Visitors advised against festive behaviour during Thai Kings mourning

first_imgVisitors advised against ‘festive’ behaviour during Thai King’s mourning Tags: Thailand, Travel Alert BANGKOK — Concerts and colossal beach parties in Thailand have been cancelled. An annual festival meant to placate the country’s goddess of water with lanterns that float into the sky will not take place.And closed for the first time in years: red-light districts in the heart of the Thai capital filled with seedy go-go bars so irrepressible they managed to stay open even through past military coups.No foreign government has suggested its nationals to cancel trip plans, but several have issued advisories. Canada called on its citizens to “refrain from any behaviour that may be interpreted as festive, disrespectful or disorderly,” Britain urged its nationals to “wear sombre and respectful clothing when in public,” and the U.S. called on Americans to maintain “decorum during this extended period of profound mourning.”The death Thursday of Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej has plunged this Southeast Asian nation into an unprecedented period of mourning like nothing it has ever seen, and it’s likely to stay that way for some time.But calm – not chaos – prevails, and the closures and cancellations are unlikely to last more than a month or have any serious long-term impact on tourism.Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has declared a one-year mourning period and urged people to refrain from organizing entertainment events for 30 days. But he has also made clear that life must go on, and urged businesses to remain open to ensure the nation does not “lose its credibility.”More than 30 million tourists visit Thailand every year, accounting for about 10 per cent of government revenue. The industry is one of the few bright spots in an economy that has slumped since the army ousted a democratically elected government in 2014.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalIn a statement late Friday, the Tourism Authority of Thailand confirmed that tourist attractions will remain open with the exception of Bangkok’s gold-gilded Grand Palace, because it “will be the venue of the royal funeral rites.”Bhumibol’s body was transported by royal procession to the palace’s Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew, on Friday as thousands of people lined the roads. Widely seen here as a unifying figure and the father of the nation, Bhumibol served as monarch for 70 years – so long that most Thais have known no other.The subdued atmosphere that has engulfed the country since his death is unmistakable, visible in the black or white dress worn by millions of Thais in a massive show of mourning that has been displayed even on mannequins in luxury shopping malls.In Bangkok, the neon-lit dinner cruise ships that ply the majestic Chao Phraya River every night have turned off their booming music.Even some of the capital’s most prominent red-light districts have shut down. Nana Plaza, a three-story complex of go-go bars filled with scantily-clad women announced it was closing temporarily to “pay respect and mourn the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great.”“It doesn’t bother me,” said Australian tourist Darren Turner, who was standing outside the all-dark plaza. “This is a man who stood on the throne unopposed for 70 years. He did a lot for his country and his people, and it’s good to show a mark of respect for his passing.”More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamThe neon lights of another red-light district nearby, Soi Cowboy, abruptly switched off Friday night after police and soldiers paid a visit and asked bar managers to close to show respect of the king.Hours after Bhumibol’s death on Thursday, Richard Barrow, a Bangkok-based travel blogger, tweeted that many tourists were “asking if they should cancel their holiday.” His is advice: you should not.No foreign government has suggested its nationals to cancel trip plans, but several have issued advisories. Canada called on its citizens to “refrain from any behaviour that may be interpreted as festive, disrespectful or disorderly,” Britain urged its nationals to “wear sombre and respectful clothing when in public,” and the U.S. called on Americans to maintain “decorum during this extended period of profound mourning.”While Thailand’s stunning beaches and resorts remain open, some tourists’ plans to see particular events may already be ruined.In the northern city of Chiang Mai, the city government announced the annual Yi Peng Festival set for mid-November – in which tens of thousands of lanterns float into the sky – has been cancelled.On the island of Koh Phangan, organizers of the renowned “Full Moon” party, which had been set to begin Oct. 17, called the event off.And in Bangkok, a sold-out concert featuring British singer Morrissey, the former frontman of The Smiths, was also cancelled.Khaosod English, a local media outlet which reported numerous cancellations in the capital, offered prudent advice to its readers for upcoming events: “Call ahead first.” The Canadian Press Posted bycenter_img Share Monday, October 17, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Multimilliondollar dining and beverage concepts debut on Carnival Ecstasy

first_img MIAMI – The Carnival Ecstasy has gotten a major upgrade, having undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation that has added new dining and beverage options.The upgrades were incorporated during a two-week dry dock from Jan. 10-24 in The Bahamas. It then returned to Charleston, South Carolina to resume its year-round schedule of four- to 10-day departures from that port.New enhancements include Guy’s Burger Joint, a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with celebrity chef Guy Fieri, and BlueIguana Cantina, a complimentary Mexican eatery. Also new are Alchemy Bar, a ‘cocktail pharmacy’-themed lounge with mixologists, and Cherry On Top, which serves bins of bulk candy and fanciful gifts.Along with the recent additions, guests can also find a variety of onboard features, such as the poolside Red Frog Rum Bar and Blue Iguana Tequila Bar, a Water Works aqua park, a Serenity adults-only retreat and Spa Carnival health and wellness facility.Carnival Ecstasy’s schedule runs year round from four- to seven day cruises to destinations throughout The Bahamas and Caribbean. The ship will also operate a 10-day Carnival Journeys Caribbean voyage round trip from Charleston Nov. 5 to 15, 2017. Visit carnival.com. Posted by Tags: Carnival Cruise Line Multi-million-dollar dining and beverage concepts debut on Carnival Ecstasy Monday, February 6, 2017 Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Its business as usual Jamaicas Minister of Tourism says MoBay is safe

first_img Monday, February 5, 2018 “It’s business as usual”: Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism says MoBay is safe & secure Share Posted by Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO — “There’s no need to worry, it’s business as usual,” says the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, who arrived in Toronto last week to ease concerns in light of the island’s current State of Public Emergency.The alert, which applies to Montego Bay and the surrounding St. James Parish, was implemented on Jan. 18 following a significant uptick in violent crime. In response, the Canadian government revised its travel advice for Jamaica, advising Canadian travellers to stay in resort areas, to not venture off-property, and to use organized tour operators for excursions and airport transfers.But despite concerns across the travel industry, Bartlett maintains that the State of Emergency, or the recent wave of violence, does not impact Montego Bay’s resorts.“Montego Bay is divided into two sections: the resort area on the coastal strip, and the residential area in the mountains where people live,” he tells Travelweek. “Montego Bay is situated on a hill; while security forces are up there, it has nothing to do with what’s down here.”Bartlett says the situation in the Parish is well under control, confirming that there have been no reports of violence in the last several days. In fact, ever since enhanced security measures were implemented due to the State of Public Emergency, the affected area has seen only one major incident.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWT“This tells us that it’s working,” says Bartlett, adding that the State of Public Emergency was intended primarily to cauterize the situation before it got out of hand and started affecting the wider nation. “Our security forces operate much like Canada’s with limited power. The State of Emergency is a mechanism to give them greater powers to act within prescribed geographical areas. They wouldn’t have had this power to do so unless a State of Emergency was enacted.”Bartlett says that “we’re far beyond that now”, reporting continued growth in tourism despite the ongoing situation. In fact, in January when the State of Emergency took place, Jamaica saw a 6.8% increase in arrivals; during the period when enhanced security was implemented, arrivals grew by 7.6%.Much of this growth can be attributed to the Canadian market, which has experienced significant growth in the last two years. To December 2017, Canadian visitation broke the 400,000 mark, representing a 9% uptick over 2016.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesNow, Bartlett has his sights on a new target: 450,000 Canadians in 2018, and 500,000 by 2020.“What we want to emphasize is that we regard the Canadian market as being very vital to us. It’s the second largest market for Jamaica (after the U.S.),” he says.To continue this growth, Bartlett notes that an entire series of market initiatives involving tour operators, travel agents and media will be implemented. Part of this will also include the cruise segment, which grew by 16.2% in 2017, from 1.6 million passengers in 2016 to 1.9 million.Moreover, Jamaica will welcome an additional 1,000 hotel rooms this year, with a projected 10,000 more by 2021.“The Canadian market has shown an enormous understanding for the current situation because they know Jamaica,” he says. “Jamaica is historically a safe and secure place that has been giving constant high value for the dollar.”To read the full interview, check out the upcoming Feb. 15 issue of Travelweek. Tags: Feature Story, Jamaica << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Undaunted by US backtracking Cuba forges ahead with new hotel plans

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Posted by Friday, May 11, 2018 Undaunted by U.S. backtracking, Cuba forges ahead with new hotel planscenter_img TORONTO — Cuba is aiming for at least 103,000 new hotel rooms and eight new hotels by 2030.The Cuba Tourist Board has laid out its plans for tourism infrastructure growth and development from 2018 to 2030.The plan comes in response to what the Cuba Tourist Board says is consistently growing demand for the destination. More than a million Canadians visit Cuba every year. Overall Cuba received 4.7 million visitors in 2017, a 16.2% increase over 2016.Cuba began intensifying its hotel development plans in 2017. With an annual hotel infrastructure growth rate of 10%, collaborative efforts between the government and international developers have led to the addition of over 2,500 hotels room each year.This growth rate is expected to swell as the country sets projections for 103,000 new rooms and at least eight new hotels by 2030, says the tourism board.The Hotel Varadero Internacional, the Prado y Malecón and the Packard Hotel in Havana are scheduled to open by 2019.More news:  Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemCuba is also set to add 23 nautical stations and marinas, 24 golf courses, and 47 entertainment facilities over the next 12 years. Cuba is already home to 10 world heritage sites, 14 national parks, and hundreds of national monuments.Securing foreign investment is crucial for the island’s development and Cuba tourism authorities have announced 87 management and development contracts with 19 international companies.These agreements will channel most of the investment from abroad into hotel rooms and theme parks, says the tourism board, while domestic investment goes to high-priority regions and provinces like Havana, Cienfuegos, Camaguey, Las Tunas and Holguin. Tags: Cuba Sharelast_img read more

We care deeply for this island Sandals Resorts clarifies Turks and Caicos

first_img“We care deeply for this island”: Sandals Resorts clarifies Turks and Caicos situation Friday, February 1, 2019 Posted by Tags: Beaches Resorts, Feature Story, Sandals Resorts, SRI, Turks & Caicos TORONTO — Both Sandals Resorts International and the Turks and Caicos government are quashing industry rumours that their dispute has anything to do with unpaid taxes, and new developments suggest the two sides may find common ground and hopefully avert the closures of popular Beaches Turks and Caicos.SRI had announced that the popular Beaches property would close Sept. 3 to Oct. 15, 2019, Sept. 7 to Oct. 22, 2020 and again “for an indefinite period” from January 2021 onwards.SRI said the upcoming closures of Beaches Turks & Caicos “are the result of several critical and long-standing issues which have impacted our operations over the past several years.  We apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers and look forward to welcoming them back soon.”Guests impacted by the closures can change their travel dates to Beaches Turks & Caicos or travel on their original travel dates to one of our other locations in Jamaica, Beaches Negril or Beaches Ocho Rios, at no additional cost, including airfare change fees. Guests can also choose to travel to any of Sandals Resorts’ 16 properties.Agents looking to rebook their clients or wanting more information can call their BDM or 1-800-545-8283 or their tour operator partner if the booking was made through a tour operator.In response, the Premier of Turks and Caicos Islands, Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, had this to say:“On Friday (January 25th, 2019) Beaches confirmed a letter that was in circulation which showed three proposed dates for closure of its operation here in Turks and Caicos Islands, with the final closure in 2021 stated as indefinite. A hand delivered copy was delivered some weeks ago.“My ministry has been addressing a long outstanding issue with Beaches and my Government and I are confident that with the facts in full view, we can bring an end to a critical outstanding matter that has seen its basis in an arrangement in place since the resort’s operation started in the 1990s and existed throughout every Government in the TCI since then.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin Cruises“Just to be clear, it has not been a matter of Beaches avoiding taxes or of the former governments or ministers of finances before me (3 actually currently sit in the current House of Assembly: the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Speaker and the Government’s Appointed Member) intentionally leaving this matter unaddressed. The current matter followed an event/action that occurred in 2017.“A large amount of work has since been vested towards the conclusion of this matter.“However, as this matter is active before Cabinet, where final positions were agreed and are currently being given effect and certainly before Friday’s publication of the Beaches letter relating to the proposed closures, I am unable to disclose anything further.“However, I assure everyone that I will be fully transparent on this issue and will set out the facts as reported to and experienced by me as Minister of Finance in its clearest terms as soon as the occasion arises.“I assure the people of the TCI that this matter will be settled in the very best interest of all the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.“I ask those employees of Beaches, taxi drivers, other hotel operators, airline agents and airline workers who contacted me frantically for representation to know that they are being held in highest consideration.“I implore those void of facts to resist casting wild accusations and unwarranted attacks on elected and public officials as well Beaches Resort itself.“I wish to thank those in the Public Service especially my Permanent Secretary (the PS of Finance Athnee Harvey-Basden) who brilliantly crafted the most appropriate solution at the very outset, all other public officials (the AG’s Chambers and Revenue Control Unit) who has assisted in getting us where we are now and Beaches (who continues to be a valued and valuable partner in these Islands) for the progress we have made thus far towards resolving this matter.”More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesAccording to some reports, it’s not a matter of unpaid taxes but in fact government backtracking on a pledge not to raise taxes that’s fuelling the dispute.In response, Sandals Resorts International issued this statement: “Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort recently announced several intermittent date closures in 2019, 2020 and for an indefinite period in 2021.“It is important to note that this decision has been one of the most difficult we have had to ever make, as we care deeply for this island and hold great affection for the people of Turks and Caicos.“We felt it our duty and responsibility to circulate accurate data in regard to this complex issue.“It is important to note that we do not owe any money in unpaid taxes.“We have always fully observed, complied and met our tax obligations on time and to the letter.“We punctually and properly pay taxes according to the law and our track record is exceptional.“Much to the contrary, as it stands, we are currently owed monies in over paid taxes. We are heartened that the government is trying to resolve this issue on a fast track basis to which they have our full and complete cooperation.”Stay tuned, but certainly SRI won’t want to close Beaches Turks and Caicos, and even more certainly, Turks and Caicos won’t want to lose its premiere resort.center_img Travelweek Group Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Bolivia threatens US Embassy closing after Snowden search

first_imgRelated posts:Britain targets Guardian newspaper over Snowden leaks NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say U.S. lawmakers warn of repercussions after Russia grants Snowden asylum Snowden seeks asylum in Russia, meets activists at airport QUITO, Ecuador — Bolivia threatened to close the U.S. Embassy as presidents from across the region met to show solidarity with President Evo Morales after the global manhunt for fugitive Edward Snowden diverted his flight.“We don’t need them, we’ve got other allies,” Morales, 53, said Thursday at an emergency summit of Latin American leaders in the highland Bolivian city of Cochabamba. “We don’t need the pretext of cooperation and diplomatic relations so that they can come and spy on us.”Presidents from Argentina, Ecuador, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela met with Morales to demand Spain, France, Portugal and Italy apologize and explain why they denied the Bolivian leader’s presidential jet permission to fly through their airspace July 2. Spain’s Foreign Minister said his government was told Snowden was aboard. The incident led the plane to make an emergency landing in Vienna after a fuel gauge stopped working correctly, Morales said.The group called for a new meeting of South American presidents on July 12 in Montevideo, Uruguay, to discuss further retaliation against the European countries for the “flagrant violation” of international law, according to a statement read by Bolivia’s Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca at the end of Thursday’s meeting. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chile’s Sebastian Pinera, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Peru’s Ollanta Humala skipped the summit.“This constitutes an extraordinary, unfriendly and hostile act,” Choquehuanca said in comments carried live by Telesur. “The injustice suffered by President Evo Morales offends not only Bolivia, but all of our nations.”U.S. relations with Bolivia have been problematic since Morales was elected in 2005. The president expelled the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg in 2008. Goldberg hasn’t been replaced.On May 1, Bolivia kicked out the U.S. Agency for International Development, alleging that it had conspired against the government.In the latest incident, Morales said speculation he was helping Snowden flee Russia on his plane after a Moscow conference led the European countries to deny him permission to stop and refuel. The leader never spoke with Snowden while he was in Russia and the former National Security Agency contractor is not on Bolivian territory, he said.The president was able to fly back to South America after winning a promise that his plane would not be searched in Spain’s Canary Islands while refueling, said Ricardo Martínez, a Bolivian diplomat in Austria.Snowden revealed himself last month as the source of leaks on top-secret U.S. National Security Agency programs and remains in limbo at an airport in Moscow. Facing theft and espionage charges, Snowden has sought asylum in 20 countries, according to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua are among countries saying they haven’t ruled out granting Snowden asylum.Failing to allow Morales’s plane to fly through the European countries’ airspace threatened the security of the people on board, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday on its website. The actions of authorities in France, Spain and Portugal were “hardly friendly,” the ministry said.France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, apologized to his Bolivian counterpart for the delay in granting Morales’ plane permission to fly over French territory, according to a statement published July 3 on the ministry’s website.“There had, of course, never been any intention of refusing President Morales’ plane access to our airspace,” the ministry said in the statement. “The authorization to fly over French territory was granted as soon as the French authorities had been informed that the aircraft in question was that of President Morales.”Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Garcia-Margallo contradicted France’s explanation, saying today that Morales was denied permission to pass through the European countries’ territory after their governments received reports that he was helping Snowden flee Russia.“They told it was clear, that he was inside,” Garcia-Margallo said in an interview on Spanish state television, without saying who provided the information. “The reaction of all the countries in Europe that took measures, rightly or wrongly, was on the basis that the information provided was that that would happen.”U.S. officials have contacted countries Snowden might approach for asylum or pass through on the way to a third country to provide “reasons why Mr. Snowden should be returned to the United States and face charges,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said July 3 in Washington.Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica, a former Tupamaro guerrilla who spent 14 years in prison, said the refusal to allow Morales’ plane to fly over the countries’ territory was an error.“To be kind, they screwed up,” Mujica said Thursday. “This is an embarrassment.”With assistance from Ben Sills in Madrid.© 2013, Bloomberg News Facebook Commentslast_img read more

The heat is on US in Costa Rica ahead of Friday nights

first_imgNo related posts. CONCACAF has ramped up security for Friday’s 2014 World Cup qualifier between Costa Rica and the United States, with Tico fans still irked by the “Snow Bowl” won by the U.S. in Denver in March.Guatemalan Mario Monterrosa, the CONCACAF designated official for the contest, said the history between the teams had prompted football’s regional governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean to label the match “high risk.”More than 500 police will be on security duty at the National Stadium and throughout the city, with a command post set up at the venue and other precautions taken such as ensuring a maximum number of entrances and exits.There’s plenty at stake in the match due to kick off at 8 p.m., with the United States holding a two-point lead over Costa Rica atop the six-nation CONCACAF qualifying table. The top three countries advance directly to the World Cup finals in Brazil, while the fourth-place team will battle New Zealand for a berth.The United States has never won a qualifier in Costa Rica, and the locals especially want to keep it that way after the U.S.’ 1-0 triumph in Denver, a match played in a blizzard that Costa Rica argued bitterly should be stopped.U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he realized many in Costa Rica remained angry about that match, but said it was unfair to take it out on his team.“That was not our fault,” the German said this week as the extent of Costa Rican feeling on the subject became clear. “I didn’t call God to give us some snow.”Nevertheless, the U.S. Men’s National Team has endured a rough welcome in San José. Rather than being fast-tracked through immigration and customs they received no special treatment upon arriving at the airport, where jeering fans pelted their bus with a few eggs.Further efforts to unsettle the visitors were orchestrated via social media, with one Facebook group sending supporters to “serenade” the U.S. players at their hotel Thursday night in the time-honored method of preventing them from sleeping. They also planned to clog the streets of San José to delay the team’s arrival at the match.Whether the usual police escort to the stadium materializes remains to be seen. U.S. media traveling with the team reported that the three potential training sites suggested by the Costa Rican football federation declined to host them, and that game balls requested for training sessions were never delivered. In an eight-minute TV segment Thursday night, Keith Olbermann blasted the Costa Rican’s treatment of the U.S. team, accusing the Ticos of “having no balls.”At least the U.S. won’t have to go into the lion’s den of the Ricardo Saprissa Stadium, Costa Rica having abandoned its bid to hold the match at the antiquated venue – where the steep stands offer visiting players an intimidating vista of hostile fans.While some irate supporters were suggesting demonstrations at the match itself, Klinsmann insisted that come Friday, it would be all about football.“It would be a tough game no matter what,” he said. “I don’t think the players down on the field will think about the snow game in March. It’s going to be a totally different situation and environment and we expect a really difficult challenge.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Costa Rica footballs top 10 players of all time

first_imgAs Óscar Ramírez leads Costa Rica football into a new era, the head coach will announce his roster Thursday for a set ofmarquee friendlies before the all important 2018 World Cup qualifying matches. The lineup is expected to be similar to the one that “La Sele” trotted out for the recent Gold Cup tournament, featuring national stars like Bryan Ruíz, Joel Campbell, and Celso Borges.In anticipation of the roster announcement, The Tico Times takes a look at the 10 best players to ever don a Costa Rican jersey. The stars on our list span nearly a century, including two current players and a legend from the 1920s. The list also includes the former coach who recently punched and kicked his way out of a job, as well as the country’s all-time leading goal scorer.Though a great player in his own right and one who helped Costa Rica reach its first World Cup in 1990, new head coach “Machillo” Ramírez ended up just short of the top 10. Here’s who did make it.  6. Hernán Medford Robyn Beck/AFP“Medford. Medford. Medford.”The call from broadcaster Manuel Antonio “Pilo” Obando remains as celebrated and legendary as the player who inspired it. With an incredible run and score during Costa Rica’s win over Sweden in the 1990 World Cup group stages, Medford helped lift the Ticos into the elimination stages in the world’s most important tournament. 3. Alejandro Morera Soto (Still from LDACRTV YouTube video)The man for whom national club Alajuelense’s stadium is named is one of the most revered football legends in Costa Rican history. Morera played with the club, averaging nearly a goal a game, until leaving to play in Spain and eventually signing with Barcelona, one of the greatest clubs in football history. Known as “The Magician,” Morera had a successful three-year career with Barcelona, where he scored an amazing 63 goals in just 76 matches.In 1936, Morera came back to Costa Rica and played another 11 years with Alajuelense, scoring over 300 more goals with the team. According to Spanish-language daily “La Nación,” Morera later had a brief stint coaching Costa Rica’s national team, leading it to the Central American championship in 1941.  5. Rolando Fonseca Yuri Cortez/AFPLa Sele’s all-time leading goalscorer was a ball of energy on the pitch, playing for two decades before retiring in 2011. As a member of teams that went to two World Cups and one Copa Ámerica, Fonseca scored 47 international goals.His greatest goal, however, came in a qualifying match in Mexico’s vaunted Azteca Stadium, where the Ticos beat El Tricolor for the first time in Mexico.Aside from tenures with Alajuelense and Saprissa, Fonseca played in Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia. Medford scored 18 times in 15 years with La Sele, but none was more important than his World Cup goal, which was just his second international goal. In club play, Medford found his greatest success domestically with Saprissa before moving on to the Mexican circuit. Nicknamed “The Pelican,” Medford later coached La Sele for three years with current headman Ramírez serving as his assistant. 1. Paulo Wanchope  Roberto Schmidt/AFPWanchope, Costa Rica’s greatest player ever, made international news recently when he was recorded in an altercation with a security officer at a Panamanian football stadium. His resignation as head coach of La Sele came the next day, ending a disappointing campaign with Wanchope at the helm of the national team. Under his watch, the team’s official record was 0-4-5.Despite the ugly incident and his early retirement, Wanchope will be remembered as Costa Rica’s most creative scorer. As the top threat on La Sele’s 2002 and 2006 World Cup teams, the Heredia native scored 48 goals in 73 matches. He remains second on the country’s scoring list behind Fonseca, despite playing in 40 fewer games.Wanchope also had a successful career abroad while playing in some of the world’s best leagues. From 1997 to 2004, Wanchope played in the English Premier League, including four seasons with respected club Manchester City. During his first season in the Premier League, while playing with Derby County, Wanchope scored just one goal, against Manchester United. But it was a masterpiece. 4. Bryan Ruíz Aris Messinis/AFPThe current captain has already left his mark in the country’s football history. With two goals in last year’s World Cup, including a brilliant header to beat former world champion Italy, Ruíz led the charge for La Sele during its miraculous rise out of the “Group of Death.” Ever since making his first appearance for Costa Rica in 2005, the 30-year-old forward has found the net 17 times in 72 matches.As he leads Costa Rica towards qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the veteran remains the engine in the middle of La Sele’s talented attack that includes Joel Campbell, Celso Borges, and rising star David Ramírez.Ruíz just made his debut with Sporting Club Portugal in Lisbon, Portugal after scoring 12 goals in four seasons for Fulham. 2. Keylor Navas Gabriel Bouys/AFPThe current starting goalie for Real Madrid could be on track to claim the top spot as Costa Rica’s best ever footballer if he continues to lock down the net on the grand stage with the world’s most expensive club.Real Madrid signed “San Keylor” after he worked miracles in the 2014 World Cup, where he didn’t allow a single goal that wasn’t a penalty kick or with a man down. Navas was Costa Rica’s most valuable asset during the team’s improbable run to the quarterfinals in Brazil, shining brightest when La Sele was reduced to 10 men against Greece.Though rumors persist that Madrid is looking to deal Navas to Manchester United before the player transfer deadline ends this week, the 28-year-old keeper seems to have taken well to his new role as starter following a promising preseason. In the eight matches since preseason began, Navas has only allowed three goals while playing against Europe’s toughest competition.center_img 7. Rónald Gómez Alfredo Estrella/AFPKnown for his powerful leg, Gómez played in Spain with Real Sporting de Gijón and Hércules de Alicante CF before coming back to Central America to play with Guatemala’s Municipal, where he scored 22 goals in one season.During his 15-year career with La Sele, Gómez scored 26 goals and played on a pair of World Cup teams. The forward from Puntarenas was nicknamed “The Bullet” because of his penchant for scoring on long-distance, high-velocity shots, including this one from his time in Greece with OFI Crete: Más fútbol? See our list of Costa Rica’s top 10 goals of all time Facebook Comments 8. Luis Gabelo Conejo Alberto Font/The Tico TimesThe man who guarded the net for Costa Rica’s first World Cup squad had a short but decorated tenure with La Sele. He is widely regarded as one of the region’s best goalkeepers, thanks in large part to a dominating performance in Italy in 1990. At the World Cup there, Conejo allowed just two goals in three games, including one in the 1-0 loss to football giant Brazil.With a shutout win over Scotland and a 2-1 victory against Sweden, Conejo and the Ticos advanced from the group stages. Currently, the 55-year-old Conejo oversees La Sele’s goalkeepers as an assistant coach for the national team. 10. Juan Cayasso  Gerard Malie/AFPThe forward from Limón will forever be remembered as the author of Costa Rica’s first goal in a World Cup game: a beautiful back-footed assist from Claudio Jara in the 1-0 win over Scotland in 1990. Cayasso would finish with 49 caps and nine goals during 10 years with La Sele.Cayasso’s club career was highlighted by campaigns with the country’s top two teams, Alajuelense and Saprissa. Related posts:Costa Rica great Paulo Wanchope insists Ticos will ‘keep surprising the world’ Costa Rica’s La Sele throttles Jamaica 3-0 Costa Rica humiliates the United States 4-0 in World Cup qualifier Trio of Tico stars face off in suspenseful Champions League battle 9. Walter Centeno Stephen Dunn/AFPCenteno remains Costa Rica’s all-time leader in number of games played with 137 over the course of a decade and a half. He retired in 2009 after scoring 24 goals, including six in World Cup qualification games.The Palmar Sur native spent most of his professional career playing for Saprissa, notching 65 goals throughout his career with the team. However, he has the distinct honor of scoring on Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium during a Champions League match when he was with Greece’s AEK Athens.last_img read more

Jacó promotes strategy to reduce singleuse plastics

first_imgA whale with a message: say no to that plastic bottle Jacó blogger Magdalen López writes about the Central Pacific beach community’s efforts as part of a growing nationwide movement in Costa Rica to reduce or eliminate single-use plastics.#SinPajillaPorFavor is a campaign that calls on restaurants and other businesses to unite to reduce single-use plastics, given that 60 percent of it ends up on beaches, causing the death of marine species and birds.In Jacó, this campaign is directed by the Central Pacific Chamber of Tourism and Sustainable Commerce (CATUCOSO) in order to improve the image of the Central Pacific beach and raise awareness among residents about environmental issues. More than 60 hotels, restaurant and commerce business leaders have joined the effort.“Some of the partners are using boxes instead of plastic bags in their stores, including the Ferretería del Pacífico. In the case that plastic can’t be eliminated, various businesses are using oxo-biodegradable bags in order to give their clients a more eco-friendly option,” said Maria José Arguedas, treasurer for CATUCOSO.“The plan consists of completely ending the use of plastic: for example, the plastic bags that some supermarkets provide, straws, coffee stirrers, Styrofoam containers, plastic glasses, cutlery, bottled water and others,” Arguedas added. Related posts:Shrimping boat sinks in Guanacaste, spilling diesel on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast Osa Peninsula organization promotes human development, conservation Kids Saving the Rainforest: the Costa Rican initiative that’s gone global Jane Goodall reads about Costa Rica with ‘Guardian of Nature’ Costa Rica launches quest to replace most single-use plastic by 2021center_img According to the nonprofit marine conservation organization MarViva, single-use products such as liquid and food containers made of Styrofoam and plastic have an average usage is of 20 minutes, but take between 150 and 500 years to disintegrate. Via tintavivacostarica.comThe initiative in Jacó is already being implemented at businesses including Hotel Oasis, Punta Mala Lodge and Adventures, Green Room Restaurant, Hielo Jacoo, Remax, Selina Hotel, Variedades el Amigo, Souvenirs Cocobolo, Costa Rica Holiday Rentals and others.Restaurants such as El Hicaco, Hotel El Edén and Juanitas by Green Room are some of the businesses in the area that are already using straws made out of glass or bamboo, and replacing plastic bottles with glass ones. Sin Pajilla Por Favor: 1 minute to fabricate. 20 minutes of use. 200 years to decompose. Via tintavivacostarica.comMoisés Mora, manager of the participating Ti-ko Restaurante, told us about his concern about the damage that’s being caused to the environment, particularly marine animals, birds and even human beings.“In our restaurant we’ve replaced the traditional straws with glass straws, and also Styrofoam containers with an eco-friendly, biodegradable takeout container made out of banana peels,” added Cascada. Glass straws. Via tintavivacostarica.com“As a business leader and as a person, I’m motivated by social awareness of the damage that hundreds of [plastic] bags cause each day,” said Ronald Céspedes, manager and owner of Variedades el Amigo. “It’s too much garbage; the plastic we consume end up in garbage cans. We have posters that say No More Plastic and we’re waiting for the first production of oxo-biodegradable bags to use in the four stores we have.”Traveling in Jacó and eager to see which business are participating? The program #SinPajillaPorFavor will place a sticker on the walls of the participating businesses to inform clients about the no-plastics policy. Via tintavivacostarica.comThe businesses that want to be part of this pilot plan can voluntarily join and communicate with the Central Pacific Tourism and Sustainable Commerce Chamber (CATUCOSO) at the email info@catucoso.com. The author of this article, Magdalena López, is a journalist student who lives in Jacó and has her own blog called Tinta Viva. This version of the piece was translated and edited with the author’s permission by The Tico Times; the original article was published in Spanish on Tinta Viva. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Egypt 76 convicted for attack on Israeli Embassy

first_imgThe attack prompted nearly the entire embassy staff to evacuate in the one of the worst crises to hit the two countries’ relations since their 1979 peace treaty.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) CAIRO (AP) – A Cairo court has convicted 76 Egyptians on charges linked to last year’s attack by protesters on the Israeli Embassy.Seventy-five of the defendants received suspended one-year sentences Sunday, while one defendant tried in absentia was given a five-year prison term.The court listed eight charges, including “an assault against diplomatic missions” and “sabotage.”In September, thousands of protesters tore down a security wall around a high rise building housing the Israeli Embassy in Cairo and then trashed its offices. The embassy’s storming followed the killing of six Egyptian soldiers by Israeli troops who were pursuing Palestinian militants near the Egyptian border. Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Comments   Share   Top Stories center_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

Crisishit Europeans Greece must knuckle down like they did

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober ____Ciaran Giles in Madrid and Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The country, however, is on the rebound. The economy has grown for the past seven quarters and is among the fastest-growing in the EU at an expected 3.1 percent this year, according to the IMF. It is also among those creating most jobs — 500,000 over the last year, following labor reforms. That compares with Italy, which shunned austerity, and whose economy is forecast by the national statistics agency to grow just 0.7 percent this year, with unemployment edging down from 12.7 percent to 12.5 percent despite reformist Premier Matteo Renzi’s ambitious “Jobs Act.”That said, Spain’s unemployment rate is still at a staggering 24 percent — and more than double that for people under age 25.“Spain hasn’t done a bad job, it has fulfilled its commitments and that, compared to Greece, give its more credibility,” said personal trainer Magda Barcelo. “It’s seen as having lived up to its pledges while Greece has created more uncertainty among foreign investors because they have confronted them a lot.”Sales company businessman Miguel Arcero agreed. “The economy is getting better thanks to the government, Spanish businesses and the effort Spaniards have made. Spain has done things correctly, Greece hasn’t. Greece, if it doesn’t pay, they should take it out of the euro,” he said. Patients with chronic pain give advice Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The Portuguese gritted their teeth and obediently stuck to the bailout agreement despite a three-year recession and unemployment that hit almost 18 percent.In Lisbon, retired high-school teacher Luisa Oliveira said “it’s not fair” for Greece to refuse austerity. Portugal “made huge sacrifices” to meet fiscal targets whereas Greek change has been “superficial,” she said. Austerity is “a necessary evil,” Oliveira said, adding that Athens’s confrontational attitude is “immature and tactless.”Portugal’s commitment to debt reduction and reform restored the country’s international credibility and ensured the renewed goodwill of lenders. The economy is growing again, though at a modest predicted rate of 1.6 percent this year, and the jobless rate is down to 13 percent.“We have to get (our finances) back into shape and the only way is austerity,” said Maria Ribeiro, a middle-aged office worker waiting in line outside a government office in Lisbon.Even so, Ribeiro felt Athens was right to argue about the merit of austerity policies, which many experts believe are discredited.“In a sense, Greece is taking an important role which others … didn’t dare to do, by raising important questions” about the best way forward. But she added: “At the same time, (the Greeks) have to assume their responsibilities.” ____IRELANDWeak regulation of banks that overheated during a decade-long property boom and then almost collapsed forced Ireland to request a 67.5 billion euro ($76 billion) international rescue loan in 2010.In return, Dublin had to roll back some of the salary hikes and welfare rights that proliferated when times were good — the so-called Celtic Tiger years. The Irish went along with austerity, recognizing their economy had lost its way.Dermot Coughlan, a car salesman on Dublin’s north side, said “we suffered, my taxes went up and my holidays went down, but as a nation we felt like we deserved it.”Breaking off from washing one of the used cars at his street-side dealership, Coughlan said Ireland’s problems were no less difficult than Greece’s, “but we took it hard on the chin, we didn’t riot in the streets, and eventually the money started flowing in again.”Ireland is now widely regarded as a poster boy for austerity. The country is forecast this year to post the strongest economic growth in the 28-nation EU, with a 4.6 percent expansion. Unemployment, which peaked at 15 percent in 2012, is expected to fall to 8.6 percent by the end of this year. LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Europeans in countries which adopted unpopular austerity measures to overcome the recent financial crisis are starting to reap the rewards, even if times are still hard for many and numerous factors are playing a role in the recovery.Spain has one of the fastest-growing economies in the European Union. Ireland, a model student in the lessons of austerity, has slashed unemployment nearly in half in the past three years. And even Portugal, one of the worst-hit of the crisis countries, is showing tentative green shoots of economic growth. With the government in Athens rebelling against austerity, some people see Greece as trying to duck out of its commitments and dodge the pain that others went through. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Coughlan says Ireland is “back in business, leaner and meaner,” and he has little sympathy for Greece. “Greece seems to think the rest of us owe them a living … and they want other EU countries just to keep financing their way of life indefinitely,” he said.Some are inclined to be more lenient, saying it is misguided to pile austerity on austerity, as creditors are demanding of Athens. David McWilliams, one of Ireland’s most popular economic commentators, says the Greek economy is “destroyed.”“The Greek economy simply can’t recover under these terms because it will raise taxes to pay off debts and this (debt repayment) money will just flow out of the country, making it weaker still,” he wrote recently in the Sunday Business Post.____PORTUGALPortugal was living way beyond its means, piling up a mountain of debt during a decade of anemic growth which led it to the brink of bankruptcy and a request for a 78 billion euro bailout in 2011.As with other bailouts, the loan had strings attached: years of steeply higher taxes, lower pay and pensions, slashed government spending on such cherished entitlements as public health and education systems, and stripped-away labor rights. Here is a look at sentiment among people in three of the euro-zone’s hardest-hit countries:____SPAINGone are the almost daily protests from Spanish streets when hundreds of thousands of people voiced their anger over cutbacks and soaring unemployment in recent years.But don’t be fooled — Spaniards are by no means jumping with joy at the way things have turned out.“People are not happy, simply more resigned. We’re more used to the situation now than when the crisis erupted,” said Stefania Gracia, a children’s television programmer. “I have the impression that things are improving but there is still a long way to go because things are bad, a lot of people are going through bad times.”The European Union’s fifth-largest economy, Spain was battered when the country’s construction bubble burst after the global financial crisis of 2008, leaving banks saddled with bad loans. Spain emerged from a double-dip recession only at the end of 2013.Spain avoided having to seek a full-blown bailout but it was forced by its European Union partners and the International Monetary Fund to adopt painful measures. Those included deep cuts in health and education, tax increases, wage freezes, and reforms that made it easier to hire and fire. Sponsored Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Top Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Australia a nation of happy campers

first_imgAustralian campers spend A$5.4 billion a year on holidays in camping grounds Recent statistics from Tourism Australia reveals more Australian families are relishing on camping holidays with campers spending A$5.4 billion per year on caravan and camping holidays.According to Tourism Australia more than half of Australian campers are young families who enjoy the flexibility a camping holiday offers, the SMH reported.A recent snapshot report conducted by Tourism Australia showed Australia has over 1600 caravan parks which employs 10,600 people and adds A$50million into the economy.Happy campers the Jordans from South Australia are holidaying with their daughters at the Queanbeyan Riverside Tourist Park which they have travelled to with their 1980s Jayco caravan.“A caravan is a cheaper option, and more fun for the kids, most caravan parks have playgrounds and plenty of space for kids to ride bikes,” Mr Jordan said.Quanbeyan Riverside Tourist Park owner Kevin Pritzler recently conducted a report on the tourist parks contribution to the NSW regional town’s economy and found the estimate to be in excess of A$4million a year, possibly as high as $8 million.“We’re seeing a new generation of family campers, and also a younger grey nomad – a lot of these are public servants who can work anywhere around Australia on their laptops,” Mr Pritzler said.“There’s no need for them to be tied to an office,” He added. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

Partnership enhances FJ inflight experience

first_imgAir Pacific announced three strategic partnerships to enhance travellers in flight entertainment experience as the national airline continues with its revitalisation strategy.Announced at the Bula Fiji Tourism Exchange (BFTE) in Fiji this week, Air Pacific’s new strategic partners include Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), Zodiac company Weber Aircraft, and Singapore Airlines Engineering Company (SIAEC).The new partnership will allow passengers travelling with Air Pacific to experience world class in-flight entertainment on board the flag carrier’s new Airbus 330-200 fleet that takes to the skies in June of next year.Panasonic will install their eX2 in-flight entertainment systems that include on demand audio/video, games, communications and applications in both economy and business class.Providing seating on-board the new Airbus fleet in all classes is partner, Weber Aircraft. The selected seating models ensure travellers optimal comfort with space, cushioning and ease of movement.These seats, incorporated with the Panasonic systems, also include USB power outlets for computers and hand held devices like iPads and iPods.Focusing on the refreshed look and new cabin design is SIAEC, who will design the A330 interiors, and do the specifications and quality inspections to ready the aircraft.These partnerships and enhancements, further to Air Pacific’s announcement earlier this week to return to the name Fiji Airways, mark the final stages of the airline’s revitalising turnaround.Air Pacific has ordered three brand-new A330-200 aircraft in the past 12 months, investing heavily in modernising the flag carriers product and services.Rounding up the announcement at BFTE, Air Pacific’s Managing Director and CEO David Pflieger said the airline has a vision to become a best-in-class airline.”We will have an enhanced offering that will complement the gracious Fijian service that has won Air Pacific several awards,” Mr Pflieger said.”In the meantime, we hope our customers will continue to enjoy Air Pacific’s current quality products and friendly service.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.Wlast_img read more

Lack of funds means less hotels for US

first_imgU.S. hotel development suffers from limited financing. An analysis has revealed that while US$10 billion in new hotels opened in the United States last year, these developments were near their lowest levels ever reported.STR Analytics has released the Hotel Development Almanac which attributing a lack of funding to the decrease in new developments, with just 420 hotels being opened in 2012.“With a limited amount of financing available for new developments, the volume of new rooms entering the market is negligible in most cities,” STR Analytics director Steve Hennis said.“However, with continued improvement in both the general hotel industry as well as the national economy, we are beginning to see the pace of new construction increase.”Hampton Inn & Suites and Holiday Inn Express had the most hotel openings in 2012, while the most active market for development last year was North Dakota, with 23 new hotels opened.New York City was the most expensive area for development in 2012 and the majority of properties opened last year were upscale and upper midscale hotels.More than 600 new hotels are scheduled to be opened throughout the U.S. in 2013.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T.last_img read more

Airbus unveils new A330s

first_imgThe Airbus A330neo series of planes have been released with great fanfare.The A330-800neo and A330-900neo planes will incorporate Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features.The A330-800neo and A330-900neo also include A350 XWB inspired winglets, an increased wing span and new engine pylons.The planes also reduce fuel efficiency by 14 per cent compared to other aircrafts in the medium range family and airline operators of the planes will be able to benefit from increased range to 400 nautical miles.Airbus Group, chief executive officer, Tom Enders said that the new planes will help support new sales for the plane manufacturer.“The A330 is a very important margin contributor for our Group. It’s also one of the most reliable and efficient commercial aircraft ever,” Mr Enders said.“With our decision to re-engine the plane, we will keep the A330 flying high for many more years to come, the development costs for the A330neo will be incurred from 2015 to 2017 with an impact of around -70 basis points on Airbus Group’s 2015 Return on Sales target,“However, we have a very good business case and the A330neo, once in service, will continue to significantly contribute to our group’s earnings.”Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

Three destinations in three days for Emirates

first_imgEmirates are preparing to launch three new A380 destinations in three days from this week- destinations the airline has had dealings with in some capacity previously.The first will be San Francisco that has seen Emirates flying to since 2008 and where it has sponsored the San Francisco Orchestra since 2011.The second destination will be Milan, home of AC Milan, who has sponsored the footballing giant since 2007.Since Emirates launched flights to the city in 2000, the airline has flown 3.1 million people on the route, that’s enough to fill the San Siro stadium 38 times.Emirates launched its daily service to Houston in 2007, and since then has flown over 1.2 million people on the route. Known as the “Energy Capital of the World” Houston is the last of the trio to take off on 3 December. Between them, the three flights will have travelled 61,784 kilometres to and from Emirates’ A380 hub in Dubai.The inclusion of these three destinations, means Emirates’ A380 route network will total 33 destinations; from Auckland to Los Angeles.Emirates divisional senior vice president, commercial operations west, Hubert Frach said this was a large scale operation, and paid tribute to the airline’s staff and vision.“Emirates has 55 A380s in its fleet, one third of all A380s currently in the skies. Having the ability to launch three new A380 destinations in three days is no small feat. It requires careful planning, multi-department coordination, airport preparedness and above all the tenacity to make it happen. The logistics of launching three new A380 destinations would be, for many, an insurmountable task –  but it’s challenges likes this that the team at Emirates relish.”Over 32 million passengers have now flown the Emirates A380 experience.Source = ETB Travel News: Basil Naimetlast_img read more

TAT showcased its 2015 Discover Thainess campaign in Sydney

first_imgTourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Australia, together with the Royal Thai Consulate in Sydney, Thai Airways International Australia and the Thai community in Sydney proudly presented the unique and charming Thai culture as part of the recent 2015 Sydney Chinese New Year’s Twilight Parade.This is the first year that the City of Sydney has invited other Asian communities to participate in its Chinese New Year Celebration. There were approximately 3,000 performers in the parade, including almost 100 Thai performers and TAT’s special guest, the 2014 Miss Thailand, who has flown all the way from Thailand just for this special event.The Thai float was decorated in the “Songkran” (Thai New Year) theme with Miss Thailand as the Songkran maiden. This is in line with TAT’s “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign which aims at offering tourists the chance to experience the distinct nature and characteristics of the Thai people as well as the nation’s cultural assets, which can be characterised in seven unique aspects: Thai food, Thai arts, Thai way of life, Thai wellness, Thai festivities, Thai wisdom and Thai fun. The word “Thainess” is a way to describe Thailand’s unique cultural treasures and the Thai way of happiness.Despite its unstable political situation, last year Thailand welcomed almost 25 million foreign tourists, including 835,517 from Australia. In January 2015, the country has already welcomed 2.65 million foreign tourists. (Source: Ministry of Tourism and Sports Thailand) TAT is confident that the number of tourists in 2015 will be no less than last year.According to Mrs. Rujiras Chatchalermkit, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand Australia, Thailand has always been among the top five overseas destinations for Australians.The next and biggest Thai event in Australia will be the annual “Thailand Grand Festival” which will be held on March 14th – 15th at Tumbalong Park in Sydney. Thai fans can experience Thai culture, Thai food and the hospitality of Thai people at the event under the amazing Songkran ‘Thai New Year’ theme.Source = Tourism Authority of Thailandlast_img read more

Carnival Corporation on track for a successful 2015

first_imgCarnival Corporation & plc has announced a non-GAAP income of USD$159 million for the first quarter (Q1) of 2015, representing a significant improvement from last year’s results.For Q1 2015, the company’s GAAP net income was USD$49 million, or USD$0.06 diluted earnings per share.In comparison, for Q1 2014 the company recorded a GAAP net loss of USD$20 million, or USD$0.03 diluted loss per share.Carnival Corporation & pls president and chief executive officer Arnold Donald said the results show the company is off to a strong start this year.“Our onboard revenue initiatives drove particularly strong improvement in the first quarter with onboard yields more than 8 percent higher than prior year (constant dollar),” Mr Donald said.He said the Carnival Cruise Line brand, in particular, continues to achieve substantial revenue yield growth and is projected for further success in 2015.The results show Q1 2015 net revenue yields increased two per cent in comparison to Q1 2014, however, gross revenue yields decreased 3.1 per cent (in current dollars) due to currency exchange rate changes.Net cruise costs (excluding fuel per available lower berth day) increased 2.4 percent in constant dollars due to higher dry-dock costs and advertising expenses.As for the remainder of 2015, Carnival Corporation & plc reveal bookings are ahead of last year and are set at higher prices.Mr Donald said the company is seeing ongoing improvement as a result of its initiatives to increase customer demand, such as public relations strategies and creative marketing campaigns.“Our efforts to further elevate our guest experience are clearly resonating with consumers and, notably, improving the frequency and retention of our loyal guests,” he said.The company expects to see a net revenue yield increase of three to four per cent on a constant currency basis for the full year 2015.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more

New non stop service San Francisco to Copenhagen

first_imgNew non stop service San Francisco to CopenhagenNew non stop service San Francisco to CopenhagenTraveling to Denmark has just become a whole lot easier for San Franciscans with yesterday’s launch of Norwegian Air’s new nonstop Boeing 787 Dreamliner two-class service from Oakland to Copenhagen.Denmark is one of Americans’ most beloved destinations, whose historic-modern capital, Copenhagen, is known for its royal palaces, castles, Tivoli Gardens, eclectic design and what many food experts describe as the world’s most creative cuisine, with more Michelin-starred restaurants than ever before. A city that continues to innovate, Copenhagen saw more bikes than cars on its streets last year, and seven new hotels are planned to open in 2017 alone. In 2016, a record number of Americans visited Denmark, and 2017 is already showing a 10% increase.Norwegian Air is one of the world’s fastest growing low-cost airlines, with flights to Copenhagen from Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, and now the Bay Area.“Expanding our West Coast service has always been a part of Norwegian’s growth plan,” said Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Oakland International Airport has been – and continues to be – a great partner, and if the response we’ve seen from travelers in the Oakland/San Francisco area continues, we look forward to even more growth from the Bay Area.”“We’re thrilled with the launch of this new direct route to Copenhagen,” says Kathrine Simonsen, VisitDenmark’s Public Relations Manager, “making it easy for Northern Californians of all incomes to experience all that Denmark has to offer.”Source = Visit Denmark – Norwegian Airlast_img read more

THE NAI HARN Phuket receives coveted Green Hotel Award

first_imgTHE NAI HARN Phuket receives coveted Green Hotel AwardTHE NAI HARN Phuket receives coveted Green Hotel AwardPhuket’s only Leading Hotel of the World scores over 80 percent to win “Gold Level” recognitionIn recognition of its commitment to sustainability, THE NAI HARN Phuket was recently awarded the “Gold Level” Green Hotel Award by Thailand’s Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, which is part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.Ongoing green initiatives at THE NAI HARN include the use of natural fertilizers in the garden, which is made from a mix of compost and effective microorganisms and produced on-site using fruit peels and wet waste. Eco-friendly cleaning products are also utilized and all the guest rooms, suites and public areas are fitted with energy-saving bulbs or LED lighting. For water conservation, the bathrooms feature low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators. All the toilets have dual flush functions.Plastic bottles are recycled, and grey water is used for the plants in the resort’s gardens. Flora such as bougainvillea trees are not only chosen for their colourful hues, but also for their low water consumption.“As one of only three hotels on the island certified to the highest “Gold Level” by the Thai Ministry of Environment’s Green Hotel initiative, we are proud and honored to set a benchmark for sustainability in the hospitality industry on the Phuket,” said Frank Grassmann, General Manager of THE NAI HARN.The Giving BagBeyond the rooms, The Nai Harn has replaced all plastic straws with paper straws and also switched all the plastic stirrers used in the hotel bars to glass ones. To minimize the distance between farm and table, the resort team plants and maintains its own on-site vegetable and herb garden. Plants such as Pandanus amaryllifolius are grown for decorative purposes, as well as used as ingredients for desserts.Executive Chef, Mark Jones is also committed to serving sustainable food and focuses on fresh, healthy ingredients that support the livelihoods of local people while helping create and maintain socially and environmentally responsible food production.Outside the hotel itself, the staff team at THE NAI HARN regularly organises and participates in environmentally and socially conscious activities and events, including Mangrove planting days, and beach clean-ups.“We already have numerous green initiatives in place, but we are looking to implement a range of new CSR activities over the course of 2018 and beyond as we continually strive for ways to lessen our impact on our surroundings,” adds Mr. Grassmann.One of the new ideas is the introduction of The Giving Bag, a concept created by two students from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and implemented in a number of hotels worldwide.Rather than leaving behind items, hotel guests are invited to place unwanted items into The Giving Bag, which will be donated to a charity of choice. The charity THE NAI HARN has chosen to support is The Phuket Sunshine Village, a local foster home for children in need.The cloth bags are specially made from discarded bedroom linen, stitched together by local Phuket ladies who were commissioned by THE NAI HARN for their handiwork.For more information about THE NAI HARN or to make a reservation, call +66 7638 0200-10 or visit www.thenaiharn.com. Guests can also contact reception in real time during office hours using the Live Chat function online. Source = THE NAI HARN Phuketlast_img read more