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Canadians among 60000 travellers stranded in Indonesia after volcano eruption

first_imgTags: Indonesia, Travel Alert Monday, November 27, 2017 BALI — Some Canadians are trapped in Bali after Indonesian authorities ordered 100,000 people to flee from an erupting volcano that has prompted the closure of the international airport.Among them is Chantal Desjardins, a Montreal-based media personality and standup comic who was due to fly out Tuesday.Desjardins tells The Canadian Press that local reports suggest the biggest eruption is yet to come, so the situation is “getting a little bit real now.”She’s at a hotel about 70 kilometres away, so there’s no word on evacuating her area for now.Desjardins says according to her airline, the earliest she’ll be able to leave is Dec. 5.Mount Agung has been hurling clouds of white and dark grey ash about 3,000 metres into the atmosphere since the weekend and lava is welling up in the crater, sometimes reflected as a reddish-yellow glow in the ash plumes.What travellers need to knowWHAT HAPPENED?Ash from the volcano reached the Bali airport’s airspace, triggering its closure early Monday. More than 400 flights to and from Bali’s airport were cancelled and nearly 60,000 travellers have been stranded. Travel disruptions will ripple around the globe as the island is one of Asia’s top destinations, attracting 5 million visitors a year. December through the first week of January is one of the island’s busy periods. The airport’s initial closure is for 24 hours until early Tuesday but there could be prolonged or repeated disruptions because the volcano may spew ash for weeks or have even bigger eruptions.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsTRAPPED IN PARADISE?Travellers can still leave Bali, though probably at significant cost, by taking a ferry from Gilimanuk port to Banyuwangi on Java island to the west and then travelling by car, train or plane to the Indonesian capital Jakarta for international connections. Another possible route is a ferry to the neighbouring island of Lombok and then a flight to Java though ash temporarily closed Lombok’s airport on Sunday and there could be further closures. The government says it has provided 100 buses to transport people from the international airport to ferry ports. Alternatively, visitors could wait to see if the airport reopens though there’s likely to be long waiting lists for flights when it does. Indonesia’s tourism ministry said member hotels of the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association will provide a night’s free accommodation to guests affected by the airport closure.HEADING TO BALISome governments are advising citizens to defer travel to the island. Malaysia’s foreign ministry said all but non-urgent travel should be delayed while Australia, a big source of tourists for Bali, said people should be aware that ash clouds could also close other airports in Indonesia depending on weather conditions. A spokesman for major Japanese travel bureau JTB Corp. said all tours set to depart Monday from Japan were cancelled because of the airport closure. Yoshimi Tajima said some people can’t change their travel dates and are switching to other destinations while others are changing the dates. “What will happen from tomorrow is still unclear,” she said.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongLOCAL CONDITIONSThe popular tourist areas of Kuta and Seminyak and the airport are about 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the volcano and largely safe even with a major eruption though masks and goggles could prove necessary if there’s significant ash fall. Authorities have ordered 100,000 people to leave a danger zone that extends 10 kilometres (6 miles) from the crater in places and tourists shouldn’t enter it. The area, which includes a much-visited Hindu temple on the slopes of the volcano, will be prone to deadly mudflows and lava. The risk of mudflows, which combine water and volcanic debris, is high because it’s the wet season in Bali. Authorities have warned people to stay away from rivers. Canadians among 60,000 travellers stranded in Indonesia after volcano eruption The Canadian Press center_img Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Ko Olina Golf Club debuts Mickey Mouseshaped bunker

first_imgKo Olina Golf Club debuts Mickey Mouse-shaped bunker OAHU — The magic of Disney has found its way to Ko Olina Golf Club on Oahu, and golfers and Disney enthusiasts couldn’t be more thrilled.The club has completed a three-month renovation of its greenside and select fairway bunkers, which included the addition of new silica sand and state-of-the-art drainage systems known as the Billy Bunker method.The highlight of the project, however, was the dedication and grand opening of a new Mickey Mouse-inspired bunker on the 10th hole, which fronts Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa at Ko Olina. To commemorate the grand opening, festivities include an appearance by Mickey himself, as well as LPGA superstar and Hawaii native Michelle Wie.“The Mickey bunker is all about having fun playing golf and we hope this new addition will help create memorable experiences for our guests for many years to come,” said Greg Nichols, PGA, Ko Olina Golf Club’s general manager and director of gold. “It was an honour having Michelle join Mickey to celebrate the opening. This refurbishment is just one of several projects in progress that ensures Ko Olina Golf Club remains top of mind as the premier golf destination in the state of Hawaii.” Share Travelweek Group Tuesday, January 23, 2018 center_img Posted by Tags: Disney, Hawaii << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Brand USA launches new movie in Toronto says Canada is critical and

first_img Travelweek Group TORONTO — When deciding on the concept for Brand USA’s second feature film, music seemed like an obvious choice.“Music is one of those things that emotionally connects with people, it stays with them and inspires them to travel,” Anne Madison, Brand USA’s Chief Strategy and Communications Officer tells Travelweek. “When people are on a trip, they remember the music that occurred and when they go home and hear that music again, it causes them to re-experience their great travels and also share them with other people.”Out in theatres now, ‘America’s Musical Journey’ is Brand USA’s second 3D IMAX film, following the hugely successful ‘National Parks Adventure’ documentary in 2016. That film has now been viewed by six million people, with 81% saying they would now consider a trip to the U.S., and of those 61% said they would consider the U.S. over another destination. An impressive 20% of total viewers said they will travel to the U.S. as a result of watching the movie, which Madison says is “pretty amazing for a single marketing initiative.”Madison is hoping for similar results with ‘America’s Musical Journey’, which traces the roots of American music by highlighting some of the country’s great musical cities like Los Angeles, New York, Memphis, New Orleans, Chicago, Miami and Nashville. Narrated by Morgan Freeman and starring Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Aloe Blacc, the film will roll out internationally in over 14 markets with the goal of increasing visitation to the U.S.“We want people to dream about a destination, then we want them to book, then we want them to travel, and then we want them to share their experience while travelling,” says Madison. “Music is a vehicle that provides inspiration throughout that entire cycle.”The film was officially launched yesterday in Toronto as part of Canadian Music Week, which for the first time in its 36-year history is spotlighting the United States. The event also welcomed local tourist board representatives, including North Carolina, Myrtle Beach, Portland, Austin, Georgia, and Chicago, who shared the latest updates from their respective destinations.Madison, who describes America’s music as being inspired by the world, says Canada was a fitting locale to showcase the movie. “It’s natural for Canadians and Americans to think of each other’s talent as being their own. There are blurred lines there, which is nice, and it makes it a natural fit for why we’re here at Canadian Music Week,” she adds.Canada, which is a “critical and growing” market for the U.S., was one of the first international markets Brand USA focused its marketing efforts in, with major campaigns launched in 2012. Its efforts have certainly paid off, with 19.3 million Canadians visiting last year, which account for 25% of all international visitor arrivals.(Myrtle Beach): Kimberly Hartley, Canadian/International Sales Manager, Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (left), and Julie Ellis, Public Relations & Communications Manager, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber Of Commerce“The visitation that we’ve driven out of Canada has been incremental,” says Madison. “In fact, the National Travel & Tourism Office’s current forecast is a 22% increase in visitation from Canada through 2022. That’s up from the forecast from a year before, which was only looking at a 9% increase through 2021.”More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Why this boost in Canadian numbers? In addition to Brand USA’s focused marketing efforts, Madison attributes the uptick to the “strong affinity” between Canada and the U.S.“I think it’s the proximity of our countries, I think it’s the shared language, and I also think it’s the diversity of our destinations,” she says. “There’s a commonality between our two countries and yet there’s still that surprise factor. Canadians and Americans like the familiar, but we like to be surprised at the same time.”(Chicago): Melanie Perez, Director, Media Relations Americas, Choose ChicagoThe Challenge of PromotionWhen asked what are the main challenges Brand USA is seeing today in promoting the destination, Madison notes the increasing tourism budgets of other countries.“People are seeing the value in marketing their destinations. So we’re finding better resourced competition from places like France, Mexico, Australia and lately New Zealand,” she says.To meet this competition head on, Brand USA created more direct channels to the consumer, including GoUSA TV, which had its soft launch in November 2017 and is currently available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku. As a connected TVP app similar to Hulu and Netflix, GoUSA TV now has over two million views and features on-demand video content about travel experiences in the USA. Tags: Brand USA Posted by What About Those Budget Cuts?Initial speculation of proposed budget cuts that would essentially eliminate BRAND USA was first reported in May 2017. According to industry reports, President Trump’s controversial budget proposal would shift revenue over to Customs and Border Protection, with travel and tourism falling by the wayside. So whatever happened to these proposed cuts?Madison says there was no slash to the budget, and none in the foreseeable future. “We’re really confident in our budget and our ability to continue to market the USA because we continue to have strong support on both sides of the aisle. While we can’t engage in any kind of advocacy or lobbying efforts, this is information that’s being shared with us.”More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesMadison also notes that while the President’s budget is a statement of priorities, the “purse strings” and decisions are made by Congress.“We’re not concerned about it. There’ve been a number of federal agencies that have also supported and included us in their budgets,” she says.(North Carolina): Stephanie Freed-Burns, Account Manager, Visit North Carolina Canada Office (left), and Heidi Walters, Director, Partner and Industry Relations, Visit North CarolinaThe Travel Agent Connection“This is really critical for us,” says Madison. “Part of our strategy was to expand our efforts with the travel trade, from the tour operator and travel agency standpoint.”Last month, Brand USA launched a new travel trade website (, which features everything from the Brand USA Trip Kit and an expanded corporate calendar, to an overview of U.S. travel policies and a comprehensive directory of receptive tour operators.“This website was a way to create almost white-label opportunities for the travel trade to promote unexpected destinations across the United States,” adds Madison. “We started out with about 20-24 different itineraries to, through and beyond the main gateways, which is particularly important for a market like Canada.”Featured itineraries take travellers to places where “the population is less than 1,000”, like Loudoun County, Virginia. “With Loudoun County, which is so close to Washington, D.C., people are going to find great farmland, great vineyards, great wine and great locals. It’s places like this, tiny villages and towns, where Canadians can really find that local experience.”Brand USA By The NumbersBrand USA is the destination marketing organization for the United States, with a mission to increase international visitation, spend and market share. The campaigns and marketing initiatives it has launched over the past four years, together with its many partners, have helped welcome 4.3 million incremental visitors to the U.S., and US$13.6 billion in incremental spend. This translates into $29.5 billion in total economic impact (an average of $27 for each $1 spent on marketing).“People around the world are realizing how important Travel & Tourism is, simply from an economic impact,” says Madison.And what’s next?Brand USA is currently in the concept stage of its third feature film, scheduled for release in February 2020. According to Madison, it will “have the essence of Culture and Innovation” in the United States.“The first film was about celebrating our national parks, while this new one is all about music. I can’t give out too much detail about the third, but I can say it will be about Culture and Innovation.”Valerie Bradley, Vice President of Marketing, Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau (left), and Lisa Love, Division Director Tourism, Georgia Department of Economic Development Thursday, May 10, 2018 Share Brand USA launches new movie in Toronto, says Canada is “critical and growing” market << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Air France marks 85 years with 85 euro seat sale

first_img Travelweek Group Share Friday, October 5, 2018 Posted by ROISSY — Air France is celebrating its 85th anniversary with a seat sale, with fares priced at 85 euros for more than 85 destinations in France and Europe served by Air France and its regional carrier.The inauguration of Air France took place 85 years ago at Le Bourget, the main airport in France at the time, on Oct. 7, 1933.Now on Oct. 7, 2018, Air France will mark the 85th anniversary of its creation by launching several months of festivities, focusing on “innovation in all its forms within a company which is resolutely looking to the future”, says the airline.The seat sale runs Oct. 5 – 8 to French and European destinations with fares at 85 euros including tax roundtrip with Air France and Hop!, the airline’s regional carrier.Throughout this weekend there will also be ‘vintage’ themed flights and entertainment in the boarding lounge and in Air France lounges, with cabin crew in retro uniforms, exhibitions of historical photos and special touches such as the distribution of postcards and sweets.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureThe return flights AF022 and AF023 on Oct. 5 and Oct. 7 between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and New York-JFK will launch the festivities.On Oct. 8, on the medium-haul network, customers travelling on flights AF1062/AF1063 between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Stockholm and on flights AF6104/AF6115 between Paris-Orly and Toulouse will also be treated to these vintage events.center_img Air France marks 85 years with 85 euro seat sale Tags: Air France, Sales << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more


Human development improves in Costa Rica

first_img 62 CHDI 2011 0,760 53 Palmares 0,659 0,596 68 Moravia 12 0,822 3 Montes de Oca 0,930 Belén Zarcero 0,924 0,755 Flores 0,823 19 0,768 0,789 0,813 0,726 Valverde Vega 0,758 0,779 Siquirres 70 0,655 0,695 Alajuela Aguirre 0,792 0,805 20 0,863 Garabito Guatuso Puntarenas 13 0,750 0,830 Buenos Aires 79 0,852 65 Talamanca Puriscal 16 30 31 Barva Golfito Jiménez San Ramón 29 22 49 69 0,853 0,829 23 0,654 47 66 Grecia Position Heredia Canton 0,738 72 Matina 44 0,885 0,755 73 Pérez Zeledón 41 Escazú Cartago 0,812 Parrita 0,919 35 63 38 0,762 Dota San José La Unión 24 0,776 64 15 0,859 Nandayure Bagaces 55 0,671 0,778 Abangares 10 Desamparados Alvarado 0,790 0,961 San Isidro 0,674 0,879 60 0,749 37 San Carlos Orotina The canton of Alajuelita, south San José, has the lowest human development figures in the country, while the best canton to live in is Santo Domingo, Heredia, north of the capital, according to a study by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the School of Statistics at the University of Costa Rica (UCR).The results of the “Cantonal Human Development Index” presented Monday showed a general improvement in the country’s figures from previous research done in 2009. It takes into account the levels of education, quality of life and life expectations. Read the Cantonal Human Development Index here (Spanish only).The cantons of Belén, Heredia, and Montes de Oca, San José, placed second and third in the country, while the Caribbean cantons of Matina and Talamanca, in Limón, joined Alajuelita at the bottom of the list.Yoriko Yasukawa, a UNDP expert, said that many cantons showed improvement, but their rankings in the index remained unchanged, due to a general increase in country figures.Cantons outside the greater metropolitan area reported high human development for the first time in the country’s history. These include Nandayure (ranked No. 10) and Hojancha (No. 14), in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.Since the 2009 study, Alajuelita has remained at the bottom of the list, despite being located next to the wealthy cantons of Escazú, which ranked fourth, and Santa Ana, ranked seventh.UCR researcher Edgar Gutiérrez said that Alajuelita has a primary school enrollment of only 48 percent and just 32 percent in high school.“We should go to the cantons that ranked well and to those that went up in the table to see what the secret is and copy it,” Gutiérrez said. 0,611 0,784 Acosta Turrubares 0,781 40 Pococí 51 Esparzacenter_img León Cortes Los Chiles Corredores 8 14 0,729 Montes de Oro 77 Liberia 39 Atenas 45 0,738 0,762 0,737 43 Santa Ana Naranjo San Pablo 26 57 0,696 0,786 Carrillo Cañas 32 50 76 0,839 74 25 0,801 0,800 52 0,939 17 75 0,915 54 28 0,719 Sarapiquí 27 Tibás 56 0,779 Upala Coto Brus 18 0,913 58 Coronado Tilarán 59 Osa 0,847 2 0,756 0,671 Poás Tarrazú 11 71 0,807 0,677 Curridabat 0,903 Santo Domingo 1 21 0,721 78 Paraíso 7 0,731 Oreamuno 9 67 5 Goicoechea 0,796 0,613 Turrialba 46 0,807 0,785 Santa Cruz San Rafael 0,696 Guácimo Value 61 0,721 42 48 0,844 Limón Aserrí 34 80 0,814 33 0,716 6 La Cruz 0,844 0,738 0,814 0,777 Hojancha 0,779 4 0,762 0,713 Mora San Mateo El Guarco Santa Bárbara 81 Nicoya Alajuelita 36 Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Landmark Arms Trade Treaty spearheaded by Costa Ricas exPresident Óscar Arias goes

first_imgRelated posts:Solís sidesteps Nicaragua border dispute in UN address Costa Rica submits to money laundering probe by Latin America task force Lula’s bridge to nowhere hints at global reach of Brazil graft Cúcuta: Colombia’s city of contraband and a broken Bolivarian dream The United NationsArms Trade Treaty goes into effect this Thursday, on Christmas Eve. The treaty covers tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, as well as the vast trade in small arms. The landmark ATT, which will be the first international agreement to regulate the world’s $85 billion arms trade, has its roots in the civil wars that scarred Central America in the 1980s.Witness to the destructive impact that an influx of weapons had on the conflicts that raged in the isthmus, Óscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica (1986-1990 and 2006-2010) would go on to play a key role in building an international coalition to support an International Code of Conduct for arms sales that eventually became the ATT. The Tico Times sat down with the former president at his San José home to speak about the genesis of the treaty and its journey to ratification and implementation.When Arias assumed the presidency in 1986, he said that he wanted to try to insulate Costa Rica from the conflicts raging across Central America, especially the Sandinista revolution and Contra War to follow in neighboring Nicaragua.“It was a proxy war where the superpowers [the United States and the Soviet Union] supplied the weapons, and we Central Americans the blood,” Arias told The Tico Times.In the case of the United States, some of the weapons entering the region were legal arms sales, but in scandals like the Iran-Contra Affair, the Reagan administration illegally funneled weapons to Contra rebels in Nicaragua.“After those conflicts ended, the weapons stayed behind. Warriors became gangsters. There were entire generations lost in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, which are among the most violent places in the world today,” he said. “Seeing this violence spread [after the wars ended], I became increasingly concerned about the unchecked flow of weapons,” Arias said.After his first term as president, Arias, who would win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts in negotiating an end to the region’s wars, started the Arias Foundation for Peace and Progress. The foundation began drafting a code of conduct for international arms sales. When the idea was discussed during a meeting of several Nobel laureates in New York in 1997, consensus grew for the need to curb the flow of weapons into conflict zones around the world. Other nongovernmental organizations signed on to support the plan, and when Arias assumed his second term as president, Costa Rica submitted the treaty to the United Nations in 2006.“I never imaged that seven years later it would be approved,” he said.The ATT prohibits the legal sale of weapons to conflict zones. So far, 154 countries have voted to adopt the ATT and 60 have ratified it, including Costa Rica in 2013. The United States is a signatory to the agreement but has not ratified it.“There will be greater control over the buying and selling of weapons [in Central America]. There won’t be an open market like today,” Arias said.The Nobel laureate said that while Latin America would also see benefits from the ATT, the lack of active military conflicts in the region outside Colombia would limit its immediate impact here. Countries in Asia and Africa, Arias said, would be the greatest beneficiaries from the curbs on legal arms sales.Latin America has been largely spared the kinds of conflicts that sparked Arias’ initial concern in the arms trade. Instead, Arias said that he was more concerned about the growing number of countries in the region arming themselves despite what he said were more pressing issues for their people.“One of the things that most offends me in Latin America is the buying of weapons. Venezuela buys weapons when there is no need, and their country is in an economic crisis that’s the worst in Latin America,” he said. Arias had similarly harsh words for Brazil’s decision to purchase more than $4 billion in military hardware — by far the greatest in Latin America, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks arms sales — despite a stagnant economy and the world’s worst inequality.Peace pays dividends, Arias said. “Costa Rica can show the rest of the world what is possible. Instead of buying a tank, you could build a hospital; instead of buying a fighter jet you could lay 50 kilometers of highways. It’s obvious.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Photos video and more of Turrialba Volcano eruption and aftermath

first_imgRelated posts:UPDATE: Costa Rica’s Turrialba Volcano erupts, forcing capital airport to temporarily close Increased phreatic activity reported at Costa Rica’s Rincón de la Vieja Volcano Turrialba Volcano erupts again, raining ash over San José Turrialba Volcano again spews ash and vapor The main international airport isclosed until Friday morning, ash blankets San José, and Costa Ricans are wondering if Volcán Turrialba has more in store for us in the near future. In the meantime, here’s a collection of photos, videos, tweets and Facebook posts of Thursday’s eruptions. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Suspicions grow that Chilean poet Pablo Neruda was murdered by Pinochet regime

first_imgSANTIAGO, Chile — Experts will perform new tests on Chilean poet Pablo Neruda‘s remains to analyze a mysterious bacteria that has heightened his family’s suspicions he was poisoned by dictator Augusto Pinochet’s regime, officials said Friday. An international team of 13 experts will attempt to determine the origin of a massive Staphylococcus aureus infection in the Nobel laureate’s remains, which was identified in May by forensic scientists at the Universidad de Murcia in Spain.Doubts have surrounded the cause of Neruda‘s 1973 death since his former driver claimed the poet was given a mysterious injection in his chest at the Santiago clinic where he was being treated for prostate cancer.Neruda, who had been planning to leave for Mexico to lead the opposition to Pinochet’s regime, died hours after the injection. He was 69.The cause of death was given as advanced prostate cancer, but in 2013 officials exhumed his body after a request from the Chilean Communist Party, of which Neruda was a member.Chile’s forensic medicine service ruled that “no relevant chemical agents” could be linked to his death.But the Spanish study has rekindled his family’s suspicions.Chilean officials said a group of Chilean, Spanish, American, Canadian and Danish experts would now analyze the bacteria’s DNA.“The main objective of the investigation is to determine whether he died of natural causes or because of outside intervention,” said Rodrigo Lledo, head of the Chilean interior ministry’s human rights program.He told a press conference that the strain of bacteria found in Neruda‘s remains does not occur naturally and may have been “grown in a laboratory.”Neruda, who won the 1971 Nobel Prize in literature, died on September 23, 1973, 12 days after Pinochet ousted socialist president Salvador Allende in a coup, installing a brutal regime that killed some 3,200 opponents over 17 years.Recommended: What Augusto Pinochet’s 1998 arrest has meant for global human rights Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Pinochet carried out targeted assassination in Washington Sentencing in Chile begins to bring closure in 41-year-old murder cases of US citizens Frank Teruggi and Charles Horman US cable says Pinochet told of army involvement in teens’ burning Chile court orders Pablo Neruda’s remains returned to his tomblast_img read more

Guatemala convicts 2 exsoldiers for sex slavery murder in landmark case

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY – A Guatemalan court has sentenced two former soldiers to 120 and 240 years of prison for subjecting at least 15 indigenous women to sexual slavery and other crimes during the country’s civil war.The accused are guilty of “crimes against humanity, murder and forced disappearance,” Judge Yassmin Barrios ruled at a hearing at a Guatemala City court on Friday.Following a trial which lasted nearly a month, the judge handed a 120-year sentence to retired Col. Esteelmer Reyes, 59, for crimes against humanity in relation to enslavement between 1982 and 1983 and the murder of a woman and her two daughters.He was handed 30 years for the slavery charge and 90 years for the murder.At the time, Reyes headed a military outpost at Sepur Zarco in northeastern Guatemala.During the trial, prosecutors accused Reyes of “authorizing and consenting to soldiers under his command exercising sexual violence and inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment against Maya-Q’eqchi’ women.”See our related story: Landmark sexual slavery case in Guatemala examines use of rape as weapon of warCo-accused Heriberto Valdéz, 74, was handed 30 years of prison on slavery charges and another 210 years for the forced disappearance of seven people.During the trial, which has been described by activists as “historic,” indigenous women with their faces covered told the court of what they had suffered as sexual slaves. Covering their faces to hide their identities, Guatemalan victims of sexual abuse celebrate after a judge declared two former military men guilty of keeping 11 indigenous women as sex slaves during the country’s brutal civil war, in a courtroom in Guatemala City, on Feb. 26, 2016. Johan Ordóñez/AFPAs the decision was read out, more than 500 activists who had attended the trial broke into applause, singing and shouting slogans against the soldiers.“It is very important to highlight the role of the victims because not only do they have to go before a court, but must confront stigma, ridicule and abuse,” 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner and indigenous leader Rigoberta Menchú told AFP.Ada Valenzuela, president of the National Union of Guatemalan Women, said the decision brought an end to a “historic trial which has vindicated the lives of women who have waited for more than 30 years for the legal process to arrive at the truth.”Reyes’ lawyer said the defendants would appeal the ruling. Former army officer Esteelmer Francisco Reyes Girón in a Guatemala City courtroom after hearing his sentencing on Feb. 26, 2016. Johan Ordóñez/AFPGuatemala’s 36-year civil war left more than 200,000 people dead or missing, according to the United Nations, which place most of the responsibility for wartime atrocities and excesses on the government forces.Those who suffered most from the human rights violations committed during the war were the indigenous peoples, who make up more than 40 percent of Guatemala’s population of 16 million. Facebook Comments Related posts:Two ex-soldiers tried in Guatemala for sex slavery, murder For justice in Guatemala, ‘2 steps forward, 1 step back’ Clash over development plans leaves 8 dead in Guatemala Landmark sexual slavery case in Guatemala examines use of rape as weapon of warlast_img read more


Sudan blames Israel for military factory explosion

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The powerful blast at the complex sent exploding ammunition flying through the air, causing panic among residents.Abdelgadir Mohammed, 31, who lives near the factory, said a loud roar of what they believed was a plane got him and his brother out of their house around midnight to check it out.“At first we thought it was more than one plane. Then we thought it was a plane crashing because of how sharp the sound was,” Mohammed said. “Then we saw a flash of light, and after it came a really loud sound. It was an explosion.”He said he heard three distinct explosions.Mohammed said the explosion caused panic among the residents of this heavily populated low-income neighborhood. Many fled to open spaces, fearing their homes were collapsing. He said ammunition was flying out of the factory into the air and falling inside homes.“It was a double whammy, the explosion at the factory and then the ammunition flying into the neighborhood. The ground shook. Some homes were badly damaged,” he said. “The walls of our home cracked, so we left our house to sleep elsewhere. When we came back this morning, our beds and furniture were covered in ashes.” Belal referred to a 2009 attack on an arms convoy in the Red Sea province in eastern Sudan. The government then blamed the attack on Israel, which believes Sudan is a conduit for arms shipments through Egypt to Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers. Israel does not comment officially on the issue.“We are now certain that this flagrant attack was authorized by the same state of Israel. The main purpose is to frustrate our military capabilities and stop any development there and ultimately weaken our national sovereignty,” Belal said.Belal said the complex produces conventional weapons. He said his country has the right to respond.In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Sudan’s representative called the attack a “blatant violation” of the U.N. charter and called for condemnation from the world body.Belal also said a technical team is inspecting remains of the missiles used in the attack which he said suggest Israel is behind the bombing. He didn’t provide any evidence.Israeli officials did not respond to requests for comment on the latest allegation.At the same news conference, military spokesman Sawarmy Khaled said two people were killed and another was seriously injured in the blast. Earlier, officials said some people suffered from smoke inhalation. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 4 must play golf courses in Arizona (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sudanese activists on social media websites criticized the government for placing a factory with such large quantities of ammunition in a residential area.Sudan has been engaged in various armed conflicts for many years.Sudan’s government has been at war with rebels in the western region of Darfur and with its neighbors in South Sudan, which broke away to become Africa’s newest country in 2011. Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.Sudan was a major hub for al-Qaida militants and remains a transit for weapon smugglers and African migrant traffickers.In 2009, a convoy carrying weapons in northeastern Sudan was targeted from the air, killing dozens. It was widely believed that Israel carried out the attack, hitting a weapons shipment headed for Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Israel never confirmed or denied that. Sudanese parliamentarians denied that weapons were transported in the area.Israel never confirmed or denied it was responsible for the attack.The U.S. imposed economic, trade and financial sanctions against Sudan in 1997, citing the Sudanese government’s support for terrorism, including its sheltering of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden in Khartoum the mid-1990s. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Mohammed said an artillery shell fell into a neighbor’s home, and a security team had to come to remove it.Thick smoke blackened the sky over the complex, and firefighters fought the blaze for hours.In New York, Sudan’s U.N. Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman called on the U.N. Security Council to condemn the attack, accusing Israel of meddling in its internal affairs and providing support to rebel groups.“Four Israeli airplanes invaded our air space and perpetrated this heinous attack,” Osman told a Council session on Darfur. “We reject such aggression and expect the Security Council to condemn this attack because it is a blatant violation of the concepts of peace and security and of the principles and purposes of the charter and United Nation and it jeopardizes peace and security in the entire region and not just in Sudan.”The Cairo-based Arab League said it is closely following the fallout from the attack. Deputy Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed bin Helli said Sudanese officials are in touch with the League and have provided initial reports about Israel’s alleged involvement. “We are working to verify them,” he said. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Associated PressKHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) – Sudan claimed Wednesday that Israeli airstrikes caused an explosion and fire at a military factory south of the capital, Khartoum, killing two people.Minister of Information Ahmed Belal Osman told reporters that four aircraft hit the Yarmouk Complex, setting off a huge blast that rocked the capital before dawn.“Four planes coming from the east bombed the Yarmouk industrial complex,” Belal said. “They used sophisticated technology.” He didn’t elaborate further. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Sponsored Stories Top Stories In 1998, American cruise missiles bombed a Khartoum pharmaceutical factory suspected of links to al-Qaida. That followed the terror group’s bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.The Yarmouk weapons complex was built in the 1996. Sudan prided itself in having a way to produce its own ammunition and weapons despite international sanctions.Yarmouk is one of two known state-owned weapons manufacturing facilities in the Sudanese capital.Jonah Leff of the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey told The Associated Press that the location of the two factories is “certainly a hazard” to Khartoum’s population if the weapons inside are not properly maintained or secured.A September report from the Small Arms Survey said there was evidence from weapons packaging found in Darfur and in South Kordofan that arms and ammunition from China are exported to Yarmouk and then transported to the two embattled regions.Leff said that although the Small Arms Survey has documented Sudanese military stocks of Iranian weapons and ammunition, there is no evidence that Iranian weapons are being assembled or manufactured in the two Khartoum factories.___Associated Press writers Maggie Fick and Sarah El Deeb contributed from Cairo and Michael Astor from the United Nations. 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Israeli airstrikes kill 3 Palestinian journalists

first_img Top Stories Associated PressGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Israeli airstrikes killed three Palestinian journalists in their cars on Tuesday, a Gaza health official and the head of the Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV said. Israel acknowledged targeting the men, claiming they had ties to militants.Later Tuesday, an Israeli airstrike hit a building that houses the office of the French news agency Agence France Presse. An agency photojournalist who was in the office at the time said the target appeared to be two floors above him. No one was injured and the agency office was not damaged. The strikes came on the seventh day of Israel’s offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers. A number of journalists have been killed over the years while covering fighting between the Jewish state and the Palestinian militant group, but not in targeted strikes that Israel acknowledged.Two of those killed were cameramen working for Al Aqsa TV, the centerpiece of a growing Hamas media empire, said station head Mohammed Thouraya. The two were driving in a car with press markings in Gaza City on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after wrapping up an assignment at the city’s Shifa Hospital, Thouraya added.The station said the car was hit by a missile and broadcast the aftermath, with the vehicle consumed by flames. Thouraya said the bodies of the two, Mohammed al-Koumi and Hussam Salam, were badly burned.Later Tuesday, another Israeli missile killed an employee for Al Quds Educational Radio, a private station, said Ashraf al-Kidra, a Gaza health official. Mohammed Abu Eisha died when his car was hit in the central Gaza town of Deir el-Balah, al-Kidra said.Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, said a preliminary investigation showed all three were Hamas operatives, but would not elaborate. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Israel has struck a wide range of Hamas-linked targets during its offensive, including rocket launching sites and the homes of suspected activists, killing more than 120 people.Asked whether Israel had widened its range of targets to include journalists working for media run by Hamas or other militant groups, Leibovich said: “The targets are people who have relevance to terror activity.”Thouraya denied that the two employees killed Tuesday were linked to violence.“Our crew were fighters, but they were not fighting with weapons,” he said. “They were fighting with their cameras. They were on the battlefield to defend the people by filming the awful crimes (of the Israeli offensive) and broadcasting them to the world.”Mahmoud al-Hams, the AFP photographer, said the building housing the French news agency shook and he could smell fire after it was hit. He said the building, which is part of a commercial mall, has an office of a Hamas-related media outlet for women, which was hit in the strike. Families who had taken refuge in the building from airstrikes in northern Gaza fled after the attack.Over the weekend, an Israeli missile struck an Al Aqsa office on the top floor of a Gaza City high-rise also being used by other local and foreign news outlets. A second strike hit the Lebanon-based Al Quds TV in a second media center, causing some damage. Al Quds TV is seen as sympathetic to Hamas. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Since seizing control of Gaza in 2007, Hamas has gradually built a sophisticated media operation. During the current offensive, Al Aqsa TV and Radio reporters have closely covered events, often providing the first reports of deaths and injuries that are later confirmed by hospital officials.Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev alleged that both Al Aqsa and Al Quds “are integral parts of terrorist military organizations.”He said those working for the two outlets “`are not journalists by any meaning of the word.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img

China launches stealth frigate amid ocean tensions

first_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches However, China has made no secret of its desire to extend its navy’s global reach, and the service has received considerable attention in China’s military modernization. China’s first aircraft carrier, the overhauled Soviet-era Liaoning, entered service last year, while a growing array of nuclear submarines and ultra-modern surface ships are also joining the fleet.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day BEIJING (AP) – China has launched the first ship in a new class of stealth missile frigates, state media reported Tuesday, amid ongoing tensions with neighboring countries over Beijing’s maritime claims.The People’s Liberation Army Navy is building a total of 20 Type 056 Jiangdao class frigates to replace older models and bolster its ability to conduct patrols and escort ships and submarines in waters it claims in the South China and East China seas. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   The first in the class, No. 582, was formally delivered to the navy on Monday in Shanghai, which is home to one of the country’s largest complexes of naval shipyards, according to the official Xinhua News Agency and the navy’s official website.Newly promoted navy commander Wu Shengli attended the delivery ceremony, the reports said, an indication of the importance with which the service regards the new ships’ mission.The helicopter-equipped ships feature a sleek design to reduce clutter and make them harder to spot by radar and are armed with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles. They also need a crew of just 60, two-thirds fewer than older vessels, a major advantage that should boost efficiency and relieve burdens in training and recruitment. At 1,440 tons fully loaded, is considerably smaller than U.S. Navy frigates, and is categorized by some observers as a member of the smaller class of ship known as corvettes.China’s navy has so far stayed aloof from the island disputes in order to avoid further escalating tensions, with patrol ships from the Ministry of Transportation and other government agencies dispatched instead to assert China’s territorial claims.last_img read more

Bombing shows Turkey a vulnerable target for Islamic State

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   ISTANBUL (AP) — Officials have raised concerns that a deadly bombing in southeastern Turkey is part of a campaign of retaliation by the Islamic State group for a recent crackdown on its operations in the country.If they are right, Turkey would be a particularly vulnerable target for the extremists.The country shares a 1,250-kilometer (775-mile) border with Iraq and Syria, putting it nearby to strongholds of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. And, as recent arrests show, the extremist group already has established its reach into Turkey. Some analysts say that because of Turkey’s aggressive policies against Syrian President Bashar Assad in that country’s civil war, it has allowed militants of many stripes to operate in Turkey, providing cover to the Islamic State group.They say the recent arrests are evidence that authorities were too slow to prevent IS from establishing a presence and building an infrastructure for the extremists.As a result, IS militants are better positioned to carry out attacks in Turkey. Even a restrained campaign could shut down the country’s vibrant tourism industry, as militants have done in Tunisia.“When the Syrian war first started, Erdogan’s government wanted the downfall of the Assad regime, and without Western military intervention, it thought that these foreign fighters would turn the tide,” said Mohamad Bazzi, a Middle East analyst at New York University. “Now that strategy is backfiring as the Islamic State becomes more emboldened.”It’s still too early to say that IS has turned its attention to target Turkey. If it has, it would be a risky move for the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.No one has claimed responsibility for the Monday’s bombing in Suruc, and Turkish officials have offered little evidence that an IS suicide bomber was involved. Social media affiliated with the Islamic State group have been conspicuously silent. “It’s mutually assured destruction,” said Aaron Stein, non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “If ISIS attacks Turkey, they are going to provoke a disproportionate response.”___Associated Press writer Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.___Follow on Twitter: Desmond Butler at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The attack could also be the work of an admirer or follower without orders from IS leaders. Whatever the intention, the bombing appeared targeted at a leftist group that was in Suruc as part of a mission to rebuild the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani, just over the border.Kobani, where Kurdish fighters beat back an IS assault begun last year, has become a symbol of Kurdish resistance. While most if not all of the victims of the bombing were Turkish citizens, it’s not clear that the Turkish government was the target, even if the government has viewed it that way.With a campaign of attacks in Turkey, IS would risk a more robust response from a major regional power that has until recently been more focused on bringing down Assad than the extremists.Turkey has joined a U.S.-led coalition against IS, but has so far limited its participation because it says Washington’s overall strategy for Syria is flawed. Turkey has held out support, including opening its key Incirlik air base near the Syrian border as leverage to get the U.S. to broaden its mission to take on Assad.But if the Islamic State became enemy No. 1 in Turkey, the government’s stance could open up a more direct assault. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his wife Sare Davutoglu speak with a man who was injured in a blast in Suruc on Monday, during a visit to a hospital in Sanliurfa, Turkey, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. Authorities suspected the Islamic State group was behind an apparent suicide bombing Monday in Suruc in southeastern Turkey that killed 31 people and wounded nearly 100 — a development that could represent a major expansion by the extremists at a time when the government is stepping up efforts against them. (Halil Sagirkaya/Pool Photo via AP)center_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories In an intensified crackdown, Turkish officials say they have detained more than 500 people suspected of working with IS in the last six months. An operation this month netted 21 terrorism suspects in an investigation of recruitment networks in multiple parts of the country, the officials said.The moves suggest an attempt to dismantle an entrenched presence inside Turkey. And authorities fear that Monday’s bombing in the town of Suruc that killed 32 people and wounded nearly 100 is a warning by the extremists against such a campaign.“This attack was against Turkey; against Turkey’s democracy; against the peace and welfare of our people; against public order,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said after the attack that officials called a suicide bombing. He vowed to go after those behind the bombing and made clear he believes it was the Islamic State.Turkish officials say they were early to declare IS a terrorist group and have taken extensive efforts to impede and degrade it. The recent moves against the militants are merely an extension of these efforts, they say, the result of close monitoring of IS militants in Turkey.But Western countries have long complained that the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has done too little to prevent IS militants and recruits from crossing its borders into Syria and Iraq. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Parents, stop beating yourself up Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywalllast_img read more


Inca Trail to reopen in April

first_imgGap Adventures will resume tours to Peru’s Inca Trail from April 1 as local authorities reopen the area, the company said on Monday.The trail was closed last month after a series of mudslides blocked parts of it and subsequently access to where it leads – the mountain-top citadel of Machu Picchu.Gap Adventures Head Honcho Peter Rawley said he was thrilled travellers would be able to see the iconic site again.“After such a difficult time for all the local communities, we are delighted that our passengers returning will provide some much needed income and happiness in the region”. The company said it would “make effort possible to operate scheduled itineraries to the region in the immediate period following that reopening date.”But it did note that limited train services provided by Peru Rail between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes meant there may be slight modifications to itineraries to ensure the safe and efficient transport of passengers to and from the area.For more information visit <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.Llast_img read more


Australias best airline is still Virgin Blue

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L Virgin Blue has managed to maintain its status as Australia’s best domestic carrier while Tiger has been voted the worst in the latest CHOICE survey.Over 11,000 CHOICE members voted in the consumer group’s domestic airline satisfaction survey for domestic flights they’d taken in the past 12 months.For the second year running Virgin Blue topped the rankings with high scores for service, entertainment and comfort.Regional carrier Rex came second, with respondents giving kudos to the carrier’s old-fashioned more personalised service. Third place was taken by Qantas, which scored well for pricing but had disappointing service standards.Budget carriers Jetstar and Tiger made the bottom of the list respectively, with consumers pointing to low service standards and flight delays and Jetstar’s cramped seating.Tiger was also criticised for its slow check-in processes and hidden extra costs such as charging $30 to those travelling with bulky sports equipment, even if it is within the weight allowance.The budget carriers also had the most expensive credit and debit card surcharges.However, Tiger bit back this morning, saying people needed to be “realistic” when considering the results.“Tiger Airways is very different to the other airlines” said a Tiger spokeswoman.“We sell our customers a seat as cheap as we can and allow our customers to choose what extras they want to pay for.”The no-frills carrier even took a stab at Virgin Blue, pointing out that Tiger had a lower cancellation rate than CHOICE’s top ranking carrier. <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more


Amadeus launches hotel platform

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Global travel transaction processor, Amadeus is changing the way hotels do business with the introduction of Amadeus Hotel Platform, a centralised database system. The new program, available as a ‘Software as a Service model’ (SaaS), released earlier this week was designed to simplify and transform the way hotels do business through the integration of reservations, property management and global distribution systems into one platform. Commercial at Amadeus Executive Vice President Philippe Chérèque said it is important that a hotel’s IT infrastructure is able to expand globally “whilst guaranteeing operational efficiencies on a global scale”. “With a thorough understanding of the current and future shape of the hotels sector, we are 100 percent committed to helping our customers remove technology barriers by offering them a central solution, allowing them to benefit fully from the power of the new technology whilst transforming their fixed cost into a variable one,” Mr Chérèque said. “With this in mind hoteliers can focus on transforming their business making the most of emerging opportunities in a way that is right for them.” Mr Chérèque said Amadeus Hotel Platform was built to relieve hoteliers of the stress of worrying about their IT systems and concentrate on their business. Amadeus also released findings from a report, Hotels 2020: Beyond Segmentation, which offers hoteliers detailed descriptions of future guests. The report put together by research firm, Fast Future Research, highlights that for hotels to survive and distinguish themselves in the future they will be required to adapt their services to match each individual guests needs. “What we see is a shift from neatly defined customer segments to a more fragmented set of service spectrums that will demand hotels act in a way that is guest focused personal, connected and informed,” Fast Future Research Chief Executive Officer Rohit Talwar said. “The right technology will be an increasingly important weapon in delivering on guest expectations and securing brand differentiation.”last_img read more


NZ tourism integrates into one voice

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Industry leaders in New Zealand have united their brain power, merging the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) and New Zealand Hotel Council (NZHC) into one single organisation.Effective 1 April this year, current NZHC members will move into TIA, while TIA will launch a new hotel sector dedicated resource.NZHC Regional Chairs will remain in place while both TIA and NZHC members will continue to retain all the benefits and services currently received.Speaking at a Special General Meeting of NZHC this week, TIA chairman Norm Thompson said forming the one organisation would strengthen the tourism industry on a national level.“The integrated organisation will create unified, highly focused leadership for our industry,” he said. “A strong hotel sector is vital to a thriving visitor economy. “Together we can deliver even better outcomes for our members.”Concurring, NZHC independent chair Jennie Langley added that the industry needs to speak with one voice that will shape the future of the country’s tourism.“A collective approach is much stronger and more effective,” she said. last_img read more

Tasmania top of mind for international tourists

first_imgTassie’s just winning more than our fair share of that market to Australia,” Mr Fitzgerald said. Source = ETB News: Tom Neale 160,000 people visited Tasmania in 2013, up 16 per cent on 2012, the ABC reported. The numbers show that expenditure by international leisure visitors was up 34 per cent in 2013 to AUD $140 million.  The number of Asian tourists jumped by 50 per cent and there was a 45 per cent jump in the number of tourists from New Zealand.center_img Tourism Tasmania chief John Fitzgerald told the ABC that strong growth in Asian tourism numbers was a national trend. “So I think the environment and the great food and wine experiences we’re offering; the wilderness, the cleanness of the environment, the water, the seafood, all is appealing to those Asian market.” Tasmania is growing as a favourite destination of international visitors, with the latest figures from Tourism Research Australia showing a big surge in tourist numbers.last_img read more

Quest continues rapid NSW expansion

first_imgSource = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman Quest Serviced Apartments will significantly expand its New South Wales presence this year, with the serviced apartment operator on track to open five brand new properties.Situated in key suburban and regional locations, the four new properties scheduled to open in the first half of the year include, Quest Liverpool, Quest Albury, Quest Nowra, and Quest Newcastle West.The fifth new Quest property which is Quest Chatswood, is scheduled to open in December at 38 Albert Avenue, Chatswood and will feature 100 apartments.All properties will provide the Quest “home away from home” experience, with kitchen and laundry facilities, separate living/dining areas, Wi-Fi access, Foxtel, gymnasiums and conference room facilities.  Quest chief executive officer Zed Sanjana, said that the company is very excited about the next twelve months for Quest.“New South Wales is one of our key growth markets and I am very excited with how well the five brand new Quest properties are progressing. Expanding our footprint will strengthen our brand and cement our position as the accommodation provider of choice for travellers doing business in this state,” Mr Sanjana said. 2015 is set to be a momentous year of growth for Quest across Australasia, with 12 new properties in the pipeline in Australia and three in New Zealand.“We have created a business format franchise model that takes away many of the major challenges to achieving business success,” Mr Sanjana said.last_img read more

Accor acquires FASTBOOKING

first_imgHotel operator Accor has acquired French company FASTBOOKING, a digital services provider for the hotel industry.Under Accor’s operation, FASTBOOKING will continue to deliver hotel solutions to almost 4,000 hotels worldwide.Accor chairman and chief executive officer Sébastien Bazin said the take-over will help speed up the development of the company’s digital strategy.“Following the acquisition of Wipolo last October, this new transaction enables us to further expand our capabilities and strengthen our digital expertise for the benefit of our hotels,” Mr Bazin said.“While maintaining its independence, FASTBOOKING will now enjoy the support of a global leader capable of providing the resources it needs to make the most of its enormous potential, so that it can continue to innovate for an even larger client base.”Founded in 2000, FASTBOOKING focusses on hotel website development, revenue management optimisation tools and the management of distribution channels and digital marketing.FASTBOOKING chairman and chief executive officer Jean-Gérard Galvez said Accor’s investment into the company is the beginning of a new development phase.“It is also a sign of recognition for the incredible work done by our teams, who have spent the past few months redesigning our solutions to make them even more innovative and efficient,” Mr Galvez said.FASTBOOKING, with its two main markets in Europe and Asia, aim to deliver digital solutions to improve the performance and visibility of its clients.The FASTBOOKING team will assist Accor in expanding the range of services provided to its portfolio of 3,700 hotels around the world.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more