Agents earn an extra 2 when booking with TravelBound

first_img Share Travelweek Group Monday, September 11, 2017 NEW YORK — Just in time to boost bookings for the remainder of 2017, TravelBound, a leading FIT supplier, is bringing back its 2% bonus commission offer for Canadian travel agents.The offer applies to hotels, sightseeing tours and transfers. And to make it even more attractive, it is valid for new bookings made to anywhere TravelBound offers its products. This translates into substantial increased revenue, seeing how agents have nearly 180 countries to choose from.“After the success of our 2% bonus commission for European bookings last year, we saw this as an opportunity to reward our valued travel partners for any destination they specialize in for a limited time,” said TravelBound President James Phillips.The extra 2% commission applies to bookings made from Sept. 1-30, 2017, for travel now through Dec. 31, 2017. Agents simply make their reservations on the TravelBound website, as their profile has been increased for the booking window. There are no minimum booking requirements.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsFor more information visit Agents earn an extra 2% when booking with TravelBoundcenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Commission, Travelbound Posted bylast_img read more

PACs Luis Guillermo Solís launches presidential primary bid

first_imgCitizen Action Party (PAC) member Luis Guillermo Solís on Thursday officially launched a primary campaign to run for president in the 2014 elections.Solís, 55 and a father of six, filed the paperwork for his candidacy to PAC Secretary General Olga Marta Sánchez and President of the Internal Elections Committee Silvia Castro.“Costa Rica is falling into an abyss and we need to rescue it,” Solís said. “The effort to save the country is something that only PAC can do.”Solís, a history and political science professor at the University of Costa Rica and a lifelong political activist, announced he would run last September.He said he would back a political coalition to oppose National Liberation Party (PLN) candidate Johnny Araya, who after more than 15 years as San José mayor will step down this month to focus on the campaign.Araya’s possible challenger said he has met with members of the Alive Coalition (Coalición Viva), a new political movement with a central-left tendency that includes Alianza Patriótica and Patria Nueva.PAC primary candidate Juan Carlos Mendoza also showed interest in supporting the coalition.“We’re going to do everything possible to form a coalition. For me, that should be PAC’s priority,” Solís said.Mariano Figueres, son of ex-President José María Figueres Ferrer and brother of ex-President José María Figueres Olsen, is president of Alianza Patriótica and a leader of the Alive Coalition.Along with Solís, Juan Carlos Mendoza, Epsy Campbell and Rónald Solís will seek the PAC nomination in a July 21 vote. The winner will take on Araya and other candidates in the February 2014 national election. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Costa Rican police arrest suspect in international child pornography bust

first_imgNo related posts. UPATE 12:50 p.m.The Costa Rican Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) and Interpol Costa Rica arrested one person early this morning as part of an international child pornography ring bust, originally reported carried out six raids Friday morning, including one at the home of a commercial pilot with the last names Loría Pereira, 45, who lives in Río Segundo, Alajuela, just north of San José.Police believe the suspect possessed and distributed child pornography. The OIJ told The Tico Times that Loría Pereira did not likely produce the images he allegedly distributed.The distribution of child pornography in Costa Rica is punishable by up to four years in prison, and the possession of illicit material carries a possible prison sentence of six months to two years.Additional raids took place in Paso Ancho, San Francisco de Dos Ríos, Guápiles and Siquerres, according to OIJ, where authorities seized computers and electronic equipment, including compact discs. Police carried out simultaneous raids in Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay in the culmination of an investigation that started in April of this year. Video courtesy Friday, Aug. 9, 12:50 p.m. An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported the number of arrests as five. OIJ reported that only one person, age 45, not 55, was arrested in relation to the raids. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

5 questions for Costa Rican band Magpie Jay

first_imgOur “Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica’s Blind Pig Blues Band recording live album at Hard Rock Café Saturday What not to miss at Costa Rica’s National Arts Festival Arts and culture in brief: the (very spooky) week ahead in Costa Rica Blues artist Jose Ramírez returns to San Pedro The love of music and a friendship of more than nine years brought together the musicians Julián Garita (vocals), Felipe González (bass), Felipe Apéstegui (guitar), Sebastián Suñol (drums) and Martín Brandt (keyboard). Two years ago, this group of friends decided to approach their musical project in a more serious manner. And the band Magpie Jay was born.Now they’ve released two albums: “Monte Claro” (2015) and “Islita” (2016). For both albums the band went to Guanacaste to create their music, and the albums’ names pay homage to the places in which they were created. Magpie Jay is a band that combines the music and art skills the band members have. Apéstegui designs the album covers and singer Garita does the photographic documentation.The Tico Times sat down and spoke with bass player González and guitarist Apéstegui about Magpie Jay’s work at our offices in Barrio Amón.Excerpts follow.What is the meaning of music for you?FG: For me it’s an expression of emotions, feelings and memories. I think it symbolizes that and I’m really thankful to be able to express myself in that way. I can have various sessions of me playing and it all depends on my mood at the time. Regarding that, I play different things. It’s not only about playing, but also about listening. Music has [that power] that it’s about when you identify yourself with it. When a girlfriend breaks up with you, you can listen to Coldplay and it’ll make you cry. It can go from that until the feeling of wanting to exercise while listening to music. It’s about both expressing yourself and identifying with it.FA: Music allows you to communicate things that you can’t express through writing because the feelings are very abstract. Sometimes you’re happy, but not that happy because it’s difficult to concretely explain that. For me, music is that language that’s better understood with what you have on your inside. It’s also a medium that allows you to communicate with the masses if you’re sufficiently listened to. It’s a platform that allows you to say your things and for others to listen. In a certain way, it makes you think about what you want to say, what’s going on in your life and who you are for the people that are listening to you. It also breaks barriers. It’s a universal language.center_img What do you want to communicate with your music?FG: We’re not a band that wants to express a social or political message.FA: Maybe not yet. [Laughs]FG: We write the songs in accordance to what’s happening in our lives. In general, most of the songs in “Islita” are about breakup. It’s about a lot of expressions that we don’t want to communicate. Rather than communicating it, we want to express them and the most gratifying part is when people identify with it. I think that’s what fulfills us the most.FA: For now, the message has been very intimate. In most of the songs that Garita writes, what he does is that he thinks out loud and analyzes himself. As Feli was saying, we’re not a band with a political or social message, but I think that has a lot to do with our ages. I’m 22, he’s 24 and the rest of the members are within those two ages. I think it’s an age in which you’re questioning a lot of things like what you were doing before and the end of your childhood and adolescence. You’re in a stage in which you’ve got to make decisions for the rest of your life. It makes sense for me to be making music in that way because it’s what you have in mind. Maybe in a few years, when you’ll have resolved those things, you’ll probably begin looking toward what surrounds you.Which are your inspirations?FG: We’ve got a lot of inspirations. The Red Hot Chili Peppers will always be our inspiration. At some point we learned to play about 70 of their songs. We listen to a lot of new music.FA: We’ve got a lot of inspirations from bands because every time new music comes out, we want to listen to the new albums. The inspiration is something strange because you sometimes find inspiration in anything. Sometimes I watch a video in which someone does a new technique on guitar that I haven’t explored, so I want to try it out. I’m not necessarily thinking of Magpie Jay, but I just show it to them afterwards and each one of them will interpret it on their own way.FG: Our inspiration also comes from us because everyone has that dream to keep playing and hopefully travel around the world doing what we love. In that sense, everyone is on the same page. The inspiration comes from us; that need of wanting to record and release an album because it’s difficult. It’s all a process.How did the process differ between “Monte Claro” and “Islita”?FA: For “Islita” everything was taken much more seriously. With “Monte Claro” we were nothing. The band had not been consecrated. No one knew what Magpie Jay was, not even ourselves. It was sort of like an experiment. I’m pretty sure that at the studio, Miguel, the producer, and Popeye, the sound engineer, saw us as a group of friends that had been playing for a long time, had their original songs and wanted to record an EP only for the experience. As we went along recording it and listened to it, we saw the potential it had. Afterwards it was about giving the album an image and begin playing live. It became a snowball, in the sense that we noticed that there was much more to do with Magpie Jay. For the second album, which lasted one year and a half in its creation, you grow both musically and personally. Maybe that musical and personal maturity is reflected in the album and in the production process. We had three trips to Punta Islita for the pre-production. It was not taken lightly anymore and we were more focused on the details while composing by trying to polish the songs better than in the first album. The logo for the Islita album was inspired by one of Costa Rica’s coat of arms and is portrayed in a subtle manner. (Courtesy of Magpie Jay)What do you enjoy the most while performing live?FG: It’s very different for each environment. We enjoy a lot when we rehearse at the garage, but we also enjoy playing on stage. When we released “Islita” at El Steinvorth, which was a few weeks ago, we realized that people were singing our songs. While you’re playing, you listen to the people sing and I think there’s an energy created between the audience and us. People are listening and watching, so you’ve got to be able to stimulate both senses. At least, lately, it’s been that dynamic between the audience and us.FA: It’s weird because you’re not going crazy by the fact that people are cheering for you, but by the fact that you make your music to share what you’re trying to communicate with others. When you’re playing in front of 200 people you’re just feeling that link with them. People are experiencing the songs in the same way as we’re playing it. It’s a strange relationship in which we both feel the same way. During that night or that moment in which the song is playing, everyone’s on the same channel and when you feel that, it’s a fuel for all of the crazy things done on stage. We’re having a special moment with the audience. It’s where the magic happens.last_img read more

Timbuktu In time of chaos a hometown son returns

first_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Even more worrying, fighters from al-Qaida’s North African branch, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, have moved in too. The group forged a foothold in Mali’s remote north in recent years, kidnapping dozens of Westerners for ransom. The kidnap risk has destroyed the tourism industry here, with Western embassies declaring the northern half of Mali a no-go zone.I was told by Ansar Dine that the al-Qaida fighters are in Timbuktu as members of Ansar Dine. The fact remains, however, that people responsible for dozens of kidnappings and attacks on Western and government targets across the Sahara region of Africa are now in my home town.After five days, the convoy I came with left Timbuktu. As we rolled out of town, around 50 young people jumped on the back of the trucks, taking advantage of the free ride south.Another group leaving the place they grew up in, I thought with a heavy heart. Another group deciding they will be better off somewhere else.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) A large percentage of Timbuktu’s population of 54,000 had fled, but the hospital was doing a brisk business, drawing patients from surrounding areas.“My two children were suffering from malaria. The doctors saw them and gave me the medicine for free. Now my children have been cured,” said Fady Yattara, who traveled 80 miles (130 kilometers) from the town of Dire with her two daughters. They were hospitalized for a week.Ansar Dine is also investing in the hospital’s upkeep, attending to details the Malian government frequently ignored.“Ansar Dine is taking care of the maintenance of the hospital’s generator and is providing the diesel to run it. So even when there’s a power cut in the city, the hospital can continue to function. They even changed the air conditioners that were broken in some of the rooms,” said Seydou Bassaloum, a hospital supervisor.At the main market, merchants said they no longer pay taxes on imported merchandise.“I’m happy with Ansar Dine because since they are here, I no longer pay taxes and the customs officers no longer bother me,” said Mokhtar Ould Sidi, who sells flour imported from Algeria. “The downside is I don’t have any customers since most of the population has left town.” Top Stories For many residents an even bigger downside is that Ansar Dine has started to enforce Islamic law in Timbuktu, a city that long practiced a moderate form of Islam.“We are now required to wear veils. I was in the market when a bunch of Islamists started pulling on my sleeves to show me that I should cover my arms,” said Madina Dicko, a 25-year-old restaurant worker. “I pretended like I didn’t understand them, and I continued with my shopping. But they wouldn’t stop, so _ since I didn’t have any clothes with which to cover myself _ I was forced to quickly buy a veil.”“Since then, I haven’t stopped wearing this veil, despite the heat. I feel like a prisoner,” she said as temperatures rose above 109 degrees.I was assigned a minder by Ansar Dine. While I was at the hospital interviewing a nurse, he told her to cover her head. The 40-year-old woman pretended not to hear him.He again told her to cover herself. Again she pretended not to hear, until he addressed her a third time. She went and found a veil and wore it in the suffocating heat.“I’m tired of wearing this scarf. I’m not used to this, and it’s giving me a headache because it’s so hot,” the nurse told me in a local language she thought the Islamist minder wouldn’t understand. 0 Comments   Share   Associated PressTIMBUKTU, Mali (AP) – The first sign of change came as our convoy of food aid and medicine pulled up to the last northern town held by the Malian army. The atmosphere was tense as the heavily armed troops searched our car and baggage. Even my toothbrush was apparently suspect.“We’re looking for weapons,” a soldier snapped.“But there’s only food here,” one of the convoy leaders replied lightheartedly. Normally a joke like that would break the tension in Mali, but the soldier just continued his search, stony faced. Things have changed.As we approached the city, I was expecting to see the usual crowd of women and children scrambling to meet passing cars to try to sell the goods they produce, like butter, milk and charcoal.This time no one was there. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled northern Mali in the last few months.We arrived in Timbuktu at around 10 p.m. and I went straight to my neighborhood. Usually at this time of night, streetlights would be on and the sounds of TV and radio would be heard from streetside stalls, where people gather to watch a film or the latest soap opera.But there were no lights, the TV signal had been cut and the only radio station still on the air did not have night broadcasts. The area was silent and totally dark.I was happy to see my family and know they were safe, but the town was not the lively place I had known. Buildings were looted and damaged during the rebel takeover. Banks were closed. Many aid organizations have stopped working. The city felt empty.At the same time, the Islamist rebel group implemented welfare programs to try to win over the population. They distributed food to the needy, eliminated costly municipal and import taxes and offered free health care at the public hospital, not insignificant measures in a remote desert outpost hundreds of miles from the nearest metropolis. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates I was faced with aggressive and suspicious looks. When I tried to go out for a walk, a colleague quickly stopped me and told me I was better off staying inside until the convoy was moving again.When dawn came, we headed toward the rebel-controlled zone.We got our first glimpse of the men who now run northern Mali when two pickup trucks flashed their headlights at us through the morning mist. These were the Islamic fighters of Ansar Dine who were to be our escorts to Timbuktu.There were around a dozen of them, dressed in sand-colored uniforms with turbans on their heads. Each had a Kalashnikov. One of the trucks had a heavy machine gun mounted on the back.Despite their fearsome appearance, the men were polite. Later, when some of the cars in the convoy got stuck in sand they helped dig them out.We headed north and came to the first checkpoint _ manned by the Tuareg rebels, the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad. It felt like we were entering another country.When I was growing up in Timbuktu in the 1990s, the region was for the most part peaceful and open to the outside world. Tourists would picnic under the stars on the sand dunes around the city and visit libraries of ancient manuscripts _ a reminder that Timbuktu was a center of Islamic learning as far back as the 12th century. Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 4 must play golf courses in Arizona The reinforced roadblock was erected in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Mopti, 400 miles (600 kilometers) and a daylong drive from the Malian capital of Bamako. To the north lies my hometown, the fabled city of Timbuktu, now in the hands of two armed rebel groups.Two months ago Tuareg rebels declared an independent state in the north amid a power vacuum created by the March 21 coup that ousted Mali’s longtime leader. The Malian army was forced from the north as the Tuareg fighters descended on Timbuktu.The first group was secular and claimed to be fighting for an independent homeland for the Tuaregs, a nomadic Muslim people who live in four nations in the region. They were quickly superseded by a group of Islamist fighters known as Ansar Dine, or Defenders of Islam, whose goal is to impose Shariah law in the area they now call the Azawad nation.The Malian soldiers were especially suspicious of me. Unlike the black African inhabitants of southern Mali _ whose members dominate the army _ I am light-skinned. I look Tuareg, even though I am from one of the Arab tribes that long ago settled in Timbuktu. That makes me suspect, since I look like the fighters that took over the north. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Lagerfeld muse Anna Piaggi dies at 81

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Piaggi started her career as a translator for Mondadori publishing company, and went on to write for, among others, Vogue Italia. She provided inspiration for Lagerfeld, who published a sketchbook of her creations and once wrote “Anna invents fashion.”The Victoria and Albert Museum in London held an exhibition in 2006 of her extensive wardrobe collection, including thousands of dresses and hundreds of pairs of shoes.Master milliner Stephen Jones paid tribute to Piaggi, saying she had served as his “guiding light and an inspiration” and praising her for her “effervescence and inventiveness.”In a statement to The Associated Press, the British hat designer for royalty and superstars reminisced about how Piaggi would call him and “say `Ah, Stephen, I am doing a wonderful thing and I need a new hat.’”Jones said he had visited Piaggi in her apartment just two weeks ago, and they were making plans to take in the men’s shows in London in January.Jones said Piaggi was not only his muse, she was also “a talisman for all those around the world who believe that fashion is a way of life and that freedom of expression should manifest itself in what we wear.” Quick workouts for men Comments   Share   The vital role family plays in society MILAN (AP) – Fashion journalist Anna Piaggi, who provided inspiration for designer Karl Lagerfeld and was celebrated for her own eccentric style, died Tuesday. She was 81.Vogue Italia said on its website that she died in Milan. No cause of death was given.For years, Piaggi’s vibrant dress sense _ including funky hats and theatrical makeup _ made her stand out on the front rows of Milan and Paris runway shows. Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories last_img

Frenchman kidnapped in Mali asks govt for help

first_imgAssociated PressNOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (AP) – A French national who was kidnapped by an al-Qaida-linked extremist group in Mali appeared on a video published this weekend and made available on Monday, where he begs the French government to intervene on his behalf.The victim, identified as 61-year-old Jules Berto Rodriguez Leal, was grabbed last week in southwestern Mali by MUJAO, a group controlling part of northern Mali. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Top Stories Comments   Share   Four benefits of having a wireless security system Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Men’s health affects baby’s health too Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day While northern Mali has long been off-bounds to Westerners due to the kidnap threat, the area where Leal was taken in the region of Kayes is considered safe, indicating the extremists are extending their reach.Leal said in the message broadcast on Saharamedias.Net, a Mauritanian portal, that he asks “the French government to satisfy the demands of MUJAO, which kidnapped me, as quickly as possible.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

Jewish group says UNESCO exhibit salvaged

first_imgJERUSALEM (AP) – The head of a Jewish American organization says he has finalized a deal with the U.N. cultural agency to stage an exhibit about the Jewish connection to the Holy Land, days after Arab objections nearly derailed the project.Last week, UNESCO abruptly announced it was delaying the exhibit after 22 Arab member states said it could disrupt Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which co-sponsored the exhibit, protested the decision. UNESCO subsequently said it would open the exhibit in June, pending final discussions with the center. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the center, said Thursday all arrangements were complete.Hier says the development is a “victory against the 22 Arab states.” He says the exhibit was not political but “simply a collective narrative of the Jewish people.”(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

Hill intern arrested entering building with unloaded gun

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Capitol Police arrested a Kansas man Monday morning when he tried to enter a House office building with an unloaded gun. The accused, Joshua Wheeler, 25, was an intern with Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a spokesman confirmed.“Mr. Wheeler used poor judgment and was immediately placed on temporary leave,” said Tom Brandt, the congressman’s spokesman.Capitol Police Lt. Kimberly Schneider said in a statement that Wheeler, of Atchison, Kansas, was charged with carrying a pistol without a license and possessing an unregistered firearm and taken into custody. She said that a search of Wheeler, required for entry into congressional buildings, allegedly turned up an unloaded Smith & Wesson 9 mm handgun. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Top Stories center_img Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finisheslast_img read more

Chinese stocks vs reality Shares are untethered to economy

first_imgNow it’s all crashing down.Analysts say the economy is unlikely to take a big hit. The IMF’s Blanchard says most Chinese investors didn’t spend their paper gains as stocks rose, so they shouldn’t have to curb spending now. Carnegie’s Huang notes that most investors are still ahead: Despite the recent drop, Shanghai stocks are still up more than 80 percent over the past year. And the Chinese stock market is small compared to the overall economy, the world’s second biggest.More damage has been done to the credibility of government policymakers who talked up stocks only to see them crumble. Now they are desperately trying to control the damage — suspending trading in hundreds of stocks, for instance, and barring major shareholders from selling their stakes.“It’s pretty safe to say that Beijing’s appreciation of how hard it is to control equity prices is much greater today than it was a month ago,” says Daniel Rosen, partner at the Rhodium Group consultancy.__Follow Paul Wiseman on Twitter at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Now the Chinese stock bubble has burst and Shanghai shares are in a free fall. They’ve lost about 30 percent since peaking last month. But economists don’t expect the market meltdown to do much damage to the real economy.“We don’t see it as a major macroeconomic issue,” Olivier Blanchard, the International Monetary Fund’s research chief, told reporters Thursday.The IMF expects the Chinese economy to grow 6.8 percent this year, unchanged from the forecast it made in April, before the market meltdown.Prices in the stock market are supposed to reflect business realities: the health of the economy, the quality of the companies listed on stock exchanges, the comparative allure of alternative investments.But in a communist country where the government plays an oversized role in the economy, investors pay more attention to signals coming from policymakers in Beijing than to earnings reports, management shake-ups and new product announcements.During the booming 2000s, only politically connected firms were allowed to list on stock exchanges for the most part. Many of them were run by insiders of dubious managerial talent. The markets were dominated by inefficient state-owned companies. Investors were especially wary of investing in big government banks believed to be sinking under the weight of bad loans. Stocks went nowhere.The Chinese government is now trying to manage an economic transition away from an overreliance on exports and over-investment in things like real estate and factories. The old way left the country with too many vacant houses, idle factories and corporate debt. The government wants to nudge the economy toward slower but steadier growth based on spending by Chinese consumers.Talking up the stock market became part of the plan. As China’s real estate market cooled, Chinese with money to spare could invest in stocks instead. If their portfolios grew, they’d feel wealthier and more willing to spend. Chinese companies could issue shares of stock and use the proceeds to pay down debt.So state media began encouraging Chinese to buy stock, even as the country’s economic outlook dimmed. The economy grew 7.4 percent last year, the slowest pace since 1990. It’s expected to decelerate further this year.But authorities allowed investors to borrow to buy ever-more shares. Unsophisticated investors — more than a third left school at the junior high level — got the message and bought enthusiastically, taking Chinese stocks to dangerous heights. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywallcenter_img Sponsored Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s economic reality. Then there’s the Chinese stock market.The two usually occupy parallel universes.When China’s economy was roaring along at double digit rates in the 2000s, Chinese stocks floundered. But starting in the summer of 2014, as evidence of an economic slowdown gathered, the Shanghai Composite index climbed nearly 150 percent.“The stock market has never been fully aligned with the fundamentals,” says Yukon Huang, senior associate at the Carnegie Asia Program in Washington. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Comments   Share   How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Brisbane really rocks for Visit USA Expo 2010

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: J.A.J Brisbane’s Hilton Hotel was the scene last night of record breaking numbers for the Visit USA Expo 2010, on a night that also broke weather records with more rain falling yesterday than for eight years – a testimony to the resilience and commitment of Brisbane and SE Queensland travel agents to the USA.Mark Sheehan, [pictured] Media Chair of Visit USA told e-Travel Blackboard, “Melbourne was great, but Brisbane rocks”, adding, “We are amazed that especially with such awful weather, we have broken all previous records here in Brisbane and SE Queensland, with agents driving long distances from as far as Bundaberg and Northern NSW to attend and more agents that we ever anticipated attending, we gave up counting at over 300!”He also said, “Visit USA Expo supplier participants have always had a bit of a love affair with Queensland agents, who tonight really demonstrated their commitment to selling the USA, with no shows also at a record lows”.Channel Getaway TV Presenter, Catriona Rowntree [pictured] was the MC for the evening and she endeared herself and her family to the audience by introducing her husband, James and new baby Andrew.With Brissy agents rocking with rapturous applause, the presentations were very liberally sprinkled indeed, with what was arguably the largest prize draw chest seen in recent years, including flights, accommodation, car rental, tours not only for short stays, but up to a couple of weeks and all over the USA.Agents met with local and US based suppliers, including representation companies and major wholesalers with product in the USA, representatives of major airlines, accommodation, attractions, and car and camper rental companies, including e-TravelBlackboard TV partners, Driveaway Holidays, Insight Vacations, Travel 2, Handlery Hotels – San Diego and San Francisco, Visit California, and V Australia.Watch out on e-TravelBlackboard in the next week or so, when you will be able to visit the Visit USA Expos 2010, on line through e-Travel Blackboard TV, without even leaving your desk!last_img read more

Govt backs trade to sell Vanuatu

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A The Vanuatu Government has doubled its financial support to boost Australian tourism to Vanuatu, the country’s Minister of Finance Moana Kalosil Carcasses announced yesterday in Sydney, amid cheers from wholesalers.According to Mr Carcasses, the fact that tourism accounts for up to 45 percent of Vanuatu’s GDP and with Australia at the fore of visitation numbers and expenditure, an increased investment was necessary. “But I will have to justify this investment to the government,” Mr Carcasses joked.“So please sell Vanuatu to Australia.”The Deputy Prime Minister (who is also the country’s Minister of Tourism and Trade) Hon. Ham Lini Vanuaroroa told e-Travel Blackboard that the Vanuatu Government is committed to building the country’s tourism and hence its economy because “every tourist makes a real difference to our people”.“Tourism is important to the Ni-Vanuatu,” Mr Vanuaroroa told e-Travel Blackboard.“Tourism builds the hospital, supports the community and lets Australians meet our very friendly people.”For more information about Vanuatu, visit read more

Luxury travel demands changing report

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Luxury travel is about more than opulent hotels Today’s luxury traveller wants to be entertained and stimulated, rather than simply pampered, according to a report undertaken by consulting specialists Horwath HTL.Commissioned by International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) and published at the recent ILTM Asia conference in Shanghai, the ‘The Future of Luxury Travel’ report looks into the changing pattern of high-end travel experiences, taking into account the effects of the global financial crisis as well as the increase in demand for luxury from the emerging markets.   “The high end of the market is often seen as the barometer for trends that will be picked up in other areas of the industry,” Horwath HTL chairman Robert Hecker said.“The report has been fascinating to produce because of the implications for travel in a post credit crunch environment.” According to the study, ‘independent minded travellers’ seek action and simplicity, ‘explorers’ want off the beaten track experiences, ‘candidates to luxury’ crave efficient and seamless travel, and ‘streetwise purchasers’ seek value for money and a return on personal values.Common to all four profiles is the increasing popularity of emerging destinations, reflecting a growing interest in local culture and authentic experiences.“The ILTM Global Trends report confirms there is a continued recovery in and demand for luxury travel, as shown by increasing lead times and rates,”  ILTM exhibition director Debbie Joslin commented.“The role of the luxury travel buyer and their relationship with suppliers has never been more important as the demand for high-level personalisation continues to grow amongst luxury travellers.”last_img read more

Passengers Vote MSC Yacht Club Suites Number One

first_imgSource = MSC Cruises MSC Cruises’ prestigious onboard sanctuary, MSC Yacht Club, has been voted number one by those who count – the passengers.In the first-ever Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards, the exclusive club with the well-appointed suites and 24-hour butler service, won praise in the “best cabins” listing with a near perfect score of 4.9 out of 5.The private club is a cornerstone of success for MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, each of their clubs boasting 71 luxury suites – all on the foredecks.“We are deeply honoured by this remarkable recognition that comes directly from our guests,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Chief Executive Officer of MSC Cruises. “It is a genuine testament to our MSC Yacht Club concept which makes it possible to combine a club-lounge cruise experience with all of the facilities of a large cruise ship. It is truly the best of both worlds when travelling as a couple or a family.”His views were mirrored by Lynne Clarke, managing director of MSC Cruises (Australia and New Zealand) who said such an award was also achieved through the dedication of the crew as much as the privacy, luxury and design elements of the club. To be acknowledged in such a way by the passengers says a great deal about the overall quality of our product,” she said.MSC Yacht Club suites are “comfortable islands” in which a guest can relax in privacy and feel at home while taking in the views both at sea and in the vibrant ports.“A luxury home indeed, planned and studied with accuracy and great attention to detail and material selection, with pieces of art created on purpose to ornate the walls.”MSC Yacht Club boasts spacious suites which range in category from Deluxe, Executive and Family to Royal Suites. All accommodation was carefully designed with amenities for guests of all ages, including a complimentary mini-bar with soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, a Nintendo Wii console, marble spa bathrooms, Egyptian cotton bed linen, and a Dorelan pillow menu and much more. MSC Yacht Club pampers travellers with a 24-hour butler service to assist guests in every moment of their cruise, with packing and unpacking, priority embarkation and disembarkation, dinner reservations, shopping at a selection of stores on the ship, and more. The 24-hour concierge is also readily available for MSC Yacht Club guests for excursion coordination and ground transfers.Enjoying the luxury of sailing on a unique private club that pampers its members in every way, MSC Yacht Club guests not only enjoy superior suites, they also get their own The One Pool and solarium complex, a Top Sail panoramic private lounge serving gourmet snacks all day, and a dedicated restaurant, where they can taste gourmet cuisine with a menu catering for a personalised dining experience.Guests can enjoy this award-winning experience in 2012 with MSC Yacht Club suites priced from $2499 per person, twin share for a seven-night Mediterranean cruise, conditions apply.last_img read more

Australia delicious for Air Mauritius

first_imgSteven (Air Mauritius), Vicki (Jetset), Donald, Marie-Lise, Ben (Air Mauritius) at this week’s event in Sydney Air Mauritius is confident its Australian services will continue “on the right track” one year after the airline successfully resumed direct services between Port Louis and Sydney.   Speaking at an event honoring the airline’s key operators and business partners, Air Mauritius commercial and communications executive vice president Donald E Payen underlined the carrier’s commitment to a country he described as having an “affinity” with the small island state.    “Most growth for the airline is happening in this part of the world,” Mr Payen remarked, saying he was “delighted” the airline was back in Sydney. “This is the way forward for us.” Following his words, Mr Payen told e-Travel Blackboard the carrier would ideally like to have two services a week to Sydney but demand wasn’t quite there yet. “The confidence is coming back, so Sydney’s picking up.”“But Melbourne is always full because we’ve had more time to build it.” Mr Payen also pushed the airline as a genuine alternative carrier to Europe. “We are listening to the market, but it will be a lot of hard work.”Echoing Mr Payen’s remarks was Air Mauritius Australia manager Steven Palombo who said despite the “daily challenges” the airline had faced in a “changing landscape”, the future looked bright for the carrier in Australia.  With its worldwide operations recently affected by ash clouds and snow clouds, Mr Payen confirmed the airline had still managed “to keep its head above water”.“We saw 7 per cent growth in air capacity.”“We’ve grown South Africa, we’ve grown Kenya, we’ve grown Australia and this year we moved into Shanghai,” Mr Payen said, adding that the airline was “immediately getting the numbers” out of China. “We are very enthused about the response we’re getting [in China].” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

SCC Wins Three Coveted Security Awards

first_imgSource = Singapore Cruise Centre  Silver organisational award for threat screening system Staff clinch two individual awards Awards affirm SCC’s strong track record in maritime security Singapore Cruise Centre Pte Ltd (SCC)’s strong track record in maritime safety and security has been given a thumbs-up by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).At MHA’S latest security and counter-terrorism forum, SCC won the Silver TOPSIS (Threat Oriented Passenger Screening Integrated System) Organisational Award by the ministry’s Homefront Security Division.Two SCC staff responsible for overseeing the implementation of TOPSIS, Mr Panirsilvam S/O Murugaiyah Appavoo and Mr Sumardi Bin Hussein, also received Individual Awards for their efforts in driving and facilitating TOPSIS operations at SCC’s ferry and cruise terminals.Ms Christina Siaw, SCC’s CEO, said: “We are pleased to be recognised yet again for our efforts in maritime security and safety. The TOPSIS awards underscore our unwavering commitment to protect users of our terminals, including cruise and ferry passengers and vessels, from any hostile intent that threatens their safety.“The awards also affirm our belief that the success of TOPSIS depends largely on the people operating the system. As such, they are a tribute to the hard work and dedication of SCC staff and their sustained efforts in keeping the ports safe for all users.”SCC has a long-established record for maritime safety. It is among the first in Asia to achieve the International Ship & Port Facility Security (ISPS Code) Implementation. In two decades of operating cruise and ferry terminals, it has a zero fatal accident record.MHA’s recognition of SCC’s ongoing commitment to TOPSIS is also reflective of SCC’s deep domain knowledge on marine security and its close working relationships with all authorities to protect the marine passenger terminals.SCC participates actively in the TOPSIS programme by involving its frontline staff, including cleaners, porters, ferry operators. These employees are taught to be alert to suspicious indicators as the eyes and the ears on the ground for SCC and the Singapore Police Force.TOPSIS was first conceptualised in 2007 by MHA as part of a counter-terrorism measure at border checkpoints. It was the first security system put in place specifically targeted at detecting hostile intent – i.e. finding the bomber, instead of just the bomb.It involves both the security and non-security communities so that there are many more eyes and ears on the ground watching and listening for suspicious indicators, thus enabling multiple layers of scrutiny across the various nodes.last_img read more

Etihad Airways perfect flight takes off

first_imgAs part of its ongoing commitment to minimise the environmental impact of its operations, Etihad Airways recently launched an Abu Dhabi Perfect Flight Program by conducting a fuel-optimised ‘Perfect Flight’ between Abu Dhabi and Washington, DC.The airline worked closely with more than 30 stakeholders including civil aviation authorities, airports, ground service providers and air navigation providers, along the entire flight of over 11,000 kilometres, which took 13 hours and 32 minutes – one of Etihad Airways’ longest routes.The UAE-based partners include Abu Dhabi Airport, Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT), General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Global Aerospace Logistics – ANS. International partners were Boeing, Eurocontrol, the US Federation Aviation Authority (FAA), Finavia, Irish Aviation Authority, Isavia, Jeppesen, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, NATS and NAV CANADA.This flight, the first of a series of perfect flights, was operated by Etihad Airways’ eco-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner and used a host of fuel and emission-saving measures in the air and on the ground. These include optimised ground handling at both ends of the journey and maximising efficiency opportunities in route and altitude selection.As a result, the airline saved an estimated eight minutes on the route, 4,100 litres of fuel and 10,700 kilograms of carbon emissions, compared to the same aircraft flying a normal flight plan.Other environmental best practices include reducing the use of the onboard auxiliary power unit (APU), minimising on-ground delays, utilising expedient taxi and preferential runways and conducting unimpeded climb and descent paths. Real-time updates of current weather and wind conditions also allowed the flight crew to optimise their flight path.HE Mohamed Hareb Al Yousef, DoT’s Executive Director – Aviation, said: “Reducing aviation emissions is a win-win for everyone. Etihad Airways’ Perfect Flight program is a prime example of how airlines, governments, manufacturers, technology providers and airports can work together to achieve that common goal.“Such initiatives are in line with UAE’s vision for sustainable aviation of reducing the industry’s carbon footprint, capitalising on existing technologies and developing shared performance metrics.” James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are always seeking opportunities to optimise our flights wherever we can, and working in collaboration is the only means to ensure effective, meaningful improvements.“We are very pleased to combine our efforts with several industry partners, to improve the efficiency and sustainability of aviation through the implementation of modern aircraft technology and smarter flight procedures, intended to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.”HE Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of the GCAA, said: “The General Civil Aviation Authority is proud to support the Abu Dhabi Perfect Flight program. The Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Centre provided necessary technical assistance to ensure the success of last week’s perfect flight. The significance of the environment to the aviation sector continues to grow, and there is every indication that this will continue. The Abu Dhabi Perfect Flight program offers a tremendous opportunity for more environmentally-friendly flights in the UAE aviation sector.”Eng. Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “We are delighted to be a part of this great initiative that plays an important role in reducing the aviation industry’s carbon footprint through the development of new operational procedures benefiting from the technologically competitive services and facilities we own. We believe it is very important to collaborate and align interests to achieve the goals of UAE’s green economy ambition.” Source = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more

Two world debuts for Emirates Airline at ITB Berlin 2016

first_imgTwo world debuts for Emirates Airline at ITB Berlin 2016Emirates returned to world’s leading travel trade show yesterday with not just one, but two world premières: its spectacular new show-stopping stand plus a new Boeing 777 Business Class seat.The futuristic triple-deck Emirates Infinite Possibilities Stand is being showcased at ITB in Hall 22a, its unique design reflecting the endless possibilities travellers have with Emirates and providing visitors with an opportunity to see some of Emirates‘ iconic onboard features.“With more than 10,000 exhibitors from 180 countries, the world literally meets at ITB Berlin,’’ said Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline – “for Emirates as a global connector of people and places, this trade fair is the ideal platform to demonstrate our product and services – with our new Infinite Possibilities Stand we virtually inspire travels around the world. Our teams hosting on our stand can also share ideas with new and existing trade partners, customers and industry stakeholders.’’As well as the new stand itself, visitors can experience another Emirates first: a new Business Class seat which will be installed in all Emirates’ new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft delivered from November 2016 onwards. The newly enhanced seat has been designed with total customer comfort in mind: an ergonomically designed headrest, a pitch of 72 inches and the latest touchscreen controller allowing the seat to be electrically converted into a fully flat sleeping position at 180 degrees. The improved layout also comprises one of the industry’s largest personal TV screens at 23 inches allowing customers to enjoy Emirates‘ award-winning ice inflight entertainment and additional amenities like a conveniently located mini-bar.One of the tallest exhibitor stands at this year’s ITB Berlin, the Inifinite Possibilities Stand will also display Emirates’ signature First Class Private Suite, generous Economy Class seats and the two of the onboard products found on the flagship Emirates A380 – the First Class Shower Spa unit, equipped with a working shower and the iconic Emirates A380 Onboard Lounge. The perfect meeting place for First Class and Business Class passengers in the skies also welcomes ITB visitors and invites them to take selfies and share their visit on social media.Throughout the last two decades, Emirates has continuously reinforced its commitment to the ITB Berlin trade fair, as well as the German market. Emirates offers ten daily connections from four gateway cities to Dubai, three of which are serviced by an Emirates A380 – Munich, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. Emirates also offers ideal flight connections for travellers around the world to the Maldives, this year’s Official Partner Country of ITB Berlin, via its Dubai hub. Fly Emirates AirlineSource = Emirates Airlinelast_img read more

MTA team immerse themselves in Spirit of Nanuku

first_imgMTA team immerse themselves in ‘Spirit of Nanuku’MTA team immerse themselves in ‘Spirit of Nanuku’Pictured, MTA – Mobile Travel Agents co-managing directors Roy and Karen Merricks and the MTA team paying a visit to Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji this week where they were made welcome in the true ‘Spirit of Nanuku’ with a traditional Fijian warriors greeting.Non-grass skirt wearing MTA team members are (from left to right) Robina head office staff Nik and Mel Donovan, MTA Members James and Nicola Irving and Karen and Roy Merricks.The Merricks are very strong supporters of Fiji, last May personally delivering 250 kilos of clothing, toys and school materials donated by the Merricks and MTA Members to the children of Naqalimare District School in Sigatoka following the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Winston. MTA – Mobile Travel Agentsdiscover more here [/su_gmap]Source = Mike Parker-Brown, MTA – Mobile Travel Agents PRlast_img read more

helloworld welcomes record number of Frontliners

first_imgSource = helloworld Rick Hamilton (TEQ) Andrew Burnes (helloworld) Performer, Ross Gregory (TEQ) David Padman (helloworld) Julie Primmer (helloworld) Steve Jacobs (MC)helloworld welcomes record number of FrontlinersHelloworld welcomed over 540 delegates to its Frontliners Forum in Brisbane this weekend for an action-packed few days of inspirational and entertaining events. A record number of frontline consultants as well as a record number of preferred supplier partners made for a terrifically successful weekend of events.Delegates were entertained and informed in equal measure throughout the two days, with CEO and Managing Director, Andrew Burnes kicking off proceedings by unveiling a number of new helloworld initiatives that will hit the market in the next three months.“For helloworld right now, it is a time of evolution and development. We are working very hard on initiatives that will bring positive results for all the helloworld family. The priorities of all the staff, from the frontline travel consultants to the senior team and the CEO are completely aligned.” Mr Burnes said.Olympic Gold Medalist Steven Bradbury had the crowd on its feet with his story of how it took him 12 years to become an ‘overnight success’ and entertainer Ahn Do had the audience in both laughter and tears as he inspired everyone by sharing his unique history.Paul Fraser, Head of the Qantas Integrated Operation Centre joked that as a ‘behind the scenes’ guy he ‘wasn’t let out much’ – but after his highly entertaining and informative presentation on the operational side of Qantas, all the delegates were certainly glad he was ‘let out’ to talk to us. He shared with us how he and his team at the Integrated Operations Centre (“the other IOC”) work hard to give the customer the very best experience.Crowd favorite Stevie Jacobs entertained as the effervescent MC of proceedings, overseeing the daytime activities as well as the social functions including welcome drinks at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art and dinner at Riverlife on the water. The conference culminated at a spectacular Gala Dinner and Awards night at Brisbane City Hall recognising the helloworld top achievers from across the Branded and Associate networks.Head of Associate, Corporate and Affiliate Networks, David Padman, said the excitement shown throughout the Forum was exceptional. “From our seasoned professionals to our consultants who are new to the industry, the feedback we’ve received from all the delegates has been fantastic. This is our opportunity to encourage professional development for excellence for all the frontline networks. The forum workshops, keynote presentations and panel discussions were specifically designed to cater to all levels of experience and the delegates will be able to take what they have learned and apply it to achieve great results.” David said.Major helloworld Frontliners Forum sponsors include Qantas, Qantas Holidays, APT, Travelmarvel, Territory Discoveries, Viva Holidays, Ready Rooms, Insider Journeys, The Cruise Team, Sunlover Holidays, The Travel Corporation, Rail Tickets and World’s Leading Cruise Lines.About Helloworld Limited Helloworld Limited (ASX: HLO) is a leading Australian based travel distribution company, comprising retail travel businesses, destination management services (inbound) air ticket consolidation, wholesale, corporate and online operations. This includes “helloworld”, Australia’s largest network of franchised travel agents, as well as our Corporate, Associate and Affiliate networks, Qantas Holidays, Go Holidays in New Zealand, AOT Inbound, ATS Pacific, QBT, Sunlover Holidays and Insider Journeys“helloworld” is a nationwide network of independently owned and operated retail travel agencies offering Australia and New Zealand outstanding service, and the best value, tailor-made leisure and corporate travel experiencesHLO has over 2000 staff located in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the USA, South East Asia, India and UK/EuropeHelloworld is the proud major sponsor of Volleyball Australia and the helloworld Volleyroos men’s and women’s national teams and also the helloworld Boomers, the Australian Men’s Basketball team.Helloworld is the Official Travel Partner and a Gold Sponsor of Carlton Football Club.last_img read more