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.