree for a wide variety of domestic needs. Marula contains four times more vitamin C than oranges, and is rich in minerals and anti-oxidants. The bark of the tree has a range of medicinal uses, however it is the oil from the seed kernels that has real commercial potential due to its moisturising and conditioning properties, as a result there have been many skin care products developed using the oil as a base.

PCC appointed as PR agency for Silversea in the UK & Ireland » Cruise News

PCC appointed as PR agency for Silversea in the UK & Ireland » Cruise News

PCC (Perowne Charles Communications) is delighted to announce that it will be working with leading cruise operator Silversea as of today, 1 February 2012.

Silversea, which last week was named Best Luxury Cruise Company by Travel Weekly, is known for its ultra-luxurious, intimate ships and itineraries of exotic destinations around the globe. Launching its first ship in 1994, Silversea brought to the luxury cruise market a class of smaller, purpose-built vessels that are able to slip into more secluded and rarely seen harbours off the beaten path.

Now operating a fleet of six ships across all seven continents, Silversea offers an elite and intimate experience with fewer passengers and superior levels of personalised service with nearly one crewmember for every guest. Silversea’s award-winning all-suite accommodation offers the highest space-to-guest ratio of any fleet with ocean views and butler service. Despite the intimacy of the Silversea all-inclusive ships, facilities incorporate those usually only found on larger ships such as state-of-the-art spa and fitness suites, show lounges and a wide range of dining venues.

Silversea’s 2012 itineraries include cultural tours of Europe’s most vibrant cities, awe-inspiring journeys through the breathtaking scenery of Alaska and the Pacific Coast, archaeological excursions around South America and expeditions to the frozen planet regions of Antarctica and the Arctic. New ports for 2012 include Santander, Spain; Porto Novo, Cape Verde; Larnaca, Cyprus; Foynes and Killybegs, Ireland; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Kompong Som, Cambodia and Christiansted, St. Croix.

With a commitment to constantly updating the offering onboard Silversea Cruises, Silver Shadow underwent a refurbishment in 2011, to reveal renovations to its public areas and suites while Silver Cloud is due to undergo refurbishment to its interiors and the addition of new suites later in the year. Also new to 2012 is ‘Silver Perspectives’, Silversea’s new expansive enrichment programme, which will play host to over 200 guests lecturers across the six ships.

Silver Cloud – 296 guests
The inaugural ship for Silversea Cruises, Silver Cloud is designed to provide the most intimate of sailing experiences guests, many of whom return time and time again and view Silver Cloud as their ‘own private yacht; their home away from home’.

Silver Wind – 296 guests
Second in the Silversea fleet, Silver Wind also offers guests an intimate, elegant cruising experience in surroundings as spacious as a grand hotel. Facilities include an expanded ocean-view spa and a 60-seat observation lounge.

Silver Shadow – 382 guests
Built with proportions slightly larger in size than Silversea’s two earlier ships, Silver Shadow welcomes guests to the next generation of Silversea cruising, while maintaining all-suite luxury and the trademark intimate ambience.

Silver Whisper – 382 guests
Silver Shadow’s sister ship, Silver Whisper features amenities usually found on larger ships, including boutique shopping; a wellness spa with beauty salon, fitness centre and sauna and full-scale productions in a multi-tiered lounge.

Silver Spirit - 540 guests
The newest vessel in the Silversea fleet, Silver Spirit boasts exclusive dining options, including Stars Supper Club and Asian fusion restaurant, Sieshin, an expansive 8,300sqft spa, resort-style pool, and the largest suites by Silversea, 95% of which have private verandas.

Silver Explorer – 132 guests
Silversea’s purpose-built, 132-guest expedition ship can navigate waters in some of the world’s most remote destinations, including both of the earth’s polar regions. A fleet of Zodiac boats enable access to even the most off-the-beaten-path locations and Silversea Explorer’s expert Expedition Team provides insight and understanding to each unforgettable adventure.

Network Rail fair payment charter boosts cashflow for suppliers » Railway News

Network Rail fair payment charter boosts cashflow for suppliers » Railway News

Rail industry suppliers and sub-contractors can look forward to faster payment and improved payment terms thanks to Network Rail’s new Fair Payment Charter.

The charter has been signed by thirty of the biggest construction and engineering companies operating in Britain today, a move which will speed up payment and increase liquidity throughout the supply chain as Network Rail delivers £7bn of renewals and enhancements over the next two years.

The Fair Payment Charter ratifies Network Rail’s recent decision to shorten the time it takes to pay suppliers from 56 days to 21 days, and also commits Network Rail’s suppliers to make payment to their first-tier subcontractors within seven days of receiving payment.

This means the time from submission of a main contractor’s application to receipt of payment by the first-tier supplier is now 28 days – a move which will dramatically increase liquidity in the supply chain and provide greater certainty for suppliers’ in terms of business planning.

As Network Rail looks to phase out the practice of retention in its contracts – where a portion of payment is withheld until after completion of work – the charter also commits suppliers to mirror the retention regime agreed with Network Rail for the main contract with their subcontractors. So, where the main contract retention is zero, this will be replicated down the supply chain.

Simon Kirby, managing director, Network Rail infrastructure projects, said: “The Fair Payment Charter is a statement of how the rail industry wishes to do business. Applying these principles will be a significant catalyst in improving cash flow across the industry, benefitting suppliers and contractors of all sizes throughout the supply chain.”

“Network Rail is committed to meeting tough efficiency targets on it £7bn programme of renewals and enhancement during the remainder of the current control period. The Fair Payment Charter is a significant step in our repositioning as a client and reflects the aspiration for a new approach to payment in the railway industry which is not only fair but also helps to cut costs and drive out inefficiencies.”

Suzannah Nichol, chief executive of the National Specialist Contractors Council, said: “NSCC is delighted to see Network Rail, a high-profile client with a substantial portfolio of construction work, setting the standard for fair payment throughout its supply chain. Facilitating collaborative working and providing certainty of cash flow will enable specialist contractors to do what they do best and focus on the efficient and cost-effective delivery of the country’s rail infrastructure.”

Jeremy Candfield, director general of the Railway Industry Association, said: “This is another key step in the transformation of supply chain relationships that we and Network Rail have been working hard to achieve, essential for delivering the efficiencies demanded by tomorrow’s railway.”

Douglas McCormick, managing director of Atkins’ rail business, said: “This is a strong example of Network Rail’s collaborative approach to working with its key suppliers and an important step in setting the correct tone for the industry. We welcome the direct benefit it will bring to Atkins and our own supply chain, and it will strengthen our drive for greater cost efficiency in all the work we undertake for Network Rail.”

Tim Gorman, commercial director at Balfour Beatty Rail, said: “We welcome the charter and will fully embrace its intent. Payment performance to the supply chain is a major factor in shaping the quality and depth of the relationship networks that are used to deliver projects. As we move to ever more collaborative forms of supply chain relationships, compliance with the charter will demonstrate our commitment to protecting the financial security of our supply chain providers and reinforce our core values of integrity and respect.”

Steve Barry, Invensys Rail’s vice-president operations and supply chain, said: “Invensys Rail is proud to be associated with this charter from Network Rail and fully understands how important an initiative like this is for the industry. It’s essential to remain focused on cash flow throughout the life of a project and this approach to industry payment terms will make the environment fairer across the board.”

Exclusive Groups deal from Beaches Resorts » Hotel News

Exclusive Groups deal from Beaches Resorts » Hotel News

Guests can experience the recently refurbished Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club in Jamaica, while enjoying special amenities and activities this autumn.

Beaches Resorts in Jamaica is offering exclusive added amenities for family and friends travelling together this fall, including a Dolphin “Touch” experience through Island Routes Caribbean Adventures Tours, the World’s Leading Caribbean Attraction Company. From now until 29 February 2012, groups who book five rooms or more for three nights or longer at any Beaches Resort in Jamaica this autumn will receive free Dolphin Cove Admission for one child aged 12 years and under, free Dolphin “Touch” program passes for one child aged six to 12 years, and two free Dolphin “Touch” program passes for children ages five and under. One paying adult is required for eachfree pass and travel must take place between 26 August and 16 December 2012.

The Island Routes Dolphin Cove “Touch” program gives groups the once-in-a-lifetime chance to enter the world of these gentle bottlenose beauties with a special “kiss” and hug. Make friends, touch and have an up-close experience with these wonderful creatures from a knee deep water platform.

Also this autumn, families & friends who book five rooms or more at any Beaches Resort will receive the following complimentary amenities:

· Private Check-in
· Private group picnic
· One (1) night group dining at a resort restaurant
· Complimentary 15 minute group portrait session and one 5x7 photo per room
· Farewell Cake
· One (1) complimentary room for every ten (10) rooms paid (only applicable to Beaches Turks & Caicos and Beaches Negril)
· Exclusive group activities

As with all Luxury Included® holidays, a stay at Beaches Resorts offers more quality inclusions than any other resort company in the world with superior accommodations, endless gourmet dining options, unlimited premium brand wine and spirits, nightly entertainment, watersports including snorkelling and scuba diving for certified divers and a myriad of other exclusive amenities.

Bombardier Partnership Project outlines Green Train of the Future » Railway News

Bombardier Partnership Project outlines Green Train of the Future » Railway News

New generation trains running on existing track can easily combine higher speeds, lower energy consumption, reduced noise and lower costs. These are the findings reported by Swedish researchers in Stockholm today after concluding a four-year project, with Bombardier Transportation as one of three major partners.

The Gröna Tåget (”Green Train”) research project is a collection of ideas, proposals and technical solutions aimed at making long distance and fast regional services more attractive to travellers and operators. Gröna Tåget is a fast electric tilting train – based on the BOMBARDIER REGINA vehicle – that not only maintains higher speeds than conventional trains on sections with curves but also 300 km/h or more on dedicated high speed lines.

The project was conducted in close cooperation between the Swedish Transport Administration, Bombardier, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and several other partners. In the report, the project team noted that the concept train had set a Swedish speed record of 303 km/h, but emphasized that the development programme was not a finished train model but should rather be seen as a smorgasbord of proposals and technical innovations adapted to Nordic conditions.

The concept offers operators and infrastructure managers advantages such as flexible train length, reliability and accessibility even in the demanding Nordic climate. It also reduces costs to ensure profitability in competitive markets, increases track-friendliness with less wear to track and wheels, enables high speeds on standard tracks and lowers noise levels compared to the current generation of trains. Aerodynamic design and more efficient motors which generate electricity when braking enable the Green Train to reduce power consumption by 30 to 35 per cent. Thanks to the Nordic track profiles, trains can be designed with greater width than existing trains, enabling more passenger space while maintaining comfort which means higher operational economy and, potentially, lower ticket prices.

“Through this cooperation between several partners, we have achieved results much quicker and with significantly higher quality and innovative scope than in conventional development projects,” said Henrik Tengstrand, Director, Mainline and Metros Vehicle Performance Engineering and Bombardier’s Project Director for Gröna Tåget. The Gröna Tåget technology has been tested in trial runs over a total of 500,000 km in all weather conditions since 2005. Its development has involved a large part of the Swedish rail sector, including manufacturers, infrastructure companies, universities, train operators and research institutes. The findings will be made available to all rail industry companies and train manufacturers.

New-Build Holiday Inn New York City Midtown opens in heart of Manhattan » Hotel News

New-Build Holiday Inn New York City Midtown opens in heart of Manhattan » Hotel News

IHG announced today the opening of the new-build Holiday Inn New York City Midtown-31st St. The 20-story hotel features more than 120 guest rooms and a rooftop lounge with a spectacular view of the New York City skyline.

Centrally located at 30 West 31st Street, the new $52 million Holiday Inn New York Midtown-31st St. is just a short cab ride from major airports serving the metropolitan area; a short walk to Times Square and the Empire State Building; near Broadway theaters and Madison Square Garden; and by dozens of restaurants and night life locations.

The new hotel includes features in keeping with the $1 billion Holiday Inn re-launch, the largest project of its kind in the history of the hospitality industry. First announced in 2007, the relaunch program creates a more contemporary brand image as part of the drive to increase quality and consistency across the global portfolio. The program focuses on arrival and welcome services, guestroom and guest-bath comfort and a redesigned logo and signage.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Holiday Inn New York City Midtown-31st St. to the Holiday Inn family of hotels in the New York metropolitan area,” said Gina LaBarre, vice president, Brand Delivery, the Americas, IHG. “Holiday Inn hotels and suites are specifically designed for business and family oriented leisure travelers in need of a full-service lodging experience, and this hotel in the heart of Manhattan – built in keeping with our brand relaunch – fits well within that offering.”

Leisure guests will enjoy the hotel’s proximity to the renowned Fifth Avenue shopping district as well as New York City’s famous nine-story Macy’s. A short walk will get visitors to the historic and chic Chelsea district while nearby subway stations, bus stops and Penn Station make it easy to get just about anywhere else in Manhattan and beyond.

For business travelers, the hotel is located near major corporations such as Reuters, Morgan Stanley, Condé Nast and Credit Suisse. A business center and high-speed wireless Internet service throughout the hotel add convenience in addition to the 24-hour fitness center and concierge services.

“A home-away-from-home for generations of travelers, Holiday Inn has always represented quality and comfort, and this new hotel is a great representation of the brand in a perfect location for business and leisure travelers,” said Kevin Cottet, general manager. “We’re proud to be a part of the next generation of Holiday Inn.”

The Holiday Inn New York City Midtown-31st St. is home to Contorno’s – a boutique Italian restaurant staffed by world-class chefs. The full-service restaurant offers the standard Holiday Inn Best-4-Breakfast menu, with signature items such as Rainforest Alliance™ Certified coffee, Cinnamon Supreme French Toast™ and Skillet Inspirations™. Kids 12 and younger eat free at Holiday Inn when ordering from the kids’ menu in the hotel restaurant and accompanied by a dining adult. Room Service Right…On Time™, also a standard at all Holiday Inn hotels, ensures that guests’ room service orders are accurate and delivered on time, every time.

The design creates a residential atmosphere that is warm, trend forward and comfortable. The hotel will feature a natural, fresh color palette punctuated by pops of energetic colors. Standard Holiday Inn guestroom accommodations feature comfortable queen or king-sized beds, a sitting area with a lounge chair, 32-inch cable televisions, cable television, hairdryer, coffeemaker, iron and ironing board.

Guest beds are made using crisp, white bedding with pillows that come in two comfort levels: “soft” and “firm.” Bathrooms include a specially designed showerhead that offers superior pressure, as well as a signature shower curtain with curved rod, and new amenities. Guestrooms include a work desk and ergonomic chair, data ports and complimentary USA TODAY® newspapers.

Tucked into an elegant urban setting between Fifth Avenue and Broadway, the hotel is owned by Chesapeake Lodging Trust and managed by Real Hospitality Group, under a license agreement with a company in the InterContinental Hotels Group.

Norwegian Cruise Line asks kids and parents to name its new youth programs » Cruise News

Norwegian Cruise Line asks kids and parents to name its new youth programs » Cruise News

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it is seeking the help of parents and kids to name its new Youth and Teen programs. The company today launched the “Up2YOU” naming contest inviting cruisers to submit names for the company’s youth and teen programs, along with names for each of the new age groups.

The contest runs from today through February 13, 2012 and the winners who name the new kids or teen program will receive a seven-day Caribbean cruise for a family of four. Those who submit the winning names for the six age groups within the new programs will receive a $100 American Express gift card. Norwegian announced earlier this month that it is revitalizing its current youth program and will implement a new best in class program fleet wide beginning on Norwegian Gem in mid-February and rolling out to all of the line’s Freestyle Cruising ships subsequently.

“We want to ensure that we have the best youth programs at sea for the more than 150,000 children and teens that sail with us each year,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “In the spirit of Freestyle Cruising, we thought that the parents and kids who utilize the programs would be the best to suggest names for them. We are looking for lots of originality and creativity along with names that really speak to today’s kids and teens.”

To enter, contestants should head to Norwegian’s website, fill out the online entry form and submit name options for one, any, or all of the following: the new Kids program; the new Teen program; and the six new age groups: six months to two years old; three to five years old; six to nine years old; 10 to 12 years old; 13-14 years old; and 15-17 years old.

There is no maximum amount of entries per person. The contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada (excluding Quebec) 18 years of age and older or, for entrants who are younger than 18, their entries can be submitted by a parent or guardian on the entrant’s behalf. For more information on how to enter and for the official rules and details on the prizes, visit Norwegian’s website.

Norwegian’s New Youth Programs
The line’s current program, Norwegian’s Kid’s Crew in place since 1999, is being redefined to better address the skills and interests of children. The new fully developed and enhanced curriculum tailored to each age group is being produced in conjunction with The King’s Foundation and Camps, a United Kingdom-based organization that provides high quality sport and activity programs designed to make a positive impact on children. More focus will be placed on sporting activities, arts and crafts, theater and technology. Activities will change every 30 to 60 minutes depending on the age group and will be set within blocks of programming time in the morning, afternoon and evening.

IATA figures reveal increase in demand for air transport » Airline News

IATA figures reveal increase in demand for air transport » Airline News

Figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reveal full year 2011 passenger demand rose 5.9 per cent compared to 2010, in line with long-term growth trends.

In contrast, cargo markets contracted by 0.7 per cent for the year; but recorded positive demand growth in December of 0.2 per cent.

Growth in demand lagged capacity increases at 6.3 per cent (passenger) and 4.1 per cent (cargo) putting downward pressure on load factors.

The average passenger load factor for 2011 was 78.1 per cent, down from 78.3 per cent in 2010, while the freight load factor was just 45.9 per cent, down from 48.1 per cent in 2010.

“Given the weak conditions in Western economies the passenger market held up well in 2011. But overall 2011 was a year of contrasts,” IATA director general Tony Tyler.

“Healthy passenger growth, primarily in the first half of the year, was offset by a declining cargo market.

“Optimism in China contrasted with gloom in Europe. Ironically, the weak euro supported business travel demand.

“But Europe’s primarily tax and restrict approach to aviation policy left the continent’s carriers with the weakest profitability among the industry’s major regions.

“Cautious improving business confidence is good news. But 2012 is still going to be a tough year,” he added.

December 2011

Passenger demand for December rose 5.4 per cent compared to the same month in 2010.

But the trend since mid-year has clearly slowed, as travel markets react with a lag to the declines in confidence that weakened cargo in the second half of 2011.

Comparisons with December 2010 are also distorted as severe winter weather in Europe and North America as well as strikes in Europe suppressed demand.

December 2011 passenger demand was up just 0.7 per cent over November while the load factor declined 0.2 percentage points.

Freight capacity climbed 4.4 per cent in December compared to December 2010.

The freight load factor was just 46.1 per cent for the month.

Radisson Edwardian acquires Odeon Leicester Square » Hotel News

Radisson Edwardian acquires Odeon Leicester Square » Hotel News

Carlson-owned Radisson Edwardian has pulled of something of a coup with the acquisition of Odeon Leicester Square from Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

The receiver for the property, Allsop, confirmed the sale earlier, with the hotel chain believed to have paid £100 million for the property.

The deal also includes surrounding buildings, including an office block and a pub.

The largest single-screen cinema in the UK, the Odeon Leicester Square regularly hosts premiers for international films and is considered a landmark property.

However, the plans will see the existing cinema redeveloped to include a two-screen cinema, a 245-bedroom hotel, 33 apartments and a

Dozens feared dead in Papua New Guinea ferry sinking » Tourism News

Dozens feared dead in Papua New Guinea ferry sinking » Tourism News

Over 100 people are still missing following the sinking of a ferry carrying more than 350 passengers off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

Nearly 250 have been pulled from the water, according to a statement from Australian rescue authorities, but many are feared dead.

Officials at the Australia Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the 47 metre ship, the MV Rabaul Queen, sank about nine nautical miles off Finschhafen off the north coast of the island.

A number of merchant vessels nearby have been diverted to the scene.

The ferry was believed to be on route from Kimbe, a dive spot on the island of New Britain, to the mainland city of Lae.

Ship operators Rabaul Shipping said vessel sank quickly, without sending a distress message.

Eurostar unveils new cross-European marketing agreement » Railway News

Eurostar unveils new cross-European marketing agreement » Railway News

Eurostar has selected AMV BBDO to provide creative and advertising services across all markets, following a multi-stage pitch process.

The high-speed passenger service’s decision was a consequence of Eurostar’s decision to develop a unified and coherent approach across all of its different markets.

AMV BBDO will work alongside Eurostar as lead creative agency in the strategic development of its pan-European advertising.

In partnership with CLM BBDO, who will take responsibility for activation in France and Belgium, they will deliver a suite of communications for the UK, France and Belgium, with the first campaign due in the autumn.

Lionel Benbassat, director of marketing for Eurostar, commented: “In September 2010 our business transformed from a partnership into a single, unified corporate entity with ambitious growth plans and an increasingly international outlook.

“To underpin this new direction we require creative agencies that can execute our brand strategy across all of our global brand communications as a well as from a local perspective.

“During the pitch process AMV BBDO and their partner CLM BBDO showed they were best equipped to deliver our objectives and demonstrated a real understanding of the market, the opportunities and the challenges we face.

“They are a great fit for us and we’re looking forward to working with them during what will be an exciting period of growth for our business.”

In 2011, as part of this same, strategic process, Eurostar unveiled a new visual identity and its first pan-European advertising campaign to reflect the evolution of its business and its new, consistent brand personality.

This appointment follows a final stage pitch process, which included CHI & Partners with JWT Paris and Leg with Euro RSCG London.

airberlin prepares for oneworld membership » Airline News

airberlin prepares for oneworld membership » Airline News

airberlin will become a full member of oneworld from Tuesday March 20th, adding Europe’s sixth largest carrier to the global airline alliance.

Austrian airline NIKI, also a member of the airberlin group, will join oneworld at the same time as an affiliate member.

airberlin received its green light to board oneworld after successfully completing a thorough review of its readiness conducted by British Airways, which is sponsoring its entry into the alliance, with the oneworld central team.

It will add almost 70 destinations to the alliance’s map, extending oneworld’s global coverage to some 840 destinations in 150 countries.

The network is served by more than 9,000 departures a day operated by a combined fleet of some 2,500 aircraft, carrying nearly 300 million passengers a year, with annual revenues of almost US$100 billion.

Joining oneworld will strengthen airberlin’s competitiveness, enabling it to offer customers an unrivalled alliance global network served by partners including some of the best and biggest airlines in the world.

oneworld chief executive, Bruce Ashby, said: “airberlin makes an ideal oneworld partner.

“It has an excellent reputation for customer service - right in line with oneworld’s focus on quality.

“oneworld already features five of Europe’s best airlines.

“Adding the continent’s sixth biggest carrier and the second largest airline based in the continent’s biggest economy will greatly enhance our coverage throughout this region and, with the other airlines joining us this year, position oneworld more strongly still as the alliance of choice, particularly for global business travellers.”

oneworld is considered the World’s Leading Airline Alliance by the World Travel Awards.

Foreign Office advises caution in Egypt following latest unrest » Tourism News

Foreign Office advises caution in Egypt following latest unrest » Tourism News

British travellers in Egypt continue to be urged to exercise caution when visiting Egypt following the latest outbreak of violence in the country.

The announcement follows the deaths of over 70 football fans at a match in the city of Port Said (pictured).

Hundreds of fans were also injured in the incident on Wednesday night during clashes between supporters of rival top-tier clubs al-Masry and al-Ahly.

Angry crowds are reported in Tahrir Square, Cariro, this morning as protestors complain of police handling of the riots.

The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a statement urging Brits to avoid such confrontations: “British nationals should avoid all crowds and demonstrations.

“The situation can change rapidly and we recommend that you follow events on local and international news and seek advice from tour operators.”
However, the government body stop short of advising against travel to the country.

All Egyptian premier-league matches have been postponed indefinitely following the outbreak of violence.

American Airlines outlines job losses as restructuring takes shape » Airline News

American Airlines outlines job losses as restructuring takes shape » Airline News

American Airlines has outlined plans to cut 13,000 jobs as it seeks to raise an additional $3 billion per annum by 2017.

The plan, which targets $2 billion in cost savings and $1 billion in additional revenue per annum, is designed to allow American to reduce its debt and become financially viable in the years after its emergence from the restructuring process.

American Airlines - a wholly owned subsidiary of AMR Corporation - filed for bankruptcy protection in December last year.

A key element of the plan will see spending on personnel costs cut by 20 per cent, with the loss of approximately 13,000 employees.

These reductions, which are set to affect each level of the company’s hierarchy, will result in average annual employee-related savings of $1.25 billion from 2012 through 2017.

American will also outsource a portion of its aircraft maintenance work and certain airport fleet service clerk work.

This decision is likely to mean the closure of the Fort Worth Alliance Airport (AFW) maintenance base.

Thos staff which remain will also see American introduce new work rule designed to boost productivity.

Pension provision for employees will also be cut.

American Airlines chairman, Tom Horton, said: “The plan we are outlining today provides the framework for a new American Airlines, positioned to succeed in an intensely competitive industry that has been transformed by our competitors’ recent restructurings.

“Just as other airlines have done and will continue to do, we must invest restructuring-related cost savings in ongoing innovation and customer service improvements that drive revenue.”

The plan is also likely to see major changes to American’s route structure, network, capacity and fleet.

A central element of this is likely to be the overhaul of American’s fleet, enabling the carrier to better match the right equipment to the right routes.

American plans to invest about $2 billion per year in new aircraft, so that by 2017 its mainline jet fleet will be the youngest in America.

“These are painful decisions,” Horton continued, “but they are essential to American’s future.

“We will emerge from our restructuring process as a leaner organisation with fewer people, but we will also preserve tens of thousands of jobs that would have been lost if we had not embarked on this path – and that’s a goal worth fighting for.”

World Travel Awards issues call for nominations » Tourism News

World Travel Awards issues call for nominations » Tourism News

World Travel Awards – viewed as the Oscars of the travel industry - is issuing a call to those organisations that aspire to be the best in their sector to participate in its 2012 programme.

Established 19 years ago, WTA is recognised globally as the highest accolade in travel and tourism, and serves to raise the standards of customer service and business performance throughout the tourism industry.

Self nominations for its 2011 Grand Tour rose an outstanding 28 percent compared to the previous year, and in 2012 the competition is set to be the fiercest yet as growing numbers of companies and destinations realise the commercial benefits and kudos that accompany winning a WTA.

Entry is now open for categories in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Caribbean, Europe, Indian Ocean, Middle East, and North, South & Central America.

Entry forms can completed online or downloaded from and the nomination submission deadline will be February 29th 2012.

The complete list of nominations will be announced in time for ITB in March.

Voting will then open and be carried out by an audience of 213,000 travel agents and tourism professionals from 164 countries, including visitors to WTA’s website who are encouraged to submit their votes via the online voting system.

WTA’s 2012 Grand Tour will include regional legs in Berlin, Dubai, the Algarve, South Africa, Miami and Thailand.

The winners of these regional heats will progress to the Grand Final, which will take place in India.

WTA president Graham Cooke said: “Although 2011 continued to challenge every strata of travel and tourism, all our winners demonstrated their world-class pedigree in the face of adversity.

“In 2012 we are looking for those organisations that are spearheading the global recovery of travel and tourism by outperforming their peers and offering something new and exciting.”

The ceremonies are widely regarded as one of the best networking opportunities in the travel industry, attended by government and industry leaders, as well as international media.

The 2011 WTA nominations featured more than 5,000 companies in 1,000 categories across 164 countries, and WTA ceremonies were attended by more than 3,000 guests from 92 countries, as well as media from 192 TV channels and publications.

Take a look at the official website for more information.

Virgin Trains is best in class again » Railway News

Virgin Trains is best in class again » Railway News

Virgin Trains has once again topped the performance league among companies operating long-distance rail franchises.

The rail watchdog Passenger Focus carries out large-scale independent research across the industry twice a year. For the fifth successive survey, Virgin Trains was ranked top of long-distance franchised operators, with 89% of passengers ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the overall service they received.

Virgin Trains leads the franchised long-distance operators in many categories - out of 33 categories judged by customers, Virgin Trains is ahead of its sector average in 27.

Virgin Trains significantly outscores average scores of long-distance operators in the following areas - frequency of trains; value for money; train cleanliness; ease of getting on/off trains; dealing with delays; and connections with other forms of public transport. In addition, customers have given a massive thumbs-up to a major investment programme in car parks, in partnership with the Department for Transport and Network Rail, with a 13 percentage point increase in satisfaction with car parking facilities

Virgin Trains’ Chief Executive Officer, Tony Collins said: “We recently achieved record numbers of customers, with more than 30million people travelling with us last year, double the number of six years ago. But the key to retaining those customers - and attracting more - is making sure they are satisfied. These figures show that we continue to lead in most areas of our business, by focussing on customer service and offering a service that is second to none among the long-distance franchise operators.

“However, we are certainly not complacent and there is still work to do to improve some scores. Satisfaction about punctuality has dipped, following a series of infrastructure problems during the summer and autumn and we have made clear to Network Rail that these need improvement.”

The Office of Rail Regulation has issued Network Rail an enforcement notice to bring improvements in punctuality on long-distance services, including on Virgin Trains’ services.

Centara opens first stand-alone Spa Cenvaree in Goa » Spa News

Centara opens first stand-alone Spa Cenvaree in Goa » Spa News

Centara Hotels&Resorts of Thailand will open its first stand-alone Spa Cenvaree during the first quarter of 2012, to be located at the Arcon Arcade in Goa, India.

Spa Cenvaree, a Centara brand, is to be found at Centara hotels and resorts throughout Thailand, and at overseas properties that include the Philippines, Vietnam, and the Maldives.

“Spa Cenvaree has been enormously successful in all of its in-hotel locations, and we are convinced this is the right time to introduce an independent branch,” said Suthikiati Chirathivat, Chairman of the Executive Board of Central Plaza Hotel Public Co Ltd., “Goa presents us with the perfect opportunity.”

Located at the beach resort of Candolim, in northern Goa, the new Spa Cenvaree is set within the lifestyle and shopping complex of Arcon Arcade.

The spa features 13 spacious treatment rooms and a couple spa suites with private en-suite facilities, including a sunken Jacuzzi, a nail and hair salon, a Zen garden with tranquil relaxation lounges, and a wide array of water facilities including Vichy rain shower, steam bath, and hot air sauna.

As the premier spa in the region, the menu treatments place great emphasis on the innate wisdom of the body and blending the finest elements of native herbs with massage to provide guests a unique Thai spa experience.

Among the range of experiences is the Spa Cenvaree Signature massage, which brings together a blend of Ayurvedic, Thai, Swedish, Shiatsu, and reflexology techniques paired with medicinal heat compress, resulting in a ritual that harmonizes the body’s energies.

Other treatments on offer include Ayurveda healing, traditional Thai massage, hot-stone therapy, and foot reflexology. For a more contemplative experience, guests may choose the multi-day spa retreats, focusing on detox, de-stress, and emotional balance.

Couples may share their experience in complete privacy with programs personalized for him and for her.

Seasonal therapies such as the Winter Recharge and Summer Best packages are created to counter the effects of seasonal change on the body, mind, and spirit.

As a post-treatment experience, guests are invited to relax in the Zen garden to sample a collection of fine Indian tea, brewed freshly with the finishing touch of local spices.

Established in year 2000, SPA Cenvaree is a member of Centara Hotels and Resorts, a leading group of first-class hotels and resorts in Thailand. Recognized as an innovative spa operator in the Asia Pacific region, the SPA Cenvaree experience can be found through an elite network of 27 outlets, and will expand its presence to new destinations including Mauritius, China, Sri Lanka, and Bali by 2012, bringing its portfolio of spas to 40 across 9 counties.

SPA Cenvaree philosophy is simple, it believes life force is enhanced through the balance of body, mind, and soul, which is achieved through making time for a calm moment and allowing your body to rest and rejuvenate.

Serving as the cornerstone of the SPA Cenvaree lifestyle concept, each spa experience is created with respect to the balance of mother nature, placing great emphasis on the innate wisdom of the body and blending the finest elements of native herbs with massage therapies. Every spa is a destination in itself, offering guests their own distinct signature journeys inspired by local culture, surroundings, and healing traditions. Guests will enjoy the same high-quality spa standards across, with treatments administered by a team of skilled, customer-focused therapists.

Seychelles Tourism Ambassadors meet in Tanzania » Tourism News

Seychelles Tourism Ambassadors meet in Tanzania » Tourism News

Melton Ernesta, based in Jamaica, and Maryvonne Pool, who is based in Tanzania, met this week in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, to strategize together plans for supporting actions by the island’s Tourism Ambassadors based in the four corners of the world.

Maryvonne Pool, who is also the Seychelles Consul in Tanzania, took that opportunity to share her production of SUVs wheels covers with Melton Ernesta. One hundred such dedicated wheel covers has now been sent to Jamaica for promoting Seychelles. The wheels covers were sponsored by Maryvonne Pool personally to help Melton Ernesta in his drive to promote Seychelles in Jamaica.

The Tourism Ambassadors program was launched by Seychelles just over one-and-half years ago to rally Seychellois sationals from the four corners of the world to work alongside the Seychelles Tourism Board in spreading the name of Seychelles across the world.

“You can take a Seychellois out of Seychelles, but you cannot take Seychelles out of the Seychellois,” Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, said at the launch of that program. “Seychelles Tourism Ambassadors are our foot soldiers in our mission to make Seychelles as visible as possible,” Alain St.Ange said.

The Seychelles were innovative when they launched that program, which has now been adopted by different Tourism Boards. Seychelles wanted to recognize the presence of its nationals now settled in the four corners of the world and to keep them well informed on the happenings of their island of birth. The island’s Tourism Ambassadors all receive their very own monthly Seychelles Tourism Ambassadors dedicated newsletter.

More rail apprentices wanted in Wales » Railway News

More rail apprentices wanted in Wales » Railway News

The railway in Wales needs more skilled engineers to support its continuing growth, says Network Rail Wales today as it announces its latest advanced apprenticeship scheme for 2012.

Network Rail Wales is looking to increase its intake of apprentices, particularly to be trained in electrical engineering skills, in order to be ready for the forthcoming electrification of parts of the railway in south Wales. The company will also be actively promoting its apprenticeship scheme outside the major cities in a bid to encourage more applicants from rural areas.

Mark Langman, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “The railway in Wales is growing and we have big plans, including the £200m re-signalling and enhancement project in Cardiff and main line electrification. We need talented and ambitious young people to join us and be part of a 1,300 strong team in Wales helping millions of people get to their destinations safely and reliably.

“We have six depots across Wales generating potential employment opportunities to prospective applicants from across the region, including those from rural areas. Beyond their apprenticeships, employees have the opportunity to undertake a higher national certificate, a foundation degree and then a full degree in engineering. They can earn while they learn and go as far as their aptitude, attitude and ambition can take them.”

Applications officially open on Monday 6 February, when the company launches a new Facebook page - - with videos, profiles and content run by current apprentices who can respond directly to any enquiries and showcase the opportunities on offer.

The apprentices will spend a year training alongside the Royal Navy at Europe’s largest engineering training facility at HMS Sultan in Hampshire. Here they will learn both the technical skills required to work on the railway and develop leadership and teamwork behaviours, which will make them more effective in their roles.

During that training, there could also be opportunities to work on site for a week to gain practical experience. Since last year, Network Rail has been partnering with the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways to assist with renewing the infrastructure on the heritage railway by providing its first year track apprentices over a period of five weeks.

They will then continue their training for two further years on-the-job at depots across Wales before returning to HMS Sultan for additional courses.

Adam Sargeant, a second year Network Rail electrification and plant apprentice from Newport, said: “I applied to Network Rail to seek a career in electrical engineering. I researched the scheme and it ticked all the right boxes offering me the opportunity to be involved in developing Britain’s railways. With so much investment and vision for the railways there was no better time to apply.”

New all natural treatments at The Spa At The Setai » Spa News

New all natural treatments at The Spa At The Setai » Spa News

The Spa at The Setai, Miami South Beach debuts three all-natural product lines and corresponding treatments designed to provide lasting wellness. With the purest ingredients available, the three new eco-inspired product lines, VOYA, Ila, and SpaRitual, stay true to The Spa’s organic and holistic philosophy of reviving the body, mind and soul.

Each product line was chosen for its commitment to quality, sustainability, and the natural healing traits of ingredients. VOYA produces organic hand-harvested seaweed based products that harness the therapeutic properties of the sea; Ila works directly with local growers in India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Himalayas, and the Amazon Rainforest to create exotic blends of oils used to stimulate the body’s healing energy; and SpaRitual, a company dedicated to creating eco-friendly products and packaging, uses Vegan ingredients from around the world to provide an all-natural plant based alternative.

Each treatment is performed in The Setai’s exclusive spa suites where guests can enjoy ocean and pool views as well as a private bath and steam room. Newly added rituals include:

VOYA Organic Seaweed Leaf Envelopment for Detoxification (120 minutes) - This treatment incorporates the purest seaweed, hand harvested to ensure that the highest content of bio-actives is preserved. The treatment begins with a body and facial exfoliation of seaweed and spiny bamboo blended with seaweed oil. Next, the body is cocooned in whole seaweed leaves for toning and firming while special leaves are used on the face. Whilst the envelopment and face masque are processing, a conditioning hair masque is massaged into the scalp. After twenty minutes, the seaweed leaves are removed and the excess seaweed gel is massaged into the skin. The treatment concludes with the application of seaweed face cream, eye serum and body moisturizer.

Ila Rainforest Rejuvenation Facial (60 minutes) - This rejuvenating facial helps skin cells regenerate at a deep level. Careful preparation of the skin is essential to facilitate penetration of the skin. Deep lymphatic drainage and warm herbal compress massage and stimulate the flow of lymph for a toning and firming effect. An Amazonian rainforest mud masque rich in key botanicals for anti-ageing completes this unique facial

Ila Kundalini Back Massage (60 minutes) - A powerful massage therapy, aimed at balancing the nervous system. A synergistic blend of essential oils including cardamom, jasmine and patchouli in a base of pure organic Argan oil is applied using ancient massage techniques. The energetic combination of botanical essences and marma point massage opens the flow of subtle healing energy through the chakras for increased vitality.

In a paradise of pools, palms and Zen-like peace, The Spa brings healing spirits and traditions from the East, offering numerous unique treatments and amenities to its guests. From shiatsu, massage and aromatherapy to ancient Balinese healing therapies using exotic herbs, oils and spices proven to relax, restore and rejuvenate, there is something to feed everyone’s soul.

First guests check in to new Centra Taum Seminyak Bali » Hotel News

First guests check in to new Centra Taum Seminyak Bali » Hotel News

Centra Taum Seminyak Bali is located at Seminyak, one of Bali’s best-known leisure and nightlife areas, and is within five minutes’ stroll of the beach.

The resort has a total of 90 Studios, Duplex Suites, Family Suites, and Pool Suites, with several units offering private plunge pools. Each room features spacious balcony with double day-bed, and all units include a kitchenette with electric hob.

There is a swimming pool with children’s pool and sundeck, a Wellness Spa that includes tranquil treatment rooms and a relaxation area, and a fully-equipped fitness center.

The Centra brand, as the contraction of the Centara name indicates, offers affordable hotels and resorts that provide a quality experience designed to exceed expectations but not over-deliver to the point not required by guests. Centra properties, therefore, offer spacious accommodation with quality furnishing and fittings, at least one restaurant, a swimming pool, and a fitness center. All are located in a convenient setting, with restaurants and shops nearby, and those in a seaside location are within an easy walk of the beach.

Hawaii Tourism Association appoints Ambassador from Russia » Tourism News

Hawaii Tourism Association appoints Ambassador from Russia » Tourism News

When Russians travel, they like to spend a lot of money, they like to stay in luxury accommodation, and they stay for awhile – generally 2 to 3 weeks at a stretch. Basically, they want to be pampered and enjoy themselves and are not afraid to pay in order to meet those ends.

Russia may seem as far away and different from Hawaii as could be possible, but that is where the visionary efforts of the Hawaii Tourism Association sees this dichotomy as pure opportunity. Why wouldn’t Russians want to travel from their mostly cold weather environs to warmth of the islands that have been seen in movies and television for decades?

This is why the Hawaii Tourism Association (HiTA) has been exhibiting at a Russian trade show for two years running. While at the latest show, HiTA President Juergen T. Steinmetz observed the efforts and Alexey Kats, exhibiting for World Tourism Services.

Mr. Steinmetz said, “I was impressed with Alexeys organization, and learned that his company had been working with one of our ICTP [International Council of Tourism Partners] founding members in Bali for 10 years. Mr. Kats is a pioneer for helping Russians traveling to Bali.”

In speaking with Alexey Kats, he indicates that interest in travel to the Aloha State is definitely there. “Due to the fact that interest of Russian tourists to the United States is growing every year, I believe it is important and necessary to offer to potential customers a new direction for the ultimate high-quality recreation,” said Alexey Kats of World Tourism Services.

This is how HiTA came to appoint Mr. Kats as an Ambassador for the Hawaii Tourism Association. Mr. Steinmetz said, “Knowing that Hawaii should be on the forefront of this travel trend, and forming an alliance with Mr. Kats and World Tourism Services, it was a natural that we ask him to join our efforts. We are so pleased that he agreed to become a member of HiTA’s Ambassador team.”

Amadeus creates world’s first interline EMD link » Technology News

Amadeus creates world’s first interline EMD link » Technology News

Amadeus, a leading travel technology partner and transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry, has announced the creation of the world’s first interline Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) link. The application of EMD to interline partnerships means that participating airlines can now facilitate payment for and delivery of ancillary services across their partnerships and alliances.

Amadeus estimates that up to 20% of air bookings made through its system are the result of interline partnerships, representing a huge opportunity for airlines to increase revenues through the sale of ancillary services via their partner carriers. In addition, EMDs remove the need for paper documents to account for the sale of ancillary services, which IATA believes will save the industry 0.9 USD billion annually.

Interline EMD processing between Finnair and Egypt Air means the carriers’ customers can now buy ancillary services across interline flights, safe in the knowledge that the operating airline will know the service has been purchased. Previously, the only way the operating airline would know a customer had purchased an ancillary service, such as extra baggage allowance, was through a paper document provided by the traveller at the airport.

Julia Sattel, VP Airline IT, Amadeus commented: “Our research estimates ancillary services were worth over $35 billion to airlines in 2011, with ancillary services contributing upwards of 20% of total revenues for some carriers. A well implemented ancillary services strategy is now the difference between reaching profitability and incurring a loss for a large number of airlines. We are naturally absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Finnair and Egyptair to be our launch partner airlines for what is the world’s first interline EMD link”.

Petteri Skaffari, Head of Customer Experience and Sales Applications, Finnair commented: “Our commercial strategy means we always aim to be at the forefront when it comes to new developments. With this in mind, we’re incredibly pleased that Amadeus has given us the opportunity to be a launch airline on Interline EMD. Ancillary services are clearly always critical to airline profitability. To maintain our focus on service excellence we must ensure that when we sell ancillary services they are delivered in the way the customer expects. That’s especially true when our interline partner airlines deliver services sold under the Finnair brand. That’s where EMDs will make a big difference for our customer experience”.

Mr. Yasser EL Ramly, VP Commercial, Egypt Air said: “We are proud to be a pioneering airline which is putting into production a true interline EMD. This is clearly a landmark achievement for the industry, and we would like to extend our sincerest thanks to both Amadeus and Finnair for working together with us to make this happen. Our customers will absolutely notice the difference - the improved efficiency and more convenient service are principal and tangible benefits, whilst the EMD will also save on time. It is clear also that we are far ahead of the IATA target date of 2013 for full application of EMD across the industry.”

56 airlines have contracted Amadeus’ EMD Server to enable the provision of EMDs in order to facilitate the sale of ancillary services. To date, 22 carriers have implemented Amadeus’s EMD Server resulting in 4,098,842 EMDs processed during 2011 and IATA states that 47 are currently EMD compliant.

Passengers rate East Midlands trains highly in independent survey » Railway News

Passengers rate East Midlands trains highly in independent survey » Railway News

East Midlands Trains passengers continue to be very satisfied with their service, according to the latest independent survey released 26 January 2012 by national transport watchdog, Passenger Focus.

The survey, carried out in Autumn 2011, shows that an impressive 87% of passengers are satisfied with their service.

Satisfaction is also up across 24 different categories with notable increases in East Midlands Trains’ stations and trains, representing the ongoing £40 million investment programme to improve services for passengers.

The highest increases in passenger satisfaction are with East Midlands Trains’ fleet of trains. Satisfaction with the upkeep and repair of the train increased to 85%, representing a 9%year on year increase. The amount of space provided for luggage on train has also been rated by passengers, with another 9% year on year increase.

Ratings for on train facilities such as toilets and comfort of seats have also improved, with the year on year scores increasing by 5% and 4% respectively.

Cleanliness of stations and trains have both received the thumbs up from passengers. Satisfaction with the cleanliness of stations has increased by 6% to 82%, and by 5% for train cleanliness.

Other areas which have scored highly are the availability of station staff, which has increased by 5% year on year and ticket buying facilities, which has increased by 3% to 79%

David Horne, Managing Director for East MidlandsTrains, said: “We’re really pleased with the latest set of satisfaction scores, which are a clear demonstration that our investment to improve our stations and trains is continuing to make a difference to passengers.

“However, we remain focused on delivering further improvements to the service we offer to ensure that satisfaction amongst our passengers continues to grow.”

East Midlands Trains continues to be one of the most punctual train operators in the country, according to the latest performance figures issued by Network Rail. The performance figures,which cover the four-week period ending 7 January 2012, show that trains operated by East Midlands Trains recorded a punctuality figure of 92.5%. The latest figures also signify a further improvement on East MidlandsTrains’ moving annual average (MAA), which is now 93.2%. This represents the best ever MAA figure for East Midlands Trains, and it is significantly higher than the national moving annual average figure of 91.6%.

The improvements in performance have also been recognised in the latest National Passenger Survey. 88% of passengers are satisfied with the punctuality and reliability of their train service,marking a 1% year on year improvement.

One million more Brits to travel in 2012 » Travel News

One million more Brits to travel in 2012 » Travel News

More people will travel, but will spend less on their holidays than in 2011

When it comes to taking that all-important holiday, it seems more Brits plan to book trips this year despite the turbulent economic situation in the UK. But while doing so, they will be looking for ways to save on their travel needs. According to research commissioned by®, nearly one million (955,092) more Brits plan to take trips in 2012 versus last year (75% of the adult population compared to 73% in 2011), but will spend on average slightly less than they did last year.

75% of those surveyed were not put off by the grim economic outlook for the year and commented that they intend to continue travelling. In fact, nearly one in five of Brits spending more on travel this year (18%) watched their spending in 2011 and saved money in order to holiday in 2012. However, the average spending of UK holidaymakers will be 4% lower, dropping from GBP 2,009 to GBP 1,920 (per household).

To enjoy those additional trips on a tighter budget, 30% of Brits will look for travel deals more than they did in the past, 18% plan to base their decision on price rather than the travel brand and 14% will travel in the UK rather than abroad.

“The results of the survey show that Brits are determined to get away this year, but will be watching their spending more closely,” said Fulvia Montresor, senior director at “With the four day bank holiday weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Euro 2012 and the Olympics, there are lots of events that Brits may want to travel to or escape. With our Secret Hot Rates, we are giving everyone an opportunity to take those extra trips without the worry of spending more than they need to. At Hotwire, we want everyone to be able to travel as much as they want in 2012, and that’s why we work hard to offer 4-star and 5-star hotels at up to 50% off the lowest published room rates*.”

The research also showed that the older generation continues to splash out the most on breaks away from home, with the over 55 holidaymakers spending an average of GBP 2,123 compared to an average spend of GBP 1,864 amongst 34-54 age range and GBP 1,739 for 18-34 year olds (spending per household). Londoners who are planning holidays in 2012 will spend the most on escapes (GBP 2,243 per household), almost GBP 500 more than consumers in the North (GBP 1,702 per household).

Costa Cruises details Costa Concordia guest reimbursement » Cruise News

Costa Cruises details Costa Concordia guest reimbursement » Cruise News

Costa Crociere wishes to again express its profound condolences to the families of the victims, continued sympathy to the families of the missing and deep regret and sorrow for the damages and hardship the Costa Concordia accident caused to all its guests.

Costa Crociere announced a compensation proposal for guests who have returned home after the Jan. 13 tragic Costa Concordia accident. This proposal is the result of negotiations between Costa Crociere and consumer associations protecting guests’ interests, with the support of multiple tourism and travel industry associations. In Italy, the company has already reached an agreement with the National Council of Consumers and Users, a national organization.

The families of the deceased and guests who were injured and required medical treatment on site will be covered under a separate proposal that will take into account their individual circumstances.

The compensation package for Costa Concordia guests who have returned home includes:
• A lump sum of 11,000 euros (US$14,458.07 at today’s exchange rate)
per person as indemnification, covering all patrimonial and nonpatrimonial damages, including loss of baggage and personal effects, psychological distress and loss of enjoyment of the cruise vacation;
• Reimbursement of the value of the cruise, including harbor taxes;
• Reimbursement of air and bus transfers included in the cruise
• Full reimbursement of travel expenses to reach the port of
embarkation and return home;
• Reimbursement of any medical expenses resulting from the cruise;
• Reimbursement of expenses incurred on board during the cruise.

This compensation package is higher than the current indemnification limits provided for in international conventions and laws currently in force. The 11,000 euro lump-sum payment is offered to all Costa Concordia passengers, including nonpaying children, regardless of their age. Costa also has pledged not to deduct from this sum any amount paid by any insurance policy stipulated by guests. In addition, the company will return all goods stored in cabin safes, where retrieval is possible.

Costa Crociere also has pledged to provide a program for psychological assistance to any guests that request it. The company has further agreed to offer customers the ability to cancel any upcoming cruise booked before Jan. 13, on any of its routes, without penalty through Feb. 7, 2012. Dedicated operation units will handle claims to ensure timely resolution.

Payments will be credited by the company within seven days of receipt of the acceptance of the proposal. Guests should e-mail or call 954-266-5693 for assistance.

Seychelles and La Reunion’s Carnival moves into gear with countdown » Travel Event News

Seychelles and La Reunion’s Carnival moves into gear with countdown » Travel Event News

The 2012 carnival of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands that is staged in Seychelles annually by Seychelles and La Reunion, moved into gear this week with an official countdown that took place at the International Conference Center (ICCS) in Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles.

In the presence of the French Ambassador, Mr. Philippe Delacroix ; the Chairman of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mr. Barry Faure; members of the tourism trade and of the Seychelles business community; and Alain St.Ange, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board said that the countdown to the 2012 carnival was but a teaser to what was coming to Seychelles on March 2-4.

Addressing the countdown Alain St.Ange said: “On the 2nd to the 4th of March, Seychelles and La Reunion will stage an event that will bring visibility to our islands.”

“It is important to say that the “Carnaval International de Victoria” 2012 is not just funded by the Tourism Board. Most of the cash needed comes from sponsorship deals and some of the important players in the Seychelles economy. Those committed to the consolidation of the country’s tourism industry, have joined with us to ensure Seychelles has this celebration.

“On March 2, when the Seychelles and La Reunion carnival will be declared open, and when Seychelles will witness the opening ceremony of this carnival, the world will be following the start of this unique event, known as the “carnival of carnivals,” because for the first time, three radio stations will be broadcasting live from Seychelles for the three days of the carnival. They will be from Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa.

“Seychelles will be hosting for these three days the largest contingent of press ever, landing at the same time on our shores. Yes, it is now confirmed that over 50 press from all over the world will be in Seychelles to cover the carnival 2012. When we say 50 press, it means 50 magazines, newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations. All together, we shall have 78 individual press personality and their technicians here.

“Why are we doing all this trouble? one could ask.

“The question is simple, and everyone involved in the tourism industry, everyone who understands the tourism industry, will appreciate that so many press will mean a blitz on and about Seychelles & La Reunion in the four corners of the world.

“The Tourism Boards of Seychelles and La Reunion are mandated to promote Seychelles and La Reunion as tourism destinations, and in increasing the visibility of our islands, we are doing just that, promoting Seychelles and promoting La Reunion.

“And this we are doing through our culture, through our people, and through our joie de vive.

“The opening ceremony will be beautifully choreographed with a show in Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles. It will have artists from different parts of the world perform alongside our very own Seychellois artists and artists coming from La Reunion.

“At this opening ceremony, Mr. Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO Secretary General, who is flying to Seychelles for this carnival, will present to [Seychelles] President James Michel and President Didier Robert of La Reunion, the Tourism Leadership Document. This in itself will be unique, as it will be the first time that two heads of governments receive the document at the same time.

“Both political leaders of the two islands are this year joint organizers of the 2012 Carnival. La Reunion accepted to join in with us in a show of solidarity and of regional cooperation.

“We can say that this year we have taken note of comments and suggestions aired after the 2011 event. Music and show will be at the opening ceremony and afterwards in Victoria, and this well into the night.

“The Saturday carnival procession is the climax of a vast organizational effort, which began mid-March last year, as soon as the 2011 carnival had closed. Marymonde Matatiken and her team worked with foreign partners to get overseas carnival delegations here, but also with sponsors, without whom we could never stage such an event, and one on this magnitude here in Seychelles.

“This is why today, on behalf of the Tourism Board, we want to say a BIG thank you to all those helping us make this event the event our country needs and deserves.

“Here, we need to acknowledge that Emirates is this year the partner airline and flying the biggest number of our press to Seychelles.

“Kempinski Hotel has volunteered to accommodate the press when they get to Seychelles - two big chunks of expenses taken care of by two companies. As we say thank you to Emirates and to Kempinski , we need to acknowledge that they are not alone, and here, we want to use today to launch our the countdown for the carnival 2012 to appeal to everyone.

“It is a carnival that Seychelles and that La Reunion, and the people of our two islands are staging for the world, for the Community of Nations. Let us rally behind this event, the event set to remain the biggest annual celebration of our region, and the event that will keep Seychelles and La Reunion visible in all our tourist markets all over the world.

“Let us rally members of the business community, help by decorating Victoria, the heart of our carnival. Decorate your shops and buildings, bring about the party spirit.

“PUC, help us. Here, we appeal to Mr. Philip Morin, the new CEO. Help make Victoria come alive. We will bring the entertainment, you make us see the light. Let us see the Office of the Mayor of Victoria move to show the best façade of Victoria to all the world.”

The Seychelles Tourism Board then announced the list of confirmed delegations coming from the four corners of the world and also of navy ships making the stop in Seychelles as a show of solidarity in the continued fight against piracy.

Marie France MacGregor launched the 2012 Carnival Lottery and the new Carnival Song entitled “Sa Karnaval,” sung by Jean Marc Volcy, with the support of known artists Jany De Letourdie, Brian Matombe, Antoinette Dodin, and Michelle Marengo, was launched through a live performance by all the five artists and supported by the island’s reputed choreographed dancers.

Angelica, the young and upcoming artist also sung her new song entitled “Carnival Party,” which she presented as a gift to the Seychelles Tourism Board before the very popular group of young artists Chicco, Michael, Sandra, Dean, Ruben, and Martin presented their very own popular carnival song.