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first_imgFILE – This file photo released on Sunday, May 17, 2015, by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows the general view of the ancient Roman city of Palmyra, northeast of Damascus, Syria. Members of the Islamic State group have captured the ancient town raising fears that the extremists will destroy its archaeological sites that have stood for two millennia. Palmyra, home to one of the Middle East’s most famous UNESCO world heritage sites, was under full control of militants on Thursday after troops withdrew to nearby bases. (SANA via AP, File) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Baghdad says preparations are underway to launch a wide-scale counteroffensive in Anbar province involving Iranian-backed Shiite militias, which have played a key role in defeating the Islamic State group elsewhere in the country. The presence of those militias could, however, fuel sectarian tensions in the Sunni province, where anger and mistrust toward the Shiite-led government runs deep.___El Deeb reported from Beirut. Associated Press writer Sameer N. Yacoub in Baghdad contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Quick workouts for men Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The Islamic State group captured Palmyra on Wednesday, raising concerns around the world they would destroy priceless, 2,000-year-old temples, tombs and colonnades located in the town’s south.The strikes would appear to help the embattled forces of forces of President Bashar Assad, which have had a succession of recent defeats to IS group and other rebels. But experts and archeologists said the airstrike, coming days after the group overwhelmed the city, was too little too late.“It is like closing the doors after the horses have bolted,” said Amr Al-Azm, a former Syrian antiquities official and currently a professor at Shawnee State University in Ohio.A picture circulated on Twitter accounts of Islamic State supporters showed the black flag used by the extremists raised over the town’s hilltop Islamic-era castle, a structure hundreds of years old. Al-Azm said the fact that the castle dates back to an Islamic civilization may protect it from the kind of destruction IS members have inflicted on pre-Islamic heritage sites such as the ancient cities of Hatra and Ninevah in Iraq.The group says the ancient relics promote idolatry, but, it also maintains a lucrative business by excavating and selling such artifacts on the black market, according to antiquities authorities. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Islamic State fighters broke into the museum of Palmyra, though a Syrian official said its artifacts have been removed and are safe while the U.S.-led coalition conducted airstrikes on the group’s installations near the captured ancient town — the first such reported attack in the central province of Homs.The Department of Defense said in a statement that U.S.-led coalition aircraft had attacked an IS position near Palmyra, which goes by the modern name Tadmur, destroying six anti-aircraft artillery systems and an artillery piece. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Aymenn al-Tamimi, a researcher of Islamic militant groups, said the coalition airstrikes technically represents an intervention on behalf of Assad’s regime to expel the group, adding that similar strikes in the northern province of Deir al-Zour, where IS is advancing on a major regime military base, can be also perceived as such.“However, in the end airstrikes don’t mean much if the ground forces are so ineffective in resisting — as has been the case in Palmyra,” he said.The city’s museum and artifacts have been damaged and looted earlier during Syria’s four-year civil war. In a 2014 government report prepared for the U.N.’s cultural agency, damage already was recorded because of fighting in the area around the Temple Bel. Bullets and shells hit the temple’s columns, while two of its southern columns had collapsed. The report also recorded looting.Abdulkarim said some 6,300 artifacts from Syria were seized and smuggled out of the country in the last four years.The Islamic State group holds a large stretch of territory across Syria and neighboring Iraq. In Iraq, police Col. Aziz al-Shihawi said that Iraqi troops and Shiite militias recaptured the town of Husseiba in Anbar province Saturday. He said Iraqi allied forces killed several militants before they withdrew from the town, some 7 kilometers (4 miles) east of the Islamic State-held city of Ramadi. Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories One activist in the city of Palmyra, who goes by the name of Khaled al-Homsi because of security concerns, told The Associated Press that the militants smashed a statue in the museum’s foyer — a replica that depicts ancient residents of Palmyra.Maamoun Abdulkarim, the head of the Antiquities and Museums Department in Damascus, told the AP that militants entered the museum in the town’s center Friday afternoon, locked the doors and left behind their own guards. He said that the artifacts earlier had been moved away to safety.“We feel proud as all the museum’s contents were taken to safe areas,” he told reporters. But Abdulkarim warned that the Islamic State group’s control of the town remains a danger to its archaeological sites.Al-Azm said he doubts the museum was totally emptied because larger pieces would be hard to move. He said the museum also contained at least two mummies, and carvings from the nearby tombs, mostly dating to the 1st, 2nd and early 3rd centuryAl-Azm said he fears that the “real looting” will take place at the site itself, adding that the group will take its time to recruit local antiquities experts to help in running the illicit trade. But he worried that the Temple of Bel, the majestic structure in the heart of this desert oasis, will ultimately be destroyed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes “It is the poster child of an IS cultural heritage atrocity,” he said, saying the temple in later years was used as a church and has walls covered in frescos.Al-Azm said the only way to save the ancient site is by driving the Islamic State group out of the town.So far, the IS militants have been primarily concerned with consolidating their control over the city, conducting house-to-house searches for government soldiers and pro-government militiamen and, in some cases, publicly killing those that they find, according to activists and government officials. They have also restored electricity partially to the town, and urged government employees to return to work.On Saturday, commercial trucks were allowed to travel to the city of Raqqa in northern Syria, the self-declared capital of the IS group, and they returned to Palmyra with fresh produce for the city that has been besieged by the fighting since May 13, al-Homsi said. The group offered the truck drivers free fuel, he said.The Defense Department statement didn’t specify where the strikes took place. Activists said they heard of no airstrikes in the immediate vicinity of the town, but that the battles between IS fighters and government forces have continued in a mountainous area containing oil fields northwest of the town.last_img read more

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first_imgDorin Chirtoaca, the pro-European candidate for mayor of the Moldovan capital celebrates after seeing exit polls in a runoff for local elections in Chisinau, Moldova, Sunday, June 28, 2015. Near-final results gave a pro-European Union candidate a comfortable lead in the runoff vote for mayor of Moldova’s capital, in an election seen as a test of whether the former Soviet republic moves closer to the EU or to neighboring Russia. (AP Photo/Dan Morar) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home ___Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Romania, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   “Today a new pro-European offensive starts from Chisinau and in all of Moldova,” the 38-year-old Chirtoaca said. “The pro-European path should go all the way.”Sunday’s local elections were seen as a test of whether Moldova moves closer to the EU or to Russia.Chirtoaca’s victory was a boost for Moldova’s pro-European parties, who hold have 55 of the 101 seats in Parliament yet struggle to remain united. Pro-European parties won 17 counties Sunday while parties that want more cooperation with Moscow took 11 counties.Final results gave Chirtoaca 53.5 percent of the vote to 46.5 percent for his pro-Russian challenger, Zinaida Greceanai, a former prime minister.Moldova, which declared independence in 1991 after the Soviet Union broke up, lies between Romania and Ukraine. Last year, it signed an association agreement with the 28-nation EU, angering Russia, which then banned some of Moldova’s fruits and vegetables. That hurt the largely agricultural nation of 4 million people, one of Europe’s poorest.Chirtoaca, who won another four-year mandate, has been mayor of this city of 1 million since 2007.However, leader of the Socialists’ Party, Igor Dodon, claimed the ballot was flawed by irregularities. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Sponsored Stories center_img Top Stories CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — The new, pro-European Union mayor of Moldova’s capital called Monday for the former Soviet republic to renew efforts to form a pro-European government.Dorin Chirtoaca, who is also deputy chairman of the Liberal Party, told Radio Chisinau that Moldova should have a new government in place by the end of August to avoid an early election.Parliament has until Sept. 12 to approve a new government after former Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici resigned June 12 amid a probe into the authenticity of his high school and university degrees. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Four benefits of having a wireless security system New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generationlast_img read more

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first_imgWARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s Senate approved a government bill that provides coherent regulations for in vitro fertilization and makes the procedure also available to unwed couples, part of a larger effort to promote more births in the aging nation.Friday’s vote, 46-43 with four abstentions, follows approval in the lower house of parliament. It now needs the signature of the president, who supports it. Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories Poland already allows IVF in licensed clinics, but has lacked coherent legal and logistical regulations. In a recent blunder, a woman was implanted with the wrong egg.The legislation was backed by the ruling Civic Platform party. It was opposed by the conservative and pro-Catholic opposition Law and Justice party, which says IVF treats embryos as objects rather than human beings.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Patients with chronic pain give advicelast_img read more

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first_imgNorth Koreans bow in front of bronze statues of the late leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il at Munsu Hill, Monday, July 27, 2015, in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Koreans gathered to offer flowers and pay their respects to their late leaders as part of celebrations for the 62nd anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) How men can have a healthy 2019 Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center North Korean officials took the opportunity of the anniversary to step up their anti-U.S. rhetoric and call upon the nation to redouble its devotion to the nation’s current leader, Kim Jong Un, the third leader in the Kim dynasty, and prepare for a final showdown with Washington.The anniversary is hailed in North Korea as a victory over the U.S., which fought with the South Koreans and U.N. allies against the North’s forces, who were supported by China and the Soviet Union.In a speech to veterans on Saturday, Kim Jong Un stressed the importance of instilling the country’s young people with the same fighting spirit and devotion as the generation that experienced the war. But he also stressed that North Korea has a new ace in the hole — a nuclear arsenal of its own.“Gone forever is the era when the United States blackmailed us with nukes; now the United States is no longer a source of threat and fear for us and we are the very source of fear for it,” he said in the speech, the text of which was broadcast on North Korean television.At a separate gathering held Sunday, Korean People’s Army Gen. Pak Yong Sik, who is believed to be the country’s new defense minister, said that if the United States does not abandon its hostile policies toward Pyongyang and provokes another war, the North is prepared to fight until “there would be no one left to sign a surrender document.”center_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches “It is more than 60 years since the ceasefire on (the) land, but peace has not yet settled on it,” he told the meeting, which included high-level officials, veterans and diplomats stationed in Pyongyang. “The past Korean War brought about the beginning of the downhill turn for the U.S., but the second Korean war will bring the final ruin to U.S. imperialism.”The anniversary brought a festive atmosphere to the capital, with citizens using the holiday not only to show their patriotic pride by laying flowers before statues of North Korea’s first president Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il, but also to enjoy the warm summer weather at parks and ice cream stands.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korean officials warned the United States that another war on the Korean Peninsula would leave no Americans alive to sign a surrender document as the country marked Monday’s anniversary of the armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War more than six decades ago.Pyongyang and other cities around North Korea were decked out with flags and banners as North Koreans flocked to patriotic gatherings and mass dance celebrations to mark the anniversary of the July 27, 1953, agreement that brought the three-year Korean war to an end with an armistice, not a peace treaty. Mesa family survives lightning strike to homelast_img read more

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first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1f922/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> According to a new totaltravel.com survey, the strength of the Australian dollar has convinced almost 1 in 2 Australians to travel overseas in 2010. The survey asked the question ‘What type of traveller will you be in 2010?’46 % respondents said they will be ‘heading abroad’ in 2010, as ‘the dollar is strong and my passport is coming out of hiding’.“Considering how expensive internal flights and hotels are it is no surprised that seeing Australia is so low on the list,” one online reader commented.24 % of travellers said they would be ‘cheap and cheerful’ travellers in 2010, with their motto being ‘pack the car, don’t forget the tent’.21% of travellers said they would book domestic flights and see more of Australia in 2010.One reader commented: “After flying the world for 30 years as an international flight attendant it’s time to see my own state of South Australia. “I’m always amazed at the diversity and beauty of this great state”.9 % of respondent’s said they would be ‘lucky to leave my postcode in 2010′. totaltravel.com global marketing manager Paul Fisher said, “After cutting back for the last 12 months, Australian travellers are eager to travel and see more of the world, and there’s no better time to do so than now”. “The Australian dollar is strong, overseas airfares and accommodation are cheap and there is a confidence in the economy.  “There are some unbelievable deals, with the cost of many overseas packages even more affordable than some domestic packages on offer.“I think this is trend will continue for quite a while, so I think it’s imperative for Aussie travel operators to take a step back and see how they can improve their offerings.”The survey was conducted over four weeks and attracted 771 votes. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

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first_imgTNS revealed the secrets of the Australian travel market in Domesticate 2010, a deep-dive study which analyses travel behavior. The study found that social policy and attitude change is required to address the tendency for Australians to stockpile their annual leave.At the launch of the study on Wednesday, Director of travel and leisure research at TNS, Carolyn Childs, revealed 31% of Australians currently employed are holding 10 or more days and 18% are holding 20 or more days of leave in reserve.  ” There are a set of core beliefs around annual leave in Australia that prevent many from travelling; converting non-travellers, and winning back those not travelling as much, is a wider societal challenge we face,” said Childs. The study found that the top reasons for accruing leave, among those with 10 or more days stockpiled was situational reasons (e.g. saving for a big trip), caution in the current climate with many keeping a ‘leave buffer’ for financial security and employer constraints.   According to Childs: ” Australia is one of the few countries that allows workers to accrue annual leave, but by OECD standards our leave proportion is slow, our ability to stock-pile is extreme, and our provision of ‘social’ leave (e.g. sick, parental or carers leave is not generous.“The research suggests Australians feel they get mixed messages on the subject of taking leave – employers want us to use our leave but send subliminal messages that discourage it.“And in times of economic uncertainty, people are nervous about being away from their desks.“The ‘No Leave, No Life’ initiative is already addressing this issue, but the research suggests a wider policy debate is needed across society and government.”The TNS Domesticate study also reported that the two critical areas for the travel industry to address are the increased competition posed by South East Asia and persuading Australian to rethink the value they place on Australian holidays. Australia has recently encountered a shift in their competitive set with South East Asian destinations no longer perceived as merely ‘fly and flop’. The region has established itself as a destination with greater emotional appeal due to the transformational and immersive experiences it offers. According to Childs: ” The emotional appeal of the region, coupled with rational justifications, such as increased capacity on routes, competitive airfares, favourable exchange rates and an extremely low in-market spend, have combined to strengthen the competitiveness of South East Asia even further. “To stave off this challenge, we need to work with the elements of the Australian offer that really engage consumers, such as relaxation and reconnection.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/29051/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

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first_imgBritain’s High Court has approved British Airways’ injunction against a 20-day walkout by its cabin crew.The judge ruled today the planned Unite strikes illegal, saying the union had not properly informed its members of ballot results, including the number of votes cast and the number of “yes” and “no” votes.Unite leaders Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson have called the ruling “a landmark attack on free trade unionism, and the right to take industrial action.”“Its implication is that it is now all but impossible to take legally protected strike action against any employer who wishes to seek an injunction on even the most trivial grounds.” The union now plans to apply to the Court of Appeal today to overturn the ruling. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/15769/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

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first_imgFrustration is growing in the industry, with concerns that wholesalers are abandoning agents, as they focus more on direct consumer contact than supporting agencies.Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard, a Travelscene American Express consultant said that it hurts a sale when an agent is left waiting for hours for wholesalers to return a phone call.The consultant explained that earlier this week they had left a voice message to adjust a customer booking made with Great Southern Railway (GSR). After hours of waiting for a call from the company they decided to ring through to the wholesaler’s public line and had their query answered within minutes.The travel consultant stressed that it was the first time they had experienced issues with GSR and it seemed as though wholesalers in general are more concerned with accommodating people booking online than they are with guiding agents.They added that they were informed by the GSR staff that among the “first things to go” in a company is assistance available to consultants.“They want us to do their distribution for them, to be their advertising and organise their bookings but yet they won’t provide us with any backup services,” the consultant stated.“The majority of wholesalers that do offer a call back system either don’t call back at all and the delay is just not constructive.“When agents call a wholesaler it is because we can’t find the information we need on the website or are experiencing difficulty and need genuine help with it.“So to just be ignored is just not good enough.”e-Travel Blackboard had contacted GSR and is awaiting comment. What do you think, have you ever experienced something similar? Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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first_imgTiger is not yet ready to take to Aussie skies againPhoto credit: Simon Clancy Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H As Tiger Airways Australia prepares to enter Federal Court this afternoon, parent company Tiger Airways Holdings announced from Singapore that its Australian business recorded an operating loss of S$23.2 million (AU$17.3 million) for the quarter ended 30 June 2011, a significantly higher loss than the S$10.6 million achieved last year.   According to Tiger Airways Holdings acting chief executive Chin Yau Seng however, the group remains committed to its Australian arm.“We believe there is money to be made in this segment and we remain committed to trying make it work,” Mr Chin told reporters in Singapore.“As to whether we have ever considered pulling the plug, we are nowhere close to that tipping point at this point in time.“We believe we have the right low cost model to serve the Australian market.”In a statement, the group said it expected Tiger Airways Australia to report a net loss for the financial year, blaming the impact of higher fuel prices and the disruption to air travel due to ash from Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano.   Yesterday, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said it had found further deficiencies in the airline’s resubmitted documentation, making matters worse for the carrier.“Deficiencies have been identified in documentation which is required for the civil aviation authority to assess whether Tiger can go flying again,” CASA spokesperson Peter Gibson told the ABC. “Tiger has to correct these deficiencies before we can complete that assessment.“This is going to take some more time.”Overall, the Tiger Airways group recorded a loss before tax for Q1 of the fiscal year of S$12.2 million compared to a profit of S$1.3 million the year prior, with Tiger Airways Singapore recording an operating profit of S$7.5 million, a 44.4 per cent decrease from last year. last_img read more

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first_imgDenmark’s tourist board recruited MasterChef’s Matt Moran, the world’s best chef, Rasmus Kofoed and Princess Mary to entice Aussie travellers to follow their taste buds into the European country.Speaking at the event, Mr Moran explained that Denmark was the “hottest country” in regards to food, particularly because of the designs and flavours.“It the number of destination when it comes to food,” he said during the press conference.With local cuisines committed to emphasising the region’s Nordic roots, Australia’s Ambassador to Denmark, James Choi concurred, explaining the simplicity yet uniqueness behind the design and quality of a Danish dish makes it worth experiencing.“They are know for creating beautiful produce and creating incredible design… [and] making it into a work of art,” he said.“It is inspiring that they put this amazing innovation onto the plate. Mr Choi added the “incredible eye for detail and quality” unique to the Danish people drives a lot of Aussie consumer products to conduct their market research and testing in Denmark.“If it works for the Danish market then it will work,” he stressed.While food was the main dish at the “round table” discussion, Aussies were also urged to drop by the European country to experience one of the “happiest” destinations on the planet.Although the weather in Denmark was immediately ruled out as a cause for the pleasant attitude of the locals, Mr Choi said it is likely a result of the “incredible” balance between work and family.“Danish have an incredible sense of balance,” Mr Choi explained.“Denmark is a very prosperous nation but at the same time Danish workers have an incredible commitment to family and friends.”Click here to check out photos as Princess Mary assisted Matt Moran and Rasmus Kofoed create Danish dishes. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Virgin lounge facilitiesImage Source: Carrier Virgin Australia has announced an extra daily service between Hobart and Melbourne, as well as a new lounge and Priority Boarding service for premium guests at Hobart Airport. The additional flights will commence operations by September 2012 and the new 75-set lounge will open its doors in 2013. Virgin announced last month the continued development of its lounge facilities nation-wide and its exploration of premium service markets. “With our international airline alliance partners and the introduction of premium services such as Business Class and airport lounges, we are now able to cater to new markets, including business and high-end leisure travellers from Australia and around the world,” Virgin Australia CEO, John Borghetti said. The Priority Boarding service will be made available on all flights departing Hobart from March 23, 2012. The service encompasses a dedicated boarding lane at the gate, allowing premium guests the opportunity to board the plane when they wish.Hobart Airport’s CEO, Rod Parry was delighted about Virgin’s additional flights and premium services.“The joint investment reflects the ongoing positive relationship between Hobart Airport and Virgin Australia. It will see continued growth into Tasmania as well as provide an excellent customer service experience for travellers,” Mr Parry said.last_img read more

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first_imgBerlin – City of Cool Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Frankfurt – City of Art Hamburg – City by the Sea Magic Cities Germany has revealed new slogans for each of the 11 German cities it markets.The purpose of the new slogans was to allow for differentiation between each of the German cities and increase the number of arrivals to member cities. According to Magic Cities Germany, most international visitors to Germany spend at least one night in one of the 11 Magic Cities and in 2010, the cities accumulated over 23.5 million international overnight stays. From 2012 to 2014 Magic Cities will re-focus its international marketing campaigns towards Australia, China, Brazil and India. The new slogans for each of the 11 cities are as follows; Berlin – City of CoolCologne – City of Exuberance Dresden – City of CultureDusseldorf – City of FashionFrankfurt – City of ArtHamburg – City by the SeaHannover – City of InnovationLeipzig – City of MusicMunich – City of TraditionNuremberg – City of HistoryStuttgart – City of Carslast_img read more

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first_imgThe iconic image of Christchurch was destroyed when the Christ Church Cathedral partially collapsed during the 2011 earthquakes. Christchurch major Bob Parker said it was important in developing the Square it is given “the right tone” to create a welcoming area that represents the area’s history. Additionally, the Square will also include new public facilities and regenerated plants and vegetation. Christchurch took another step towards recovery this weekend, after reopening Cathedral Square. Source = ETB News: NJ Click here for more information. In a public event over the weekend, Christchurch City Council launched the Transitional Square project, which included the transformation of the Square with new art installations, seating and performance space. Meanwhile, earlier this month Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch sales manager Roger Tait told ETB News the property was fully recovered post-quake. “As the heart of Christchurch and the iconic image of our city, we are delighted that Cathedral Square will once again be buzzing with life and activity,” Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter said.last_img read more

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first_imgWith the number of Chinese visitors to Australia doubling in the past four years, Tourism Australia has predicted the annual expenditure by Chinese visitors will reach AUD $13 billion per year by 2020, attributed to rising incomes and close proximity.The latest official figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics have shown a significant jump in visitors from Asia, driving the strongest annual growth in tourist arrival numbers since 2000, and although the growth rate out of China has been slower in recent years, it is on its way to surpass New Zealand as Australia’s primary source market within the next four years, the Financial Review reported.In 2013, Australia welcomed 709,300 visitor arrivals from China, an increase of 14.4 percent on the previous year, with a spend of around AUD $4.7 billion.The lower Australian dollar, which is expected to remain at lower levels for the rest of the year, combined with a recovering global economy and low-cost carriers are attributed to the inbound tourism sector improving.Furthermore, the Chinese-Australian communities throughout Australian cities as well as the appeal of overseas education and Australia’s green reputation are all key influencing factors for the growth.As more Chinese visitors opt for being independent tourists over group tours, Tourism Australia launched a program last month with China-based travel agencies to sell high quality holiday packages, as part of its strategy to attract more higher-spending Chinese visitors looking for higher quality experiences.Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovichlast_img read more

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first_imgAustralia’s largest cruise ship floats first block during constructionOvation of the Seas, the fourth largest cruise ship in the world and the largest, newest and most technologically advanced ship to ever call Australia home has had one of her blocks floated out of the construction hall at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The ship is constructed in blocks which will then be joined together for the next stages of construction, with delivery expected to be complete in mid-2016.The float out of her first blocks marks less than 18 months to her maiden Australian arrival where she will claim the title of the largest cruise ship to ever sail in Australia. Ovation of the Seas will also claim the title of equal fourth largest cruise ship in the world when she launches – eclipsed only by sister ships Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.Royal Caribbean recently opened bookings for Ovation of the Seas’ first Australian season. The US$1 billion will offer three Australia and New Zealand sailings and a repositioning sailing all departing Sydney from December 2016.Ovation of the Seas is the third ship in the ground-breaking Quantum Class. She will introduce a new set of first-at-sea onboard experiences to Australia including the Ripcord by iFLY, a heart-pounding skydiving experience; North Star, a thrilling adventure that will transport guests as high as the Sydney Harbour Bridge; cutting-edge transformative venues including SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, a circus school and more; and the robotic Bionic Bar. Ovation has also reimagined dining onboard with the introduction of “Dynamic Dining” where guests can choose from 18 unique restaurant concepts, including Jamie’s Italian, Michael’s Genuine Pub, the enchanting Wonderland and Royal Caribbean favourites including Chops Grille steakhouse and Izumi Japanese.Technology has also been amped up on Ovation of the Seas with high speed internet offering more bandwidth than all other cruise ships combined so guests can stream, video call and more as fast as they would onshore. New radio frequency smart bands also mean you can get into your stateroom and make onboard purchases without the need for the cruise card. While the Royal iQ app makes keeping track of your onboard schedule simple with all bookings and cruise details stored and updated automatically. Cruise with Royal CaribbeanSource = Royal Caribbeanlast_img read more

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first_imgThomas Cook (India) Ltd., India’s leading integrated travel and travel related financial services company, announced its acquisition of Luxe Asia, a Destination Management Company based in Sri Lanka, through its wholly owned subsidiary Thomas Cook Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.The Company will be operated as an independent entity.Thomas Cook India’s acquisition of Luxe Asia gives it significant presence in Sri Lanka with destination management capabilities in Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean region; also synergies with its key business lines of Outbound, Inbound and Corporate MICE.Based in Sri Lanka, Luxe Asia is focussed primarily on inbound tourism from key global markets and services both tour operator and traveller segments across its ten destinations in the Indian Ocean Region and Asia.Commenting on the acquisition, Madhavan Menon, Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. said, “Our acquisition of Luxe Asia reiterates delivery of our strategic intent of establishing a global Destination Management presence.“Luxe Asia will continue to focus on its core domain of Inbound Tourism across key global source markets.”He concluded by stating, “Luxe Asia is a great fit to our portfolio and we aim to draw on the strong synergies with our Outbound, Inbound and MICE businesses at Thomas Cook India.” Thomas Cook IndiaSource = Thomas Cook (India) Limitedlast_img read more

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first_imgThe Chatwal San Miguel de Allende-Mexico, South Winery ViewDream Hotel Group signs luxury hotel in MexicoAnnounces plans to open The Chatwal San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in 2020Renowned hotel and brand management company Dream Hotel Group today announced plans to launch its five-star luxury brand The Chatwal in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in 2020. The latest hotel signing with Mexico-based Tamayo Desarrollos represents a major milestone for Dream Hotel Group, positioning the company as international hospitality innovators and leading the way for new growth in the region.“We are honored to partner with Alejandro Tamayo and his team in bringing The Chatwal brand to San Miguel de Allende,” said Dream Hotel Group CEO Jay Stein, “San Miguel is one of the most creative and culturally significant cities in Mexico and an ideal destination for The Chatwal flag. We’re fortunate to collaborate with visionary developers like Tamayo Desarrollos who share our ambitions to grow and develop our brands in Latin America.”Located at The Vines in San Miguel de Allende, The Chatwal San Miguel features 44 freestanding villas and 125 branded residences perched on a dramatic cliff overlooking the Laja River Valley and the world renowned UNESCO World Heritage church steeples of San Miguel de Allende, setting a new standard for luxury hospitality in the central highlands.Conceptualized by renowned architecture, planning and design firm CallisonRTKL, the highly anticipated development is nestled among 200 acres of beautiful French-imported vineyards, a world-class polo club with unrivaled spa and fitness facilities and a carefully curated, farm-to-table culinary program using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients for a truly epicurean experience.“We are very excited to announce The Chatwal San Miguel de Allende as the centerpiece of this incredible development,” said Alejandro Tamayo Ibarra, CEO of Tamayo Desarrollos, S.A. de C.V. “Together, we look forward to creating a new type of luxury experience for Mexico and Latin America.”“We are thrilled to bring our luxury brand to the city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico,” said Christian Glauser-Benz, Vice President of Development, Dream Hotel Group. “The Chatwal brand is a perfect fit for this beautiful city and represents everything San Miguel has to offer – rich history and culture, exquisite architecture and design, exceptional gastronomy and a deeply romantic setting designed purely for relaxation.”A three-hour drive from Mexico City, located in the Bajio region in the far eastern part of the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende offers year-round spring-like climate, colorful cultural celebrations and creative gastronomy in the most spectacular natural setting. In 2008, the city and nearby sanctuary were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, chosen for its cultural significance, architectural contribution to the Mexican Baroque art and architecture movement, and the role it played in the fight for Mexican independence.Recently named “World’s Best City” in Travel + Leisure magazine’s World’s Best Awards 2017, San Miguel de Allende is undeniably one of Mexico’s biggest draws, attracting thousands of tourists and new residents from abroad every year.With timeless elegance at its core in architecture, design and details, Chatwal Hotels offer bespoke experiences and refined service in some of the world’s most desired locales. The Chatwal brand represents a seamless mélange of impeccable world-class interiors, serene wellness components, the finest in haute cuisine, elaborate wines, and a deep understanding of local cultures to provide guests with highly personalized and distinguished, five-star, luxury hospitality in new and emerging destinations worldwide.The signing of The Chatwal San Miguel de Allende comes on the heels of the Dream Hotel Group’s latest announcement to develop three new hotels in Latin America, Unscripted Tulum, Unscripted Belize and Dream Belize, marking a thrilling new chapter for the company.Dream Hotel Group plans to sign another 50 hotels and resorts worldwide across all its brands – Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, The Chatwal and Unscripted Hotels – over the next five years, continuing to solidify its burgeoning global portfolio.About Dream Hotel GroupDream Hotel Group is a hotel brand and management company with a rich, 30-year history of managing properties in some of the world’s most highly competitive hotel environments. Home to its Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, The Chatwal and Unscripted Hotels brands, Dream Hotel Group, encompasses three business lines: Proprietary Brands, Hotel Management, and Dining & Nightlife. The company is committed to the philosophy that forward-thinking design, service and guest experiences should be available across all market segments. Dream Hotel Group is dedicated to offering travelers an authentic connection to their chosen destination through a truly original approach. For more information, please visit www.dreamhotelgroup.com and follow @dreamhotelgroup on Twitter.Source = Dream Hotel Grouplast_img read more

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first_imgZambia Tourism Board in association with Kenya Airways recently organised a familiarisation trip to Zambia for prominent tour operators from India. The 7-days tour to Zambia showcased Kenya Airways flights and the sights and sounds of the destination.Zambia Tourism Board hopes to capitalise on the growing outbound market from India and increase tourist arrivals to Zambia. Felix Chaila, Managing Director, Zambia Tourism Board said, “India is an emerging source market for us and we want to see a positive growth from this market. This FAM was conducted so that Indian travel trade can get firsthand experience of the wonders of Zambia and can promote the destination further in their own country. We hope they will create customised itineraries to Zambia and promote it as a standalone destination or as add-on to Kenya and South Africa itineraries.”The familiarisation trip consisted of agents from Cox & Kings, Beacon Holidays, The Wanderers, Itrip Holidays, JTB travels, Destination Management and World of Vacation along with Lubaina Sheerazi, COO, Blue Square Consultants. The group visited Lusaka, Livingstone, South Luangwa & Lower Zambezi National Parks and enjoyed activities like canoeing in the Zambezi River amongst hippos and crocodiles, day and night game drive in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Park, cruise on African Queen, bush breakfast in South Luangwa National Park and dinner on Royal Livingstone Express Train. Some of the partners who provided support to the FAM include Bushtracks Africa, Sun International, Royal Zambezi Lodge, Mfuwe Lodge, Kafunta River Lodge, Flatdogs Camp, Chiawa Camp, Sausage Tree Camp and the airline Proflight Zambia.“Zambia is the new face of Africa and is a safe and secure destination with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We feel Indians are looking at exploring new and exciting destinations and Zambia is a product they will love. The country has tourist attractions like parks, lakes, rich heritage and culture but the main USP of Zambia remains the World Heritage Site of Victoria Falls, the only natural wonder of the World in Africa and the largest curtain of falling water in the World. One can enjoy activities like Bungee Jumping, helicopter and micro light flight over the famed Victoria Falls. Another interesting feature of the falls is the Devil’s pool, seen by more than 20 million viewers on u-tube and rated by Trip Advisor as the Best natural swimming Pool in the World. It is right at the lip of the Victoria Falls providing a vantage and unforgettable view of the falls at the spot where, Dr David Livingstone, the Scottish Explorer and Missionary became the first Westerner to see the Victoria Falls in 1855 and uttered the words ‘Scenes so lovely, they must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight’ and ‘By far the finest sight I have seen in Africa’. Moving forward, we plan to conduct more familiarisation trips, focused network events for trade, branding activities and one-on-one sales meetings in India with the help of our India representative Blue Square Consultants,” added Chaila.last_img read more

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first_imgEnhancing the value-for-money options for customers, Air Arabia is now providing comprehensive EMI payment options for Indian travellers. Through EMI, travellers will now be able to budget their expenses to travel to the destinations connected by Air Arabia.To avail the facility, one only needs to opt for the ‘pay with EMI’ option on the payment page and choose the preferred bank. The self-explanatory and easy-to-follow interface will display a choice of duration for the EMI, along with the amount break-up that will be billed to the credit card statement every month.Air Arabia operates 115 weekly flights from its hub in Sharjah to 13 cities in India.last_img read more

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first_imgChinese New Year is the most important and colourful Chinese festival celebrated by the majority of the local population of Macao, where shops, offices, factories close for this traditional holiday during the month of January from 28-30.During ten days there will be a huge number of events celebrating the New Year. The long dragon and lions dance on the streets, lanterns, flowers and entertainment comes alive in the most important squares of the city.15th day of the First Moon will be the Lantern Festival where at night, the celebrations continue with colourful lanterns placed around.Flowers are traditionally an integral part of Chinese New Year festivities, with the Chinese New Year’s Eve Flower Market a popular evening treat for families hunting down their favourite plants.Macao’s Firecrackers and Fireworks Zones in Taipa and on the Peninsula attract thousands of spellbound admirers.last_img read more