Πέμπτη, 19 Ιανουαρίου 2017

UNWTO and Japan partner to promote sustainable tourism

unwto japan jica
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation aimed at providing a framework for joint action in the area of sustainable tourism.
The agreement, undersigned by UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, and JICA Executive Senior Vice President, Kazuhiko Koshikawa, opens important opportunities of collaboration as JICA is one of the largest global donors in terms of international cooperation for development in tourism.
As underlined in the document, the agreement aims to contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through tourism. A particular focus is given to assisting developing countries to reduce poverty through tourism as well as to improve public policies and business practices in order to ensure sustainable and responsible production and consumption patterns along the tourism supply chain.
“To work together with a development agency that has 40 years of experience is a privilege and a unique opportunity for UNWTO, particularly now that we are launching the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017,” said UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai on the occasion of the signature of the agreement conducted at the Organizations’ Headquarters in Madrid.
Other areas of cooperation include research and knowledge-sharing in themes such as tourism and poverty reduction, tourism development in developing countries, tourism and climate change and tourism and security.
In addition, both Organizations will cooperate in technical assistance projects addressing policy and strategy development, institutional strengthening, quality standards, human resource development as well as capacity building.

Golfers’ award gives La Manga Club six appeal

La Manga Club’s place at the head of Spanish golf has been cemented after being named as the country’s best golf resort for an incredible sixth year in a row at the 2017 Today’s Golfer Travel Awards – regarded as the Oscars of the golf travel industry.
The prestigious resort in Murcia, south-east Spain, was the overwheming first choice of readers of the UK’s best-selling golf magazine and received nearly 10 per cent more votes than its nearest challenger.

The new accolade extends La Manga Club’s amazing record of having won the coveted title every year since it was introduced, and is further confirmation of the resort’s status as one of Europe’s most popular golf resorts.

Jose Asenjo, general manager of La Manga Club, said: “To have won this award six years is an incredible achievement and is testament to the outstanding experience that we offer to all our golfers.“With fantastic golf complemented by an array of five-star leisure facilities, there is no better place in Europe for a relaxing golf break and, with investment continuing across the resort, we’re looking forward to La Manga Club going from strength to strength in the years ahead.”

Kevin Brown, courses and travel editor at Today’s Golfer, said: “Special congratulations must go to the legendary La Manga Club for registering its sixth straight success in Spain’s ‘Best Resort’ category. It is a fantastic achievement and shows just how highly the resort is regarded by golfers across the UK.”

The award is one of a number of top recent honours to have been bestowed on La Manga Club – including being named as one of Europe’s top golf resorts in an industry list of the top 100 resorts in continental Europe – and is recognition for the venue’s sustained investment in its extensive golf and leisure facilities to maintain its position as Spain’s flagship resort.

Among the improvements made in 2016, experienced Swedish professional Thomas Johansson was appointed to revolutionise golf tuition with his exclusive NXT LVL training concept at the resort’s rebranded Golf Training Centre as the new director of golf training.
In addition, as well as the purchase of a new golf buggy fleet, the latest TORO greenkeeping equipment and and the redesign of the pro shop, La Manga Club’s 37 Spike & Sports Bar and famous Piano Bar both received significant refurbishment as part of the resort’s on-going upgrade to its food and beverages facilities.

Set across an area of 1,400 acres, La Manga Club has been at the forefront of European sports and leisure destinations for more than four decades.Featuring three 18-hole golf courses, a nine-hole academy course and outstanding practice facilities, La Manga Club has enjoyed a rich golfing history since its inception in 1972, while its array of other outstanding sports and leisure amenities, bars and restaurants has helped establish it as a firm favourite with golfers worldwide.

The official overseas training base of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the sports complex will host the La Manga Club PGAs of Europe Pro-Am for the fourth year running in March, while the continent’s next generation of golfing stars will head to the resort in July to compete in the 2017 European Under-18 Boys Team Championship.

La Manga Club boasts unrivalled facilities as a sports and leisure destination and, as well as its golf courses, includes a 28-court tennis centre and a 2,000sqm spa and fitness centre. It also features the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and townhouses and more than 20 bars and restaurants.

Maritim Hotels upgrades 25% of all rooms across Germany

maritim stuttgart
Germany’s largest owner-managed hotel group is unveiling a series of revamped rooms for 2017. Over a quarter of all rooms at Maritim Hotels in Germany have been upgraded in the past two years across nine of its core properties as part of an extensive redevelopment programme.
Nearly 3,000 rooms out of the 9,680 rooms in Maritim Hotels across Germany have been revamped with upgrades across rooms, bathrooms and public areas.
Meeting and event space across the properties have also been renovated and modernised including one of the Maritim’s flagship hotels, Hanover. This hotel, located next to the city’s airport, has recently revamped 15 event rooms and ten conference suites which can host groups of all sizes from 3 to 1,500, as well as a new sounds system.
These new features can be found in rooms at Maritim hotels in Königswinter, Ulm, Munich, Stuttgart, Darmstadt, Hannover, Bad Homburg, Cologne and Würzburg and its adjacent Congress Centrum. Maritim’s hotel in Bonn is set to be upgraded this year.
Mark Spivey, Director of International Sales, at Maritim Hotels, comments:
“With nearly 3,000 revamped rooms across Germany, we’re continuing to provide a top notch offering for our guests. Maritim is Germany’s best known hotel chain and our comprehensive portfolio includes centrally located city hotels, conveniently located airport hotels and lakeside family hotels.”
The Maritim Hotelgesellschaft is Germany’s largest owner-managed hotel group, and the company’s nationwide hotel network is represented by hotels in six countries overseas: Mauritius, Egypt, Turkey, Malta, Spain and China. The group’s ongoing expansion continues to strengthen its position within the European first-class hotel industry.

TravelBound Offers Travel Agents Wave Season Incentives

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για TravelBound Offers Travel Agents Wave Season Incentives
Agents can earn resort credit and bonus commission by CeBlue Villas and Beach Resort this holiday

TravelBound, the leading supplier of fully independent travel (FIT) to destinations around the globe, is offering special savings on pre-and post-cruise stays in some of the most popular cruise ports around the world now through March during Wave Season.
Travel agents can help clients take advantage of savings in select ports while earning an additional 3% commission for European bookings, including destinations in both Western and Eastern Europe and Scandinavia (including Iceland); 2% more for bookings in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and 1% bonus commission for bookings in the Americas, including Canada and the Caribbean.
“TravelBound’s Wave Season offers help travel agents increase earning potential with savings on hotels for pre- and post-cruise stays in top ports for their clients. Agents always earn commission on the full package booked, tours and transfers included, and the same is true of our bonus commission through January,” said President James Phillips.
“Additionally, we’re launching a two-part ‘WAVEinar’ education series to provide agents insights and sales tips to make the most of Wave Season for their clients,” Phillips continued.
Part one of the “How to Book the Perfect Pre- and Post-Cruise Package” WAVEinar will be held Tuesday, January 24 at 3 p.m. EST and will discuss choosing the right hotel for a client’s port of choice. The first presenter will be Alejandro DeJesus, virtual account manager at TravelBound.
Now through March, TravelBound’s Wave Season campaign will feature values and special offers on different major cruise ports each week. Beginning this week, travel agents will find special savings for hotels in Rome, Venice, Miami and New York such as 20% off a stay of two or more nights at Rome’s Residenza Antica hotel, and 15% off stays through 2017 at Venice’s Continental situated in the heart of Cannaregio.
Also available are offers in two of the largest cruise ports stateside including 25% off four nights at the waterfront Intercontinental Miami and 20% off stays from April through August 31, 2017 at the Riu Plaza New York Times Square.
Upcoming weeks will include ports such as Barcelona, Athens and Ft. Lauderdale.
TravelBound also provides travel agents with sightseeing recommendations to enhance their clients’ pre- and post-stay experience. Sample sightseeing activities include Walks of Italy’s Cook, Dine and Drink in Rome with a local chef where clients will spend an evening learning how to make pasta in the comfort of the chef’s rooftop studio; and the Everglades Airboat Tour and Biscayne Sightseeing Cruise during which clients will visit the Everglades National Park and get up close views of alligators, turtles, lush vegetation, and more.

European Waterways Introduces New Barge in Scotland

European Waterways has announced the arrival of its new 12-passenger “Spirit of Scotland” luxury hotel barge. The vessel will cruise the Caledonian Canal and lochs of the Great Glen in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, starting June 4, 2017. One of the most stylishly designed in the company’s extensive fleet, the three-level hotel barge evokes the spirit of the traditional steamers that plied the lochs of Scotland in bygone eras. To mark the occasion, the company is offering 10% off all cabins and charters in June and July on the Spirit of Scotland, when booked before March 31, 2017.
“We’re absolutely delighted to bring this elegant hotel barge to Scotland,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways. “She’s a special addition to our fleet, encompassing the true ‘spirit’ of the land. Our guests also now have a choice of two hotel barges in the region, with ‘Spirit of Scotland’ complementing our existing vessel, the 8-passenger ‘Scottish Highlander’.”

Among the largest in the company’s fleet, the Spirit of Scotland features three decks of living and entertainment space. The lower deck boasts six fully modern, air-conditioned staterooms, with en suite bathrooms and a choice of twin or double beds, plus a single tour leader cabin. The middle deck features a bright and spacious saloon and dining areas with picture windows, a bar, and an integral forward wheelhouse that gives guests an unobstructed view of the route ahead. Outside there is a sheltered aft deck with a covered dining terrace and a heated jacuzzi, while the full-length upper sundeck is the perfect place for relaxing and admiring the stunning Highlands scenery as the barge glides sedately along the Caledonian Canal and across mystical lochs.

The 6-night itinerary will especially appeal to nature lovers, who will enjoy the exceptional scenery and diverse wildlife. It is also ideal for family charters and special interest groups, such as golfers, walkers, foodies, and whisky connoisseurs.

Itinerary highlights include a tour of the Glen Ord whisky distillery, along with a private tasting; a visit to Culloden Moor, scene of the last battle to be fought on British soil; and a tour of Cawdor Castle and gardens, the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The cruise route also crosses some of Scotland’s famous lochs, such as Lochy, Oich, Dochfour, and, of course, Loch Ness, home of the legendary “Nessie”.

English Seaside Resorts with the Best Rated Hotels and B&Bs revealed

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The Cornish town of St Ives has been voted the top UK beach resort
A new study has revealed the seaside resorts with the best rated hotels and bed & breakfasts in England. 
The 28 seaside towns included in the study each had more than 50 hotels and B&Bs in the local area; and the guest ratings were compiled from a combination of trusted online review sources. A score out of ten was calculated for each town, based on the average hotel and B&B ratings awarded by customers. 
The Cornish town of Looe achieved an outstanding score of 9.35 out of 10, placing it at the top of the rankings.   
Also in the top five were Bude in Cornwall (with a score of 9.32), Dartmouth in Devon (with a score of 9.27), Whitby in North Yorkshire (with 9.20), and Bridlington in East Yorkshire (with  9.19).
If the pound continues to remain at a weak level during 2017, holidays in the UK may be more affordable than a trip abroad. 
Linda Firth, from the lovemyvouchers.co.uk, added, “People will be looking for the best value for money, and a holiday along the English coastline could be the most attractive option for many this year. The seaside resort they decide to visit could depend on the holiday accommodation available, and the previous guest ratings provide a reasonable guide for holiday makers.”
When providing a review, hotel guests are asked about the service, value for money, location and cleanliness of the accommodation.

Etihad growth depends primarily on partnership strategy

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Etihad growth depends primarily on partnership strategy

Etihad Aviation Group’s partnership strategy has been a core element of the growth of the business, said President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan in a speech.

Delivering a keynote at the 19th Annual Global Airfinance Conference in Dublin, Mr Hogan said the strategy, which resulted in 5.5 million guests connecting onto the Etihad Airways network from codeshares and partners in 2016, had delivered revenue and synergy benefits.

“Our investments had an immediate impact on the revenue side, delivering hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenues and allowing us to fill our onward connecting flights.  Those benefits have been replicated in all our minority investments – in airberlin, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles and Etihad Regional.

“We also believed our minority investments would unlock an additional advantage that the global alliances were simply unable to use.  Because we had ’skin in the game’, we could work on joint procurement and other business synergies which would save us – and our partners – hundreds of millions of dollars. Again, we have seen similar benefits from each of our investments, with those synergies being shared by all the partners.”

Mr Hogan said the third goal of the equity investments, to allow the management of these airlines to reshape their businesses into sustainable profitable operations, required a longer term view.

“Of course, their business strategies remained in the hands of the local management in each case.  We are pleased to support management, and to advise where requested, but the plans and implementation are in their hands.

“In this third area, we have had some strong results but we also face some significant challenges.  Jet Airways, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Etihad Regional have all used our capital investments to help structure their businesses into more efficient and profitable operations. In those cases, our long term investments are already delivering a return.

“However, we have faced greater challenges with airberlin and with Alitalia.  Both are operating in very tough competitive environments, and need to address long-standing issues facing their businesses.

“I believe airberlin’s strategy is now on track and Alitalia is finalising a business plan to address its issues.

“We are committed to our equity partner strategy – it delivers a huge amount to our business.  Some of those airlines need to react to the market pressures they face, and we are supportive of that process.

“That approach has helped Etihad grow from a $300 million a year airline, to a diversified aviation group which delivers revenues of more than $26 billion. Etihad Airways sits at the heart of that business, of course, but is now only one element of a model which includes significant other businesses and investments.

“That evolution has not happened by accident. Etihad Aviation Group is now a solid, diversified business with strength in depth – and with the scale to shape its destiny in the future.”